Mets Merized Online Thu, 05 Mar 2015 15:49:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Mets Need A Killer Instinct Mentality Against The Nationals Thu, 05 Mar 2015 15:49:09 +0000 MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Washington Nationals

The Mets aren’t the only ones in the division talking about stacked rotations, October baseball and winning a championship. Last week, Bryce Harper of the Nationals did some touting of his own.

“It’s absolutely stupid how good our staff is. To add a Cy Young, to add a guy that’s unbelievable in the postseason… Where’s my ring? I’m going to bring back a title to D.C. no matter what. And I’m getting chills thinking about it.”

Harper’s boasts didn’t escape Mets right-hander Zack Wheeler, who says he and his teammates can’t wait to thwart the Nationals’ and Harper’s plans to win a World Series.

“I guarantee you we all saw what Bryce Harper said,’ ” Wheeler said with a smile. “We’re going to make it hard for him to get that ring, I’ll guarantee you that.”

Harper and the Nationals might chuckle at any notion that they’ve fueled the Mets’ aspirations for a breakthrough 2015 season, writes Andy Martino of the Daily News.

“After all, they’ve owned Terry Collins’ ballclub in recent seasons, especially last year when they won 15 of the 19 games the two teams played.”

zack wheeler 2

While the baseball odds are stacked against them according to Betfair Baseball, Wheeler admits he loves the challenge of trying to outpitch the Nats and shut them up.

“I’ve thought about it,” he said. “It’s like, ‘they’ve got a good staff, but I wonder if we can go out there and sort of put them to shame. A bunch of young guys against the older guys; put ’em to shame, you know.”

“Obviously they’re a good team, but that’s baseball. We’ve got a good pitching staff, so do they. We’ve got good athletes, so do they. Who cares? Let’s go.”

With 23 of the first 26 games this season coming against the NL East, Sandy Alderson was asked how important it is for the Mets to get off to a strong start this season?

“We played very well against the NL East last year, with one obvious exception. When they signed Max Scherzer, my response was, how much worse can we be?”

“It’s extremely important to establish a fighting posture against these newly constructed teams, and I think the first impression is critical, as is the last impression. We hope it goes reasonably well. We started off well last year but things tailed off. The beginning of the season is important.”

While getting off to a strong start would be great, I’d say it’s more important to improve our performance against the Nationals.

The Nats have owned the Mets in recent years, compiling a 41-15 record against them over the last three seasons, and they beat the Mets in 15 of 19 contests in 2014, outscoring them 95 to 52.

If you take away those 19 games (4-15) against the Nationals last season, the Mets were a surprising 75-68 against everyone else – seven games over .500.

Solving and beating the Nats will go a long way in getting to the playoffs. I’m hoping Terry Collins knows this and goes into the season opening series in Washington with a killer instinct mentality.

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Will Great Expectations Lead to Great Disappointment? Thu, 05 Mar 2015 15:30:33 +0000 Tug McGraw

Tug McGraw fanned pinch-hitter Billy Conigliaro to cement the 2-0 victory. Afterwards, the Mets bound a plane for the west coast. The date was October 18, 1973. All they needed to do was split the next two in Oakland and the World Series was ours. It was not meant to be.

In the 9th inning of Game 7 we managed to get the tying run to the plate in the form of Wayne Garrett. Garrett, who was second on the team in home runs, popped out. Disappointing? Yes. Heartbreaking? Definitely. But overall, it was hard to feel dissatisfied. We’d been in last place on August 30, 10 games below .500. We eeked out the division with 82 meager wins, shocked the powerhouse Big Red Machine in five games, and pushed the defending World Champion A’s to the last at-bat in the last game on the last day of Baseball. Not bad at all.

By contrast, 15 years later, the 1988 Mets, only two years removed from winning it all, were poised to do it again. We reached 100 wins for only the 3rd time in team history (a benchmark we haven’t reached since) and captured the division by 15 games. The shocking upset at the hands of the Dodgers still sticks in the craw for all of us who witnessed the inconceivable HR by Mike Scioscia off Doc Gooden that turned everything around. Disappointed? Yes. Heartbreaking? Definitely.

The Mets honored the 86 club twenty years later as history appeared to be repeating itself. Like 1986, the 2006 Mets dominated all year. 97 victories (5th most in history), winning the division by 12 games and having 3 players with more than 25 HR’s and 100 RBI’s. However, it was a repeat of 1988, not 1986. A 9th inning HR by another light-hitting catcher, this one named Yadier Molina, stunned Shea into a tomblike stillness and ended the Mets season earlier than anyone anticipated. Disappointed? Yes. Heartbreaking? You bet your ass…

The question is ‘why’?

In hindsight, 1973 should feel more tragic than 88 or 06. Coming within one hit of winning the World Series is undoubtedly more gut-wrenching than coming within one hit of even getting to the World Series.

I think the difference was that in 73 expectations were low. No one anticipated much of the Mets that year whereas in 88 and 06, we viewed the season as a mere formality, a coronation of what we deserved, what we were entitled to. My Goodness, we turned into…the Yankees.

