Mets Merized Online » Mets Related Posts Mon, 01 Sep 2014 13:00:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Is David Wright Done? Of Course Not! Mon, 01 Sep 2014 13:00:59 +0000 MetsIs David Wright in the decline? Is this the end of David Wright? Is David Wright washed up?

Calm Down.

While it’s obvious that Wright has been struggling mightily in recent weeks, his power has been sapped and he’s having the worst season of his MLB career, I’m chalking this up to injury. He has always been a gamer who never asks out of the lineup due to injury and has refused to blame any of his struggles on any ailment throughout his career, but rather places the blame on himself.

In 2009, Wright missed 15 games after he was hit in the head with a fastball.

In 2011, he missed 58 games between May and July due to a broken back. He also hit a career low .254 that season in 102 games. He suffered the injury on April 19th and started 22 of the next 23 games before being shelved for two months. He played with a BROKEN BACK. He’s not going to let a simple shoulder sideline him.

David wasn’t off to a particularly hot start in 2011 prior to the injury, hitting just .239 with 2 HR and 8 RBI in 67 at bats over 17 games prior to his back injury, however his production dropped while he was playing hurt. Once he got hurt, he hit just .215 with 4 HR and 10 RBI in 79 at bats. He did gather 19 walks for a .367 OBP before he went on the DL.

Once David returned, his production increased. He wasn’t back to the typical David Wright numbers we were used to seeing, but after being allowed time to heal, he hit .272 with 8 HR and 43 RBI over his final 63 games with 15 doubles. Once he was healthy again, his performance translated, over a 162 game season, was the equivalent of 21 HR, 111 RBI and 39 doubles. Even with the career low numbers David put up in 2011, his performance when healthy wasn’t too bad.

david wrightIn 2013, David missed 45 games with a hamstring injury. He injured the hamstring during a July 26th doubleheader against the Washington Nationals and continued to play another 6 games (sitting out one game) before finally ending up on the DL after exiting the game on August 2nd after singling off the Royals Luis Mendoza in the bottom of the 10th, replaced by pinch runner Zack Wheeler.

He was hitting .308 at the time of the injury and he picked up right where he left off when he came back and finished the season hitting .307. Yes, he missed a chunk of time, but let’s also not forget that when he landed on the DL, the Mets were 49-58 and 14.5 games out of first place and trailing 6 teams for the second wildcard spot. It was known right away that David would miss the next 3 to 5 weeks with a Grade 3 strain and with the team being so far out of it, there really was no rush to bring David back. He did return so he could get back on the field before spring training, but was given his rest, appearing in just 7 of the Mets final 10 games.

Which brings us to 2014.

While we don’t know exactly when David hurt his shoulder in June sliding headfirst into second base, we do know that as of June 2nd, David was hitting .296 with 4 HR and 32 RBI over his first 57 games with 72 hits. While his home run total was down, he collected 14 doubles over his first 57 games. Over a 162 game stretch, his numbers translated to 12 HR, 91 RBI, 40 doubles, and 205 hits. The home runs were down, but he was driving in runs, collecting doubles, and was hitting.

We do know that David hurt his shoulder again on Thursday, June 19th. He gutted it out and played 6 more games – actually hitting in all 6 games before finally getting a MRI on his sore shoulder and missing the next 7 games. A lot of people (myself included) thought that David should have been placed on the disabled list to heal prior to the All-Star break.

After missing only 7 games, David returned to the field on July 5th and didn’t miss an inning over the final 9 games before the break, when he finally received a cortisone shot in his ailing shoulder. With the week’s rest, David was hot heading into the break, hitting .364 with 2 HR, 7 RBI and 4 doubles in 33 at bats before receiving the shot. At the break, David was hitting .285 and still on a pace for 45 doubles, 89 RBI and 186 hits over a 162 game stretch.

Cortisone doesn’t heal an injury, and as Boomer Esiason points out in WFAN, it’s never good when you hear about cortisone shots. Once he got the shot, his production tanked. Since taking the shot in the shoulder, he’s played in 39 games while batting just .215 with 32 base hits, 2 doubles, 0 HR and 9 RBI.

Yes, David is now a player in his 30s. Yes, he’s had a couple of injuries over the last couple of seasons. Do I think we will ever see the same player we saw between 2006-2008 during which he hit 89 HR, drove in 347 runs, collected 566 hits, and hit .312? No. But that doesn’t mean that he can’t still perform at a very high level when healthy.

Ah…. when healthy, right? He’s at the age when injuries continue to nag. This is true, and this is a concern – but I do believe this is a matter of an injury and a proud player who is playing through pain when much lesser players would have long succumbed to the disabled list. This is a man who played for a month with a broken back and didn’t let out a peep. I’m sure David’s hurting. I’m sure his shoulder is hurting a lot worse than he let on. When he was hit by a pitch on August 16th, it hit him squarely in the injured spot. Since that plunking, which I’m certain has made a bad situation worse, he’s hitting just .128 (6 for 47).

I’m not worried that David is finished, washed up, or over the hill. I think he’s hurt. His skills haven’t suddenly deteriorated. He’s injured. He needs to rest up and heal once the season is over, if he even makes it through the rest of the season. I’m sure once October comes around, we’ll find out exactly how injured David is and has been for months.

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Will 2015 Be A Repeat Of 2014 For Mets? Mon, 01 Sep 2014 12:00:31 +0000 terry-collins-and-sandy-alderson-watch-bp

Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, raised a very interesting question in his column over the weekend. Will the 2015 Mets really be any better than the 2014 Mets?

The obvious things to remember are that Matt Harvey will return, likely taking the mound on opening day to a huge, energized crowd. Bobby Parnell will also be back, teaming with a now established bullpen. The pieces that seem to be missing are a shortstop and a left fielder. The question is, will that be enough?

