Mets Merized Online Mon, 22 Sep 2014 01:53:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 MMO Fan Shot: Time To Send Hodges To The Hall Mon, 22 Sep 2014 01:53:53 +0000 Gil-Hodges

An MMO Fan Shot by Bill Hall

The woman who has earned the title First Lady of Brooklyn Baseball turns 88 late this month. The Brooklyn Cyclones honored Joan Hodges and her late husband Gil in grand style this year, handing out commemorative jerseys bearing Hodges’ name and his famous number 14, and adding a “Mrs. #14” banner to their row of honored numbers at MCU Park.

Probably the only thing that could make 2014 a happier year for Joan Hodges would be to see her fondest wish come true: the election of her late husband to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Gil Hodges becomes eligible for election again when the Golden Era Committee meets December 8. The slate of candidates will be announced right after this years’ World Series.

A group of dedicated fans is working to help Joan Hodges’ dream come true. They’ve coalesced around an online petition, supported by a Facebook page. As of this writing, the petition has attracted more than 1,600 signers. They include a dozen past and present major league players, as well as numerous prominent baseball writers, announcers, bloggers and historians, plus hundreds of fans who remember the former Dodger first baseman and Mets manager with affection and respect.

Sign the petition here.

joan hodges

Some of the luminaries who have added their names include “Boys of Summer” author Roger Kahn, New York Times Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Dave Anderson, former Dodgers General Manager Fred Claire and former Dodgers announcer Ross Porter.

Gil Hodges Jr. was at his mother’s side for the ceremonies at MCU Park, which also celebrated what would have been his father’s 90th birthday earlier in the year.

Hodges, an Indiana native, married Brooklyn native Joan Lombadi on December 26, 1948. They had four children together in their almost quarter-century of marriage, which ended with his sudden death on Easter Sunday, 1972.

She’s kept his cause alive in all the decades since. In 2002, a reporter visiting her at her Brooklyn home—the same one on Bedford Avenue she shared with her husband and four children–observed her offering a prayer for her husband’s selection:

“Joan Hodges holds fast to her rite of passage into the night, starting with rosaries and ending with a whispered act of contrition. She begs forgiveness from a husband who died 30 years back, a coal miner’s son from the heartland who would have never allowed his bride to hold a big-city vigil over some self-important cause.

“‘Please forgive me,’ Joan asks of Gil. ‘I just have to do this.’

“‘It’s the last thing in the world he’d want me doing,” Joan said. “But I feel a real injustice has been done.”

A dozen years have passed and still Joan Hodges waits.

Fans devoted to the Hodges share her sense of injustice. They point out that he received more votes than any other candidate not eventually elected by the baseball writers, and he’s come as close as a single vote to being elected through the veterans committee.

gil-hodges-300x280Many fans think he’s in the Hall already; some are indignant over his exclusion; but most are simply puzzled why this man, the dominant National League first baseman of the fifties, a key member of seven pennant winners and two world champions, a man who retired tenth on the all-time home run list, hasn’t received the call yet.

Some Hodges supporters try to take comfort in the fact that his exclusion from the Hall (like that of Pete Rose or Joe Jackson, though for very different reasons) actually has kept his name before the public in a way that wouldn’t happen if he already had his plaque. There was a raft of stories and discussion the last time he was on the ballot, in 2011. Many thought it would finally be his year. A candidate had to receive at least twelve votes from the sixteen member committee. Ron Santo was the single hopeful to be chosen that year; Hodges finished with nine votes.

Once more, Hodges boosters are hopeful that his time has finally come. Although whoever is chosen by the Golden Era Committee will be a member of the Hall’s class of 2015, the election and announcement will take place in December, so the campaigners have adopted a hashtag to help publicize their cause: #14in14.

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

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MMO Game Recap: Mets 10, Braves 2 Sun, 21 Sep 2014 20:43:25 +0000 ruben tejada

On the strength of another strong performance by Jacob deGrom and a huge offensive outburst including a home run by Ruben Tejada, the Mets beat the Atlanta Braves by a score of 10-2 to complete the three game sweep.

After striking out a historic eight consecutive batters to begin his last start, deGrom began today’s game by striking out five of the first six batters he faced and seven of his first nine.

The Mets got on the board first after a leadoff double by Matt den Dekker who would then score on fielders choice grounder by Daniel Murphy. They made it 2-0 in the second when Curtis Granderson scored on a sac fly by Ruben Tejada.

The Mets would score two more runs  without the benefit of any RBI hits, until Tejada hit a hanging curve for his fourth home run of the season to put the Mets up 5-0 after three. B.J. Upton contributed to a pair of those Met runs with a couple of awful throws to the plate.

Meanwhile deGrom was still dealing on the mound, retiring 12 straight batters through four perfect innings with eight punchouts. Are you freaking kidding me?

The Braves finally got something started against deGrom with back to back singles to begin the 5th inning to put runners on first and third with nobody out. DeGrom induced the double-play grounder, but an error by Tejada allowed the first Braves run to score and still two on. A pair of walks led to another run to cut the Mets lead to 5-2.

In the sixth inning with Anthony Recker on third and Tejada on first, deGrom executed a perfect suicide squeeze to give the Mets another run against a Braves team that was asleep at the switch. Heads are gonna roll in Atlanta as soon as this season ends next weekend, the players look like they’ve all given up.

jacob degrom

After six innings and 100 pitches, deGrom’s day was done. The rookie right-hander allowed just one earned run on three hits and three walks while striking out ten. He lowered his ERA to 2.63 for the season and now the question is, was this his final start of the season? The Mets ain’t saying yet…

Buddy Carlyle and Daisuke Matsuzaka each pitched a perfect inning of relief, in the 7th and 8th, and then the game turned into a laugher when the Mets tacked on three more runs in the 9th to make it 10-2.

Erik Goeddel pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the final frame and the ballgame is OH-ver!

Duda and Recker had three hits apiece in the game, while Nieuwenhuis, Granderson and Tejada each collected a pair in the Mets 14 hit attack.

Hey, who was laughing when the Turner Field organist started playing the “Flintstones” theme when Flores came to the plate? Wilma!!!!

So with the victory, the Mets are just a half game out of second place in the NL East behind a Braves team that is disintegrating as we speak.

Up Next: The Mets will have the day off on Monday as they travel to D.C. for the start of a three game set against the Washington Nationals on Tuesday. Bartolo Colon (14-12, 4.02 ERA) will start for the Mets and go up against RHP Tanner Roark (14-10, 2.85 ERA) for the Nats. 


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Infielder Wilfredo Tovar To Join Mets In D.C. Sun, 21 Sep 2014 16:14:46 +0000 wilfredo-tovar1

With second baseman Dilson Herrera suffering a right quadriceps strain and likely shutdown for the season with , the Mets announced they will add infielder Wilfredo Tovar to the big league team for the final six games of the season.

Herrera hit his third home run of the season last night before injuring himself legging out an infield single and leaving the game with the right quad strain.