Spring Training has just begun and the Mets are setting the bar high. Granted, all 30 teams are optimistic since right now the Giants and Royals are no better than the Astros and Twins. However, when it’s those ‘big mouth big city obnoxious New Yorkers’ talking crap, be it the Mets or the Yankees, other teams take notice. It only makes it that much sweeter to knock those big city folk down a notch.

I’ve said for years the Mets should display more swagger. It’s refreshing to now see it. What confuses me is where the newfound confidence is coming from?

This winter the Padres ratcheted up their team adding Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, James Shields and Wil Myers. The Red Sox acquired the most sought after bat by signing Pablo Sandoval in addition to Hanley Ramirez and Cuban sensation Yoan Moncada. Washington had the best record in the NL last season but didn’t stand pat and handed over $210 million to perennial All-Star Max Scherzer. Even the Cubs who last won a World Series when Teddy Roosevelt was President were active, acquiring Jon Lester and hiring Joe Maddon.

Meanwhile, the Mets added 36 year-old Michael Cuddyer who’s averaged 93 games the last 3 seasons. While I do think Cuddyer can help, can he make that much of a difference? Is this the so-called difference maker we were looking to add this offseason?

MLB: Oakland Athletics at New York Mets

I know, I know. I can hear it now: We have Harvey back. No doubt the Mets are better with Harvey than without him. But before we order our 2015 Mets World Champion T-shirts, let’s keep a few things in mind. Harvey is coming off surgery and hasn’t pitched in a real game in eighteen months. And despite having him through August of 2013, the Mets were just 58-69 and 18 GB with him in the rotation. By comparison, Clayton Kershaw who is just one year older, has 98 career wins, 1,445 K’s, 3 Cy Young’s and an MVP. Matt Harvey has 12 wins.

So, again, why the confidence? The Mets haven’t been to the post-season in almost a decade, haven’t played an important game or been in a pennant race in 6 years, haven’t even played .500 since our final season at Shea.

For conversational purposes, let’s assume 2015 gives us the same 3 division winners as 2014: Nationals, Cardinals, Dodgers. That leaves the defending champion Giants, the much-improved Padres, the solid Pirates, the always tough Brewers, the pesky Reds, the upgraded Cubs and the consistent Braves competing for two wild-card spots. Can the Mets win more games than all these teams—or at least all but one—to earn a wildcard?

Confidence, swagger and arrogance are a good thing. But a team has to be able to back it up. In the mid-80s, the Mets had that swagger. But we could—and did–back it up. Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter were proven winners, we had the youthful hunger of phenoms Darryl Strawberry and Doc Gooden and we had a manager who spent much of his career playing for the great Earl Weaver.


In the 70’s, we exuded quiet confidence. With the Big Three of Seaver, Koosman and Matlack along with the likes of clutch Cleon Jones, reliable Rusty Staub, the fire-in-the-belly of Buddy Harrelson and gritty Jerry Grote–many of whom already had a ring from 1969–along with a manager in Yogi Berra who was quite familiar with October Baseball, we had reason to be confident. And we had the arms to back it up.

What about now? The Mets issued t-shirts (supposedly now pulled back) claiming ‘Take the Damn Thing.’ Jacob deGrom recently stated “We want to make the playoffs, we want to win the World Series.” Zack Wheeler compared the Mets to the team that traded him away, the Giants, winners of 3 championships in 5 years. Curtis Granderson said, “We are primed and ready.” Terry Collins insisted “It’s time.”

A few weeks back I posted a question on a fan-based Mets page on Facebook. The question I asked was simple: How many of you would be satisfied if the Mets improve this year but do NOT make the post-season? 81% responded they’d be disappointed if the Mets fail to make the playoffs.

What do you think? Is this newborn confidence good or bad? Are we setting ourselves up for another depressing season? Several springs ago, Carlos Beltran proclaimed “The Mets are the team to beat.” And then the Phillies did exactly that. Let’s hope history doesn’t repeat itself. Let’s hope these Mets are as good as they say they are. Let’s Go Mets. Do it.


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Duda Swings A Bat For First Time In Weeks Thu, 05 Mar 2015 14:01:42 +0000 lucas duda hr

Some good news out of Port St. Lucie as first baseman  Lucas Duda finally hit off a batting tee on Wednesday.

It was the first time he’s swung a bat in almost four weeks since straining an intercostal muscle near his rib cage.

Duda received a cortisone shot for the strain, which he dealt with once before during the 2013 season.

The Mets first baseman is expected to participate in regular batting practice in 3-4 days and then play in Grapefruit League games after that.

February 26

In his daily briefing with reporters on Thursday, Mets manager Terry Collins said that Lucas Duda will need at least another week before he starts swinging a bat again.

The Mets first baseman is trying to recover from a left oblique strain that was initially supposed to sideline him for 2-3 days.

Duda has been able to participate in running and fielding drills, so I’m sure it’s nothing to worry about and that the Mets are just being extra cautious.

February 24

First baseman Lucas Duda has mild right oblique strain, the team announced. The injury will keep him from swinging a bat for 2-3 days. He was able to participate in fielding drills this morning.

Adam Rubin added that Terry Collins speculated Duda probably “overdid things.”

The manager noted that he showed up at the Mets’ spring-training complex on a Sunday a month ago and found Duda in the cage swinging.

