Mets Merized Online http://metsmerizedonline.com Fri, 27 Mar 2015 18:10:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.5 MMO Game Thread: Mets vs Cardinals, 1:05 PM http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/mmo-game-thread-mets-vs-cardinals-105-pm.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/mmo-game-thread-mets-vs-cardinals-105-pm.html/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 14:55:34 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=177390 matt harvey

It’s Matt Harvey Day! Literally. The Mets ace turns 26 today. Harvey is slated for 80 pitches today as the New York Mets take on the St. Louis Cardinals at 1:05 PM in Jupiter. He will be opposed by right-hander John Lackey.

Manager Terry Collins plans to bat Harvey eighth this afternoon. He is considering consistently using the pitcher in that slot this season, according to Adam Rubin. Curtis Granderson would lead off, followed by David Wright and Lucas Duda, while Juan Lagares bats ninth.

Upcoming Starting Pitchers: Saturday – Jacob deGrom, Sunday – Dillon Gee, Monday – Rafael Montero, Tuesday – Jon Niese, Wednesday – Bartolo Colon

Here are today’s Starting Lineups:

New York Mets

  1. Curtis Granderson, RF
  2. David Wright, 3B
  3. Kirk Nieuwenhuis, CF
  4. Michael Cuddyer, LF
  5. Wilmer Flores, SS
  6. Travis d’Arnaud, C
  7. Eric Campbell, 1B
  8. Matt Harvey, RHP
  9. Danny Muno, 2B

St. Louis Cardinals

  1. Peter Bourjos, CF
  2. Jason Heyward, RF
  3. Matt Holliday, LF
  4. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  5. Yadier Molina, C
  6. Mark Reynolds, 1B
  7. Scott Moore, 3B
  8. Ty Kelly, 2B
  9. John Lackey, RHP

Enjoy the game and Let’s Go Mets!

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More Questions About Mets Injury Prevention http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/more-questions-about-mets-injury-prevention.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/more-questions-about-mets-injury-prevention.html/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 14:00:55 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=177306 zack wheeler

Couple of weeks ago I wrote a piece about how the Mets don’t exactly have the greatest track record avoiding Tommy John surgeries. You can read it here.

I brought up the following:

Since 2005 there have been 524 Tommy John Surgeries in MLB and MiLB with 194 of them at the Major League level. The Mets are tied for third worst during that stretch with 24 TJ surgeries (12 of them at the Major League level). The only teams with a higher incidence than the Mets are Rangers with 28 and the Braves with 30. 

Then this morning I read something ex-Met Dana Eveland wrote on his personal blog:

This winter, teams called. Multiple teams called this offseason. Last season with the Mets, I finished the season injured and missed the last few weeks. At the end of the year, the Mets’ doctors said everything is going to be fine and that my elbow was clean. I just need to rest because it’s inflamed and if there was time left in the season I could come back no problem.

Going into the off-season, I thought that was the situation. Teams called, and they wanted to see my medical history and I said no problem. At the time I was feeling pretty good. My rehab was going well. So I gave multiple teams access to my medical history and those multiple teams came back with the same response: “We’d love to have you but your arm is…not real pretty.”

The results from the MRIs from last year and the notes from the doctors weren’t what they explained to me.

In the comments of the original piece there was some controversy over why the Mets seem to have so many UCL injuries. I mentioned how “you’d think” an organization with as much prized young pitching would take steps to protect these arms, investing in whatever state of the art medical care and conditioning programs might give your pitchers an optimal chance at staying healthy. It’s not even a matter of whether or not the Mets are “that cheap,” but rather the faulty logic of not taking steps to insure your assets. The argument was countered with the fact that Dr. Altchek, who works for the Mets, is one of the most prominent doctors in the field.

But then you have this post by Eveland and … well, you have to wonder.

The perception on the field has been, in the Collins era at least, that middle relievers are run into the ground with fairly bleak long term outcomes. Mets starters haven’t fared much better. If Zack Wheeler was pitching with a bone spur and a tendon tear, was it really a good idea to let him run up his pitch counts? Overuse has been an issue from Perpetual Pedro to Scott Rice … but overuse of one of your most prized arms when he’s already dealing with two significant elbow issues? Especially when a lot of recent research seems to be centering on pitching when already fatigued as a primary culprit? It’s a head scratcher.

The Mets on paper appear to have a formidable medical operation, but in practice the numbers speak for themselves. The Mets have one of the worst track records for keeping their pitchers off the UCL repair table in baseball.

It’s unfortunate really … There was a lot of talk early in 2011 about how the team would pursue durability profiles, focussing on stocking the system with big right-handers with good mechanics and effortless repeatable deliveries … unfortunately an effective prevention protocol eludes major league baseball when it comes to UCL tears. There are simply no consistent patterns of wear or predisposition or even warning signs that can be applied to major league pitchers that effectively reduce incidence. Any team that manages to develop such a program would enjoy such an advantage they’d almost certainly establish some sort of pitching dynasty.

