Mets Merized Online » Mets News & Notes http://metsmerizedonline.com Thu, 26 Feb 2015 23:14:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.5 Grapefruit League Week One Pitching Assignments http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/grapefruit-league-week-one-pitching-assignments.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/grapefruit-league-week-one-pitching-assignments.html/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 22:29:02 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=175278 degrom matz harvey

The Mets announced the pitching assignments for week one of the Grapefruit League season.

March 4: Dillon Gee, Jon Velasquez in relief

March 5: Bartolo ColonGabriel Ynoa in relief

March 6: Matt HarveyNoah Syndergaard in relief

March 7 (SS): Jacob deGromMatt Bowman in relief

March 7 (SS): Steven MatzRafael Montero in relief

March 8: Jon NieseTyler Pill in relief

March 9: Zack WheelerCarlos Torres in relief

Spring Training Broadcast Schedule

All of the televised Mets games will be in Port St. Lucie and begin at 1:10 p.m.

MARCH
6 Tigers, SNY
7 Braves, PIX11
8 Red Sox, PIX11
9 Marlins, SNY
12 Nationals, SNY
13 Braves, SNY
14 Nationals, PIX11
17 Marlins, SNY
19 Astros, SNY
20 Cardinals, SNY
22 Yankees, SNY
24 Astros, SNY
28 Nationals, PIX11
30 Marlins, SNY

APRIL
1 Cardinals, SNY

Let the games begin!

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Injury Update: Duda Won’t Swing Bat For Another Week http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/injury-update-duda-wont-swing-bat-for-another-week.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/injury-update-duda-wont-swing-bat-for-another-week.html/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 18:43:42 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=175141 lucas duda hr

In his daily briefing with reporters on Thursday, Mets manager Terry Collins said that Lucas Duda will need at least another week before he starts swinging a bat again.

The Mets first baseman is trying to recover from a left oblique strain that was initially supposed to sideline him for 2-3 days.

Duda has been able to participate in running and fielding drills, so I’m sure it’s nothing to worry about and that the Mets are just being extra cautious.

February 24

First baseman Lucas Duda has mild right oblique strain, the team announced. The injury will keep him from swinging a bat for 2-3 days. He was able to participate in fielding drills this morning.

Adam Rubin added that Terry Collins speculated Duda probably “overdid things.”

The manager noted that he showed up at the Mets’ spring-training complex on a Sunday a month ago and found Duda in the cage swinging.

“He’s going to start hitting in two to three days and everything is going to be fine,” Collins said Tuesday afternoon.

Update: Lucas Duda just told reporters that he received a cortisone shot for the oblique strain and hasn’t been swinging a bat for a couple weeks. A fact that Terry Collins failed to mention when he briefed reporters, or was completely oblivious to.

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Ike Davis Still Has Dirty Taste In His Mouth http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/ike-davis-still-has-dirty-taste-in-his-mouth.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/ike-davis-still-has-dirty-taste-in-his-mouth.html/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 17:54:34 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=175262 ike-davis-mlb-oakland-athletics-workout-850x560

In an exclusive interview with Andy Martino of the Daily News, former Mets first baseman Ike Davis still has a bad taste in his mouth from his time in New York.

Nearly a year removed from New York, he can now acknowledge several hard truths: His Valley Fever returned last spring, which was not previously known (Davis feels much better now, he says, but his 2014 Mets physical revealed the issue had once again appeared on his lungs). The ankle injury in 2011 altered the course of his career. And he was deeply hurt by a 2012 report suggesting that the Mets took issue with his nightlife habits.

“That’s really the only thing that I still have a dirty taste in my mouth about. Because everything else, you could see it in numbers. What, am I going to argue? I didn’t play well. But as far as calling me out for drinking problems, and being a bad influence — that was a joke. It’s ridiculous. But you can use it as a learning experience: You can’t trust people.”

The perception followed Davis when the Pirates acquired him last April, and his manager Clint Hurdle raised the issue.

“Clint asked me about it when I first got over there,” Davis says. “I was like, ‘I don’t know what to tell you, but a guy made up an article.’

“He was like, ‘I heard you’ve had issues.” And I was like, ‘Issues with what? I’ve never gotten in trouble. I’ve never gotten in a fight. I’ve never done anything to anyone. Yeah, I’ve gone out and had beers and stuff, but who hasn’t done that?’ I don’t know why I got singled out.”

Davis, 28, is expected to get the majority of playing time in a first base platoon for the Oakland A’s this season. The former first round draft pick says he’s healthy now and is hoping to resurrect his career as a power-hitting middle of the order hitter.

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Harvey Tentatively Scheduled To Pitch March 6th Against Tigers http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/harvey-tentatively-scheduled-to-pitch-march-6th-against-tigers.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/harvey-tentatively-scheduled-to-pitch-march-6th-against-tigers.html/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 15:43:28 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=175211 MLB: Oakland Athletics at New York Mets

A team source told Adam Rubin of ESPN New York that Matt Harvey is tentatively scheduled to make his first spring training appearance on March 6 when the Mets take on the Detroit Tigers at Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie.

The game will be broadcast on SNY and would be Harvey’s first live game action since August 24, 2013.

Harvey To Face Live Batters On Friday

So far it’s been all good news for Matt Harvey. His confident demeanor coupled with some impressive bullpens and workouts has everyone at Port St. Lucie coming away impressed.