“He’s going to start hitting in two to three days and everything is going to be fine,” Collins said Tuesday afternoon.

Update: Lucas Duda just told reporters that he received a cortisone shot for the oblique strain and hasn’t been swinging a bat for a couple weeks. A fact that Terry Collins failed to mention when he briefed reporters, or was completely oblivious to.

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Who Are These Swagger-iffic 2015 New York Mets? Thu, 05 Mar 2015 12:00:27 +0000 terry collins

“You know, for years and years, you used to watch those teams that won all of the time, they had an air about them. You used to play the Braves and they’d walk out there and, they weren’t cocky, but they were confident. They weren’t overbearing, they knew how to play, they knew what they had to do to win games.” ~ Terry Collins

Swagger is a funny word. When I hear it for some reason palm trees and hula dancers come to mind. There is a kind of “sway” to it … like watching Huggy Bear walk down a street swinging his cane, that is until Starsky and Hutch slide over their Gran Torino and slam him up against a dumpster, (Torino, another funny word). I worry that the Mets are behaving a little bit like Huggy Bear this spring with the Nats eventually comprising the role of Starsky and Hutch.

What concerns me is this impression that the “swagger” (now in cool mist and mountain fresh aerosol) is meant more for the fans than it is for the other teams. See when I think swagger, I think 1986, and what I remember really was that they didn’t talk a whole lot to the fans or the media, but when it came to putting other teams in their place, they were about as intimidating as a size 13 boot to the face.

This spring, I don’t know, somehow this seems almost rehearsed. Like there was a focus group that came across some data on how teams who think they’re going to win are more likely to win and so they brainstormed how to get the team to think like a winner on a whiteboard over some spinach dip and a bruschetta platter. And then there’s this ongoing campaign to convince the fans that the team is for real.

This “Take The Damn Thing” t-shirt campaign for instance, (which has since been retracted). What does that even mean? “Take The Damn Thing” ?? The assumption is that the Mets are not aware that the pennant is up for grabs? They have to be reminded? With a t-shirt? That’s like getting your kid’s 3rd grade teacher a t-shirt that says “Teach The Damn Kid.” Sounds like another choice morsel from the fertile mind of Jeff Wilpon … I’m actually surprised they used the word “damn,” and not the more family friendly “darned.”

It certainly doesn’t help when a former GM radio host shares that “these sort of statements are a coordinated effort by the team’s media, marketing and communications department.”


Even normally Sponge-Bob-nice David Wright seems to be growing tired of the marketing gimmicks. I’m afraid poor David may develop a twitch … I’m telling you, he’s going to snap one of these days. I mean, I like a good round of trash-talk as much as the next guy, but isn’t a quiet controlled confidence preferable to a lot of hot air? Like Caine from Kung Fu — THAT dude was confident and hairless. You’d think Sandy Alderson would appreciate that. I’d watch Kung Fu any day over Starsky and Hutch. I imagine, in a world where old 70’s sitcoms collide, Starsky and Hutch trying to shake-down Caine for information wouldn’t go over very well. I think Caine and his Shaolin temple training would slow-motion disarm them and leave them tied to a post on their rear ends with a horse nibbling on Starsky’s cowboy hat.

But I guess you have to embrace whatever personality the team happens to cultivate, and this team certainly appears a little louder and more swagger-iffic with the addition of The Dark Knight (of Gotham) … which hands down has to be the greatest sports nickname in recent memory. The only issue might be that there are so many Batmen these days it’s hard to keep track. Is Matt Harvey the reserved and snide Michael Keaton? The oafish George Clooney? Or the gruff and surly Christian Bale?

harvey honeymooners

Personally when I saw Matt Harvey pitch the first thing that came to mind as a Mets fan was that this guy was going to be “my friend Harvey” from an even earlier sitcom, The Honeymooners. In the episode, Ralph is loud and full of bombast, arguing his right to a pool table he and Norton had already started playing on, until he looks up at a hulking Harvey who looks like someone tried to chisel his face out of a rock wall with a ball peen hammer. Hamina hamina hamina.

On a more pragmatic level, if you talk enough other teams get wind of it and you have another problem — teams gunning to shut you up. As a team who hasn’t had a winning season in forever, you figure a quiet confidence that allows you to run under the radar might not be a bad way to go? At some point, you’ve got to wonder how much of this is about winning, and how much is about ownership lining their pockets (or paying off their debts). But what do I know? Maybe the focus group found that teams are better off going with big talk, especially if they want to sell tickets during spring training.

One thing is certain, there will be a good number of us who fall for it and buy lots of tickets before a single game is played, and maybe that’s the whole idea. As for the players, I just hope this confidence is genuine and not a forced product of some marketing edict. It could mean the difference between upholding the underdog and restoring justice to a dusty western town, or taking a beating in a back alley at the hands of a couple of dirty cops with great hair. 

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Fred, Jeff, Saul, Ya Gotta Leave: Mets Billboard Goes Up In PSL Thu, 05 Mar 2015 03:05:25 +0000 ya gotta leave

The first of three Mets billboards scheduled to go up made its debut today in Port St. Lucie near the Mets Spring Training complex at Tradition Field on I-95.

