Mets Merized Online » MLB News & Notes Thu, 24 Apr 2014 16:10:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 MLB, MLBPA Announce Changes to Joint Drug Agreement Fri, 28 Mar 2014 20:20:38 +0000 (Photo Credit: Noah K. Murray, USA TODAY Sports)

(Photo Credit: Noah K. Murray, USA TODAY Sports)

Major League Baseball and the players association announced changes today to their Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment program, lengthening suspensions for players caught across the board, likely in response to the PR nightmare the league experienced last summer.

Some of the notable changes are as follows:

  • First time offenders will now be suspended for 80 games as opposed to 50.
  • Second time offenders will now sit out an entire 162 games, and will not be paid at all for an entire 183 day league year. This is up from 100 games.
  • Players caught even just once will be subjected to extra testing for the rest of their careers.
  • Players testing positive will no longer be allowed to play in the postseason in that season.
  • Players will now have access to particular supplements that will not cause positive tests. These supplements will be supplied by teams.

Third time offenders will still be permanently banned from baseball.

All of this comes after a disastrous round of suspensions last season, which included Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun, and Jhonny Peralta. Peralta’s situation was especially controversial as he was, after he served his suspension, allowed to return to his team for postseason play. Under the new rules, this type of situation can’t happen again.

League drug policies have come under intense scrutiny over the past year, with many critics saying the punishments aren’t harsh enough. Before today, the league and union hadn’t updated their drug policies since 2006, and players like Ryan Braun (and presumably others) have evaded the system. This still may not be enough to stop drug use completely (only a lifetime ban for first time use can do that), but it may deter drug use at least a little bit more, and every little bit helps.

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Tigers Sign Alex Gonzalez, Pass On Stephen Drew Mon, 24 Mar 2014 14:27:51 +0000 alex gonzalez

March 24

The Detroit Tigers have acquired veteran shortstop Alex Gonzalez from the Baltimore Orioles for utility man Steve Lombardozzi, according to the Baltimore Sun.

Gonzalez, 37, has played 15 seasons in the major leagues, for the Florida Marlins, Boston Red Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Toronto Blue Jays, Atlanta Braves and Milwaukee Brewers.

He appeared in 12 games for the Orioles this spring and batted .429 with four runs, one double, two home runs and six RBIs.

Meanwhile, the Mets and Diamondbacks have not had any trade talks about a shortstop, but have been scouting each other’s players according to Marc Carig of Newsday.

March 22

According to what a source told John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press, free agent Stephen Drew is willing to sign a one-year, $14 million deal with the Detroit Tigers.

It is also believed Drew wouldn’t want to sign with the Tigers until the day after Opening Day. If he waits to sign until after the season starts, he will be an unrestricted free agent next off-season, with no compensation attached. If he signs before then, his new club will have the right to make him a “qualifying offer” when he becomes a free agent. If the team makes the qualifying offer, it is entitled to a high draft pick as compensation from the team that signs him. That could make it harder for Drew to find a job.

The Tigers, who have lost shortstop Jose Iglesias for the season due to stress fractures in both his shins, acquired Andrew Romine from the Los Angeles Angels on Friday night. But Lowe writes that he doesn’t bring the Tigers any closer to having an experienced big-league shortstop.

Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski also took veiled shots at Seattle and Arizona when asked about trading for a better solution at shortstop.

“We talked to a lot of clubs,” he said. “Sometimes it’s amazing how guys who weren’t going to make their club a week ago are now making the All-Star Game,” Dombrowski said. “That’s just how it goes.”

The Tigers might eventually decide the $14 million is worth it because Drew would represent a huge upgrade over their current inexperienced group of shortstops, writes Lowe.

Sandy Alderson meanwhile, maintained as recently as Friday that he has had no recent conversations with Scott Boras regarding Drew, and that the Mets Opening Day roster will be comprised from the group of players that are already in Mets camp.

Presented By Diehards

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Tigers GM Says No On Drew, Mets Sticking With Tejada Mon, 17 Mar 2014 16:35:23 +0000 Stephen Drew

March 17 

Disputing a report from Jim Bowden of ESPN, Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski told the Detroit News’ Lynn Henning that he will not pursue free agent shortstop Stephen Drew.

The Tigers will instead go with internal candidates to replace shortstop Jose Iglesias who is likely out for the season.

Detroit might still pursue a trade for a new shortstop, but they will not pursue Drew and forfeit their No. 23 pick in the upcoming  draft.

Meanwhile the Mets say that a new shortstop to replace Ruben Tejada will not be entering the scene anytime soon.

Nothing happening with Stephen Drew, the team has not had recent trade talks with the Mariners, and discussions with other potential trade partners have been equally muted.

Despite another bad day in the field and at the plate on Sunday by Tejada, the Mets seem resigned to at least starting the season with him at shortstop. “He’ll be fine,” a Mets official said.

There is sentiment within the front office to stick with Tejada because the available players — Drew included — likely would have minimal impact on a lineup riddled with holes.

The Mets aren’t excited about parting with top young pitching talent for a minimal upgrade to the lineup they say.

“The focus [by fans] is on what Tejada did last year, and it’s understandable — this is a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately game,” the Mets official said. “But how do you know we won’t get the Tejada from two years ago?”

Tejada booted a grounder for an error in yesterday’s 10-4 win over the Cardinals and went hitless in four at-bats, dropping his Grapefruit League average to .091.

March 16 

Jim Bowden of ESPN and Peter Gammons of MLB Network report that the Detroit Tigers are now ready to engage Stephen Drew to fill their now vacant shortstop position.

With the news that Jose Iglesias could now miss significant time and perhaps the rest of the season with shin splints, the Tigers are now looking at Drew.

This was something Scott Boras was hoping for, that an injury would bring teams in on his client.

March 15 12:00 PM

Scott Boras told Anthony Rieber of Newsday that he has engaged in discussions with the Mets. ”I have certainly had dialogue with them,” Boras told Rieber on Friday. “The message has always been that they have interest in Stephen but they wanted to see how things went in spring training.”

“I think the earnestness of a franchise and their desire to win is always appraised by their conduct in pursuing the available talent,.”

He blasted the compensation system and said there are teams desperate for a shortstop with his client still unsigned. When asked whether he was speaking of the Mets, Boras said:

“I’m not speaking about anyone specifically. I’m just speaking generally about the reason that these players are coveted, the reason that these players are so valuable, the reason they sign late, is teams get to look in spring training and the obvious weaknesses of clubs is revealed. The fans of the respective teams really get to look inside what can really help their team and the fact that this talent is available. And there are those teams that this talent is available without the detriment of losing a first-round pick. It’s rare that you have that opportunity.”

Dan Martin of the New York Post says that at least one person close to Stephen Drew believes the free agent shortstop will end up elsewhere and not with the Mets. He points out that Boras only acknowledged there is communication between the two sides. But Drew continues to look for a multi-year deal, something the Mets haven’t been interested in offering.

