Mets Merized Online » MMO Exclusives Thu, 12 Jan 2017 18:47:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 MMO Exclusive: Nelson Figueroa Weighs In On Bruce Situation, Starting Rotation, 2017 Mets Tue, 10 Jan 2017 18:30:50 +0000 figueroa_zhr7o6zt_bpzo9j0z

Former Mets pitcher and current SNY studio analyst Nelson Figueroa, was kind enough to answer a few questions for me on Monday. Brooklyn born and raised like myself, Figgy has an intimate and very passionate view of the game. Mets fans have come to love his crisp analysis after each Mets game and his strong opinions and sharp criticisms. You can follow him on Twitter at @FigSNY.

Today, we post Figgy’s thoughts on some of the questions about the upcoming Mets season. Please enjoy.

Joe D: How will this Jay Bruce situation play out in your opinion? Was it a bad idea to pick up that $13 million dollar option? Could you see any scenario in which he’s still with the Mets on Opening Day?

Figgy: The Jay Bruce situation will probably go down to the wire in spring training. I think ultimately they’re going to look to get the pieces that they need. As things usually shake out in spring training, someone somewhere is bound to get hurt and then you have yourself a very hot trade commodity.

You have to remember that Bruce is a 30 Home Run, 100 RBI candidate so the $13 million dollar option was a good fallback if Yoenis Cespedes didn’t end up returning to the Mets. I can see Bruce still being there on Opening Day because they are in a true salary dump situation with him at the moment.

Joe D: How would you categorize the state of the Mets catching right now? Can Travis d’Arnaud still cash in on all the potential the Mets saw when they acquired him? Did you see any positive signs from Kevin Plawecki?

Figgy: I think where the Mets suffered with their catching last year was they didn’t have a true catching coach like Bob Geren during the previous year. Now that Glenn Sherlock is the new catching coach I think you’ll see the attention to details return. Travis is someone I expect to have a bounce-back year this season. I think the talent and timing will finally meet. Rene Rivera was a very nice find last year and then locking up his contract so soon shows their confidence level in him. It seems Plawecki’s stock has fallen quite a bit since the previous year.


Joe D: Which two players need to step up the most in 2017 for the Mets?

Figgy: Without a doubt Lucas Duda and Matt Harvey are the two guys that need to step up. Both of their careers are at a crossroads and getting productive full seasons from both will help the Mets go a long way in 2017.

Joe D: Were you impressed by what you saw from Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo last season? Is one of them better suited to work out of the bullpen than the other?

Figgy: I was very impressed from what I saw from both Lugo and Gsellman. Their ability to compete at this level and also display the confidence in their stuff in tough situations really stood out.

For me, I think Lugo is better suited as a starter and Gsellman, being a two pitch pitcher using his much improved slider as a strikeout pitch, is a stronger candidate for the bullpen. Especially with Jeurys Familia likely out for a while.

Joe D: The Mets are relying on four pitchers coming off surgery to join Noah Syndergaard in the starting rotation this season. I don’t know about you but I’m not too confident that all four of them will make it through spring training without a setback. And Bartolo Colon and his 15 wins and 200 innings are now in Atlanta. How do you view the situation?

Figgy: This once promising can’t-miss rotation is now filled with a lot of question marks. Even Syndergaard with his bone spur is coming off a career high in innings pitched and POWER slider usage.

Will Harvey be ready for Opening Day and the mental aspect of not pitching like the “Dark Knight” in 2015?

Was Jacob deGgrom’s surgery just a tune up? Can Steven Matz go a full season without breaking down?

Who is Zack Wheeler? It’s been two years since he stepped on a big league mound in a Met uniform.

Modern medicine is being tested with this young Mets rotation, but the talent is still undeniable. Met fans know all too well the toll injuries can play on the brightest of starting rotations, remember Pulse, Izzy and Wilson?

Joe D: Tell me a little about Chai Lifeline and what motivated you to get behind them?

Figgy: Chai Lifeline was introduced to me by my friend Peri Finkelstein. She is an amazing young lady I met in 2009 at Citi Field. We reconnected last year where I learned of her involvement and the amazing accomplishment of walking 1,400 steps in the Miami Marathon. Peri has muscular dystrophy and uses a wheelchair to get around. She has helped to raise over 120k for Team Peri which goes to send kids to Camp Simcha. This year she is training to walk a full mile and I will be walking a half marathon in support of Team Peri.

Joe D: How can Mets fans help support your charity?

Figgy: Before we leave NY I am having a benefit bowling event to help raise money and to have a fun evening of laughs and love to send Peri off to Florida. I am inviting family, friends and fans to join me. Check out my twitter page or Facebook @figsny for the links to click on and read more and for a small donation you van come bowl with us.

Also there is a huge 110 item auction on where we are offering unique experience packages and chances to meet and dine with celebrities from all walks of life who have donated their time to help us raise money.

Joe D: Thank you so much for taking some time to answer a few questions that are on the minds of Mets fans and we all look forward to watching your excellent analysis on SNY or WPIX after each Mets game in 2017.

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Talkin’ Mets: Long Before the Miracle Mon, 09 Jan 2017 00:04:26 +0000 1962 mets

Happy New Year! The Talkin’ Mets podcast has returned from holiday hiatus.

The hot stove is very cold right now so I decided to take a different approach to this week’s podcast.

This week I chatted with Bill Sullivan, author of the book “Long Before the Miracle,” which examines the early sixties Mets. Hear Bill remember stories about the Polo Grounds, the Dodgers leaving Brooklyn, Jerry Koosman, Ron Hunt, Nolan Ryan and Roger Craig among others. This is a rare opportunity to remember members of the Mets who were part of the transition from “lovable losers” to 1969 World Series champs. 

Next week I will be doing my annual Hall-of-Fame show where I give my ballot and feature a guest who gives their perspective on who should be inducted into this year’s class.




