Mets Merized Online Sat, 25 Oct 2014 16:43:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Featured Post: Cuddyer At Two Years Fits Sandy’s Plan Sat, 25 Oct 2014 13:08:21 +0000 michael-cuddyer-rockies

Andy Martino of the Daily News sees free agent Michael Cuddyer as the exact sort of piece that fits the Mets offense and that people familiar with the Mets’ thinking say that they consider him attractive on a two-year deal.

With the Mets highly reluctant to trade any of their young pitchers this winter, coupled with a lack of money to add a more significant player, Cuddyer makes sense for them Martino says.

One executive said that it was hard to imagine Cuddyer getting more than two years, but free agency can be so unpredictable.

Cuddyer, who turns 36 years next Spring, played just 49 games in 2014 after being plagued by a shoulder fracture and two other DL stints for hamstring injuries. That could be a big concern for interested teams, especially at his age.

Since 2011, his final season with the Twins, Cuddyer has missed more than one-third of his team’s games.

All of that said, Cuddyer is a versatile player who could slot in at left, right and first base. When he was healthy he won a batting title in 2013 with a .331 average. He practically duplicated that average in 2014, hitting .332 with 10 homers in his limited playing time.

As Martino points out, two years of control at a rate that will not bust the Mets’ tight budget makes Cuddyer better than many other choices. He could get anywhere between $20-25 million for two years and as much as $30 million for three.

There are huge risks here, but this is what the Mets have become, always looking for value in flawed or advanced age players with injury concerns. In that regard, Cuddyer is the cream of the crop. 


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Mets Wasted No Time Saying “No Way” On Joe Maddon Sat, 25 Oct 2014 12:56:56 +0000 joe maddon

After opting out from his contract with the Tampa Bay Rays, we now know that Joe Maddon is the hottest commodity on the baseball market, with as many as 5-6 organizations expressing serious interest in the highly regarded manager. Not surprising.

But what I did find very surprising was how quick the Mets were to say they had no interest in Maddon who is considered by most as one of the most brilliant managers in the game. 

Within minutes of the announcement, Mets COO Jeff Wilpon and general manager Sandy Alderson both shot down any interest in Maddon.

“No — we are not changing managers,” Jeff Wilpon emphatically exclaimed.

And Sandy Alderson quickly followed that up, “Terry Collins is our manager. Period.”

If the Mets’ priority is truly about adding the best people available to their ranks as they always boldly tout, you would think a supreme baseball man like Maddon would give them some pause – even if it was only for appearance’s sake.

I understand the whole undying loyalty to Terry Collins POV – even if it is dreadfully misplaced. But here’s a manager that could easily add 6-8 games to your win column and you don’t even deliberate it for 15 minutes? It’s not like Collins couldn’t be reassigned to another useful role.

Very peculiar and telling at just how fast they reacted on this. They’ve never made a decision this quickly in their four-plus years into this plan.

By Joe D.

October 24 – Joe Maddon Opts Out

According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, Joe Maddon has opted out of his contract with the Tampa Bay Rays, leaving the club after nine years. He finished his career there with a 754-705 record, making the playoffs four times. They only made it past the division series once, losing to the Phillies in the 2008 World Series.

This season, the Rays went 77-85, failing to win 90 games for the first time since 2009.

On leaving the Rays, Maddon said that he’d prefer to manage in 2015 but won’t rule anything out. He also described leaving the Rays as “Gut wrenching, almost feeling sick” according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.

Principal Owner Stuart Sternberg released a statement on Maddon:

Joe Maddon has exercised an opt-out in his current contract, a contract which was not scheduled to expire until after the 2015 season. We tried diligently and aggressively to sign Joe to a third contract extension prior to his decision.

As of yesterday afternoon, Joe enabled himself to explore opportunities throughout Major League Baseball. He will not be managing the Rays in 2015. Joe has been our manager for nine seasons, and the foundation of success laid during his tenure endures. We thank him for all that he’s meant to the organization.

There is no word yet on what this means for Maddon’s future in management. While people want to speculate about him joining Andrew Friedman with the Dodgers, the early word from CBS’s Jon Heyman is that he is not considering a move there.

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Which MLB Players Do Current Mets Compare To? Sat, 25 Oct 2014 12:00:09 +0000 MLB: New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies

If you were to go to Baseball-Reference to look up particular player, you can always see who the top ten players that have a similar statistical profile either overall and also through their current age.

I thought it would be fun to see which MLB players throughout history, some of our current Mets compared to through similar aged seasons. There’s nothing scientific about this whatsoever – so sit back and here we go:

Daniel Murphy

Billy Werber – Werber played in 11 MLB seasons (1930, 1933-1942) with the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Athletics, Cincinnati Reds and New York Giants. He appeared in 1,295 games, batting .271 with 78 HR, 539 RBI and 1,363 hits. Other similar players: Todd Walker, Martin Prado

Lucas Duda

Dan Pasqua – Pasqua played ten MLB seasons (1985-94) with the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox, appearing in 905 games with 117 HR, 390 RBI and 638 career hits. Other similar players: Mike Young, Dick Gernert

Curtis Granderson

Ron Gant – Gant played 16 MLB seasons (1987-93, 1995-2003) with the Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies, Anaheim Angels, Colorado Rockies, Oakland A’s and San Diego Padres. He appeared in 1,832 games, hitting .256 with 321 HR, 1,008 RBI and 1,651 career hits. Other similar players: Bob Allison, Roger Maris

Juan Lagares

Jeremy Reed – Reed played eight MLB seasons (2004-2011) with the Seattle Mariners, New York Mets, Toronto Blue Jays, and Milwaukee Brewers. He appeared in 483 MLB games, batting .252 with 12 HR, 110 RBI and 315 hits. Other similar players: Endy Chavez, Leon Culberson


David Wright

Scott Rolen – Rolen played 17 MLB seasons (1996-2012) with the Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals, Toronto Blue Jays, and Cincinnati Reds. While we recently featured Wright’s statistical similarities to George Brett through his age 31 season, his closest match was Rolen (Brett was #2). Rolen appeared in 2,038 games, hitting .281 with 316 HR, 1,287 RBI and 2,077 hits. Other similar players: George Brett, Aramis Ramirez

Ruben Tejada

Jose Offerman – Offerman played 15 MLB seasons (1990-2002, 2004-05) with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Kansas City Royals, Boston Red Sox, Seattle Mariners, Minnesota Twins, Philadelphia Phillies, and New York Mets. He appeared in 1,651 games with a career .273 batting average with 57 HR, 537 RBI and 1,551 hits. Other similar players: Bucky Dent, Jack Barry

Eric Young Jr.