Additionally, manager Terry Collins issued his strongest defense of Ruben Tejada this spring and took him aside to tell him he’s the team’s shortstop.

“It meant a lot because he’s your manager,” Tejada said. “(He said) ‘Don’t think too much. Last year was  last year, it’s history.’ Helped me concentrate on this year and keep it going forward and keep working every day.”

Former Met Edgardo Alfonzo worked with Tejada before Friday’s game. “He’s a veteran guy,” Tejada said. “He knows the game better than me and tried to help me.”

Tejada went 1-for-3 against the Marlins and is now 2-for-18 during spring training. He was also fine in the field.

With 15 days left until Opening Day it looks like the Mets are digging in. But looks can sometimes be deceiving.

March 14

Stephen Drew says that if he were signed tomorrow, he would be ready to play and he wouldn’t miss a step. In an interview with the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo, Drew hints at his frustration with his plight since rejecting the Red Sox’ qualifying offer for $14.1 million.

“I wish I had a crystal ball so I could read these things into the future,” said Drew.

“It’s crazy being in the league for eight years and being in this situation. I know I hit a slump in the World Series and you never want to get into a slump in the World Series. But I thought I played good defense when it counted. I thought I helped save runs. I thought it was my best defensive year.”

Drew trains at St. Thomas University with fellow major league free agent Kendrys Morales and coach Alex Ochoa, who joined the Scott Boras Corporation last season and manages the Boras training facility.

“Of course I’d rather be in a major league camp,” Drew said. “You have a short window to play baseball. I feel I’m in my best years right now. I’ve never been healthier and I think my game has evolved. I wish I was playing baseball, but I’ll be patient until something comes along.”

When asked if he expects to play this season, Drew responded, “Yes, I do.”

“I have too much talent and the ability to help a team to think I’m not going to play baseball this year. I don’t know where that’s going to be, to be honest with you…I drove in more runs than I had in any year of my career.”

Drew, who made $9.5 million with the Red Sox last season is still looking for a multi-year deal. His agent has said they are prepared to wait as long as June rather than accepting a lesser deal now and be in the same position next offseason.

Boras knocked the compensation system, blaming it for the fact that Drew and Morales are still unsigned:

“The system they’ve been dealt has basically prevented them from free agency. They want to make sure about their next step, whatever that will be. It means either signing a long-term contract now — and we’re still taking offers on those — or a number of other prospects that could occur after the season starts or in June, after the draft happens.”

He went on to compare the free agency of Drew and Morales to being in jail, and that the integrity of the game is at hand.

Boras and integrity in the same sentence? Wait, what?

(Photo: Boston Herald)


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Wright On Braves Signing Santana: “It’s A Great Move” Wed, 12 Mar 2014 14:13:14 +0000 santana_ervin_g_mp_576

10:00 AM

After learning about the Atlanta Braves aggressively acting to sign Ervin Santana for $14 million to offset the loss of Kris Medlen with an elbow ligament tear, David Wright was quick to respond and defended ownership and the front office.

“My responsibility is to play third base, not decide who signs, doesn’t sign,” Wright told

“I’m not a part of the decision-making process. I’m here if the front office wants to run an idea or get a player’s perspective on something.”

“I think it’s a great move by the Braves…But as far as me trying to worry about players that aren’t here, I’ve never been one to do that. And I don’t try to concern myself with it.”

When asked directly: Shouldn’t a New York organization be more forceful and active?

“I don’t know,” Wright said. “There’s different schools of thought in my opinion. There’s been teams that are very successful, for example the Tampa Bay Rays, with relatively low payrolls. And there have been teams that have been very successful like the Dodgers and Yankees with big payrolls.”

“And I’ve said this a million times: It’s not my money that we’re spending. Of course, the fan side of me, you want to go out there and sign every free agent, because it’s not my money.”

Thanks to Adam Rubin for the quotes, read the entire interview here.

8:30 AM

In the wake of the potential loss of Kris Medlen, one of the top starters in their rotation, the Atlanta Braves announced they have signed free agent Ervin Santana to a one-year deal. The deal is worth approximately $14 million, a source told ESPN Deportes’ Enrique Rojas.

Santana, 31, was widely considered the best remaining available pitcher on the open market and was linked to multiple teams over the past several weeks. The veteran righthander was 9-10 last season with a 3.24 ERA in 32 starts for the Kansas City Royals who will receive a first-round draft pick as compensation.

The Braves wasted no time acting after an MRI revealed that Medlen has some damage in his right elbow and will be meeting with Dr. James Andrews who originally performed Tommy John surgery on Medlen in 2010.

The 28-year-old grabbed his elbow in pain and walked off the field after throwing a pitch to Matt Clark during a Mets-Braves game this week. He’s posted a 2.46 ERA in 43 starts for Atlanta, a mark topped only by Clayton Kershaw among starters with at least 40 starts during that span.


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Tommy John Surgery Pioneer Dr. Jobe Passes Away Sun, 09 Mar 2014 16:23:18 +0000 dr. jobe

On Friday, the Los Angeles Dodgers announced that famed orthopedic surgeon Dr. Frank Jobe passed away at the age of 88.

Jobe’s experimental surgery to fix a pitcher’s elbow was one of the biggest medical breakthroughs in sports and one that changed baseball forever. 

It was in 1974 when Jobe transplanted a tendon to replace the torn ulnar collateral ligament of Dodgers lefty Tommy John in a surgical procedure that would bear his name forever.

John would go on to pitch for another 14 years and become the first of thousands of athletes who would have their careers prolonged thanks to Dr. Jobe. 

Jobe taught Tommy John surgery to hundreds of orthopedic surgeons all over the world, and many of the ballplayers who had the procedure returned just as good or better than they were before suffering the injury.

Dr. Jobe was also a war hero. While serving as an army medic in World War II, he was captured by the Nazis at Bastogne, but would later escape from his captors. He was awarded the Bronze Star for heroism in battle.

Over the year, many players, coaches and executives have urged MLB to have Jobe enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, but it hasn’t happened yet.

“Frank Jobe is a Hall of Famer in every sense of the word,” said Dodger President Stan Kasten. “His dedication and professionalism in not only helping the Dodgers, but athletes around the world is unparalleled. He was a medical giant and pioneer and many athletes in the past and the future can always thank Frank for finding a way to continue their careers.”

Both Matt Harvey and Jeremy Hefner have undergone the procedure and are currently on track to return late this season or at the start of the 2015 season.

There’s a wonderful obituary today in the New York Times that does a nice job of honoring Jobe and portraying the many achievements of this truly remarkable pioneer. Rest in peace.

Presented By Diehards

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Spring Training Recap: Mets 6, Braves 2 Mon, 03 Mar 2014 21:43:16 +0000 Noah Syndergaard

The Mets traveled to Orlando today to play against the Atlanta Braves at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. They defeated the Braves 6-2, for their first spring victory and dropped Atlanta to 0-6 in the Grapefruit League season.