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Good Fundies Episode 30: The Mets Top 10 of 2016 Wed, 04 Jan 2017 18:18:55 +0000 granderson

Brian and Roger asked what the most important, impactful, and defining stories and moments of 2016 were for the New York Mets. Using those suggestions with the hashtag #Mets2016Top10, the two put together their own lists and combined them to create an ultimate countdown on the podcast.

Did Mike Piazza‘s Hall of Fame induction make it to the top? What about Yoenis Cespedes agreeing to play for the Mets on two separate occasions? Maybe a not so pleasant memory made it to the top! What do I know? I’m just a synopsis.

The two also dipped into the mailbag for the first time in 2017, and reminded listeners that January is Matt Harvey blocks @brianpmangan on Twitter Awareness Month.

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Steven Matz is Elite, The Center Fielder You Want to Trade Him For Isn’t Sat, 24 Dec 2016 13:51:52 +0000 steven-matz

An MMO Fan Shot by Sidd Finch

On July 30, 2004, the Mets committed one of the greatest blunders in their history by trading top left-handed pitching prospect Scott Kazmir to the Rays for the veteran Victor Zambrano. The deal was intended to fill a perceived immediate need, but it didn’t take long to see the effects of the grave error.

Zambrano would end up throwing five awful starts for the Mets that season, before leaving the team and being out of baseball altogether by the next year. That same next year, Kazmir would blossom into one of the best young pitchers in baseball, and eventually lead the Rays to a 2008 World Series appearance. The Mets can’t afford to repeat history.

Going into the 2016 season, the lefty Steven Matz was an undisputed top fifteen prospect in baseball who had just finished pitching on MLB’s biggest stage in the 2015 World Series. However, one bone spur later and it seems as though the New York media, certain bloggers, and even the fans are chomping at the bit to see him shipped out in hypothetical trade scenarios involving any one of their favorite center fielders. Mets fans need a reminder of just how good, and just how valuable, Steven Matz really is. When Matz and his adorable grandfather take the league by storm next season, don’t say you weren’t warned.

In 2016, Matz threw the 3rd hardest sinker of all MLB starting pitchers at an average of 93.6 mph. The only starters to throw harder were right-handers Jake Arrieta (93.8 mph) and Noah Syndergaard (97.8 mph!!!). This also made him by far and away the hardest throwing lefty starter sinker-baller in the major leagues, the second-best coming from the Reds’s Brandon Finnegan who threw a measly 91.8 mph.

Additionally, this makes Matz tied with Carlos Rodon at 93.6 mph for the hardest throwing left-handed starting pitcher in all of baseball (Danny Duffy of the Royals and Robbie Ray being #1 and #2 respectively), and he does it all while throwing a heavy sinker. Matz is of a very rare breed that the Mets are lucky to have.

While velocity is nice, most fans weren’t particularly enchanted with Matz’s 2016. At a very rudimentary glance, it seems as though the kid from Long Island did fairly solid, but wasn’t quite the ace some envisioned him to be. However, Matz’s firepower wasn’t the only thing elite about his 2016 season. It is the purpose of this article to not only defend Matz’s potential, but demonstrate how elite he has been already.

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Matz doesn’t just possess velocity, but great control and overall numbers to make him one of the game’s elite pitchers. Among MLB starters with 130+ innings pitched in 2016, Matz ranked 20th overall and 6th for left-handers in BB/9 (Syndergaard was 21) and 17 overall and 7th for left-handers in groundball percentage (Syndergaard was 16th).

His hard hit percentage was also almost identical to Syndergaard’s. Despite these similarities, both pitchers had a stark difference in ERA, with the proverbial god of thunder posting a 2.60 ERA and Matz posting a 3.40 ERA. However, there are good reasons why Matz was almost on par with his bone spur brother in many respects.

First, Matz’s batting average on balls in play was uncharacteristically high at .302, which ranked towards the higher end of the league’s left-handers. Despite producing a very high ground ball rate, and relatively low hard contact rate, Matz was a bit unlucky. Second, after a terrible first start which is widely attributed to a long 11 day rest period between starts, Matz pitched to a 2.96 ERA throughout the rest of the season, despite throwing through immense pain.

In fact, that 2.96 ERA would place 4th in all of baseball for left-handed starters in 2016, behind only the elite company of Clayton Kershaw, Jon Lester, and Madison Bumgarner (he places 9th otherwise, one spot behind Chris Sale). It’s easy to be spoiled with all of the great starting pitching that the Mets see day in and day out, but it would be foolish to ignore the numbers Matz is putting up.

In his first 28 major league starts, he has gone 13-8 with a 3.16 ERA, 8.7 K/9, and a 128 ERA+.  Chris Sale, who was just traded for a king’s ransom to the Red Sox, posted a 3.34 ERA, 9.3 K/9, and 120 ERA+ over 32 starts in 2016, after posting a 111 ERA+ in 2015. While I am not suggesting Matz is on the level of Sale, at least not just yet, the comparison of the raw numbers proves that Matz is already on a scary level entering his age 26 season.

If these indicators are any example, and Matz’s highly touted abilities on the mound haven’t disintegrated during the offseason, the Mets and Grandpa Matz are in for an even more exciting season in 2017. I predict that he will dominate the league in a way that could only be rivaled by his fellow stablemates in the Mets rotation. However, if the Mets were to trade Matz in a deal for a center fielder, they would be giving up on one of the top pitchers in the game for no good reason.

Throwing away Matz to fill a spot currently held by a productive Curtis Granderson would do nothing but produce a less complete 2017 team, and give up the remaining five years of control that Matz possesses. He would be replaced with the next man up on the depth chart, which would likely be Robert Gsellman or Seth Lugo if Zack Wheeler is to start the year in the bullpen. At that point, just one injury to one pitcher would force the Mets to start the likes of Rafael Montero or Sean Gilmartin in a year where the Mets are supposed to go for it all once again.

The value of a pitcher like Matz is at an all-time high. Wasting that value on the trade rumor of the week would do nothing but take the team straight back to 2004.

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Addressing Matz’s Health Concerns

Many advocates of trading Matz point to his health history as a reason for concern going forward. However, what many fail to realize is that he has actually stayed relatively durable for the past four years. After returning from Tommy John surgery to throw six starts in 2012, he threw TWO full minor league seasons in 2013 and 2014 (21 and 24 starts respectively).

