Mets Merized Online » Mets Related Posts Thu, 31 Jul 2014 19:27:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Nats Land Asdrubal Cabrera; Likely Out On Murphy Thu, 31 Jul 2014 19:27:24 +0000 asdrubal-cabrera

Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer announced via Twitter that the Nationals have acquired shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera from the Indians for infielder Zach Walters.

The Nationals were in the market for a middle infielder and had reportedly expressed interest in the Mets Daniel Murphy.

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Opinion: Syndergaard Should Be The One We Ultimately Deal Thu, 31 Jul 2014 16:53:43 +0000 noah syndergaard

Here are three names that Mets fans know all too well. Bill Pulsipher, Jason Isringhausen and Paul Wilson. Better known as Generation K, these three pitchers were supposed to usher in a new era of Mets baseball in the mid ’90s. The three pitchers would turn out to be busts of the highest caliber and outside of Isringhausen who developed into a solid closer, none would have a lengthy major league career. Pulsipher, Isringhausen and Wilson combined to win 31 games in New York and the lowest earned run average was by Isringhausen at 4.59.

Fast forward 20 years to Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Noah Syndergaard. Like Generation K, a name we dare not bestow upon them, these are three high profile arms with proven minor league track records. The comparisons are eerily similar.  All of these up and comers had stellar seasons in the minors before being promoted to the majors, posting 100+ strikeouts to go along with 9+ wins and ERA’s in the 3′s. In fact, Matt Harvey had the highest ERA before being promoted at 3.32 (Isringhausen had the lowest with a 1.97 ERA in 1995).

The lesson to be learned is in trusting minor league pitching. Prospects pan out at an alarmingly low rate. On the rare occasion that a young team grows up together, dynasties are born.

The Mets are in a slightly different position now. Unlike in 1995, Harvey has already distinguished himself as a front of the line starter and Wheeler is in the process of doing the same. While neither is a fortified ace yet, you can see the road laid out in front of both pitchers.

So that leaves Syndergaard. If you buy into the idea that Wheeler is developing into a co-ace or even a #2 or #3 starter, then the odds that Syndergaard develops at that same level seems low. What are the odds that the Mets hit with all three guys? Just like flipping a coin, the odds of any single pitching prospect panning out has nothing to do with the pitcher that came before. Still, you can see the risk involved with holding onto Syndergaard, instead of trading him for a high caliber offensive player.

If you believe the rumors, Syndergaard might already be the one that is on his way out the door. Sandy Alderson seemed to be ready to offer him up in a trade for the Rockies Troy Tulowitzki according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.  If you ask me, there are dozens of reasons to trade Syndergaard and they begin with how good Wheeler has looked this year and the anticipation of Harvey’s return in 2015. Throw in the recent emergence of Jacob deGrom as a force in the rotation and another top arm in Steven Matz along the way, Thor’s value to the Mets may be more in what he could bring us in a trade than what he can do in the rotation.

A Message For Our Readers

I wanted to take a brief moment to introduce myself to the MMO community. My name is Harris Decker and I have joined the team as the Managing Editor to assist Joe in bringing the best content to our amazing readers. Before joining MMO, I served as the Head Writer for The Knicks Blog and remain a contributor on that site in addition to running The Truth About Music, a pop culture blog that I launched when I was in college.

As with every single person at MMO, my goal is to bring the highest quality content to Mets fans all over the world. I have been a Mets fan since I was a little kid and witnessed some amazing moments both at Shea Stadium and to a lesser extent Citi Field. As we see better days ahead for the Mets I look forward to being a part of the team that shares in the glory, triumph and great joys of winning in New York, the greatest city in the world.

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Giants and Nationals Have Expressed Interest In Murphy Thu, 31 Jul 2014 16:26:44 +0000 MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at New York Mets

According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Washington Nationals have expressed interest in Daniel Murphy, but he calls the likelihood of any deal a longshot.

SiriusXM host and former GM Jim Duquette also had a source tell him that the Giants are still very interested in acquiring Murphy.

In all likelihood, Murphy isn;t going anywhere. Sandy Alderson will want much to move him and his value to the Mets may be higher than anything another team would offer to pry him away.

This is the kind of move the Mets would wait until the offseason to make.

(Joe D.)

July 30

In using humor to deflect a question about the Mets capacity to pay top or near top shelf salaries for three players on their roster, Sandy Alderson sent clear signals the financial situation for the New York Mets has not been resolved. Posture and position as he might, the reality is Alderson does not have the payroll flexibility of bringing a third top flight offensive player to Flushing.

With that in mind, it’s important for Alderson to consider the packaging of Met assets to build a Met offense, that matched with our young pitching cadre increases our possibilities of fielding a competitive baseball team. Such maneuvering involves risk, daring and keen baseball insights.

In all likelihood, that packaging will need to include Daniel Murphy. Accepting the reality that in trying to improve their roster, the Mets will likely need to move Murphy is a tough pill for me to swallow. When Murphy was in Binghamton with the Double-A Mets, I fell in love with his unpredictable, gritty, passionate style of baseball and I’ve followed his career closely ever since. Murphy has a work ethic second to none and through the force of hard work and a strong will has made himself an accomplished major league baseball hitter, the major reason why Murphy is one of the Met assets that make him a probable trading piece. Coupled with a top shelf Met pitching prospect, a trade involving Murphy might add a solid major leaguer to fill one of the position holes in left field or at shortstop on our current roster.

I understand the angst of Met fans who argue that in trading Murphy the Mets would simply trade one roster gap for a newly formed crevice at second base. They’re right. But, working to improve a roster takes the capacity to hedge bets and take risks. And, the status or our current crop of minor league position players builds a solid case that successfully filling a vacancy in Flushing at second base with prospects already in our system is far more probable than filling vacancies at other field positions.

Why? Because, the Mets have a nucleus of promising middle infielder contenders in the minor leagues. The probability is good that from that young group the Mets can find an everyday second baseman.

Who are the contenders? It’s a group of diverse baseball talent that places Murphy in the crosshairs of possibly being moved this off-season, especially knowing the Mets will need to dig considerably deeper into their pockets should they elect to stay with their current second baseman.

Wilmer Flores has to be the leading candidate to fill a future major league second base void in Flushing. Given a chance to play regularly, the 22-year old Flores has shined at whatever level he has played. There is little argument that it’s Flores’s bat that is his ticket to the major leagues. Solid batting fundamentals and home run power are an asset for Flores as well as his ability in an emergency to play almost any infield slot. And, although he may lack range defensively, Flores has proven he is sure handed and consistent, both qualities of a solid fielding second baseman.


From there a pack of minor league middle infielders is nipping at Flores’ heels, all part of the Mets safety net should they move Murphy. In my opinion, Dilson Herrera has a slight edge on the rest of the pack. Getting an extended opportunity to watch Herrera in Binghamton has been a baseball bonus this summer. Met fans are simply going to love this toolsy middle infielder.