I was half hoping the Mets were hard at work developing just such a program, but it doesn’t seem that way. It seems their approach is to simply stockpile so much pitching they’d be able to weather even higher levels of attrition. The durability profile is the holy grail of pitching at the moment … my guess is an effective preventative protocol would probably involve some combination of monitoring wear and tear on arms from a young age and avoiding fatigue, particularly stress while already fatigued, at all levels. There are healthier teams out there. Milwaukee, The White Sox, the Rays all have consistently strong health outcomes. It’s not like improving durability is outside the realm of possibility.

But, again, it makes absolutely no sense to accumulate this impressive depth of talented arms without also investing in medical personnel and state of the art conditioning, prevention, and rehabilitation programs.

Indeterminate durability insinuates a dark cloud over almost every prospect from the time they are drafted … the establishment of an effective health matrix would allow the originating team to exploit a massive market inefficiency. Most teams don’t even bother focussing too much on finding and securing pitchers who won’t break down because it’s so hard to predict. Frankly, I’m surprised a team hasn’t made the drafting, developing, and maintaining of durable players (the Chicago White Sox come the closest) an overriding priority.

How hard would it be to figure out why some guys break down while others don’t? In the long run you aren’t saving money by skimping on programs that improve durability because the benefits would present with a monumental competitive advantage … It’s all about preserving assets … you’d think a front office as tuned into market forces as ours is would be all over that.

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Mets Eyeing Trio Of Dodgers Lefty Relievers http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/mets-eyeing-trio-of-dodgers-lefty-relievers.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/mets-eyeing-trio-of-dodgers-lefty-relievers.html/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 12:47:26 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=177377 howell

According to a report by Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles, the Mets are keeping an eye on J.P. HowellPaco Rodriguez, and Adam Liberatore from the Dodgers in case one of them becomes available.

Howell, 31, is owed $4 million this season and the Dodgers hold a $6.25 million option on him for 2016, so not sure he’ll appeal to the Mets at that price. And as for the other two, the Dodgers can simply send them to the minors as both Rodriguez and Liberatore still have options remaining.

Howell had a solid season in 2014, posting a 2.39 ERA in 68 appearances for the Dodgers and holding left-handed hitters to a .170 average. Rodriguez, 23, posted a 3.86 ERA in 19 appearances and held left-handed hitters to a .241 average for the Dodgers. Liberatore, 27, is a career minor leaguer with no MLB service time.

Adam Rubin of ESPN New York hears that the Mets are still interested in Rex Brothers from the Rockies. Brothers posted a 5.59 ERA in 74 appearances last season for Colorado.

With rule 5 pick Sean Gilmartin, and minor leaguers Scott Rice and Dario Alvarez pitching better of late, the Mets may be less inclined to make a move.

That said, Saxon did add that a Mets official acknowledged the club is talking to multiple teams about acquiring left-handed relief help. We’ll see.

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Matt Bowman Impresses Against Nationals http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/matt-bowman-impresses-against-nationals.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/matt-bowman-impresses-against-nationals.html/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 12:00:25 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=177350 matt-bowman

In yesterday’s start against the Washington Nationals, prospect Matthew Bowman was excellent. Bowman pitched five scoreless innings, and he allowed just two hits and one walk.

Bowman wasn’t originally scheduled to pitch, but he got the spot start in place of Jon Niese. Niese instead pitched in a simulated game in order to work on his mechanics.

The surprise start for Bowman was extra special for him since he grew up watching the Nationals and was a huge fan of Ryan Zimmerman (DiComo).

“Bowman told Ryan Zimmerman — the longest-tenured National — that he has enjoyed watching him “for a good long while now.”

“Asked about Zimmerman’s response, Bowman laughed. “He said, ‘That’s great.’”

Earlier in the game, Bowman fooled Zimmerman on a nasty breaking pitch to strike him out. Bowman struck out a total of four batters during his outing.

“I’m certainly happy that I got to come up here and perform adequately,” Bowman said.

“He was extremely impressive against a very good team,” Mets manager Terry Collins said.

“These guys, like all pitchers, are starting to get in shape. They’re starting to get their stuff going and you see what they really have, and what they can really feature.”

“I can understand why he’s very much liked around here and how he showed up in this camp. From what I saw tonight, the command of his stuff, the poise, he’s a pretty impressive-looking pitcher.”

MMO ranked Bowman as the Mets 22nd overall prospect in our 2015 Top Prospect List.  Here’s what our minor league analyst, Matt Mosher, had to say about the Mets promising right-hander.

“Matthew Bowman is the epitome of the type of pitcher drafted by Sandy Alderson – a durable arm that throws relatively hard and – more importantly – does not walk anyone. Bowman does both and does them well. In 2014, he spent time in Binghamton and Las Vegas logging 135 innings with a 3.20 ERA and 124 strikeouts to go with just 36 walks.”

