Mets Merized Online » Robert Patterson http://metsmerizedonline.com Wed, 26 Nov 2014 13:19:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.5 Bring In The Fences, Bring On The Controversy… http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/bring-in-the-fences-bring-on-the-controversy.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/bring-in-the-fences-bring-on-the-controversy.html/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 11:00:56 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=167869 curtis granderson

As was reported on Tuesday by Kristie Ackert of the Daily News, the Mets are poised to renovate the dimensions of Citi Field for the second time in four years. Once again the team plans to bring in the fences, this time concentrating their efforts on the right-center and right field walls.

Why do this, you may ask. Citi Field ranked 7th in home runs surrendered in 2014 and it was tied for 8th in 2013. So over the past few seasons, Citi has been neither hitter nor pitcher friendly. So what’s to be gained?

The easy answer is that despite Sandy Alderson’s assertion that these changes aren’t designed to tailor the ballpark to any particular players, it is. Both David Wright and Curtis Granderson stand to benefit the most. Is that the right thing to do? Reaction, as is always the case with the Mets’ fan base, has been mixed. There are two prevailing arguments against moving the fences in again.

The most popular opinion is that doing so will adversely impact the Mets young pitching staff. This one has it’s merits. Of course, if the new Citi Field dimensions would promote more home runs for the home team, it’s reasonable to assume the same for the visitors. However, isn’t it also reasonable to think that the better pitching staff will prevail regardless of the dimensions?

Johnny Cueto didn’t seem to struggle in posting a 2.25 ERA despite half his starts coming in the band box that is Great American Ball Park. The same can be said for Cole Hamels and his 2.46 ERA playing in the small confines of Citizens Bank Park. Does this mean that Mets pitchers won’t be negatively impacted? Of course not. But it does illustrate that very good pitchers are just as capable of putting up excellent numbers even in stadiums that are regarded as hitter friendly.

The second and most frustrating argument by those against the changes is simply this…Get better players! That view is often partnered with the oh so popular, “opposing teams didn’t struggle to hit home runs at Citi Field.”

Although that may be true (71 vs. 59), getting better players isn’t nearly as easy as it sounds. Power is in steep demand. Only eleven players mustered 30 or more home runs in 2014. Given the current Mets ownership and front office combination, such players aren’t as likely to find their way to Queens as they once were. So why not take steps to assist those players who are already here?

david wright

There’s also another added benefit to bringing in the walls. The Mets are still trying to overcome the mental stigma attached to Citi Field since its construction.The park is still in their heads and many players openly admit to how difficult Citi Field is for hitters. And don’t think for one second that those notions wouldn’t play into a free agent’s decision making process in the future. So while it may not be this Winter, should the Mets ever re-enter the big-ticket free agent market again, it would be beneficial if their ballpark wasn’t working against them.

If it’s a more immediate impact you prefer, think about what a shorter porch would mean to the outfield defense. Juan Lagares could play a few more steps in, thus allowing him to steal even more hits in shallow center field. An aging Curtis Granderson – or some other acquisition in the not so distant future – would have that much less room to cover in right making limited range a lesser concern. Assuming tour pitchers can continue to keep the ball in the building, it’s very likely many of those balls that dropped in will now be tracked down. I realize that this too works both ways, however, with outfield defense being one of our strengths, the Mets may benefit more than the visiting teams in this scenario.

As is the case with most things baseball, winning cures all ills. Will a smaller Citi Field lead to more wins? I can’t predict the future, but I’m confident that it’s more likely to help the franchise than hurt it in the long run.

The Mets have yet to make a playoff appearance, or even post a winning season since Citi Field opened. The ballpark is gorgeous, but it has been a burden to many of the team’s best players. If making these alterations helps their performance or even their psyche, it’s something the team brass had to consider and it now appears they’ll move forward with the plan. Citi Field is changing again. Hopefully, it’s not the biggest change we see this winter, but on its own it was the right call.

Like what you read? Hit me up on Twitter at @RobPatterson83.

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Collins No Longer The Right Man For The Job http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/collins-no-longer-the-right-man-for-the-job.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/collins-no-longer-the-right-man-for-the-job.html/#comments Thu, 05 Sep 2013 13:30:40 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=128602 terry-collinsThere’s an old adage: There is always a right man for the job. Three years ago when the Mets were poised to begin a long rebuild, Terry Collins was that man. By nature he appears patient and supportive. Exactly the type of guy you might want at the helm if you were going to fill the roster with inexperience youngsters trying to find their place in Major League Baseball.

So, how has he done? By the numbers he is 213-248 as Mets skipper to date. Not quite a ringing endorsement for a new contract, but I think blaming Collins for that number is the lazy route. Simply stated, Collins hasn’t had a roster capable of .500 baseball, let alone a legitimate playoff run. That’s not to say his teams weren’t capable of better.

Collins “by the book” style of management is out dated and often times infuriating. It causes him to regularly mismanage the bullpen and take the bats out if his players hands far to frequently in lieu of the bunt. What difference has it made? Its tough to put a number on it because sometimes players simply fail, but for arguments sake lets call it at least five games to date this year.

This is precisely the reason Collins cannot be brought back next season. There is always going to be some mismanagement during the season, but the front office must find someone who can cut that number in half. Two or three more wins would mean very little in 2013, but it could mean everything next season and beyond if the Mets find themselves in contention. If you don’t think so, I implore you to remember the 2007 and 2008 campaigns where the Mets found themselves on the outside looking in by the slimmest of margins.

If the Mets have the offseason many expect, the manger’s role will shift from treading water to the pursuit of the postseason. And while some will argue that that’s always the goal, Collins has never had the players to get there. In the not so distant future the Mets may have those players and while Collins hasn’t been a terrible manager, he’ll no longer be the best man for the job.

Like what you’ve read? You can follow me on Twitter at @RobPatterson83.

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No Stars To Align http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/no-stars-to-align.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/no-stars-to-align.html/#comments Sat, 31 Aug 2013 16:00:44 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=128310 mr-met.gi.topCall me crazy, but at some point a long disappointing season can wear even a die hard fan down. As many of you know, I’m an out of market fan. As such, whenever the Mets visit the district my wife and I make sure to attend at least one game each series. This series will be no different, but I chose instead not to take advantage of a pretty rare opportunity.

As I looked over my ticket options for tonight’s game, I came across a disillusioned Nationals season ticket holder. Two rows off the Mets dugout within an arm’s reach of the on deck circle. But for $100 per seat?

I did the math in my head.. It is Wheeler Day, and I’m yet to see either he or d’Arnaud play in-person. Not only that, but I’d be close enough for Terry Collins to hear my arm chair coaching criticisms.  I’d also be close enough to snag (and then promptly hand over) a ball destined for a young fan. But still, for $100 per seat?

This would certainly be a no brainer in Queens, but in DC you can snag very good seats from the Nationals directly for as little as $20. It becomes tough to justify dropping another $160, plus food and beverage, plus parking and transportation, when there just isn’t anyone I have to see up close.  Maybe that makes me a terrible fan in the eyes of some, but without Harvey or Wright there simply isn’t much must see talent for the Metropolitans right now.

This is something the Mets should, and I expect will, address this winter. It’s also only fair to note that there is plenty of star potential in many of the youngsters on the roster now, who are only starting to mold their raw talent into major league form. But for now, with nothing to play for but pride and the best players the Mets have to offer on the disabled list, this is one Mets die hard who will save his pennies for a better day, because right now.. they just aren’t worth it.

