Mets Merized Online » Mets Thoughts http://metsmerizedonline.com Tue, 21 Feb 2017 01:19:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.18 So You Think You Know The Mets: Distinguished Service Honorees http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/so-you-think-you-know-the-mets-distinguished-service-honorees.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/so-you-think-you-know-the-mets-distinguished-service-honorees.html/#comments Sun, 19 Feb 2017 16:00:04 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=231301 joan payson art shamsky tom seaver

It would be an easy task for most Met fans to run off a list of the Top 10 Mets of All-Time if I asked them, and for the most part each top ten list would look remarkably similar – give or take one or two names.

However, what about some of those players who grinded it out season after season for the Mets and essentially flew under the radar because they were simply overshadowed by some of the bigger names for most of their careers? I’m talking about those long-time Mets we grew up rooting for, many of whom became our favorite Mets?

You’ll need to remember some of these distinguished service Mets to complete today’s quiz in which we ask you to name the 11 players who played 10 or more seasons with the Mets. You have Two Minutes and Last Name Only is fine. Ready… Set… Go…

Spoiler Alert: Avoid Comments Until You Play Quiz

 

 

homer the dog

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The Curse of the Mets’ Opening Day Starter http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/the-curse-of-the-mets-opening-day-starter.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/the-curse-of-the-mets-opening-day-starter.html/#comments Sun, 19 Feb 2017 15:00:53 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=231294 noah syndergaard

There was little surprise when Terry Collins announced that Noah Syndergaard would be the Mets Opening Day starter for the 2017 season.  And not just because he was the one Met who survived the attrition of the 2016 season; he was dominating throughout the year, and no game was ever too big for him.  While I am curious why he felt the need to add close to 20 pounds of muscle and hope it does not impact his health during the upcoming season, he was quite simply the one dominant and healthy ace we had on a team that was supposed to be full of aces last year.

We need Noah this year, not only to help propel us to first place in the National League East but to break a curse that has gone back seven years. Because the when Noah takes the mound on Opening Day he will be the 7th starting pitcher we have had open the season in seven years…and for most of them, it was either the beginning of the end of their Mets career or just a disappointing season all around.

Mike Pelfrey

Going all the way back to the bleak year of 2011 (we were coming off a 79-83 2010 season, a fourth place finish and pretty non-competitive year) Mike Pelfrey took the ball opening day. Mike had had a pretty solid 2010, with 15 wins, but that was his last taste of success with the Mets, as he finished the 2011 season 7-13 with a 4.74 ERA and before you knew it he was pitching for the Minnesota Twins in 2013.

In 2012 we handed the ball to the Johan Santana who limped through the last year of his career with only six wins, but one of them was on June 1 and was the only no-hitter thrown in Mets’ history. Did the impact of the 134 pitch night really end his career or was it just coincidence? Regardless, he was nowhere to be seen for the start of the 2013 season and hasn’t pitched in a major league game since.

jon niese

In 2013, Jon Niese was asked to take the hill on opening day.  Like Mr. Pelfrey two years earlier, he was coming off the best season of his career, winning 13 and pitching to a 3.40 ERA. While he still pitched fairly well the next season (his ERA bumped up to 3.71) he managed to win only 8 games. In fact, he never won double digits again.

The cavalcade of mediocre starting pitchers opening the season continued into 2014 when Dillon Gee took the mound. Again, Gee was coming off a career best season when he pitched to a 3.62 ERA and had 12 wins. But the curse continued, and Gee followed this with a seven win effort in 2014, and seven starts into 2015 he had thrown his last pitch as a Met.

bartolo colon

Of course 2015 is the one year the curse was defied. Why? Because Bartolo Colon started opening day that year and he can do anything. Win 15 games at 43? Check. Be the oldest player to hit his first home run, a moment Gary Cohen called “one of the greatest moments in baseball history”?  Check. And defy the curse of the opening day starter, winning 14 games in 2015 helping us stay afloat till our magical September and postseason run? Check. Remind me again why isn’t he a Met in 2017? It’s rhetorical question, I know why.

Then 2016 was supposed to be different. Because we were going to break the new opening day starter every season run. Matt Harvey, the Dark Knight, was going to take the mound, and like Tom Seaver and Dwight Gooden before him, it was time to start a new certainty; death, taxes, and Harvey dominating opening day for the foreseeable future. It wasn’t to be; the curse reared its ugly head and Harvey finished a disappointing year with 4 wins, a 4.86 ERA and major surgery.

And so we look to end this run with Thor, the Norse deity tasked to stop what even the Caped Crusader could not. Hopefully Noah will start a run of dominating opening day starts (and dominating seasons) that lasts well into the future…a la The Franchise.

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A Day At Tradition Field In Pictures http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/a-day-at-tradition-field-in-pictures.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/a-day-at-tradition-field-in-pictures.html/#comments Sat, 18 Feb 2017 01:39:52 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=231339 amed rosario

New York Mets pitchers and catchers have now been in camp for six days and here I will show you some of my best pictures from the week. Above is the infectious smile of the Mets top prospect Amed Rosario. He’s been working hard this offseason and even added some upper body strength.

ben rowen

Look at that release point from the new Met submariner Ben Rowen. The Mets brought in the 28-year old righty on a minor league deal this offseason to give the team some depth in what will be a long 2017 season.

seth lugo

Seth Lugo enters camp this year with a much different opportunity than he did in 2016 as he fights for the fifth starter spot with Zack Wheeler and Robert Gsellman.

Jerry Blevins

The veteran left-hander Jerry Blevins returned to the Mets on a one-year deal with an option right before camp started. He looks to be the Mets #1 lefty option in bullpen again this season.

Tomas Nido

The Mets top catching prospect Tomas Nido is in big league camp for the first time this spring after being added to the 40-man roster this offseason. He won the Florida State League batting title in 2016 when he hit .320 for the St. Lucie Mets.

marcos molina

Mets pitching prospect Marcos Molina that was also added to the 40-man roster this offseason to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. Molina had Tommy John surgery in 2015 and returned to the mound in the Arizona Fall League this past season.

noah syndergaard matt harvey

If Matt Harvey returns to form he could combine with ace Noah Syndergaard to provide one of the best top of the rotations in all of baseball.

Kevin mcgowan

Meet Mets right-handed relief prospect Kevin McGowan - who had a breakout season after switching from a starter. The hard-throwing 25-year old impressed the Mets enough to get an invite to big league camp despite starting the 2016 season with the St. Lucie Mets.

jacob degrom

Jacob deGrom looks to bounce back from what could be seen as a down year for him with a 3.02 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. Since making his Major League debut on May 15, 2014 he has the sixth best FIP (2.89) among starters in baseball.

steven matz

Here is the Long Island Lefty Steven Matz trying to contain his laughter after letting a a ball get by him from his catcher. The 25-year old southpaw says he feels great and will begin his third big league season with a 3.16 career ERA.

All pictures were taken by MMO Photographer Ed Delany who you can follow on Twitter at @Ed880.

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Remembering Gary “Kid” Carter http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/remembering-gary-kid-carter.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/remembering-gary-kid-carter.html/#comments Thu, 16 Feb 2017 18:30:35 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=231272 gary-carter mets

Five years ago today, this world lost an amazing person. Known not just as a great ball player but an even better man, Gary Carter lost his battle with brain cancer on February 16, 2012.

Given the nickname “The Kid” for his shear joy of the game, Carter was known for his big infectious smile that could light up Shea Stadium. Even his Hall of Fame plaque shows him with a nice big grin. Carter is remembered for the kid like energy he provided on the field every game.

Carter was an 11-time All Star, a 3-time Gold Glove Award winner, and a 5-time Silver Slugger Award winner. And in my opinion one of, if not, the best catchers of all-time.

He hit his way into Mets fans hearts right away. In his first game as a Met in the 1985 season opener, it was a 5-5 game in the top of the 10th inning. Carter stepped up to the plate facing Neil Allen with no men on base. Allen hung a curve on the first pitch, it hung up there for Carter, and he put it over the left field fence.

Carter pumped his arms as he rounded the bases, and as he was mobbed at home plate by his teammates, he was serenaded by a packed Shea Stadium to chants of “Gary! Gary!” He provided many more exciting moments throughout his career.