In 2015, Matz appeared in 24 starts across all levels, in addition to his three postseason starts, despite dealing with an oblique issue. In 2016, he threw in 22 starts while dealing with a bone spur that has since been removed.

Despite making 20+ starts in every season over the past four years, he is still unfairly labeled as “injury-prone”. While his past two injuries haven’t been ideal, they don’t present long-term issues, and Matz is primed to go farther than ever next year.

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This MMO Fan Shot was written by MMO reader Sidd Finch. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 30,000 Met fans who read this site daily.

Send your article to Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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MMO Interview: Hard Throwing Relief Prospect Kevin McGowan Fri, 23 Dec 2016 16:31:29 +0000 3

New York Mets right-handed pitching prospect Kevin McGowan had a breakout season after switching to a reliever. McGowan, 25, pitched to a 2.35 ERA and 1.091 WHIP in 84.1 innings over three levels. As a reliever he held opponents to a .222/.269/.349 slash line in 2016.

McGowan made 42 appearances including four spot starts after working almost exclusively as start starter the previous three seasons. He had a 0.82 ERA in 33 innings for the St. Lucie Mets before being promoted to the Binghamton Mets. He then pitched to a 3.62 ERA over 49.2 innings for the B-Mets and also made a 1.2 inning cameo with the Las Vegas 51s.

The Mets drafted McGowan in the 13th round of the 2013 draft out of Division II Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, New Hampshire. He went to high school about an hour away in Nashua, New Hampshire and playing baseball in the northeast is one of the topics we touch on.

McGowan saw an uptick in his fastball out of the pen sitting in the mid 90’s and topping out in the upper 90’s. He also saw improvement with the consistency of his breaking ball that helped him have a great season. He set a career high with a 8.9 K/9 and tied a career best with his 2.3 BB/9. He allowed only 70 hits and four home runs in his 84.1 innings of work in 2016.

I would expect to see Kevin get an invite to major league spring training camp this year.

MMO – First off, I want to thank you for taking the time to answer some questions and congrats on a great season. You had success this year in part because of a switch from starting to relieving, how did that come about?

Kevin – Probably from just trusting my stuff and throwing my fastball a lot more. Over the past season or so when I was starting I threw way more off speed then I needed to. Basically trying to be too cute. But it worked out cause for the first time in pro ball I actually had a decent breaking ball. So it paid off this season

MMO – What do you think changed to make your breaking ball more effective?

Kevin – I just never really had one. Or at least a consistent one. It took time, but I finally developed feel for the pitch so I can locate it and add and subtract velocity when I need to.

MMO – Did any specific coach in the Mets system help you make that pitch more consistent?

Kevin – My guy Phil Regan (Assistant Pitching Coordinator)! That dude always takes care of me and has always taken the time to help me out. But Marc Valdes (St.Lucie Pitching Coach) and I always worked well together and he seems to kinda know what I need to make it a better pitch for me. And I was with Glenn Abbott (B-Mets Pitching Coach) for a while this year and him and I talked a lot about how to approach pitching. A main point he would always bring up is breaking ball and my breaking ball specifically. He always wanted to make sure I kept depth with the it so it wasn’t flat. So a huge thanks to those guys.

MMO – What are you doing this offseason to get ready for the 2017 season?

Kevin – Just working out at AB athletics here in Nashua, New Hampshire. And playing golf pretty much until the snow hits. Then it’s video game season haha.

MMO – When I talked to David Roseboom he told me you were the best hitter in the B-Mets bullpen, said you had moonshot power. Any truth to this? And is it Bartolo Colon power?

Kevin – Well besides Tyler Pill. He shouldn’t count though cause he was Fullertons’ 3 hitter in college. And Idk man. Bartolo is a legend. But I if you ask my father he’ll tell you I was always a better hitter than pitcher. So batting practice is just wicked fun for me. Five o’clock hitter though for sure.

MMO – What do you think you need to improve to take the next step in your development and get closer to the big leagues?

Kevin – Just build off of last season and continue to get more consistent. Then hopefully get a chance to help out the big league club.

MMO – Growing up in Maine I know what it’s like, but can you explain to the readers about how hard it is to get baseball games/practices in up in the Northeast and some of the challenges you faced in high school because of the weather.

Kevin – Yeah it’s pretty nuts. I haven’t played nearly as much baseball as my competition just cause the weather is brutal up here. High school you had to really dress warm cause it was cold usually most of the time and couldn’t really avoid the cold. Our home field was a Triple-A stadium at one point so we at least had actual dugouts and could avoid the wind. Obviously not all high school fields are nice, so we were pretty fortunate for that.

College was even worse. Started in February and we played probably every game cause we had on a turf field. I honestly can’t remember a game getting snowed out, we played plenty of games when it was snowing. And my college has to have the worst location to play because there’s a lake right behind the field and we’re at the bottom of mountains, so it was never warm. Lots of wind.

My freshman year when we hosted regionals there was still snow behind the fences in May. I remember walking to practice in January and it was no joke -20 plus the wind. So practices when it was too cold would be in our indoor facility which was a bubble. Unfortunately it wasn’t heated well. Practice sometimes was shoveling the snow off the field. With all that being said, we had heated dugouts. Thank god. I don’t mean that to come off like I hated it cause honestly Franklin Pierce was for sure the best college experience I could ever imagine.

MMO – Who of your teammates this year, at any of your 3 stops, impressed you the most?

Kevin – I’ve always been a big Rosario guy, I think he’s the truth. So I feel like I’m never surprised with what he’s capable of. Same with Dominic Smith. Also the truth. Paul Pierce 34! It’s been fun watching those guys starting to reach their potential. And there’s still more room for them to grow which is kinda insane. Pimp C (Corey Taylor) was a lot of fun to watch too. Throws hard and doesn’t mess around. He’s always in attack mode. Ricky Knapp finally showed what I always thought he was capable of and had a sick year. Matt Oberste was hitting rockets all of the yard again.