David Wright is experiencing the worst season of his 11 year major league career. He is batting just .263 and as Rubin points out, hasn’t hit a home run in over 150 at-bats. Curtis Granderson, another piece the Mets are counting on moving forward, is having an equally horrific season. With those two taking up $36 million of the payroll next year it’s crucial that they turn things around. Terry Collins summed this up perfectly.

“Your main guys, when you go into spring training every year, you look at those names and you say, ‘These are going to be the guys that carry us. Now, the pieces around those guys, what do they need to do for us to be successful?’ It depends on those guys to really do what they do best.”

If you want to assume the team’s success rests on the shoulders of Wright and Granderson, adding a left fielder and shortstop will only make things a little better. You need the two horses in your lineup to hit and if they’re not, there is no easy way to turn things around.

The saving grace is that you have legitimate reasons about why both are struggling. Wright has been dealing with nagging injuries all season long. A hopefully healthy Wright in 2015 should be able to bounce back, despite his downward trend in recent years.

Another saving grace is the combo effect the two hitters should have on each other. Each hitter helps to make the players around them better. You could argue that Granderson would be having a better season if Wright was a more feared bat in the lineup. The same could be said about two more potential hitters in left and shortstop. Better hitters make the current hitters more effective. If Sandy Alderson is able to make the necessary moves in the offseason, Wright and Granderson could be looking at a lot of help in 2015.

Still it’s a scary picture that Rubin paints. Could the 2015 Mets perform the same way the 2014 Mets have? Could September 1st of 2015 be the start of another meaningless month of baseball? Anything is possible. You have to believe that the energy Harvey will provide paired with some solid offseason moves should take the Mets to the next level, a level we’ve been dreaming about for far too long.

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Mets Fire Senior VP of Ticket Sales Leigh Castergine Mon, 01 Sep 2014 08:29:33 +0000 leigh castergine

In a statement released to Fred Kerber of the New York Post, the Mets confirmed the recent whispers that Leigh Castergine, senior vice president of ticket sales had been fired.

“Leigh Castergine, Senior Vice President of Ticket Sales & Services, is no longer with the organization. Although no replacement has been named yet, we have a talented staff in place to handle all ticket related business while we embark on a national search for this role.”

With only the Diamondbacks and Marlins selling fewer tickets in the National League than the Mets, writes Kerber, the team made the decision to ax Leigh, who had been with them since 2010.

Every disaster demands some blood-letting and a fall guy, or in this case, a fall girl.

Leigh leaves an indelible mark on the organization as she was the force behind modernizing the Mets ticket operations by ushering in dynamic ticket pricing while it was still in its infancy – a growing trend that has since been adopted by many other major league teams.

She also had an acute awareness of her marketplace and the ticket environment as a whole, confronting the ever-growing secondary ticket market head-on by offering ticket buyers more value for their dollars in the form of Summer Concerts, Free-Shirt Fridays, Family Tickets, and other unique promotions geared toward customer satisfaction and consumer value.

Unfortunately for Leigh, and despite all her best efforts, she could not overcome the fact that more and more fans were becoming disinterested in the primary product she was trying to market – a lackluster team who hasn’t had a winning season since 2008.

Castergine, who became a mother this year after the birth of her first child on Opening Day, will bounce back and reappear somewhere. There’s always a need for talent like hers in the sports industry, and after successful stints with the Orlando Magic in the NBA and the Boston Bruins in the NHL, it won’t be long until she’s called upon by another team. 

We wish her luck.

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A Month To Forget For Curtis Granderson Mon, 01 Sep 2014 02:46:23 +0000 curtis granderson

Saturday night was not too kind to the struggling Curtis Granderson. The Mets right fielder went 0-for-4, striking out with the bases loaded to end the seventh and leaving the field to a chorus of boos.

Ironically, it was supposed to be his day as the Mets gave out Granderson bobbleheads to fans who were in attendance.

When he returned to the dugout, Terry Collins told Granderson he was pulling him from the game and the Mets skipper double-switched him out.

*** By the way, why did Collins let Granderson hit against the lefthander Antonio Bastardo if he was pulling him anyway and the red-hot Eric Campbell was on the bench? ***

Anyway, Granderson was given the day off on Sunday because “he needed to clear his mind a little.” 

He finishes the month of August with a .147 average, going 16-for-109 with only two extra-base hits. Grandy is batting just .214 with 16 homers and 49 RBI on the season, and he’s owed $47 million more over the next three seasons.

“The one thing I heard about Curtis and we’ve seen it is that he can really be streaky,” Collins said Saturday. “We’re just hoping the last month (September) he gets in one of those hot streaks.”

August 28

Most of us refer to him as the Grandy Man, but one Mets team source called him the Invisible Man while speaking to John Harper of the Daily News. Of course we’re talking about right fielder Curtis Granderson.

“Remember, he was supposed to be our cleanup hitter,” the source told Harper. “The guy has been invisible.”

Granderson has had a couple of one-week hot stretches this season, but since the All Star break he is slashing  at a .171/.261/.243 clip with a .504 OPS.

Among all right-fielders in baseball with 200 or more plate appearances, Granderson ranks:

  • 35 with .217 batting average.
  • 21 with a .322 on-base percentage.
  • 27 with a .368 slugging percentage.
  • 24 with a .689 OPS

Says Harper, “ To put it in perspective, Jason Bay had a better first season with the Mets, concussion and all.”

With three years left and $47 million still owed to him, the Mets must be concerned in his career worst production.

The Mets had hoped to recharge him by batting him leadoff, but he’s responded with a .210 batting average and .289 on-base in 235 such plate appearances.

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Wright ‘Excited’ To See What Herrera Can Do Mon, 01 Sep 2014 00:17:56 +0000 DSC_0398

Citi Field is quiet; there is not a soul in the stands, say for an usher catching some shut-eye before the gates open up.