Bowman will start the season in Triple-A, but he has a good chance of making his debut sometime this season. Bowman has succeeded in every level of the minors as his career 22-14 record and 3.07 ERA shows.

While he does not receive a lot of attention compared to other top prospects, he has the ability to develop into a solid contributor in the major leagues.

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Collins Says Bench Spots Still Up For Grabs http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/collins-says-bench-spots-still-up-for-grabs.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/collins-says-bench-spots-still-up-for-grabs.html/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 11:00:09 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=177341 Terry-Collins-New-York-Mets-Manager

Terry Collins told reporters that there are still bench spots up for grabs. (Matt Ehalt)

“With the season opener approaching, Collins said before Thursday’s 8-3 win over the Nationals there are still bench spots to be won over the next week and half. The Mets are still evaluating their backup infielder spots, as well as the fifth outfielder role.”

“I would say there are openings,” Collins said.

Unless the Mets are carrying more than five players on their bench, I’m not sure exactly what Collins is taking about here.

I mean it would be great to see Matt Reynolds on the bench instead of Ruben Tejada, but we all know that’s not happening.

In the outfield, Kirk Nieuwenhuis is out of options, is the only lefthanded bat on the bench, and is hardly having a bad Spring. Plus he was the Mets’ top pinch hitter last season, the team won’t forget that. John Mayberry Jr. is having an incredible spring, probably better than anyone. He’s a lock for the bench.

I don’t see how Matt den Dekker makes this team out of the gate. I do believe he’ll get the first call in case of injury or at the first sign of trouble.

Johnny Monell is having himself a terrific spring at the plate, but is it enough to supplant Anthony Recker for the backup catcher job? I don’t think so. Recker is a solid defensive catcher who compliments Travis d’Arnaud very well. Plus the pitchers and coaches rave about how Recker calls a game and they are very comfortable with him.

So that leaves Eric Campbell who only has a .975 OPS, two homers and 10 RBI in 37 at-bats, and can play five different positions. Who exactly is unseating him?

So while Collins says there’s still jobs up for grabs a week before opening day, the truth is when it comes to roster decisions, it’s not his call.

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Mets Claim “Numerous Inaccuracies” In Security Report http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/mets-claim-numerous-inaccuracies-in-security-report.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/mets-claim-numerous-inaccuracies-in-security-report.html/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 02:11:05 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=177317 citi field fans

Update:

The Mets claimed there were “numerous inaccuracies” with a DNAinfo.com article stating they have slashed their security staff in recent years. (Matt Ehalt)

“There are numerous inaccuracies as to what’s been reported,” the Mets said in a statement. “While the details of our security are by their very nature confidential, the security of all who enter Citi Field is top priority.”

. . . . . . . .

According to a new report by DNAinfo, the New York Mets dramatically cut security staff at Citi Field in recent years despite concerns the moves would lead to increased response times for emergencies and fights as well as longer wait times at ticket gates, internal documents show.

The report claims budget cuts between 2009 and 2013 led management to pare down the number of security guards, security supervisors and NYPD officers during home games by roughly 29 percent, according to the documents.

The average number of security guards at a game decreased from 186 in 2009 to about 130 in 2013, the documents show. During that period, the average number of security supervisors at a game shrunk from 43 to 34, and the average number of NYPD officers dropped from 16 to 10.

“Due to the cut backs in the budget (2013) we will be unable to maintain the high quality of security that the ballplayers, guests and staff are accustom (sic) to,” a budget report reads. “In addition the greetings at the gates, exchange of pleasantries at the gates and along with the quality (sic) of the searching (sic) at the gates will be reduced.”

Former Mets event staff director, Bruce Smith, prepared the budget report for Robert Kasdon, the Mets vice president of security, according the legal filing. Smith oversaw security personnel and payroll.

The report points out in bullet form the repercussions of fewer security guards. It warns that “response time will be up,” that there will be “more altercations (sic) with fans,” “more lawsuits,” “more complaints about service,” and that “searches will have to be cut back on to get fans in.”

The cuts also meant key sections of Citi Field would have fewer guards — and some would be completely unsupervised, according to the report.

Last summer, Smith, Carlino, McMahon and Shatinksy filed complaints with the Human Rights Division, claiming Queens Ballpark fired them because of their age.

However Queens Ballpark countered in a September 2014 response that none of the employees were fired due to age or sex discrimination and said Smith was terminated after an internal investigation found he had altered time cards for himself, his wife and Deveau.

Read the full report here.

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MMO Game Recap: Mets 8, Nationals 3 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/mmo-game-recap-mets-8-nationals-3.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/mmo-game-recap-mets-8-nationals-3.html/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 00:22:02 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=177334 matt reynolds

The Mets defeated the Washington Nationals by a score of 8-3 at Space Coast Stadium this evening.

Offense:

Matt Reynolds went 2-for-2 with a home run, a sacrifice fly and three RBI’s after coming off the bench in the 7th inning. Reynolds is hitting a robust .378 so far this spring.