One moment Carter is most famously known for is his role in the 1986 World Series. He had a career year that season finishing 3rd in the NL MVP ballot, behind Mike Schmidt and Glenn Davis. In the World Series, Carter made his presence felt with a two homer game in Game 4, and of course his two hits in Game 6.

Known for famously saying, “I will not make the last f’kng out of the World Series,” Carter sparked a two out rally leading to a Mets win and ultimately a come from behind World Series Championship. Carter provided some amazing and unforgettable moments on the field.

The reason people loved Gary Carter so much is because of the man he is. Carter was a man first, and a baseball player second. Gary made an impact on a countless number of lives not only on, but also off the field.

In 1989, Carter won the Roberto Clemente Award for a countless number of contributions off the field. He was the founder of the Gary Carter Foundation, which helps better the physical, mental, and spiritual well being of children.

He also raised funds and helped spread the awareness of causes of leukemia, and juvenile diabetes. Amongst a number of other things, Gary was involved in the Autism Project of Palm Beach County. Gary Carter was a great man both on and off the field.

Carter’s teammate Darryl Strawberry said of him, “I wish I could have lived my life like Gary Carter… He was a true man!”

Gary Carter lived a Hall of Fame life. He had a Hall of Fame career and was a Hall of Fame man. The Kid will forever be in the hearts and memories of baseball fans all over the world. His passion, leadership, and sheer love of the game will never be forgotten!

We Miss Ya and Love Ya Kid! RIP Gary Carter.

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Visualizing Noah Syndergaard’s Fastball http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/visualizing-noah-syndergaards-fastball.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/visualizing-noah-syndergaards-fastball.html/#comments Thu, 16 Feb 2017 15:00:00 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=231176 noah syndergaard 2

Late last season, Noah Syndergaard told the world he wanted to throw harder in 2017. I think most of us took it as a form of bravado, maybe a little machismo, mixed with some tongue in cheek humor. As it turns out, Noah was dead serious, and he’s put on 17 pounds of muscle to help him on his way to adding a tick to his already ridiculous 98 mph fastball.

You’ve seen a lot of analysis into his comments and weight gain already this week, I particularly enjoyed Eno Sarris’ look into Syndergaard’s Weight Change in Context. I’m a visual learner, though. The numbers and explanations are great, but I want to see how he compares to the rest of the league.

First, I need a visual backdrop to help set the scene. In the Pitch Stats section of my website I have an embed Tableau sheet depicting the major league average swinging strike rates with respect to spin rate, x coordinate, z coordinate, and pitch velocity.

Here, I’ll be using the velocity table. It looks something like this.

empty

This chart looks a lot like a map, with the blue area’s looking like sea and the green like land. That wide blue area in the middle is the Sea of Fastballs, as you may notice going forward.

On this chart, darker shades of green represent higher swinging strike rates, while deeper shades of blue represent lower swinging strike rates. Gray regions are roughly average, and the blank white areas are unmapped (contain no data). If you go to the Tableau Viz, you can click on each box to see more information, such as the number of fastballs/breaking balls/off speed pitches land within the box zone, the number of swinging strikes, etc. I encourage you to play around with that tool, it is fun to look at.

The average major league fastball is 91.8 mph, with a spin rate around 2220. The standard deviations are 2.9 and 200 respectively.  I have mapped this average fastball onto this chart and color coded it roughly in conjunction with the standard deviations. It isn’t exact, but they are pretty close.  (Frankly, I was running out of time and this plot was taking longer to make than expected).

andrew-gif-1

That white section there highlights the average fastball, it sits between 90 and 94 mph (91.8mph average) and 2000 and 2400 rpm (2220 average). The white section contains 50% of the fastballs thrown between 2015 and 2016. As you move out, redder areas represent above average fastballs, and bluer areas represent below average fastballs. Combined, the shaded areas contain 99.7% of the fastballs thrown between these two seasons.

Okay, now that we have some frame of reference, let’s take a peak at Noah Syndergaard.

thor4

Syndergaard’s fastballs live in the southern part of the Sea of Fastballs, nestled up to the Cape of Good Cheese. This section of the sea ranges from 7.2% to 11.5% swinging strike rate, which, and this isn’t any sort of measurement but moreso a feeling I get looking at the numbers, the average is probably somewhere around 9%, judging by this chart. Using a more scientific method (using the gameday stats), the actual rate turns out to be 9.5%. So the chart got us in the right ballpark.

PS, you may get different numbers from Brooks Baseball, this chart was made using Gameday.

Here’s the money shot, I’ve created an overlay of Noah Syndergaard’s fastball and the average fastball.

adrew-gif-2

Noah Syndergaard’s fastball is towards the extreme high end of fastball velocity, obviously. It sits around 97.8 mph, which is ridiculous. The spin rate, though, is more mundane, and actually below average. The average spin rate is 2220 rpm, and Syndergaard’s is instead 2174. Not terrible, but not otherworldly by any stretch of the imagination. It is somewhat odd, though, generally the highest velocity fastballs have the highest spin rates. Generally, not always. But preferably.

I mentioned Syndergaard’s fastball is nestled up against the Cape of Good Cheese. I mean that, you want to live on that Cape, it is the home of the best fastballs in the game. Syndergaard is tantalizingly close, but not quite there. He can jump on the southern tip by picking up a few miles per hour on his fastball, which is something he apparently feels inclined to do.

More realistically, and also much more valuably, he could add spin rate. Adding 200 rpm could increase his expected swinging strike rate by 50%, perhaps even 100%. That would put him in the same camp as Aroldis Chapman (100.6 mph, 2508 rpm, 19.2% SwStrk%), Dellin Betances (98 mph, 2448 rpm, 12.5% SwStrk%), and Craig Kimbrel (97.7 mph, 2458 rpm, 12.5% SwStrk%).

Alright, well, spinrate is a buzzword recently, and saying that on its own isn’t particularly useful.  So, I’ve created pitchfx movement chart.  The x axis shows inches of x movement (left and right), and the y axis shows inches of z movement (up and down). In this chart, darker green represents higher batting average, and deeper blue represents lower batting average.  You’ll see three different color regions. These are the most common movement combinations, and account for about 70% of each pitcher’s fastballs. Noah Syndergaard is Red, Craig Kimbrel is Purple, and Aroldis Chapman is Orange.

thorpfx

Note, Chapman is left handed, so you need to remember his results need to be mirrored to account for this.

Compared to Syndergaard, Chapman’s fastball has about two more inches of drop and two more inches of ride. Kimbrel has about two more inches of drop, but the same amount of ride. Granted, these guys have different release points, grips, and mechanics, but it appears the 200 rpm that separates Syndergaard from these guys manifests itself as about two inches of movement, which can be ride, drop, or both depending on your mechanics.

Two days ago, Pete McCarthy had a 26 minute interview with Rick Peterson, much of it about Syndergaard. I encourage you to listen to it, it’s very enlightening and gives some great perspective on the game. Early in the interview Pete asked, and I am paraphrasing here, “Is Noah on the short list of pitchers with the best stuff?”  Rick said “No, it’s the only.” Meaning, in Peterson’s eyes, Noah Syndergaard is the only pitcher in major league baseball that has this sort of raw talent. To describe what he means, maybe we should take a step back and think about music for a moment.

Imagine the best singers you have ever heard. Perhaps Whitney Houston, who is acclaimed for her 3+ octave live concert vocal range. The truly great singers are able to carry through a song, seamlessly transitioning between the high and low notes and in doing so they engross us with the emotion and feeling of the song. Whitney Houston’s Super Bowl National Anthem is a great example.

The power in this performance comes from her ability to move from the dulcet lower tones to the powerful mids and emotional upper registrar. She begins the song with a lower voice, matching the emotional of the room, fans sitting in their seats just waiting for the game to begin, but by the end people are on their feet and fired up. This is one of the most powerful National Anthems in memory because she used every tool in her disposal to fire up the crowd and create a genuinely great performance.

This is what Rick Peterson means when he says Syndergaard is in a league of his own. Syndergaard has the unique ability to effortlessly range from low to high velocities. From fastballs to changeups to curveballs to sliders. He can throw anything at any time at any speed to any part of the plate.

Syndergaard can throw a 95 MPH fastball, a 94 MPH slider, an 84 MPH curveball, and a 102 MPH fastball all in the same at-bat. No other pitcher in the game can do this. Syndergaard is unique, and I, like Rick Peterson, hope he learns to take full advantage of his natural gifts. With little more than a slight change in pitch sequencing, he could become one of the greatest pitchers who ever lived.