Nearly four hours prior to first-pitch Friday, a handful of personnel remain on the field, finishing their first round of batting practice.

Among those taking there cuts, wearing a grey “Mets Baseball” tee, is the organization’s longest tenured player, David Wright. Looking on, already in uniform, is the newest–and youngest–addition to the big leagues, Dilson Herrera.

Now more than a decade since his own debut, Wright said he looks forward to getting a look at what Herrera can do.

dilson herrera fielding practice

“It’s exciting seeing these players you read about and hear about come up and see what they’re all about,” Wright said.

Herrera collected his first major-league hit Saturday, going 1-for-3 in his second game in Flushing. Terry Collins said that although Herrera faces a level of competition he has never seen before, the Mets skipper is confident in his new second baseman’s abilities.

“He’s coming with really, really outstanding reports on how he plays, the way he plays, intelligent kid; all the things you want to hear,” Collins said.

The 20-year-old Colombia-native was called up from Double-A Binghamton late Thursday night after Daniel Murphy was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right calf injury. Once upon in time in baseball, the young-bloods coming up were not always greeted positively. Nowadays, rookies are treated as part of the team, something Wright said he feels is important.

dilson herrera wilmer flores sandy alderson

“One of the biggest things to feel comfortable and confident on the field is being welcomed and feeling comfortable in the clubhouse,” he said. “I think that is part of my responsibility and part of everyone’s responsibility.”

Collins admits that skipping Triple-A and going straight to MLB is a difficult transition, but cites past players he sees as similar to Herrera, namely Steve Sax, as examples that it can be done. Collins went on to say that he believes in the minor league coaching staff who have recommended he make the jump.

“I trust them,” he said Friday. “And like everyone else, I am anxious to see him play.”

Photos By Clayton Collier, MMO

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Prospect Pulse: LHP Dario Alvarez Gets The Call Sun, 31 Aug 2014 23:25:18 +0000 dario alvarez

Here is a reposting of an article I wrote about Alvarez last month that includes quotes from pitching coach Mark Valdes. Enjoy.

July 9 – Dario Alvarez Is On The Move

On Monday, left-hander Dario Alvarez was named the South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week, the second time this season he’s copped that honor.

The 25-year-old Dominican native has not allowed an earned run in his last 22 innings pitched, spanning seven appearances.

For the season, Alvarez has posted a 0.87 ERA and 0.981 WHIP in 16 appearances which includes six starts.

Alvarez, who was initially signed by Philadelphia in 2007, has been nothing short of remarkable since the Mets signed him in 2013 on the advice of their Dominican scouts who spotted him playing Winter Ball in Venezuela.

He made 12 starts for Short-Season Brooklyn in 2013, going 2-4 with a 3.10 ERA and 57 strikeouts in 58 innings. But it was his work with pitching coach Marc Valdes last summer, that would transform Alvarez into the pitcher he is today.

Valdes worked with Alvarez on improving the consistency of his delivery without sacrificing any of his stuff or the deception of how he throws.

“That slider, it looks like it’s going to stay in one area, one zone, and then it just disappears. It cuts down hard and away to his glove side. When he stays behind it and gets on top of it, gets that elbow up, it’s pretty crisp.”

“He’s a little better than he was last year,” Valdes said. “He’s made some strides mechanically.”

The results are hard to argue with, Alvarez has worked out of the bullpen and the rotation for the Sand Gnats, but his effectiveness has been a constant in both roles.

In 52.0 overall innings, he’s allowed just 38 hits and 12 walks while striking out 86 batters – that’s the second most among all Mets minor leaguers. His 14.9 strikeout per nine-innings rate is among the best in the league and he does that while maintaining an impressive 2.2 walk rate.

Look for Alvarez to quickly advance with a promotion to Advanced-A St. Lucie any day now.

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Mets Expand Roster, Promote Four Players Sun, 31 Aug 2014 22:58:00 +0000 josh satin mmo

The Mets announced that four players will be called up when rosters expand on Monday. Infielder Josh Satin and right-handed reliever Erik Goeddel received promotions from Triple-A Las Vegas and catcher Juan Centeno and left-handed reliever Dario Alvarez received promotions from Double-A Binghamton.

Satin and Centeno have both seen time with the Mets before. Satin was hitting .289/.386/.439 with nine homers and 49 RBIs in 374 at-bats for Las Vegas, while defensive backstop was batting .238 for Binghamton.

Here’s a couple of capsules from Adam Rubin on Goeddel and Alvarez:

Goeddel, 25, was drafted in the 24th round in 2010 out of UCLA and signed for an over-slot $350,000, a rare move for the Mets at the time. He nearly exclusively started as a professional until being moved to a relief role this season, but did work in relief in college. Goeddel was 3-2 with a 5.37 ERA and had a .296 opponent batting average with Vegas. 

Alvarez, 25, began the season at low-A Savannah, rose to St. Lucie, then Binghamton and now the majors. He was a combined 10-1 with a 1.10 ERA in 29 appearances (six starts) across those three levels. He had a 0.886 WHIP. A native of the Dominican Republic, Alvarez was with the Phillies in the Dominican Summer League from 2007 through ’09. He wasn’t signed by the Mets until 2013. He pitched in Panama in 2010 and ’11 and Venezuela in 2012.

Earlier today, the Mets promoted 2012 first-round pick Gavin Cecchini to Double-A Binghamton to replace Dilson Herrera and bolster the team for the Eastern League playoffs. St. Lucie was eliminated from postseason contention on Sunday,

Cecchini, 20, hit .236 with five homers and 31 RBIs and had a .325 on-base percentage in 68 games with St. Lucie after a mid-season promotion from Savannah.

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MMO Game Recap: Mets 6, Phillies 5 Sun, 31 Aug 2014 21:50:32 +0000 anthony recker jenrry mejia

The offense provided the run support while Dillon Gee battled through six-plus innings of work Sunday in a 6-5 rubber game win over the Philadelphia Phillies.