Noah Syndergaard took the mound in his first spring game for the Mets and was opposed by journeyman Freddy Garcia for the Braves. Syndergaard came out firing darts and was very impressive as he blew his fastball by hitters consistently hitting the gun in the mid nineties.

His first victim was Jason Heyward as he threw 95, 96, 97, 97, 89, 94, and 98 MPH fastballs to finally put him away.  He retired the next two batters by getting them to put the ball in play and allowing the defense to make the outs.

In the second inning, Syndergaard over powered Evan Gattis by blowing 95, 96 and 96 fastballs on three consecutive pitches to strike him out. He gave up one hit and finished the game with a line of 2 inn,1 hit and 2 strikeouts on 30 pitches and a lot of swings and misses. Great job by the kid who had a ton of pressure and eyes on him…  Looking forward to seeing how Thor does in his next start.

Here’s the rest of the story:

  • Jeurys Familia mimicked Syndergaard’s pitching line and did his part to show that he belongs in the Opening Day Mets bullpen. (2 IP,1 H and 2 strikeouts). 
  • Josh Edgin started the 4th inning by walking the first two batters he faced and was a bit wild. He loaded the bases and was saved by an inning ending double play. (1 IP, 1 hit, 2 BB, and a big thanks to his defense.)
  • Miguel Socolovich pitched two innings,giving up 1 hit and 1 walk, but in the bottom of the seventh inning, with two men in scoring position, the Braves’ Tyler Greene hit a screaming line drive to centerfield and Matt den Dekker, laid out and made an amazing diving catch to rob a hit and RBI away from Greene.
  • Ryan Reid, threw 1 inning, allowing 2 hit, 2 runs and 2 walks, but threw a wild pitch which allowed the Braves to score the tying run and make the score 1-1 in the 8th inning. Wilmer Flores, playing shortstop, made a nice play in the hole to track down a ground ball, but was unable to get the runner at first, which allowed the go ahead run to score making it Braves 2 Mets 1.
  • Wilmer Flores got the Mets on the board with a Sac Fly to drive in Juan Lagares who earlier in the 4th inning got on base with a single.
  • Chris Young batted lead off today and went 0-for-3, with two strike outs and 3 LOB and Juan Lagares batted second and went 1-for-3, 1 run, 1 K.
  • With the Mets trailing by one in the top of the 9th, the future Mets did their part in bringing their team back in the game. Andrew Brown led off with a triple, Dustin Lawley, the Florida State Player of the Year, singled and Brown scored the tying run to make it 2-2.
  • Next, Cory Vaughn (1 for 1 and 2 RBI), came up big and doubled into the left field corner, putting the Mets back on top, scoring Taylor Teagarden and Anthony Seratelli.
  • Then Matt den Dekker singled to left and scored Vaughn putting the Mets up 5-2.  After a den Dekker stolen base, Eric Campbell,(2 for 3) singled to left to score MDD, as the Mets put up a 5-spot in the inning and led 6-2.
  • Gonzalez Germen pitched the bottom of the 9th, and shut the door by pitching a 1-2-3 inning, striking out two and giving the Mets their first victory of the spring.

Coming Up: Mets head back to Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie to face the Houston Astros on Tuesday March 4th in a 1:10 PM start.

(Photo Credit: Howard Simmons/NY Daily News)

Presented By Diehards

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Johan Santana Nearing Deal With Orioles Mon, 03 Mar 2014 21:01:03 +0000 Santana No Hit

According to multiple sources, Johan Santana is nearing a minor league deal with the Baltimore Orioles.

Santana, who missed the entire 2013 season due to a second surgery in three years to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder, was bought out of his contract by the Mets for the 2014 season.

Though he did draw some interest by the Mets this offseason, those rumors were pretty much put to rest when the Mets signed John Lannan and Daisuke Matsuzaka to compete for the fifth spot in the rotation this Spring.

Santana’s shining moment as a Met came on June 1, 2012, when he pitched the first no-hitter in Mets franchise history.

We wish you all the best in returning to the Majors and having a healthy 2014 campaign, Johan.

Presented By Diehards

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MMO Game Thread: Mets vs Braves at 1:05 PM Mon, 03 Mar 2014 18:55:45 +0000 New York Mets Spring Training at their Minor League practice facility located within Tradition Field in Florida

Noah Syndergaard, 21, makes his Grapefruit League debut today at the Mets take on the Atlanta Braves at 1:05 p.m. this afternoon at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports.

This game is not being televised, but you could listen to the game on WOR 710 AM.

Jacob deGromMiguel SocolovichGonzalez GermenJosh Edgin and Jeff Walters also are scheduled to pitch for the Mets. 

First baseman Ike Davis, who had been scheduled to DH in today’s game, has been scratched by Terry Collins with calf tightness. The Mets manager said, “I didn’t want him to hit a ball in the gap and make things worse.” Terry should get a part time gig at The Laugh Factory. Davis went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts on Sunday.

Mike Piazza is in camp today serving as a guest instructor for the rest of this week. Travis d’Arnaud on having his childhood idol in camp: “It’s a dream.” The Mets could use some offense, maybe MLB will allow him to bat cleanup while he’s here.

After a successful return to throwing last week, Matt Harvey looks to take another step forward today when he attempts to throw on back-to-back days. If everything goes well this morning, the righthander who continues to make strides in his return from Tommy John surgery, will throw a baseball again on Tuesday.

Jon Niese also threw a bullpen session and said he felt good afterwards. Looks like everything will be okay with him. Hopefully he’ll get a start soon.

After getting off to a 0-3 start in Grapefruit League play, the Mets could use a win today if only to keep Terry Collins from sweating bullets. He sounded like he was in mid-season form after Sunday’s loss.

Here are today’s starting lineups:

New York Mets

  1. Chris Young, rf
  2. Juan Lagares, cf
  3. Lucas Duda, 1b
  4. Matt Clark, dh
  5. Wilmer Flores, 2b
  6. Kirk Nieuwenhuis, lf
  7. Zach Lutz, 3b
  8. Anthony Recker, c
  9. Omar Quintanilla, ss

Atlanta Braves

  1. Jason Heyward, rf
  2. B.J. Upton, cf
  3. Justin Upton, lf
  4. Evan Gattis, dh
  5. Ryan Doumit, c
  6. Tommy La Stella, 2b
  7. Mark Hamilton, 1b
  8. Tyler Greene, 3b
  9. Elmer Reyes, ss


Matt Clark batting cleanup today… Interesting to see Lagares in the two hole…

Not exactly the Mets’ most optimal infield defense for Thor…

And I would have preferred d’Arnaud catching Syndergaard for his first spring game in a big league camp… Why not showcase the battery of the future?

Oh Terry…

(Photo by Anthony J. Causi)

homer the dog

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MLB Advanced Media Launching Revolutionary Data Gathering Program Sun, 02 Mar 2014 04:37:12 +0000 MLB Advanced Media announced today the launching of a new data gathering system to eventually be implemented in every MLB ballpark.