At the moment, it appears, Noah is focusing on velocity. Which is unfortunate. The data suggests, if anything, spin rate would be a more valuable addition.

Finally, in case you’re curious, here are all of Syndergaard’s pitches mapped on this chart.

Syndergaard3

Black = Fastball, Red = Slider, Blue = Change-up, Orange = Curveball.

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That Time Jose Reyes Was Almost Traded For Roberto Alomar http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/that-time-jose-reyes-was-almost-traded-for-roberto-alomar.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/that-time-jose-reyes-was-almost-traded-for-roberto-alomar.html/#comments Thu, 16 Feb 2017 13:30:46 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=231125 cabrera reyes

The Roberto Alomar trade stands out as one of the worst in Mets history for a litany of reasons.

A classic “He was good until he went to the Mets” player, Alomar had made 11-straight All-Star teams at the time of his trade before the 2002 season. He was the Hall of Fame headliner of a group of big-ticket acquisitions that included David Justice (for about a week) and Jeromy Burnitz. This trio was supposed to bring the Mets back to the World Series after a disappointing 2001 season.

Those three names contributing to a pennant sound absolutely ridiculous now, but it sure didn’t 15 years ago. Maybe it should have, though, because none of them lasted with the Mets, and the team went 75-86 in 2002. Alomar was the poster boy for this group; he was gone from the team by 2003 and out of baseball altogether by 2004.

Despite the Alomar trade’s failings, the Mets really lucked out in that they didn’t give up anyone substantial to get Alomar. They traded Alex Escobar (Their top prospect at the time, who never materialized), Matt Lawton, Jerrod Riggan, Earl Snyder and Billy Traber. The only player from that bunch that ever did anything big was Lawton, who made one All-Star team but never did much else.

Thus, this trade isn’t usually put into the same category of atrocity as the ones that sent Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver or Scott Kazmir away.

But this trade did almost fall into that category. General manager at the time Steve Phillips offered the Indians an 18-year-old minor league shortstop by the name of Jose Reyes in the trade. Yes, that Jose Reyes. So if you thought the Alomar trade couldn’t have gone worse for the Mets, you are sadly mistaken.

According to a 2007 New York Post article, Phillips gave Cleveland the option of taking Reyes instead of Escobar. The Indians opted to take the highly-touted Escobar instead of a largely unproven teenager who had just two minor league seasons and had never been past Single-A.

Former Indians GM Mark Shapiro probably wishes he could have that one back. Escobar played just 74 games for the Indians, and Reyes played, well, a lot more games than that for the Mets. Imagine how much more hated Alomar would be among Mets fans had they ended up trading Reyes for the big-time bust at second base.

They should consider themselves even luckier that they held on to their No. 7 prospect that year, per Baseball America. He turned out to be a guy named David Wright. Maybe the Roberto Alomar trade wasn’t as bad as you thought it might have been, if you consider the alternatives.

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Should Mets Plot New Course For Captain To Help Him Last The Season? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/should-mets-plot-new-course-for-captain-to-help-him-last-the-season.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/should-mets-plot-new-course-for-captain-to-help-him-last-the-season.html/#comments Wed, 15 Feb 2017 21:00:19 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=230763 david wright

Nine at-bats. Over David Wright‘s 13-year career with the Mets, he has only pinch hit nine times. Not shocking for a player that was once a perennial All-Star, but this shows that despite his injury history David Wright either starts or sits.

It is no secret that Terry Collins has a tough task ahead in trying to find playing time for all of his infielders. David Wright, if healthy, will be the starting third baseman because of his track record and more importantly his salary. Still, based on production alone it would be a hard to decide who would be the best fit to start at third base, David Wright, Jose Reyes, or even Wilmer Flores.

Wright had a rough go of it last year. Injuries kept him off of the field for all but 37 games. With 55 strikeouts in 164 plate appearances, Wright hardly resembled his old self. One could argue that his best attribute for the team is his leadership. It is crucial to the Mets’ success that their captain is with them for the entirety of the season. While it seems like a longshot that he can maintain his health, the best way to keep him on the field and off of the disabled list is well apportioned rest.

Before Wright got hurt last year the Mets were 28-19. In those 47 games, Wright started 36 times and pinch hit once. At that rate over 162 games, Wright would have started about 125 games last year. Coming into 2017, playing Wright that much is too ambitious of a strategy for someone with spinal stenosis and is also coming off neck surgery.

The Mets should strongly consider primarily bringing Wright off of the bench to pinch hit in clutch situations, specifically against lefties. Keeping Wright off of the field defensively will be the best way to preserve his career. Ideally he would become a designated hitter, but since this is not possible pinch hitting is the next best thing. There will be an adjustment period to learning how to get his body ready to come off the bench, but it has to be better for his back than all of the time spent at third base where sudden movements can cause injury.

With Jose Reyes being the team’s best lead-off hitter, the drop off in production would not be great if there is even a drop off at all. Wright should still start against all left-handed pitchers, and if available he can start all 10 games as a DH during interleague play. Last year the Mets faced a left-handed starter 37 times. With a few other starts throughout the year this could give him around 50 starts. If he can stay healthy and is frequently used as a pinch hitter, Wright would be looking at around 250 to 300 plate appearances. This is a realistic number that would keep him fresh and available throughout the year and into October.

The reality is depth at third base is no longer a problem for this team. Between Jose Reyes, Wilmer Flores, and even T.J. Rivera lurking in the minor leagues, the Mets have a plethora of suitable options that could play third base every day. David Wright will probably be remembered as the greatest position player in franchise history. Because of that he deserves the right to play everyday and he is most likely going to get that opportunity. Still, the most important thing is to keep the captain in the clubhouse, and playing off the bench would be a great way to do that.

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Erik Goeddel Healthy After Surgery To Remove Bone Spur http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/erik-goeddel-healthy-after-surgery-to-remove-bone-spur.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/erik-goeddel-healthy-after-surgery-to-remove-bone-spur.html/#comments Wed, 15 Feb 2017 13:30:56 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=231179 erik goeddel

According to MLB.com’s Anthony Dicomo, Mets reliever Erik Goeddel has reported to camp fully healthy and will resume a normal throwing schedule as camp processes. Goeddel underwent surgery in October to remove a bone spur in his pitching elbow.

Goeddel called the diagnosis “a relief,” as he is currently competing for one of the final three bullpen spots for the 2017 ballclub. Goeddel, Josh Edgin, Josh Smoker, Paul Sewald, P.J. Conlon, and Ben Rowen amongst others are competing for the final three spots.

The operation helps provide the Mets with an explanation as to why Goeddel’s performance declined from a strong 2015 season to 2016. In 2015, Goeddel had a 2.43 ERA in 33 innings. He struck out 34 batters and allowed only 9 earned runs. He struck out 9.0 batters/nine innings. In 2016, his ERA spiked all the way up to 4.54, as he allowed 18 runs in 35 innings. He was able to strike out 9.1 batters/nine innings.

If Goeddel were to return to his 2015 form, he would prove to be a very reliable piece of the Mets bullpen in 2017, especially with the uncertainty surrounding Jeurys Familia.

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Moving From Denial To Acceptance Of Jay Bruce As A Met http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/moving-from-denial-to-acceptance-of-jay-bruce-as-a-met.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/moving-from-denial-to-acceptance-of-jay-bruce-as-a-met.html/#comments Tue, 14 Feb 2017 17:00:38 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=231035 jay-bruce-2

If you went into hibernation this winter and set your alarm for the day that pitchers and catchers arrive, you’d probably be surprised to see that Jay Bruce is penciled in to be the Mets everyday right fielder. Or that he’s even still on the team at all.

Most Mets fans clamored all winter for the front office to trade Bruce, and were left disappointed with the news that he would be kept and starting for the Mets in 2017. Even as rumors of what he might bring back to the Mets plunged from a stud reliever to minor leaguers to basically just cash, few people wanted Bruce on the team after his mostly nightmarish two month stint with the Mets last season.

Now that the “trade Bruce” ship has sailed, at least for now, and spring training is fast-approaching, it’s time to convince ourselves that retaining Bruce is not the worst thing in the world for the Mets. It’s not necessarily even a bad thing.