Reporter Jon Santucci of TC Palm took the first photo this afternoon, and I’m told we’ll be getting the official photos later today from Gary Palumbo, the Met fan who spearheaded the @MetsBillboard initiative via KickStarter.

The other two billboards are expected to debut on Roosevelt Avenue by Citi Field on April 3rd.

A message from Gary to all of you who helped fund this, the vast majority from MMO, “Installation was finished today. Guys YOU did this. Be proud.”

mets billboard final

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Wright Says He’s Confident In This Team, Excited About The Season Thu, 05 Mar 2015 00:37:29 +0000 David Wright

David Wright was a guest of Mike Lupica on ESPN Radio on Wednesday afternoon and had some bold things to say. Rather than dedicate another post to what Wright said, I decided to just update this post from earlier today.

Wright basically told Lupica that it’s time to do more than just talking and said he agreed with Terry Collins that this team is capable of tacking on ten more wins this year.

“I know we’re in a tough division, we understand the challenge in front of us. But I’m very confident in the guys we have in this clubhouse and I’m really excited about this year.”

“We enter this season with another year of maturation from our gold glove centerfielder and our rookie of the year, a pitching staff that’s as deep as any in the game, a bullpen that answered a lot of questions going into last year, so yeah, I’m really excited about the team.”

There’s something different about David Wright this year, something I first started noticing a couple of months ago when he reported to Port St. Lucie to train and workout with Mike Barwis.

From day one, Wright’s always been a classy guy who has represented the team well, and could always be counted on to say and do the right things. Win or lose, Wright always stands tall by his locker, ready for whatever the media threw at him. Always likable, always honest, always clean cut.

However this older and more experienced version of David Wright is different. There’s a grittiness to him now I’ve never seen before. There’s so much more conviction now whenever he speaks, like when when he said this team needed to stop talking and start doing. Whenever he talks about expectations, and this year they are higher than ever, he makes sure to let everyone know that this year the team needs to back it up.

I like that he’s talking tough, but I absolutely love that he’s acting tough. There’s a swagger there that was not often seen before. He’s pissed off. He’s on a mission. He’s so focused and determined to put last year behind him. But most important of all, Wright appears ready to carry this team across the finish line if that’s what it takes.

He’s coming across as a true leader who is sick and tired of the bullshit. No more pretend contend, no more marketing gimmicks, no more non accountability.

The team issued t-shirts he made sure everyone knew he hated are now gone. He’s like a hungry lion now, looking after his pride and searching for prey. He’s looking for any potential weak spots. One wrong move and he’ll let you know it. This grittier version of Wright is not messing around, this guy is serious. You can see it in his eyes.

He also knows that if this team is going to contend that they’ll need a big season from him. As David Wright goes so do the Mets. His interview with Kevin Kernan of the New York Post resonated with me.

“I’ve proved that I can be a run producer,’’ Wright said. “I take a great deal of pride in knowing that I have a significant role in the offense and making the offense go. When I play up to my capabilities, we’re obviously a better offense, when I don’t do that, we’re not as good an offense.”

“Hitting in the middle of the lineup, the run production for me needs to be there. When it’s not there, it makes the offense more difficult, it shortens the lineup. It puts a lot of burden on other guys to pick up the slack and that’s when guys start pressing, start doing too much.”

What really jumped out at me was when Kernan asked him if at 32 he can be that kind of a leader, the kind that can put a team on his back and carry them if he has to. His response was nothing short of convincing.

“I’ve proven that I have a certain type of track record and I expect to live up to those expectations,” Wright flatly said. “That’s what I expect out of myself.”

Like I said in my opening, this is a different David Wright. A tougher David Wright. A better David Wright.

I think he’s going to have a tremendous bounce back season in 2015, and that he’s going to shut up many of his critics for once and for all. No more Mr. Nice Guy.

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MMO Game Recap: Mets 8, Braves 2 Wed, 04 Mar 2015 21:54:48 +0000 dillon gee

The Mets (1-0) beat the Braves (0-1) by a score of 8-2 in Wednesday’s Grapefruit League opener at Champion Field.

Dillon Gee (he’s still here) got the start for the Mets and pitched two innings. Profar Gee allowed 2 runs on 2 hits and 2 walks in the first inning, before settling down to finish his outing with a 1-2-3 frame in the second.

Gee turned the ball over to a slew of relievers, who pitched very well. Jon Velasquez pitched 2 scoreless innings, allowing 2 hits and a walk, striking out one. Jack Leathersich (an actual prospect) walked the first 2 hitters he faced but bounced back to retire the next 3 Braves. Zach Thornton threw a flawless inning, and Dario Alvarez (who saw a bit of time in the Majors last year) worked around a hit and a walk to avoid any damage. After Akeel Morris pitched a perfect 8th, Erik Goeddel (who appeared in a couple MLB games last year) finished things up in the 9th, inducing a double-play and fanning the game’s final hitter.

The Mets’ bats made some noise in this one with 14 hits, a pleasing performance following an intrasquad game earlier this week that ended in a scoreless tie.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis drove in a run with an RBI single in the opening frame and Eric Campbell drove in a pair with a double in the 5th. The Mets scored 5 runs in the 6th on an RBI singles from prospects Matt Reynolds and Kevin Plawecki, and a 3-run blast from Johnny Monell.