It was good to see Boomer (David Roseboom) have the year he had. I mean when I saw him in St. Lucie he was struggling. It was great to see him turn it completely around. I think it kind shocked people. Going from that tough half in the FSL to dominating the Eastern League. He’s a high energy, weird dude so watching him get fired up as a closer was hilarious. Sewald is always nasty so when I saw him throw it was nothing surprising. He pitches with a huge chip on his shoulder and it’s great to see him continue to succeed. And of course Jeff Glenn, unreal bullpen catcher. Oh yeah Phillip Evans! Another guy I watched struggle for a bit in St. Lucie and then have an unbelievable season. Won a league batting title. That was sick to see. Pumped for him.

MMO – You must have grown up a Red Sox fan, have you changed your allegiances to the Mets?

Kevin – Oh yeah I was a Sox die hard. Papi retiring hurts though. I have pictures of him all over my room. Same with Pedro and Manny Ramirez. Those three were my idols growing up. But guys who I played with are now a part of the big league club and they seemed to have a seamless transition to the show which is awesome. So I’m always rooting for Robert GsellmanSeth LugoJosh SmokerMichael Conforto and all the guys I’ve played with. It fires me up watching them succeed. Obviously it makes me want to be a part of it. So my allegiances have changed for sure.

MMO – Thanks again man for answers and good luck next season.

Kevin – Yeah for sure.

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Talkin’ Mets: Our 90 Minute Holiday Call-In Show Starts At 7:00 PM Sun, 18 Dec 2016 21:53:31 +0000 santa-syndergaard

The response to my Winter Meetings call-in show was tremendous so we decided to wrap up 2016 with another live show.

On Sunday December 18th, I will be taking your calls from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm. Ninety-minutes of Mets Baseball to keep you warm through the holidays.

I will open the lines at 7:15 pm after a brief monologue. Hear my state of the union on the Mets offseason, thoughts on Bud Selig’s election into the Hall of Fame, and my Mets “Man of the Year.”

In the past, I have elected a New York Baseball “Man of the Year” in the same spirit as Time Magazine. This is not the MVP, but rather the individual that made the most news – good or bad – in 2016. There are a lot of candidates to choose from. Don’t just think of the obvious as this award is more about “news” and “impact” than just pure numbers.

Let me hear who your Mets “Man of the Year” is. What would you like to see Sandy Alderson give you under your Mets X-Mas tree? Give me whatever is on your mind pertaining to the New York Mets.

Finally, to keep us all warm during this snowy weekend show, I will play some of the highlights from 2016.

The call-in number is:





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MMO Fan Shot: Could Royals Or Rockies Solve Center Field For Mets? Sat, 17 Dec 2016 17:00:37 +0000 lorenzo cain

An MMO Fan Shot by Robert Walsh

Christmas is coming and “Santa” Sandy Alderson got us an amazing early Christmas present in re-signing the largest prize of this offseason in Yoenis Cespedes. Thank you Santa Sandy! While this will prove to be an excellent signing for the Mets it does place them back in the predicament Sandy recently alluded to as being like a move between two houses, where we have four corner outfielders and not a true center fielder.

There is still plenty of time to get deals done this off-season and the Mets should not be content in a straight salary dump of Jay Bruce. Deducting Bruce’s projected $13 million salary comes at the cost of the .440 slugging percentage FanGraphs Steamer is projecting.

Sandy has stated he is not looking to dump for project prospects but legitimate players that could contribute. Translation, he is looking to turn him for a middle innings reliever at negligible cost and not eat any of what Bruce is due. It is imperative the Mets look to address the deduction this takes from their lineup.

Amongst the sellers and teams in motion during the winter meetings, the Royals and Rockies standout as potential partners to be had with the Mets.

The Royals having already dealt Wade Davis for Jorge Soler have shown their cards as a mid to small market club not able to maintain their assets into free agency. Astutely they’ve capitalized on short term free agents to-be by cashing in with ready to plug in cost-controlled players. Lorenzo Cain is a great fit playing in the last year of his contract. With a two year WAR average of 4.5 he is top five amongst players under 32. He has a low strike out rate of 17.5% and a high on-base of .352 which is exactly in the Mets’ wheelhouse – the question is what it will take?

Obviously the Royals did not take pitching back in return for Davis and this would vacate a starting spot in their outfield. Would a package of Michael Conforto and Robert Gsellman get it done? Two cost controlled players ready to plug-in for one in their contract year. I would argue this is what the Royals would like, if I were the Mets I’d ensure there was a sweetener of a prospect from their side to get this done.


Another option is talking to the Rockies about Charlie Blackmon. I think we were all scratching our heads when we read that the Rockies had recently signed Ian Desmond to play …First Base? So like the Mets the Rockies have more outfielders than they need except they’re going with the mantra of plugging their holes with the best bats regardless of defense. Not ideal but I think a deal with the Mets could even out their needs and assets more effectively.

Obviously Ian Desmond is an outfielder now and a legitimate one. Could he play in the infield, certainly but let’s not expect Gold Glove defense at first and his options to the left side of the diamond are nil and none in Colorado.

Blackmon would be an incredible leadoff bat for the Mets that would answer their needs at center field as well. This would reshape the lineup presumably allowing Curtis Granderson to move down to more RBI prone 2 or 6 slot where he could do more damage.

Could a package of Robert Gsellman and Lucas Duda persuade the Rockies to give up Blackmon? Duda would be a better solution for the Rockies at first base, and they desperately need more pitching depth. This allows Desmond to move to a more comfortable center field.

The other option for them would be Steven Matz straight up and they could go continue to pursue Edwin Encarnacion at first base which they’ve been connected to. Encarnacion would rake hitting at Coors Field. The Mets could presumably fill first base with Wilmer Flores to start, but could easily find roles with Reyes and Dominic Smith throughout the year.

Any which way you slice it the Mets have to get creative to address their needs in this market. Getting rid of Bruce’s salary straight up doesn’t help the lineup it hurts it. The Royals and Rockies are two teams showing a willingness to get things done that the Mets match up very well with. The question for both scenarios is who’s more willing and what will it take.