Tovar was already on the 40-man roster so the decision to add him makes sense. He will join the team on Tuesday when the Mets begin a three game series with the Nationals. He hit .282 with two homers and 29 RBIs in 255 at-bats for Double-A Binghamton this season while logging 47 games at shortstop and 30 games at second base.

Tovar, 23, batted .288 with a .360 on-base percentage in 315 plate appearances this season for Binghamton (78 games and St. Lucie (5 games). He had 11 doubles, two triples, two home runs. 35 RBI and 33 runs scored. In 2013, Tovar appeared in seven games for the Mets, batting 3-for-15 with two RBIs.

Daniel Murphy will continue to start at third base with Herrera out and Wilmer Flores is supposed shift to second base according to Terry Collins.

By the way, Adam Rubin reports that Herrera will be playing Winter Ball for Licey in the Dominican Republic this offseason. He batted .220 with a .710 OPS, three home runs and 11 RBI in 18 games with the Mets this season.

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MMO Game Thread: Mets vs Braves, 1:35 PM Sun, 21 Sep 2014 14:33:07 +0000 jacob degrom

The Mets will look to complete a sweep of their three-game series against the Atlanta Braves on Sunday at Turner Field, something they haven’t done since since 2007. Jacob deGrom (8-6, 2.68) will get the starting assignment for the Mets while the Braves counter with RHP Ervin Santana (14-9, 3.74) in a 1:35 PM matchup.

In his last start, deGrom tied the modern-era major league record with eight consecutive strikeouts on September 15 against the  Miami Marlins, tying Jim Deshaies of the Houston Astros who set the mark in 1986 against the Dodgers.

DeGrom  established a rookie franchise record hurling 67.1 innings without allowing a home run earlier this year and has surrendered two home runs over his last 16 starts spanning 103.1 innings. he leads all NL rookies in strikeouts (134) and ERA (2.68) and is second with eight wins.

Second baseman Dilson Herrera went 2-for-3 and hit a two-run homer in the second inning last night, but came up lame in the sixth while legging out a single and left the game with what the team is calling a right quad strain.

Daniel Murphy will continue to start at third base while Herrera is out, while Wilmer Flores will shift to second base and Ruben Tejada starts at shortstop, Terry Collins told reporters on Saturday.

Rafael Montero will get another start during the team’s final series of the season against the Houston Astros at Citi Field. Montero tossed 5.1 scoreless innings against the Rockies in his last start on September 10. He is 1-3 with a 4.30 ERA in seven starts and two relief appearances.

Lucas Duda is third in the NL with a career-high 28 home runs and is tied for second in the NL and fifth in the majors with 14 home runs since the All-Star break. Duda extended his career-high with 86 RBI which is tied for ninth in the NL. He leads the team with 11 game-winning RBIs.

Jenrry Mejia has converted nine straight saves including last night and is 27-for-30 in save chances since moving to the bullpen on May 12. He is tied for first in the NL and  ranks third in the majors with 17 saves since the All-Star break.

Wilmer Flores currently has a career high seven-game hitting streak, going 11-28 (.393) with three home runs and 10 RBI. He is hitting .266 (17-64) with 10 runs scored, four doubles, one triple, four home runs and 12 RBI in 16 games this month. Flores is tied for fourth in the NL with his four home runs this month, ranks ninth in RBIs and is tied for sixth with nine extra-base hits in September.

Starting Lineup

  1. Matt den Dekker – LF
  2. Wilmer Flores - 2B
  3. Daniel Murphy – 3B
  4. Lucas Duda – 1B
  5. Curtis Granderson – RF
  6. Kirk Nieuwenhuis – CF
  7. Anthony Recker – C
  8. Ruben Tejada – SS
  9. Jacob deGrom – RHP

The Mets do not have much wiggle room for the last week of the season if they want to finish at .500 and so far they’ve been handling that fact well in Atlanta taking the first two games of the season. Yesterday they got a strong start from Jon Niese and some power from Dilson Herrera and Curtis Granderson. Today they look to complete the sweep behind Jacob deGrom as he squares off against Ervin Santana.

Jacob deGrom is 8-6 over 21 games and 134.1 innings this year with a 2.68 ERA. His last start of 3 ER over 7 innings doesn’t show that he struck out the first 8 batters in the game, tying a major league record. On the season, he has 134 K’s. In two starts against the Braves this season he has allowed 3 ER over 12.0 innings with a 2.25 ERA and 19 K’s. The Braves have the following numbers against deGrom:

  • Freeman, 1-5
  • Heyward 3-6
  • Simmons 1-5
  • BJ Upton 3-5
  • J Upton 1-6, 4 K’s
  • Bethancourt 0-5, 3 K’s

The Mets bats will get another look at Ervin Santana who is wrapping up his first campaign with the Braves. On the season he is 14-9 over 29 games and 185.1 innings with a 3.74 ERA. After back to back poor starts to open up September allowing 10 runs, 9 earned over 11.0 innings in his last outing he allowed only 2 ER over 6.0 innings. He is 2-1 over 3 games against the Mets with a 2.05 ERA over 22.0 innings, 15 hits and 5 ER. The Mets have the following numbers against Braves:

  • Granderson 12-49, 2 2B, 5 HR
  • Abreu 4-16
  • Murphy 5-12, 2 2B
  • E Young 3-9
  • d’Arnaud 2-9, 2B

Lets Go Mets!

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Flores Is Showing He Belongs In Mets Future Sun, 21 Sep 2014 14:18:10 +0000 wilmer flores

The Mets front office has been unsure of what to make of SS/2B Wilmer Flores. While New York does have a glaring hole at short, scouts were unsure whether or not Flores had the ability to play the position at the major league level. And even though the young Venezuelan projects to be a solid major league bat, he had shown little to back that up during the early going in limited and sporadic playing time. However, Flores’ recent showing at the plate since Sandy Alderson ordered Terry Collins last month to play him everyday, should erase all doubt about his future offensively.

Over the last seven days, Flores has virtually led the Mets offense, hitting a scorching .474, with 3 home runs, 10 RBIs, and an eye-popping 1.158 slugging with a 1.658 OPS. Obviously, he will not be able to sustain this pace, but clearly Wilmer is showing that he can minimally produce at an above-average level.

In a larger sample size, if you look at Wilmer’s last 28 days, he’s still been pretty solid at the plate. A .275 batting average, 5 homers, 14 RBIs, and a .864 OPS are nothing to sneeze at. Project this particular 23 game span over a full 162 game season, and you have a .275 hitter with 35 homers and 98 RBI. That’s more like the Wilmer Flores we’ve been hearing about the last few years and what many of us expected to see when he was first promoted.

Furthermore, Flores’ BABIP sits at .236 during this period, so there’s a legitimate chance he can approach these numbers over a full season.

Even if you take Flores current OPS of .664, he ranks as the 17th best shortstop in the major leagues, above guys like Yunel Escobar, Jean Segura, and Andrelton Simmons. If he can be an adequate defender, Flores could finally fill the void at shortstop that has existed ever since we lost Jose Reyes to free agency three years ago.