A quick recap of how the guys you should probably care about did:

Travis d’Arnaud: 0-for-3

Lagares: 1-for-2 with a walk and a run scored

Kirk: 4-for-4, Run, RBI

Wilmer Flores: 1-for-2, 1 error, left game in 5th after HBP to wrist

Reynolds: 2-for-3, 2 runs, 1 RBI

Campbell: 1-for-1, walk, double, 2 RBI

Cesar Puello: 0-for-2, walk, Run

Brandon Nimmo: 0-for-2, walk

Matt den Dekker: 1-for-3

Plawecki: 1-for-4, RBI

Dilson Herrera: 0-for-2

Gavin Cecchini: 0-for-1

The game doesn’t count, but it’s nice to see our guys back on the field (and getting a win). Hopefully we get a strong, healthy spring to set the tone for the season.

Up Next: The Mets will play the Nationals on Thursday at 5:05 PM at Space Coast Stadium. Bartolo Colon will face Max Scherzer.

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Update: Collins Says Flores Is Fine, Will Play Thursday (Finger) Wed, 04 Mar 2015 21:35:42 +0000 wilmer flores ss

4:30 PM Update:

Manager Terry Collins spoke to reporters after the game and confirmed that Wilmer Flores is fine and will likely be back in the lineup on Thursday

Flores was hit by a pitch that hit a finger on his glove hand.

2:45 PM

Mets shortstop Wilmer Flores left Wednesday’s Grapefruit League game against the Braves after he was hit in the wrist/forearm area by a pitch.

No further information is available as Flores is getting checked out by medical staff.

Flores was replaced in the field by  Matt Reynolds. He had a single and a strikeout in two at-bats and also had a fielding error.

Will update as new information comes in.

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MMO Game Thread: Mets vs Braves, 1:05 PM Wed, 04 Mar 2015 16:39:21 +0000 terry collins

The Mets’ Grapefruit League season begins today with RHP Dillon Gee getting the starting assignment and opposing LHP Wandy Rodriguez and the Atlanta Braves at Disney World in a 1:05 PM start..

Also scheduled to pitch for the Mets today are Dario Alvarez, Erik Goeddel, Jack Leathersich, Akeel Morris, Scott Rice, Zack Thornton and Jon Velasquez.

The game is not televised, but will be broadcast on WOR radio with newly hired Wayne Randazzo doing play-by-play along with Josh Lewin.

Mets Starting Lineup

1. Juan Lagares, CF
2. Matt den Dekker, RF
3. Wilmer Flores, SS
4. Travis d’Arnaud, C
5. Kirk Nieuwenhuis, LF
6. Eric Campbell, 3B
7. Brandon Allen, 1B
8. Kevin Plawecki, DH
9. Dilson Herrera, 2B

Dillon Gee, RHP

Braves Starting Lineup

1. Eric Young Jr., CF
2. Jace Peterson, SS
3. Freddie Freeman, 1B
4. Jonny Gomes, DH
5. A.J. Pierzynski, C
6. Chris Johnson, 3B
7. Alberto Callaspo, 2B
8. Zoilo Almonte, RF
9. Cedric Hunter, LF

Wandy Rodriguez, LHP

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Showcasing Dillon Gee In Grapefruit League Opener Wed, 04 Mar 2015 16:26:20 +0000 dillon gee

Let the showcasing begin for the Mets and Dillon Gee, whom they have been trying to trade since the end of last season. Gee will start today against Atlanta in the Mets’ exhibition opener, with the parameters being 35 pitches or two innings.

Gee, who threw 199 innings two years ago, regressed last season and was 7-8 with a 4.00 ERA. He’s expendable with the return of Matt Harvey following elbow surgery.

The Mets tried to trade Gee this off-season, but found little interest, probably because of their high asking price. After the winter meetings they indicated a willingness to accept a low-level prospect, but GM Sandy Alderson said the market is currently dry.

“I think most clubs, including ours, are focused on what’s going on in camp and evaluating what they already have,’’ Alderson told reporters in Port St. Lucie. “If there’s going to be any significant trade talk, I think typically it’s going to happen later in spring training, unless there’s an injury of some sort. By and large, I think that comes more in the second half of spring training.’’

Assuming no injuries in the rotation, Gee is the sixth starter, which puts him on the outside, or more to the point, in the bullpen as a long reliever. Because each starter has a significant question next to his name, it makes sense to hold onto Gee, who has been productive. The Mets won’t trade Gee just for the sake of making a deal.

From his point, Gee likes it here and wants to stay.

“I’m happy to be here. I really am,’’ Gee said at the start of camp. “Right now, I’m approaching this like I’m pitching to be a starter. That’s what they’ve told me to do. I love starting, and I’ve been successful as a starter.’’

But, that’s not his choice.

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Mets Expect Matt Harvey To Make 30 Starts Wed, 04 Mar 2015 15:17:25 +0000 matt harvey

Mets manager Terry Collins was a guest on Mets Hot Stove on Tuesday at Tradition Field. He told Gary Apple that in his first year back from Tommy John surgery, Matt Harvey should make at least 30 starts.