Mike Felder – Felder played ten MLB seasons (1985-1994) with the Miwaukee Brewers, San Fransicso Giants, Seattle Mariners, and Houston Astros. He appeared in 899 MLB games, hitting .249 with 14 HR, 173 RBI, 161 stolen bases, and 564 hits. Other similar players: Gregor Blanco, Milt Cuyler

Bartolo Colon

Jamie Moyer - Moyer pitched for 25 MLB seasons (1986-91, 1993-2010, 2012) with the Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers, St. Louis Cardinals, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Seattle Mariners, Philadelphia Phillies, and Colorado Rockies. In 696 games (638 starts), he had a record of 269-209 with an ERA of 4.25 in 4,074 innings. Other similar players: Orel Hershiser, David Wells

Jeurys Familia

Roger McDowell – McDowell pitched for 12 MLB seasons (1985-96) with the New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, Los Angeles Dodgers, Texas Rangers, and Baltimore Orioles. In 723 games (mostly as a reliever) he had a record of 70-70 with a 3.30 ERA and 159 saves in 1,050 innings. Other similar players: Randy Moffitt, Jim Park

Dillon Gee

Cal Eldred – Eldred pitched for 14 years (1991-2001, 2003-05) with the Milwaukee Brewers, Chicago White Sox, and St. Louis Cardinals. He appeared in 341 games (192 starts) with a record of 86-74 and an ERA of 4.42 with 9 saves in 1,368 innings. Other similar players: Pascual Perez, Brandon McCarthy

Jenrry Mejia

Joe Kerrigan – Kerrigan pitched in four MLB seasons (1976-78, 1980) with the Montreal Expos and Baltimore Orioles. He appeared in 131 games with a career record of 8-12 and an ERA of 3.89 with 9 saves while pitching 220 innings. Other similar players: Bo McLaughlin, John Wetteland

jon niese

Jon Niese

Odalis Perez – Perez pitched in ten MLB seasons (1998-99, 2001-08) with the Braves, Dodgers, Royals and Nationals. He appeared in 252 games with a record of 73-82 with a 4.46 ERA in 1,335 innings. Other similar players: Matt Garza, Denny Lemaster

Carlos Torres

Matt Wise – Wise pitched eight MLB seasons (2000-02, 2004-08) with the Angels, Brewers, and Mets. He pitched in 209 games (18 starts) with a record of 17-22 and an ERA of 4.23 with 2 saves in 317 innings. Other similar players: Rene Arocha, Chris Sampson

Zack Wheeler

Vance Worley – Worley is still pitching, and has been in the majors for five years (2010-14) with the Phillies, Twins, and Pirates. Worley has appeared in 81 games (73 starts) with a record of 27-22 with a 3.75 ERA in 437 innings. Other similar players: Josh Johnson, Eddie Stack

Bobby Parnell

David Riske – Riske pitched for 11 MLB seasons (1999, 2001-2010) with the Indians, Red Sox, White Sox, Royals, and Brewers. Riske had a record of 20-20 with an ERA of 3.67 and 22 saves in 462 career appearances (all out of the pen) in 497.2 innings.Other similar players: George Frazier, Brandon League

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Talent vs. Development: Are Mets Exploiting A New Market Inefficiency? Sat, 25 Oct 2014 11:17:45 +0000 sandy alderson

When Sandy Alderson was hired by the Mets as their new GM in 2010 there was a flurry of conjecture about what sort of effect he would have on the team. Words like “Moneyball with money” were being thrown around by Paul DePodesta and J.P. Ricciardi, and everyone started speculating about what exactly this new version of moneyball would look like. Would it be high OBP guys like in Oakland? Would it be right-handed pitchers with durability profiles? Would it be defense up the middle and power from unlikely sources? Would it be outfielders with allergies to cat dander?

Since that time, most of us have settled into the realization that Alderson and his brain brigade didn’t really unveil anything unique in their approach to player acquisition. With the exception of a tendency towards high schoolers with good eyes at the plate (an eye for an eye!), there was little to satiate the masses who were waiting impatiently for Moneyball 2.0. It never materialized.

What I think many of us failed to appreciate, however, was that exploiting market inefficiencies was nothing new in MLB. Ever since the 90’s when Oakland managed to piece together a winning amalgamate from overlooked and undervalued spare parts, teams all across the league hired numbers-crunchers in an attempt to find other players possessing favorable and overlooked competitive adaptations. Funny thing is that with the exception of OBP, not much else had been overlooked … Oh sure, some teams went after character guys while others tried to secure command and control pitching while still other teams went for power arms, but that had all been done before in the hundred-plus year history of the game.

But there was definitely something different at work with these guys. Sandy DePo and Ricciardi are not the sort to sit back and follow tried and true paradigms. They were advertised as innovators and the more I observed their often secretive machinations (especially on the part of DePodesta who I imagine still lives in his underground numbers bunker deep beneath Citi Field, coming out every few days to test new Frisbee designs and shake hands with his children), the more I felt they were up to something, I was certain of it.

I don’t think DePo would have been coy and evasive early on when questioned about what sort of organizational innovations he had in store if he wasn’t actually hiding something. He openly stated that he wouldn’t share his angle even if he had one … but the way he said it made me wonder.

Now I’m a words guy, language is my thing … I pride myself on my ability to read between the lines and derive whatever hidden connotation an inconspicuous comment may yield. The phrase that stood out for me when Collins first hit the scene was “muscle memory.” I swear that first spring I remember at least 4 or 5 players using the term “muscle memory” during interviews. That smacked heavily of an organizational initiative, a mantra.

At the same time Sandy Alderson was spouting loquacious on his desire to streamline the organization from top to bottom with an emphasis on adapting every level to a uniform set of principles. A complete overhaul of our player development program.

Lots of GM’s try to leave their mark by establishing a distinct organizational ethos … nothing new about that right? Only Sandy Alderson and his minions referred to this organizational cohesion as if it were the thing. Almost as if cohesion of purpose across levels was in fact their angle, as if it was the innovation that would somehow create that elusive “unfair advantage.” No, it couldn’t be, I thought. How boring would that be? The organizational stuff is simply a byproduct of Sandy’s military days. He knows how important uniformity and cohesion are for any successful organization … there had to be something else.

nimmo reynolds sand gnats

But as the years progressed this mantra persisted, and the minors saw a distinct resurgence with more wins from more of our minor league affiliates, fueled by the persistent drone of the same principles across every level. Muscle memory over and over and over.

Then there were the drafts … one high school player after another. Over and over the Mets drafted teenagers who were years and years away.

When you put all this together I think what you have is something akin to our
“new moneyball.” The Mets have designed what they feel is a system that will take raw youngsters with the right physical and intellectual temperaments and and graduate them successfully to the majors by means of immersion in a uniform set of principles that they believe will give them a competitive advantage. Those principles of course involve getting on base, plate discipline, attacking the zone, all invoked with thousands of hours of mind numbing repetition.

Now it is certainly true that with younger players you have greater control over whatever developmental trajectory they happen to be on. Older players are what they are, they don’t have much time to put it all together before their bodies hit their physical prime years of 27, 28, and 29 (and for some reason 31) … With a high school player you have 8 to 10 years to make sure they get the reps they need before they hit their physical prime … which comes out to right around 10,000 hours of “practice.” With college players you have about half that time.

And that’s where the innovation comes in. The notion that talent isn’t some magical gift bestowed upon us by the gods or heredity, that given comparable physical attributes the more “talented” individual is almost always the one with the most hours of practice.

As Malcolm Gladwell in his groundbreaking book Outliers pointed out, the 10,000 hour rule is the single greatest predictor of “elite” performance, whether it’s playing a violin or striking out major league batters. On the Mets, “muscle memory” had become a catch phrase for expert status, and 10,000 hours of practice (usually taking around 10 years), more often than not resulted in expert status. It is a remarkable predictor with the highest levels of performance coming at right around the 10,000 hour mark across a wide variety of disciplines.