Juan Lagares added a solo home run of his own, after him and Reynolds went back-to-back. Lagares finished the day going 1-for-4.

Matt den Dekker had the third Mets home run of the evening and also went 2-for-2.

The Mets offense combined for a total of 8 runs on 12 hits tonight against Nationals pitching. With three homers tonight, Mets have a Grapefruit League leading 31 homers.

Pitching:

Matt Bowman got the nod for the Mets, and had a strong outing, going five scoreless innings, while only allowing two hits and striking out four. Bowman is a Nats fan and was in attendance for their first game in D.C. on Opening Day in 2005 at RFK Stadium.

However, Bowman was replaced by Jeurys Familia in the sixth, who was tagged for three runs on four hits before being replaced by Buddy Carlyle to close out the frame.

Jenrry Mejia, Dario Alvarez and Erik Goeddel closed out the final three innings and successfully stymied the rest of the Nationals offense.

On deck:

The Mets take on the St. Louis Cardinals tomorrow afternoon at 1:05 at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter with Matt Harvey (!!!) squaring off against John Lackey.

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MMO Game Thread: Mets vs Nationals, 5:05 PM (Wil-maaa!) http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/mmo-game-thread-mets-vs-nationals-505-pm-wil-maaa.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/mmo-game-thread-mets-vs-nationals-505-pm-wil-maaa.html/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 19:17:54 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=177325 wilmer flores

The New York Mets travel to Viera, Fla. to take on the Washington Nationals at 5:05 PM. Matthew Bowman faces left-hander Gio Gonzalez.

Jon Niese, who was originally slated to start this game, will pitch in an Intrasquad game today instead. The decision was based on weather related issues.

As previously reported, Wilmer Flores returns to the starting lineup for the first time since Sunday, when he fouled a ball off his left foot.

Here are your Starting Lineups:

NEW YORK METS

  1. Juan Lagares, CF
  2. Wilmer Flores, SS
  3. Lucas Duda, 1B
  4. John Mayberry Jr., LF
  5. Eric Campbell, 3B
  6. Ruben Tejada, 2B
  7. Anthony Recker, C
  8. Cesar Puello, RF
  9. Matthew Bowman,RHP

WASHINGTON NATIONALS

  1. Yunel Escobar, 2B
  2. Michael Taylor, CF
  3. Clint Robinson, RF
  4. Ryan Zimmerman, 1B
  5. Wilson Ramos, C
  6. Ian Desmond, SS
  7. Tyler Moore, 1B
  8. Danny Espinosa, 3B
  9. Gio Gonzalez, LHP

Radio only, boys and girls… Enjoy the game and Let’s Go Mets!

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Wright Okay With Moving Out Of No. 3 Spot In Order http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/wright-okay-with-moving-out-of-no-3-spot-in-order.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/wright-okay-with-moving-out-of-no-3-spot-in-order.html/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 18:49:46 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=177323 david wright

Mike Vorkunov of the NJ.com asked the question today, “Would David Wright move out of his No. 3 spot in Mets lineup?”

While Wright has pretty much owned the No. 3 spot over the last five years, the Mets captain is not averse to making a switch if that’s what the team wants.

Wright has batted their three times this spring. But an occasional migration from the No. 3 spot in the order makes no difference to Wright, he says.

“There might be some guys that, maybe, their ego gets affected where they hit in the lineup,” he said. “I’m not one of them. If Terry says ‘Hey look, the best thing for the team is for you to hit second, the best for the team is to hit sixth’ – I don’t care. I’m at the point now where it’s not about ego, it’s not about numbers for me, it’s about winning. If the coaches think it gives us the best chance to win — me hitting second — where do I sign up?”

While teams for man years have batted their best hitter either third or fourth, analysis by Beyond the Boxscore maintains that the team’s No. 2 hitter should be where your best all-around hitter bats.

Collins has been experimenting with Wright batting second this Spring, but hasn’t said if that’s something we’ll see in the regular season.

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Ex-Mets Catcher John Buck Announces Retirement http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/ex-mets-catcher-john-buck-announces-retirement.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/ex-mets-catcher-john-buck-announces-retirement.html/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 18:28:14 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=177280 John Buck With Harvey

Braves catcher and ex-Met John Buck announced his retirement on Thursday, so he can spend more time with his family, the Braves announced.

The one-time All Star had spent 11 years in the Major Leagues, playing for the Royals, Marlins, Mets, Angels, Pirates, Mariners and Blue Jays. He had signed this season with the Braves and was hitting .320 in the spring before the announcement.

The Mets traded Buck, along with Marlon Byrd, to the Pittsburgh Pirates before the 2013 trade deadline in exchange for second baseman Dilson Hererra and reliever Vic Black.