Additionally, all the warnings and concerns over Flores’ defense have been found to be exaggerated and overblown, and he’s proven to be very adequate so far this season. In 49 games at shortstop, Wilmer has made only 4 errors, good enough for a solid .979 Fielding Percentage. And while no one will argue that Flores is a better defender than Ruben Tejada, the 23 year-old trails him by only .08 points in fielding percentage.

After years of floundering without a legitimate major league shortstop, it looks like the Amazins may have finally found their answer. If Flores can hold his own in the field and bat .270 to .280 with 20-25 home runs and 70-80 RBI, the Mets will have themselves a productive middle of the order hitter and will be that much closer to taking another step forward in 2015.

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Zack Wheeler Joins A Special Strikeout Club Sun, 21 Sep 2014 13:03:36 +0000 zack wheeler strikeouts

On Friday night, Zack Wheeler struck out seven Atlanta Braves in six innings en route to his 11th victory of the season.  In doing so, he upped his career strikeout total to 264, passing Matt Harvey by three.  It is worth noting that Wheeler has not yet made 50 starts in the big leagues, as Friday’s seven-strikeout effort came in his 48th start at the major league level.

While it is true that several Mets pitchers have struck out more than 264 batters in their first 50 starts with the team, for many of them, those weren’t their first 50 starts in the big leagues.  For example, Sid Fernandez had 297 Ks in his first 50 starts as a Met, but his first start in the big show came in 1983 as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Similarly, Pedro Martinez and Johan Santana both had over 300 strikeouts in their 50 starts with the Mets (332 and 310, respectively), but of course, neither pitcher began their career in New York.

By posting 264 strikeouts before his 50th career start (with all starts coming as a New York Met), Wheeler has joined some exclusive company.  Here is the list of all pitchers in Mets history who recorded 250 or more strikeouts in their first 50 starts (or fewer, in some cases).  We are only considering those pitchers who made each of their first 50 starts as a member of the New York Mets, so a pitcher like David Cone – who made his major league debut with the Kansas City Royals in 1986 pitching exclusively in relief – can be included on the list, since each of his first 50 big league starts came in a Mets uniform.  Also, we are only looking at strikeouts recorded in starts.  Strikeout totals compiled in relief appearances (as well as innings pitched in relief) are not included in the chart below.


No. of Starts

Innings Pitched





David Cone







Zack Wheeler




Matt Harvey







Zack Wheeler has become just the sixth pitcher in Mets history to fan 250 or more batters within his first 50 big league starts.  And look at the other names on the list.  You have the three winningest pitchers in franchise history in Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden and Jerry Koosman.  You have David Cone, who was traded away before his 30th birthday, but still managed to become the team’s all-time leader in strikeouts per nine innings and is also one of just four pitchers to make at least 100 starts for the team and finish his career with a .600+ winning percentage.  (The others are Gooden, Seaver and Rick Reed.)  And of course, you have Matt Harvey.  Barring any setbacks from Tommy John surgery, the 2013 All-Star Game starting pitcher should become just the second pitcher in team history to record 300 or more strikeouts within his first 50 starts in the majors.  He needs just 39 strikeouts in his next 14 starts to become Doctor K’s understudy in that department.

Now, as great as Wheeler has been in getting those whiffs, he has tended to throw a lot of pitches to get said Ks.  Gooden, Cone, Koosman and Seaver all averaged at least seven innings per start in their first 50 big league starts, while Harvey is just under six and two-thirds innings per start.  Even if Wheeler pitches complete games in both his 49th and 50th career starts, he will still be under 300 innings pitched.  That’s less than six innings per start.

Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden, Jerry Koosman and David Cone are among the best pitchers in club history.  Prior to his injury, Matt Harvey appeared to be on his way to joining them.  Zack Wheeler still needs to work on his command before he can be considered one of the best pitchers to ever don a Mets uniform.  But for now, he is becoming one of the best strikeout pitchers the club has ever seen.  And by joining Seaver, Gooden, Koosman, Cone and Harvey, he’s certainly in a class that very few Mets starting pitchers have had the privilege to be a part of.

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MMO Game Recap: Mets 4, Braves 2 Sun, 21 Sep 2014 02:06:42 +0000 jon niese

The Mets won their second straight against Atlanta on Saturday night, doubling up the Braves 4-2 at Turner Field.

Jon Niese started for the Mets and was cruising along, holding the Braves scoreless for seven solid innings. But in the eighth, Niese began to tire and the Braves loaded the bases with one out. That would be all for the Mets lefty. Niese was charged with two runs on seven hits in 7.1 innings, walking one and striking out five.

Josh Edgin inherited the bases loaded and was quickly greeted by a two-run single by Met killer Freddie Freeman. It would be the only batter he faced.

Terry Collins then called on the almost always dependable Carlos Torres, who came in and got two huge outs to strand the tying runs and snuff out the Atlanta threat.

Lucas Duda got the Mets on the board with a sacrifice fly in the first inning to score Eric Young Jr. who led off the game with a walk.

dilson herrera greeted hr

Second baseman Dilson Herrera went 2-for-3 and hit a two-run homer in the second inning. However he came up lame in the sixth while legging out a single and left the game with what the team is calling a right quad strain. It looks like he’ll probably miss the remaining week of the season. Herrera finishes his short stint batting .220 (13-for-59) with three homers and 11 RBI.

Curtis Granderson hit a solo home run in the eighth to extend the Mets lead to 4-0. It was the 19th homer of the season for Granderson who started in center field tonight.

Jenrry Mejia came in to pitch the ninth and earned his 27th save of the season. It’s been a solid campaign for Mejia who leads the National League with 17 second half saves. He did not do any sort of celebration and left the field quietly.

After consecutive 74 win seasons, tonight’s win was the Mets’ 75th of the season and they only need to go 6-1 in the remaining seven games to finish at .500.

The Mets will look to complete the sweep on Sunday with Rookie of the Year candidate Jacob deGrom (8-6, 2.68) going up against Ervin Santana (14-9, 3.74) for the Braves in a 1:35 PM matchup.

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MMO Game Thread: Mets vs Braves, 7:10 PM Sat, 20 Sep 2014 19:50:00 +0000 jon niese

The Mets continue their final series of the season with the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on Saturday at 7:10 PM. Jon Niese (8-11, 3.55 ERA) will start for the Mets and will oppose LHP Mike Minor (6-11, 4.74) for the Braves.

At 74-80, Mets need to go 7-1 the rest of the way to reach .500. Otherwise, they will produce their sixth straight losing season, which would match the Houston Astros for the longest active streak of losing seasons in the majors.

Juan Lagares is not making the trip to Atlanta and D.C. because of his right elbow sprain. There’s a chance he may still appear during the season’s final series against the Astros at Citi Field. But it’s likely he probably will not appear again this season.