**Like what you’ve read? You can follow me on Twitter at @RobPatterson83.**

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Harvey News Sends The Fan Base Reeling http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/harvey-news-sends-the-fan-base-reeling.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/harvey-news-sends-the-fan-base-reeling.html/#comments Tue, 27 Aug 2013 13:00:02 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=127992 matt harvey

At this point, yesterday’s news feels like a bad dream, but the unfortunate reality is that we may not see Matt Harvey pitch again until 2015.  Once again it seems as though we’ve been left at the altar and many are desperate for answers. How on earth could the team’s new ace, our lone bright spot to yet another lost season, have been pitching in pain for weeks? Who knew? More importantly, who is to blame?

It took little time for the blame game to take action yesterday as team GM, Sandy Alderson, and coach, Terry Collins, couldn’t make it out of their respective portion of the afternoon press conferences without contradicting one another.  Sandy has known about Harvey’s discomfort for weeks, while Collins has been in the loop for mere days?  Collins would go on to insinuate that the fans demand to see Harvey pitch somehow played a part… As is the case with most public relations nightmares, the Mets did themselves no favors yesterday.

Matt Harvey would soon take to the microphone in an attempt to shed light on his now uncertain future.  Forearm discomfort for weeks but no sharp or shooting pain left the unsuspecting hurler in shock at the days’ news. The notion he could pitch through it, likely spurred on by thoughts of invincibility will now leave him on the outside looking in for sometime.

The honest truth is that there is a level of shared blame between management and players when injuries are mishandled. Management often pushes too hard and players are almost always less than forthcoming when it comes to what ails them. We’ll never know the full truth when it comes to what tarnished the Mets shiny new penny, but it likely lies somewhere in the middle. Nonetheless it’s the fans who will be left to pick up the pieces of their shattered dreams.

What will come of this offseason? Once thought to be active in both the free agent and trade markets, the loss of their ace will almost certainly see the Mets hold on to their pitching prospects, limiting their trade potential. Furthermore, the loss of “Harvey Day” will impact ticket sales and could provide yet another reason to avoid big spending.

As is almost always the case, fans have more than enough reasons to be mad. Not only did they lose a star yesterday, but a shadow was cast over the team’s future. Fans have waited long enough to see things turn around in Queens, and Matt Harvey represented that change.  Now we fall back to a level of uncertainty that we are unfortunately all too familiar with.  So as the sting starts to subside, Mets fans will start to realize that the important question isn’t who is to blame, it’s where do we go from here?

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Could Backman Do Better? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/could-backman-do-better.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/could-backman-do-better.html/#comments Fri, 14 Jun 2013 14:00:20 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=121940 There is an old football saying that states, “the most popular guy in town is always the backup quarterback.”  Although that phrase may not directly translate to the game of baseball, I think we can all relate it to the Mets current managerial situation.  The incumbent skipper, Terry Collins, has seen his tenure dominated by poor play thanks in part to a poor roster.  Lurking in the distance is current Las Vegas manager, Wally Backman, who at the very least has developed a bit of a cult following amongst Mets fans.

The weaker the Mets have looked, the stronger the cry for Backman to take over has gotten.  As you would imagine, Dave Lennon’s piece in yesterday’s Newsday that Collins’ job is not only safe, but that Wally has no chance of the big league managerial spot, wasn’t well received by those residing in Backman’s corner.  Whether or not that’s accurate is currently a non-factor, but I can’t help but wonder what difference, if any, Backman would have on the current state of affairs in Queens?

I think its safe to assume that there are very few Mets fans who have actually watched Backman manage a game.  Therefore, I’m forced to believe that his popularity is due to both his comments to the press, and his theatrical, profanity laced ejections that you can find on YouTube with little effort.  While I admit they are comical, I question whether or not they have a place in today’s game.

People have to realize that there is quite a difference between motivating young players in the minor leagues, who still have much to learn, and established big league players with established big league egos.  Its foolish to assume that such tirades would simply light a fire under the current roster, and its extremely possible that he would ostracize as many players as he would motivate.  Those thinking that the current roster is comprised of minor league caliber talent are correct, but on the off chance that the Mets do bring in better talent in the coming months, there is a much better chance that Backman’s criticisms could fall on deaf ears.

The other, and quite possibly more devastating effect of Backman’s antics is the impact it would have on the media.  Fans needn’t look back any farther than last month, when Terry Collins made a comment about not having to answer to the fans, to see how managerial comments can be blown out of proportion.  That was a rare lapse in judgement for Collins.  For Wally, that’s a Tuesday.  While I genuinely enjoy it when a manager gets ejected and I agree that the more animated the disagreement, the more fun it is to watch, Backman could be a few press conferences away from turning Flushing into a three ring circus.

Perhaps I’m wrong.  Perhaps Wally Backman not only possesses the ability to set his ego aside, but also brings with him the surgical precision necessary to manage the egos of a big league baseball team.  Perhaps he could better manage the bullpen, and find a lineup that works on a daily basis.  Perhaps he is the right man for the job.  I’m not saying he isn’t.  What I am saying, is that Backman’s campaign (if you will) to be Mets manager is not one based on great managerial decisions, its one focused on a very blunt and very boisterous technique that fans find entertaining.

Whether or not Backman’s entertainment would produce more wins is an answer we may never get.  Has he put in his time with the Mets organization?  Yes.  Is he deserving of the managerial spot if it should become available?  Probably.  It would even be beneficial to add a connection to the 1986 World Series winning team into the current fold.  But for all the positives, the potential for disaster would always be present with Backman at the helm.  For an organization still searching for positive consistency, that may not be a risk the Mets can afford to take.

Like what you read?  Follow me on Twitter at @RobPatterson83.

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Featured Post: Sandy’s Mets Are Not Progressing http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/featured-post-sandys-mets-are-not-progressing.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/featured-post-sandys-mets-are-not-progressing.html/#comments Wed, 05 Jun 2013 13:54:45 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=120768 After an embarrassing sweep at the hands of the lowly Miami Marlins and a loss to begin the Nats series, the Mets find themselves on pace for just 66 wins and 96 losses which would amount to their worst season in a full decade.  Certainly there is time for such grim propositions to change, but with fans already checking out at the idea of yet another lost season, the Mets’ problems are much deeper than their record to date.

Two months into the 2013 campaign, Sandy Alderson’s patchwork roster has yielded many more questions than answers.  By all accounts, Matt Harvey, David Wright, Bobby Parnell and maybe Daniel Murphy have secured their spots on the roster going forward.  Thought to be roster locks before the season started, Ike Davis and Ruben Tejada now find themselves in a special sort of limbo that would have seen each demoted long ago if better options were available.  Everyone else, to include Jon Niese and Lucas Duda, finds themselves expendable.

You see, the biggest problem with the Mets right now isn’t their record, its the fact that they’re not progressing.  The 2013 season wasn’t supposed to be about winning the World Series or even winning the division, it was about simply taking the next step towards relevance.  The blueprint called for playing out the season, allowing the youngsters to arrive when it was their time, and then supplementing the roster with free agents when the books cleared this upcoming winter.  That was the plan, but yet again things have changed.

sandy-aldersonThe Mets unfortunate start to this season has done more than open holes to fill going forward.  Thus far, the team has averaged more than 1,300 fewer fans per game and SNY viewership is down over 20%. We can only expect those numbers to worsen as the situation grows more dire.  In fact, with nothing but the promotion of prospects to draw fans to the ballpark, it should make us wonder what impact this season may have on ownership’s ability to spend this winter, regardless of how much money is coming off the books.