Anthony Recker hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the sixth to left center off of A.J. Burnett, his fifth of the season, giving New York a 5-2 lead. Of Recker’s 12 career homers, nine have either tied the game or given the Mets the lead including four of five this season.

The Mets got on the board in the previous inning due to some two-out hitting from the top of the order. Matt den Dekker roped a double down the right field line, scoring Juan Lagares who reached on a ground ball single. Lagares stole second to put himself in scoring position to spark the rally, his sixth of the season. Terry Collins said he wants Lagares to become more of a threat on the basepaths.

“It’s got to become part of his game, he’s got foot speed,” Collins said. “We’ve got to get him to be aggressive. If you’re going to be a good base-stealer, you can’t worried about getting thrown out. What you’ve got to worry about is getting a good lead and trying to get a good jump. If you do those two things, you’re going to be safe the majority of the time.

David Wright followed den Dekker with a liner up the middle, notching his first RBI in 14 games. Wright finished the night 2-for-4, his first multi-hit game since August 13 vs. the Washington Nationals.

Dillon Gee picked up his sixth win on the season, surrendering three runs on seven hits and three walks while striking out seven. Gee was pulled  after walking Freddy Galvis on four pitches to start the seventh inning. Collins was pleased to see Gee remain tough against a team that traditionally has given him trouble.

“That’s what Dillon Gee does, he hangs in there and keeps you in the game,” Collins said. “He got us deep in the game, which with the way our bullpen is at the moment, we needed that.”

anthony recker

The Phillies threatened in the ninth with runners on first and second with nobody out and Howard at the plate. Howard hit a sharp ground ball to Herrera, playing back, who along with Flores, completed a head-turning 4-6-3 double play. Rollins would score on a base hit by Grady Sizemore to make it a one-run game. Mejia got Domonic Brown, who blasted a solo-homer in the previous inning, on a ground ball to short to close out the series and improve the Mets record to 64-73 on the season.

Ryan Howard ripped a 2-2 hanger just inside the right field foul pole in the sixth inning to even the game at two. The solo shot was Howard’s 20th home run of the season, the eighth time the 34-year-old has done so in his career but the first since 2011.

Dilson Herrera picked up his first career RBI in the eighth inning on a base hit up the middle, scoring Kirk Nieuwenhuis. Herrera is now 2-for-9 in his three-day MLB career.

The Mets head to Miami for a three-game set against the Marlins Monday with Zack Wheeler taking the mound against Henderson Alvarez at 1:10pm.

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MMO Game Thread: Phillies vs Mets, 1:10 PM Sun, 31 Aug 2014 15:59:10 +0000 dillon gee

The Mets and Phillies play the rubber game of the weekend series this afternoon at Citi Field. Dillon Gee  (5-6, 3.77) is tasked with the start for the Mets, while A.J. Burnett (7-14, 4.30) opposes him for Philadelphia. First pitch is at 1:10 PM.

Curtis Granderson gets a day off after starting 23 straight games. He is 1-for-17 on the homestand and hitting .147 (16-for-109) with two extra-base hits in August.

Starting Lineup

  1. Juan Lagares, cf
  2. Matt den Dekker, lf
  3. David Wright, 3b
  4. Lucas Duda, 1b
  5. Wilmer Flores, ss
  6. Kirk Nieuwenhuis, rf
  7. Dilson Herrera, 2b
  8. Anthony Recker, c
  9. Dillon Gee, rhp

Colon and the Mets couldn’t get it done last night against the Phillies, and they will try again today as A.J. Burnett takes on Dillon Gee. On the positive last night. Herrera had his first major league hit and although offense was pretty weak for the Amazin’s, they didn’t look too bad int he field.

Dillon Gee is 5-6 on the season over 17 starts and 107.1 innings with a 3.77 ERA. After two back to back poor starts where he allowed 8 ER over 11.2 innings, he bounced back last time allowing 2 ER over 6.2 innings. In three starts against the Phillies he has a 4.12 ERA over 19.2 innings. The Phillies have the following numbers against Gee:

  • Rollins 13-28, 2 2B, 2 HR
  • Utley 5-25, 2 2B
  • Howard 9-23, 2B, 6 HR
  • Brown 5-20, 2B
  • Ruiz 4-19, 2B, HR
  • Revere 4-14

A.J. Burnett is 7-14 this season, league leading in losses, over 28 games and 178.0 innings with a 4.30 ERA. He had back to back to back poor starts where he allowed 14 ER over 19.2 innings, but rebounded in his last start as well allowing 1 ER over 7.0 inning and striking out 12 against DC. He is 0-2 in three starts against the Mets this year allowing 17 ER over 18.0 innings while striking out 23. The Mets have the following numbers against Burnett:

  • Wright 4-31, 2B
  • Granderson 5-21, 3 2B, HR
  • Lagares 4-10, 2 2B
  • d’Arnaud 5-9, 2B, 2 HR
  • Duda 2-7, 2B
  • Tejada 1-9

Lets Go Mets!

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Prospect Spotlight: Marcos Molina’s Breakthrough Season Sun, 31 Aug 2014 14:38:00 +0000 marcos molina

Everyone who follows baseball intently knows that it is the most rigorous sport when it comes to making it to the majors after being signed or drafted. Players must perform at several levels of the minors before they are given an opportunity to finally show their skills in the big show.

One prospect has been lighting up the New York Penn League all season and has flown under the radar thus far. Sure, it is tough to project a 19-year old kid. Yes it is only short-season. Still, when a player has such a pronounced skillset, it cannot go ignored and unnoticed.

The prospect in this case is right-hander Marcos Molina, the ace of the Brooklyn Cyclones.  Molina has been perhaps the most dominant pitcher in the league this season, earning the starting nod in the league’s All-Star Game.