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How Much Of A Sure Thing Are The Nationals? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/how-much-of-a-sure-thing-are-the-nationals.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/how-much-of-a-sure-thing-are-the-nationals.html/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 17:56:31 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=176778 MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Washington Nationals

Everyone has the Nationals as a lock? GREAT! Hope the Nats are thinking the same thing too!

The Nationals made a big off season splash inking Max Scherzer. They signed him for seven years but backloaded the contract so this year it is only $10MM, $15MM for the three years after that, $35MM for the final three years, and $50MM as a signing bonus to be spread out over the seven years. Final tally for the Scott Boras client: seven years at $210MM.

So, while Mike Rizzo landed the top free agent, how much did he improve his team? After all, this puts last year’s #5 starter, Tanner Roark, in the bullpen and he was 15-10, had a 2.85 ERA, a 1.09 WHIP and threw 199 innings.

How much will Scherzer improve on that? And if you are wondering about Roark’s ability to repeat, in 2013 he was 7-1, had a 1.51 ERA, a 0.91 WHIP in 54 innings. The kid has talent.  While I really admire Rizzo and his building of the Washington organization, wouldn’t a signing of Hanley Ramirez, or Pablo Sandoval, or even Chase Headley for third base and the middle of the lineup, and shifting Anthony Rendon to second base be more of an overall team upgrade, especially with the loss of Adam LaRoche?

Presently the Nationals have injuries to Denard Span that will keep him out for six weeks and then probably needing a couple of weeks to get up to speed and to Jayson Werth who is 35 and has already shown age, but traded away the talented reserve Steven Souza in December for a player to be named. Speaking of injuries, Ryan Zimmerman is seemingly always hurt and there are worries that bat has slowed down quite a bit, while Rendon repeating his great year or even staying healthy is not a given due to his injury history in the minors and majors. There’s already concern Rendon will have to start the season on the disabled list. There is no denying that Bryce Harper and Ian Desmond are talented and motivated to impress, but what else can they absolutely count on?

As for their lone lineup addition, they traded a valuable bullpen piece in Tyler Clippard for Yunel Escobar. Escobar is a good defensive player at SS and will learn second base, but he will not significantly add to the offense batting in the #7 or #8 spot.  Also, the injuries will lead to unproven rookies filling in a lineup that has two of their “heart of the order” hitters hoping to turn back the clock. If I were a Nats fan, I’d be concerned.

Continuing, as we have mentioned, the bullpen has lost some important contributors. Not just a dependable all-star like Clippard but the loss of Rafael Soriano (who was putrid down the stretch but helped them win many games in the previous four and a half months) are losses that have to be replaced. Oh yeah, the ownership of Washington wants to slash payroll, not add to it. [I've heard that before somewhere else...]

So, the Nationals have a stronger starting rotation, albeit a seemingly small upgrade, but have regressed in their lineup and their bullpen. In this writer’s view, the Nationals are vulnerable and are showing fractures in their armor. Not only are they starting the season missing some valuable lineup pieces, but Zimmerman is brittle and even Rendon has had trouble staying healthy in the past. Their bullpen can use a proven closer, but the ownership has locked away the checkbook.

This vulnerability can open the door to upstarts like the Mets and the Marlins to win the division. Some of you may laugh at this, but while the Nationals get all the press, I believe they are closer to a rebuild by getting rid of Zimmerman, Werth, and Span and going younger than they are to a World Series. Popular opinion has the Marlins having a more improved and overall better team than the Mets, but if the Mets can get to 91 wins, they may have a chance at playing the winner of the central division in the opening round of the playoffs.

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Latest On Mets and O’s Lefty Reliever Matusz http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/latest-on-mets-and-os-lefty-reliever-matusz.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/latest-on-mets-and-os-lefty-reliever-matusz.html/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 16:13:04 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=176365 Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles

Left-handed reliever Brian Matusz has a “robust” market, and is getting several trade inquiries, says Oriole’s GM Dan Duquette.

The Orioles have four lefthanded relievers, counting closer Zach Britton, so it’s a possibility, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, who also adds that after the Mets’ interest leaked out in Matusz many other teams became interested.

Of course the Mets have never been one to engage in a feisty competition with other teams for the services of any ballplayer, let alone a reliever set to make $3.2 million.

While the Mets have yet to engage the Orioles at all according to Mike Puma, if they did they’d spend more time trying to get them to eat some dollars rather than exchange player names. And many believe the Orioles could deal Matusz without having to eat any dollars.

So where does that leave the Mets? Basically where they’ve been for the last five months on this issue.

March 22

Joel Sherman of the New York Post confirms earlier reports that Sandy Alderson and the Mets are actively in the market for a lefty reliever for their bullpen.

Sherman says that the Mets remain interested in Orioles reliever/starter Brian Matusz.

He proposes a possible deal that would entail the O’s giving Rule 5 pick Logan Verrett back to the Mets so that he could then be included as part of a deal to acquire Matusz.

Verrett is having an excellent spring, as is Matusz, but the Orioles may not have room to keep him on the 25 man roster.