Is this speculation? Sure.  However, as things continue to get worse instead of better, so too does the possibility of Sandy Alderson turning this ship around.  While he has excelled when it comes to maximizing value via trade, he is yet to show the ability to draw the big free agents to town.  Should our high hopes for the likes of Ike Davis, Ruben Tejada and others fall flat, the onus will turn to free agency if this franchise hopes to stop the bleed.

Asking Mets fans, who have enjoyed only five playoff runs in the previous twenty-eight years, to remain vigilant for yet another season is not only unreasonable, its foolish.  While the season as a whole may be lost, the franchise needs to turn the corner in the coming months.  Perhaps the promotion of Zack Wheeler and eventually Travis d’Arnaud nudge things in the right direction, but if that isn’t the case it all falls back on Sandy Alderson.  Both he and the Mets are reaching a breaking point.  Progress is necessary, for it not only hints at the idea that a plan is in place, but it also provides fans with hope.  Hope at this point, may be all we have left.

** Like what you’ve read?  Follow me on Twitter at @RobPatterson83 **

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Matt Harvey: The Mets Have Their Ace http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/matt-harvey-the-mets-have-their-ace.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/matt-harvey-the-mets-have-their-ace.html/#comments Wed, 08 May 2013 15:57:47 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=117881 matt harvey 33Once upon a time, not so long ago, the Mets had a top ten prospect named Zack Wheeler who was deemed the heir apparent to their oft-maligned rotation.  It had to be Wheeler, who would assume the role of staff ace.  Especially with the controversial trade of surprising knuckleballer, RA Dickey.  It seemed unanimous that Wheeler, his high nineties fastball, and array of formidable secondary pitches were just months away from changing everything.  That was the plan, but then Matt Harvey happened…

The July 2012 promotion of the Mets’ second best pitching prospect was met with much fan fair.  Harvey promptly rose to the occasion in the eleven strike out win that was his debut against the Arizona Diamondbacks.  For an encore, he went on to post an ERA well under three in ten starts comprised of almost sixty innings pitched.  For certain it looked as though the Mets had another quality starter on their hands, but no one could have anticipated what Matt Harvey had in store for the Mets and their fans in 2013.

Entering last night, Harvey’s 2013 campaign featured a 4-0 start which saw him yield more than one earned run on only one occasion over six starts, in route to the National League Pitcher of the Month award for the month of April.  Coming off a full seven day’s rest, Harvey spent Monday night victimizing the White Sox lineup in route to nine scoreless innings of one hit ball with twelve strike outs and exactly zero walks.  This saw Matt drop his ERA to an impressively low 1.27 while assuming the league lead in strike outs with 58.

The stats are impressive enough, but they are easily trumped by the undeniable presence that Harvey brings with him to the bump every night.  Each start celebrated as “Happy Harvey Day” on various social media forums, the fans have fully accepted Matt as the absolute ace of this staff, no questions asked.

Harvey’s rise to what will soon be, if it isn’t already, super-stardom, will make it that much harder for those that come behind him, namely Wheeler.  Having been billed as possessing the best repertoire in the system, its hard to believe that Wheeler can match the ridiculous change-up and slicing slider that Harvey has used to carved through opponents thus far this season.  While the Mets will need Wheeler to be a productive member of the rotation in short order if they hope to stay in the hunt this summer, Matt Harvey has made most, if not all fans forget that someone other than he may be the savoir for the Mets pitching woes.

Recent history has seen pitchers as unproven as Mike Pelfrey toe the rubber as the team’s ace.  Those days, at least for the time being seem to be behind us.  Having been drafted by Omar Minaya in 2010, Harvey will be ineligible for free agency until the 2019 season at the earliest and now represents the youth movement envisioned by Mets general manager, Sandy Alderson.  The franchise will need others to rise through the ranks in order to realize Alderson’s vision, but regardless of whether those who will soon follow his path are able to do their part, Matt Harvey is here and the Mets have their ace.

Follow me on Twitter at @RobPatterson83.

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David Wright Superstar? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/david-wright-superstar.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/david-wright-superstar.html/#comments Fri, 26 Apr 2013 13:00:24 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=116329 david wright 1419 hitsYou’ve probably read an article like this before.  Lord knows enough of them have been written.  Is David Wright a superstar?  Its an argument that still rages on an almost daily basis across every social media forum.  On one side, you find a group of super-critical fans who feel Wright can’t possibly live up to his eight year, $138 million dollar contract.  On the other side, you find the “apologists”, the “fan girls”, and a variety of other groups who admire Wright as the captain of the team and face of the franchise.  So where does the truth lie?

First and foremost, how do you define a superstar?  For the purposes of this post, I’m going to say that a superstar has to have been in the league long enough to be compensated like one.  This will provide a “track record” that we can use to see where Wright lies amongst his peers.  Does this leave out the Mike Trouts and Bryce Harpers of the world?  Yes, but its important to consider money because it is always an important dynamic in this argument.

With that said, if there is anything both Wright’s supports and his critics can agree on, its that Wright’s new contract compensates him like a superstar.  Despite making only $11 million dollars this season, he will average $17.5 million over the length of the deal.  So for the purposes of comparison, I will use this $17.5 million dollar figure so Wright goes up against players considered to be the best in the league.  IF Wright were to make $17.5 million dollars this season, he would find himself to be the twenty-third highest paid player in Major League Baseball.   As it turns out, there are eleven higher paid position players in the game under this scenario.  Therefore, for the purposes of this comparison, I will use those eleven players and the first eleven that fall below him.  Each of these players have been productive enough on a consistent basis to be amongst the highest paid position players in the league.  Does Wright belong in this group?

This is how they match up over the course of their careers in the major statistical categories:

Wright Superstar Stats

Click to enlarge. All statistics obtained from www.baseball-reference.com. All statistics are averages over every 162 games played.

I chose these statistics because they are the most commonly known offensive categories for the average/traditional baseball fan.  I included batting average with runners in scoring position as a way to measure “clutchness”, which always seems to come up when discussing Wright.  So what have we learned…

Wright is actually above average when it comes to runs, hits, runs batted in, stolen bases, batting average, OPS, and finally, “clutchness”.  Consequently, he is slightly below average when it comes to power numbers and also averages a few additional strikeouts than his peers, neither of which should come as a surprise to anyone who watches Wright on a daily basis.  Which of these statistics you value most will go a long way in making your determination of whether or not Wright is in fact, a superstar.

I’ll allow you to make that determination for yourself.  What I do take away from all of this is that David Wright has earned his place amongst the highest paid players in the league.  He may never hit the epic home runs that some on this list do.  That alone may be enough for some of you to never deem Wright a superstar, and that’s okay.  However, there are other aspects of his game that help to fill his power void, which may lead others to the exact opposite conclusion.  What do you think?  How does he match up?  Is David Wright a superstar?

Follow me on Twitter at @RobPatterson83.

Disclaimer: I did not include defensive statistics in this comparison because each of these players play different positions, with several serving as a DH who don’t play defense at all.  Salaries were obtained from www.baseballplayersalaries.com/salaries.