“There are going to be nights when he’s dominant, and you got to let him stay out there, which means next time we’re gonna have to cut him back.”

“Matt and I have talked with Dan Warthen and Sandy about all of this and he’s a good soldier, he nods his head and nods his head, but I know there’s gonna be a battle coming.”

Sandy Alderson backed up what Collins said (is that a first?) and added that Harvey could conceivably throw 200 innings this season including both the regular season and the playoffs.

Harvey will not be skipped in the rotation, but instead they’ll have him make five-inning starts from time to time.

Look for the Mets ace to make his regular season debut on April 9 against the Nationals in DC according to a report by Kevin Kernan of the NY Post.

Harvey will then be slated to start the team’s second home game on April 14, against the Phillies at Citi Field.

“The Mets don’t need Harvey to over-amp it on Opening Day in Washington and run into issues as he returns from Tommy John surgery,” writes Kernan, who talked to several team sources.

“As for the Mets home opener, the same thinking is in place, the Mets don’t want Harvey to be over-amped, try a bit too hard, and run into trouble.”

Terry Collins has already said last that Harvey would pitch at least once during the team’s first five games of the season. Initially, the plan was to hold Harvey back and have him make his debut on April 13, the home opener.

You can watch Harvey on Friday when he makes his Spring debut against the Tigers David Price. The game will be broadcast on SNY at 1:00 PM.

(Updated 3/4)


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Cesar Puello Deserves One Last Chance Wed, 04 Mar 2015 14:49:18 +0000 cesar puello howard simmons

It’s now or never for Mets outfield prospect Cesar Puello. The 23 year old Puello needs to break camp on the Mets 25 man roster this spring, or they will risk losing him to waivers.

Puello is coming off a very disappointing season last year with Triple-A Las Vegas. He batted .252 with just seven home runs in 105 games despite hitting in the favorable conditions of the Pacific Coast League. These numbers were a far cry from his breakout 2013 performance where he demolished Double-A pitching with a .326 average and .950 OPS.

The most common explanation for this drop-off in production is that his numbers in Double-A were fueled by PED’s. Puello was suspended for 50 games late in the 2013 season for his connection to the biogenesis scandal.

While this certainly casts doubt on his numbers that season, a lot of people seem overlooking another possible explanation. Puello advanced to a higher level of competition in 2014, and it is not uncommon for prospects to struggle while adjusting to the challenge.

Mets fans who follow the minors closely know this is a frequent occurrence. Prospects such as Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Matt den Dekker experienced similar growing pains after being called-up to AAA. Even Brandon Nimmo saw his numbers plummet substantially after making the jump to Double-A.

These players eventually made the necessary adjustments and showed improved results over time. The encouraging part of Puello’s season was that he was able to make similar progress.

During his last 51 games, Puello batted .279 with a .393 OBP and a.880 OPS. He also carried this momentum into winter ball where he batted .353 with four home runs in 51 at bats.

Puello’s primary competition this spring will likely be Eric Campbell. Campbell is an interesting option because of his ability to play multiple positions, but Puello possesses a far superior upside. Puello still has an exciting combination of raw skills that made him a Baseball America Top 100 prospect several years ago. He can provide good power, speed and defense in right field.

Puello may not be a perfect player, and he made a serious mistake using PED’s in the past. However, he still has the potential to succeed, and there is no harm in giving him a fair shot to make the team out of spring training. The final spot on the roster should be an open competition, and if Puello impresses, he should win the job.

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Beyond the Mets ‘Core Four’ Wed, 04 Mar 2015 11:00:50 +0000 mets spring training 2015

Despite Winter Storm Watches in the Northeast and the gloomy fog and cold that has encapsulated my Atlanta home for the past 3 months, it is finally time to play ball in South Florida, and I am abuzz with excitement!

Yes, every Spring I reach for what are usually unrealistic expectations regarding our Mets, and think “if this happens and that happens and we make a deal at the deadline…blah blah blah”. But this year just feels different. Don’t get me wrong, they still need some things to break their way, but It just doesn’t feel l need to try so hard to convince myself they could actually be very good this time around.

Another great thing about the Spring Training games starting is that we as fans will have something else to evaluate our team other than quotes from our GM, Manager and Players. To be honest, I really don’t care what any of them have to say. It doesn’t mean squat on March 4. What matters is how well they play and the caliber of their performance. Once they’re talking about the game or their performances,  then I’ll listen.

That said, there was something a player recently said that was very interesting. After his first bullpen session facing live batters, Matt Harvey referred to the teammates he faced – David Wright, Curtis Granderson, Daniel Murphy and Michael Cuddyer – as the Mets ‘Core Four’. I get what he is trying to say here, as these four position players also represent a huge chunk of the team’s overall financial investment, as well as them being the longest tenured players. And while it may be true that a lot is riding on this Mets version of Core Four, there is just as much riding on the offensive production from a few other Mets players he didn’t mention.