Of course it’s only a small sample but if first impressions count, Herrera has been a B-Met sensation, In 35 games covering 142 at bats, Herrera is batting .345 with 10 doubles, 2 triples and 6 home runs. The B-Met second baseman has hit in the clutch already knocking home 32 RBI’s in his short Binghamton stay. Herrera’s .407 on-base-percentage is the best on the current B-Met roster only trailing Matt Reynolds who posted a .430 OBP before his elevation to Las Vegas. Herrera’s .579 slugging percentage is nearly 75 percentage points higher than the nearest B-Met. Herrera is quick of foot, with great hands, a middle infield prospect who has Met fans who have watched him play thinking big.

Speaking of Matt Reynolds, the former University of Arkansas Razorback has exploded on the Met baseball scene this spring. After compiling modest production in A-ball in 2012 and 2013 at Savannah and St. Lucie, Reynolds has been a hitting machine in Binghamton and Las Vegas this spring and summer. Alternating in Binghamton on a day-to-day basis between second and short, Reynolds led the Eastern League in batting at .355 when he was called up to Vegas. Good plate discipline has to elevate Reynolds’s standing with Met brass.

After initially tearing up the Pacific Coast League in Vegas, Reynolds cooled, but has recently rediscovered his hitting stroke, hitting safely in his last four games going 8-for-17, scoring a run in each game, slamming two home runs and driving in 6 runs. Although he is not flashy with the leather, Reynolds has solid defensive skills and projects well at second base.

A dark horse contender, don’t count Wilfredo Tovar out. A thumb injury and surgery has almost erased the gritty Tovar out of consideration by most Met fans. But, Tovar is by far the best middle infield defensive option for the Mets, the Met minor league defensive player of the year for four years running. And since the Eastern League All-Star game in 2013, the tough B-Met infielder has raked at the plate. Before his thumb injury, Tovar was having a career season in Binghamton from the last slot in the B-Met batting order with a .313/.377/.373 stat line including 21 RBI’s in 150 at-bats. And, prior to his injury, Tovar drew more walks than he struck out. At present Tovar has returned to the diamond in Port St. Lucie where Tovar has played in 4 games including 14 at bats and is hitting .357.

Not highly recruited but highly productive, T.J. Rivera should also be part of the middle infield conversation. All Rivera does wherever he goes is hit. Rivera, who is currently playing shortstop for the B-Mets hit .341 in St. Lucie before his elevation to Double-A ball where he is batting .340 in Binghamton.

Although he probably doesn’t register on the radar, I’d wager if you asked Las Vegas manager Wally Backman, he’d say his Las Vegas second baseman Danny Muno deserves some consideration. That’s because Muno plays the same hard-nosed, hustle at all costs, dirt-on-the-uniform style of play at second base for the 51’s Backman used to play for the Mets. In both Binghamton and Vegas, Muno has profiled as a .250 stick at the plate with all the intangibles managers love in a middle infielder. Like he did in Binghamton, Muno hits in the clutch. His 46 RBI’s rank fourth on the 51 roster behind Allan Dykstra (62), Wilmer Flores (57) and Andrew Brown (52).

In the best of all worlds, I’d love to see the Mets use free agency to add the pieces to complement our promising young pitching to see us elevate our standing in major league baseball circles. But, for our Mets, financially, that best of all worlds simply does not exist. So, rather then gnash my already seriously compromised teeth (from all that anxiety night time grinding that comes with rooting for the Mets) fantasizing about what we can’t have, maybe it’s time to cobble together some intelligent baseball moves, risky as they might be, that might help get us what we want. One of the biggest risks of all might be moving Daniel Murphy.

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Trade Deadline Thread: Five Teams Still In On Alex Rios Thu, 31 Jul 2014 16:10:39 +0000 I wanted to get an open thread going as we move closer to the non-waiver trade deadline which expires at 4:00 PM this afternoon.

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

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

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

12:00 PM

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

11:30 AM

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

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

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



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Latest Trade Rumors and News On Bartolo Colon Thu, 31 Jul 2014 14:42:53 +0000 Colon

Here are the latest rumblings from some baseball insiders on Mets starter Bartolo Colon and whether he’ll still be a Met by the end of today’s non-waiver trade deadline at 4:00 PM EST.

The Baltimore Orioles have checked in on Colon according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. However, Heyman hears that the Mets are still undecided on whether to trade him. Heyman says the Giants and Mariners are among other teams that have been mentioned for Colon as possibilities, but that teams are hesitant due to his $11 million salary during his age 42 season in 2015.

Matt Cerrone of MetsBlog says that the Mets have no interest in paying Colon any of the money he has left on his contract and they are waiting to simply place him on waivers August 1 and trade him for nothing to any team that claims him just to shed themselves of his contract.

However, MLB Trade Rumors says that while the Mets aren’t sure whether or not they’ll trade him at this time yet, GM Sandy Alderson isn’t one to simply dump salary in trades.

Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports that “there’s no traction between the Royals and the Mets for Colon” and that barring a change, “the Mets don’t seem likely to be active today”. However, Martino adds that he’d be surprised if Colon were with the Mets in 2015, suggesting that any deal for Colon won’t happen until the offseason.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post also hears the same on Mets being likely to stand pat today. Sherman says that a better market will develop for Colon in the offseason, when he’ll have just one year and $11 million remaining on his contract.

Finally, Mike Puma of the New York Post reported that ”nothing has changed” regarding Bartolo Colon. and that the Mets “won’t eat any of the $13 million” he is owed. Team officials told him that they expect the veteran right-hander will still be a Met on 8/1.

July 30

Andy Martino of the New York Daily News is reporting that the Kansas City Royals are interested in New York Met’s starting pitcher Bartolo Colon.  The Royals are looking to add depth to their rotation, but the main question is whether they have the payroll flexibility to take Colon’s remaining contract, which is approximately $14.25 over the next year and remainder of this season.  However, the Mets are supposedly willing to eat around $2 million of that amount in order to facilitate a trade.

As Thursday’s trade deadline gets closer, the pool of available starting pitchers is growing shallow.  The Tampa Bay Rays woke up out of slump and have climbed back into the playoff race, winning 9 out of their last 10 after the All-Star break.  Speculation swirled around a potential trade of ace pitcher David Price, but given their recent success, it’s only makes sense they would retain him.

San Diego had made Ian Kennedy available in talks, but rumors indicate that the Padres are more likely to trade reliever Joaquin Benoit.  This year, Kennedy has a respectable 3.66  ERA and opponents are batting .245 against him, but San Diego hasn’t received any offers that justify moving one of the stronger pieces of their rotation. 

The only other remaining big ticket pitchers being discussed are Philadelphia’s starters, Cliff Lee and A.J. Burnett.  The problem with both players is the timing and size of their contracts.  Both are free agents at the end of 2014 and Lee, in particular, is owed more money over the second half of this season alone (approximately $16.5+ million)  than Colon would be owed over the remainder of his deal.

The Royals have a few position prospects that could complement the Mets growing list of position players on the farm, but it is unknown whether the Mets have evaluated any of Kansas City’s top young talent and who would be the most plausible fit should a trade be executed.  Colon’s most recent performance on Monday night certainly put his veteran talents on display as he breezed through 7.2 innings surrendering 1 earned run and lowering his ERA on the season to 3.88.  It will be interesting to see what happens over the next 24+ hours, but the Mets now appear in a better position to move Bartolo off the books than they did earlier in the week.