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This MMO Fan Shot was written by MMO reader Robert Walsh. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 30,000 Met fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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Good Fundies Episode 29: This is Not a Blog (with Dan Szymborski) Fri, 16 Dec 2016 22:03:34 +0000 santa-syndergaard

Roger and Brian wished each other, as well as the listeners, a very happy holiday season and New Year, before they talked about the recently quiet Mets offseason, as well as the fairly funny (to Mets fans) Winter Meetings the Nationals just had, before admitting that the Nationals still might be the better team.

They then had a long chat with Very Special guest Dan Szymborski of ESPN, who talked about which team is the one to beat in the NL East. He also tells us about the history of ZiPS, why he didn’t name it SiPS, the Baseball Think Factory days, the massive trade value of Ecto Cooler in the school cafeteria, what to expect from Cespedes moving forward, and why Curtis Granderson is like the suit you wore to the high school prom.

Dan also discusses getting dirty looks at Ned Yost media sessions, his feud with Murray Chass, the one player he wished Carl Everett played with, and more if you can believe it.


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Talkin’ Mets: Live Winter Meetings Call-In Show Thu, 08 Dec 2016 23:36:03 +0000 screenshot-1

On Thursday December 8th between 9-10pm, I will be doing our first Talkin’ Mets Live Podcast.

I will recap the Mets week at the Winter Meetings in National Harbor, MD and hear what is on your mind.

The show is unfiltered, unscripted and no comments are unwelcome.

Call-in Number is


You will be able to listen to the show and wait for me to say your area code and last 4-digits of your phone #.  At that point you will be live on the Talkin’ Mets podcast!

After a brief monologue to open the program the floor is yours. I want to hear what your thoughts are about the Mets, me or the show.

Thursday at 9:00 PM

If you can’t make the call-in, email your questions or thoughts about the Mets to Joe D at MMO and I will read most of them on the show to discuss.



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Talkin’ Mets: Winter Meetings Preview and New CBA Mon, 05 Dec 2016 00:54:08 +0000 jay bruce

Tonight I discuss all the details of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement and its impact on the league with Maury Brown of Forbes.

Tim Donner of Metsmerized Online joins me to preview the Winter Meetings. We react to the signing of Yoenis Cespedes and look towards how Sandy Alderson can round out the roster. Should the Mets trade both Bruce and Granderson?

Will they surprise everyone and make a play for a catcher to replace Travis d’Arnaud? What relievers should they be interested in? Hear our thoughts about what we would like to see happen at the 2016 Winter Meetings in Maryland.

Special Note: We will be doing a Live Call-In Show on Thursday at 9:00 PM to wrap up the Winter Meetings and talk about what the Mets got accomplished. Mark it down!




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Good Fundies Episode 28: Four More Years of Yoenis Cespedes (with Jared Diamond) Wed, 30 Nov 2016 17:36:58 +0000 Yoenis , Cespedes

Brian and Roger were joined by Jared Diamond of The Wall Street Journal! He talked about the possible lockout, what really goes on during the Winter Meetings and the Rule 5 draft, the excellent newsletter he writes with Mike Vorkunov, and what Yoenis Cespedes’ signing portends for the future of the rest of the Mets outfield.

Oh yeah, Cespedes signed with the Mets (pending a physical no jinx). Brian and Roger talked about that a bunch, as well as if the Yo signing means the Mets are now capable of spending like a big market team, if its legal to have two players on top of one another at one position, and who they would like to see play third, center, and right field.


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Talkin’ Mets: Latest on Yoenis Cespedes with Rich Mancuso Sun, 27 Nov 2016 20:45:28 +0000 yoenis-cespedes-2

This week, Rich Mancuso of New York Sports Day gives me the latest rumors on the Mets’ pursuit of Yoenis Cespedes.

Last year, Rich was one of the first to report the return of Cespedes to the Mets. He lets me know what his sources are saying as to the odds of a Cespedes return, what he believes the years/dollars will be and what team should worry the Mets the most. He also gives me a preview of other improvements to the roster that Sandy Alderson may be eyeing this winter.




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Good Fundies Episode 27: The Disbarring of Bartolo Colon, Attorney at Law Wed, 23 Nov 2016 01:36:50 +0000 lawyer

Roger and Brian said so long to two beloved players – Bartolo Colon and Eric Campbell, and hello again to Neil Walker, and wondered if the additions and subtractions will equal better things.

Then the two ran down the top free agents in baseball and figured out who would make excellent new Mets. Brian again made it very clear he will be very upset if Yoenis Cespedes left, and gave Jay Bruce a cruel title.

He also broke his historic silence on the hiring of Glenn Sherlock, and while Roger said cutter when he meant two-seamer, he did explain how Sandy Koufax helped shape “Gilmore Girls”.

The two also gave thanks to the best of the Mets and to their listeners, the best-looking listeners in the world.


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Talkin’ Mets: 40-Man Maneuvers and Cespedes Rumblings Mon, 21 Nov 2016 00:30:19 +0000 MLB: SEP 20 Yankees at Mets

During tonight’s show I discuss the latest rumors surrounding free agent Yoenis Cespedes, including this exclusive report from Joe D. of Metsmerized Online, and I predict the Mets will sign the star outfielder by the Winter Meetings.

During the show I also discuss why relief pitching will get overvalued in the wake of the Brett Cecil contract with St. Louis.

With Neil Walker now re-signed and five prospects added to the 40-man roster, what is next for the Mets?

Can any of the additions help in 2017?

Also, how will a possible 26-man roster change the way GM’s build teams and protect players?

How did Gavin Cecchini and other members of the Mets organization perform in the AFL? Michael Mayer of Metsmerized Online gives his take to round out this week’s program.