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Priorities Realigned As Terrorism Takes Aim At The Sports World http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/priorities-realigned-as-terrorism-takes-aim-at-the-sports-world.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/priorities-realigned-as-terrorism-takes-aim-at-the-sports-world.html/#comments Tue, 16 Apr 2013 12:00:42 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=114755 boston-marathon-explosion-horizontal-gallery

The world awakens this morning seeking to right itself after a pair of explosions rocked Boston yesterday afternoon.  Lost are three souls, with no fewer than another one hundred and thirty-two injured.  Also lost in the day’s events, a nation’s sense of security when it comes to sporting events.

Long thought to be a potential target, major sporting events are often subjected to increased security measures.  To date, the United States had been successful (or lucky depending upon your point of view) to avoid such disasters, however April 15, 2013 will live on in infamy as the day the sports world was no longer immune to a direct attack.

The aftereffects of yesterday’s events remain to be seen, but as families, the city of Boston and the nation as a whole mourn this loss, its fair to assume that our shattered sense of security will send ripples through the sports world.  Decreased attendance can only be countered by increased protection in an effort to reassure fans that they’re safe.  At what point will your trip to the stadium resemble a tour through your local prison system?  At what point are fans treated like inmates? More importantly, at what point is such treatment necessary?

Boston-marathon-woman-crying_2930351Long gone is the innocence of physically attending a game, ruined by the majority of fans who feel the price of admission grants them the freedom to drink like a fish and curse like a sailor without repercussion.  That arrogance, until yesterday thought by most to be the worst you could encounter during a trip to the ballpark, is now miniscule by comparison to the violence seen in the past twenty-four hours.  So what now?

Ultimately, too much energy is lost debating the successes and more frequently, the failures of our favorite sports franchises.  That faux pas takes place on a daily basis throughout social media and on sites just like this one.  I’m just as guilty as many of your reading this.  We’re debating a game..something that shouldn’t be life or death.  Its unfortunate that it takes such tragedy for things to fall in line once again, but it has become apparent that this is the world we live in now.  So remember, the next time your headed out to Citi Field, be cognizant of those around you, because not everyone is on the same team.

Follow me on Twitter at @RobPatterson83.

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The 2013 Mets: Buyer Beware! http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/buyer-beware.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/buyer-beware.html/#comments Tue, 02 Apr 2013 13:00:02 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=112691 mr metIf you’ve found yourself uninspired about the 2013 New York Mets.  If you’ve been looking for a reason to get excited about this season. If you’ve been looking for a solitary reason to believe.  Well, the Mets’ 11-2 Opening Day demolition of the San Diego Padres was exactly what you needed.

How could you not take notice?

The game featured more than adequate starting pitching, solid relief work, clutch hitting and even a grand slam.  The Mets’ already ostracized outfield corps went a combined 4-for-12, with three walks, six runs batted in, and the aforementioned grand slam. As a matter of fact, with the exception of the four strikeout performance by Ike Davis, there really wasn’t much negativity to be taken away from the first game of the season.

However, please heed this warning.  It was only the first game of the season.  Met fans, every single one of us. are searching for something.  Whether it’s just a reason to head out to Citi Field, or to turn on the television and watch, or even a reason to simply stick around at this point.. each and every one of us is trying to find that one reason to believe.  For some, yesterday’s game was just that.  It was great.  Great enough that as Colin Cowgill crossed the plate after his seventh inning grand slam my wife stared at me as I muttered over and over again, “I will not buy in..I will not buy in..I will not buy in.”

You see as much as I want to believe, I’ve spent the last two months convincing myself that the reason to watch this season was the maturation of young players like Matt Harvey and Ruben Tejada, along with the eventual promotion of Zack Wheeler and Travis d’Arnaud.  I entered last season under a similar guise, but crumbled quickly under a 4-0 start that saw me quickly invested once again for the long haul.  Of course that eventually led to the annual mid-summer heartbreak that we’re all so accustomed to at this point.

So while I, like many of you I’m sure, fight the urge to once again dive head first into the shallow end of what has all the makings of a fatally flawed 2013 New York Mets season, lets all remember that our team boasts a roster of unproven players searching to find their own way.  Is it possible they shock the world as the Oakland Athletics did last summer?  Sure..but its far more likely that we’ll soon be wallowing in the puddle of self pity we frequent each season.  Only time will tell.  If you chose to take the plunge early, don’t say you haven’t been warned!

Follow me on Twitter at @RobPatterson83.

buyer beware

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Terry Collins’ No-Win Situation http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/terry-collins-no-win-situation.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/terry-collins-no-win-situation.html/#comments Wed, 06 Mar 2013 13:15:27 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=109930 When Terry Collins was introduced as Mets manager on November 23rd, 2010, he was far from the unanimous choice amongst those who cover the team.  Known more for his short temper and self-destructive ways than his managing prowess, many feared the aging skipper may not be up for the job. Two years later, the now 63 year old Collins boasts a 151-173 record since his arrival and enters the season on the final year of his original three year contract with much skepticism about his future in Queens.  During a recent blogger teleconference, Mike Silva of Sports Media Watchdog asked Sandy Alderson: “…what do you need to see from Terry Collins to extend his contract?”  Sandy replied:

“There two things upon which a manager is evaluated. One is wins and losses, and the other is the improvements of the players on the team. Regardless whether it’s a veteran-dominated team or a younger team, players have to improve, More importantly, they have to be motivated, and that’s partly where the manager comes in. I think Terry will be evaluated on both of those basis, with the understanding that wins and losses are not an absolute. To some extent, they are relevant to the talent we have.”

Now I’m not necessarily here to argue whether or not Terry Collins does or doesn’t deserve a contract extension.  While I think he has done an admirable job with the players he’s been given, I would agree that there is no rush to extend a manager who has been unable to avoid a major second half swoon in each of his seasons in New York.  My question in this instance is given these parameters, how exactly does Collins stand even the slightest chance in earning the contract extension his covets?

The first factor Alderson mentions is wins and losses.  Collins first two seasons in Queens yielded 77 and 74 wins respectively.  In that time, the Mets have jettisoned an all-star batting champion and a Cy Young award winner.  In addition to those losses, Alderson has outfitted the 2013 Mets with nothing that resembles a Major League caliber outfield.  Those facts don’t come together to form a recipe for success.  In fact, its reasonable to think that Collins’ goal this summer should be as much to limit the damage as it is to win more games than in seasons past.

From there we’re forced to discuss individual player development.  This too is difficult for me to wrap my head around.  From a long-term approach, there are no more than three or four position players who have a real future with the Mets.  I anticipate that player development would have to apply to players like Ruben Tejada, Daniel Murphy and to a lesser extent Ike Davis, than to more established players like David Wright.  Outside of the infield, there isn’t much development to be had.  Outfield turnover is in the cards heading into next winter and other positions will be occupied by players making the Major League debut later this summer.  This leaves precious few players who hold Collins’ fate in their hands.

If the Mets somehow rip off a .500 season or better this year, it would be tough to argue that Collins hasn’t earned his money.  However, if they don’t as most of us expect, I don’t see many ways in which Collins’ tenure can be extended based upon Sandy Alderson’s answer to Silva’s very legitimate question.  Only so much can be said for effort over results, and its the results that Collins has lacked to date.  Has Collins plight become a lost cause, or does he have it in him to win the confidence of the Mets’ brass?  Regardless of what players head north in a few weeks’ time, the deck is stacked against the Mets’ skipper.  The writing is already on the wall and it appears, at least from where I’m sitting, that this will be Collins final season with the New York Mets.

If you like what you read, follow me on Twitter at @RobPatterson83.