What Alderson and his assistants are attempting is a shift away from a scouting/talent paradigm to a tools/development paradigm … and Brandon Nimmo is their poster child. Now I’m not saying they’re actively seeking out blank-slate 18-year olds with solid physical attributes and little else. Naturally you’re going to draft the more talented player when available. But I think what’s interesting is the notion that the Mets might be inclined to draft a raw but physically gifted younger player over a perhaps more “talented” older player because by acquiring the younger player they control the trajectory and the progress, while “talent” at lower levels doesn’t always translate to higher levels.

The approach reminds me a little of the rifle range in boot camp. Our instructors loved guys who’d never fired a weapon because although they were raw, they didn’t have any bad habits, they were able to train us the correct way. I’d never touched a firearm in my life yet I shot high expert my very first try. Similarly this Met front office believes they are more likely to succeed by promoting a system that will produce elite performers from the scratch of raw physical aptitude rather than relying on occasionally finding the lightning in a bottle that is what we sometimes describe as “a natural.”

In the end the proof is in the pudding as they say, and the first batch of this particular confection will hit the stage late next summer barring some cataclysmic barrage of injuries or misfortune. It will be immensely interesting to see whether it was all worth the wait.


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MMO Mailbag: Where Are Alderson’s Draft Picks? Fri, 24 Oct 2014 22:34:08 +0000 Sandy Alderson and Paul DePodesta visited MCU Park Wednesday night, likely to check out first-round pick Michael Conforto. (Photo by Jim Mancari)

Gregg asks…

I read that the Mets have drafted a greater percentage of high school players during the last three drafts, and have also passed over many supreme college talents in doing so.With many players who were drafted in the years 2011-2013 playing big roles this postseason, aren’t you the least bit worried that Sandy Alderson is one of a few teams that have yet to see one of their draft picks make it to the majors?

Andre replies…

The upside with high school prospects usually is that they can still be taught and trained in a way that the organization feels confident about. And in general, the majority of drafted impact players in the majors have come from high school and not the college ranks in the past 15+ years or so.

While, the risk may be higher, the upside often is also higher than with college picks. Of course, the aspect of player DEVELOPMENT is far more important with HS or young IFA talent than it is with advanced college players.

Now, the downside is that it generally takes longer to develop HS talent than college players for obvious reasons. So, if you have to be willing and able to give HS picks 4-5 years to develop in general before they reach the majors and probably another year before they have an impact.

A team that´s not able to sport a “large market” high payroll may be more inclined to go after college talent early in a draft during a window of contention than a team with a large market payroll OR during a rebuilding. That of course, is besides taking the best player available early in a draft.

The Mets have – rightfully – focused on HS talent and getting IFA signed that they´re now trying to develop – hopefully with better success than in the two previous decades. The problems of finding a legit young middle infielder ever since Jose Reyes was signed as an IFA in 2000 can directly be traced to both having a sub par development system in place AND not really drafting many – if any – players with a middle infield upside defensively in over a decade (from 2001 through 2011).

And while it remains to be seen if and how successful the “Alderson” drafts have been – and pretty sure Alderson hasn’t really been actively involved in these but at best listened with interest – the fact that none of “his” picks has appeared in the majors isn’t a problem at all. Besides the focus on HS talent, several college players such as Kevin Plawecki, Matt Reynolds, Cory Mazzoni or Daniel Muno could easily have appeared in the majors already. But mainly due to 40-man roster management and perhaps financial issues, they have been held back so far.

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Is Rafael Montero The One The Mets Trade? Fri, 24 Oct 2014 22:31:47 +0000 Rafael - Montero

The Mets are highly reluctant to trade any of their young pitchers this winter, despite an urgent need to upgrade the offense, writes Andy Martino of the Daily News.

However it’s not impossible to imagine Zack Wheeler, Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom and to some extent Rafael Montero playing for different teams next year, he says.

This offseason will be filled with lots of Mets trade rumors and buzz, and unlike last year when Sandy Alderson suggested he would trade a young pitcher to acquire a bat and ultimately stood pat, I believe this time the Mets will actually go through with it.

That said, Martino writes that over the past 12 months, Wheeler went from sort of available, with some in the organization pushing hard to move him, to virtually untouchable. And as for deGrom, with the young righthander soon to be named the National League rookie of the year award, he isn’t going anywhere either.

That leaves Noah Syndergaard and Montero. Sure there’s Dillon Gee, Jon Niese and Bartolo Colon. But nobody believes the Mets could get the kind of bat they need for one of them. Along with either Montero or Syndergaard, one of them might go to acquire that piece they’re looking for.

This should make for lots of interesting debate and conversation as the Hot Stove season begins to warm up. When all is said and done, I have a hunch that Montero and Gee will be the ones to go. I just hope it’s all worth it in the end.


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Pitching and Defense Is In Our DNA Fri, 24 Oct 2014 19:55:18 +0000 Seaver-Koosman-Matlack - Copy

Baseball is loaded with tradition, perhaps more than any other sport, and for good reason. The Mets have their own traditions, their own uniforms and stories passed down to them, their own sacred relics.

Mets tradition is rooted in the Miracle of 1969, and to a lesser degree the 1986 Championship season. Mets tradition is entrenched in the successes of the past, and that success has been, and more than likely will be (should we ever be treated to it again), grounded in lights-out, shutdown, overpowering pitching. Tom SeaverJerry KoosmanDwight Gooden and many other greats led our pitching heavy success stories. The lessons learned? We live and die by our pitching.

Building on previous success emboldens and prepares current generations with winning strategies, confidence, and important lessons. Traditions teach us who we are based on and who we’ve been. They teach us how to conduct ourselves based on how we’ve conducted ourselves in the past. They are an integral part of organizational success and as such should never ever be ignored. To do so is to invite failure.

The Mets of course play in the National League, and have always played their home games in pitchers’ havens. They were conceived during a pitching dominated NL “small ball” era and when you add Shea’s dimensions to their humble origins, you can see the where and why of our fine Mets pitching tradition.

The current generation of Mets is tasked with a monumental task — learning to win. What better way to do that than by looking at what has worked in the past? It’s a hard lesson, particularly after the horrendous failures of our recent history.

Pitching and defense are in our blood… 2–0 games should be ingrained in the DNA of every Met prospect in every Met franchise throughout the minors. This is our template, our formula, our recipe. Embrace the stinginess and the tension Met fans, I’ll take a traditional 2–0 win any day over a 7–3 slugfest.

Traditions are resilient, and I have to say there may even be something magical about them. There is a painful irony to the fact that 2006 ended tragically at the hands of a defense first backstop whose only home run vs. the Mets came in the postseason, against a power laden Met team lacking its traditional pitching first make-up.

Personally, I’ll take deGrom, Wheeler, Harvey, Syndergaard and Montero going forward over any host of boppers and mashers. Just get some great defense and a decent offense to support them. It doesn’t have to be a Murderer’s Row. Embrace the stinginess Met fans, embrace the tension!


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Kevin Long, Front Office Might Not See Eye-To-Eye Fri, 24 Oct 2014 16:00:14 +0000 kevin long

Yesterday the Mets announced the hiring of Kevin Long as the new batting coach (or as they call it hitting instructor). This move makes sense for a number of reasons. On top of that list is the work he did with Curtis Granderson while they were both with the Yankees. You could argue that a productive Granderson is the most important thing to the Mets in 2015 and Long should help that. There is one issue with Long’s philosophy. It doesn’t quite lineup with the Mets.