Starting Lineup

  1. Eric Young, Jr. – LF
  2. Daniel Murphy – 3B
  3. Travis d’Arnaud – C
  4. Lucas Duda – 1B
  5. Wilmer Flores – SS
  6. Curtis Granderson – CF
  7. Eric Campbell – RF
  8. Dilson Herrera – 2B
  9. Jon Niese – LHP

The Mets can still keep the dream alive tonight of reaching .500 at the end of the season. Last night they won the series opener 5-0 and while they were still eliminated from the Wild Card chase, they now need to go 7-1 for the rest of the season to reach mediocrity. Last night also saw Duda hit his 28th homer of the season, giving him 8 more games to try and reach 30!

Jon Niese gets the start tonight, on the season he is 8-11 over 28 games, 175.0 innings with a 3.55 ERA. He only made one mistake in his last outing, a pitch that turned into a two run homer in the 7th inning, but that was enough for the Nationals who eventually won 3-0. Overall in his last two starts he has allowed 3 ER over 13.2 innings. He has allowed 4 ER over 13.0 innings against the Braves in 2014, but still has found himself at 0-2 against them. The Braves have the following numbers vs Jon:

  • Freeman 1-=34, 2 2B, 2 HR
  • Heyward 9-28, 2 2B, 2 HR
  • J Upton 9-20, 2B
  • C Johnson 6-18, 2 2B
  • Simmons 5-15, 2B
  • Laird 5-10, 2 2B
  • BJ Upton 1-9, 5 K’s

The Mets bats will get yet another look at Mike Minor, who is 6-11 this season year 144.1 innings, 24 starts with a 4.74 ERA. He is coming off a rough start against Texas where he allowed 5 ER and 8 hits over 4.2 innings, which ended a streak of 6 good starts that saw him pitch 41.2 innings with a 2.59 ERA. He is 1-0 in three starts against the Mets this year posting a 3.44 ERA over 18.1 innings. The Mets have the following numbers against him:

  • Tejada 8-24, 2 2B
  • Duda 7-22, 2B, HR
  • Murphy 3-21, 2 2B, HR
  • Granderson 4-15, HR
  • Lagares 4-14, 2B
  • d’Arnaud 2-8, 2 2B

Lets Go Mets!

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Featured Post: It’s Your Move Sandy Sat, 20 Sep 2014 17:17:23 +0000 Sandy Alderson

The other night Gary Cohen mentioned that the Mets currently have the highest winning percentage across their minor league affiliates in all of professional baseball. At some point the hope is it will all translate to the major league level, however, those of us who’ve studied this game for any length of time know that championship teams don’t come pre-assembled off a minor league conveyor belt. There will always be areas of need and holes to fill and without the resources to fill these holes you end up, at best, with good but not great teams.

It’s been an often heard criticism of the Atlanta Braves teams of the 90′s that while they had magnificent pitching they never spent lavishly on top-tier position players, which might be why they only came away with one world title.

Mets fans these days would be thrilled with just a playoff berth, and while we are all excited about the quality of our pitching, we are also concerned about our shortcomings. We have been conditioned to believe we’re going to be better next year, possibly even compete for a wild card or even the division. What we haven’t heard is how we’re going to plug some sizable holes.

As always, and particularly since we are Mets fans, there is a worst case scenario (WCS). In this instance the WCS is that the Wilpons’ financial woes continue to hamstring the team’s ability to secure free agent talent in perpetuity (or until their Willets Point Development gets up and running), which would mean continued frustration and more of these tantalizingly talented but flawed rosters. The prospect of seeing all this promising pitching talent wasted would be beyond nightmarish for most of us. It simply must not be allowed to happen.

The team clearly needs additional power. The lament about Citi Field’s walls and dimensions falls flat when you consider how adept the Nationals are at hitting the ball out of our park – or any other team for that matter.

We need to upgrade several key positions. Presumably we are set at first base, third base, catcher, center field and right. We would benefit mightily from an outfielder with a propensity to hit the ball out of the park, and a SS with some lead-off skills, someone along the lines of Alcides Escobar. Second base is in flux and whether we’ll find a trade partner for Daniel Murphy remains to be seen, but I actually think Wilmer Flores is our second baseman of the future with Dilson Herrera making for an awfully potent trade chip. I like Herrera, and I think he’ll be a great player in time, however, I’m not sure he will ever have the offensive ceiling Flores does. Ideally we’d secure a middle infielder with a lead-off skill set.

It would be nice if we could address power at both SS and OF by signing J.J. Hardy … but that seems like a long shot given our financial constraints and it also fails to address our table-setting problem. We desperately need a lead-off hitter.

There is one player who fits the bill, he is coming off of a poor season and a recent DUI, but he would be about as cheap as they come, especially given his 50 game Biogenesis related suspension last year. We could probably have him for a decent B level prospect or two. I’m thinking of Everth Cabrera. It wouldn’t hurt to bring this guy into the mix given his talent and his ability to hit leadoff. He’s been hurt quite a bit this year but he has shown flashes of being an outstanding player at the top of the order. Jed Lowrie would be nice as well, but again, the table-setting issue.

The combination of not having a true leadoff hitter while also lacking that additional RBI bat has been stifling to the offense. My preference to fill the outfield opening is Michael Cuddyer (who can also play 1B) if we can somehow find a way to afford him. Barring that, we’re in something of a bind. I don’t like Melky Cabrera for a couple of reasons. Word has it he’ll be looking for a “Granderson” type contract, and that makes me cringe as I think of all the flawed outfielders who have crashed and burned in Flushing, but there aren’t a whole lot of hitters on the market that inspire confidence. Part of the problem is Citi Field itself, a difficult landing for any outfielder let alone one with blemishes.

The other option is to unload a truckload of prospects for an established player which is probably even riskier given how many outfielders have come to the Mets only to flop like a stickleback choking on battery acid in Flushing Creek. So, if we can’t sign a big ticket free agent and we can’t trade for a major player because of the inherent risk, what then?

We could go for a “buy low” candidate with the right tools presumably at a reasonable price. Wil Myers is coming off a horrendous season and is, unfortunately, one of the reasons why the Rays sit at 74-78. Whether they are ready to turn the page is another question. Their asking price would likely involve something like Nimmo and Montero or maybe one or two players off the major league roster — with them sending us a pitcher in return, as is their M.O., but the likelihood of a trade like this is slim at best because although Myers is a huge question he nevertheless continues to be immensely talented. He is also under team control until his 2020 season, something the Rays covet. Corey Dickerson might also be a good fit for Citi Field, but again, he wouldn’t be cheap in terms of prospects and you have to wonder how much of his power will transfer. The nice thing about Dickerson is that his speed will play well in Queens.

There are others but most are flawed and/or marginally better than what we might garner from our own ranks. While the likes of CarGo, Kemp, and Ethier are too rich for our blood, Jorge Soler of the Cubs and Oswaldo Arcia of the Twins are both (relatively) cheap and both come from teams with crowded outfields who are short on pitching.

Then there’s Jay Bruce, a guy coming off a career worst season with tremendous power and a track record of producing. Shades of Jeromy Burnitz for sure, but you have to wonder what the Reds would demand and whether something like Niese, Montero, and Herrera would do the trick. Bruce would also involve a spending increase but he’s not outrageous at $12 and $12.5 million owed over the next two seasons with a $13 million option for 2017.