The new tracking system will gather data on every play of every game. For this year, systems will be ready in Milwaukee, Minnesota, and Citi Field, with every team getting systems by 2015.

The technology could revolutionize even further the way executives look at baseball. Hit F/x tools were already available for teams (for them to acquire on their own), but giving every team this technology is significant. We have heard, but not known too much about, Hit F/x and Field F/x.

The program could help teams evaluate players in a much more objective way than ever before. For example, fielders can now see the exact route they ran to a fly ball, how far their direct path to the baseball was, and how efficient their route was. Fielder speed and acceleration can also be evaluated, among other things. This could be especially important for positioning fielders as new data could, in theory, pinpoint the exact weaknesses of certain fielders, allowing the coaches to adjust accordingly.

Previous forms of this technology for hitter has already leaked out a bit, including through ESPN’s Home Run Tracker, in which fans can look at elevation angles and velocity of the ball for every home run hit.This new system will extend that to every batted ball, giving possibly even more information. Instead of relying on a 70 year old’s set of eyes watching from 50 feet away, batters, fielders, and pitchers can now see exactly what happened and exactly what they could have done better.

Dodgers All-Star Steve Sax praised the new system to’s Mark Newman, saying: ”Really, the future of baseball and able to quantify the great things about this game is here now. For players and coaches alike, to be able to judge distances and speeds and ranges and how fast people get there is just an amazing tool that they’re going to be able to use going forward. I just wish they had this when I played.”

It will be fascinating to see how MLB teams either hide or publicize this new data. Pitch F/x has been around for a few years and proven to be a very useful tool. However, recent technological advancements have been kept under wraps away from the public eye. Hopefully this data, or at least some of it, will be available to the public to dissect so they themselves can expand their analysis of the game.

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Mets Land Four On Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects Thu, 20 Feb 2014 03:29:07 +0000 bryan green

Dominic Smith came in at number 92 in Baseball America’s annual prospect rankings

Baseball America released its annual list of the top 100 prospects in baseball today, and unsurprisingly, the list included a few notable future Mets. The four who made the cut were Noah Syndergaard, Travis d’Arnaud, Rafael Montero, and Dominic Smith. Here is what John Manuel, the editor of the publication, had to say about each of the youngsters:

16. Noah Syndergaard

Syndergaard’s secondary pitches flash above-average if not better. More consistent power on his curveball would complement his premium fastball and help him make a midseason jump to New York.

38. Travis d’Arnaud

Stay. On. The. Field. His first injury-free season since 2011 would help make d’Arnaud a Rookie of the Year contender.

68. Rafael Montero

Few minor leaguers throw more consistent quality strikes than the smallish Montero, and as long as he maintains his command he should get his first shot in New York in 2014.

92. Dominic Smith

Smith might make his full-season debut at low Class A Savannah, a decided pitcher’s park. He’ll have to focus on his hitting approach and avoid getting down if the results aren’t there this season.

Manuel also listed the estimated times of arrival for the prospects, putting Montero and d’Arnaud at 2014, Smith at 2017, and Syndergaard at 2015, although that is likely a typo, as the consensus is he will make his debut in June, July, or August.

The 25th edition of the list was topped by Minnesota Twins outfield prospect Byron Buxton, with Red Sox infielder Xander Bogaerts, a postseason hero last year, coming in at number two, retaining his rookie status. Recent Yankees signee Masahiro Tanaka was fourth.

Other notable NL East prospects to make the list included Philadelphia’s Michael Franco (17), Washington’s Lucas Giolito (21), and Miami’s Andrew Heaney (30). The Mets had more prospects than the other four teams in the division, beating out the Marlins (3), the Phillies (3) the Braves (2), and the Nationals (1).

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NL East Projection By Rank Points Sun, 09 Feb 2014 02:43:56 +0000 sign man miracles

Sandy Alderson and his front office have spent all winter trying to address the Mets weaknesses and shortcomings in an attempt to put a much improved product on the field for the 2014 season. Or in other words, they’ve been doing exactly what 29 other MLB front offices have been doing.

However, for this particular post, let’s just stick to the five teams that comprise he National League East and take a look at how the division stacks up as we get ready to start Spring Training.

This is a simple but common method of comparing teams using rank points across each team’s position players, starting pitchers, and bullpens. The rankings take into consideration recent success/failure, history of injuries, and track record.

The lower the number of the ranking, the better the grade.  At the end, we add up all the rank points and compare how each team did. My notes for each ranking follows and they include any exceptions made as my thoughts and explanation.





C:  Wilson Ramos has been great once he got healthy; Carlos Ruiz is slowing down at 36; Jarrod Saltalamacchia is a good veteran but with a low average; Travis d’Arnaud is unproven but talented; Evan Gattis is a strong guy but a horrible defender with high strikeouts.

1B: Freddie Freeman gets the edge due to Ryan Howard‘s health issues the last couple of years; Adam LaRoche is steady; the Mets platoon of either Ike Davis or Lucas Duda and Josh Satin should prove decent; and Garrett Jones is not a very good first baseman or hitter.

2B: Chase Utley had a great year, but his knees are always on the verge of DL; Daniel Murphy is adequate offensively but needs to improve defensively; Dan Uggla is third based on past history and writing off 2013 as just a very bad year; Anthony Rendon is a talented youngster; Rafael Furcal is trying to show he is healthy.

SS: Ian Desmond is the best combination of offense and defense; Andrelton Simmons is amazing defensively, but the bat needs to improve; Jimmy Rollins is slowing down, but still a smart veteran; Ruben Tejada should offer better offense than Adeiny Hechavarria, whose bat is very under-developed.

3B: David Wright is one of the best in baseball; Chris Johnson had a great year, but hit 50 points more than his lifetime average; Ryan Zimmerman needs to stay on the field but his many injuries have diminished his fielding and have the Nats considering putting him at 1B in 2015; Casey McGehee is a veteran coming back from Japan; Cody Asche is a youngster.

LF: Bryce Harper rivals Mike Trout as the best young outfielder in baseball; Justin Upton is a very talented, but sometimes erratic young player; Christian Yelich is a young, very talented hitter and baserunner; Domonic Brown had a breakout year, but his long swing offers many strikeouts; Chris Young is trying to show health and production to get a big contract next year.

CF: Ben Revere was doing well until his injury in late-June; Marcell Ozuna is an up and coming, very talented hitter and fielder; B.J. Upton has a history of power and speed, but also low average and strikeouts; Denard Span is a steady defender and leadoff type; Juan Lagares is a wizard defensively but most prove offensive ability.

RF: Giancarlo Stanton is a premier power hitter; Jason Heyward is a very good defender and has streaks of being great offensively followed by tons of strikeouts like almost all the Atlanta hitters; Curtis Granderson (Placed in RF because of the “Eric Young factor” and Terry Collins will not want to flip-flop him) needs to show health, but should be a good run producer and base runner albeit a questionable batting average; Jayson Werth is not the run producer we remember in Philly but still a very tough out, especially against lefties; Marlon Byrd had a great year in 2013 and needs to prove that is not a fluke.