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Shoebox Memories: 1964 Topps Casey Teaches Kranepool Sun, 20 Nov 2016 16:30:30 +0000 casey-teaches-kranepool

As Casey Stengel was reported to say to reporters during the 1966 preseason, “We’ve got a couple of kids here, and they’re both 20 years old. In 10 years the first one, Kranepool, has a chance to be a star. In 10 years the other guy has a chance to be 30.”  The card above is card number 393 from the 1964 Topps baseball card set.  As the above quote shows, obviously Casey Stengel spent his time teaching Ed Kranepool and less time teaching the second prospect.

A member of the original 1962 Mets, Ed Kranepool made his major league debut at the age of 17 on September 22, 1962 as a late inning defensive replacement for Gil Hodges at first base.  The next day, September 23, 1962, Kranepool made his first major league start.  He played first base again, and had a double in four at bats.

Kranepool, despite being taught by Manager Casey Stengel, struggled as a rookie in 1963, batting .209 in 86 games, playing mostly right field with some games at both first and left.  In 1964 however, Stengel’s teaching must have stuck as Kranepool became the team’s regular first baseman and hit .257 with 10 homers and 45 RBIs in 420 at bats as a 19 year old, in the Old Perfessor’s last full season as Mets manager.



Playing both right field and first predominantly in 1964, Kranepool even played one game in center, handling five flyballs without issue.  The following season was 1965 and Kranepool hit a similar .253 with 10 homers and 53 RBIs and was the Mets’ representative at the All Star game, although he did not get to play in the game.   This is particularly unfortunate as Kranepool was never selected to an All Star game in the remainder of his career.

The Mets regular first baseman through 1969, Kranepool did not have a great 1969 season, hitting .238 with 11 homers and 49 RBIs.  He did contribute though, especially during the Mets 11 game winning streak that included a two-home run game against the Dodgers.  On July 8, Kranepool hit a fifth-inning home run off Cubs ace Fergie Jenkins, and had a game-winning RBI single to center in the ninth to give the Mets a 4-3 win against Chicago.  In the World Series, Kranepool contributed with a home run in game three of the series against the Baltimore Orioles.


After struggling in 1969, Kranepool lost his regular first base job to Donn Clendenon and was actually demoted to AAA in June.  For the season, Kranepool was limited to 47 at bats.  By 1971 however, Kranepool was a regular again, shuffling between first and both corner outfield positions and kept the same role through the 1977 season.  In 1973, the Mets pennant-winning season, Kranepool contributed in game five of the playoffs, driving in the first two runs of the Mets’ series clinching victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

From 1974 through 1979, Kranepool excelled as a pinch hitter.  In 1974 Kranepool set a record that still stands with the highest batting average as a pinch hitter (minimum 30 at-bats) hitting .486 in that role.  Kranepool was the last of the 1969 World Series winners still on the team in 1979, and was the last of the original 1962 Mets to play ball, retiring after the 1979 season.  No other Met in history has stayed as long with the team as Kranepool’s 18 seasons.  I can still recall the entire Stadium chanting “Eddie, Eddie” every time our beloved hero came to the plate his last few seasons.

Periods of Career

Batting Average




1962 – 1970





1971 – 1979










The franchise record holder in games played (1,853), second in at-bats (5,436); plate appearances (5,997); hits (1,418) all behind David Wright, and in the top ten in doubles (225); triples (25); home runs (118), RBIs (614); and walks (454).  Obviously Casey’s pupil was paying attention in class.  A member of the Mets Hall of Fame since 1990, Ed Kranepool has not yet been named to the Metsmerized Hall of Fame. Maybe in 2017?

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Talkin’ Mets: Matt Ehalt on Walker, Cespedes and Bruce vs. Granderson Sun, 13 Nov 2016 23:00:26 +0000 yoenis cespedes neil walker

Today I am joined by Matt Ehalt of the The Record to discuss the latest hot stove news with the New York Mets.

Hear us talk about why letting Bartolo Colon go was the right thing to do, the Yoenis Cespedes market and whether Neil Walker will accept the Qualifying Offer.

We also talk about the Mets lack of right-handed components in the lineup and how this isn’t an easy fix. Jay Bruce or Curtis Granderson?

Matt tells me why Bruce will probably be traded. Finally he gives free agent predictions on Jerry Blevins, Kelly Johnson and Fernando Salas.

I wrap up the show talking about how interesting the Veterans Committee ballot is this season, which includes former Mets manager Davey Johnson.




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Talkin’ Mets: Kicking Off the Hot Stove Season Mon, 07 Nov 2016 00:35:29 +0000 mets-wild-card

Talkin’ Mets returns to the airwaves on Sunday as I set-up the offseason by giving my state-of-the-union and answering

Hear me talk about what the Mets can learn from the Cubs championship season, how Sandy Alderson can take a lesson from Steve Phillips 1998 offseason when it comes to Yoenis Cespedes and what free agents intrigue me.

I round out the show with fans’ questions about the future of Wilmer Flores, whether Dexter Fowler is the answer, and whether it’s worth moving forward with Travis d’Arnaud behind the plate.




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MMO Exclusive: Mets Relief Prospect Paul Sewald Fri, 04 Nov 2016 19:31:01 +0000 paul sewald

Paul Sewald was drafted by the Mets in the 2012 draft in the 10th round out of the University of San Diego. The right-handed reliever made his pro debut in spectacular fashion with the Brooklyn Cyclones. He had a 1.88 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and went 4 for 4 in save chances.

Paul would follow up his great debut with another good season in 2013 with the Savannah Sand Gnats in which he posted a 1.77 ERA, struck out 67 batters in 56 innings and didn’t allow a home run.

It was more of the same for the crafty closer in 2014 when he had a combined 1.92 ERA, struck out 69 in 56.1 innings and held opponents to a .200 average combined between St. Lucie and the Binghamton Mets.

The step up to Double-A can be the toughest but that didn’t phase Sewald as he posted arguably the best year of his career in 2015 with Binghamton. He pitched the entire season with the B-Mets and went 24 for 25 in save chances. He posted a career best in ERA (1.73), WHIP (0.86), and opponents AVG (.188). He was named to the Eastern League All-Star roster but didn’t play because he participated in the Pan-Am games for Team USA.