“It doesn’t look like he’s missed much of a beat,” manager Terry Collins said. “You watch the command of his fastball and working both sides of the plate like he hardly has missed anything.”

On Tuesday, the team took off the kid gloves and Harvey was given the okay to start throwing sliders and curves, one of which Collins saw and exclaimed it was ”stinkin’ dynamite.”

Harvey, who turns 26 next month, will now face his next challenge on his comeback trail. He is expected to throw live batting practice to hitters on Friday, according to Marc Carig of Newsday.

It’s the moment the Mets ace has been waiting for, and you can bet that all Mets brass from Fred Wilpon on down will be on hand to gauge the results.

Harvey was having an incredible breakout season in 2013 before a torn UCL shut him down. He went 9-5 with a 2.27 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 157 ERA+ and 191 strikeouts against just 31 walks in 178 1/3 innings pitched.

It’s those huge numbers that have his teammates and coaches salivating at the thought of a playoff contending season for the Mets in 2015.

If Harvey comes close to replicating his former production, he gives the Mets one of the most formidable starting rotations in the National League if not all of baseball.

So far, his rehab and comeback has been nothing short of remarkable. So much so that Sandy Alderson suggested that Harvey could throw as many as 200 innings in his first season back from Tommy John surgery.

Im so excited at the thought of seeing Matt Harvey back on the mound again and overpowering hitters as he once did.

I’m crossing my fingers that he’ll pitch one of the games in the opening series against the Nationals in Washington. When I see Harvey dropping that hammer curve and striking out the likes of Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth, I’ll know that everything is alright and that the Mets are going to have a very special season.

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Murphy Wants To Stay With Mets, But Extension Seems Unlikely http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/murphy-wants-to-stay-with-mets-but-extension-seems-unlikely.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/murphy-wants-to-stay-with-mets-but-extension-seems-unlikely.html/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 15:05:34 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=175252 daniel murphy

Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy told reporters that he has not had any talks with the Mets regarding a possible contract extension. Murphy, who is a free agent after the season, said he would like to remain with the Mets and hopes the team will speak with his agents.

“I’ve always been open to an extension. I’ve never approached the blessing of playing in the big leagues with thinking I need to maximize every single dollar I can get out of this game. I’ve made a whole bunch of money already.”

“As of right now I’m a Met for this year, for sure, love to be here in the future, but that is way in the future.”

According to Mike Vorkunov of NJ.com, Murphy does not believe he’s pricing himself out of the Mets’ range, as he pointed to the free agent deals the Mets have tendered Michael Cuddyer, Curtis Granderson and Bartolo Colon the last two offseasons.

Murphy, who turns 30 in April, will earn $8 million in what could be his final season with the Mets. An All-Star last season, it will be interesting to see how the Mets will handle the situation with the very popular Murphy this year.

With Dilson Herrera waiting in the wings, will they look to trade him before the deadline or ride the whole season out and risk not having anything to show for him when he heads to free agency?

Will the Mets gamble and make him a $16 million dollar qualifying offer after the season, an offer which Murphy may very well accept?

It’s certainly one of the many storylines to keep an eye on this season for the Amazins.

Murphy did say he would be willing to talk to the Mets about an extension during the season, but he prefers not to answer questions about it.

“The organization has a direction, just because I’m not locked up to a multi-year extension doesn’t mean I’m not part of that direction right now,” Murphy said.

“I am a part of what’s happening right now in 2015 which is exciting and which is what I think myself and the organization and everyone in that locker room is more concerned with.”

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Mets Aren’t The Only Ones In Division Touting Playoffs http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/mets-arent-the-only-ones-in-division-touting-playoffs.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/mets-arent-the-only-ones-in-division-touting-playoffs.html/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 02:28:16 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=175209 bryce harper

The Mets aren’t the only ones in the division talking about stacked rotations, October baseball and winning a championship. On Wednesday, Bryce Harper of the Nationals did some touting of his own.

“It’s absolutely stupid how good our staff is. To add a Cy Young, to add a guy that’s unbelievable in the postseason — if you have to go into a five-game set in the postseason, looking ahead like I told you I wouldn’t, but if you have to go into a five-game set against a team, you’re going to have to face Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister, Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg. I mean, good luck. Because that’s insane.”

“I’m going to bring back a title to D.C. no matter what. And I’m getting chills thinking about it.”

I noticed most of the odds makers updated their baseball futures this week and I thought I’d take a look.

terry collins

Current MLB futures with sportsbooks are giving the Mets +2500 odds to win the World Series and +1200 to win the NL Pennant in 2015.

It’s a slight improvement from January and the over/under has also increased from 81.5 to an even 82.

Straight up odds for the Mets to win the World Series remained at 28/1 ranking 17th overall among all MLB teams, and remaining ahead of the Miami Marlins and New York Yankees who are at 33/1.

Of course the Nationals are the odds-on favorite wherever you look, but the Mets continue to keep improving ever so slightly.

I would love to see the Mets open the season in Washington by taking at least two of the three games. You don’t normally label a series in April as must-win, but considering what’s at stake and how the Mets need to break the stranglehold the Nationals have placed them in the last three years, a series win would make a huge statement for New York. Whatever the matchups end up being, they should all end up being epic pitching matchups and fun to watch.