SP1: Cliff Lee is one the most consistent and dependable pitchers in baseball; Stephen Strasburg still has very good numbers, but suffered last year from run support and inconsistencies; Jose Fernandez stepped onto the scene and had a great year, but let’s see it again; Jonathon Niese returned to health in the second half and was very good the last six weeks; Mike Minor improved his control last year, and needs to maintain that control which the Braves excelled in as a staff.

SP2:  Cole Hamels would be an ace of many staffs, but lacks the consistency of Lee; Gio Gonzalez showed that he was just as good as the year before in the second half; Bartolo Colon had a very good year in the AL, and now transfers over to the lighter hitting league; Kris Medlen was solid as usual, and the best bet amongst Braves pitchers to repeat 2013 numbers; Nathan Eovaldi is still only 23, but is trying to harness his stuff which leads to high pitch counts.

SP3:  Jordan Zimmerman pitched last year as a co-ace to Strasburg and has been brilliant since coming back from TJ surgery in 2012; Julio Teheran had a great year, but like Minor, his great control last year was contrary to his previous years’ showings and may not repeat; Zack Wheeler is improving his command; Jacob Turner is a talented pitcher however, the Marlins may now be trying to trade him. Kyle Kendrick is a soft tosser that was able to keep runners off the bases via the walk last year because he gives up a lot of home runs in Citizens Bank Park.

SP4:  Doug Fister is a dependable starter that was acquired from Detroit; Dillon Gee returned to pre-injury form by May and was very consistent the last four months; Brandon Beachy is coming back from injury, but was an ace before his injury; Roberto Hernandez is a battler type with low walks and low strikeouts; Henderson Alvarez is an inconsistent youngster.

SP5:  This is where it pays to be a Mets fan!  We know that Jenrry Mejia, Rafael Montero, and Noah Syndergaard should provide production closer to a mid rotation pitcher in the SP #5 position; Ross Detwiler is coming off injury, but was decent beforehand; Jonathan Pettibone is a talented  youngster that battled injury last year; Gavin Floyd is trying to come back from injury himself; Tom Koehler is very hittable and doesn’t generate many strikeouts.

CL:  Craig Kimbrel is one of the best in baseball; Rafael Soriano has had several reliable seasons as a closer; Bobby Parnell needs to show he is healthy, but last year became the dominant closer the Mets always hoped for after adding a knuckle curve to the repertoire; Jonathan Papelbon has started showing velocity loss and was touched up for some ugly blown saves last year; Steve Cishek is a side-arming finesse pitcher.

Bullpen:  The Mets depth in pitching puts them ahead of the others; Washington still has a solid three when combining Soriano with Craig Stammen and Tyler Clippard; Philly has a less spectacular, albeit solid three in Antonio Bastardo, Papelbon, and Mike Adams; Atlanta’s bullpen has been ravaged by injuries but is expecting Jonny Venters back by June; Miami has a young pen with Rule 5 pickup Angel Sanchez.


The numbers show that Washington is the most talented team in the division.  However, the next three are very close and while Atlanta won the division pretty handily last year, many things went perfectly for them.  Although expecting a bounce back from Uggla and B.J. Upton is reasonable, it’s hard to expect a recurrence of Johnson hitting 50 points more than his career norm, pitchers all keeping a remarkable improvement in control, and the hitters slugging so many timely home runs.   The hitting may still be very good overall, but the pitchers’ stability will be the key to where Atlanta finishes.

Philadelphia is third, but that is assuming: 1) all their oft-injured players will not be out for prolonged periods and that may be a stretch, and 2) there isn’t regression from a collection of players that are mostly in their mid-thirties.

The Mets are in a very good position to sneak into the number two spot if their players can achieve or even overachieve their expectations. The Marlins are rebuilding, but have a young nucleus of hitters in Stanton, Yelich, and Ozuna, with veteran leadership in Saltalamacchia and Jones, but still a very raw pitching staff.

This is quite a simple comparison and does not allow for disparities, such as how big a difference a borderline elite player like, say Justin Upton, is better than Christian Yelich, the next ranked LF.  While it always plays out differently between the lines, and I didn’t know what to expect when I started this exercise, I feel we are seeing a realistic picture of where the teams stand right now.

Presented By Diehards

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Seven Time All-Star Michael Young Retires Fri, 31 Jan 2014 14:58:14 +0000 michael young rangers philliesIf I had a dollar for every time I read or heard a Met fan say that we should trade for Michael Young, I would probably have enough money to fund a European Vacation… Okay maybe just a weekend trip to the Grand Canyon, but still…

On Friday afternoon, the seven time All-Star got into his old Texas Rangers uniform and formally announced his retirement, ending what was a very solid 13 year career.

Young, 37, wraps up his career with 2,375 hits including 441 doubles and 185 home runs, and an even .300 batting average. He led the league with a .331 average in 2005 and had six 200+ hit seasons in his career including 211 base-knocks only three seasons ago.

In 1,894 at-bats with Runners In Scoring Position, Young has an impressive .320/.376/.454 slash with an .830 OPS, and with the bases loaded that OPS jumps to .903. That’s my kind of player…

It’s a good thing that the Mets didn’t see Young that much over the last 10+ years. He would have gone down as one of the most notorious Met killers. He abused the Amazins with a .374 batting average and a 1.097 OPS in 107 plate appearances. Against teams whom he has had 100 or more plate appearances, that is the highest OPS by far.

The scrappy infielder was selected in the 5th round of the 1997 amateur draft by the Toronto Blue Jays and was traded to the Rangers in 2000. He would make him MLB debut in the final weekend of that season. In 2001 he took over at second and won himself a gold glove and five All Star nods before moving to shortstop after the Rangers traded Alex Rodriguez, and then to third to make way for Elvis Andrus.

His manager Ron Washington called Young the ultimate teammate. “The game of baseball is going to miss you, and I certainly hope you don’t stay away from the game. I don’t think this game will be able to survive without a Michael Young in it.”

Young cites his desire to be with his three sons as the reason for his retirement and that the Dodgers made him a very tempting offer.

“My boys are the driving reason why my playing days are done,” Young said. “You’ve got to be there with them, you have to be there for every success, every failure. If something doesn’t go right, I want them to see me first.”

There’s something you don’t hear everyday.

Enjoy your retirement Mike…


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Matt Garza Agrees To Four-Year Deal With Brewers Thu, 23 Jan 2014 18:44:57 +0000 rangers-matt garza

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports is reporting that the Milwaukee Brewers have agreed to a four-year, $52 million contract with right-hander Matt Garza.

Garza, 30, was one of the top remaining starting pitchers still available on the market after Masahiro Tanaka signed his seven year, $155 million contract with the Yankees.

He posted a 10-6 record last season with a 3.82 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 136 strikeouts in 155.1 innings pitched with the Cubs and Rangers combined.