Molina is the only starting pitcher in the league with a sub 2.00 ERA, coming in at 1.77. He has proved his ability to put away batters with his arsenal, tallying 91 strikeouts so far this season (to put it into perspective, the next qualifying pitcher has 67 strikeouts). Perhaps even more impressive than the K’s is his league best 0.84 WHIP. Control is often hard to come by for 19-year old pitchers.

A two-seam fastball is the go-to pitch for Molina that sits around 91-93 with lots of natural movement. While scouting reports have indicated that his changeup is a plus pitch, his slider might be the most improved offering he has this season.

“He has thrown it (the slider) to both lefties and righties and gotten called strikes and swings & misses with it,” Stuart Johnson said, the Cyclones radio play-by-play broadcaster.

Keep in mind, that despite leading the NYPL in many of the top pitching metrics, Molina is 2.5 years younger than the average player in the league. It makes his breakthrough season all the more impressive.

“Molina is very athletic and competitive,” Johnson said. “He takes his conditioning very seriously and fields his position well. He is very quick to home plate which makes him tough to run on.”

Johnson also pointed out that Molina tends to be a bit top-heavy, or in other words, he doesn’t use his legs much in his delivery. Throwing like this can sometimes put excess strain on the arm.

The Dominican native did not disappoint on Saturday, striking out 10 batters, his third double-digit strikeout game in his last four outings. Additionally, Molina has allowed three or fewer runs in 11 of his 12 starts this season and is holding the league to a .174 batting average.

This exciting prospect has certainly earned a promotion, but it’s late in the minor league season and he’ll likely stick with the Cyclones for their playoff series.

Molina is definitely someone to watch as the young righty advances through the Mets system. Yet another promising arm in a Mets farm system full of them.

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Backman Has No Shot At Managing Mets Despite Being Named League’s Best Manager Sun, 31 Aug 2014 14:03:04 +0000 wally backman las vegas review-journal

John Harper of the Daily News wrote an extensive article on what the future may hold for Wally Backman now that he has been named the PCL Manager of the Year. He says that if nothing else, the award is just more proof that Backman is a very good minor-league manager who deserves a chance at a big-league job.

Terry Collins is almost a lock to be back in 2015 and everything Harper hears from people in the organization indicates that Sandy Alderson would never tab Backman to manage the team under any circumstances even though he seems to be that “people’s choice.”

The reason for that is Backman is too much of an “I’ll-do-it-my-way personality.”

Harper says that Backman should at the very least join the staff as a bench coach for Terry Collins given Alderson’s apparent lack of regard him as a manager.

He adds that Backman’s feel for the game could be a benefit to Collins, in the way that Don Zimmer made Joe Torre a better manager when they were together.

However when he ran that scenario by the Mets, the reaction was a fear that Backman’s presence might lead fans to chant his name the first time the ballclub lost five games in a row next season. They see Backman as a threat.

Not surprisingly, he says, the Mets always seem to fear the worst in every situation. Maybe they need someone with Backman’s fearlessness to change that way of thinking.

Backman remains hopeful. ”I know what I’m capable of doing. My desires have not changed at all to manage in the big leagues. I think I’ll get an opportunity at some time.”

Unfortunately for Wally, that opportunity will never come in Flushing – not as long as Alderson remains in charge.

It’s a shame really. This team is starving for new leadership and needs a fresh voice and message. I’ll have more on that Monday.

(Joe D.)

August 29

Wally Backman has been named the Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year.

This season the Las Vegas 51′s are 80-61 and are the only team to have clinched their division in the PCL. They led the league in wins, home runs and runs (by 88!).

Hired in 2009 by the Mets, Backman has risen through the ranks managing in Brooklyn. He took over as the Mets Triple-A manager (first the Buffalo Bisons, then the Las Vegas 51s) in 2012.

His last two seasons at AAA have been incredible, winning over 80 games both years.

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MMO Game Recap: Phillies 7, Mets 2 Sun, 31 Aug 2014 02:22:50 +0000 bartolo colon

The Mets lost to the Phillies tonight by a score of 7-2 at Citi Field.

Bartolo Colon started for the Mets and was cruising until the sixth inning when it all unraveled for the veteran righthander. The Phillies tagged him for six earned runs on nine hits in 5.1 innings of work. Colon struck out two and saw his ERA rise to 4.01 for the season.

Marlon Byrd hit his 25th home run of the season in the fifth inning off Bartolo Colon on his 37th birthday.

Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched two innings out of the bullpen and allowed the seventh Philly run to score in the ninth.

bay granderson bobble heads

On Curtis Granderson bobblehead day, the G-Man went 0-for-4 to bring his batting average down to .212 for the season. Representing the tying run in the bottom of the seventh with the bases loaded, Granderson struck out. He’s batting .148 in August.

The Mets had only five hits in the game, two of them by Matt den Dekker. Wilmer Flores and Juan Lagares each collected an RBI accounting for the Mets’ only two runs.

dilson herrera first hit

In his fifth official at-bat, Dilson Herrera singled in the seventh for his first major league hit. Herrera also walk in the game to finish 1-for-3 on the night. Congratulations kid!

The Mets will try to take the series on Sunday when Dillon Gee (5-6, 3.77) opposes A.J. Burnett (7-14, 4.30) at 1:10 PM in the final meeting between the two clubs this season.

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MMO Game Thread: Phillies vs Mets, 7:10 PM Sat, 30 Aug 2014 20:20:45 +0000 juan lagares

The Mets and Phillies continue their three-game series at 7:10 pm ET on Saturday at Citi Field. Bartolo Colon (12-10, 3.82 ERA) will take the hill for the Mets and be opposed by RHP Jerome Williams (2-5, 6.71) for the Phillies.

Over his last six starts, the Colon has compiled a 2.88 ERA in 40.2 innings pitched and struck out 35. He received the win in the Mets’ 11-3 victory against the Dodgers in his last start, tossing 6.0 innings and allowing one earned run on five hits and a walk while striking out five.