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Collins Denies Retirement Talk http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/collins-denies-retirement-talk.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/collins-denies-retirement-talk.html/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 17:02:59 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=175184 New-York-Mets-Terry-Collins

According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, two people close to Terry Collins suggested that the Mets manager could retire at the end of the 2015 season regardless of how good or bad the year plays out.

Collins, who turns 66 in May, denied he would retire at season’s end and conceded that while managing is difficult, he didn’t know why his friends would say that.

“I’ve really enjoyed it here, had a great time,” he continued. “I get up in the morning, and you better be ready for a challenge every day in New York City. It seems like there’s a fire you’ve got to put out, some place. You get ready for the day. You get ready to compete.

“When you get to be my age, at the end of every year, you’ve got to take a look at the big picture and where you are,” Collins said. “How’s your health? A lot of things are contingent on that, for sure.

“I’m fine. I’ve been great. At the end of every year, it’s like anything else. It’s hard. It’s a hard job. So, you’ve got to take a little time to recharge the batteries. That’s why this winter has been a little bit tough, because of my dad’s stuff. But when you come into spring training and you see the faces of those kids in that clubhouse, it gets you going again.”

“If we have a good year, I would love the opportunity to come back and do it again,” he said.

Earlier this month, Mike Puma of the New York Post said manager Terry Collins is on the hot seat.

“Though the Mets have holes, most notably at shortstop, Collins is expected to keep this crew in contention for the entire season. So if the Mets are sitting seven or eight games below .500 on Memorial Day, Collins could be a goner.”

Back in September, Andy Martino of the Daily News wrote that while Collins does has his backers in the organization, it’s now very clear he has his detractors as well. Not everyone supported Sandy Alderson’s decision to bring him back for the 2015 season.

We can all agree that Collins’ role in his first few seasons was to play caretaker as the Mets slashed payroll and focused on rebuilding. However, 2015 is the season when the Mets are expected to become relevant again and contend for a playoff spot. If the Mets get off to a slow start, the calls for Collins’ to be axed could quickly overshadow what is supposed to be a very promising season.

Furthermore, if the Mets are struggling to stay at .500 by May, it will bring Alderson’s judgement into question for retaining Collins, especially if the team he put together severely under-performs.

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Last Year’s Demotion Was A Wake Up Call For Travis d’Arnaud http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/last-years-demotion-was-a-wake-up-call-for-travis-darnaud.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/last-years-demotion-was-a-wake-up-call-for-travis-darnaud.html/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 14:00:33 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=175134 travis d'arnaud hr

Travis d’Arnaud recently discussed his up-and-down 2014 season with Bill Madden of the Daily News. The 26-year old catcher talked about his demotion to the minors and the adjustments he made after being called back up to the majors.

“It was a wake-up call,” d’Arnaud said. “It definitely humbled me. It taught me that nothing is given to you and you have to work for what you want.”

“I wasn’t myself,” he said of those first three months last season. “I was timid at the plate and I let that affect my defense. But when I got down to Triple-A, George Greer, the hitting coach, noticed right away I was standing too far off the plate and as a result I couldn’t reach any of the pitches on the outside half. He moved me closer, and everything seemed to come together again. I was myself again.”

He also said in the interview that simplifying his approach and being more aggressive at the plate helped fuel his turnaround. Travis batted .265 with 7 home runs and a .787 OPS during the second half.

Despite his inconsistent season, d’Arnaud seems confident that he can carry over his second half success into this season.

“I feel so much more relaxed and physically stronger, and confident in that I can swing harder. That’s what (Barwis’ workouts) do for you.”

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Mets Notes: Rafael Montero Odd Man Out, Collins Misses Eric Young Jr. http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/mets-notes-rafael-montero-odd-man-out-collins-misses-eric-young-jr.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/mets-notes-rafael-montero-odd-man-out-collins-misses-eric-young-jr.html/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 12:00:28 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=175171 rafael montero

Terry Collins pretty much ruled out any chance of Rafael Montero winning a job in the bullpen if Dillon Gee goes untraded.

“I’m not sure where Raffy would fit in that bullpen coming out of spring training. If Dillon is there, we’ve only got one more spot left, and you might go with a little more experienced guy at the start of the season.”

As it stands now, Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia, Vic Black, Carlos Torres, Josh Edgin and Dillon Gee would occupy six slots with the last spot going to a second left-hander. For now Rule 5 selection Sean Gilmartin seems to have a leg up on the job.

* * * * * * * *

Not sure what to make of this, but after Terry Collins began raving about Ruben Tejada for the third straight day, he was asked to explain why he kept bringing him up everyday. Here’s what he said:

“I’ve been sitting here supporting Ruben Tejada pretty much every day since last year. And if he wouldn’t have shown up until today, Wilmer Flores would have been the shortstop, pretty much.”

“Look, he did what I asked him to do — ‘All right, you’ve lived up to your side of the bargain, I’ll live up to mine.”

* * * * * * * *

Collins lamented on Tuesday that the Mets will miss Eric Young Jr., who signed a minor-league contract with the Atlanta Braves late in the offseason.

Referring to Young’s speed, Collins said, “We don’t have anybody to make up for that. We’ve just got to do a better job of running the bases, taking those extra bases — first to third, those types of things — that help you score extra runs.”

* * * * * * * *

Hindered by his wild throwing to bases, the Mets will work hard with reliever Jeurys Familia this spring. The Mets also want Familia to throw more four-seam fastballs, which gives hitters something else to consider.