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ESPN’s Adam Rubin Tells It Like It Is http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/espns-adam-rubin-tells-it-like-it-is.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/espns-adam-rubin-tells-it-like-it-is.html/#comments Mon, 04 Mar 2013 00:30:21 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=109728 Many Mets fans find themselves in an uproar this evening following an opinion piece by ESPN’s Adam Rubin, that criticized much more than the 2013 roster’s potential.  The highlight of the article, which you can find HERE, is likely a quote stating:

“Manager Terry Collins has done an admirable job trying to put lipstick on a pig with his job fate hanging the balance, but there are alarming early signs this is going to be an abysmal year for the Mets…”

Rubin goes on to criticize many aspects of this season’s roster, to include the outfield, the bullpen, the bench and to a lesser extent even the team’s starting rotation.  Ultimately, however, it is this declaration that did him no favors in the eyes of those who are upset about the piece:

“I have yet to find a scout who will declare the Mets appreciably better than the Marlins, who underwent their latest fire sale.”

You can call Adam Rubin many things (and most people do), but you can’t call him a homer.  Having worked the Mets beat for the past decade he has covered all the highs and lows of both the Omar Minaya and Sandy Alderson era.  Such experience should leave him well-qualified to give his opinion on the matter.  However his best quality, which, in my opinion, is his availability to the fans as not only the most widely known beat writer, but also one of the most accessible on Twitter, also leaves him square in the bulls-eye of a fanbase scorn.

Rubin’s article claims that Mets “need to look in the mirror,” with regards to how they’ve handle injuries in recent years.  I would contest that many Mets fans need to do the same.  The contents of this very blunt interpretation of the upcoming season doesn’t differ much from the majority of blog posts and tweets that have filled social media over the offseason.  The fact of the matter is that there is a lot of truth in Rubin’s determination that this season’s outfield may be laughable, he is accurate in stating that the rotation could quickly become a concern if Johan Santana and/or Shaun Marcum aren’t ready, and he is dead to rights correct that the Mets will once again field a team with little to no depth at many positions.

As the phrase goes, if you’re a real Mets fan,”Ya Gotta Believe.”  That should be no different this season.  But let’s not completely ignore the facts, especially for the sole reason that those facts are coming from the source you love to hate.

The Mets have issues. You know it. I know it. And you best believe the guy who has been covering the team for the past decade from the locker room knows it.

Rubin, just like his employer at ESPN, often deserves his criticism, but this time isn’t one of them.  The Mets aren’t poised to contend.  Don’t reject that notion just because someone from the inside, who you happen to dislike, sees the same things most of you have been complaining about all winter.

Follow me on Twitter at @RobPatterson83.  If your daring enough, you can also follow Adam at AdamRubinESPN.

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Mets Unorthodox Path To The Playoffs To Be Led By Unproven Players http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/02/mets-unorthodox-path-to-the-playoffs-to-be-led-by-unproven-players.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/02/mets-unorthodox-path-to-the-playoffs-to-be-led-by-unproven-players.html/#comments Fri, 22 Feb 2013 01:34:17 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=108623 mr metThis week, Terry Collins and David Wright provided their annual sound bites that they believe the Mets, yes the group that has found its way to Port St. Lucie this spring, have it in them to make a run to the playoffs.  I know what your thinking.  How could a team that won only on seventy-four games last season with a Cy Young Award winning knuckleballer that has since been traded, a team which features what has already been almost unanimously dubbed a comically bad outfield, and a team that finds itself entrenched in what is likely the most powerful division in baseball have any chance at pulling that off?  The simple answer… They dont!  However, the team that will be donning the blue and orange come mid-summer should have a much better chance as the pieces outlining “Sandy’s” team fall into place.

Finances and injuries aside, the biggest in-season problem that has crippled the Mets over the past five years has been the inevitable second have swoon.  You can almost set your clocks to the post all-star break slide that sees the team lose its last grasp of postseason aspiration each summer.  This season’s group has the opportunity to avoid the same fate, and here’s how that happens…

First and foremost, I don’t think this season’s outfield is all that bad, at least compared to last season’s outfield, from an offensive standpoint.  Your asking a group that will likely include Lucas Duda, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Collin Cowgill, Mike Baxter and probably Marlon Byrd to collectively give you a season that eclipses the .238 BA, .309 OBP, 55 HR, 206 RBI, and .696 OPS that last year’s crop of outfielders posted.  Those numbers are not unobtainable, even for the group in camp this spring and better yet.. I’m only asking them to do it for half the season.  The pursuit of legitimate outfielder was an utter failure this winter and remains the organization’s biggest issue going forward.  However, if the aforementioned comically bad outfield can hold it together long enough, reinforcements could be on the way when the trade deadline looms this summer.  The team’s undeniable need for at least two quality outfielders, it’s sizable crop of young minor league arms and any lingering hope for a playoff run could be enough to see Sandy Alderson pull the trigger on another blockbuster mid-season trade.  However instead of bolstering the team’s farm system, this move shores up the Major League outfield and ideally fills one of those positions for seasons to come.

Such an addition, albeit theoretical, only adds to the renovation the twenty-five man roster is likely to experience this summer.  Acquired as part of the trade that sent R.A. Dickey to Toronto, Travis d’Arnaud figures to arrive in Queens by mid-June.  His arrival not only provides a quality backstop for the team’s biggest weapon, the starting rotation, it also figures to make a decided lefty dominated lineup, more formidable.  Does he immediately blossom into the weapon the Mets envision for the next ten years?  Probably not, but that doesn’t mean he won’t provide quality at bats and an added level of power this lineup so desperately needs.

zack wheelerYour final, and in all likelihood most anticipated arrival this summer, will be that of Zack Wheeler.  Boasting a pitch selection that many deem good enough to see him quickly evolve into the team’s ace, he will cause headaches for opponents who will be seeing him for the first time late in the season.  Its also important to recognize that his impending arrival leaves the Mets with an excess of major league caliber starting pitching that is always coveted at the trade deadline.  That could mean the mid-summer trade of former ace and no-hitter hero, Johan Santana, who will exit Queens with the Mets paying the large majority of his salary to ensure a good return, provided he can remain healthy, further aiding the team elsewhere as the summer presses on.

You see, unlike most teams who enter the year with a roster primed for playoff glory, the Mets hopes lie in the effectiveness of players who aren’t even hear yet.  When they arrive, they’ll join a roster full of other young players who, save David Wright, don’t realize they’re not good enough.  With any luck it will be that naivety and maybe even some stubbornness that sees the Mets remain in the thick of things long enough for their difference makers to arrive.  Unlikely?  Yes.  Impossible?  Of course not.  However, if they do experience such success, the added excitement of having things come together at just the right time could give the Mets the added momentum necessary to push through a division of much more established teams.

The Mets are not by any stretch of the imagination poised to be a contender this summer, but that should stop fans from enjoying the ride.  Enjoy the knowledge that the team’s brightest young stars are on their way and poised to contribute later this year.  Know that if their predecessors can stay the course long enough, the likes of Travis d’Arnaud, Zack Wheeler and maybe even a few players to be named later will be playing for a lot more than reps before this season is said and done.

Follow me on Twitter at @RobPatterson83

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Multiple Mets Playing For A Chance To Be Part Of The Future http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/02/multiple-mets-playing-for-a-chance-to-be-part-of-the-future.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/02/multiple-mets-playing-for-a-chance-to-be-part-of-the-future.html/#comments Tue, 12 Feb 2013 15:00:36 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=107775 ike-davisUnlike many teams throughout Major League Baseball which are preparing to open spring training this week, the Mets don’t have many unanswered questions to be worked out in the next six weeks.