For one, Jay Bruce is proven commodity. Sure, some of what he’s proven is a propensity to strike out a ton and an inability to get on base, but he’s also consistently been among the league leaders in run production. Just last season Bruce hit 33 home runs with 99 RBI and a .506 slugging percentage, placing him in the top 30 in all three categories among all MLB players.

Bruce may very well be on the decline, but he’s played in at least 137 games since 2010 and is still just turning 30 years old, younger than everyone in the Mets projected starting lineup other than Travis d’Arnaud. And a middle of the order featuring Bruce and Yoenis Cespedes has the potential to be downright scary for opposing pitchers.

By contrast, the player Bruce is displacing in the starting lineup, Michael Conforto, is about as big of an unknown as it gets. Conforto showed immense promise in his 2015 rookie stint, quickly becoming a fan favorite. But even the biggest Conforto fan, myself included, has no idea what to expect from him after an extremely disappointing 2016 season. Even with Bruce blocking him, Conforto figures to find plenty of at bats this season given the ages and injury histories of the Mets other outfielders.

If Conforto bounces back, as we all hope happens, the Mets will find themselves with a good problem to have: too much depth. Which brings me to another reason why keeping Bruce for now makes sense – they can always trade him later.

The offseason trade market for Bruce was sparse, given the plethora of outfielders available. Any deal would likely have netted the Mets pennies on the dollar. But that should change during the season, particularly if Bruce is healthy and hitting for power early on. Bruce and his reasonable one year, $13 million contract could be a hot commodity at the trade deadline and make Sandy Alderson look smarter than us for being patient, once again.

Like it or not, Jay Bruce will likely be the Mets starting right fielder in April. He may thrive in his first full season as a Met, like Cespedes, or downright fail, like Jason Bay. But even something in between would be a positive for a team built to win in 2017.

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So You Think You Know The Mets: I Am Iron Man http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/so-you-think-you-know-the-mets-i-am-iron-man.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/so-you-think-you-know-the-mets-i-am-iron-man.html/#comments Tue, 14 Feb 2017 15:26:54 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=231136 iron man

This week we’re going to ask you to name our All-Time Mets Pitching Iron Men – that is the 12 starting pitchers who have logged 1,000 or more innings while with the New York Mets.

The pitcher at the top of this exclusive club has logged an amazing 3,045.1 innings, a true Iron Man to say the least among the dozen or so of his other notable nicknames.

You have three minutes as always. Good luck, everyone.

Spoilers Alert!

Don’t look at the comments until you play the quiz. 


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How Have Things Changed Since Zack Wheeler Last Pitched? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/how-have-things-changed-since-zack-wheeler-last-pitched.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/how-have-things-changed-since-zack-wheeler-last-pitched.html/#comments Tue, 14 Feb 2017 15:00:19 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=231029 zack wheeler

One of the Mets’ bigger storylines this spring training season will undoubtedly be the return of Zack Wheeler. The former top prospect underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015, and has missed each of the last two seasons. If it seems like he hasn’t pitched in forever, that’s because he hasn’t. And boy, have things changed since he last suited up.

If he does return to the mound this year, he will pitch for a much, much different Mets team than he last pitched for in 2014, but just how much has it changedt?

Here was the lineup for the last game he pitched on Sept. 25, 2014, against the Nationals:

1. Eric Young Jr.- LF
2. Daniel Murphy- 3B
3. Eric Campbell- RF
4. Lucas Duda- 1B
5. Wilmer Flores- 2B
6. Curtis Granderson- CF
7. Anthony Recker- C
8. Ruben Tejada- SS
9. Zack Wheeler- P

Daniel Murphy at third base, Eric Campbell in right field and batting third, Anthony Recker behind the dish, even Eric Young Jr. in left field are all things of the distant past. Other long-gone Mets who made appearances in that game include Bobby Abreu, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Josh Satin.

But that’s not all. Here are some other noteworthy tidbits that show just how long it’s been since the Mets got their #WheelzUp (That was the team’s hashtag for Wheeler starts, in case you didn’t remember. Never really caught on like #HarveyDay did):

Yoenis Cespedes was playing for the Red Sox. He had just been traded to Boston in a trade that sent Jon Lester to the A’s. Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz were both in Triple-A, neither of whom had yet to see an inning in the Major Leagues. Michael Conforto was playing for the Brooklyn Cyclones. Jenrry Mejia was the team’s closer– and a pretty good one too, yet to fail a PED test.

Rafael Montero was the Mets’ third-best prospect as ranked by Baseball America, just behind Syndergaard and Travis d’Arnaud. Jacob DeGrom was No. 10. Matt Harvey was coming off the best year of his career in 2013 after which he both finished 4th in Cy Young voting as well as went under the knife with Tommy John surgery. Lastly, the Mets hadn’t been to the postseason since Carlos Beltran took strike three looking.

So, yeah, it’s been a while since Zack Wheeler last pitched. Hopefully for the Mets’ sake, he can still realize the potential that he showcased in the past. It was only a couple of years ago that he was the Mets’ top prospect, ahead of all of the guys currently in the rotation right now. The potential is still there, so we’ll see if his health can allow it. Otherwise, he’ll be relegated to a 2014 Mets memory with Dice-K and Bobby Abreu, and nobody wants to see that.

Thoughts From Logan Barer:

Looking back at that 2014 team that went 79-83, it is almost impossible to imagine that the very next season the Mets would be in the World Series. Sandy Alderson and friends deserve all the credit in the universe for such a dramatic turnaround, creating such a competitive and exciting team. It will be an interesting spring watching Zack Wheeler attempt his comeback, and with his potential and elapsed time since his surgery, he is someone to watch for Comeback Player of the Year.

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Mets Spring Into Action With Hope and Excitement http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/mets-spring-into-action-with-hope-and-excitement.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/mets-spring-into-action-with-hope-and-excitement.html/#comments Sun, 12 Feb 2017 13:00:58 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=230778 spring training

Only two days ago, Mother Nature dumped about a foot of snow on New York City as temperatures dropped into the teens. But meanwhile in Port St. Lucie, Florida the sun is shining bright, the grass is green and freshly cut, and best of all baseball is officially back at Tradition Field, the Spring Training home of the New York Mets.

For the next six weeks, seasoned veterans, promising young players, and enthusiastic die-hard fans will gather at the Mets Spring Training Complex with big dreams and aspirations as they embark on a new season with the number one goal being a World Series championship.

It’s an exciting time to be a player and a fan as the front office has put together one of the most balanced teams they’ve ever had in their 55 year history. I’m not saying it’s the best Mets team I ever saw, only that this is a very balanced team and if they can stay healthy, this is also a very dangerous team. Here’s the evidence as I see it:

  • A rotation packed with five hard-throwing pitchers, each possessing ace-like upside. Noah Syndergaard in his first full season was remarkably Gooden-like, raking 3rd in ERA (2.60), 4th in K/9 (10.68), 5th in K/BB (5.06) and 1st in WAR (6.5). Syndergaard will enter the season as the young ace of a hugely dominant and extremely talented rotation if they remain healthy.
  • A starting lineup that can mash with the best of them. They hit a franchise record 218 home runs last season, and they could easily come close or surpass that mark with a healthy Lucas Duda back at first base and Jay Bruce in right field to begin the season.
  • A bullpen that was already the fifth best in baseball last season, but now start anew replacing Antonio Bastardo, Logan Verrett and Jim Henderson with Fernando Salas, Seth Lugo and one of Zack Wheeler or Robert Gsellman.

I asked a few of my writers what they were were most excited or anxious about as the Mets get ready to open camp and get ready for a new season. Here’s what they had to say:

t.j. rivera spring psl

Mike Mayer – I would say I’m more anxious than excited for the Mets to began Spring Training. I’m anxious to see if the Mets rotation will be healthy tha spring, anxious to see if Mets infield can stay healthy. Being a prospect nerd I am excited to watch guys like Amed Rosario, Dominic Smith, Champ Stuart, David Roseboom and Corey Taylor in big league camp. Today really is a beautiful day though, baseball is back and Opening Day is itching closer.