* * * * * * * *

Reliever Bobby Parnell is scheduled to throw in the bullpen and pitch to hitters this weekend. As with Matt Harvey, Parnell is coming back from Tommy John surgery. Parnell could throw to hitters on Thursday.

* * * * * * * *

Position players will take physicals today and will not work out. Pitchers are scheduled for a light day and all action at Mets camp is expected to wrap up early.

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Granderson Sets A Positive Tone, Believes Mets Can Take Back New York http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/granderson-sets-a-positive-tone-believes-mets-can-take-back-new-york.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/granderson-sets-a-positive-tone-believes-mets-can-take-back-new-york.html/#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2015 16:38:08 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=175132 curtis granderson

I read yesterday that the Mets full squad was already in camp on Monday, two days before the mandatory reporting date. I don’t know what that means in the grand scheme of things, but I think it says a lot about the makeup of the team and their commitment. I really like the mix of players that Sandy has put together. It’s a young team with some key veterans that have a lot to prove, and they’re all saying the right things.

It looks like everyday one of the Mets’ veteran players meets with reporters and gives his take on the team and discusses expectations. We heard from David Wright on Sunday, Michael Cuddyer on Monday, and today Curtis Granderson took his turn with reporters.

Granderson said that this is the year, he believes, the Mets can surpass the Yankees and take over New York.

“I think we’re primed and ready for it,” Granderson said. “We got a lot of guys that are in position to do it. Obviously the Captain who’s been there, who’s been the face of the organization and very known not only in New York and baseball but everywhere in the world in general. Then you got a guy coming back that everybody’s excited to see in Matt Harvey. Then you got some new emerging faces such as Juan Lagares, got a Gold Glove which speaks for itself. Lucas Duda with 30 home runs. Michael Cuddyer who has been able to adapt both in the American League and the National League.”

“And you mix into that everything and anything else that has been talked about, there are a lot of positives going on looking at this 2015 season and I’m excited to see what we can do for this season.”

I love Granderson’s attitude, and even when he was slumping last season, he never let it negatively impact the team. He told reporters that it doesn’t matter where Terry Collins bats him this season, because no matter what he will do his best to succeed.

“It really doesn’t matter too much to me,” Granderson said. “I’ve enjoyed the two-spot. That’s always been a cool one for me. I also led off for a majority of my career, which has been cool. I’ve batted near the bottom of the lineup. I’ve batted somewhere in the middle. For me, it’s always just taking a look at the lineup card every day, just to make sure I don’t get in the wrong spot, because over the course of my career it’s always changing. And I don’t see that being any different coming into this season, especially with the guys we have in this lineup. There’s a lot of flexibility.”

Speaking of flexibility, Collins said yesterday that he wants to get John Mayberry Jr. in the lineup as much as possible when the Mets are facing a left-hander. That doesn’t necessarily mean Lucas Duda will slide into a platoon role. Collins tossed out the idea of having Mayberry replace Granderson against some lefty pitching too.

As for all the playoffs talk in camp, Granderson took a sensible approach saying it’s great to see these young kids talk about these lofty goals and expectations, but in the end they’re going to have to produce at a level that will get the team there. He is most excited about the team’s pitching and all the young arms, but understands that the offense must do a better job of producing and he believes they will.

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Mets Strongly Considering Zack Wheeler For Opening Day Start http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/mets-strongly-considering-zack-wheeler-for-opening-day-start.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/mets-strongly-considering-zack-wheeler-for-opening-day-start.html/#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2015 11:45:48 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=175126 zack wheeler

According to Mike Puma of the New York Post, while much can change over the next six weeks, the Mets are strongly considering Zack Wheeler for the Opening Day start at Washington on April 6, according to a club source.

Terry Collins spoke glowingly about Wheeler on Monday in this report by the Daily News.

“He really grew up in the last year,” said Terry Collins. “What he did in the second half, he amped his game up. He started to feel comfortable. He always had that kind of stuff, but he started to realize ‘I am good enough to pitch here.’ When he started to really realize it and what it would take, his game changed.

“I think Zack Wheeler is gonna have a big season,” the Mets manager said.

After going 3-8 with a 4.45 ERA in his first 16 starts of 2014, Wheeler went 8-3 with a 2.71 ERA in his final 16 starts.

Wheeler comes into spring knowing he must cut down on his pitch count — his 4.17 pitchers per plate appearance was the second highest in the majors among qualified pitchers.

I don’t know why this is even being discussed when we still have six weeks to see who steps up and earns the Opening Day start. Although I’d love to know why Wheeler and not Jacob deGrom?

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About Those “Take The Damn Thing” T-Shirts (Updated) http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/take-the-damn-thing.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/take-the-damn-thing.html/#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2015 11:28:32 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=175078 take the damn thing

A quick update to this t-shirt story from the Daily News.

1. The shirts just showed up in the players lockers this week.

2. The Mets players said they had absolutely nothing to do with them.

3. Daniel Murphy, who was wearing the shirt, said he just found it in his locker. “I don’t even know what it says,” Murphy said looking down. “What does that mean?”

So for those of you who had asked if this was a player thing, it’s definitely not.

February 23

I just read this post on MetsBlog where Matt Cerrone reports (via Robert Brender) that the Mets are going to distribute a team-issued t-shirt that reads, “Take The Damn Thing,” alluding to the Mets winning a pennant.