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Conforto Shines, Cyclones Win 5th Straight Under Watchful Eye of Alderson, DePodesta Thu, 31 Jul 2014 13:59:59 +0000 Sandy Alderson and Paul DePodesta visited MCU Park Wednesday night, likely to check out first-round pick Michael Conforto. (Photo by Jim Mancari)

Sandy Alderson and Paul DePodesta visited MCU Park Wednesday night, likely to check out first-round pick Michael Conforto. (Photo by Jim Mancari)

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – The Brooklyn Cyclones welcomed a few special visitors Wednesday night at MCU Park in Coney Island: Mets general manager Sandy Alderson and vice president of player development and scouting Paul DePodesta.

And it’s no secret whom they likely were there to see: first-round draft pick Michael Conforto.

Conforto once again had a big night at the plate, helping the Cyclones (24-22) to a 9-4 victory over the Auburn Doubledays, the Single-A short season affiliate of the Washington Nationals.

The win is Brooklyn’s fifth straight and keeps the team in the lead for the Wild Card spot with just over a month left to the summer season.

Michael Conforto was on on base in all five plate appearances. (Photo by Jim Mancari)

Michael Conforto was on base in all five plate appearances. (Photo by Jim Mancari)

Conforto finished the night 3-for-3 – all singles – with two RBI, two runs scored, a walk and a hit-by-pitch to reach base in all five plate appearances.

The three hits bring his batting average to .409 through his first 12 pro games, with an even more impressive .490 on-base percentage. He’s now hit safely in 11 of his 12 games.

In those 12 games, the Cyclones are 9-3 and have averaged 5.8 runs per game. The other bats have been picking up as a result of Conforto’s presence in the middle of the lineup.

“He’s (Conforto) a huge part of it,” said Cyclones’ manager Tom Gamboa. “He extends the lineup. He’s a living example of what the Mets are trying to preach in hitting about taking pitches, even if they’re strikes, that are not good pitches for you to hit and give the guy (opposing pitcher) a chance to make a mistake. And once again, he’s just a hitting machine.”

Conforto though – the humble ballplayer that he is – is taking no individual credit for the team’s recent offensive outburst.

“We’ve just been playing really well as a team,” the first-rounder said. “A lot of guys have really stepped up, and everyone has started to swing the bat a little better. Maybe it’s a coincidence, maybe not.”

The Cyclones did the bulk of their damage in the bottom of the second inning, sending 11 men to plate and putting up a touchdown and the extra point – seven runs – in the frame on five hits while taking advantage of a few Doubledays’ mistakes.

Usually with a seven-run lead, a pitcher can settle in and give his team some length. However, that was not the case for the normally-reliable Scarlyn Reyes, who lasted only 3.2 innings in his third start of the season, giving up two runs on four hits and walking a season-high four batters.

From there though, five Cyclones relievers – Mike Hepple, Paul Paez, Luis Rengel, Juan Urbina and Cameron Griffin – combined to hold Auburn to just two runs on four hits the rest of the way.

Brooklyn continues its six-game homestand Thursday night against the Doubledays. Right-hander Octavio Acosta gets the ball at 7 p.m. seeking his fourth win of the summer.

Click here to view the complete box score from this game.

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Mets Minors Report 7/31: Nimmo Is Heating Up, Conforto Leads Brooklyn To 5th Straight Win Thu, 31 Jul 2014 13:00:58 +0000 brandon nimmo

Last Night’s Quick Scores

Prospect Pipeline

  • Matt den Dekker was 2 for 5, with a double and in his last ten games he is batting .459, with eight doubles and has hit safely in eight of last ten games.
  • Matt Reynolds finished 2 for 5, and has a five game hitting streak with four straight multi-hit games.
  • Kevin Plawecki was 0 for 3 on Wednesday and 3 for 9 since returning after missing time due to a mild case of vertigo.
  • Brandon Nimmo singles in his first at bat to extend his current hit streak to six games and finishes the game 2 for 5 with a triple.
  • T.J. Rivera doubles to extend his current hit streak to eight games and has hit safely in nine of his last ten games batting .385 in that span.
  • Greg Peavey (8-2, 2.79) gives up four first inning runs and loses only his second game on the season.  He threw six innings, allowing four runs on eight hits, with five strikeouts.
  • L.J. Mazzilli was 2 for 4 in St. Lucie’s victory and he has hit safely in eight of his last ten games batting .361, with a home run in the span.
  • Michael Fulmer (5-9, 4.06) earned his fifth win on the season, by tossing six shutout innings, allowing four hits, four walks and while striking out five batters.
  • Michael Conforto gets back on track as he goes 3 for 3, with two runs scored and two RBI’s in the Cyclones victory.
  • Tyler Moore, the Mets 6th round pick from this years draft, doubled in four at bats and has hit safely in eight of hsi last ten games while batting .364, with four doubles in the span.
  • Wuilmer Becerra triples in five at bats to extend his current hit streak to five games. He has hit safely in eight of his last ten games batting .350, with two doubles, a triple and home run in that span.

Organizational Offensive Leaders

Home Runs

1 Brian Burgamy BIN 18
2 Dustin Lawley BIN 18
3 Andrew Brown LV 17
4 Allan Dykstra LV 14
5 Wilmer Flores LV 13
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Matt Harvey To Pitch Off Mound For First Time Next Week Wed, 30 Jul 2014 21:05:03 +0000 matt harvey

Adam Rubin reports that Matt Harvey “has the go-ahead to get on a mound next week” for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery on Oct. 22, 2013.

He also adds that while Harvey will not pitch in the majors this season, it’s still possible he will pitch briefly in the fall instructional league, which spans late September and early October in Florida.

No doubt some great news on the Harvey front… The Mets’ ace righthander has had no setbacks in his rehab and continues to work his way back.

If it were up to Harvey, he would have preferred to be on a mound last month, but he continues to follow the schedule laid out for him by the organization.

July 26

Mets fans can dream about next year’s starting rotation, which will presumably include Matt Harvey, Jonathon Niese, Dillon Gee, Zack Wheeler, and Jacob deGrom. All of them will be 28 or younger when the season begins and all could be well above average next season.

There is no doubt that when Matt Harvey is healthy, the Mets are a much better team. While getting him back will be like trading for an ace making the league minimum (except without giving up your entire farm system), there are still lingering questions over how the Mets should approach his return.

Obviously, Harvey isn’t going to be pitching this season, despite his determination to do so. He may pitch a few innings in the Arizona Fall League, but that’s just about it.

Everyone remembers the controversy surrounding Stephen Strasburg‘s return from Tommy John Surgery. He hit his innings limit in early September in the midst of a pennant race, and the Nationals shut him down for the season. The Mets may be facing another very similar scenario next year, in a season in which they expect to compete. Perhaps the 2012 Nationals weren’t sure they were going to compete, so they proceeded normally. However, with all the trade buzz surrounding the Mets combined with the new arrivals of top prospects, the front office expects next year to be a big year. That makes this situation a bit different from the one Strasburg was in two years ago.