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MMO Exclusive: Discussing Latin American Development with Omar Minaya Tue, 21 Jan 2014 21:23:29 +0000 omar-minaya-espn

I sat down with Former Mets General Manager and current Padres Senior Vice President, Omar Minaya, to conduct an interview pertaining to Dominican and Latin American development and the importance of baseball in developing countries such as the Dominican Republic and Venezuela.

I asked Omar, who I know as an expert, and who was at the forefront of our major assets in Latin America during his tenure, his thoughts on how baseball was affecting those countries. We also discussed the process of how players are signed. 

One Keyword before we start, Buscon: A scout who finds and gathers talented players on the Dominican landscape. They house, feed, and train the players, and act as agents from time to time. @dplbaseball has advised me that many prefer being called “trainers”.

Enjoy my interview with Omar Minaya.

TK: To you, is baseball good for Latin America In terms of growth? What does it do?

Omar: Baseball is not only part of the Social Fabric of Latin America, but it’s also part of the Economical fabric of Latin America. It creates heroes, it creates domestic heroes, and it creates international heroes. It creates an Identity for the different Latin American Countries. It’s a good business for both American and Latin American sides. With the American side, it expands the games and opportunities, but it also makes players heroes to younger generations of those players. So baseball definitely does that, those are the things that Latin American Baseball does.

TK: Do the players who do well for the sport, help their communities afterwards?

Omar: Most players do give back in their communities. It’s not well publicized though the media, we most times hear about when the players do something bad, like testing positive for steroids, but that’s a part of it. The other part is how players contribute to their local communities, their whole towns. A lot of players give back.

TK: Sammy Sosa was said to have given back during hurricane relief, though a lot said they didn’t see anything for it, I guess they were expecting more?

Omar: Well, there’s always going to be people who said they didn’t see a dime, but I do believe that there were a few people who were affected by it. There will always be naysayers about people doing good. But there were a lot of people who were affected, a lot of people that good things happened for them. Not only Sammy Sosa gave back, but Armando Benitez, with a town that he pretty much provided for. He had a community forum and there was hundreds of workers there. Yes, these players do give back. That being said, are there going to be naysayers? Mostly because somebody didn’t get something. But that’s the way it is.

TK: How do baseball signings in general help communities? Does it help them develop?

Omar: Like how?

TK: Players automatically giving back after getting a…

Omar: Bonus? Well what happens is a lot of the players who get their bonuses is that they give back to their own families. Usually they give back to their immediate families, getting their mother a house or a car, his uncles, and a lot of the people who coach him. But the money does not stop being given when they get the bonus, they still give money in the minor leagues. They constantly give to the family no matter what team they are playing for. What I look at it is as a family unity, they work together as a family. Sometimes too many family members are provided for. A lot of ways it could be a bad thing.

TK: How So? 

Omar: Too many people can be hanging around. It’s like the famous story of Mike Tyson, who had too many people to provide for. That’s why you see sometimes professional players have a driver, and a posse of people. Some people have too many in a posse.

TK: What’s usually the process for these players coming into the pros?

Omar: The process, now, is different than what it used to be, players go through trainers, or as we call buscones. Buscones are always there, they’re basically agents, but not certified. You really use buscones to be coaches. Unfortunately in the Dominican, there aren’t many organized leagues, so teams are really dependent on these independent contractors, or trainers, or buscones.

And what happens is that you sign the player through them who are the ones showing them to you.  You then follow up and decide if you are signing the player or agreeing to a contract. Whatever it is – maybe a large deal – the buscon gets a percentage of it. That’s really worked out through the player and the buscon, but we don’t know the real transaction. Major League Baseball is doing their best to regulate that, making sure that the checks go to a central bank and the players are informed of what their responsibilities are through the buscon.

But it’s an individual relationship between the player and the buscon. The signing part of it is – - we see the player, we look for his tools, we agree on the price, and we sign the player.

But the part the team does not get involved with is the buscon, and their share of the money, or any type of exchange between him and the player. In the old days, that used to happen a lot more. You meet with the player, but you negotiate with the buscon, so they can ensure that they get a kickback.

TK: Didn’t that happen with the White Sox where the scouts worked with buscones to convince the player to get a lower bonus so that the buscone and scout get a better fee?

Omar: I don’t know exactly how that happened, it might have been that the scout said to the organization that they were worth higher, as in the player was worth 10,000, but they said they were worth 50,000, and the buscon and scout split the difference. But I don’t know enough about it.

TK: What do you think of Buscones (whether they are good or not), versus regular scouts, agents, and how are they versus MLB Team’s academies?

I think they’re like scouts, there’s good ones and there’s bad ones. I think they’re part of the fabric of baseball right now. They are the ones training the players right now. There’s something about it, positive in doing it. In the ideal world, it should be like here (America) the kids should be going to school. But that’s not realistic. But there is a part of them that’s really good.

TK: Did you ever promote Buscones, and their version of academies? 

You had to, you had to deal with them, they’re part of the process now. It’s like one time people said they didn’t like dealing with agents in America. Well, if you don’t like agents then how do you sign players from Scott Boras. Buscones are like agents. You want to be able to have a relationship with them, but you gotta be careful and keep a distance with the relationship, so they don’t take advantage.

TK: Is there any resentment from the community? How did scouts relate to the community? 

Omar: Each Scout is different. There are going to be good and bad scouts. There are scouts that are going to be crooked, and some that will be providers. There are scouts who are going to partake and give back to the community. Each case is different. You’ve got 30 teams, each with different personalities. Some are more responsible than others, and they represent the organization and the industry. In most cases, most scouts are good, and they do give back.

TK: Are there greater changes to be made to the system such as signing at 18 (to get their diploma) instead of 16 or is an international draft the way to go? Or neither?

Omar: I am open to an international draft it if it’s done right. I really care about these kids getting their diploma. You can’t really wait for the kids to get a diploma because unfortunately the school system doesn’t work for them to get a diploma. A lot of times they can’t even afford school. I am a big believer-one of the ideas I had with the Mets was that any kid that we sign, we would guarantee that kid an education, so if we released them, we would pay for their education.

What I would like to see baseball do is make a player not be able to leave the Island until he gets a diploma. Major League Baseball, or at least the team should be able to give that kid a diploma. That said, if a kid is 20 years old, you don’t want to hold a kid back. But if a kid is signed at 16, before he comes to the states, he should get a diploma. Something I encouraged with the Mets, and something I encourage wherever we are.

TK: Did you ever feel guilty in a position of power over the treatment of some players that were cut and then disappeared?

Omar: Like how?

TK: A lot of players when they are cut are given a ticket to Santo Domingo and Caracas, or wherever else, and were never heard from again, after no reason why and no second chance. 

I felt with a Latino kid and an American kid, I felt that they were kids. My organizational spirit was that while baseball players messed up twice or three times, they were still kids. Don’t get me wrong, there are small mistakes and big mistakes, but I was always under the belief that kids deserved second, third, and fourth chances sometimes. And when we signed these kids, we’d treat them as our kids. I have two boys, and sometimes kids would make mistakes, but I’d want them to be given opportunities and a chance.