“The Mets are getting hammered by hosts and callers this morning on MLB Network Radio. It’s only going to get worse when outside media and other team’s fans get wind of the t-shirt.”

Cerrone also writes:

“In the opinion of MLB Network Radio host Steve Phillips, based on his experience working for the Mets, these sort of statements are a coordinated effort by the team’s media, marketing and communications department.”

“According to Phillips, the team often agrees on a message they want to push in Spring Training. It’s possible the manager is let in on it, from which players may pick up on it as well, but the front office is almost always involved from the start of the process.”

Geez… It’s always something…

I don’t mind the players getting excited and talking playoffs, in fact I love it. But if this is all a coordinated effort by team marketing officials in conjunction with the front office??? Hmm… I don’t like the smell of that…

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MMO Mailbag: What’s The Deal Between Terry Collins and Wilmer Flores? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/mmo-mailbag-whats-the-deal-between-terry-collins-and-wilmer-flores.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/mmo-mailbag-whats-the-deal-between-terry-collins-and-wilmer-flores.html/#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2015 10:57:43 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=175096 Terry Collins

Peter S. asks…

Does Terry Collins have a problem with Wilmer Flores? He often throws him under the bus and goes out of his way to constantly rave about Ruben Tejada every chance he gets. Does he know that Flores speaks and reads perfectly good English and that he probably knows all this stuff Collins keeps saying about the shortstop situation? I feel bad for Flores because his own manager isn’t even in his corner.

Joe D. replies…

There’s no way for me to accurately answer your question because nobody knows what’s going on in that head of Terry Collins.

I recall him showing up at the Winter Meetings in San Diego and during a press conference he said Flores wasn’t the team’s shortstop yet. I thought that was an odd thing to say at the time because the front office had recently shared some glowing reports on Flores’ offseason progress.

“As I sit here today, I’m not going to name Wilmer Flores just yet,” Collins said. “Ruben promised me he’d be at the fitness facility in January to get ready for spring training which I think would be a huge benefit for him.”

“He’s 25,” Collins said. “It would be one thing if he was 31 or 32 and maybe on the downside of his career, but he’s right in prime time. What we saw at the end of last season is the Ruben Tejada we know he can be, tremendous defender, great arm. He hit for more power than we expected, but he’s doing that by design.”

Those comments created such a stir that Sandy Alderson felt compelled to meet with reporters later that night and shoot down what Collins said about Tejada.

Alderson went onto say that Flores would be the Mets starting shortstop.

During his first meeting with reporters at the Mets spring training complex last week, Collins again suggested that Flores was not the shortstop yet and that Tejada could still win the everyday job at short.

“I’m going to give him a fair amount of chance to win that shortstop job,” Collins insisted.

“I’m not going to say that Wilmer Flores won’t be the shortstop. I’m not saying that,” the manager added. “All I’m saying is I’m giving this other guy a chance because I know two years ago I had some coaches on this staff, who are still here, that thought this guy was going to be an All-Star, especially offensively.”

Collins also paid Tejada a compliment telling reporters that he’s in camp before the mandatory reporting date. Flores however, has spent almost the entirety of his offseason completely focused on preparing to be the team’s shortstop. As one beat writer put it, he’s been hard at it since the end of last season.

On Monday, Collins tossed infield prospect Matt Reynolds into the shortstop competition and pledged to give him plenty of time at short once Grapefruit League games begin March 4. Sandy Alderson is already on record as saying that Reynolds would begin the year in Las Vegas and that he still has some things he needs to work on.

Flores knows what Collins has been saying, telling beat writers he’s read all the reports this Winter. For the most part, he has been taking it all in stride. However, Flores finally spoke up yesterday.

“Everybody has their own opinion about every guy and about every player,” he said. “Just wait until I play, until I play the season. We’ll see how it goes. I’m ready to take this job and I’m ready to fight.”

“I thought I did a pretty good job last year at short,” Flores said. “I was better than I thought I was going to be. I feel pretty good. I feel fine at short.”

Getting back to your question, it appears to me that Collins would prefer anyone as his shortstop but Wilmer Flores and I don’t know why. It’s just my opinion based on how I’ve perceived the many statements Collins has made on the matter.

I could be wrong, but there’s just so many instances of this going back to April of last year when after Wilmer Flores hit a game-winning grand slam, Collins said in the post game, “It’s not like he hit it off of Cliff Lee.” That comment still bothers me almost a year later.

But you know what, it doesn’t really matter what Terry Collins says. In the end it’s Sandy Alderson who calls the shots – especially when it comes to who is the starting shortstop. It’s just a shame that there seems to be such a huge disconnect between Collins and the front office when it comes to Wilmer Flores.

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Gee Expresses Frustration At Going To Bullpen http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/gee-expresses-frustration-at-going-to-bullpen.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/gee-expresses-frustration-at-going-to-bullpen.html/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 19:47:02 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=175091 dillon gee

Dillon Gee expressed some disappointment at the prospect of potentially heading to the Mets bullpen to start the season. In an interview with NJ.com beat writer Mike Vorkunov, the veteran righthander shared his thoughts.