As dangerous as it is, the Mets will more or less throw Harvey into the fire at some point next season. It sure is risky to do that. I’ve always said the reason Johan Santana got hurt wasn’t the no-hitter, but the fact that after not pitching for over a year, the Mets suddenly threw him out there regularly, taking very few precautions. Unfortunately, there really aren’t many more practical methods to easing a pitcher back into it. Luckily for the Mets, Harvey is quite a bit younger than Santana.

Nevertheless, the Mets will still need to be careful how they handle Harvey, knowing that their goal is to compete in September and possibly October while also keeping their ace on an innings limit somewhere between 160 and 190. How will they do this? Here are a few options.

Extreme option: Put him in the bullpen for a while

matt harveyThe Mets may want to put him in the bullpen to start the season, possibly for four to six weeks to limit his innings. They will still get use out of his arm, but without the early season wear and tear. In the often cold and raw April games, it could reduce injury risk.

There are, of course, many problems with this idea, which is why it is an “extreme option.” For one, the transition to and from the bullpen isn’t exactly easy or quick. It took Jenrry Mejia a while to transition back and forth. The Mets may have two weeks at both ends of the experiment with a somewhat wasted roster spot, two when he’s getting used to pitching on back-to-back days, and two more when he transitions back to the rotation. And don’t forget the risks of Terry Collins overusing him, which is never out of the question with any relief pitcher.

Somewhat extreme option: Start his season late

Instead of beginning workouts at the Port St. Lucie complex in early February, start Harvey out in early March. He will have an extra month to strengthen his arm and the rest of his body, and could pitch through the end of the season. It makes sense on all fronts, but there is one huge problem with it: Harvey will absolutely hate it.

Remember, this is the pitcher who said he would pitch Opening Day this season. What are the odds he would go along with a delayed start? Probably slim to none. That being said, this option is probably the best compromise between Harvey’s long-term health and the Mets’ hopes to compete.

Realistic but ineffective option: Skip starts, be cautious

This is one of the more likely options, but it is probably the worst. As we have seen, skipping starts throws pitchers off their routines. However, what makes this a realistic option is how well Harvey has fared with more rest:

Four days rest: 19 starts, 3.07 ERA, 1.065 WHIP

Five days rest: 10 starts, 2.25 ERA, 1.029 WHIP

Six or more days rest: 7 starts, 0.77 ERA, 0.707 WHIP

Keeping that in mind, this option is less attractive for the team. Taking Harvey out early taxes the bullpen and focusing on skipping him allows you less flexibility with the rest of the starting rotation. Consider that and the fact that doing this still probably won’t be enough. IT may come down to the Mets putting Harvey on the DL for a few weeks with “elbow fatigue” to keep him from exceeding his limit.

Most likely option: Do nothing, shut him down in September

This option is fine for Harvey’s health, but it doesn’t take into consideration the needs of the team. Right when the Mets will need Harvey the most, he will be shut down. This is what the Nats did with Strasburg and what the Mets will likely do with Harvey next season.

The Mets need to sit down with Matt Harvey and his agent Scott Boras and lay out a plan that will both keep him healthy and make sense for the team. There is absolutely no excuse. There will be a media frenzy if either side is left in the dark about the other’s intentions and it could get very ugly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Updated 7/30)

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MMO Game Recap: Mets 11, Phillies 2 Wed, 30 Jul 2014 19:59:05 +0000 Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac, Getty Images

Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac, Getty Images

The Mets (52-56) crushed the Phillies (47-61) on Wednesday afternoon at Citi Field, beating Philadelphia 11-2.

Zack Wheeler took the mound for the Mets and was once again solid, albeit inefficient. Wheeler went 6.2 innings, allowing 2 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks, striking out 4 and throwing 112 pitches. Zack is now 3-0 with a 1.82 ERA in his last 6 starts.

Wheeler worked in and out of trouble for the first few innings, running up his pitch count but keeping the Phillies off the board despite getting into a bases-loaded jam in the top of the 2nd. The Mets got some baserunners against Kyle Kendrick, but he too kept the scoreboard clean, with some help from Ben Revere‘s glove. Revere made a diving play on Curtis Granderson in the 1st, a few running catches in the gaps, made a nice play to cut a ball off before it got to the wall on a base-hit, and robbed Lucas Duda of a solo shot to lead off the bottom of the 4th.

The Phillies broke through in the top of the 5th, when Ben Revere led off the inning with a cheap double and scored on a double from Ryan Howard. However, the Mets answered in the bottom of the frame. Juan Lagares and Ruben Tejada led off the inning with a pair of singles, and Zack Wheeler laid down a sacrifice bunt to put runners on 2nd and 3rd with 1 out. Granderson walked to load the bases, bringing Daniel Murphy to the plate. A wild pitch by Kendrick brought Lagares home and moved the other runners to 2nd and 3rd, and Murphy brought both of them, and himself, home by smacking one over the wall in left field to put the Mets up 4-1.

Jimmy Rollins led off the top of the 7th with a solo shot to make it 4-2 New York, but Wheeler got the next 2 batters to fly out to Chris Young in left field. Terry Collins pulled Zack and brought in Dana Eveland to face Chase Utley, but Eveland walked the Philadelphia 2nd baseman on 4 pitches. After Utley stole 2nd and then moved to 3rd on a passed ball, Eveland plunked Howard to put runners on the corners and send Terry back out to the mound for another pitching change. Collins brought in Jeurys Familia, who got Marlon Byrd to ground out on 1 pitch to retire the site.

The Mets broke the game wide open in the bottom of the 7th against Mario Hollands. Granderson led off with a ground-rule double before Murphy grounded one to 3rd for the 1st out. Hollands intentionally walked lefty-killer David Wright to pitch to Lucas Duda, but Duda made him pay by lining a base-hit to score Grandy and move David to 2nd. Justin De Fratus came in to pitch to Travis d’Arnaud, and TDA lined a double (which could have been ruled a single and an error) into left to score Wright and move Duda to 3rd. Chris Young hit a slow roller between 1st base and the pitcher’s mound, and as Duda came in to score, De Fratus misplayed the ball, allowing CY to reach base while d’Arnaud moved to 3rd. Juan Lagares struck out, but despite Familia being on-deck, De Fratus decided not to walk Tejada, who lined one into left for a base-hit to score Travis and move Young to 2nd. Familia then made the decision to pitch to Tejada a moot point by lacing one to left for a base-hit of his own, bringing CY home to make it 9-2 Mets.

After Familia worked a perfect top of the 8th, the Mets poured it on a bit more in the bottom of the inning. Murphy singled, and with 1 out, Duda hit one into the Pepsi Porch (just out of the reach of Ben Revere) for his 19th homer of the season, putting the Mets up 11-2.

Carlos Torres looked wild and hittable in the 9th after a rare couple of days off, but kept the Phillies off the board and put the finishing touches on a blowout victory, giving the Mets another series win at home.

Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac, Getty Images

Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac, Getty Images

Wheeler was pretty solid today, but he really has to keep his pitch count down. For a while, it looked like he might not be able to even make it through 5 innings, even though the Phillies had yet to score. He finally found the strike zone (and, ironically, gave up a couple runs) in the middle innings, but you’d like to see him get ahead in the count more consistently early in games. Still, this was another strong outing for Zack as he continues to turn the corner and become what the Mets hoped he would become when they traded for him 3 years ago.

Familia has been great this year, and was strong on the mound once again today, but I’d be lying if I said I expected him to smoke one through the hole and drive in a run when he came to the plate. Apparently he’s 2-for-2 this year, though, so maybe we should try to get him in the lineup…

As I said last week, Murphy’s slumps don’t tend to last very long. Of course, I jinxed him into a slump when I wrote that, but, true to form, he broke out of it pretty quickly and has been raking lately.  Duda is red-hot, and should have had 2 homers today (and 20 on the year). Alas, Ben Revere was too good out in center (and in left-center, and in right-center, and beyond the fence), so Lucas will have to settle for 1. A microphone picked up on a player (or a fan) yelling “We got the Hulk!” after his blast in the 9th. If Lucas keeps smashing, that name might stick. Travis d’Arnaud continued to hit well, Lagares had some hits, and Teajda continued to own the Phillies’ pitching. This was a solid day for the bats all-around.

That being said, scoring 0 runs one game and 11 runs the next will only get you 1 win, even if it still adds up as 11 runs over 2 games in Sandy’s “run differential” column. I’d trade the blowouts for consistency. 5 runs in one game and 6 in the next is much better than 0 and 11.

It’s always nice to win a series, especially against the Phillies. The Mets have now won 4 series in a row at Citi Field. Let’s see if they can make it 5.

Up Next: The Mets will have the day off on Thursday before opening up a 4-game set against the Giants on Friday Night at Citi Field. Jon Niese (5-6, 3.23 ERA) will face Ryan Vogelsong (5-8, 3.94 ERA) at 7:10 PM.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, Mr. Alderson, point taken.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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MMO Game Thread: Phillies vs Mets, 12:10 PM Rubber Match Wed, 30 Jul 2014 15:13:48 +0000 zack wheeler

Last night was the opposite of the first game of the series with the Phillies beating the Mets 6-0 behind Cole Hamels to setup a rubber match. This afternoon they look to take the series behind Zack Wheeler as he squares off against Kyle Kendrick in an early 12:10 PM matinee at Citi Field.

Starting Lineup

  1. Curtis Granderson – RF
  2. Daniel Murphy – 2B
  3. David Wright – 3B
  4. Lucas Duda – 1B
  5. Travis d’Arnaud – C
  6. Chris Young – LF
  7. Juan Lagares – CF
  8. Ruben Tejada – SS
  9. Zack Wheeler – RHP

Wheeler is 5-8 over 21 starts and 121.0 innings with a 3.64 ERA. In his last five starts he is 2-0 with a 1.41 ERA allowing 5 earned runs over 32.0 innings while striking out 30 batters.

In his one start against the Phillies this year, he struck out 9 batters in Philly allowing one earned run over 6.1 innings. The Phillies have the following numbers against Wheeler:

  • Rollins 2-9
  • Utley 1-8
  • Ruiz 1-7, 2B
  • Ruf 0-4
  • Brown 0-5
  • Asche 2-3, 3B

Kyle Kendrick is 5-10 over 21 games and 131.1 innings of work with a 4.87 ERA. In his last four games he has pitched 22.0 innings allowing 21 ER, which is a 8.59 ERA.

In two starts against the Mets he allowed 8 ER over 11.1 innings with a 6.35 ERA. The Mets have the following numbers against Kyle:

  • Wright 15-47, 3 2B, 3 HR
  • Murphy 7-33, 2B
  • Duda 4-20, 3 2B, HR
  • C Young 4-21, 2B, HR
  • Tejada 7-22, HR
  • Granderson 1-9
  • Lagares 3-5, 2B

Lets Go Mets!

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Connor’s Corner: While Tulowitzki Fits, Gonzalez Does Not Wed, 30 Jul 2014 13:20:11 +0000 Carlos+Gonzalez+Troy+Tulowitzki+San+Francisco+rUY3TpSfSyelAll the buzz surrounding the Mets this week as the trade deadline fast approaches has been about Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. I wrote extensively yesterday about why he is a good trade target for the Mets. However, reports indicate it is far more likely the Mets acquire Tulowitzki’s teammate, outfielder Carlos Gonzalez.

No one is going to argue that Gonzalez is anywhere near the level of Tulowitzki, but there are varying opinions on him. On the surface, his numbers are outstanding for his career. In 2013, he hit .302/.367/.591 with 26 home runs, 21 stolen bases, and six triples in only 110 games. From 2010 through 2013, Gonzalez hit .311/.370/.556 with a 133 OPS+.

Those are outstanding numbers and make Gonzalez appear to be the perfect outfield bat for the Mets to acquire. While he will not cost quite the package that Tulowitzki would in a trade, his cost will presumably be very high. And unlike with Tulo, he is a player the Mets have to pass on.

Many reporters and fans have made a big deal about Tulowitzki’s road numbers. Yet, considering his position, his road numbers are still outstanding. For Gonzalez, they are quite concerning.

Away from home, Gonzalez has hit .260/.315/.441 in his career, compared to .333/.365/.546 at Coors Field. On the road, that’s a 102 wRC+, or just two percent better than league average. For left fielders, that is just a tick above average. Unlike Tulowitzki, who had a 118 wRC+ on the road, Gonzalez’s bat doesn’t translate away from Coors Field. Both clearly suffer on the road, but even so, Tulo is still 50 percent better than the average at his position, while Gonzalez hovers at just around his own positional average.

On the road, Gonzalez strikes out much more frequently, hits more ground balls and fewer line drives, and sees far fewer of his fly balls leave the park. In Coors Field, Gonzalez sees an astounding 21 percent of his fly balls leave the park (compared to a 9.7 percent league average). On the road, that drops to 15.6 percent.

Although he had a fantastic season last year in which his splits were reversed, the sample size on those numbers isn’t big enough to say anything definitively. Plenty of players hit against the platoon split or against their ballpark’s tendencies for an entire season, but that doesn’t mean they have necessarily overcome that obstacle. For Gonzalez, it is surely a fluke.

To make things worse, Gonzalez is having his most disappointing season to date, batting .244/.293/.437 (well below league average) with ten home runs in 63 games. On the road, he is hitting .169/.234/.346. (That’s still better than Lucas Duda against left-handed pitching, if that’s at all comforting.)

On the financial side, Gonzalez’s contract is much shorter than Tulo’s with only three years and $54 million left, but that is still a big commitment for the big question mark Gonzales is. The average annual salary ($18 million) on that deal is close to what Tulowitzki will be paid.