Lucas Duda - Coming off a breakout 2014 when he was finally given the 1B job outright, Duda provided the Mets with the power threat from the clean-up position they had been desperately searching for. But it wasn’t all roses for Duda. He struggled mightily against LHP,  hitting just .180 against southpaws. And now, he is dealing with an oblique strain that will sideline him for at least the start of Spring Training, if not longer.

Juan Lagares - As long as Lagares is penciled into the starting lineup in CF, all is good in Metsville. The problem is that didn’t happen enough last year. Lagares hit the DL three different times in 2014 and played in only 116 games. Hamstings and Intercostals and Elbows, oh my! Lagares will have two challenges in 2015: 1) stay on the field, and 2) provide more production as the winner-by-default Leadoff Hitter. That means improving on a very modest .321 OBP.

Travis d’Arnaud - It used to be that for most teams, any offense you got out of the catching position was gravy. That is no longer the case. The NL is stacked with good offensive catchers and one has to wonder about the ceiling for d’Arnaud. Even if you assume the d’Arnaud from his post-Vegas demotion is the real deal (and not the clunker from April), he is a mid-pack threat at best. Still, that may be enough to deepen the order if everyone else lives up to their own expectations and potential.

Wilmer Flores - Okay, I’m going out on a (pretty sturdy) limb that Flores will be our everyday SS. While this post is more about offensive production, it will be Flores’ defense that will dictate whether we see it or not. Because if Flores gets benched due to poor defense, there will be no offense from our SS. Sandy’s posturing all winter was that he couldn’t find a better alternative than Flores. What he is counting on is that Flores is at least comparable to what he passed on. However, he could have certainly found a better backup plan than Tejada just in case.

I’m looking forward to seeing how these storylines play out on the field vs. on paper. In some cases, we may be pleasantly surprised. In some, we may be bitterly disappointed. But the time to sort it out on the field begins today. Thank God. Play Ball and Let’s Go Mets!

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Mets Take Back The Damn T-Shirts Wed, 04 Mar 2015 03:29:32 +0000 take the damn thing

According to Robert Brender of SNY, the Mets players no longer have their team issued “Take the Damn Thing” t-shirts. They’re all gone.

“I haven’t checked further,” Brender says. “But was told they were taken back.”


February 23

I just read this post on MetsBlog where Matt Cerrone reports (via Robert Brender) that the Mets are going to distribute a team-issued t-shirt that reads, “Take The Damn Thing,” alluding to the Mets winning a pennant.

“The Mets are getting hammered by hosts and callers this morning on MLB Network Radio. It’s only going to get worse when outside media and other team’s fans get wind of the t-shirt.”

Cerrone also writes:

“In the opinion of MLB Network Radio host Steve Phillips, based on his experience working for the Mets, these sort of statements are a coordinated effort by the team’s media, marketing and communications department.”

“According to Phillips, the team often agrees on a message they want to push in Spring Training. It’s possible the manager is let in on it, from which players may pick up on it as well, but the front office is almost always involved from the start of the process.”

Geez… It’s always something…

I don’t mind the players getting excited and talking playoffs, in fact I love it. But if this is all a coordinated effort by team marketing officials in conjunction with the front office??? Hmm… I don’t like the smell of that…


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Remembering That Baseball Is Supposed To Be Fun Wed, 04 Mar 2015 03:03:02 +0000 wright harvey

During today’s Intrasquad game, which ended in a scoreless tie by the way, the Daily News handed Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom a couple of mice and the two go doing play by play.


That’s what spring training is all about right there. A few dozen players taking to the field to prepare for a new season but still having fun and remembering it’s just a game.

I miss those old days when we didn’t have internet and how I used to hit my father up for a dime to get the Sports Final edition of the Daily News, in the Brooklyn where I grew up we called it the Night Owl.

During the spring it was full of funny stories and anecdotes from the team. Managers like Gil and Yogi were always good for a great story and you knew they were having just as much fun as the players. Gil’s stories always carried a moral, while Yogi just made absolutely no sense at all and nobody really cared.

In the eighties the Mets teams were full of pranksters and jokesters. They were young like today’s team and we had so much personality and colorful characters. Howard Johnson and Roger McDowell were always good for a few laughs. And I loved how they used to seek out and prank Gary Carter who always fell for their gags, took it in stride and also got a kick out of it too.

I miss those days. Now we live in a culture of “gotcha reporting” where reporters prefer to dig for seedy drama and sensational storylines, so they could then brag about how many retweets they got.

I guess new isn’t always better.

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Daniel Murphy Disagrees With Gay Lifestyle Wed, 04 Mar 2015 01:56:45 +0000 daniel murphy

Sandy Alderson invited former ballplayer Billy Bean to Mets camp Tuesday. Bean, who is openly gay, now serves as Major League Baseball’s ambassador of inclusion.

He spent the day as a roving instructor after meeting with the entire organization prior to Tuesday’s workout.

Alderson initially wanted Bean to suit up with team and play in a Spring Training game, but Bean declined.

“I didn’t want it to be about me, or ‘Feel Sorry For Billy Bean Day at Port St. Lucie,’” Bean said.

“The Mets have a lot of fans in the LGBT community as well, and there’s a lot of fans who worship these guys. My message is the same: that everybody deserves a fair chance to be the best they can be.”