Juan Lagares has at least one hit in six of his last seven games, batting .365 (10-for-26). He has four multi-hit games over that span with two home runs and seven RBI.

The Mets stole three bases last night, their eighth game with at least three steals this season. New York is tied for 10th in the majors with 81 stolen bases and Eric Young, Jr. is fifth in the NL with 28 stolen bases.

Eric Campbell stole home in the seventh inning, becoming the first Mets player to do so since Jason Pridie on May 15, 2011 at Houston. It was only Campbell’s second major league stolen base.

LHP Steven Matz tied his career-high with 10 strikeouts last night over 5.0 innings of work for Binghamton. Matz is 6-5 with a 2.27 ERA in 71.1 innings and 69 strikeouts in 12 starts. The 23-year old was the Mets’ second-round pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.

Starting Lineup

Juan Lagares, CF
Curtis Granderson, RF
David Wright, 3B
Lucas Duda, 1B
Travis d’Arnaud, C
Matt den Dekker, LF
Dilson Herrera, 2B
Wilmer Flores, SS
Bartolo Colon, RHP

The Mets try to take game two of the series tonight as the play the Phillies on Granderson Bobblehead night. Yesterday the Mets got off to a good start with a 4-1 win behind Jacob deGrom. Today, or at least right now at 9 in the morning, Bartolo Colon makes the start for the Amazin’s. There is a small chance he could get pulled to be traded, but that is looking less and less likely right now.

Assuming Colon makes the start, he is 12-10 on the year with 167.1 innings and a 3.82 ERA. Over his last three starts he has a 2-1 record over 21.0 innings of work while posting a 1.71 ERA and 19 K’s. He is 3-0 in three starts against the Phillies this year with a 1.59 ERA over 22.2 innings. The Phillies have the following numbers against him:

  • Rollins 5-22, 2B, HR
  • Byrd 5-11, HR
  • Sizemore 1-11
  • Howard 2-11, 2 HR
  • Revere 5-12
  • Ruiz 4-12, 2B
  • Brown 1-8, 2B

Jerome Williams has pitched 78.0 innings with a 5.42 ERA over 31 games and 5 starts this season for the Astros, the Rangers and the Phillies. For the Phillies he has a 1.77 ERA over three starts. He has made three starts against the Mets with a 3.77 ERA. The Mets have the following numbers against Williams:

  • Granderson 1-5, HR
  • Wright 0-2
  • Seriously, that’s it.

Lets Go Mets!

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Latest on Colon: All Quiet On The Western Front Sat, 30 Aug 2014 16:11:23 +0000 bartolo colon

With only today and tomorrow left for the Mets to try and swing a deal for Bartolo Colon, the buzz around baseball is, All Quiet on the Western Front.

To begin, Mets GM Sandy Alderson summed things up as follows on Thursday: “I would say right now there’s a lot less going on than some people speculate.”

Most of the early speculation pegged the Dodgers, Angels and Royals to be the best fits for the crafty veteran. But the Royals bowed out quickly, the Angels cited Luxury Cap issues and the Dodgers prefer to wait a week until Hyun-jin Ryu returns from the DL.

Andy Martino of the Daily News reported that just about any team who showed interest in Colon, were wary of his $11 million salary for 2015 but then really backed away when they learned Sandy Alderson wanted high-end prospects in return.

The Mets appear to be willing to eat about $2 million of the remaining salary on Colon’s contract, but that would only cover what he’s still owed this season.

FanGraphs paints the picture:

There are a lot of reasons not to like Bartolo Colon. He’s 41 years old. He has a 50-game suspension for synthetic testosterone in the recent past, and he underwent controversial stem cell treatments before that. He pitched a grand total of 257.1 innings in a span of five years between the ages of 33 and 37, and he still has $11 million coming to him for his age-42 season next year — along with the million-plus left on this year’s $9 million.

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

Teams may be more willing to trade for Colon this Winter when they consider the alternatives in a very high-priced free agent market and potentially having to sacrifice a first round pick.

In that kind of environment, Colon would look like a value and the Mets would have more leverage in any talks for a deal. Doesn’t that make more sense than some of the hogwash that was circulating about letting Colon go for nothing – just a pure salary dump?

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That Thing You Do Sat, 30 Aug 2014 14:36:14 +0000 dilson herrera jenrry mejia

After setup man Jeurys Familia pitched a scoreless eighth inning, closer Jenrry Mejia struck out the side in the ninth for his 20th save of the season as the Mets beat the Phillies last night at Citi Field.

Mejia, who has now had three straight scoreless appearances, entered with a three-run lead and looked dominating. He was able to pitch around a Dilson Herrera error that put a runner on base, and then he did that thing he does…

Mejia, 24, became the second-youngest pitcher in franchise history to reach the 20-save plateau, right behind Neil Allen who had 22 saves as a 22-year-old in 1980.

I gotta admit that I was moved when the first thing Mejia did after he closed out the game, was turn and embrace Herrera, who had committed the error.

I can’t lip-read in Spanish, but it looked like he reassured the kid and told him not to worry and that he’s now a part of the team.

Good stuff…

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Here Comes Herrera… There Goes Murphy? Sat, 30 Aug 2014 14:16:09 +0000 dilson herrera Brad Penner

When a team’s only All Star goes on the Disabled List, you would expect fans to be eagerly awaiting his return. However, when National League hits leader Daniel Murphy suffered a calf strain, a feeling of excitement arose within the Mets’ fanbase. On Friday night, the Mets called up Dilson Herrera, the top second base prospect in the system. This begs the question: do the Mets finally have a replacement for Daniel Murphy?