If the Mets are going to give up Noah Syndergaard or Zack Wheeler, which they probably would in a Gonzalez trade, they need to get a well above average bat. The two clear positions to upgrade, at least if Daniel Murphy remains, are left field and shortstop. If you plug in an average hitter in left field, you almost have to acquire a star shortstop with the way this year’s offense has struggled. Who is out there to fit that bill? The only two obvious candidates are Ben Zobrist and Troy Tulowitzki, and not much else. You still have to give up a big package. In fact, you then have to do it twice. If the Mets are going to give up big pitching prospects, it has to be for someone who will give you consistently above average production.

Gonzalez is just not that player.

(Note: Statistics are as of 10:00 p.m., July 29) Follow me on Twitter @UpAlongFirst

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Mets Minors Report 7/30: Herrera Goes Deep For His 6th HR, Whalen Unbeatable In Savannah Wed, 30 Jul 2014 13:00:04 +0000 dilson herrera

Last Night’s Quick Scores

Prospect Pipeline

  • Matt den Dekker was 3 for 4, with two runs scored and two doubles. He has seven multi-hit games in his last ten games.
  • Brandon Nimmo now has a five game hitting streak with a 1 for 3 game on Tuesday, he also walked twice and now has 23 walks in 36 Double A games.
  • Dilson Herrera went 1 for 3 and hit his sixth home run on the season for Binghamton. He also hit sac fl in bottom of ninth to drive in the winning run.
  • T.J. Rivera continues his hot hitting as he singled on Tuesday to extend his current hit streak to seven games.
  • Robert Whalen tossed seven innings, allowing two runs (no earned runs) on two hits, walking two and striking out seven. Since coming off the DL, Whalen is 2-0, and for the season he is 6-0, with a 1.65 ERA.
  • Yexion Ruiz was 3 for 5 in Savannah’s win and hits his third home run on the season.
  • Amed Rosario was 0 for 4 and 11 game hitting streak was stopped.
  • Michael Conforto had his ten game hit streak snapped with an 0 for 3 night.
  • Eudor Garcia, the Mets 4th round pick in this years draft, went 2 for 3, with a double and two RBI’s in Kingsport’s victory. In his last ten games, Garcia is batting .351 (13 for 37).
  • After coming out of the bullpen for his first five appearances to start the season, Martires Arias (4-0, 0.50), won his third start in a row, by tossing five shutout innings on three hits, walking five and striking out five.

Prospect Spotlight

Dilson Herrera hits a three run bomb over the left field monster advertisemnt wall in Trenton on July 26th.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reporter: ”He’s 3-for-29.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cripes… Yeah, we got it…

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MMO Game Recap: Phillies 6, Mets 0 Wed, 30 Jul 2014 01:54:21 +0000

The Mets (51-56) were shutout by the Phillies (47-60) on Tuesday night, losing 6-0 at Citi Field.

Dillon Gee got the start for the Mets and was pretty solid, but his final line won’t reflect that. Dillon was charged with 5 runs on 5 hits and 3 walks in 6.2 innings in which he struck out 2 batters and threw 102 pitches.

Cole Hamels was, for a change, very good against the Mets in this game. Cole tossed 8 shutout innings and retired the final 13 men he faced. In fact, Hamels now has 2 solid outings against us this year.

Gee was cruising through the first few innings and got 2 strikes on Jimmy Rollins with 2 outs in the top of the 3rd, but then left one out over the plate and Rollins lined it into the Mo’s Zone to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead. Dillon again got 2 strikes with 2 outs in the top of the 4th, but surrendered another solo shot to the mangled remains of what used to be Grady Sizemore.

Gee got out of a jam in the 5th and breezed through the 6th, but the doors came off in the top of the 7th. Domonic Brown hit a leadoff single and, after Cody Asche flew out, advanced to 2nd on a sacrifice bunt from Hamels. With 2 strikes and 2 outs on the light-hitting Ben Revere, Gee ran a pitch a bit too far inside and nicked the Philadelphia leadoff man on the uniform, putting runners on 1st and 2nd. A miscommunication between Dillon and Travis d’Arnaud led to a wild pitch, moving the runners to 2nd and 3rd. Gee feel behind 2-0 before getting a curve over for a strike to make it 2-1. Dillon appeared to get another curve over, but home plate umpire Jordan Baker squeezed him and the count moved to 3-1. With an open base, Gee wasn’t going to take any chances, and he threw a junky pitch to Rollins to put him on first and go after Chase Utley with the bases loaded and 2 outs.

Terry Collins, however, had other plans. Terry pulled Gee to bring in lefty Josh Edgin to face Utley with the game on the line. Once again, a Met pitcher got 2 strikes on a Philadelphia hitter with 2 outs. But after Utley fouled off a couple pitches, the All-Star 2nd baseman launched one into the Pepsi Porch for a grand slam, blowing the game wide open.

The Mets scattered some early singles against Hamels and even got a double from David Wright, but they could never get a hit at the right time and were unable to break through against the lefty. Ken Giles came in to put the final touches on Philadelphia’s victory and finish off a game in which the Mets never really got started.

Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac, Getty Images

NEW RULE PROPOSAL: Once there are 2 outs, you only need 2 strikes for a strikeout. Anybody?

I’ve always underrated Cole Hamels, because I basically only see him when he faces the Mets, and we usually rock him. But he was dominant tonight, and I can see why he’s considered one of the best pitchers in baseball.

Josh Edgin, you quite literally have ONE job: Get the lefties. You have to get the out there against Utley. But that didn’t happen tonight, not that it would have necessarily made a difference, the way Hamels mowed through our lineup. That being said, Gee should have finished that inning off before Utley came up. You can’t hit a guy like Ben Revere with 2 outs and 2 strikes.

3 of the 4 runs that scored on Utley’s grand slam were charged to Gee, turning what could have been a 7 inning, 2 run showing into a 6.2 inning, 5 run mess. Still, Gee was much better tonight than he was in his previous 2 starts out of the break, so hopefully he’s finding his groove again after a lot of missed time.

Terry Collins will get blasted for pulling Gee, but that’s largely due to the fact that the guy who came in to replace him surrendered a grand slam. Hindsight is 20-20. I’m not sure it was such a bad move at the time. Edgin has been good against the lefties this year, and Gee was stumbling a bit. Gee also tends to tire more quickly than most pitchers, and hadn’t thrown more than 100 pitches in over 2 months. So maybe pulling Dillon after 102 pitches was the right move. But Gee had been having a solid night in general, and you can make the argument that Terry should have let him try to finish the inning off.

Home plate umpire Jordan Baker was lousy tonight. He’s not the reason that we lost, but he was incredibly inconsistent and looked unconfident when making his calls. Come to think of it, his lack of confidence in his own umpiring probably means he is self-aware…

Eric Campbell had 2 hits tonight. Duda has been raking and should definitely stay in the lineup, but Terry should try to get Soup some at-bats whenever he can.

We’ve been hitting well at home lately, but the bats were silent tonight. Hopefully they can get it going early in the afternoon tomorrow and take the rubber game.