“I feel like I should be starting somewhere,” Gee said. “I think my record and stuff have proven that I could be a starter in the big leagues. So to be sent to the bullpen this early in my career when I could be getting on another role. I’ve pitched well — before I got hurt last year I was pitching extremely well. I’d say it’s just frustrating to know that I could be in the bullpen where I definitely could be starting, a starter still.”

The Mets tried unsuccessfully to move Gee this offseason, but the front office did not find any of the offers for Gee to be satisfactory.

“I think I can still succeed as a starter. It’s frustrating in that regard. If I stay on this team then obviously, number-wise, something is going to have to happen. I’m going to do the best I can wherever that is.”

The 28-year old Gee was told to prepare as a starter this Spring by Terry Collins, but then on Saturday the Mets manager confirmed that Gee would go to the pen if he’s still on the team come Opening Day.

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Michael Cuddyer On Injuries, Coors to Citi, Troy Tulowitzki http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/michael-cuddyer-on-injuries-coors-to-citi-troy-tulowitzki.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/michael-cuddyer-on-injuries-coors-to-citi-troy-tulowitzki.html/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 17:13:19 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=175085 michael cuddyer

The prize of the Mets offseason, Michael Cuddyer, took some time to speak with reporters on a variety of topics:

On Going From Coors to Citi

“The last transition taught me that your approach can remain the same,” Cuddyer said. “No matter what ballpark you’re playing in, as long as you keep that same hitting approach, you can take that approach that I’ve been able to hone to pretty much any stadium in the big leagues. Now, are some balls going to leave the yard? Are some balls going to fall in? You play in so many different parks, that’s the nature of the beast.”

On Troy Tulowitzki

“Whether or not they eventually trade him, I don’t know,” Cuddyer said. “Nobody in baseball has a player like Tulo except for the Colorado Rockies. In my opinion you never let a guy like that go. I’m also not a front-office guy. I don’t know the payrolls in and out, the ins and outs of rebuilding and that nature. I don’t know and I don’t pretend to know.”

“He’s a great player, and he’s tenacious out there on the field. He has no interest in anything but winning. I think that type of player and that type of attitude is a fit everywhere, not just here with the Mets. I don’t know if that trade to the Mets will ever come to fruition because I don’t know if the Rockies will ever trade him. If I was the Rockies, I never would.”

Being Injury Prone

Cuddyer again downplayed playing in only 49 games last season with Colorado. He said his non-displaced shoulder fracture was a fluky thing during a rare appearance at third base. His arm was in a sling while healing and he could not do much general athletic work. He unwisely rushed back from the shoulder injury and jumped into the lineup and injured a hamstring.

Read more on ESPN New York.

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The Forgotten Man: Jonathan Niese http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/the-forgotten-man-jonathan-niese.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/the-forgotten-man-jonathan-niese.html/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 14:30:01 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=175057 As I scrolled through my daily Mets spring training content, something hit me: Where the heck is Jon Niese?

There are so many storylines in camp this year. You have the returning super-star Matt Harvey, the reigning Rookie of The Year Jacob deGrom, and the fire-baller on the verge of breaking out Zack Wheeler. These three have demanded most of the coverage so far in Port St. Lucie. The rest of the coverage dedicated to the Mets pitching staff is centered around Dillon Gee, the trade rumors surrounding him and his feelings about possibly being pushed into a bullpen role.

But don’t worry everyone; Jon Niese is alive, well and ready for another solid season. Niese provides a consistency that the Mets brass have come to expect even during this recent dark age of Mets baseball.

jon niese

It’s hard to believe Niese, now 28 years old, is entering his 8th year in the majors, all wearing orange and blue. Since his debut in 2008, Niese hasn’t dazzled anyone. He never blew batters away with 95 MPH fastballs. He doesn’t have a 12-6 curve in his arsenal that breaks the knees of the leagues most feared hitters. What he does have is a consistency that Mets fans, as well as the front office, appreciate and respect.

Niese has averaged a 12 wins a year and a 3.87 ERA along the way during his seven-year major league journey. He averages 34 starts a year during that time and 204 innings pitched per year, both above league average. Last year, Niese ranked 54th in the majors in innings pitched with 187.2. Additionally, Niese being a southpaw makes him all the more valuable in the Mets rotation.

He has quietly blended into the rest of the Mets pitchers not named Harvey, DeGrom, Wheeler, Syndergaard, Gee or Matz as far as headlines are concerned.

Health problems have been a factor in Niese’s major league career. “He’s gone through MRI’s the way his teammates go through sunflower seeds,” Marc Carig said in an article in Newsday.

“I haven’t been this confident in my arm in probably three years,” Niese told Carig on the first official day for pitchers to report to Port St. Lucie. Niese participated in the Mike Barwis conditioning program during the offseason, joined by many fellow teammates and prospects. He hopes that the work he put in will limit his time on the disabled list in 2015 and maximize his time on the mound.

“I’ve never worked out like that in my whole career,” Niese said to Carig about the conditioning program. It’s hard to put into perspective the importance of Niese’s positivity concerning his body, given where he was this time last year.

Last spring training, Niese suffered an array of setbacks including soreness in his elbow, which delayed his progress and eventually forced him to begin the year on the disabled list. Niese, eager to get back on the mound, returned after a week, which was probably a bit to soon. Niese suffered shoulder pain shortly after, which persisted into July, forcing him to miss more time.

However, Niese was solid when he was on the mound, posting a 3.40 ERA in 30 starts and also cutting his walk rate to a career-low 2.2 per nine innings.