Here’s what Long had to say to Sports Illustrated on his approach:

“You really have to re-think your hitting philosophy. It used to be that you wanted to take pitches and get the starter’s pitch count up so you could get into the other team’s bullpen. Now if you do that, chances are you’re going to see a better arm coming out of the bullpen, and it’s one after the other.”

That sounds like something that could directly conflict with the organizational philosophy. With the broad strokes of money ball known throughout the baseball world by now, Sandy Alderson has always preached a patient approach and waiting for your pitch.

“It’s getting a good pitch to hit, and these guys are sorting through the pitches they are seeing to get something to hit,” Alderson told the New York Post’s Mike Puma back in 2013. “That approach is what really made us successful offensively in 2011 and the first half of 2012, and then we lost the approach. We couldn’t generate any offense in the second half of last year.”

So is this an issue in the waiting? Will Long be able to be an effective hitting instructor while under the watchful eyes of the Mets front office? We don’t expect Alderson to charge through the locker room with a baseball bat like Brad Pitt but one would imagine they’ll be keeping very close tabs on things like opposing pitch counts and on-base percentage under Long’s guidance.

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World Series Thread: Royals vs Giants, 8:00 PM (Game 3) Fri, 24 Oct 2014 04:30:16 +0000 Courtesy of Fox News

Kansas City Royals vs. San Francisco Giants

Game 3: Friday, 8:00 PM ET on FOX

Jeremy Guthrie (0-0, 1.80) vs. Tim Hudson (0-0, 3.29)

With the series tied at one game a piece, the Giants and Royals head west for three games at AT&T Park in San Francisco. Despite an 11 year major league career, this will be only the second career playoff start for Jeremy Gurthrie. He pitched five innings of one-run baseball during the ALCS against the Orioles, earning a no-decision in the Royals win.

He will be opposed by Tim Hudson, making his 12th career playoff start. Despite his 3.29 ERA over 13.2 inning in this years playoffs, he’s given up 14 hits over that span.

The Royals are 4-0 on the road this postseason, posting 2-0 marks in Anaheim in the ALDS and Baltimore in the ALCS.

Though the stakes are much higher this week, playing against the National League in 2014 was not an issue for the Royals, especially on the road. Kansas City posted a big league best 15-5 mark against the Senior Circuit, with all but four of those games occurring against the National League West.

The Giants enter tonight’s game having won nine of their last ten post season home games. Their only loss was in game three of the Division Series against the Nationals this season. The Giants have also won each of their last six World Series home games, their longest home winning streak in the Fall Classic. In fact, they haven’t dropped a World Series game at home since losing game three to the Anaheim Angels on Oct. 22nd, 2002.


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Mets Announce Kevin Long As New Hitting Coach Thu, 23 Oct 2014 22:04:52 +0000 Kevin long cage

The Mets have announced that Kevin Long will become the hitting coach for the Mets. In a statement released to the media, Sandy Alderson said the following:

“Kevin’s experience, success and wealth of knowledge make him the perfect fit as our hitting instructor. This is a very positive step for the Mets. We welcome Kevin, and his wife, Marcey, to the Mets family.”

On becoming the Mets hitting instructor, Long had this to say:

“I’m excited to get the opportunity to work with a team that I think is on the rise. I had a great meeting with Sandy and Terry yesterday and I can’t wait to get started and help in any way I can.”

Long, 47, had spent the previous eight seasons (2007-2014) as the Yankees hitting coach. Under his guidance, the Yankees led the majors in runs scored three times and finished second twice. Before he joined the major league team, Long served as the Yankees’ Triple-A hitting coach with Columbus of the International League for three years (2004-2006).

Prior to joining the Yankees, Long was the hitting coach for the Triple-A Omaha Royals from 2002-2003 and the Double-A Wichita Wranglers’ from 2000-2001. Long was named the Northwest League Manager of the Year after leading Spokane to the title in 1998. He began his coaching career with Wilmington in the Carolina League in 1997.

Long was a second-team All-American and first-team All-Pac-10 in 1989 at the University of Arizona. The outfielder was selected by the Kansas City Royals in the 31st round of the 1989 First-Year Player Draft and played eight years (1989-1996) in Kansas City’s minor league system reaching, Triple-A.

The club also named Dustin Clarke, their new Major League Strength and Conditioning Coach.


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Juan Lagares Is Gold Glove Finalist Thu, 23 Oct 2014 17:44:14 +0000 juan lagares catch

Update (October 23rd, 2:00 PM)

According to ESPN’s Adam Rubin, Juan Lagares has been named one of the three finalists for the National League Gold Glove Award in center-field. The other two finalists are Billy Hamilton and Denard Span. The award, which is based on both input from managers and fielding metrics will be announced on November 4th at 7 PM.

Lagares is the only Mets finalist.

Original Story (October 22nd, 7:00 AM)

Later this fall, Juan Lagares hopes to win his first Gold Glove in center field and according to‘s John Dewan, he will get it done. Dewan cast his ballot for the 2014 Fielding Bible Award earlier this week and chose Lagares. His 28 defensive runs saved were the most by center fielders. Here’s what he had to say about Lagares:

Entering 2014, there was some question of whether Juan Lagares’ impressive rookie season was something of a fluke. He saved 26 runs in 2013, second most among center fielders despite playing just 820 innings. Much of that success was the result of a position-leading 12 outfield kills, which is an unusually high total for a center fielder. Lagares emphatically answered any doubters with 28 Runs Saved in 945 innings this season. As expected, runners were less aggressive in attempting to take extra bases against him this season, which coupled with his five kills resulted in six Runs Saved with his arm. His range accounted for 22 more runs, 7 more than the closest center fielder to him.

No other Mets were projected to win a Fielding Bible Awards or a Gold Glove by Dewan. In the meantime, Lagares will have to sit and wait to find out just how many fielding awards he’ll take home in 2014.

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Handicapping Trade Value and Odds Of Mets Pitchers Thu, 23 Oct 2014 17:11:09 +0000 zack wheeler

To get something, you have to give something, but what the New York Mets don’t want to give up is their young pitching.  Understandable, but how long can they hold out?

The Mets say they won’t deal Matt Harvey, but remember there is no such thing as an untouchable. What if some team, in the words of Don Corleone, make them “an offer they can’t refuse.’’

Let’s take a look at the Mets’ young arms in relation to their trade value and odds they could be dealt.

MATT HARVEY (75:1) Everybody wants him and that’s a given. However, coming off Tommy John surgery there might be a twinge of reluctance of making a big offer although the odds of recovery are good. They might get more if Harvey rebounds with a good season, which would undoubtedly spike his value. Also a consideration is that he may eventually bolt when given the chance considering his sometimes rocky relationship with management. If he continues to perform well and the Mets don’t sign him to a long term contract, his salary would increase dramatically through arbitration. Sometime in that process, if they can’t get a long term deal done, they might seriously think of trading him off before he leaves as a free agent to the Bronx. But not this offseason.

ZACK WHEELER (50:1) Some scouts say his stuff is better than Harvey’s, but Zack Wheeler doesn’t have nearly the poise or knowledge of pitching. Harvey is way ahead in those areas. Wheeler is reminiscent of Nolan Ryan early in his career when he threw hard with no idea where the pitch would go. Wheeler tries too much for the strikeout, which elevates is pitch count and reduces his innings. His potential is so high that he’s worth waiting for, but conversely it is so attractive there will be takers. Another thing about Wheeler, and this also applies to Harvey and Jacob deGrom, is they are very affordable for the next 3-4 years. Mets would have to be overwhelmed.