Surely the successful righty, that mostly sits 88-92 MPH with his fastball, would have trouble in the hitters haven that is Cashman Field and the Pacific Coast League. Nope, just another tremendous season for Sewald who was the Las Vegas 51s closer and had the second most saves in the PCL with 19.

Sewald posted a 3.29 ERA, which isn’t as bad as it looks when you consider the league average was 4.46 and he pitched 36 of his 65.2 innings at home. Sewald continued to be successful because he kept throwing strikes and kept striking people out (80 in 65.2 innings).

The Mets bullpen was starting to tire in September as injuries decimated the starting rotation forcing Rafael Montero and Gabriel Ynoa to make starts. Surprisingly, the highly successful Sewald didn’t receive a promotion to help the Mets down the stretch.

Now the Mets have a decision to make with Sewald. He needs to be added to the 40-man roster to protect him from upcoming Rule 5 draft on December 8th. It’s seems like a pretty clear cut choice to me to protect a guy with a career 2.20 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 307 strikeouts compared to just 59 walks in 258 innings.

Paul has decided to take his talents to the Mexican Winter League this offseason to pitch for the Naranjeros de Hermosillo. He has five saves, 0.90 ERA, eight strikeouts and has yet to walk a batter in ten innings.

Sewald relies on precision control, great preparation (see below), pounding the strike zone, and a nasty slider that helps him get hitters out.

paul sewald

MMN – First off congrats on a great regular season and getting off to a good start in Mexico.

Paul – Thank you I really appreciate it! I finished really well and it’s carried over to pitching down here so I’m excited with how I’m throwing.

MMN – What was your motivation to pitch in the Mexican Winter League and how did it come about?

Paul – Well I had a couple of good reasons to play. Obviously, the money down here is a lot better than it is in the minor leagues. So that was a really nice incentive. Also, it just gives me another outlet to showcase myself as a pitcher. There’s plenty of scouts here and I have coaches from teams in MLB here so it’s a good chance for me to show what I can do and possibly give me another opportunity to play somewhere down the road.

MMN – What is it like competition wise, what level of the minor leagues would you compare it too?

Paul – I think the competition has been pretty good! I’ve seen plenty of guys I’ve faced over the years and a handful of guys with at least some major league time. So I would probably say maybe AA possibly some AAA lineups.

MMN – What is the travel like? Stadiums? Atmosphere at games? Do the american players stay in housing together?

Paul – Travel isn’t bad! The league is pretty spread out so most of the places we fly but there are a couple 3-5 hour bus trips too. Most of the stadiums are incredible. AAA type stadiums and the crowds are huge and exciting so that part has been great! They put the Americans up in a hotel together and so it’s easy for us all to be together.

MMN – You said playing in Mexico was in part to showcase yourself, is that because at the moment you aren’t on the Mets 40-man roster and thus could be exposed to the Rule 5 draft?

Paul – Yeah that is the main reason! Now I’m with the Mets and they have ownership of me and I want to play at Citi Field soon! So the 40-man roster with the Mets would be great but if they don’t put me on, then yes the main reason for me coming down here is to put myself out there in hopes to get picked in the Rule 5 in December.

MMN – Were you surprised that you didn’t get a promotion to the big leagues this year, especially in September?

Paul – I wouldn’t say “surprised” because nothing has ever been easy or given to me so I wasn’t expecting it! But was I disappointed? Absolutely! I felt like I’ve done enough to show them I’m ready for that next step by pitching well at every single level. I know I can pitch in the big leagues I just need an opportunity to show that I can!

MMN – Absolutely agree and let’s talk about how you were successful this year. Did you have to do anything different playing in the hitter friendly PCL to get hitters out?

Paul – The PCL, especially in Las Vegas, is such a hard place to pitch. You try to stick with what makes you successful to start with and that’s the only way you can approach it. I didn’t want to pitch scared or pitch away from contact just because it’s a good hitters park and league. The most important thing for me was to attack hitters and throw strikes no matter how the ball travels. And I think I did a good job of that whether I was pitching well or struggling and just stayed with that process.

MMN – Anyone who’s seen you pitch knows a lot of success comes from your great breaking ball. When did you learn to throw it, from who and has it changed at all over your time in the minors?

Paul – Yeah my slider is definitely my best pitch and my go-to! I learned it right after my freshman year of college before I went to summer ball. I struggled a lot with offspeed and my dad (Mark Sewald, 16th RD, 1979 by Boston Red Sox) had me try the way he threw it when he played. Instantly I found something I was comfortable with and could throw strikes and it was good. Honestly, I haven’t really messed with it much since then as it’s been successful ever since I learned it and so I’m confident in it and that’s the most important thing.

MMN – Some pitchers have said that the elevation in Vegas flattened their breaking ball, is that something you had trouble with or heard of from other guys on last years team?

Paul – Well it definitely had an effect on it yeah. I mean my numbers on the road were a lot better than at home and my breaking ball sharpness is a direct correlation to that so absolutely.

MMN – One of the knocks or question marks that scouts and fans have on you is your lack of velocity, what is your response to that?

Paul – Well it’s true I don’t throw as hard as most scouts and coaches want. It’s been the thing that’s held me back my whole life so I know that by now. I try to make up for it with above average spin rates, deception and location of it. And my numbers say that I’ve been successful doing that so I’m going to continue to do so, but I understand it’s easy for people to scout the radar gun and it’s unfair but that’s just the way it is.

MMN – Who passes along your spin rates to you?

Paul – Well I actually have a good friend from high school who works with sabermetrics scouting and he lets me know every once in a while how it’s going. But also TJ Barra (Manager of Baseball Research and Development) with the Mets sent me some info on it and some of the things the numbers say about my success with those spin rates.

MMN – What do you do to prepare for hitters you may face that night/in a series?

Paul – I have a book of all my at-bats facing every guy from each team. I keep track of the pitches, the speeds, the locations, the results. So then by those I’ll write any notes I saw in their swing or approach against me. Then before the series I’ll go read through and get a little reminder of each hitter so that I might have a better idea of how to attack them when I face any given hitter.