Having the Mets trade him to them would allow the O’s to option Verrett to the minors – something they are prohibited from doing right now.

It sounds like something like this could have legs – especially if it’s true that the O’s are very willing to pay a portion of the $3.2 million that’s owed to Matusz.

March 18

According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports the Orioles are open to trading left-handed reliever Brian Matusz, but his $3.2 million salary and remaining year of arbitration likely will give prospective suitors pause.

He adds that the Mets have scouted Matusz, and while the Orioles are willing to include cash in a deal, the Mets may prefer other options, major-league sources told him.

Not exactly sure what those other options are, but I’d bet they cost much less than $3.2 million or even less than $2 million.

March 16

The Mets have been scouting Baltimore Orioles left-hander Brian Matusz, according to Dan Martin in the New York Post.

Matusz is a starter turned reliever with the Baltimore Orioles, making the switch during the 2012 season. In 2014, Matusz posted a 2-3 record with a 3.48 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 51 2/3 innings pitched.

Left-handed batters hit .223/.277/.350 against him, compared to .277/.351/.525 for righty batters.

Matusz is owed $3.2 million for 2015, is arbitration eligible in 2016 and becomes a free agent after that season.

Marc Carig of Newsday reports that former Met Dana Eveland has an opt-out clause with the Red Sox and is unlikely to make their Opening Day roster. He could also be on the Mets radar despite saying they had no interest in him during the offseason.

Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, reported that even pitching coach Dan Warthen acknowledged to an extent that the talent level among the current group of Scott Rice, Sean Gilmartin, Dario Alvarez and Jack Leathersich is lacking.

Asked after Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays about the lack of production from that quartet in spring-training games, Warthen essentially said that’s what would be expected.

“Most of them haven’t had great production anyway,” Warthen said. “Scotty Rice just came off of a surgery. He’s still finding release points on his sinker, so a lot of them are below the zone. The rest of them, Dario has not been exactly a strike thrower, nor has Leathersich. And it’s really our first time with Gilmartin, so I’m still making observations on him.”

That’s the latest…

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And Here Comes Sean Gilmartin http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/and-here-comes-sean-gilmartin.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/and-here-comes-sean-gilmartin.html/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 14:43:10 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=177286 sean gilmartin

I know, I know, only two weeks ago I said, “No way this guy makes the 25, he looks like roadkill out there.” But what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a lefty reliever who throws with no fear.

So out of this pack of underwhelming relievers, Sandy’s words not mine, here comes Sean Gilmartin who has squarely placed himself in front of the pack after a few very solid appearances.

After facing the Yankees on Sunday and tossing 1 2/3 hitless innings, Gilmartin did it again on Wednesday, facing and retiring four batters including three lefthanded hitters; Gilmartin struck out Stephen Drew and Brett Gardner, and got Didi Gregorius to pop out.

“For me that’s back to back very good outings for Sean Gilmartin. He’s throwing his breaking balls for strikes. He’s got the lefties, he can pitch them in. He’s used his changeup. He’s pitched very well. Right now, again, it’s still wide open.”

Gilmartin has picked up the pace and has drastically improved his chances of earning a bullpen spot. These next 11 days however, will tell the real story.

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Montero Could Be Best No. 5 Pitcher In League http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/montero-could-be-best-no-5-pitcher-in-league.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/montero-could-be-best-no-5-pitcher-in-league.html/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 14:13:17 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=177275 rafael montero Brad Barr-USA TODAY

It wasn’t long ago that we were referring to Rafael Montero as “The Dominator” here at MMO, as his pitching performances often left us with our mouths hanging open, and each performance seemed to get better and better.

Then he was called up to make a few starts with the Mets last year, and all the hype caught up to him. He didn’t look like the same guy that we watched dominate so many minor league games over the past couple of seasons. Many fans may have started to question what the big deal was about this prospect that had heard so much about.

Let’s face it, Montero wouldn’t have been the first prospect to completely over power minor league competition and then not be able to put it together at the big league level. Whether it be something mental, or the pressure of the big leagues, some players just don’t ever live up to the hype.

However, Montero doesn’t seem like that type of guy. If you read or listen to his interviews, he sounds hungry—he sounds confident.

Say what you will about Terry Collins and his management style, but it was a smart move to start Montero against the Yankees. Like Collins alluded to in post-game interviews, he got a chance to see him against a big-time lineup.

“That is the best I’ve seen him,” Collins said after the Mets 7-2 win. “We’ve heard for two years about what a strike thrower he was, and last year when he came up I don’t know if it was nerves or what, but we didn’t see that.”

If you watched that game, you saw some things that made Montero so great in the minor leagues, and yet you also saw some things that got him into trouble when he was called up last year. His change-up was masterful. Watching him throw that pitch and see the left-handed hitters swing through it as it dove down and away from them was a reminiscent of Montero in Binghamton a couple of seasons ago. His curveball was sharp—but it’s Montero’s fastball that will get him into trouble.