JACOB deGROM (50:1) It would be a crime if he is not the Rookie of the Year. He’s closer to being where Harvey is than Wheeler. He’s got great stuff, an outstanding breaking ball, poise and a sense about what pitching is all about. He’s definitely more a pitcher than a thrower. Like Harvey in his first year, deGrom caught teams by surprise. It might be different in 2015. But, I like this guy and would be more disappointed if he were traded than Harvey or Wheeler.

NOAH SYNDERGAARD (25:1) Some scouts say Noah Syndergaard might be the best prospect of all, but we really won’t know what he is until he pitches at the major league level, which won’t be until June at the earliest. He’s got a terrific breaking ball, great stuff and by all accounts could be the real thing. We shall see, and I hope we see it in Flushing.

JON NIESE (10:1) He’s left-handed, throws hard, 27 and signed to a reasonable contract. That makes Jon Niese attractive to the Mets and other teams. What’s not to like? Well, there’s his injury history, inconsistency (only one winning season in seven years), and the bad habit of not being able to put away hitters and letting innings unravel. The argument is a change of scenery might help, but unlike the previous four mentioned his value has decreased. Good GMs don’t typically sell low.

RAFAEL MONTERO (5:1) He has loads of potential, but other teams also see that in him. Rafael Montero is a lot like Jenrry Mejia in that the Mets haven’t found a definitive role for him. Starter or reliever? He could be in the rotation until Syndergaard is ready and if Niese were traded. But, on Opening Day I see him either in the bullpen or Triple-A.

DILLON GEE (3:1) He’s rated no higher than a fifth starter and could be bumped to the bullpen when Syndergaard is ready. Too bad. Gee doesn’t have great stuff, but is mentally tough – until he gets to Philadelphia – and shows a lot of poise. He’s somebody that could get the Mets something at the deadline as he can also work out of the bullpen in long relief. There’s things a contender could like about him. Question is, will the Mets be such a contender? The Mets could have traded him numerous times, but there were no serious takers. That says something.

BARTOLO COLON (2:1) At 41, he threw over 200 innings and won 15 games. Was it all him, or did the move to the National League and spacious Citi Field have something to do with that? Colon will get $11 million in 2015, of which half of that will be gone by the trade deadline. If the Mets are in it, they’d be wise to keep him, but if he’s pitching well he could bring something in return in the right package. He’s likely being shopped, but nobody will offer anything until they explore the free-agent market.

BOBBY PARNELL (30:1) I remember the day he hit triple digits on the radar gun at Fenway Park. But, it never happened for him as a starter. After some trial and error he won the closer role in 2013, but missed last season because of an injury. Should Mejia or Jeurys Familia win the closer role and Parnell proves healthy in spring training, maybe he gets dealt. But for now he’s not going anywhere.

JENRRY MEJIA (25:1) When the Mets were bouncing him from the bullpen to the rotation his value declined. Especially when it led to elbow surgery. Now, it was a sports hernia that cut his breakout season. Mejia showed he has the stuff to be a closer, especially since he’s learning how to pitch rather than just trying to blow heat past a hitter. There’s value here.

JEURYS FAMILIA (20:1) Had an outstanding rookie season and drew a lot of attention. Some believe he could be the closer of future, however some teams might think he could be a closer now. This is a tough one considering the fragile nature of constructing a bullpen. Of these three relievers, Parnell could be the most available, but also bring the least in return.


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Michael Conforto Made A Strong First Impression Thu, 23 Oct 2014 16:00:18 +0000 michael conforto Patrick E. McCarthy

When players are drafted, it’s often difficult to see what the future holds for them. For every Mike Trout there’s a Lastings Milledge and for every Matt Harvey there’s a Mark Prior. Predicting baseballs future has become a huge industry and no one ever knows for sure. One post on Bleacher Report listed Michael Conforto as the fourth-best left fielder currently in the minor leagues.

Conforto’s experience playing at Oregon State puts him further along than some other Mets prospects drafted before him, including Brandon Nimmo.

“He’s a very advanced offensive player,” Paul DePodesta told John DeMarzo of the New York Post back in August.

“He has a tremendously mature approach at the plate, where it really fits with our organizational philosophy. He looks to do damage and has the discipline to wait for those pitches. It’s rare to find in an amateur player, somebody who not only does it, but has a real understanding of it.”

“It’s just rare to see that kind of selectivity in somebody that is so young,” Brooklyn Cyclones manager Tom Gamboa told Mike Vorkunov of the Star-Ledger. “Everything we had heard — he was one of the top college hitters in the country — has proved to be true in pro ball.”

“I don’t think that future is all that far away,” Gamboa adds.

What is most encouraging about Conforto is that his minor league numbers were not all that different from his career numbers at Oregon. In three years, Conforto hit .340/.463/.557/.1020 at Oregon, adding 31 career home runs in 668 at-bats.This past year with the Cyclones, Conforto hit .331/.403/.448/.851 with three home runs in 163 at-bats.

It’s clear that Conforto has a ton of potential and he’s quickly becoming the prospect that I’m most interested in heading into 2015.

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Former Mets Chaplain Relives 1986 World Series Thu, 23 Oct 2014 15:08:05 +0000 1986 mets win

Here’s a story I wrote for The Tablet newspaper about former New York Mets’ team chaplain Father Daniel Murphy. A huge Mets’ fan, Father Murphy was there when the Mets made their magical run to capture the 1986 World Series.

Here is his story:

With the start of the World Series, New York Mets’ fans are reminded of a better time, because unfortunately, October baseball is a rarity in Flushing, Queens.

That better time was of course the 1986 World Series in which the Mets relied on a bit of divine intervention to cap off an improbable come-from-behind victory in Game 6, which in turn fueled the series-clinching win in Game 7.

And that divine intervention was provided by none other than the Mets’ team chaplain, Father Daniel Murphy, the current pastor of St. Saviour Church, Park Slope.

Father Daniel Murphy (Photo courtesy NET-TV)

Father Daniel Murphy (Photo courtesy NET-TV)

Father Murphy served as team chaplain for seven seasons from 1984 to 1990. He said Mass at Shea Stadium for every Sunday home game throughout the season. Of course, his fondest memories of his time as chaplain are the 1986 season and playoffs.

“We won 108 games,” said Father Murphy of his favorite team. “Today if you win 92, you make the playoffs. We won 108. We were good!”

The Mets were riding high after winning an exciting playoff series over the Houston Astros, so all that was standing in their way from their first World Series title since 1969 was the Boston Red Sox.

However, it was the Red Sox that earned the upper hand in the series, winning both games at Shea Stadium with the series then shifting to Boston’s Fenway Park.

The Mets rallied to win the next two games but then dropped Game 5 as they headed back to New York facing elimination.

Now, most priests who serve as team chaplains usually pray for the success of all those involved with an athletic contest. But Father Murphy is not your average priest; Father Murphy is a devout Mets’ fan, who also happens to be blatantly honest.

“I was really praying that we’d win,” he said. “I can’t say that I was praying that ‘may the best team win’ and that no one gets hurt.”

The events of Saturday, Oct. 25, 1986 will forever be engrained in the minds of die-hard Mets’ fans. Trailing 5-3 heading into the bottom of the 10th inning, the Mets were just three outs away from watching the Red Sox celebrate a World Series title on their own home turf.