With $7.25 million coming off the books from  Chris Young you’d think Sandy could scrounge together a few million more, but hey lets not get delirious. A guy like Arcia, who is cheaper (not arbitration eligible until 2017), can play a decent OF, and who has some pretty good pop, might be the more likely (and logical) target. Soler would be nice, especially as he is right-handed, but I just don’t see the Cubs moving a guy as talented as Soler who is signed to a 9 year, $30 million dollar contract that may end up being the bargain of the century down the road.

Whatever direction we take, it is clear our options are limited given current financial constraints and Alderson’s reticence on the trade front. This is immensely worrisome given the dreaded and looming “WCS.” A glaring organizational shortcoming has been major league scouting, which does not inspire a lot of faith in the Mets’ ability to improve the team through trade. If I had to chose? Knowing how cheap we are I’d probably trade for Arcia and roll the dice on Everth Cabrera, but that’s just me.

Sandy Alderson and his brainy minions need to earn their keep this off-season, because they cannot, under any circumstances allow the worst case scenario to become reality. They simply must have the presence of mind to understand where the organization is in the here and now, and they need to find a way to take advantage of this wealth of pitching talent while they have it. Additionally, Wright and Granderson are not getting any younger. It’s now or never. Opportunity is knocking, pitching like ours doesn’t come around very often … the Mets front office needs to respond whether they have money to spend or not. To fail in this regard would be a crime against baseball and would put the finishing touches on a lost decade, a “Madoff” decade.

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Wally Backman Weighs In On Mets Prospects Sat, 20 Sep 2014 14:47:54 +0000 noah syndergaard

Wally Backman is now with the Mets and he had so much to say on Friday about a number of our top prospects which he broke down for Adam Rubin of ESPN New York.

Noah Syndergaard

“I’ll say what you’ve probably heard a million times: He’s still very, very young. He just turned 22 the last week of the season. Stuff-wise he’s probably second to nobody, but he has a lot to learn mentally. He’s got a very good changeup. And his breaking ball is very good. All the pitches are there. It’s just learning how to use those pitches in the right situations. The tempo of the game, he needs to speed it up. And at times he’ll show good tempo. But, again, it all boils down to consistency. And he’s not consistent enough.”

Matt Reynolds

“This was the first real good year that he had, I think, offensively. I know he was a high pick, but he really showed he can handle the bat. He’s not a home run guy. He’s a guy that slaps the ball around. He’s a gap-to-gap guy. I was impressed with the way he played shortstop. But he’s another kid that probably needs a little bit of seasoning. You know, one good year doesn’t make you an All-Star. So this was really his first good year.”

Jacob deGrom

“I’m not surprised with deGrom. I really believed that he was a guy that was going to be a dominant type of pitcher — the way he competes, his stuff. He’s got swing-and-miss stuff. I didn’t want to lose him as fast as I lost him. I knew that it was the right move. He’s probably pitched better than a lot of people expected, but I’ve seen a lot of the things in him that were going to make him good. For him to make that transition as fast as he did, it probably surprised a lot of people.”

Read what else Backman had to say about Kevin Plawecki, Wilmer Flores and Matthew Bowman on ESPN New York 

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Mets Mathematically Eliminated From Playoffs, But Can Sill Shoot For .500 Sat, 20 Sep 2014 11:39:28 +0000 terry collins

It’s over. The Mets have been mathematically eliminated from post-season contention as they play out the last eight games of the 2014 season.

“We didn’t accomplish what we wanted to,” Terry Collins said after Friday’s 5-0 win over the Braves. “We certainly came out of spring training with high hopes of putting together a nice run. We just never seemed to get it going. That’s been the biggest disappointing thing, because if you can’t get it going, playoff runs are going to end.”

“We’ve competed. We’ve competed very well. And now it’s a matter of next year trying to go in with a realization that, ‘Hey, look, we are going to be good enough.’”

With a 74-80 record the Mets still have a shot at finishing at .500 and avoiding a sixth straight losing season. It’s a daunting task needing to win at least seven of the final eight, but that would be a nice accomplishment for them. Plus they can still finish as high as second place in the division if it all pans out.

It doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things, but it would be a definite psychological boost, great for the team’s morale, and also a solid lesson in finishing strong and playing hard for the younger players.

“We aren’t done playing,” said Zack Wheeler after his solid effort last night. “Obviously we can’t get first anymore, but we’re going for the second spot. It’s good to bear down right here and finish out the season strong going into next season.”

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MMO Game Recap: Mets 5, Braves 0 Sat, 20 Sep 2014 03:22:11 +0000 MLB: New York Mets at Atlanta Braves

The Mets (74-80) beat the Braves (76-77) tonight by a score of 5-0 at Turner Field in Atlanta.

What you should know:

Zack Wheeler was brilliant once again tonight, giving up 5 hits and no runs over 6 innings of work. He struck out 7 and lowered his ERA to 3.49 in the 105 pitch outing.

Lucas Duda‘s 28th home run of the year off of Julio Teheran in the 6th inning broke up the scoreless game and ended up being all the runs the Mets would need.

The Mets tacked on three more runs in the 9th inning on a Dilson Herrera bases-loaded walk and a 2-run single from Eric Young Jr. Daniel Murphy collected his second four-hit game of the season.

Carlos Torres, Jeurys Familia and Buddy Carlyle combined for 3 scoreless innings of relief, not surrendering a single hit over that span.

On deck:

The Mets continue their weekend series with the Braves on Saturday with Jon Niese (8-11, 3.55 ERA) taking on Mike Minor (6-11, 4.74 ERA) at 7:10pm.

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MMO Game Thread: Mets vs Braves, 7:35 PM Fri, 19 Sep 2014 21:15:25 +0000 zack wheeler 3Tonight the Mets open a 3-game series with the Atlanta Braves in a matchup of two incredibly talented young pitchers. 24-year-old Zack Wheeler (10-10, 3.61) takes on 23-year-old righty Julio Teheran (13-12, 2.89) with first pitch at 7:35 from Turner Field.

In his last start Wheeler took the loss in a 10-3 defeat to the Nationals on September 13th at Citi Field. He pitched just 4 innings, allowing seven hits and a season-high tying six earned runs.

Wheeler is 7-2 with a 2.74 ERA in his last 14 starts dating back to June 30th. He has the 12th-lowest ERA (2.74) in the National League since June 30th (minimum 70.0 innings). He is also averaging 8.9 strikeouts per nine innings, ranking ninth in the NL.

Curtis Granderson is hitting .273 (15-55) with four doubles, one triple, two home runs and 12 RBI this month. His 12 RBI are tied for the sixth-most in the NL this month and overall he is sixth in the NL with 75 walks.

Las Vegas 51′s manager Wally Backman joins the Mets pitching staff tonight and will be with the team for their final nine games.