The Mets, a team in transition, are just about set from top to bottom, short of a spot on the bench and maybe another spot in the bullpen.  Being set for this season doesn’t necessarily mean set for the future, though. In fact, although this spring won’t, the upcoming season will answer a variety of questions about the path the organization will take next season and beyond.

Will the Mets need to acquire two outfielders or three?  Is the right side of the infield set for years to come?  How about the back end of the rotation?  These are all questions that need to be answered.  As a result, each of these players finds himself on the block this year…

Lucas Duda

A natural first baseman who is blocked at the position by Ike Davis, the Mets still hope to find a position Duda can play efficiently enough to justify keeping his bat in the lineup.  That bat however, also needs to improve this upcoming season if Lucas intends to keep himself in the fold beyond the 2013 season.  2012 saw his power numbers increase, but at the expense of his strikeout count, which averaged one per game.  The hope is that Duda can hit .260+ while realizing his 25-30 home run potential, but if he can’t find that happy medium, his struggles in the outfield will ultimately usher him out of the Mets’ plans.

Daniel Murphy

The twenty-seven year old Murphy has absolutely clawed his way to a starting spot in Queens.  His reward comes in the form of a significant raise he received just two weeks ago and the knowledge he’ll have to continue to claw if he hopes to maintain his spot.  In 2013, the Mets will not only ask Murphy to continue his progression at second base, they’ll ask him to better his power numbers that have only featured six home runs each of the past two years.  A fair request for a career contact hitter with gap power?  Probably not…but to date nothing has come easy for Murphy, so why should things start now?

Ike Davis

I know what your thinking…There is no way the Mets could possibly jettison their twenty-five year old power-hitting first baseman who remains under team control through the 2016 season.  However, allow me to remind you that the only thing that salvaged Davis’ 2012 campaign was his 32  home runs, which partially overshadowed his embarrassing first half which ultimately resulted to only a .227 batting average.  If nothing else, Davis represents a ton of potential.  That’s a commodity which may be valuable to a slue of other teams, should the Mets’ front office decide a trade is in order.  With Lucas Duda and possibly even Reese Havens as other long term options at first, Davis will still need to prove his value moving forward.  While the much more likely scenario sees Davis signed to a long term, team friendly, contract at some point this season, Ike’s future remains far from certain.

Dillon Gee

The 2013 season will bring with it the eventual arrival of Zack Wheeler, who will join the previously established Matt Harvey as the pitching saviors who the Mets’ front office hope can secure the rotation for many years to come.  While they may secure the front end of the rotation, the back end remains left to Dillon Gee, who seeks to return from season ending surgery as the result of a vascular ailment late last year.  Prior to falling victim to a blood clot, Gee’s 6-7 record was a poor representation of his performance which included 8.0 K/9IP and the lowest ERA of his short career.  With a plethora of young pitchers many have described as virtual clones of Dillon at the Triple-A level, Gee will have to stay on his game should he want to maintain his spot on what may be one of the strongest young rotations in baseball in short order.

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Every season has the potential to shed light on the future.  The 2013 season will be no different for the New York Mets.  In a perfect world, each of these guys earn their way onto the 2014 roster, thus allowing Sandy Alderson and the rest of the Mets’ front office to apply their considerable assets elsewhere.  However if they can’t, the Mets may find themselves with more holes than they can possible fill next winter, resulting in an even longer delay in the organization’s revitalization.

Follow me on twitter at @RobPatterson83

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This Week’s Featured Post: The Clock Has Started Ticking On The Sandy Experiment http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/02/this-weeks-featured-post-the-clock-has-started-ticking-on-the-sandy-experiment.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/02/this-weeks-featured-post-the-clock-has-started-ticking-on-the-sandy-experiment.html/#comments Fri, 08 Feb 2013 20:12:50 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=107007 Sandy Alderson 2Pundits often say a college football coach deserves at least two years to turn a team over before anyone can honestly pass judgement.  That time provides the new coach with enough time to recruit his own players and implement his own scheme.  General managers in Major League Baseball get no such grace period.  Thus the dilemma Sandy Alderson currently finds himself in.

Since taking the helm on October 29, 2010, Sandy Alderson has deconstructed the roster,  diminished its major league talent, worked to develop the farm system and effectively divided the fan base.  With that being said, if we’re playing by similar rules, only now can we begin to evaluate his handiwork.

When the Mets reconvene next week, the roster will sport the new, younger and most importantly cheaper nucleus Alderson hopes can lead the franchise for the foreseeable future.  Jonathon Niese, Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler lead a plethora of impressive young arms that stretch deep into the team’s farm system.  Travis d’Arnaud joins David Wright and to a lesser extent Ike Davis as the cornerstones of the team’s lineup.  Simply put, Alderson chose to jettison three of the team’s best players, whether by trade or via free agency.  Now he hopes his young additions, both of which probably won’t break camp with the team, are the glue that brings this thing together.

If the Mets are to evolve into a perennial playoff contender, this is the season the shift should occur.  While that may not immediately translate to more wins this season, the writing should be on the wall come summer’s end.  If things work out, the team will find itself searching for the final big piece(s) next winter when Alderson has legitimate financial resources to make it happen.  If that’s the case, he will have indeed delivered on his promise to put a playoff contender on the field for the 2014 season.

Sandy has made his moves, some of which have been impressive. When he told the press yesterday that “we are not that far away”, I’m inclined to agree with him.  This is the route he has chosen.  Will it be the path that takes the Mets to the promised land?  The upcoming season won’t answer that question, but for the first time since his arrival the Mets have a direction and its one which should represent progress in the coming months.  These will be the seasons that write Sandy Alderson’s legacy in Queens.  Did he get it right?  We’ll know sooner than you think.

Follow me on Twitter at @RobPatterson83

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Why Bourn, If Not Reyes? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/02/why-bourn-if-not-reyes.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/02/why-bourn-if-not-reyes.html/#comments Thu, 07 Feb 2013 17:00:22 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=107250 San Francisco Giants v Atlanta BravesAs the possibility of Michael Bourn landing in Queens seems more and more like a reality, there are a faction of fans who feel Bourn wouldn’t be such a necessity, had the Mets simply resigned Jose Reyes.  On the surface, they’re correct, however as is the case with everything New York Mets, there is always more to it.  Its easy to compare the two players.  Both center their games around speed, are similar in age, play skill positions and are amongst the best leadoff hitters in baseball.  So it begs the question: Why would the Mets sign Michael Bourn if they weren’t willing to resign Jose Reyes?

From a pure statistical standpoint, Bourn and Reyes aren’t so different.  If you want to discuss their best quality, speed, Bourn has averaged 51 stolen bases and 8 triples per 162 games played whereas Reyes has averaged 55 and 15 respectfully.  When it comes to their prowess at the plate, each have a career on-base percentage within points of .340, but on all other fronts Reyes has been a bit better.  Reyes boasts an career batting average twenty points higher than Bourn and a slugging percentage that dwarfs the free agent centerfielder.  Reyes also doesn’t share Bourn’s propensity for strikeouts.  So again I ask, why would the Mets sign Michael Bourn if there weren’t willing to resign Jose Reyes?