Our policy when we let a kid go, it wasn’t because the kid wasn’t given a chance. You cannot let a kid go with my director because he made a few stupid mistakes, like having beers in the room, or breaking curfew, or smoking marijuana, whatever it was. Kids are kids, and I always believed in an organization that gave kids opportunities, and letting kids make mistakes. And that was for every kid, not just a latin kid, but an American kid.

But I thought it was important too to send coaches to Latin America to see their conditions, to see their culture, to see the big step they had to take from Latin America to here. I felt that when American coaches went to Latin America, they went in there thinking “We’re going to teach them a lot.” But I thought, “No no no, I’m not concerned about teaching the kids, I’m concerned about teaching you.”

I could have anybody teaching ground balls and proper stepping, but this was more for the coach’s education than it was for the player’s education. To me the important thing about scouting in Latin America was that one time it was mostly scouting, but now with these academies, it’s really going to be that we can teach kids, and teach our US coaches. If we can do that, teach both of them, and learn from both sides, we’re all better off. Learning from one side isn’t enough, learning from both is more important. And these academies are huge now and they can help out a lot. 

TK: Does the wealth of player’s families ever come into reasoning of whether or not they are signed?

Omar: Like how?

TK: Because some players in poverty didn’t have access to food, equipment, other things that would really assist them.

No, We just looked at players. As far as their background was concerned, we really just looked at their education. If they had some form of education, that came into the equation. Material things as far as how poor they were, never came into the equation at all.

If they came from a very poor environment, some compassion as far as helping them out, you want to sign them to something ideal, but you wanted to be fair with them. But the main thing that came into the Equation was education, understanding of cultures, proper etiquette, those kinds of things. A lot of times poorer players were educated, and were able to speak for themselves. There was something internally in them. You became concerned with wealth when they came from too wealthy of a background, you were really concerned at how much he really wanted it. But as a whole, it was more what kind of education that person had.

TK: Did you feel in your tenures in Montreal and Mets as general manager that you did well in terms of helping in the development of Latin America?

Omar: Yes, no doubt about it. My sense was that though we were getting good players, we were creating an environment for not only the Mets, but other baseball teams, to understand that education is huge. That we’re not only going to teach baseball, such as run, or hit, but we’re going to use it as a social environment to make better players, better citizens. And I think we’re seeing that more and more as a credit to Major League Baseball.

I think academies; especially the Mets Academy, intend to be at the forefront of education. I hope that’s what we did, and I think the current Mets Staff with Sandy Alderson and Paul DePodesta are committed to doing that as well. With the Mets, and what we’re trying to do with other teams, we can look back and say “we made players better citizens.” And if we can be better citizens as an industry, we can be a better organization.

There can be challenges. One of the new challenges is going to be Cuba. I think Cuba is going to be fantastic, I think Cuba is going to have a great system. If we can create a way for Cuba to be like the Dominican Republic, then baseball is going to be better off. I’m excited about the future of Latin America, and how Major League Baseball leads in this. I believe that as general manager, we were going to lead with the Mets, and now with the Padres we plan on leading. If we lead, other teams will follow.

* * * * * * * * * *

I would like to thank Omar Minaya for allowing me to interview him and post this on Metsmerized Online. I would also like to thank Joe D., David, Roger and other writers for their support, as well as my Father.

(Photos: USA Today,

Presented By Diehards

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All 30 MLB Clubs Unanimously Approve Instant Replay Thu, 16 Jan 2014 19:51:43 +0000 mlb-logo

2:45 PM Update: All 30 MLB clubs have just unanimously approved expansion of instant replay, which will be in effect for the 2014 season and postseason.

Clubs can now show all replays on scoreboard in stadiums.Teams should know if they’ll win challenge before doing so. Can look at video.

Anthony Rieber of Newsday is at the Owners Meetings where the big thing on the agenda is whether Major League Baseball should scale back its planned ambitious expansion of instant replay so it can be implemented in time for the upcoming season.

MLB executive vice president of baseball operations Joe Torre said on Wednesday night, ”I think it’s going to happen.”

Torre said MLB is considering adding fair/foul calls and limited safe/out calls with a manager’s challenge.

Previous incarnations of the system proposed to begin this season included all safe/out calls, but that may no longer be the case.

“It’s not a perfect game,” Torre said. “If you try to get every single thing right, you’d have to time the game with a calendar.”

He indicated that adding safe/out calls on plays at the plate was the first priority. The current replay plan looks only at whether a ball is a home run.

“The home run thing, it’s worked really well,” Torre said. Of the changes, Torre said, “We certainly don’t want a play at the plate where umpires realize they were wrong and couldn’t do anything about it.”

Torre said the umpires are on board, but any plan approved by the owners must also be approved by the players’ union for 2014. Owners also are discussing banning home-plate collisions at these meetings.

Back in November, when the plan was first bought to the table and met with a strong willingness by the owners to move forward with it, our own John Ginder wrote the following:

Touching on it briefly, it looks as if managers will be allowed two challenges a game. If they are unsuccessful with their first challenge they will lose the second one. It is still unclear what can be challenged, but it won’t just be home runs anymore.

One thing about baseball that I have always loved and admired is the human element. Maybe I am in the minority. I understand how frustrating it can be when a call doesn’t go your way, but I also know the feeling when you get away with one. Implementing this replay system in a way is phasing this out. I am not saying that I don’t agree with it, I am just saying that one of the things that I along with many love about the game is being handed over to the replay booth.

A complaint for years has been how long games take to be played. With pitching changes, hitter’s pre-at bat rituals, time between pitches, etc… adding the possibility of four challenges isn’t going to speed things up any. I am not complaining about the duration of a game because I could spend all day everyday at a ballpark, I am just stating the facts.

It is still early in this process and I know that the people involved are going to put in a ton of time to iron out the details to be sure the right system is in place, but it leaves me with an on the fence feeling about how much it actually will change the game.

The technology is there to make this work but where does it stop?

Presented By Diehards

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Clayton Kershaw Agrees To Record $215M Deal With Dodgers Thu, 16 Jan 2014 15:42:43 +0000 kershaw

The Los Angeles Times reports that Clayton Kershaw has agreed to a seven-year, $215-million contract extension with the Dodgers.

The deal, which isn’t expected to be officially announced until Friday, will make Kershaw the highest paid pitcher in baseball history. The previous record contract for a pitcher was the seven-year, $180-million deal signed last winter by Justin Verlander of the Detroit TigersThe deal would give Kershaw an average annual salary of $30.7 million.

Kershaw’s new contract also  includes an out-clause that would allow the left-hander to void the remainder of the contract after five seasons.

In a meeting with L.A. Times on Wednesday, Dodgers President Stan Kasten said he was optimistic the team could sign Kershaw to an extension by Friday. That is the deadline for teams to exchange salary figures with their arbitration-eligible players. He would have been a free agent after next season.