Dilson Herrera has rocketed through the Mets’ farm system in 2014. His latest (and final) minor league stop has scouts raving about his offensive potential. In his time with Double-A Binghamton, Herrera raked to a .340 batting average, a .406 OBP, and an astounding .967 OPS. Add on his 10 home runs, nine steals, and that fact the he’s done all this in just 61 games, and you start to understand why Dilson Herrera has generated so much hype after coming over in last August’s Marlon Byrd trade.

Some may think that Herrera will be overpowered by Major League pitching, however, Herrera had no trouble leading the Double-A Eastern League in batting average despite being almost five years younger than the league’s average ballplayer, according to Baseball Reference. In fact, ever since the Pirates signed him out of Colombia he’s been at least 1.5 years younger than the average competition. Combine all this information and it’s easy to see why GM Sandy Alderson chose for Herrera to bypass the launching pad that is Triple-A Las Vegas, and send the young budding prospect to Queens.

Still, there is one player standing in his way, but that may not be an issue for long.

Daniel Murphy has been a fixture in the New York Mets’ lineup ever since reaching the big leagues in 2008. However, even though he’s been a stellar option at the plate the last two seasons, it seems like Murphy has priced himself out of the Big Apple.

Despite playing in the largest sports market in the world, the Mets retain a small market payroll and approach. Set to be a free agent following the 2015 season, Murphy will reel in over $8M next season, a price tag that may be a bit too steep for Sandy Alderson and co. With Murphy’s pending free agency, it’s time for the Mets to make a very hard decision. Should they extend the homegrown All-Star second baseman, likely to cost the team around $50M over four to five years? Or should they trade Murphy, in hopes of bringing back impact talent at other positions around the diamond? If the Mets really want to contend right now, there is only one choice for the front office.

The current National League hits leader has reached the peak of his trade value. Daniel Murphy is pacing qualified National League second baseman in batting average, hits, and is tied for first in runs scored. Additionally, Murphy is second in steals, fourth in home runs, and fourth in runs batted in among NL second-sackers. However, despite excellent play of Murphy, the Mets are still out of playoff contention due to the many holes on their roster. New York is second-to-last in the National League in both batting average and OPS, barely beating out the lowly Padres in both categories.

And although Daniel Murphy is a bit inconsistent in the field, there is no shortage of second base needy teams that would willingly trade a significant piece to land Murphy. Executing a Daniel Murphy trade could land the Mets a power-hitting left fielder or a competent shortstop, the two most significant areas of weakness on the team. If the Mets can turn a position of weakness into a position of strength, assuming Herrera can adequately man the middle, trading Murphy is a must for the New York Mets.

At the ripe age of 20, Dilson Herrera is both the present and future at second base for the Mets. In fact, Keith Law of ESPN was bullish on Herrera in a recent report, stating, “If Herrera ended up on a few All-Star teams I wouldn’t be shocked.” While Daniel Murphy may be the most consistent player on the Mets right now, it would be in New York’s best interest to trade Murphy while he is at the height of his trade value.

With Sandy Alderson’s incredible track record in trades, it would be no surprise if Murphy, coupled with perhaps a mid-tier prospect, netted the Amazin’s the impact power bat they have been looking for. All that’s left is for the Mets to hand over the reigns to a young, energetic, power-hitting second baseman out of Colombia. It’s Dilson Herrera’s time to shine.

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Alderson On d’Arnaud To Left Field: No Chance, Never Discussed Sat, 30 Aug 2014 12:37:24 +0000 travis d'arnaud

August 30

Sandy Alderson put to rest for once and for all, that the front office had no conversations whatsoever about moving Travis d’Arnaud to left field.

He told Mike Puma of the New York Post that not only was there no such conversation within the organization, but that there was no chance that it’s something that could happen in the future.

“No, not really,” Alderson said.

Amazing how some immediately started floating rumors that TDA would be traded this Winter or that the organization preferred Plawecki (who I love) to d’Arnaud and wanted to make the switch.

I’m so glad that at MMO we just stick to reporting and opinion, and stay out of the “sources” business.  

August 29

Updating last night’s report that the Mets have discussed a possible move to left field for catcher Travis d’Arnaud, here’s some new information.

MetsBlog’s Matt Cerrone wrote that a a move from behind the plate could be inevitable for TDA given that Kevin Plawecki is nearly MLB-ready and the front office loves him. Additionally, he suggests that d’Arnaud could also become a trade candidate this winter because his bat becomes less valuable if he’s moved to the outfield.

Marc Carig of Newsday dashed any thoughts of trading their present catcher, hearing from a team source that the Mets “have little to no interest in trading d’Arnaud.”

I think some are starting to  put the cart ahead of the horse. What everyone seems to be forgetting is how low key and casual this conversation was. In all honesty, Terry Collins should have never mentioned it.

But given the way social sports media works these days, expect this off-the-cuff conversation to blow into an avalanche of d’Arnaud trade speculation this offseason, it’s the nature of the beast.

In my opinion, neither d’Arnaud or Plawecki are going anywhere, especially not until the Mets get enough information on both of them. That could take at least another year.

However, I am glad to see Plawecki finally getting some well-deserved attention. As regulars here know, he’s been high on my list since he was drafted.

August 28

Terry Collins told the Daily News that the Mets front office has had casual conversations about moving Travis d’Arnaud to left field, although the manager noted that it was just CASUAL conversation and not some plan.

The aim would be to keep d’Arnaud healthy and avoiding concussions while keeping his bat in the lineup, according to Collins.

Collins told the Martino, “As of right now we haven’t even approached left field as an option, because he would have to be go to the instructional league.”

This is surprising to me because if you took d’Arnaud’s numbers and put them in left field his value plummets.

TDA has been hitting better of late, but is still batting just .248/.292/.463 since the All-Star break.

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DeGrom Remains In Rookie of the Year Hunt Sat, 30 Aug 2014 12:07:57 +0000 jacob degrom

Jacob deGrom tossed seven strong innings against the Phillies on Friday, scattering four hits, allowing one unearned run and striking out five.