As much as most Reyes advocates won’t want to hear it, health is a factor in this comparison.  While Bourn may only average six more games per season since becoming a full-time player, the last five seasons have seen him average 150 games per season compared to Reyes’ average of only 123.  Such a health concern, or lack there off in Bourn’s case provides one reason why the Mets may be considering him when they balked on Reyes.  Another reason, which shouldn’t come a a surprise to most, is that the four year, roughly $50 million dollar contract the Mets are theoretically set to offer Bourn is no where near the six year, $106 million dollar contract Reyes commanded on the open market last winter.

Michael Bourn may not be the flashy, exciting player the Mets once had in Reyes, he may not be as good as Reyes in general (although WAR states otherwise if you’re into that kind of thing) but he certainly appears to be less of a risk.  Therein lies the reason Bourn appeals to Sandy Alderson so much. Not only does Bourn immediately fill the teams’ need at leadoff, he also bolsters a weak outfielding core on the cheap, so to speak.  That should make him an ideal fit in Sandy’s system.

Finally, its important to reaffirm that the Mets wouldn’t be signing Michael Bourn to replace Jose Reyes.  That task was unfairly dealt out to Ruben Tejada last spring, and while he can’t be expected to fill Reyes’ shoes, it was the presence of a sound shortstop who the Mets feel can hit for average that made a much more expensive Reyes expendable.  There is no such player when it comes to the Mets’ outfield.  Michael Bourn is not Jose Reyes, and likely never will be.  However, under these circumstances and at the price being discussed, he will be a Met if Sandy Alderson has his way.

Follow me on Twitter at @RobPatterson83

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MMO Featured Post: Why You Should Watch The Mets This Season http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/01/mmo-featured-post-why-you-should-watch.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/01/mmo-featured-post-why-you-should-watch.html/#comments Sun, 20 Jan 2013 21:16:43 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=104895

With less than thirty days before pitchers and catchers report to Port St. Lucie for Spring Training there is little excitement for the upcoming season.  Bad baseball may be better than no baseball, but 2013 appears to be another year of tempered expectations for most Mets fans.  As a result, ticket sales and television ratings will likely take yet another hit, but should they?  I’m not about to tell you how to spend your hard earned money, but I am here to tell you that there are plenty of reasons to watch the 2013 New York Mets.

The Kids

The departure of RA Dickey undoubtedly deals a blow to the starting rotation for this upcoming season, but the youth movement will be in full effect this summer.  The first youngster found his way to the show last fall, when Matt Harvey posted a 3-5 record in ten starts.  However, his record is a poor representation of the 2.73 ERA and 10-plus strike outs per nine innings he posted over that time.  Simply put, Harvey’s performance on the field was only bested by his character off of it.  No one will demand more of the 23 year old than he will of himself, but at first glance, it looks as if he’ll have the talent to back it up.

Next up on the premiere pitching path will be top prospect, Zack Wheeler.  With only 33 innings pitched at the Triple-A level, Wheeler will almost certainly spend the first portion of the season in the minors.  However, when he debuts he will bring with him a sizzling fastball and an impressive array of secondary pitches that give him ace caliber potential.  He will be without question the most anticipated arrival of 2013 as fans hope to see if Sandy Alderson’s first major trade yields immediate dividends.

Last, but certainly not least will be newly acquired catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud.  Considered by many to be the best catching prospect in baseball, he was the premiere piece in the trade that sent RA Dickey to Toronto and for that reason alone, his contribution will be monitored by the masses.  The ability to hit for both average and power, combined with above average defense behind the dish, d’Arnaud has the potential to sure up the catching position for a long time to come, making his late April call up much anticipated.  The Mets will hope that his prowess behind the plate will solidify what was one of the organization’s biggest weaknesses headed into the offseason and his bat will provide a much needed boost to the line up.

The Captain

Call it what you will, but David Wright’s new eight year, $139 million contract will paint a bullseye on his back this season and beyond.  Having not reached the post season since 2006, Wright now finds himself the sole remaining “superstar” from that now distant memory.  Coming off of an all-star season that saw the Mets’ third baseman return to form for much of the year, Wright will need to strike early and often if he’s to convince much of the fan base of his worth.  For the time being, he finds himself to be the solitary cornerstone of what figures to be a multi-year rebuild.  Can the pieces be filled in around him while he’s still the productive member of the team the Mets are paying for?  The race is one and the clock is officially ticking…

 The Farewell Tour

When he signed his six year, $137.5 million contract before the 2008 season, Johan Santana was supposed to be the one who got the Mets over the proverbial hump.  Instead, Santana’s tenure has evolved into a little more than a financial burden. With the obvious exception of his June 2012 no-hitter Santana has found few highlights in Flushing.  Barring a set of unforeseen circumstances, this season will be Santana’s last in Queens.  When he departs, the Mets will enjoy a level of financial freedom not seen since his arrival.  Should he excel early on this season, expect his swan song to end with a July trade that will see the Mets pay the large majority of his remaining salary.  There is no way around it, if you want to say your goodbyes I’d thoroughly recommend you find your way to Citi Field this spring, because one way or another, Santana’s time is limited.

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As will be the case for many teams throughout Major League Baseball, the 2013 Mets will experience a variety of beginnings..and ends this year.  If you’ve waded through the collapses, the scandal and the underperformance, then you owe it to yourself to watch your team evolve this summer.  The Mets may not find themselves in the playoff race, but they should finally answer several question that have been hanging in the balance for some time now.  Will the youth movement provide the foundation for a playoff caliber team in the not so distant future?  Can David Wright solidify himself as the premiere talent he’s being paid to be?  Will this be the season the franchise finally moves forward?  Only time can tell, but will you be there to see it?

Follow me on Twitter at @RobPatterson83

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Sandy Alderson Gets His Man… And Then Some http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/12/sandy-alderson-gets-his-man-and-then-some.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/12/sandy-alderson-gets-his-man-and-then-some.html/#comments Tue, 18 Dec 2012 13:00:41 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=103129 What's The Plan Stan?Patience is a virtue.  That certainly applies to the patience of Mets GM, Sandy Alderson, who once again proved his critics wrong this weekend when he secured a windfall of popular prospects from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for reigning Cy Young Award winner, RA Dickey, and his personal catchers, Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas.  In doing so, Alderson waited out both the starting pitching market and the limits of the fan base’s collective sanity, cashing Dickey in at the absolute peak of his value and in the process, pushed the Mets forward towards their ultimate goal building a core of young, promising talent.

Sandy’s man, as I’m sure you’ve heard is Travis d’Arnaud, who is widely considered the best catching prospect in all of baseball.  Despite a season ending knee injury, it wouldn’t be surprising to see d’Arnaud break camp with the Mets come April, instantly bolstering the team’s roster at catcher.  Hitting for both power and average, while at the same time being considered above average defensively, d’Arnaud has the potential to solidify the Mets backstop needs for the foreseeable future.  If you ask most MLB General Managers, Travis d’Arnaud may have been too much to offer all by himself, but Sandy Alderson wasn’t done.

As a result, the Blue Jays’ number one pitching prospect, Noah Snydergaard, will also head south of the border and join the strong crop of young, hard throwing pitchers the Mets already have at the Single A level.  Although he may not find his way to the majors until sometime during the 2015 season, Snydergaard’s inclusion in this deal is the perfect example of Sandy Alderson maximizing what he has to work with.  For the second time in two years, Alderson pulled off a trade that no one thought was possible by waiting until what seems like the last possible minute to get things done.