After Wally Backman flew out to left and Keith Hernandez flied to center, hope seemed bleak. But the tides turned with consecutive singles by Gary Carter and Kevin Mitchell.

“I had given up until Kevin Mitchell’s hit,” Father Murphy said of the fateful night. “I knew Carter was not going to go down easily. But when Mitchell got the hit, I think I saw destiny happening!”

And destiny certainly happened. Ray Knight followed with an RBI single to get the Mets within two. With Mookie Wilson batting, a wild pitch by Boston pitcher Bob Stanley allowed Mitchell to score the tying run.

Just like his teammates, Wilson would not go down easily.

“Half of the pitches he (Wilson) swung at were balls, but he wasn’t striking out,” Father Murphy said.

Then on the 10th pitch of at-bat, Wilson grounded a ball toward Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner, and the words of the sweet baritone voice of NBC broadcaster Vin Scully took over from there:

“Little roller up along first … behind the bag! It gets through Buckner! Here comes Knight, and the Mets win it!”

“I will never forget the clubhouse that night,” Father Murphy said. “It was as if they (the Mets) didn’t go home. It was wild!”

Red Sox manager John McNamara later called Wilson’s at-bat the second greatest at-bat in baseball history, behind only Bobby Thomson’s famous “Shot Heard ’Round the World” to send the New York Giants to the 1951 World Series.

So with the series tied, Father Murphy held his typical Sunday Mass at Shea Stadium prior to the game on Oct. 26, 1986. The regulars at Mass – Danny Heep, Rafael Santana and Tim Teufel – were of course present, but other players like Jesse Orosco, Sid Fernandez, Lee Mazzilli, Backman and Wilson all joined in that day.

“Usually when I walked in (to Mass), it was pretty quiet … maybe a few people walking around,” Father Murphy said. “But when I walked in (prior to Game 7), it was like Grand Central!”

Game 7 was actually rained out, but the players’ prayers at Mass were answered the following night, as the Mets defeated the Red Sox 8-5.

Father Murphy may no longer be team chaplain for the Mets, but he continues to pray for the team’s success. Though the baseball gods may not have been listening the past few years, 2015 will be a different story – at least St. Saviour’s pastor hopes so!

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The 2014 Mets All-Prospect Team Thu, 23 Oct 2014 13:10:50 +0000 noah syndergaard

2014 has been another encouraging season for the Mets minor league system. The Mets minor league affiliates have posted the highest winning percentage among all the MLB farm systems, and many players have emerged as exciting prospects.

In this post, I will rank the best prospects at each position for MMO’s 2014 All-Prospect Team. The players chosen will be based on a combination of their upside and MLB readiness.

C – Kevin Plawecki

In 376 at bats for Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Las Vegas this season, Plawecki excelled with a .309 average, 11 home runs and 64 RBI. According to, he is rated as the number two prospect in the Mets system and the 59th best prospect overall in the majors.

1B – Dominic Smith

Despite an unimpressive season, Smith still remains as the Mets top first base prospect. Smith has more power potential than his stats indicate, and he also has a very good eye at the plate. At only 19 years old, Smith has plenty of time to turn his promising skills into results.

2B – Dilson Herrera

After getting called up to AA, Herrera  was outstanding. The 20 year old second baseman batted .340 with ten home runs and 48 RBI in 241 at bats. This excellent performance earned him a call up to the majors in September where he exhibited a lot of potential. Herrera crushed three home runs and 11 RBI during his 18 games in New York.

3B – Jhoan Urena

Third base might be one of the Mets weakest positions in the minors, but the Mets have several talented third basemen emerge in the lower levels in 2014. One of these players is Urena, who was signed by the Mets as an international free agent in 2011. This season for the Brooklyn Cyclones, Urena batted .300 with five home runs and 47 RBI in 75 games. Urena is a powerful hitter who can develop into a dangerous home run threat as he gets older and stronger.

SS – Amed Rosario

Rosario is one of the most talented players in the Mets system. He has the ability to provide above average offense and defense from the short stop position. While Rosario’s production this year was not excellent, he was able to produce respectable numbers despite being one of the youngest players in his league. Rosario hit .289 with a home run and seven steals during 68 games played.

LF – Michael Conforto

Conforto has quickly established himself as a very good prospect. The Mets selected Conforto with their 10th overall pick in this year’s draft, and he batted .331 during his first professional stint with the Brooklyn Cyclones. rates Conforto as the number four prospect in the Mets system, and he is expected to advance quickly through the minor leagues.

CF – Brandon Nimmo:

Nimmo started off the year on fire, hitting .322 with a strong .448 on base percentage while playing for Advanced-A St. Lucie. While Nimmo slowed down significantly after being promoted to AA, it was a positive season for him overall. He manged to cut down his strikeouts, and he was also able to hit for more power, tallying ten home runs and 21 doubles during his 127 games played.

RF – Cesar Puello

It seems like a long time ago since Puello annihilated AA pitching last season. Puello batted .326 with 16 home runs and 24 steals in 91 games back in 2013. However,Puello’s disappointing performance this year and suspension for performance enhancing drugs have caused him to plummet in prospect rankings. Despite these concerns, Puello still has the raw skills to develop into productive major league player with his solid combination of power, speed and defense in right field.

SP 1 – Noah Syndergaard

Syndergaard is the consensus number one prospect in the Mets organization. His fastball is explosive, and he should reach the majors as soon as this upcoming season. While Syndergaard battled with inconsistencies in AAA this year, he clearly has the talent to potentially become a top of the rotation starter.

SP 2 – Steven Matz

With a exceptional 2.24 ERA, Matz was utterly dominant this season for Double-A Binghamton and Advanced-A St. Lucie. He struck out 131 batters in 140 innings pitched, and he yielded only three home runs all season long. While Matz once looked like a bust due to several elbow related injuries and setbacks, he is now past all of that of the best prospects in the Mets system.

SP 3 – Rafael Montero

Even though Montero does not have the same electric stuff as Syndergaard, he can achieve success with excellent command and poise on the mound. Baseball America rated Montero as the 68th overall prospect in the MLB heading into the season, and he has succeeded throughout his minor league career with a 2.69 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in four season. 

SP 4 – Marcos Molina

Molina was perhaps the most dominating pitcher in the Mets minors this year. He posted a fantastic 1.77 ERA and struck out 91 batters during 76 innings pitched. Following this tremendous performance, Molina was named the number one prospect in the New York Penn League by Baseball America.

SP 5 – Matthew Bowman

While Bowman does not receive as much attention as other Mets top pitchers, he has the ability to make an impact in the majors. Bowman has pitched well in every level of the minors, and he owns a  22-14 record with a 3.06 ERA in 291 career innings pitched. He also posted a solid .3.47 ERA while pitching for Las Vegas, which is an extremely difficult environment for pitchers to have success.

RP – Akeel Morris

It is hard to have a more impressive season than the one Morris had out of the bullpen for Single-A Savannah this season. Morris overpowered the competition with a 0.63 ERA and 0.71 WHIP. He also struck 14.1 batters per nine innings and allowed just 19 hits in 57 innings pitched.