Montero isn’t overpowering—generally sitting in the low 90s. Montero’s fastball also tends to be flat—very little movement that comes in at waist height to the hitter. He has to rely on pinpoint control, moving the ball in and out and working the corners in order to be successful. If the fastball catches too much of the plate, the major league hitters will take advantage of it, as we witnessed this past Tuesday when Chase Headley ripped that double in the gap.

We know that Montero has earned a roster spot for 2015. Whether that is in a relief or starter role remains to be seen. Montero truly has the stuff to be one of the best No. 5 starters in the league. It’s pretty impressive when one of the greatest baseball players of all-time says “He’s got a really good arm and he should be a nice asset for that team for a long time.” You may not like Alex Rodriguez, but the guy knows baseball.

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Despite Reduced Velocity, Parnell Effective In Second Rehab Appearance http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/despite-reduced-velocity-parnell-effective-in-second-rehab-appearance.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/despite-reduced-velocity-parnell-effective-in-second-rehab-appearance.html/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 14:02:58 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=177262 bobby parnell

Bobby Parnell continues to make progress in his recovery from Tommy John surgery. In his second rehab appearance yesterday behind Tradition Field in Port St, Lucie, Parnell pitched one inning, and did not allow a run.

Dave Lennon of Newsday analyzed Parnell’s fastball velocity from his appearance using PITCHf/x data. He also included some good quotes from Parnell.

“At his peak, before snapping the ulnar collateral ligament on Opening Day last April, Parnell’s fastball averaged 95.2 and maxed out at 99.1 during the 2013 season — down a few ticks from 95.8 and 100.4 the previous year, according to PITCHf/x. As for Wednesday’s performance, when his velocity ranged from 88 to 91, Parnell explained that was partly due to using more two-seam fastballs, a slightly slower pitch than the four-seam.”

“I went in to this outing trying not to overthrow, so I knew the gun wasn’t going to be anything outstanding,” Parnell said. “I backed off and wanted to work on my two-seamer because it wasn’t there last game. It’s more of a ‘go out there and knock the rust off’ kind of thing more than overthrow.”

“The last time out, it was the first time seeing batters in a long time,” Parnell said. “The intensity went up when the batters stepped in, and everything kind of moved a little fast. I was able to slow it down this game and work on a little bit more stuff to go in the right direction.”

Lennon also said that Parnell has a chance to take over as the Mets closer when he returns.

“Parnell was 22-for-26 in save attempts with a 2.16 ERA during his last full season in 2013. He struck out 44 and allowed one homer in 50 innings. With the Mets committed for now to Jenrry Mejia as their Opening Day closer, the team has been vague about its plans for when Parnell does return, which could be as soon as early May. That probably will have a lot to do with how Mejia is pitching — and Parnell’s timetable.”

“I want my body to tell me when to go,” Parnell said. “I don’t want to look at the calendar to tell me when. I want to be 100 percent. I want to help the team more than just being there.”

Thoughts:

Regardless of who ends up pitching the 9th, the Mets back end of the bullpen is considerably stronger than it has been in recent years. Parnell, Mejia and even Jeurys Familia give the Mets three solid options for the late innings, which is a luxury the Mets have not had in a very long time.

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Gov. Christie Loves The Dark Knight Of Gotham http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/gov-christie-loves-the-dark-knight-of-gotham.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/gov-christie-loves-the-dark-knight-of-gotham.html/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 13:49:21 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=177296 WPTV-Chris-Christie-at-Mets_1394395198993_3349049_ver1.0_640_480

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie appeared with Matthew White on NJ 101.5 FM to talk Mets baseball, Matt Harvey and Opening Day.

“Listen, I’m hopeful we’re an over .500 team this year, and then we’ll worry about the playoffs after that,” Christie replied.

“Mets Opening Day is like a National Holiday in the Christie household.”

Last year, during an appearance on WFAN, Christie said he’d love the chance to run the Mets.

“I would love to be general manager of the Mets,” said Christie, a former catcher on the Livingston High School baseball team. “And if Sandy would put his crap in boxes and get out of there now, I’d be happy to go there right now if they needed me.”

Here’s the new video clip from 101.5 FM:

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Collins Considering Batting Pitcher 8th, Lagares 9th http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/collins-considering-batting-pitcher-8th-lagares-9th.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/collins-considering-batting-pitcher-8th-lagares-9th.html/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 23:40:27 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=177247 Bartolo - Colon

Here we go again. According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, Terry Collins is once again toying with the idea of batting the pitcher eighth.

When you first here it you’re like, “what, huh, so what…” Until you realize it means batting Juan Lagares ninth and then you’ve like, “what the fuck is he crazy!?!?!?”

This lame brained scheme is coming as Lagares, who was challenged to prove he can bat leadoff by Collins in February, is smoking the ball in Mets camp.