Up Next: The Mets will look to secure a series win over the Phillies on Wednesday afternoon in a weekday matinee at Citi Field. Zack Wheeler (5-8, 3.64 ERA) will face Kyle Kendrick (5-10, 4.87 ERA) at 12:10 PM.

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MMO Game Thread: Phillies vs Mets, 7:10 PM #HammerHamels Tue, 29 Jul 2014 22:08:20 +0000 dillon gee

The Mets continue their series against the Philadelphia Phillies tonight at Citi Field. Dillon Gee (4-3, 3.49) opposes left-hander Cole Hamels (5-5, 2.72) in the 7:10 PM matchup.

In his last start, Gee lost, 9-1, against the Milwaukee Brewers on July 24 at Miller Park. He pitched 5.0 innings for the second consecutive start, his shortest outings of the season, and allowed a season-high six runs, all earned, including a home run to Jonathan Lucroy.

Jeurys Familia has allowed one earned run over his last 20.1 innings dating back to June 12 for a 0.44 ERA, the third-lowest ERA in the majors over that span. Familia has hurled 8.0 straight scoreless innings and ranks seventh among NL relievers in ERA (1.88) with a minimum of 40.0 innings and leads the team with 10 holds.

In what was his final start before the non-waiver trade deadline, Colon notched career win No. 199 on Monday. Colon will try to join Juan Marichal (243) and Pedro Martinez (219) are the only Dominican-born pitchers to reach the 200-win plateau. Martinez notched No. 200 as a Met back in 2006.

Daniel Murphy registered his fourth straight multi-hit game last night, tying his career-high. He has had four straight multi-hit games six previous times. Murphy has
at least one hit in nine of 10 games, batting .341 (14-41) during that span and is tied for the NL lead with 127 hits with the Giants’ Hunter Pence.

Maybe some day Duda will learn to hit against LHP or maybe he won’t. One thing is certain and that is it will never happen if he keeps sitting against them – even during the most torrid hot streak of his career.

Adam Rubin calculates that Jenrry Mejia and Anthony Recker are currently projected to earn Super 2 status and get arbitration eligibility this offseason. Matt Harvey and Jeurys Familia will miss the cutoff. Super 2 status does not expedite free-agency, which occurs after a player accumulates six years of service. It merely means the players get four years of arbitration eligibility rather than three.

Starting Lineup

  1. Curtis Granderson – RF
  2. Daniel Murphy – 2B
  3. David Wright – 3B
  4. Eric Campbell – 1B
  5. Chris Young – LF
  6. Travis d’Arnaud – C
  7. Juan Lagares – CF
  8. Wilmer Flores – SS
  9. Dillon Gee – RHP 

The Mets got off to a strong start on the homestand with a 7-1 to win last night. The offense started strong dropping 4 runs on AJ. Burnett before tagging him for more before he was pulled out. Meanwhile the Mets pitching was on point. Tonight they look to replicate that with Dillon Gee on the mound has he squares off against Cole Hamels.

Dillon Gee is 4-3 over 11 games and 69.2 innings with a 3.49 ERA. His last two starts have been rough as he has allowed 10 ER in 10 innings of owrk. Before that he had a 2.56 ERA for the season. In his only start against Philly this year, he allowed 3 ER over 6.0 innings of work. The Phillies have the following numbers against Gee:

  • Rollins 11-22, 2 2B, HR
  • Utley 5-20, 2 2B
  • Howard 9-18, 2B, 6 HR
  • Brown 4-15, 2B
  • Ruiz 1-13, 2B
  • Revere 3-8

The Mets will get a look at a familiar foe tonight in Cole Hamels who is 5-5 on the season over 18 starts and 122.1 innings with a 2.72 ERA. In his last 2 starts he has tossed 15.0 innings while allowing 10 hits, only 2 ER and striking out 19 batters. He has faced the Mets three times this season with mixed results. The first time he allowed 6 ER run over 4.2 innings. The next two times he allowed a combined 2 ER, 3 total over 14.0 innings. The Mets have the following numbers against Cole Hamels:

  • Wright 24-73, 4 2B, 3B, 5 HR
  • Murphy 17-44, 4 2B, HR
  • Rejada 9-31, 3 2B
  • E Young 1-28, 2 2B
  • C Young 6-23, 2B, 3B
  • Lagares 8-20, 3 2B
  • Duda 1-13
  • Campbell 3-6, 2B
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Show Us the Money?! Tue, 29 Jul 2014 18:20:15 +0000 Ever since the end of the 2009 season, financial issues have been a critical if not overriding factor for the New York Mets and their decision making.

saul katz and fred wilpon

Whether it was the $140+ million major league payroll loaded with “toxic” contracts for a sub .500 mostly veteran team, the subsequent decline in attendance and related revenue, possible effects of the Madoff-Ponzi-scheme, including the claim filed by the administrator of the Madoff estate or some heavy leveraging of the Mets and related entities with all sorts of debt – it´s often been Finances first. And Baseball a very distant second.

Interestingly enough though, very little has been written or said about the Mets´ CURRENT financial situation. Basically, the claim/reporting – based on what transpired over the past few years – has been “they have no money” and it appears, fans, writers and the public believe and seemingly have accepted the Mets will be operating as a de-facto small-market team for a while.

That has led to discussion whether the Mets almost have to trade Bartolo Colon and Daniel Murphy for financial reasons leading up towards 2015 to possibly clear the roughly $20 million that duo will be making next year. Or whether the Mets even have the ability to think about taking on a significant contract such as that of Troy Tulowitzki or Carlos Gonzalez.

Shouldn’t we be discussing whether Noah Syndergaard or Rafael Montero (and Matt Harvey next year) are sufficient replacements for Colon or if and when Wilmer Flores, Matt Reynolds or Dilson Herrera can replace Daniel Murphy just fine at 2B going forward?

Shouldn’t the discussion be more about the pros and cons of parting with several promising young pieces in exchange for Tulo or CarGo than killing the debate with a “but they are too expensive anyway” comment?

METS FANS STRESSED SADHave the Mets themselves – successfully – lulled fans & media into a perception and belief that the payroll permanently has to be frozen in the $85 million range that it has hovered around for three years now?

And that a main concern right now should be that just keeping together the current roster minus free agents Chris Young, Dice-K and Bobby Abreu will probably cost over $90 million already? (Adam Rubin did the math a few days ago.)

Isn’t there some new evidence that the Mets currently are operating well below of what their “break even” ceiling actually is? Isn’t it time to reevaluate the situation? Books can and have been written about financial reorganizing or how the Mets got into this situation. But hasn’t the situation changed over the past couple of years ?

Leaving out the profits SNY – an entity majority owned by the Mets ownership group – has been earning, the explicitly stated financial goal for the Mets has been to “break even.” Something which it has failed to do for at least the past 4 years.

Operating losses - according to what´s been available via a google search or explicit statements by people who should know – were massive in 2010 and 2011 (Losses of $51 and $70 million reportedly) and a lot less severe over the past two years (23 million in 2012 and 10 million in 2013) as the major league payroll was cut by about $50 million. While instead of the dramatic decline in attendance (including premium seats) from 2009 through 2011, the Mets from 2012 through this season have merely experienced something between regression or stagnation at a very low level.