Kershaw, 26, went 16-9 with a career high 1.83 ERA and a 0.915 WHIP last season, The two-time Cy Young Award winner also led the NL in strikeouts for the second time in three years. He’s led the National League in ERA in each of the last three seasons.


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Indians Sign Scott Atchison To Minors Deal Mon, 06 Jan 2014 05:29:42 +0000 Atchison

The Cleveland Indians signed free agent reliever Scott Atchison to a minor league contract with an invite to spring training camp, where he’ll have a chance to win a spot in the Tribe’s bullpen.

The 37-year-old appeared in 50 games for the Mets last season, despite two trips to the disabled list. He posted a 4.37 ERA and 1.26 WHIP in 45.1 innings with 28 strikeouts. He became a free agent last month when the Mets non-tendered him.

The Indians may also be zeroing in on another former Met according to ESPN’s Jerry CrasnickJeff Francoeur, 30, is close to signing a minor league deal with Cleveland. Frenchy batted a combined .204/.238/.298 last season between the Royals and Giants.

Presented By Diehards

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Cafardo: One-Year ‘Pillow Contract’ Could Be Best For Nelson Cruz Mon, 06 Jan 2014 01:51:48 +0000 Nelson-Cruz

Several general managers believe that a one-year deal may be best for free agent outfielder Nelson Cruz as the general feeling among teams is that the 33-year old “needs to reestablish his value” says Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.

If Cruz were to consider such a deal, Cafardo says it could “open more opportunities for him” with clubs such as the Mariners, Mets, Blue Jays, Orioles and others.

When I spoke to Sandy Alderson in December, he said that the team had met with Cruz’s agent, Mitch Frankel, and ‘conversations’ regarding the two-time All-Star did occur. Frankel however, also represents Bartolo Colon, and after speaking with Alderson about both of his clients, their meetings obviously became more focused on the 2005 AL Cy Young award winner, who signed a 2-year, $20 million deal with New York on December 14th, rather than Cruz.

Cruz, who was suspended for 50-games due to his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal, hit .266 with 27 homers and 76 RBIs in 413 at-bats last season with Texas.

After splurging on Curtis Granderson and Chris Young, one would think that the Mets were finished addressing the outfield as they have a limited remaining budget to improve several other areas of need. I don’t see it happening with the Mets and Cruz unless he were to take a huge pay cut.

These types of one-year ‘pillow contracts’ as Cafardo calls it, however, have worked well in the past for big-time players who have entered free agency looking to rebound.

In January of 2010, Adrian Beltre signed a one-year, $9 million deal with the Redsox after a poor showing in his final season with Seattle. Beltre went on to have one of the best years of his career, posting a .321/.361/.553 line; enough of an improvement to land him $80 million dollars over five years with the Texas Rangers. Other recent examples include Mike Napoli as well as Marlon Byrd last year with the Amazin’s.

The market for outfielders has severely diminished; the high-rolling teams have mostly filled their needs in that department. As Cafardo and the GMs he spoke to said, it may be in Cruz’s best interest to take a one-year contract and start this whole process again next winter.

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Mets, Orioles Discussed Davis, Murphy And Duda Sat, 04 Jan 2014 16:44:29 +0000 lucas duda ike davis

Talks between the Mets and Orioles were not just limited to Ike Davis says Educardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun.

In addition to Davis, the two teams also discussed Daniel Murphy and Lucas Duda, however as was the case with Ike, negotiations never got very far due to the Mets intent on acquiring a top pitching prospect from the O’s like Eduardo Rodriguez. Encina says both teams will likely “stick with what they’ve got”.

The Mets have been intent on getting top-flight young pitching in return for Davis–Tyler Thornburg from the Brewers, Nick Kingham from the Pirates–and it appears Sandy Alderson’s asking price has not yet decreased.

I wouldn’t expect the Mets to deal Murphy, barring being blown away by an offer; or Duda unless they had a viable replacement to platoon with, if not start over, Davis.

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Murphy Has ‘No Problem’ Moving To First, Though ‘Enjoys’ Second Thu, 19 Dec 2013 16:19:51 +0000 MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at New York Mets

Daniel Murphy‘s six-year major league career has seen him play all over the diamond.

A natural third baseman, Murphy has seen time in leftfield, third, and first before finally finding a home at second base.

With uncertainty to his left at first base, there has been speculation throughout the winter of potentially sliding Murphy over to first and placing someone such as Eric Young Jr. at second, at least on occasion for flexibility purposes.

When speaking to reporters Tuesday at Citi Field, Murphy appeared more than willing to move back to the first-base bag, saying it would only take some time down in Port St. Lucie to get used to the position again.

“I think I can do it,” said Murphy, responding to Ed Marcus of MMO who asked about how comfortable he would be if asked to move over to first again.

“If I get asked to move over there, that’s not a problem at all, I think it would take some reps, and that’s what Spring Traning is for, if that’s decision is made for me to do. I’ve had some experience over there, I think I’ve had probably 100 ballgames over there give or take, so it would take a while to adjust, so at least they would be giving me a bigger glove.”

However following up, I asked Murphy what his preference would be between first and second. After being jostled from position to position for his entire big league career, he says he feels most comfortable at second.

“I enjoy playing second,” said Murphy. “I’ve been bouncing around so much that I don’t really have a whole bunch of games at one spot but second’s finally taken the lead now, around game 300 or so. I like it because you’re able to learn from past experiences, whether they would be mistakes or good plays, and so when something happens it’s not quite as new each time, that’s what I enjoy. It’s not so much, ‘okay I want to stay here because I just don’t want to move’ but you feel like you’re just more comfortable in the position. So that’s what I enjoy.”

Murphy said he did not mind being shifted around when he was trying to find a place on the Mets roster as he said it kept him in the big leagues.

“This is the big leagues; you stick me wherever you want,” said Murphy. “You know, I’d rather be here in the big leagues and feel a little uncomfortable than feel completely comfortable in Triple-A or the minors so if they’re going to give you a job in the big leagues you don’t ask questions, you just take it and try to see if you can figure it out.”

As for the listed reserve second baseman Eric Young Jr., Murphy says he has been amazed at how the natural outfielder was able to step in and play second without skipping a beat.

“I got to see him play in Chicago and in the Arizona Fall League, but he flipped a double play in Chicago against the White Sox, that was sweet,” said Murphy when I asked about Young at second.

“I remember from the bench—I think I had the day-off that day, or I got yanked, one or the other—but he got a low throw I think from the third baseman, and he took it and just turned that thing over easy and it was impressive, not because you couldn’t think he could do it but he hadn’t been there, like all year, and he wasn’t really taking a whole whole bunch of ground balls there. He’d get some work there and turned some double plays, but to just go out there in the best league on earth flip a double play with a guy bearing down on you, that’s what I would say is impressive.”

As for the other uncertain position of the infield, don’t expect Murphy to try to make another positional change.

“I don’t think I could play short,” said Murphy with a big laugh. “I would like to play there, but I don’t think it would be in the best interest of our ballclub.”

Presented By Diehards

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