Lagares, who led off Wednesday and went 2-for3, with a double, a home run, and a stolen base, is batting .395 this Spring with a .489 on-base and a 1.102 OPS. He’s literally having the most productive spring in camp. And yet Collins sees this and his gut reaction is to minimize his at-bats. You really have to wonder about this man’s judgement and mental makeup.

“It is something we are thinking about,” Collins said.

Who is we I wonder? Sock puppets don’t count. Sock puppets shouldn’t have a say in this.

Collins toyed with such lunacy before, fancying himself as a Tony LaRissa clone at times. He batted his starting pitcher in the eighth spot 10 times last year. And yes, INCLUDING Colon.

The thought process behind this, if you want to call it that, is to get your third-place hitter more RBI chances after the first time through the lineup.

Collins also says he’s got the great hitting pitchers to pull this off. Yes, Terry, the same ones who set a new MLB record in futility by going 0-for-gazillion last season.

“I know in our market it’s a big issue. It’ll be a headline, back-page story,” Collins told ESPN’s Adam Rubin. “But I’ll just to do it to see what it looks like. Nothing more than that.”

Oh God, please don’t let this maniac ruin our season.

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MMO Game Recap: Mets 7, Yankees 2 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/mmo-game-recap-mets-7-yankees-2.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/mmo-game-recap-mets-7-yankees-2.html/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 20:13:09 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=177241 USATSI_8474835_154511658_lowres

The New York Mets beat the New York Yankees by a score of 7-2 on Wednesday at Gearge M. Steinbrenner Field.

Offense:

What can I say about future All Star Juan Lagares that I haven’t said already? Wow, another great game from Lagares who went 2-for-3 with a double, home run, two runs scored, two RBI, and a stolen base. he’s batting .395 with a 1.102 OPS. Some kind of Juan-derful!

John Mayberry smashed another homer, his third, he had two hits and is only batting a mere .457 this spring. Travis d’Arnaud finally put on his hitting shoes today, going 2-for-3 with an RBI.

Matt Reynolds went 1-for-3 with a walk and a stolen base. Matt den Dekker drove a ground rule double to center to score Dustin Lawley with the seventh run of the game for the Amazins.

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Pitching:

Rafael Montero started and not only did he have his changeup working but he was packing some heat with his fastball coming in at -94-95 and hitting 96-97. I’ll but that for a dollar. It was vintage Montero who struck out four and walked none in 4.0 innings of work. He allowed one run on three hits.

How about Sean Gilmartin… The left pitched 1.1 innings of perfect relief and retired all three lefthanded batters he faced, striking out two of them.

Chasen not Chase Bradford tossed 1.2 scoreless innings. Then in the ninth, Chase Huchingson got into some trouble and allowed a run, but no harm done, put it in the books.

On Deck:

The Mets travel to Space Coast Stadium to take on the Washington Nationals at 5:05 PM. Jon Niese will get the start and be opposed by Gio Gonzalez.

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Mets Franchise Value Rises To $1.35 Billion http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/mets-franchise-value-rises-to-1-35-billion.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/mets-franchise-value-rises-to-1-35-billion.html/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 16:25:49 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=177234 jeff wilpon

A new report by Forbes valued the New York Mets at $1.35 billion dollars, the seventh most valuable franchise in baseball behind the Yankees, Dodgers, Red Sox, Giants, Cubs and Cardinals.

Forbes estimates the Mets have an annual revenue stream of $263 million and a $25 million operating income.

The Mets also posted baseball’s third-largest average local television audience in 2014, despite the team’s sixth-consecutive season with a losing record.

Despite all that, Mets payroll for opening day in 2015 is expected to be at or near $100 million dollars which places them in the bottom ten of major league baseball.

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Zack Wheeler Undergoes Successful Tommy John Surgery http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/zack-wheeler-undergoes-successful-tommy-john-surgery.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/zack-wheeler-undergoes-successful-tommy-john-surgery.html/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 16:02:32 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=177223 zack wheeler

The Mets announced that Zack Wheeler underwent successful Tommy John surgery on Wednesday to repair the flexor pronator tendon and reconstruct the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.

The surgery was performed by Dr. David Altchek and he is expected to make a full recovery.

Wheeler will miss all of 2015 and is expected to return about June of 2016 or approximately 14 months after having the surgery.

Last Friday, Wheeler addressed questions about his elbow with the media, saying:

“I can’t complain about how the Mets handled me last year innings wise,” Wheeler continued. “I don’t have any complaints at all about how they handled me.”

“Honestly, I’ve had pain in that spot in my elbow since I got drafted — since before I got drafted,” Wheeler said. “It just happened to really flare up and be a little more painful last year, but not enough to where I was actually like, ‘Oh my gosh.’”

Wheeler said he was surprised to learn of his ligament tear. “I cried a little,” he admitted. He was called into the office my Mets COO Jeff Wilpon told him the news it was a UCL tear.

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