Mets Daddy – Do you know what Generation K never pitched in the same rotation? Injuries prevented that from happening similar to how injuries have prevented the Mets purported five young aces from pitching in the same rotation. This could finally be the year it happens. All the Mets need is for the four pitchers returning from surgery to withstand the rigors of this Spring Training. Another thing I’m excited to see this Spring is our top prospects. Sooner or later, Dominic Smith and Amed Rosario will be Mets. Given the serious health issues at all four infield positions, they may be playing in Citi Field sooner rather than later. These two young studs will be able to play alongside players like David Wright and Neil Walker this Spring, and learn just what it means to be a major leaguer. This will help them in their continued growth as players, and it could very well soon help them take over for the very same players who helped them.

Mathew Brownstein – As Spring Training opens, I am once again optimistic, and downright giddy over the fact that we will FINALLY get to see the full complement of our young starting rotation (barring any health setbacks). It’s amazing to consider that Met fans have never seen Harvey, deGrom, Syndergaard, Matz, and Wheeler at the same time in the rotation. With talk of Wheeler opening the 2017 season in the pen, we might have to wait on Zack rejoining the rotation until mid-season. Obviously we have seen some semblance of the full rotation last year, however, with Harvey’s early season struggles and eventual TOC surgery, and eventually losing Matz and deGrom to their own elbow surgeries, the Mets’ starting staff gets an incomplete for 2016. Hopefully 2017 is the year fans finally get to see their vaunted rotation at full strength.

lucas duda

Tommy Rothman – Right now I’d call myself anxious, but I’m hoping that turns into excitement. Either way, the guy I can barely wait to see is Matt Harvey. Will he be the disaster he was last season before the injury was disclosed, or the superstar we’re more used to seeing? For all the talk about Thor (and deGrom), Harvey has the chance to be the best pitcher on this staff. There’s plenty of room for things to swing either way here, so Matt Harvey might end up being the X-Factor, for better or worse.

Rob Piersall – As the Mets begin Spring Training and eventually the regular season, I, like many Mets fans, am anxious to see our starting rotation healthy and pitching together for the first time ever. It’s been said ad nauseam, but if our guys are in tip-top shape, we have the best rotation in baseball. That is an exciting thought in itself. Also, I think Jay Bruce is going to prove everyone wrong, so I’m excited to see him in the middle of the lineup along with our big bopper Yoenis Cespedes.

Connor O’Brien – I’m most excited to see a fully-healthy Mets rotation. The last few years, we’ve never seen it in its full form. Only Noah Syndergaard was left standing at the end of last season. I don’t expect a healthy rotation forever — there will almost always be something — but if Terry Collins can get a few healthy months from the starters, we could very well see the best starting rotation in Mets history.

Brian Greenzang – Spring Training is a clean slate of sorts for each team with so many story lines to be ironed out before opening day. I am most excited to see how the outfield situation falls into place. Do we see the Mets finally find a trading partner to unload one of their outfielders, leading to a less murky situation? How they go about handling Michael Conforto could lead to the biggest storyline throughout spring camp as he may also see some time at first base. More than anything though, I am just excited for baseball.

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Why the Mets Should Sign Kelly Johnson http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/why-the-mets-should-sign-kelly-johnson.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/why-the-mets-should-sign-kelly-johnson.html/#comments Fri, 10 Feb 2017 14:00:22 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=230856 kelly-johnson

In 2015 with the season hanging on by a thread, the Mets went out and made a couple of moves. The most notable of course was Yoenis Cespedes, however the first of those deals was to bring in utility man Kelly Johnson. Johnson was a good pickup for the Mets as he got some big hits in big spots, and hit .250/.304/.414 with five home runs and 13 RBIs in 128 at-bats. At the end of the season he signed a one-year deal to go back to Atlanta.

Then again in 2016, with the team struggling and looking for depth who does Sandy Alderson make a deal for? Utility-man Kelly Johnson. Johnson again, came in and did what was asked of him. He again picked up some big hits in big spots, helping the team make the playoffs.

One big hit that sticks out the most is against his former team in Atlanta. With the game tied at zero in the top of the 11th, Johnson came off the bench and hit a game-winning, go-ahead home run, leading the Mets offense to a win. In a total of 183 at-bats, Johnson hit .268 with nine home runs and 24 RBIs.

With the offseason quickly coming to an end, Kelly Johnson is still available as a free agent. The Mets should sign Johnson, preferably to a minor league deal if he’ll take it.

First off, Johnson was very useful with the Mets. As mentioned before, he plays just about whatever position asked of him. Also, in two seasons in New York he was pretty productive, as he hit a combined .260/.319/.440 with 14 home runs and 37 RBIs in 339 plate appearances.

Johnson is a good fit for the Mets because of that versatility as well. If you think about it, the Mets entire infield missed an extended period of time at some point last season. Johnson played five different positions for the Mets last year and played six during his 2015 stint.

In 42 pinch hit at-bats for the the Mets, Johnson has 11 hits and a whopping five of them have left the park. Also important to note, Terry Collins please listen, that the left-handed hitting Johnson has actually fared better against left-handed pitching in his career (.762 OPS) than right-handed pitching (.748 OPS).

Now Mets fans, I know you’re all saying we don’t have the room for him but hear me out. We already heard from Sandy Alderson that the plan could be to start the season with Michael Conforto in Triple-A. The Mets could option utility infielder T.J. Rivera to Triple-A as well. Yes, Rivera was solid in his brief appearance last season, but Johnson provides proven versatility and has shown in back-to-back seasons he fills this role very well in New York. Injuries will happen that surely bring Conforto and Rivera back to the big leagues at some point in 2017.

Johnson would then join a bench of Juan Lagares, Jose Reyes, Rene Rivera, and Wilmer Flores, making Kelly the fifth outfielder on the roster and a key backup for the infield as well.

Sandy Alderson, please sign Kelly Johnson.

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National League East Offseason Standings http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/national-league-east-offseason-standings.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/national-league-east-offseason-standings.html/#comments Thu, 09 Feb 2017 12:00:39 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=230626 alderson-wilpon-cespedes

Every team’s 2017 roster is almost set with pitchers and catchers coming next week. So that means that most of the offseason moves have been done, and we can finally start completely evaluating how well teams have done during the offseason.

There was no marquee acquisition in the National East this offseason, but it was far from a mundane offseason for any of the division’s five teams. So with that being said, here are the NL East’s offseason standings:

1. Atlanta Braves

Added: R.A. Dickey, Bartolo Colon, Jaime Garcia, Sean Rodriguez, Micah Johnson

Lost: Mallex Smith, John Gant, Williams PerezA.J. Pierzynski, Tyrell Jenkins

Atlanta is the only team in the division that substantially improved their team this offseason. Adding Colon, Dickey and Garcia to a rotation that already includes All-Star Julio Teheran gives this rotation a tremendous upside that could mean the Braves become the most improved team in baseball. Atlanta was 35-27 over the last 62 games of the season, so they could be a dark horse Wild Card contender this year.

2. Miami Marlins

Added: Edinson Volquez, Jeff Locke, Brad Ziegler, A.J. Ellis, Junichi Tazawa

Lost: Mike Dunn, Fernando Rodney, Chris Johnson, Jeff Francoeur, Jeff Mathis

The Marlins blew 29 saves last year, the second-most in the National League. They’ve shored up that need by adding Brad Ziegler to the back-end of that bullpen, and Junichi Tazawa should help them in middle relief. Miami has also added two serviceable starters to their rotation, and they’ve done so without losing any key contributors to last year’s team. But they will sure miss Jose Fernandez, as will every baseball fan.

3. New York Mets

Added: Ben Rowen, Tom Gorzelanny, Adam Wilk, Cory Burns

Lost: Bartolo ColonJon Niese (But is that really a loss?), James Loney (same with that one), Alejandro De Aza (and this one), Logan Verrett, and possibly Kelly Johnson

Sometimes, no news is good news. And that’s what the Mets are going to have to hope this year. They didn’t add anyone despite bringing back Yoenis Cespedes, Neil Walker, Fernando Salas and Jerry Blevins. But aside from Colon and Johnson they have pretty much every key contributor to last year’s team again this year. Everything for the Mets will rely on the rotation’s health.

4. Washington Nationals

Added: Adam Eaton, Derek Norris, Joe Nathan, Matt Albers

Lost: Wilson Ramos, Mark Melancon, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez

The only reason why they aren’t in last is because the Adam Eaton trade will definitely help them in the short term. As Mike Rizzo noted, he has a very good WAR, and has a statline a rotisserie baseball owner would kill for. Trading your top two prospects– including someone as elite as Lucas Giolito– may hurt in the long-term, but that probably won’t have much bearing this season. They also lost Wilson Ramos, who was key piece for them in 2016.