Starting Lineup

  1. Eric Young, Jr.-LF
  2. Daniel Murphy-3B
  3. Travis d’Arnaud-C
  4. Lucas Duda-1B
  5. Wilmer Flores-SS
  6. Curtis Granderson-RF
  7. Matt den Dekker-CF
  8. Dilson Herrera-2B
  9. Zack Wheeler-P

The Mets head down to Atlanta to start a series with the Braves who are in the midst of a playoff race. For the Mets, the Braves have given them fits all year, so it would nice to see the Mets finish strong against their division rival. Tonight Wheeler will get the start for the Amazin’s as the Mets bats will get to see Julio Teheran.

Zack Wheeler is 10-10 over 30 starts and 174.1 innings this year with a 3.61 ERA. After five great starts in a row where Wheeler has posted 30.0 innings with a 2.70 ERA. His last start against the Nationals was not so great as he allowed 6 ER over 4.0 innings. He is 0-2 against the Braves this year with a 3.70 ERA over 4 starts and 24.1 innings while striking out 23. The Braves have the following numbers against Zack:

  • Freeman 7-13, 2 2B, HR
  • Simmons 4-18
  • Heyward 7-19, 2 2B, 2 HR
  • C Johnson 2-17
  • J Upton 0-18
  • BJ Upton 3-10, 2B
  • Gattis 1-11, 2B

Julio Teheran is 13-12 this season over 31 starts and 209.0 innings while posting a 2.89 ERA. In his first All-Star season he is coming off of a strong start allowing no earned runs over 8.0 innings in his last start. In three starts against the Mets this year he is 2-1 over 16.2 innings with a 3.78 ERA. The Mets have the following numbers against Julio:

  • Duda 4-14, 2B, HR
  • Tejada 1-14
  • Murphy 2-10, 2B
  • E Young 5-11
  • Granderson 2-7, HR
  • d’Arnaud 1-7
  • Lagares 3-8

Lets Go Mets!

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How Will Plawecki and d’Arnaud Play Out In 2015? Fri, 19 Sep 2014 17:34:55 +0000 Kevin Plawecki

While discussing the Sterling Award winners on Monday at Citi Field, general manager Sandy Alderson was asked how the organization would handle the potential logjam at catcher in 2015 with the emergence of Kevin Plawecki, who the front office has loved since taking him with the 35th overall pick in the 2012 draft, and incumbent catcher Travis d’Arnaud, who has been coming on strong since a mid-summer demotion to Triple-A.

Alderson minced no words. “If their potential starts to converge at the major league level, and it warrants major league time, then we’ll have to make a decision,” 

Andy Martino of the Daily News reported that Alderson added he didn’t see either Plawecki or d’Arnaud in a backup role.

“But in the meantime, we’re happy to have both of them. But Kevin has made a lot of progress, and obviously Travis has done well the second half of this season.”

Plawecki was also asked about how this would play out next season: “That’s a business decision. Thank God I don’t have to make it. Travis is a great friend, and he’s a great player. I can go to him if I have any questions.”

New York Mets v Minnesota TwinsFor a franchise that has struggled to develop their own starting catchers for the better part of 52 years, this is certainly a nice problem to have.

Both players have a lot in common. D’Arnaud, 25, has slightly more power while Plawecki, 23, makes more contact and is tough to strikeout. It also appears that the younger of the two is the better defender.

D’Arnaud’s recent resurgence at the plate has improved his average to .245 for the season with a .307 on-base percentage. In 408 plate appearances he’s hit 13 home runs and driven in 41 runs. If the team has any concerns with TDA’s game it’s his defense. He has an MLB leading 12 passed balls and ranks at the bottom of defensive runs saved. Additionally, he’s allowed 55 stolen bases this year while stopping only 14 for a .198 caught stealing percentage.

Plawecki had a solid season and if not for a 40 man roster logjam, was being considered for a September call-up. The Mets praise his discipline, high contact rates and low strikeout totals and view him as high-average, line drive hitter with moderate power who can spray the ball to all fields.

There’s rampant speculation in the Mets blogosphere that one of them will be dealt this offseason. But I doubt the front office would be so shortsighted as to move one without first ascertaining exactly what they have in d’Arnaud or what Plawecki can be capable of at the major league level.

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MMO Fan Shot: Was Flores’ Development Strategy Actually a Budgetary Strategy? Fri, 19 Sep 2014 15:17:13 +0000 Wilmer -  Flores

An MMO Fan Shot by Pedro’s Rooster

In Thursday’s New York Post, Sandy Alderson spoke of the organization’s feelings about Wilmer Flores, presumably as part of the team’s future.

“We’re getting a lot more comfortable,” Alderson said. “One of the reasons for giving Flores as much playing time as we have is to build up his number of plate appearances to get him more comfortable to try to establish sort of a baseline.”

After breaking this statement down, I had several questions.

  • Why congratulate yourself for finally getting around to playing your organizations’ top hitting prospect, especially one with such a strong minor-league resume?
  • Why are you in a position in late September to “try” to establish “sort of” a baseline? Couldn’t you have started this evaluation in early May and known for sure by now?

On the surface, this sounds like an obvious mismanagement of a player’s development and the team’s needs. But I don’t believe Sandy Alderson (and the rest of the front office) would botch something this simple and straightforward, especially given that we’re clearly in the middle of a youth movement.

What’s the alternative, you ask? Well, put on your tinfoil hats:

I’m beginning to think Flores was intentionally brought along this way, to hedge against the risk of having to spend on a shortstop this offseason.

You see, if they stayed with Tejada all year, the front office would absolutely be on the hook for upgrading the position this winter—I don’t think anyone internally views him as a full-time option. And while they may have reaped rewards from installing Flores as the everyday SS in May or June, there was obviously a risk that he’d struggle. (And to be fair, he didn’t set the world on fire when he received spotty playing time earlier this season.) And if he struggled, they’d again be on the hook for upgrading.

But (and this is a big conspiracy theory “but”) if they start playing him every day starting in August, they can go into the offseason with a nice, cost-effective question mark. They can claim they don’t have enough information to make a decision on shortstop—they can plausibly say, “we’d like to see more of Wilmer next season, to see what we really have there.” And Mets fans will eat that up.

They’ll forgive a GM who’s willing to give a homegrown prospect a longer leash. Heck, he might be that next great hitting star we’ve been waiting for since Wright came up in 2004.

Nothing Sandy Alderson does is accidental or poorly considered. Wilmer Flores is likely a convenient money-saving device for Alderson and the Wilpons, much like the Ike Davis-Lucas Duda controversy was.

With payroll flat-lining in the $80-90M range, with countless impact free agents ignored by this front office, with approximately $20M in raises due this offseason, with 40% of the payroll tied up in Wright and Granderson, make no mistake: every single decision made by this front office is first and foremost a financial decision, not a baseball decision.

In a perfect world, Flores will deliver on his potential, and make Alderson look like a genius. But even if he doesn’t, his league-minimum salary will quietly save ownership precious millions in their race for financial solvency.