The young right-hander didn’t allow a hit until the fifth inning and was at his best during any hint of trouble when he’d reach back and pitch with some extra zip on his fastball. He recorded 16 of his 20 outs with his two and four seamer and commanded the lower part of the strike zone all night long. The kid has a lot of moxie.

“The location was really good all night with all of my pitches,” said deGrom who won his seventh game of the season and remains a top contender for the league’s rookie of the year award.

DeGrom has pitched at least six innings in 14 of his 18 starts this season, allowing just three runs or fewer in 13 of those contests. 

Boasting an ERA+ of 119 and a 3.07 FIP, deGrom also leads all rookies in innings pitched and strikeouts while checking in with a 1.196 WHIP and a 2.94 ERA for the season.

It’s been quite a debut for deGrom who continues to shine and has entrenched himself in what’s shaping up to be a very formidable and young Mets rotation in 2015 and beyond.

(Joe D.)

August 29

Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen said Jacob deGrom‘s stuff was not the issue in Saturday’s 7-4 loss to the Dodgers in Los Angeles, but rather the overuse of his fastball.

“I’m very happy about the way he threw the baseball in LA,” Warthen said. “I wasn’t happy about his pitch selection.”

deGrom surrendered five runs and five hits over six innings of work in his return from the disabled list after battling rotator cuff tendinitis. The Rookie of the Year candidate threw 86 pitches, allowing a three-run homer to Adrian Gonzalez, inflating his ERA from 2.87 to 3.13.

Warthen explained that deGrom getting carried away with his fastball was “understandable” as he was throwing harder than he ever had in his career–topping 97mph–but said the key for the 26-year-old tonight is to utilize all of his pitches. He has no other concerns regarding deGrom.

“His stuff was better than it had been all year,” Warthen said. “He just kind of forgot how to pitch, and we talked about that.

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MMO Game Recap: Mets 4, Phillies 1 Sat, 30 Aug 2014 02:55:41 +0000 Photo By Clayton Collier

Capitalizing on a key defensive miscue and working around several of their own, the Mets were able to make the most out of a bounce-back outing from Jacob deGrom to best the Philadelphia Phillies 4-1.

Leading 1-0, a throwing error by Lucas Duda in the top of the seventh set up a first-and-second situation with nobody out. After Carlos Ruiz popped out on cringe-worthy bunt attempt, Cody Asche floated a soft line over the glove of a fully extended Wilmer Flores, scoring Marlon Byrd and evening the game up at 1-1. deGrom would escape further damage on a well-executed, inning-ending double play to send it to the seventh inning stretch.

In the bottom half of the frame, the Mets would load the bases without taking the bat off their shoulders. Matt den Dekker drew a one-out walk, later taking second on a stolen base. Flores was hit by a pitch and Eric Campbell was also issued the free pass with two out for Juan Lagares.

Lagares followed with a shallow fly ball into left field.Grady Sizemore ran in to make the play, calling off Jimmy Rollins and Ben Revere, proving to be the defining play of the game. The ball would miss his glove and drop, scoring den Dekker and Flores, giving the Mets a two-run cushion.

Shortly thereafter, the Mets decided to take a calculated risk. With Campbell on third and Lagares at first, New York went for the double steal. Lagares dashed for second while Campbell raced home.

The pick-off attempt went to second, Rollins made a quick return throw home. Campbell dove headlong, slamming his left hand onto home plate, evading the tag of Ruiz, making it a 4-1 ballgame.

“He’s done a tremendous job of making of everything he can do work for him,” Terry Collins said of Campbell. “He plays all over the place, he’s a better runner than people think, he actually throws throws better than people think. He’s a nice piece to have on a team.”

After deGrom finished one of his better outings on the season, pitching seven innings, allowing one unearned run on four hits and two walks while striking out five and improving to 7-6 on the year, Familia came on and pitched a scoreless eighth.

Jenrry Mejia came on to close out the game, punching out three and converting his 20th save of the season. The 24-year-old Mejia becomes the second-youngest Mets pitcher to save 20-games and the 14th in franchise history The youngest Met to do so was Neil Allen in 1980 at the age of 22.

Dilson Herrera, the first ever Colombian-born player in team history and the 14th to appear in a major league game, went 0-for-3 in his MLB debut and had an error in the ninth inning. 

Bartolo Colon gets the ball for the Mets, taking on the Phillies’ Jerome Williams at Citi Field at 7:10pm in the second of this three-game set.

Photo By Clayton Collier, MMO

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Murphy Could Miss Most Of Remaining Games Fri, 29 Aug 2014 22:02:46 +0000 daniel murphy

According to Terry Collins, second baseman Daniel Murphy could miss a lot more time than initially thought after team doctors reviewed the MRI on his right-calf strain.

“Murphy is down,” Collins said. “It’s not about who is playing second base. He had some pretty big goals set, and rightfully so, that he was chasing. Big goals. Now we’re looking at quite a lengthy DL stint to where how much is going to be left at the end of the year?”

Murphy underwent the MRI on Thursday and was placed on the disabled list after last night’s game. According to a report by Adam Rubin, Collins urged Murphy to not try and rush back and risk further injury.

“Daniel Murphy had an absolutely outstanding year, a brilliant year. He deserved to make the All-Star team. So he should be down about the injury, not about anything else that’s taken place.”

Sandy Alderson confirmed what Collins said, “We did the MRI. It did show a significant issue, one that we thought was going to take more than a couple of days. It could end up taking more than the minimum time on the disabled list. We don’t know, but clearly we needed to put him on the DL.”

Rubin adds that Collins pledged Murphy would play when he returns and will not be watching Dilson Herrera play late-September games. “As we all know, when Dan Murphy gets back, his name will be in the lineup,” Collins said.

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