And that wasn’t even the worst aspect of Washington’s offseason. After talk arose that they were trying to trade for both Andrew McCutchen and Chris Sale, they ended up with neither. Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen both rejected them as well. In short, they got rejected more times than Beavis and Butt-Head when they glued hair to their face to get girls. No, nobody remembers that show?

But the worst part of their offseason was by far the fact that they did not add a closer. As things currently stand now, Shawn Kelley would be their closer. He has 11 career saves. The only other guy on their roster with extensive closing experience is Joe Nathan, a 42-year-old with nine appearances in the last two seasons. Outside of that, the rest of their bullpen is pretty abysmal. I wrote this article on why the 2017 Nationals look like the 2008 Mets, and as an impartial observer I must say it’s pretty accurate.

There are rumors that the Nats are in talks with the White Sox for David Robertson. If this deal were to go through, they’d probably one-up the Mets and Marlins on this list. If they don’t, it could be the undoing of their entire season.

5. Philadelphia Phillies

Added: Michael Saunders, Clay Buchholz, Joaquin Benoit, Howie Kendrick, Pat Neshek

Lost: Peter Bourjos, Ryan Howard, Cody Asche, Darin Ruf, Charlie Morton, A.J. Ellis

None of the players the Phillies acquired are particular difference makers. Michael Saunders was an All-Star last year, but he batted .201/.292/.367 after June 19. Kendrick could be a solid addition to the lineup, but he is coming off a year where he posted a career low in batting average. Buchholz, likewise, is also coming off of a down year. The Phillies are still rebuilding.

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These Are Not The Same Old Mets http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/these-are-not-the-same-old-mets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/these-are-not-the-same-old-mets.html/#comments Tue, 07 Feb 2017 15:18:13 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=230592 jerry-blevins-mets-win

After a long offseason of inaction following the re-signing of outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to a four-year, $110 million dollar deal in November, the New York Mets sprung back into action last week, re-signing left-hander Jerry Blevins and right-hander Fernando Salas to one-year deals and even adding veteran southpaw Tom Gorzelanny on a minor-league contract.

So in one fell swoop they completed their No. 2 offseason priority which was to secure two veteran arms for the bullpen. And the interesting part is that they didn’t have to trade Jay Bruce to free up the payroll dollars to get each of those deals done. It looks like the former Reds slugger will go into the the 2017 season as the de facto right fielder for the New York Mets. As Jerry Seinfeld would say, “Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”

Blevins, 33, was the biggest prize of the bullpen bounty, signing a one year deal for $6.5 million with a team option for $6 million. It’s important to remember that Blevins began the offseason looking for a three year, $19 million dollar deal, so what a coup this is for Sandy Alderson who played his hand brilliantly.

In Blevins the Mets get a sure-fire commodity who gave them a 2.79 ERA in 73 games last season, while striking out 52, walking 15, and posting a career-best 11.1 strikeout rate. Not only did he hold lefty batters to a .637 OPS for the Mets in 2016, but he was even better against right-handed batters who he held to a .611 OPS in 55 at-bats.

Salas, 31, got a one-year deal worth $3 million dollars which seems like a steal compared to some of the other deals similar pitchers have received in previous offseasons. Salas posted a 2.08 ERA and 19/0 K/BB ratio over 17.1 innings with the Mets in 2016 after coming over in a trade from the Angels at the deadline. For his career he has a 3.64 ERA and K/BB ratio of 385/114 in 388.1 innings over seven seasons.

I read a few articles elsewhere over the weekend that the Mets are “bringing the band back,” or essentially showing up with the “same old team” as last year – the one that barely scraped by and lost the Wild Card. Some people…

antonio bastardo

If you think this is the same team as last year, put down the pipe and think again. Last Opening Day we had Eric Campbell, Logan Verrett, Alejandro De Aza, Antonio Bastardo, Kevin Plawecki, and Jim Henderson in the home team dugout. A motley crew to say the least.

Those names have now been replaced with Jay Bruce, Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, Fernando Salas, Jose Reyes, and Rene Rivera. That’s quite a big upgrade. In fact, it’s actually a formidable upgrade and anyone who can’t see that really isn’t very good at baseball.

Meanwhile the Nationals… What have they done? Their bullpen is in complete shambles. Sure they got Adam Eaton, but he essentially replaces the offense they lost behind the plate with Wilson Ramos. Daniel Murphy is due for some regression, Ryan Zimmerman batted .218 last season Jayson Werth batted .244.

mets win Cespedes walker Cabrera

Look, all I’m saying is that the Washington Nationals are not exactly the unbeatable force that everyone is making them out to be. And that the New York Mets are not a team with a second place ceiling at best. And when are these so-called experts ever right anyway?

I’ve been following baseball long enough to know that there are only two absolutes in this game. Number one, nobody ever wins anything on paper. And number two, there’s no telling who lady luck will smile upon in any given season.

The way I see it, we have a tremendous team entering the new season and we have much to be excited about here. This is a significantly better group of players than the team we had on last year’s Opening Day roster. This could be the year that for the very first time we’ll finally get to see the Fab Five all taking a turn in the same starting rotation. Potentially, we could have five 25 homer bats in the same starting lineup. Last season we had the third best bullpen in baseball, this year it could be the best. This is the best team on balance that we’ve had in years. I’m really feeling it this season… This is a team every Met fan needs to get behind.

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It’s Official: The Mets Aren’t Cheap Anymore http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/its-official-the-mets-arent-cheap-anymore.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/its-official-the-mets-arent-cheap-anymore.html/#comments Tue, 07 Feb 2017 13:30:56 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=230605 alderson-wilpon-cespedes

The Mets have spent more money on major-league contracts via free agent signings this offseason than they have in any other year since 2008 – almost a decade ago and before the news of the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme wreaked havoc on the Mets ownership and thus team finances as well.

The signings of Yoenis Cespedes, Neil Walker, Jerry Blevins and Fernando Salas amount to $136.2 million, which is a major uptick in what the team had been spending in years prior. Since the “Madoff scandal” first began to impact the Mets’ payroll situation in 2011, the team has spent over $100 million on acquisitions just once: Last season. So this could be the new normal for the Mets, although nothing is ever a sure bet with the Wilpons.

Here is a list of how much the Mets have spent each offseason since 2005, when they signed Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran soon after general manager Omar Minaya replaced Jim Duquette:

2016-17: $136.2 million

2015-16: $110.5 million (Includes Cespedes and Cabrera.)

2014-15: $22.45 (Includes Michael Cuddyer.)

2013-14: $87.25 (Includes Curtis Granderson and Bartolo Colon.)

2012-13: $4.75 million (Includes Shaun Marcum and Brandon Lyon.)

2011-12: $17.8 (Includes Jon Rauch and Frank Francisco.)

2010-11: $8.05 (Includes Chris Capuano.)

2009-10: $75.35 (Includes Jason Bay.)

2008-09: $79.5 (Includes Francisco Rodriguez)

2007-08: $171.45 (Includes Johan Santana‘s $137.5 million contract extension signed after his trade to the Mets.)

2006-07: $52.38 (Includes re-signing Guillermo Mota and Orlando Hernandez.)

2005-06: $47.7 (Includes Billy Wagner.)

2004-05: $199.1

A lot of fans have criticized the Mets for spending like a small-market team. Well, it’s hard to imagine the Rays or the Athletics ponying up $110 million to keep their best offensive player. Just ask Josh Donaldson about that one.

The team has said for years that once the team starts contending, they would start spending more in accordance with that performance. It’s happening.

So, yeah. You can’t call the team “cheap” anymore, though many fans still probably will if the team struggles out of the gate.

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Noah Syndergaard: Hope Springs Eternal In 2017 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/noah-syndergaard-hope-springs-eternal-in-2017.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/noah-syndergaard-hope-springs-eternal-in-2017.html/#comments Tue, 07 Feb 2017 02:37:30 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=230723 noah syndergaard 2

Here’s a cool promo video featuring New York Mets ace right-hander Noah Syndergaard to get your baseball juices flowing as the start of Spring Training draws ever saw closer. It’s a short vignette that builds on that whole “pick yourself up and get back out there” speech your baseball coach used to give you in high school after a particularly tough loss. Check it out…

The folks at MLB Network used the words straight out of Thor’s Twitter feed following last season’s Wild Card loss to the San Francisco Giants to produce the video.