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This Fan Shot was contributed by MMO reader and die-hard Met fan Pedro’s Rooster. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 30,000 Mets fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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The Seligification Of MLB Fri, 19 Sep 2014 14:00:27 +0000 bud-selig 2

When Bud Selig came through town the other day backfiring like a rusty old Buick though a quiet neighborhood, I braced myself for what he might say half hoping he’d signal some disquiet over the recent discrimination lawsuit filed against our excellent COO Jeffrey Scott Wilpon, but there was nothing of the sort. No reservations, no concern, nothing.

“I monitor everything closely, but that’s employment litigation.” Selig croaked. “There were a lot of charges there. Jeff denies them vigorously. I think in this particular case, they’re going to court, and we’re just going to have to see how it plays out. “

I was going to respond initially with some choice barbs for Mr. Bud but I decided to spare my audience the profanity laden vituperation … Sometimes it’s better to let things settle a while.

My feelings on the subject ranged from irritation to rage to disbelief. The scene from the Lord of the Rings where Treebeard discovers that Saruman has been cutting his trees comes to mind. “A wizard should know better!” Indeed.

An 80 year old father and grandfather of two daughters and five granddaughters should know better. He could have at least thrown in, “we are very concerned about these serious allegations,” just for good merit, but no, nothing. You hope the subject doesn’t come up at the Selig Thanksgiving Day table for Bud’s sake … might get awkward … particularly as one of his daughters, Wendy Selig-Prieb,  was a baseball executive herself with the Brewers.

Fred Wilpon bud seligSome of us are lucky, lucky enough to be in professions where we work more or less unencumbered by the meddling interference of antediluvian dolts. Unfortunately blockheads and imbeciles abound in our society and the hope is that organizations serving the public interest, organizations purporting to be “social institutions,” set appropriate standards to eliminate or at least mitigate the reach and influence of said dullards. That’s the hope. Doesn’t always turn out that way though. Sometimes you are confronted with rampant nepotism and institutional bias. Sometimes you have to deal with overt discrimination, ignorance, and hostility. Sometimes you have to deal with the boss’s nitwit son.

Believe it or not I’m a fairly optimistic person. I like to try and look for the good in people even when I might be upset with them. It probably stems from my work in education. I’ve learned over the years that people, particularly kids, do so much better when you engage their kinder, gentler, positive sides, with praise and encouragement. What bothers me when I read about stories such as the one involving Jeff’s wrongdoings is the revelation that there were others present.

jeff wilponIf any of these allegations are true, it boggles the mind that the token assemblage of yes-men in the room failed to raise a single perfunctory objection. Was there a brother, a father, a husband in the room who took exception to Jeff’s antics? And please, spare me the “none of this has been proven” retort, Jeff has enough of a track record to warrant skepticism even among his most strident supporters …. All three of them.

Maybe I’m naive. Maybe it all comes down to money. Maybe my inclination to close my briefcase walk out of the boardroom and turn in my resignation should such events confront me is why I’ve never been part of such a boardroom in the first place. No one wants to risk their livelihood or their salary – honor and integrity be damned.

And that’s where we come back full circle to Mr. Selig.  I imagine Bud to be the sort of guy who would sell you a 2002 Crown Vic with a bad transmission, and then, if you tried to return it he’d point out that you purchased the vehicle “as is” …

“See,” he’d say looking down his spectacles. “Right there in the fine print.”

bud-selig 1The Mets, according to Bud, “are doing things the right way.” They are building from within. They’re fortifying their farm, undermining the salary structure, driving costs down, and showing that you can in fact run a big market team on a shoestring budget and minimize losses (or widen your profit margin). The Mets have been exhibit A in Selig’s small-marketization campaign — the Seligification of MLB …

The Mets have also shown that even when your team’s owners become embroiled in the biggest Ponzi scheme in the nation’s history they will somehow come out of it with their ownership intact if they know the right people. Yippee! You’re out of luck Mets fans. You’re stuck with crappy owners and unfortunately there’s no lemon law in baseball.

What I think most Mets fans fail to grasp is that like the dynamic in any boardroom dominated by a powerful nincompoop, there are far too many among us who will sit idly by and compromise their integrity for a bigger bonus or a fatter check.

MLB owners love Selig in spite of his enabling during the steroid era, in spite of his double standard treatment of Frank McCourt relative to the Wilpons, in spite of his blatant misrepresentation “crying poverty” during contraction talks involving the Twins and Expos, in spite of his heavy handed and manipulative treatment of the Astros… In spite of all that, the owners sit around the boardroom in adoration of their glorious pockmarked monarch. Why? Because he’s helped them make obscene amounts of cash … and, I guess, that’s all that matters?

Honor and integrity be damned.

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Mets Will Have Three Scouts At Yasmani Tomas Showcase Fri, 19 Sep 2014 12:23:39 +0000 yasmani tomas cuba

Cuban slugger Yasmani Tomas will have his showcase in the Dominican Republic this Sunday, and while most teams including the Mets are expected to have a look, his price tag will eliminate most of them from bidding for his services.

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported that bidding could go as high as $100 million dollars for Tomas.

Still, Marc Carig of Newsday learned that the Mets will have three scouts attending the showcase. But after speaking to a former scout who was assigned to the Dominican Republic, I learned the Mets have no less than five scouts in that area at any given time.

Additionally, it was pointed out to me that these Cuban showcases are in no way an indication that a team has serious interest in the player, just teams doing their due diligence.

Serious suitors will emerge once you see which teams have scheduled personal workouts.

September 16

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe has learned that the price to land Yasmani Tomas could be record-breaking for Cuban players.

“According to one team’s international scout, the latest Cuban slugger could command as much as $100 million. The scout said Tomas has gotten himself in shape and if he performs well at his showcase later in the month, the money will get really high.”

As far as top pursuers go, Cafardo believes the Phillies are expected to go hard on him, but the Red Sox will be in the mix as well.

Tomas cannot enter into an agreement with a team until he has been declared a free agent which is just a formality and should happen shortly.

The Mets will likely attend the showcase – they always do. But with payroll expected to remain at $85 million, and facing $22 million in raises for 2015, Alderson has already cautioned that the team would not pursue anything significant in free agency this offseason and that it’s likely that left field would be addressed internally.

September 10

Another offseason approaches and another Cuban phenom has been cleared for takeoff.

Yasmani Tomas, 23, has been officially cleared to pursue a major league contract according to Jesse Sanchez of Sanchez adds that he’ll still need to be declared a free agent before he’s allowed to sign with a big-league team, but that’s just a formality.

Tomas, a right-handed power hitter, can play either corner outfield position and has often been compared to countryman Jose Abreu, with some scouts suggesting that he has even more power.

“He can hit towering home runs thanks to the strength from his thickly-built 6-foot-1, 230-pound frame,” wrote Ben Badler of Baseball America last June.

Thoughts from MMO minor league analyst, Kirk Cahill:

Tomas, 23, is a 6’1, 230-pound outfielder with monster power potential. Before his defection he’d been playing professional baseball in Cuba for the Industriales.