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Royals Letting Yordano Ventura Exceed Innings Limit Thu, 23 Oct 2014 04:02:29 +0000 Courtesy of Fox Sports

Courtesy of Fox Sports

Innings limits have become the norm in baseball and for many it’s at the cost of great baseball. Sure you want to take care of young arms but treating all pitchers the same doesn’t make sense. No two bodies are the same and the Royals are trying to push their young co-ace Yordano Ventura past an innings limit many clubs stick to, in hopes of winning the World Series.

Ventura threw 183.0 innings during the regular season of his rookie campaign, 33 innings more than in 2013 when he pitched 134.2 in the minor leagues and another 15.1 in the majors.

David Lennon of Newsday points out that the Mets could have found themselves in a similar situation this past season.

“For an example closer to home, we’re sure you recall how the Mets handled Jacob deGrom’s Rookie of the Year audition. As soon as deGrom went over 178 innings, a mark he reached on Sept. 21, the Mets pulled the plug without discussion.”

For the Royals, this feels like a once in a decade opportunity. With a ton of young players, this improbable run is something they have to capitalize on now. Before Game two of the World Series, Royals general manager Dayton Moore said that “Everybody has a small window of opportunity. All of our success is tied to that opportunity.” It’s true for all baseball teams. In most cases there is only a small window and not seizing it seems like a crime.

This season Matt Harvey will be coming off of Tommy John surgery and if history is any indication, he won’t be pushed much past 160 innings. That was the limit for Stephen Strasburg in 2012. Also in 2012, Adam Wainwright threw 198.2 for the Cardinals after the surgery but he had pitched 200+ innings multiple times before that.

Moore also points out something that many people in baseball seem to ignore. Not all players are created equal.

“No two players are the same,” Moore said. “The only commonalities in this game are 60 feet, six inches, the plate is 17 inches, the ball is the same weight, ninety feet [between the bases]. Those are the commonalities. But every pitcher is different. They all prepare differently. They all have different mindsets. Their arms work perhaps differently. They have different arsenals.”

So should Harvey and Strasburg have the same limits? Could the Mets have pushed deGrom harder if they were in the race? The baseball world will ponder those questions until the ends of time but for Moore and the Royals, they are recognizing that runs like this don’t happen often and when they do, pushing a guy into uncharted territory is sometimes a necessity.

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I’ll Take “Worst Owners In Baseball” For $500, Alex… Wed, 22 Oct 2014 20:41:40 +0000 alex trebek jeopardy

Alex – The answer is… Because the Wilpons had no money after becoming embroiled in a second Ponzi Scheme with arch criminal Bernie Madoff.

Joe D. – Why didn’t the Mets sign Jose Reyes?


It looks like I missed out on all the fun this morning where various Mets Twitter celebs battled over why we didn’t sign Jose Reyes or why we don’t try and get him back.

jose-reyesWe can debate the pros and cons of bringing Jose Reyes back all we want, but the fact is the Blue Jays have no intentions of trading him. But that’s not the point of this post anyway.

As to why we didn’t sign him, Matt Cerrone lays out his case on MetsBlog and concludes:

“My understanding is that Sandy Alderson simply didn’t want to be paying $22 million a year to Reyes when, in his mid 30s, Jose’s legs and body would not likely be able to do the things that made him great on the Mets.”

I’m sorry, Matt, but that’s not even close to why we didn’t sign Reyes. You are asserting that if Alderson did want to sign him he could have. That’s undeniably wrong and misses the mark completely.

The Mets didn’t sign Reyes because the financial state of the team was in such distress that they could not afford him.

When the truth finally came out Sandy Alderson himself admitted that the Mets never even made him an offer.

Additionally, they didn’t even bother negotiating with Reyes when they had their exclusive window and long before the Miami Marlins were even allowed to mention his name and enter the picture.

This had nothing to do with Alderson and not wanting to invest big dollars on a player whose game relied mostly on his speed.

This was all about the Wilpons and Saul Katz putting their own franchise in a dangerously precarious position due to their utter incompetence and open-eyed involvement with the notorious criminal Bernie Madoff.

The Wilpons were still teetering on bankruptcy that offseason, and there was never any chance that Jose Reyes was getting signed at the time.

In fact, David Wright would not have been signed to that exorbitant $138 million dollar deal either had his free agency come at the same time as Reyes. This was never an either-or situation.

These facts are material and undeniable.


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Mets Won’t Be Players For Yasmani Tomas Wed, 22 Oct 2014 16:44:10 +0000 yasmani tomas cuba

Here is the latest on Cuban outfielder Yasmani Tomas as reported by Andy Martino of the Daily News.

Tomas has been linked to with varying degrees of seriousness to the Dodgers, Padres, Phillies, Twins, Rangers, Giants and Tigers.

Martino says that people involved in the process now identify the Phillies as strong contenders for Tomas, and the Padres and Dodgers as far less likely. “And don’t count out the Tigers,” one source said.

The Yankees and Mets are not expected to be players for Tomas, league insiders say — the former due to a glut of outfielders (which assumes that Carlos Beltran can still contribute), and the latter because when was the last time the Mets gave $100 million to someone not named David Wright?

I’m reading and hearing the same things about the Phillies potentially ending up the winner in the Yasmani Tomas sweepstakes. Martino adds more on that:

“He makes a lot of sense for Philadelphia,” said one rival executive, noting that that the Phillies have money, a thin farm system, and a desire to reverse their fortunes as quickly as possible. Plus, people around the game took note when GM Ruben Amaro Jr. flew to the Dominican Republic to personally scout Tomas.

It was interesting to note that multiple executives with teams interested in Tomas say that, if he were a free agent, he would be a $15 million per year player, making a 5-year, $75 million contract for 23-year-old reasonable.

However, because he is not attached to a draft pick, and will be the subject of a bidding war, Tomas could easily end up with a $100 million deal, executives told Martino.

“Tomas’ best attribute is his power, a trait that is in short supply in today’s game. Only 14 players hit 30 or more home runs in 2013, and fewer might reach that threshold this year.  Tomas has 70 raw power on the 20-80 scale,” wrote Baseball America’s Ben Badler, “So he profiles as one of those rare 30+ home run bats.”

I don’t like this year’s free agent class one bit, but Tomas is someone that the Mets should be looking at. And by looking I mean more than just a passing glance. The experts endorse him, scouts are impressed, and executives and GMs are in hot pursuit. That’s quite telling.

What’s also quite telling is that the lack of interest by the Mets probably best illustrates that payroll is not rising anytime soon. The more Sandy, Fred, and Jeff keep saying that there are no financial limitations to the team’s payroll, the more their actions scream otherwise.


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Mets and Ricciardi Could Have Extension Completed Within A Week Wed, 22 Oct 2014 16:13:07 +0000 ricciardi

Andy Martino of the Daily News reports that the Mets and J.P. Ricciardi could have a new extension wrapped up within a week.

The Mets, who extended Sandy Alderson in September, could wrap up a new deal for assistant GM J.P. Ricciardi within week, according to a person with direct knowledge of the situation. Ricciardi, a respected baseball man who oversees the pro scouting department and advises Alderson, arrived with the GM in late 2010.

That’s the first confirmation of what Nick Cafardo originally reported.

Ricciardi is under contract until the end of the 2015 season, so that they would seek to extend him now as opposed to later is quite telling to me.

First of all, Ricciardi and Sandy Alderson have been joined at the hip for three decades, and any GM should be able to choose his own assistants. But adding to that, I see Ricciardi as the heir apparent to Alderson once Sandy steps down or retires at the end of his newly signed contract.