I bet Noah had no idea at the time that his tweet would become the rallying cry for a new baseball season. Syndergaard, by the way, is expected to be our Opening Day starter according to Terry Collins. Sounds about right.

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So You Think You Know The Mets: One For The Money http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/so-you-think-you-know-the-mets-one-for-the-money.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/so-you-think-you-know-the-mets-one-for-the-money.html/#comments Sun, 05 Feb 2017 14:00:56 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=230599 johan santana

I really think you’re all going to enjoy this week’s Mets Trivia Quiz. Can you name all the head coaches in the NFL that have been embroiled in more cheating controversies throughout their careers and have never lost their jobs than New England head coach Bill Belichick? Ha ha ha… Just messing with ya…. Here’s the actual question… Can you name one NFL quarterback with bigger deflated balls than Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady? Okay, Okay, I’ll stop, I’ll stop…

Last week, we remembered the anniversary of the trade that brought Minnesota Twins left-hander Johan Santana to the New York Mets on January 30, 2008. The Mets sent pitching prospects Philip HumberDeolis Guerra, and Kevin Mulvey, as well as center fielder Carlos Gomez to the Twins in exchange for the new ace of their starting rotation.

Even third baseman David Wright couldn’t contain his enthusiasm. “Wow, if it’s true, obviously, we are getting arguably the best pitcher in the game.”

Johan Santana was as good as advertised, coming in third in the Cy Young voting in his first season with the Mets, finishing first in the league with 234.1 innings pitched, 34 starts and a 2.34 ERA to go with a 1.141 WHIP, 206 strikeouts and a  - hold onto your butts – 7.1 WAR.

Unfortunately, that would be as good as it gets as injuries would begin to take a toll on the veteran southpaw and severely cut into his playing time, although when he did make it onto the mound he was still giving the Mets everything he had to offer.

Then on one incredible and magical summer night, Johan thrilled the 27,069 Met fans who were on hand at Citi Field to their wildest dreams and pitched the first no-hitter in franchise history against the St. Louis Cardinals. It happened on June 1, 2012 and everyone who was there or who watched at how will remember that moment and cherish it for the rest of their lives.

The Mets have had their share of near misses before and after, and in fact 19 different pitchers have tossed a complete game one-hitter for the New York Mets over the years. Do you think you can name all of them? You have three minutes to show me if you can.

*** Just last name will suffice!


 

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Possible Landing Spots for Juan Lagares http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/possible-landing-spots-for-juan-lagares.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/possible-landing-spots-for-juan-lagares.html/#comments Sat, 04 Feb 2017 15:30:07 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=230560 juan lagares

Pitchers and catchers may report to Spring Training in 8 days, but that doesn’t mean the time for the New York Mets to make moves is over. According to New York Post beat reporter Mike Puma, some teams may be interested in Juan Lagares. Adam Rubin of ESPN feels dealing Lagares would be tough considering his salary.

Lagares is owed $4.5 million in 2017, $6.5 million in 2018 and $9 million in 2019. The deal also includes a $9.5 million option for 2020 that has a $500,000 buyout.

Still, some teams could be a fit for the Gold Glove outfielder.

San Diego Padres

MLB.com predicts the San Diego Padres outfield to consist of Alex Dickerson, Travis Jankowski, and Hunter Renfroe. This is reminiscent of the Mets 2012-2013 offseason when the outfield situation caused Sandy Alderson to ask ”Outfield? What outfield?”

These three outfielders combine for five years of Major League experience. They also combine for 18 home runs, 75 RBI and a .251 batting average in 271 games played. What’s worse is that Manuel Margot is the only other outfielder projected to be on their depth chart. He also doesn’t bring much MLB experience as he has only played in 10 games, but is a top prospect.

There is no doubt that the Padres could use Lagares. While they probably want to avoid spending money after their spending frenzy in the 2014-2015 offseason, they will have to sooner or later if they ever want to compete again.

Detroit Tigers

The Detroit Tigers had a decent offense in 2016. They scored 750 runs which was good for 11th best in the Majors. Their corner outfielders helped contribute to that cause as Justin Upton and J.D. Martinez scored 150 runs and drove in 155 runs.

Going into 2017, the Tigers will have top-notch outfielders at the corners, but in center they will most likely have Mikie Mahtook. The former 2011 first-rounder hasn’t yet caught on in his limited time in the Majors. His stock has been dropping. And while he has played many games at center fielder, he’s really been moved all over the outfield. Starting Mahtook in center everyday, or most days, isn’t an ideal situation for the Tigers.

For a Tigers team that went 86-76 in 2016, it’s not crazy to say they can compete in 2017. An acquisition like Lagares can give them the true center fielder they need and a little bit more certainty than they currently have with Mahtook. With the offensive corner outfielders they currently have, they can afford to subtract some offense for defense.

Chicago White Sox

Similarly to the Padres, the Chicago White Sox don’t have an experienced outfield; specifically in center. The four projected White Sox center fielders by MLB.com are Charlie Tilson, Leury Garcia, Adam Engel, and Jacob May. May and Engel don’t have a Major League game under their belt and Tilson only has exactly one under his belt. Garcia has 153 MLB games played since 2013, but has only batted .188/.225/.237 with two home runs, 14 RBI, 29 runs, and 21 stolen bases.

After Adam Eaton was traded to the Washington Nationals in the offseason, the White Sox have struggled to find a worthy replacement. While Lagares’ career slash line of .259/.298/.366 isn’t as good as Eaton’s .284/.357/.414 career slash line, his defense was better than Eaton’s from 2013-2015 according to defensive WAR. Nonetheless, Eaton is off the team and Lagares would be a good fit for the White Sox with what they have now.

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Who Will Be a Casualty of the Mets’ Recent Signings? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/who-will-be-a-casualty-of-the-mets-recent-signings.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/who-will-be-a-casualty-of-the-mets-recent-signings.html/#comments Sat, 04 Feb 2017 12:30:48 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=230596 Rafael - Montero

The New York Mets bolstered their bullpen on Friday by re-signing both Jerry Blevins and Fernando Salas. The two signings though also create two spots that will need to be freed up on the 40-man roster. Who will be the casualties of these moves?

Rafael Montero:

Once a prized prospect of the organization, he has had quite the fall from grace over the last few years. Montero has not had much success at all in the majors, pitching to a 1-5 record with an ERA of 5.15 in 24 appearances, 12 of which were starts. Montero seems to be a near lock of being a roster casualty due to the recent signings.

Josh Edgin:

The team’s left-handed reliever returned to the big leagues in 2016 after fully recovering from Tommy John surgery that was performed in March of 2015. Edgin struggled in his time with the Mets this past season, pitching to a 5.23 ERA in 16 appearances. Overall though in his career he has not been too bad, pitching to a 3.42 ERA to go along with a WHIP of 1.17. It may just end up being a numbers game for the 30-year-old in being let loose from the 40-man roster.

Ty Kelly:

It is no secret that Terry Collins loves Ty Kelly, so this may be hard to believe. The Mets though could possibly let him go with two spots needed on the 40-man roster. Kelly had a so-so 2016, his first with the big league club, hitting to a .241/.352/.345 batting line with 1 homer and 7 RBI in 39 games. The team also will have a glut of position players this upcoming season with versatility, possibly making Kelly a casualty.

Sean Gilmartin:

After a stellar 2015 season, the lefty struggled mightily this past year. He pitched to a 7.13 ERA with a WHIP of 1.58 while appearing in 14 games. The prior year though had him appear in 50 games while pitching to a 2.67 ERA and a WHIP of 1.19. He also has the ability to be a good long man for the team, a spot now that we may see Seth Lugo pick up in 2017. Probably the least likely of the four listed to be moved off the roster, but still a player they may look at due to it again being a numbers game.

Of course there is also the possibility of Sandy Alderson swinging a trade to clear some space off the roster. There had been rumblings that Juan Lagares was drawing interest as of late. I am also sure no one has forgotten that the Mets have been attempting to trade Jay Bruce for the last century. A trade could be a possibility, but probably less likely at this point.

Should note that the only one of these four players that is out of options is Edgin.

It will be interesting to see how the team adjusts their roster once the signings are “official.” Who do you believe the Mets will let go due to signings of Blevins and Salas?