In 97 games last season for them he hit .275 with 10 homeruns and 59 RBI. This season Tomas hit .290 with six homeruns in 257 plate appearances while dealing with an arm injury.

Perhaps his most impressive showing was at the 2013 World Baseball Classic, where he went 6-for-16 (.412) with two homers. After the tournament Baseball America named him the sixth best prospect in the tournament.

I think the Mets should be all-in on this young outfielder. Although he may not have the pedigree of Jose Abreu or Yasiel Puig despite carrying a similar price tag, I think it’s more than worth the risk.

The days of young power-hitters reaching the free agent market are over. Teams are locking up these types of players early on. With power at a premium in MLB right now, you can afford to miss on a guy like Tomas who may never hit for high average, but will provide plus power which the Mets desperately need.

However we all know the likely outcome – the Mets will pass on him and he’ll win Rookie of the Year for someone else.

(Photo credits: Alyson Boyer Rode and Chung Sung-Jun.)

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Lights Out; A Future Without Power In New York Fri, 19 Sep 2014 12:00:59 +0000 MLB: New York Mets at Philadelphia PhilliesFor as long as I can remember, home runs have been pivotal to winning championships. It’s not only that chicks dig the long ball but that those long balls are rally starters, pitcher killers and momentum swingers. There’s no easier way to score a bunch of runs than by driving one deep. Currently, the Mets rank 23rd in Major League Baseball with 117 home runs hit in 2014. While you rarely want to be near the bottom of any list, the two teams that occupy spots 29 and 30 are both likely headed to the playoffs.

The St. Louis Cardinals and the Kansas City Royals rank 29th and 30th respectively in home runs hit in 2014. In fact, both have yet to hit their 100th home run this season and are the only two clubs yet to reach that plateau. Still, the Cardinals are sitting in 1st place in the National League Central, 2.0 games ahead of the Pittsburg Pirates while the Royals occupy the first Wild Card spot in the National League. They are half a game up on the A’s and have a 1.5 gave cushion over the Mariners.

So are home runs not important anymore?

Their might actually be some truth to that. While the American League East champion Baltimore Orioles have hit the most home runs in baseball, the Rockies, Blue Jays, Astros and Cubs will all miss the playoffs despite having hit near league best home run totals. Hitters that hit the ball to all fields and hit for high averages are suddenly more important than ever while sluggers have been commoditized.

mike troutOnly three of the top ten home run hitters in baseball are ticketed for the playoffs. Mike Trout (34), Nelson Cruz (39) and Victor Martinez (31) will represent their clubs in October while guys like Giancarlo Stanton (37), Jose Bautista (33) and Jose Abreu (35) watch the games on television.

What’s far more important in todays game is team batting average. While the Mets rank 29th with a .238 team average, no teams currently headed to the playoffs rank in the bottom third of the league. Oakland ranks 20th with a .245 average, while many of the division leaders reside in the top 10. High batting averages win baseball games in 2014 and that should be the Mets focus heading into 2015.

wheeler harveyPitching has always been the key to championships. From Whitey Ford to Randy Johnson, pitchers have always held the key. Offense is there to compliment the pitching and boy do the Mets have pitching in droves. To use a term made famous by Jeff Wilpon before the season started, the Mets have a ‘glut’ of pitching talent. What they don’t have are power hitters. Curtis Granderson and David Wright have regressed and while Lucas Duda‘s power is impressive at times, his long slumps make him a guy that can be pitched to in almost any situation.

Do the Mets need a few big power bats or can they win by bringing in more balanced hitters? Given the dimensions of their ballpark, the answer is clear. Sandy Alderson should focus on bringing in high average, high on base percentage guys that can use the gaps of Citi Field to their advantage. Trying to hit home runs is an antiquated way of looking at the game and if the Mets play their cards right, they might just hit the winning formula.

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Mets Discussing Adding Backman To 2015 Coaching Staff Thu, 18 Sep 2014 22:07:55 +0000 wally backman las vegas review-journal

A team insider told ESPN New York that they are currently considering having Wally Backman permanently join Terry Collins’  coaching staff in 2015. Adam Rubin adds that Collins views Backman as an ally, and not a threat.

“We have a very strong relationship,” Collins said. “Wally and I are very good friends. We always have been — for a lot of years. When he joined the organization, I was the [minor-league] field coordinator. And I still enjoy my time when I talk to him or when we’re together. So I’m glad he’s coming. He brings a lot to the table.”

This may be as close as Wally gets to ever managing the Mets. I see it as a sign that Collins is definitely returning as Mets manager next season, and Sandy Alderson’s way of throwing a bone to the fans who have been calling for Backman to be named manager.

In the grand scheme of things, Collins still calls all the shots so nothing really changes.

(Joe D.)

September 12

The Mets announced today that Wally Backman will join the Mets coaching staff for the remainder of the season on September 19th.

Backman, the manager of the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate the Las Vegas 51′s, was named the Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year for guiding the Las Vegas 51s to another division title.

Backman has been a manager in the Mets farm system for the past five seasons, and has served as the manager of the 51′s since 2013.

Last week, Bob Klapisch of The Record said that Mets GM Sandy Alderson needs to shed his prejudice against the very trait that makes Backman unique – that he’s an independent thinker with a strong personality.

Backman has done his penance since the fiasco in Arizona ten years ago. He has played by the rules, avoided controversy, poured himself into the job as a mentor, and has risen steadily through the organization, Klapisch argued.

“No one can say Backman doesn’t win over his players. To a man, they cite his enthusiasm and toughness, an infectious positive attitude that’s helped a number of young Mets on their way up.”

Something has to give, Klapisch concludes. Alderson’s team is mired in a losing culture and desperately need is a blast of accountability. They’ve become far too comfortable losing year after year. Backman could change that ethos. He deserves to at least try.

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Fans Rank Mets At Bottom In Value, Honesty, Leadership, Ownership Thu, 18 Sep 2014 21:57:08 +0000 crows empty citi field

In a very extensive poll by ESPN that was conducted by the consulting firm Maddock Douglas, over 100,000 fans were asked how they viewed their teams in various areas including return for the emotion, money and time invest in your team, relationship with the owners, how they viewed the team’s leadership, likability and ballpark experience.

The Mets finished with an overall rating of 118 out of the 122 sports teams that comprise MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL.

Here’s their scorecard which I ran just by MLB Rankings:

Ownership – Rank 28 – Honesty and Loyalty to Core Players

Fan Relations – Rank 29 – Openness and consideration towards fans.

Affordability – Rank 28 – Pricing of Tickets, Concessions, and Parking. 

Stadium Experience – Rank 28 – Quality of ballpark and game day promotions as well as friendliness of the environment.

Player Effort – Rank 28 – Overall effort displayed on field and likability of team.

Leadership – Rank 29 – Overall strength exhibited by manager and coaching staff.

That’s pretty appalling anyway you look at it, and while this isn’t exactly a scientific poll, it’s hard to argue that the results are that far removed from the state of our relationship with the team.

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