Unfortunately, there´s no detailed balance sheet for the Mets entity or “sister” companies such as SNY that are publicly available. But from what there is to gather, the financial picture is looking a lot better now than it has in recent past. The 2014 payroll, minus Ike Davis, for now projects to end up just around or even below $85 million and thus between $5-10 million less than it has been for the past couple of years.

The decline in attendance has apparently been stopped in 2014. And at least thus far, every loan due against the Mets has apparently been refinanced. Most of all though, the new National TV deal that kicked in for the 2014 season flushes in an extra $25-30 million – not subject to revenue sharing  for every MLB franchise. This is EXTRA revenue for the Mets that wasn´t there in 2013 or in previous years.

Do the math yourself: You save between $5-10 million on payroll, attendance related revenue at worst freezes at a low level or even improves slightly and you also get an extra $25-30 million in new revenue flushed into your operation. That’s a $30 to $35 million turnaround compared to 2013 and 2012 where the team – on average – reported losses of $16.5 million per year.

Mets CubsSo, assuming all other expenses (revenue sharing, travel, interest payments on debt, minor league operations, etc.) have remained about the same – and there is no indication of any significant change here between now and the past couple of years – this makes it seem probable the 2014 Mets figure to make an operating profit somewhere between $15 and $20 million if the payroll ends up close to its projection of $85 million. And in turn, the “break even” payroll would really be in the $100 to $105 million range for 2014.

Going forward, if the Mets happen to look like a more promising team in 2015 behind a full arsenal of high end young pitching and maybe the addition of another bat, attendance and revenue figure to rise, further lifting the payroll ceiling going forward.

Considering expected arbitration raises going forward, the injury to Matt Harvey and IP limits for various young arms, it’s actually understandable why the Mets didn’t already approach that payroll ceiling this year. But as it is, there’s really no reason why the 2015 payroll shouldn’t at least be in the $100 to 105 million range. And doesn’t that even make for some positive PR regarding ownership, showing their determination to field a winner?

Thus, trading Colon and / or Murphy should be BASEBALL decisions first and foremost. Just like acquiring a Tulowitzki or another high priced player should mainly be debated in terms of the young talent it’d take to make such a move instead of focusing on the annual salary. Sure, there’s no way the Mets will have a Top 5 in the majors payroll again – like they did on average from 1990 through 2011.

But it’s very likely, they’ll at least gravitate towards a “middle of the pack” payroll again rather sooner than later. Still, odd and tough to explain for a New York based franchise – but a lot better than finances being the overriding factor. So, show us the money!

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

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

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

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

Read more in the Daily News.

July 28

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

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

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

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

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

La Russa also added:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Di-JEST: SNY Down To Final 4 In Search For Burkhardt Successor Tue, 29 Jul 2014 17:12:44 +0000 There’s news aplenty out of the Mets sports network, SNY.  First something that we at the Di-Jest applaud.  The programming department has now finally and officially abandoned their plan to find someone to fill the Ralph Kiner role in the Mets TV booth.

The SNY suits thought that it was possible to find some mature individual to visit with Gary, Keith, and Ron about once every few weeks for an inning or two.  The plan was scuttled as their last three candidates just didn’t pan out.

One of the three was Clint Eastwood.  His audition went south almost immediately when he insisted on talking to Ralph’s empty chair.

Betty White showed potential. She had some wonderfully ribald stories about her dating life with the likes of Tris Speaker and Dom DiMaggio.  Unfortunately she lapsed into some questionable areas when she insisted that she gave the idea to Abner Doubleday to place the bases 90 feet apart.   And anyway Ms. White has enough TV shows on her plate as it is.

Comedian Bob Newhart was also considered a strong candidate.  But in his audition his interplay with Gary and the others was weak.  Mr. Newhart apparently works better in a scripted environment (ask Larry, Darryl, and the other Darryl) or alone on stage doing a monologue.

As you might expect, no one can replace Ralph. And now, thankfully,  no one will.

But that’s not even the big news.  MMO has learned there are now just four final candidates to succeed Kevin Burkhardt as the roving reporter on Mets telecasts.  This is a coveted position.  Once the Leno and Letterman replacements were named this became the most sought after gig in the entire TV universe.

As you’ll see each candidate has something going for him/her but also a bit of baggage.

Ted McGinleyTed McGinley -  Ted is a handsome charming comedic actor who brings to his roles about what Anthony Recker brings to the Mets.

The focus group that observed his audition was blown away in a positive manner.

Unfortunately Ted’s problem is that he now has the reputation of being the “Sitcom Killer” as this article discusses.

As gruesome as some Mets losses often are none of us Met fans want to see the telecasts cancelled due to poor ratings.  For that reason SNY may have to look elsewhere for the next Kevin.

alexaAlexa – Forgive us for not knowing her last name or whether she even has one.  We know her from her Mets promo commercials with Brandon.

As one might expect the males in the focus group gave her exceedingly high marks on her audition although when the analysts inquired about what she had said on the air none of the men could actually remember a word.

The women in the focus group were less enthusiastic about her audition (except the two who revealed themselves as lesbians).

richard engelRichard Engel -  Richard currently works for NBC News  (NBC is a TV network that you may have never heard of.  Their shows famously air for about three episodes before being cancelled.

They do have a news department though and some people over the years have watched Johnny Carson and Jay Leno there).

Engel has been NBC’s go-to guy whenever some disaster, from nature or man-made, strikes.  It is thought that he would be less affected than others if the Mets win just 75 games again in 2015. The carnage would be nothing new to him.

gelbsSteve Gelbs – Steve could be considered the incumbent as he has been used extensively in the Kevin Burkhardt role during this, Kevin’s lame duck season roving the ballpark.

One would normally expect that he would be the natural choice for the Kevin position.  Unfortunately when an analyst walked in to interview the focus group that was observing Steve’s audition…. Well here’s what his report said, “I thought I had accidentally stepped into a sleep laboratory.”

So Gelbs’ chances of landing the job were not enhanced there.

Clearly this will be a difficult call for the powers that be at SNY.  The execs there likely prefer someone who will stay at the position for a number of years and not use it as a stepping stone to a higher profile job.  Should they opt for Alexa there is always the chance that when Erin Andrews ages a few years FOX will throw her over for someone like Alexa just as they recently tossed off Pam Oliver for having the audacity to become 43 years old.

If SNY takes the conservative route and selects Gelbs – no such concern.

We should know in a few months as to who will be our next Kevin Burkhardt.

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To our readers: This article was inspired by a suggestion from my son Brandon.  Brandon lives and works in the city of Philadelphia – in fact his house is about two miles from Citizen Bank Park. I’m sure you join me in saluting Brandon and all the other Mets fans in this country who work and gather intel in hostile foreign cities like Philly.  I’ve had the chance to watch him walk the streets of that city proudly wearing his custom designed red-with-white-lettering cap with the NY logo prominently displayed.  He never takes any flak over it since the cap is the appropriate color and, heck, they’re Philadelphians.

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