I’ve been told that Ricciardi has worked very hard on polishing his image that was heavily tarnished during his tenure as the GM of the Toronto Blue Jays. He dealt with many trust issues with management, the players and the fans.

Ricciardi received heavy criticism for the mega deals he gave to Vernon Wells and Alex Rios. Sports Illustrated tabbed the Wells deal as one of the worst contracts in MLB history. 

People change and I’m sure that in retrospect Ricciardi wishes he could have handled some things much better than he did, especially the B.J. Ryan and Adam Dunn incidents. Nobody’s offered Ricciardi a GM position since then and he seems better suited to being a second wheel rather than a head honcho. 

October 19

According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Mets are working on an extension deal to keep J.P. Ricciardi as a special assistant to general manager Sandy Alderson. The two worked together for 12 years with the Oakland Athletics.

Prior to joining the Mets, Ricciardi previously served as Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations and general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays from 2001 until he was fired in 2009 and replaced by Alex Anthopoulos.

Ricciardi is considered by most to be the heir apparent to Alderson once he retires or steps down.


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2014 Free Agent Review: The Long Term Deals (Part 1 of 3) Wed, 22 Oct 2014 15:35:38 +0000 robinson-cano

Baseball is a game that is constantly evolving and the team’s that successfully navigate the natural growth of the sport are identifying their strengths and maximizing the results.  The traditional format of growing pitching and buying bats is transitioning into an all organic format.  

The majority of playoff quality teams are rounding out their lineups of homegrown talent with one or two well chosen external pieces that hurdle the club to the top. There are exceptions to every rule for spending in the free agent market, but examining the results of last year’s class may provide some insight as to how the Mets should proceed this winter.

The type of signing that brings the most risk to reward ratio is a long term contract, ranging 7-10 years with over $100 million in guaranteed salary. In the first of five installments, let’s take a look at 2014’s long term free agent signings and identify which two contracts represent the best and worst deals inked over the long haul.

Long term signings are becoming a rarity in today’s game.  Most MLB teams hedge on their young talent with front loaded, team friendly deals, in order to maximize the return on their productivity. There are still exceptions, particularly for players in their prime who possess multiple plus tools. Last year’s headliners were Robinson Cano and Shin-Soo Choo.

Cano, formerly of the New York Yankees, was signed to a 10 year, $240 million contract by the Seattle Mariners last offseason.  It’s ironic that there was ever a deal too rich for the Yankees’ blood, but the former Bomber transitioned to the West Coast nicely. His 14 home runs was nearly half his total from the previous season, but there’s little difference in his overall statistics aside from that.

His .314/.382/.836 slash line had a plus-minus margin of 0.00/(.001)/(.063) when compared to last year’s production in the Bronx. Critics may argue that the slugger was paid $24 million to do just that, hit home runs, but the majority of MLB teams would pay his contract if they could guarantee his 2014 numbers that included 187 hits, 82 RBI, 77 runs and a 1.108 OPS with runners in scoring position. Cano also stayed healthy all season and played gold glove caliber defense over a stretch of 157 games. His unique range and strong arm gave the Mariner’s an upgrade in run prevention, but the back end of his contract also holds less risk in the American League since the Mariners can transition him to a DH role later on past his prime.

Seattle made a bold decision when they agreed to pay Cano $24 million a year for 10 years, but the contract is a direct reflection of the impact that aggressive bidding has on the free agent market.  The team that signs a premium candidate is sacrificing payroll on the back end of the deal in order to secure high caliber production on the front end.  The Mariners found themselves in a position to contend with the addition of a top end player and felt that their window of opportunity to make the playoffs coincided with the prime years of Cano’s productivity.  Overall, Seattle missed the post-season, but the team improved their 2013 campaign by 16 wins, finishing at 87-75.  If they can get half that improvement heading into the 2015 season, they’ll be a lock for October baseball.

Shin-Soo Choo

Shin-Soo Choo was regarded for his high OBP and efficiency on the base paths, registering 107 runs scored in 2013 as a member of the Cincinnati Reds.  In 2014, with the Texas Rangers, he played in 31 less games, registered 52 less hits, 49 less runs scored and drew 54 less walks.  His slash line had a plus-minus differential of (.043)/(.083)/(.171) compared to last year and his wRC+ dropped by 34% down to an even 100. That metric has a median focal point of 100, where every point above that number is a point above standard production.  So the Rangers were, by definition, paying $14 million for a league average player.

Choo could very well bounce back, but an interesting piece by FanGraphs points out that his .309 batting average on balls in play (BABIP) in 2014, was drastically lower than his .346 career mark that spans over eight years and 4,000 plate appearances.  While .309 is still above league average, he would have to make contact at an unrealistic rate in order to generate the same results he had in 2013.

The deal becomes further complicated since, unlike Cano, Choo’s projected value stemmed entirely from his offensive production. His defense is not strong enough to offset his struggles at the plate, so his contract inherently carries more risk, gambling on a skill set that only contributes to one side of the ball. The Rangers appeared to have signed the albatross contract of 2014, especially when you consider that Choo’s deal increases to $21 million per year in the final two seasons.

Every free agent is signed with the intention of filling a void in a playoff team’s post-season narrative. There’s risk that comes with paying eight figures to an athlete on the wrong side of thirty, but Robinson Cano provided the type of output that kept Seattle in the playoff hunt all season.

Hypothetically, had the Mets signed Cano last offseason, it would have immediately upgraded the lineup. The Amazins’ had their own All-Star second baseman in Daniel Murphy, but Cano is an elite level talent compared to Murphy, whose defense negatively impacts is overall value.

The Mets found themselves on the outside looking in as the teams operating model discourages lengthy deals that are pricey and driven by a player’s past performance, not future.  Cano’s output would still be a welcomed addition to the Mets offense, but in retrospect, his deal now makes even less sense in Flushing since the emergence of Wilmer Flores and Dilson Herrera.  Both of those young players have a long road to travel before they reach a level similar to Cano’s, but their futures are bright and New York has other positions in need of attention.

Choo was considered by many baseball writers and experts as a great fit for the Mets last Winter, but it’s clear that New York dodged a bullet by passing on the former Reds standout.  The stadium in Arlington doesn’t have a suffocating effect on hitters, so it’s reasonable to assume that Choo’s drop off would have been exponentially worse in Citi Field.


The Mets will almost certainly avoid any long term deals in the near future.  The only other long term deal (7-10 years) was the Yankees signing of Jacoby Ellsbury at seven years and $153 million. However, at a cost of around $500,000 through the next several years, Juan Lagares is clearly the better option in my opinion.

As a left-handed hitter in Yankee stadium, Ellsbury turned in 16 home runs, 70 RBI’s and 39 stolen bases.  Whether that production is worth $21 million per year is debatable, but unlike the Mets, many teams are willing to pay elite salaries for above average offense.  The orange and blue got to watch their own star grow in center while the biggest deals from 2014 played elsewhere.

Given the current needs of the team,  I believe the front office made the right decision by passing on these three players and this offseason, the results should be the same.  None of the free agent position players warrant a deal longer than 7 years, so the focus should be on shorter, more team friendly deals that can improve the team.  .

Up next, mid level contracts ranging anywhere from 4 to 6 years.  There were several names within this group that many believed the Mets should have pursued, so I’m expecting some heated debate on this one.

Lets! Go! Mets!


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