Throw-ins on the deal also include backup catcher, John Buck, who will serve as a place holder for d’Arnaud if he isn’t ready for the start of the season, and eighteen year old Wuilma Buerra, who will look to come back from a broken jaw as a result of being struck in the face by a rogue pitch.  Neither play a major factor in the balance of this deal, but they do represent just how much value Alderson was able to squeeze of our Dickey’s Cy Young season.

Like him or not, these types of deals are the reason Sandy Alderson was brought to Queens, and will be the reason he remains in Queens if he so sees fit.  Hamstrung by a reduced cashflow, only now, entering his third season as team General Manager can the hints of the master play start to take shape.  With two months remaining before Spring Training, his work certainly isn’t done if he hopes to field a semi-competitive team in 2013.   However, regardless of how this upcoming season plays out, Sandy Alderson has put several more pieces in play for what could be a promising young team in 2014 and beyond.

Follow me on Twitter at @RobPatterson83

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The Day Sandy Alderson Ran Out Of Good Faith http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/12/the-day-sandy-alderson-ran-out-of-good-faith.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/12/the-day-sandy-alderson-ran-out-of-good-faith.html/#comments Wed, 12 Dec 2012 14:00:32 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=102653 sandy alderson thinkingYou can mark it on your calendar.  December 11th, 2012 is the day Sandy Alderson officially abused the trust of Mets fans for the final time.  Yes, I’m well aware that there are plenty of you out there that saw this coming.  I’ve heard from many of you, previously convinced that the team’s front office had hidden agendas.  However, the fact remains that Alderson’s on-air confirmation, at the team’s Christmas party no less, that there will be no sweeping changes this offseason is the moment that struck the first proverbial nail into his coffin as the General Manager of the New York Mets.

I’m sure you’ll also remember that on October 4th, 2012, shortly after the close of the 2012 season, Sandy appeared on WFAN with Mike Francesa to say the following in regards to the team in general, more specifically to the positions of outfield and cather:

“There will be more substantial changes, than subtle changes.”

Call it naivety if your must, but for some reason I took Alderson at his word that the Mets would finally begin to move forward.  As recently as last week, I wrote that the winter meetings would be the beginning of the turnaround.  Well the winter meetings have come and gone without a single move.  In the process, the Mets have managed to insult the reigning National League Cy Young into publicly criticizing the team he has vowed his loyalties to.  All this makes me ask, what exactly is the end game here?

Certainly that end game isn’t to put forth a better product?  To date the Mets have only retained All-Star third baseman, David Wright.  Speaking of Wright, who negotiated his deal to free up an additional $8 million dollars of payroll for the team in 2013..what must he be thinking?  Having been sold on the organization’s path going forward, it now appears as if Sandy Alderson won’t even reinvest the money Wright will go without this year, nevermind elevate the payroll in general.  If I feel swindled, I’d have to imagine Wright is having trouble sleeping right now.

Alderson has done a lot of things since arriving.  First and foremost, he has deconstructed what were once the New York Mets.  Dropping a payroll that was once in excess of $140 million dollars to what stands to be less than $90 million this season, the Mets seem as far away from contending as they have in recent memory.  So what Alderson traded an injury ridden Carlos Beltran for stud prospect, Zach Wheeler.  So what he’s resigned the face of the franchise.  So what he’s shielded ownership from further scrutiny.  At some point he’ll be forced to answer for his lies too.

You see Alderson has sold a bill of goods to the Mets fan base.  The 2014 season was to be the year of the revival, but there is no plan in place to date that can see that plan to fruition.  Instead the Mets appear set to bring in bottom of the barrel free agents to once again bandage a flawed roster.  Once again, Alderson will stand in front of the microphone at Spring Training and preach about the clarity of the market and the possibility of contention should everything fall into the place.  However, for the first time, I won’t be buying what the con man is selling!

Sandy Alderson may have been brought here to see the Wilpon’s through the most difficult years of their ownership.  In fact, he may be doing just that.  But don’t lie to me.  Don’t lie to the legions of fans who expect a quality product, who expect the Mets to function like a big market franchise and those who expected a man of his word.  David Wright was quoted on WFAN yesterday as saying he didn’t remain in Queens to finish in fourth place.  Welp, I wonder how he feels about last place, because that precisely the type of team Alderson is in the process of piecing together.

Three years after his arrival, the Mets remain a mess..and worse yet there is no end in sight.  Sandy Alderson is not the answer and he’s certainly not “the adult in the room”.  Save the schtick going forward Sandy, because we’re not buying it anymore.

Follow me on Twitter at @RobPatterson83

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Rebuild Of The New York Mets Will Begin This Week http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/12/rebuild-of-the-new-york-mets-will-begin-this-week.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/12/rebuild-of-the-new-york-mets-will-begin-this-week.html/#comments Mon, 03 Dec 2012 13:30:20 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=101972 It has been a long time coming, but its realistic to think this could be the week the Mets finally turn the corner.  Since arriving in Queens following the completion of the 2010 season, Sandy Alderson has done little more than cut the fat.  Crippled by the bloated contracts issued by his predecessor, Omar Minaya, and a shoe-string budget courtesy of the poor investing decisions of team owner, Fred Wilpon, Sandy was left with few options.  Addition by subtraction, along with rebuilding the team’s beleaguered farm system, became the motto of the team’s front office as under-performing players were jettisoned in an effort to lower payroll.  Aspirations of championships were replaced by the idea that the team might be competitive should everything fall into place.  All the while, fans were led to believe that it would only be a matter of time before the resurgence would come.  That day may finally be upon us.

Entering the Winter Meetings, which start this morning in Nashville, the Mets will have a variety of routes at their disposal to secure the players they need.  Having already settled the eight year contract extension of David Wright, worth just shy of $140 million, Sandy Alderson not only secured the team’s best player for the foreseeable future, he has also indicated that the Mets are on the verge of operating like the big market ballclub they are. Also working in the Mets’ favor is their excess of starting pitching.  Whether it ends up being the reigning Cy Young winner, RA Dickey, or youngster Jon Niese, who is signed to a very team-friendly contract, someone probably won’t call Queens home by week’s end.

Whether you think trading away a solid starting pitcher is a good idea or not, the Mets are preparing to move forward.  With as many as seven suitors for RA Dickey and in all likelihood just as many for Niese, the Mets may find themselves the beneficiary of a bidding war of sorts.  With teams on that list like the Kansas City Royals and Toronto Blue Jays, who both possess some of the most sought after prospects in all of baseball, the Mets have to feel good about their chances this week.

Sandy Alderson and the Mets have trod water long enough.  With the 2014 season pegged as the team’s return to legitimacy, the 2012 Winter Meetings seem an apropos time for things to take shape.  That may mean the addition of a catcher, an outfielder or possibly both, but the time has arrived for the front office to start piecing things together. Trading away a key component such as Dickey or Niese won’t be enough.  Other lesser known quantities, such as Jenrry Mejia, may also find themselves on the trading block this week.  The Mets may dive into the free agent market to get what they need.  The options seem endless, but for the first time in a along time, the Mets should be building towards the future, instead of doing their best to ease the pain of the past.

If things go as planned this week, all the waiting, the cost cutting and maybe even all the losses will begin paying dividends.  Yes, the 2012 Winter Meetings are the place where this team can take the next step.  The deconstruction of the team we once knew is complete.  Let the rebuild officially begin.  Make the moves necessary to begin down that path, and fans will find their way back to the ballpark this summer.  The time has come.  That time is now.

Follow me on Twitter at @RobPatterson83

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