MMN – What is it like to see teammates like Seth Lugo and T.J. Rivera be successful and help the Mets make playoffs this year?

Paul – Well it’s exciting when you see your friends get to achieve their dream just like I’ve always dreamed about. It helped my confidence because I know if those guys are having success at the major league level I know I can too. So that helps a lot too.

MMN – Thanks again for answering all my questions Paul, and hope to see you in a Mets uniform soon.

Paul – Absolutely. Thanks for your support we really appreciate it! I hope so too. Soon would be great!

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MMO Fan Shot: Right-Handed Platoon Options Mets Should Consider Fri, 04 Nov 2016 17:00:21 +0000 yoenis-cespedes-550

An MMO Fan Shot by Travis (T Boogy)

Believe it or not, money may be an issue this off-season for the Mets. Yes, sarcasm. Seriously, though, if Yoenis Cespedes re-signs then there will not be much money to go around for other free agents given that several young Mets are due for substantial raises in arbitration. But, we all want Cespedes to stay because of the impact he has on the lineup.

Even if Cespedes leaves it’s possible that money may not be so abundant. It’s possible Neil Walker gets and accepts a Qualifying Offer, or signs a long-term contract with the Mets. Additionally, Sandy Alderson may have to spend more than expected to beef up the bullpen with Familia’s uncertainty. I’m actually hoping the rest of the teams over-bid for Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen and that Sandy makes a run at Mark Melancon instead. He is every bit as good as his high-strikeout, flashier counterparts but doesn’t get the attention, and hopefully not as much money. But, that’s for another article.

For now, I’d like to look at the scenario if Cespedes leaves. Assuming Sandy doesn’t want to go after Jose Bautista, Mark Trumbo, Ian Desmond, or Dexter Fowler, then he may want to rely on the current crop of Met outfielders. The problem is that 4 of the top 5 remaining are LHB and without a RHB the Mets would be vulnerable to left-handed starters. I love Juan Lagares but he’s having trouble staying on the field and, when he is healthy, he’s having trouble being consistent.  In addition, it would be great if the Mets had a RHB who could play first base also since Duda may need a platoon partner. That would free up to Flores to play elsewhere if needed.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees

Here are some options for right-handed batters that have the ability to play outfield and first base as platoon options:

Steve Pearce: Free Agent; .852 OPS against lefties (1.028 last year). He has long been sought after for his versatility and favorable splits. He plays against every lefty starter but also is solid enough to earn some starts against some righties.

Sean Rodriguez: Free Agent; .755 OPS against lefties (.934 last year). Had a huge year last year and the Pirates will likely want to keep him, especially if they consider trading McCutchen. He has tremendous defensive versatility, with experience last year at every position except for pitcher and catcher. After a disappointing year in 2015, he re-signed with the Pirates for $2.5 million. He won’t be that cheap this off-season.

Scott Van Slyke: Two years left of control (estimated $1.3 million in arbitration); .845 OPS against lefties (.739 last year). Many fans were clamoring to trade for him after his solid 2014 season but injuries and inconsistencies have slowed him down. Last year he battled back and wrist injuries and only played in 52 games. If he’s healthy, then his versatility and bat against lefties are exactly what the Mets will need.

Danny Valencia: One year left of control (estimated $5.3 million in arbitration); .873 OPS against lefties (.924 last year). Billy Beane doesn’t seem to love this guy despite his solid production since coming to Oakland. A’s prospect Ryon Healy impressed in his debut this past season and appears to have third base locked down. Ditto for left field where Khris Davis had a huge year. He was shopped at the trade deadline and likely will be shopped again this off-season.

There is a low probability of prying a Tyler White or David Freese away from their clubs. I thought about Mark Reynolds, who is a free agent, but last year he had reverse splits (although his career splits are fairly even).

One thing is for sure, Met fans don’t want to see anymore Eric Campbell. They also don’t want a retread like John Mayberry, Casey McGehee, or Chris Johnson.

A player of interest: Chris Colabello. I know, I know, his big 2015 season was likely due to steroids and he flamed out last year after returning from suspension. But, if the Jays non-tender him then he likely will come cheap and may be worth a $1 million risk.

Lots of scenarios and variables out there. Let me know what you think. Did I miss anyone? Any of these guys appeal to you?

* * * * * * * *

This MMO Fan Shot was written by MMO reader Travis (T Boogy). Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 30,000 Met fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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Good Fundies Episode 25: The 1st Annual Fundies Awards Fri, 21 Oct 2016 02:01:29 +0000 thefundies

Roger and Brian hosted the first ever Fundies awards, celebrating the best and worst and everything in-between of the 2016 Mets season. They also interpreted Wilmer Flores’ enigmatic snapchat pics and talked about the playoffs and the upcoming World Series, which apparently, despite the lack of Mets involvement is still scheduled to take place. In the mailbag, they tried to find a place for eight potential starting pitchers in next year’s rotation. They apologize for their congestion and remind everybody it’s an honor just to be nominated.


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Talkin’ Mets: 2016 Postmortem With John Delcos Sun, 09 Oct 2016 02:38:21 +0000 mets-wild-card

This week’s podcast puts a bow on the 2016 Mets season and looks towards 2017. I am also joined by MMO’s John Delcos who you can also check out at New York Mets Report.

John and I discuss why Jeurys Familia is not a failed postseason closer, the future of Yoenis Cespedis, what free agents the Mets should keep and what positions they need to upgrade.

John believes the Mets should move on from Cespedes and reinvest that money towards a more balanced ballclub. I am concerned about losing an impact bat and the real right-handed power threat in the lineup. Are Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista options?

Also hear our thoughts on free agents Kelly Johnson, Fernando Salas, Neil Walker, Bartolo Colon and Jerry Blevins. What does the future of Travis d’Arnaud and Lucas Duda hold? The show is chock full of honest and hard-hitting opinion and analysis.

I want to thank all the listeners of the podcast for a fun 2016 season. I will return after the World Series unless there is Mets news prior to that.




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