Niese’s name has circled the rumor mills during this offseason. The Mets surplus of young, under-contract fire-ballers and the southpaw’s team-friendly contract ($7 million in 2015 and $9 million in 2016, with team options for 2017 and 2018), it is easy to see why Niese was a prime trade candidate.

However, reports have indicated that Dillon Gee is be pushed on the trade market as the season gets closer. Alderson failed to move Gee during the winter and has indicated possibly moving the starter to the bullpen if he isn’t moved before then.

What does this all mean for Niese? Nothing out of the ordinary. His job is safe for now in orange and blue as he is part of one of the most dynamite young staffs in all of baseball. With less pressure on his shoulders, Niese can be primed for an above-average year in the middle of the Mets rotation.

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David Wright Notes: Health, October Baseball and The Future http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/david-wright-notes-health-october-baseball-and-the-future.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/david-wright-notes-health-october-baseball-and-the-future.html/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 13:00:01 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=175052 wright

Although the Mets position players are not due to report to Port St. Lucie until February 24th, David Wright is already putting in work on the field and talking to the media. He sat down for about 25 minutes on Sunday with various members of the media to talk about his shoulder, his expectations for the season, playoff baseball and more.

Here are a few key points extracted from his interview with ESPN’s Adam Rubin:

  • Wright commented on his shoulder, saying “It’s not something i’m worried about at all.” Wright missed significant time last season because of stretched out ligaments in his non-throwing shoulder that he suffered sliding head first into a base. He also noted that “I guess you really don’t know until you play games,” in reference to the strength of his shoulder at the present time.
  • Wright admits that at age 32, it is unrealistic for him to play in all 162 games this season. He understands that his body needs rest sometimes and he will not fight Terry Collins on the issue when it comes to giving him some off-days.
  • “Talk is cheap,” Wright said when it comes to speaking about October baseball, especially in February. “It’s about backing it up.”
  • The captain noted that he may not have ever before been a part of a team with such a strong pitching staff. He also drew comparisons of the Mets current bullpen to that of the 2006 playoff team.

Avery’s Thoughts:

I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say that there is more weight on David’s shoulders than ever before. Between the young flame throwers in the rotation, the dynamic role players in the pen, and a mix of young guys and veterans in the lineup, this is the best team David has been on in the last handful of years. There is a lot of expectation of this team making a potential playoff push, at least for a Wild Card. The team, the fans and the front office expect this team to be playing meaningful games in September.

In order for this to happen, Wright must be a new man from the one we saw on the field last year. Fans can blame the shoulder injury for the captain’s woeful season, but Wright won’t use that as an excuse. Wright batted .269/.324/.374 last year while batting eight home runs and driving in 63. That is just not the level of production that is going to carry this team to October baseball.

The pitching is there. Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Jacob DeGrom present one of the youngest and most dynamic front-three in all of baseball. The real question is whether the offensive will be able to support it. Bringing in Michael Cuddyer was really the only offensive-minded move Sandy Alderson made this summer and this points to one thing: the front office expects the offensive improvements to come from within. They expect Granderson to not have as slow a start as he did last year. They expect Lucas Duda to continue has power surge while increasing his production against left-handed pitching. While playing stellar defense, the Mets hope Juan Lagares can become a viable top of the lineup hitter that can swipe some bases. And Cuddyer, they hope will be the hitter that one the batting title in 2013.

However, it also starts and ends with Wright. I think it will be smart to give him his days off when he needs them, but he really needs to get into a grove early this season and stay healthy. Especially during the opening stretch of the season when the bulk of New York’s games will be divisional match ups.

All in all, I am excited about the potential of this season. I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that this season feels different. There seems to be some magic building and some pieces are finally taking form. That being said, the Mets have a ways to go.

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PSL Notes: Flores vs. Tejada, Matz and Harvey Impress, Good Vibrations http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/psl-notes-flores-vs-tejada-matz-and-harvey-impress-good-vibrations.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/psl-notes-flores-vs-tejada-matz-and-harvey-impress-good-vibrations.html/#comments Sun, 22 Feb 2015 18:14:43 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=175048 ruben tejada

According to Mike Puma of the New York Post, Terry Collins refused to say that Wilmer Flores is his starting shortstop and told reporters that he has challenged Ruben Tejada to win the job.

Collins said that as far as he’s concerned, shortstop is a wide open competition this Spring. “I’m going go to give him [Tejada] a fair amount of chances to win that shortstop job.”

I’m sure Collins is only trying to create some competition with so few spring training battles heading into camp. It’s too early to read into these comments by Collins and it’s pretty clear that Flores is the team’s shortstop.

daniel murphy

While Terry Collins spends the next few weeks trying to determine who will bat leadoff between Juan Lagares and Curtis Granderson, he’s also tossing around the idea of bumping Daniel Murphy from the two hole and batting him lower in the lineup. Collins sees Murphy more as a No. 6 hitter, where he potentially could drive in more runs.

“A lot of times hitting in that two hole you’re asked to execute some things instead of just being a pure hitter,” Collins said after Saturday’s workout. “With the pitcher hitting where he hits, sometimes you come up with not a lot of guys on. And I think if we put Dan in a situation where there are guys on base, the fact that he is such a good offensive player, he can produce some more runs for us.”