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]]> http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/who-will-be-a-casualty-of-the-mets-recent-signings.html/feed/ 0 2017 Mets ZiPS Projections: Breakdown and Thoughts http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/2017-mets-zips-projections-breakdown-and-thoughts.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/2017-mets-zips-projections-breakdown-and-thoughts.html/#comments Wed, 01 Feb 2017 21:49:55 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=230404 mets-wild-card

After laboring through weeks of desperate anticipation and enduring the torture of watching 27 other fan bases gleefully click onto their annual geeky and nerdy delights, it was finally our turn to open up the treasure trove that is the 2017 Mets ZiPS Projections. I couldn’t hardly wait to dig through it and sift through the incredible agony and ecstasy it was sure to provide.

For all you novices out there who still use things like calculators, Mr. Coffee and AM/FM radio, let me explain. ZiPS projections are the brain child of Dan Szymborski, self-anointed nerd of the people, who has an insanely genius appetite for statistics and baseball. Formerly of the Baseball Think Factory, his computer-based projections are now among the most popular in baseball and are prominently featured each year on FanGraphs.

You can ruminate over the full projections for Mets hitters and pitchers right here, but let me share their notes as well as my own observations followed by some from my staff.

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Hitters

Only four Mets field players recorded a WAR figure of 2.0 or greater in 2016. According to Dan Szymborski’s computer, six different Mets might be expected to reach that mark in 2017. Yoenis Cespedes (596 PA, 4.1 zWAR) receives the club’s top projection by a full win — and three of the club’s top-four forecasts overall belong to outfielders. One of those additional outfielders is Curtis Granderson (538, 2.3). The other isn’t presumptive right-field starter Jay Bruce (583, 1.2) but rather Michael Conforto (558, 3.0). Conforto, in other words, appears to be a markedly superior option.

Joe’s Thoughts…

The first thing that jumped out at me was not the 30 homers, .500 Slugging and 4.1 WAR that was projected for Yoenis Cespedes, I expected to see great numbers like that from Yo. What blew my mind was that Michael Conforto was projected to be the second best hitter on the Mets with a 3.0 WAR to go with 29 doubles, 24 homers and 80 RBI. I wish I hadn’t seen that because there’s no way in hell that Conforto gets those 558 plate appearances with Jay Bruce on the team, who by the way was the 14th ranked hitter on the Mets in WAR (1.2), just behind T.J. Rivera (1.4) and Jose Reyes (1.4). Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

I thought that Walker, Cabrera and Granderson were treated very fairly considering their ages and some regression. But you know what really bugged me and concerns me heading into this new season? The fact that we didn’t even have one of our regular hitters project to have a batting average higher than .266 (Cespedes). Couple that with all those sky-high strikeout rates and that spells trouble… The same kind of trouble we saw a lot of last season, especially with runners in scoring position.

They are also expecting a big-time regression in the form of a .316 OBP from Jose Reyes, not good if the plan is to put him at the top of the order. But on the bright side Lucas Duda had a very solid projection clubbing 20 homers, driving in 62 and posting a 123 OPS+ and .344 wOBA. I’ll take that from Duda Smash everyday plus Sundays. David Wright (.247-8-33) continues to sail off into the sunset. Fare thee well, oh Capitan.

Logan’s Thoughts…

I have always been an optimistic person, but in this case I strongly believe the Mets will hit for a higher average than these projections. Yoenis Cespedes will hit higher than .266 and have a far better on base percentage than .317. I also think Neil Walker will hit more than the projected 20 home runs and score much more than 65 runs. Asdrubal Cabrera will hit many more than 17 home runs (I’d estimate 20-25) and drive in many more than 63 runs. I like how Michael Conforto is projected to break out big with 24 home runs and 80 RBIs, however I think he will have a higher batting average than .251, probably somewhere in the .260-.280 range, maybe even higher. Lastly, I disagree with the projection for Lucas Duda. He is healthy, and I think he will far surpass the 20 home runs and 62 RBI projections. The Mets offense is deep and will put up many more runs than anyone is expecting.

Mike’s Thoughts…

One thing that immediately jumps out is the 114 OPS+ for Michael Conforto and Jay Bruce with just a 102 OPS+. Combine that with Conforto being a better defender and better baserunner and you have the reason why I want Conforto playing over Bruce. Another projection that jumps out at me is infielder T.J. Rivera and the slash line of .262/.299./364 projected. I believe that slash line is much closer to what he will probably hit than a ton of Mets fans would like to admit. The projection was much kinder to infield prospect Gavin Cecchini (.262/.316./378), whom I think ends up hitting better at the major league level than TJ.

degrom syndergaard

Pitchers

The projections for the club’s most likely group of five starters don’t seem to be the sort one might expect from a team whose rotation produced the highest WAR figure in the majors last season. ZiPS has already called for the five likely members of the Nationals’ rotation to produce about 19 wins collectively; of the Cubs’ rotation, roughly 16 wins. Here: just 13. The principal causes appear to be both (a) general regression (which is probably inevitable for a team that finishes first in anything) and (b) the departure of Bartolo Colon.

With regard to the bullpen, it features something not unlike a relief ace in Jeurys Familia (76.0 IP, 75 ERA-, 1.0 zWAR), who receives not only the top WAR projection among the club’s relievers, but also the best adjusted ERA. Right-hander Addison Reed (69.1, 79, 0.8) also earns strong marks by both measures.

Joe’s Thoughts…

When I first skimmed through the pitching projections I thought that if Mets starting pitchers perform at the level I saw that there’s no way that they do not win 90 or more games. Now is that enough to win the National League East? That’s the $100,000 dollar question. You see the Washington Nationals project a lot better than the Mets do and they have the innings. But hey, that’s why they play the games right?

Noah Syndergaard could have his best season yet and could deliver one of those magical Dwight Gooden type seasons in 2017, that’s who they chose as his comp. While ZiPs has his WAR a little lower than last year’s league leading figure, he still comes in with a team leading 4.7.

Jacob deGrom and Steven Mtz seem to be in line for a couple of solid showings, but I must say I was disappointed to see Matt Harvey with such a pedestrian showing – too much Bruce Wayne and not enough Dark Knight. If the Mets are going to have the kind of year I think they are, they need 15+ wins from Harvey with a sub 3.00 ERA and a return to the dominance and swagger that gave him that edge on the mound.

As far as the bullpen goes, I had to laugh when I saw they had Jerry Blevins (2.97) ranked with the third best FIP on the staff behind Syndergaard and Addison Reed. A subliminal hint no doubt for Sandy Alderson. Naturally, Jeurys Familia ranked right up there as well, but you know who else was up there with an impressive 3.38 FIP? My boy Josh Smoker that I’ve been talking up all offseason, that’s who. Thank you, Dan Szymborski.

Logan’s Thoughts…

The Mets starting rotation produced the highest WAR last season, and they have only gotten better and healthier. Regression, as suggested by these predictions, is not in the cards. I’d say Noah Syndergaard‘s numbers are right on the money, excepting for his ERA which will be closer to or even lower than his projected FIP of 2.75. Jacob deGrom will start more than 26 games and have a sub-three ERA and will strike out 200 batters. Steven Matz‘s projections are fairly accurate, however I expect more than 24 starts out of him. Matt Harvey is interesting in that I think his 23 starts is pessimistically accurate, however he will pitch much better than a 3.80 FIP and 18.8 K%. Overall, I think these projections are in line with everyone else’s projections about the Mets pitching staff: They are vastly underrated and I expect them to out-perform any other staff in the league.

Mike’s Thoughts…

As we’ve covered many times here at MMO, the health of the Mets rotation is going to play a huge role in whether the team is successful or miss the playoffs. Unsurprisingly in the projections they have Noah Syndergaard leading the way with a 4.7 zWAR and interestingly have Dwight Gooden as his number one comp. The pitcher that they are down on that surprises me the most is Robert Gsellman who is coming off a great debut, but they have him with a 4.08 FIP after posting a 2.63 FIP in 44.2 ML innings. The projections do like relievers Hansel Robles (107 ERA+, 27.4 K percentage) and Josh Smoker (104 ERA+, 30.1 K percentage). One of the minor league arms they have being useful that I believe is being overlooked right now is righty Corey Taylor. Flashed a mid 90′s fastball with a sharp slider in the AFL while posting a 1.77 ERA and allowing only two home runs in 71 regular season pro innings.

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