Jeff Roberson Associated Press  steven matz

Pitchers all threw side sessions from the six pack this morning with lots of raves for Steven Matz who unleashed a wicked curve, and Matt Harvey who threw his first slider and then a curveball that Collins referred to as “stinkin’ dynamite.”

Mazzoni, deGrom, Syndergaard, Niese, Leathersich, and Edgin all had throwing sessions today.

Wright, Granderson, Cuddyer and Nieuwenhuis all took turns in the batting cage and launched some bombs for onlooking fans.

It was another good day at Port St. Lucie where things remain upbeat and positive. The kids are all having fun and there seems to be some great chemistry in camp in the early going. It’s all good in the hood…

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The Mets Have Playoff Fever http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/the-mets-have-playoff-fever.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/the-mets-have-playoff-fever.html/#comments Sun, 22 Feb 2015 11:43:49 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=175031 collins harvey wright

At first it was just a few guys back in November, right after the Mets signed Michael Cuddyer. The team jumped out of the gate and quickly signed the right-handed bat they were looking for. Suddenly you had David Wright, Terry Collins and Matt Harvey talking “October baseball.”

As the weeks and months rolled on others would chime in like Zack Wheeler, Lucas Duda, and Jenrry Mejia, even as the Mets offseason came to a complete standstill.

Yesterday Juan Lagares and Wilmer Flores got into the act as well. Travis d’Arnaud told Kevin Kernan of the Post, that the confidence level is high for everyone at Mets camp, and that he and his teammates are all planning on going to the postseason in October.

“One hundred percent,” the Mets catcher said. “I have my best friend’s wedding and I don’t know if I’m going to make it. Sorry, dude.”

Reigning rookie of the year Jacob deGrom didn’t back away from the playoffs discussion either. “It’s exciting. There’s a lot of hype around the team right now and we know that.”

“We definitely want to live up to it. We want to make the playoffs and win a World Series. So it’s going to be an exciting year.”

“What I’ve been impressed is the way our players are approaching this season and the confidence level they apparently have,” said Mets GM Sandy Alderson.

“Is the team capable of winning 89, 90 games? Yeah, I think the team is capable. I think it has that capacity, that potential. We’ve just got to go out and do it.”

The Mets are “absolutely,” a playoff team, Terry Collins said Saturday.

He cites the emergence of Lucas Duda, Jacob deGrom, Juan Lagares and Travis d’Arnaud last season, and believes that coupled with the healthy returns of Matt Harvey, Bobby Parnell and David Wright, the Mets should be playing well into October.

“We have very, very good pitching, so we should match up against a lot of teams. Now we’ve just gotta go play. It’s all about execution… If we play up to expectations, with the caliber players we have, we should be there.”

Time will tell if this team is as good as they think they are, but I don’t have a problem with seeing our players exude some confidence and project a little swagger as we head into a new and promising season. In fact, after years of negativity  I find it rather refreshing. Let’s hope all this enthusiasm can translate into some positive results on the field.

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Six Things We Learned From Terry Collins On Saturday http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/six-things-we-learned-from-terry-collins-on-saturday.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/six-things-we-learned-from-terry-collins-on-saturday.html/#comments Sat, 21 Feb 2015 18:07:45 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=175009 terry collins

1. For weeks Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins have been suggesting that Matt Harvey would be held back at the start of the season so he could pitch the home opener at Citi Field on April 13 against the Phillies. But while speaking to reporters today at Tradition Field, Collins said he has every intention of pitching Harvey in one of the first five games of the season, perhaps even the season opening series against the Nationals in Washington.

This is big. It would be great to see Harvey pitch one of the games in the opening series against the Nationals. It would be a bold move.

2. Collins does not intend to have Matt Harvey skip starts this season. Instead he may occasionally limit him to five innings to ease the workload. On Friday, sandy Alderson said the gloves are off and Harvey could pitch 200 innings including the playoffs.

Something’s changed with regards to how the organization now views Harvey. After months of innings limits plans, mid-season shutdown, skipped starts, etc., it now appears that he will not be babied and that they are ready to let Harvey do what he does best with little if any limitations.

3. Terry Collins also said that if Dillon Gee is not traded and all six starters are still here at the end of camp, Gee will likely be the one who goes to the bullpen.

No surprise here, Gee makes the most sense as far as going to the bullpen as a spot starter and long reliever.

4. Speaking of the bullpen, Collins said he still wants Bobby Parnell to prepare to be the team’s closer. But if Jenrry Mejia thrives as the closer to begin the season, he will remain the closer when Parnell is ready to join the team. Additionally, while he prefers to have two lefty relievers, it’s not a big deal if they go with just one.

Now this was interesting. His stance on Mejia as a closer is a complete reversal of what he’s been saying for most of the last four months. Glad to see he came around on this.

5. Collins told reporters that who bats leadoff is still up in the air, but that it most likely comes down to Juan Lagares or Curtis Granderson whom he believes is still a good option. Still, he adds that it’s too early to worry about who bats where.

I’m not sure Granderson’s numbers can hold up in the leadoff spot. They certainly didn’t last year. Meanwhile if nothing else, Lagares added some spark to the top of the order during the last six weeks of last season. He got on base at a better clip and we also saw him utilizing his speed.

6. Terry Collins believes he has himself a playoff team, telling reporters, “It’s time.”

I agree, it’s time. Go out and do it now…

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