Second baseman Daniel Murphy later told reporter Mike Vorkunov of, “I do disagree with the fact that Billy is a homosexual. That doesn’t mean I can’t still invest in him and get to know him.”

“I don’t think the fact that someone is a homosexual should completely shut the door on investing in them in a relational aspect. That’s the way I would describe it for me. It’s the same way that there are aspects of my life that I’m trying to surrender to Christ in my own life.”

“There’s a great deal of many things, like my pride. I just think that as a believer trying to articulate it in a way that says just because I disagree with the lifestyle doesn’t mean I’m just never going to speak to Billy Bean every time he walks through the door. That’s not love. That’s not love at all.”

So anyway, it was a weird day at Mets camp… Baseball game tomorrow!


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Collins Approves of How Wright and Parnell Handled Syndergaard Wed, 04 Mar 2015 01:11:32 +0000 usatsi_8401528_168380427_lowres

Manager Terry Collins spoke with Mike Vorkunov of and fully supported the way David Wright handled the situation with top prospect Noah Syndergaard on Tuesday afternoon.

“There’s a code of conduct in a professional locker room. Our captain thought it was abused and therefore he took action. I’m on his side. I’m sure there’s a thing that happened on the other side.”

“I’m going to take the side of David and Bobby right now because when you’re a rookie there are no other excuses. We’re a team. We will be a team.”

As for Syndergaard, Collins called his actions an error of enthusiasm and a mistake.

“He will learn from it,” Collins said. “And if he does not, he will have a tough time here.”

Collins also had no issue with how Bobby Parnell disciplined Syndergaard. While Wright was scolding Syndergaard, Parnell grabbed his plate of food and dropped it into the trash bin.

“I think it’s the perfect way he dealt with it,” he said. “Perfect. I think Bobby did what I would do and a number of other guys would’ve have done. The captain made a statement and it wasn’t really adhered to and Bobby said, ‘Maybe he didn’t hear it’.”

“If a kid’s not playing nice, you take his toys away,” Parnell said.

“Being a young player, any chance you get to learn, you go out there and learn,” Wright told Newsday.

“I’m not a big ranter and raver. When I get on somebody, it’s 99 percent private. I’m not going to yell and scream. But when I speak to somebody, when I get on somebody, the point needs to be taken.”

Syndergaard told Marc Carig he was caught off guard by the controversy.

“It was surprising,” Syndergaard told Newsday. “It kind of caught me off guard. I really wasn’t expecting it to be that big of a deal. So it took me off guard a little bit. But I understand where it’s coming from.”

4:00 PM Original Post

Kristie Ackert of the Daily News broke the story that Mets captain David Wright had to lay down the law Tuesday afternoon when he spotted prospect Noah Syndergaard eating lunch in the clubhouse while the Mets’ Intrasquad game was taking place.

“Wright had just finished his work in the scrimmage and ran into the clubhouse where starting pitcher Zack Wheeler was talking to reporters.”

“That’s when he noticed Syndergaard, who did drills in the morning and who was not playing in the intrasquad game, sitting at the table in the clubhouse. Wright walked up and quietly but intently spoke to Syndergaard. Though his voice was quiet the word “bench,” was heard at least twice. The 22-year old spent the rest of the game out in the dugout watching the game, which ended in a scoreless tie.”

“It was a miscommunication,” Syndergaard said, explaining that he had missed lunch earlier in the day and was trying to eat and get out to the game.

Wright would not address the incident, nor would he talk about Syndergaard specifically, but he did speak about what he feels young players should be doing in training camp.

“If there is a young player that is here (in major-league camp) there is a reason, they have talent and potential,” Wright said. “I would encourage them to use this chance to take every opportunity to learn from it. If you are a young pitcher, you can learn from sitting in with meetings with Dan (Warthen) or watching a Zack Wheeler, who I know is young, but he has experience.”

“That’s what I think all young players should be doing,” Wright said. “That’s all.”

Good job by the Mets captain who continues to impress me as a leader. As the one everyone looks up to, it’s up to Wright to set the tone and the example, while addressing things like this before they escalate or become a distraction. Wright is the top cop in that clubhouse. Here are some reactions and I’ll add to them as others speak up:

Daniel Murphy – “I bet Noah doesn’t do it again.”

Bobby Parnell – “When you have a young and impressionable player, and you need to make him understand something that he’s not understanding, you have to be a little forceful.”

Noah Syndergaard – “I took it as a teaching moment. He made his point. I understand where David was coming from. We’re playing a team sport. I should be out there supporting my teammates.”


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What We Learned From Terry Collins and Sandy Alderson Today Tue, 03 Mar 2015 20:34:33 +0000 collins alderson spring

Here’s a wrap of the day’s Mets news and notes from Tradition Field at Port St. Lucie.

Sandy Alderson spoke with reporters today and said:

  • He expects that Dillon Gee will still be with the Mets on Opening Day. He reiterated Tuesday that his club has had little talk with other teams. If the trade market picks up, it will likely be towards the end of Spring Training.
  • The decision as to who starts both the season and the home opener as well as choosing the rotation alignment in general is not his to make, and that authority lies solely with Terry Collins.
  • Regarding shortstop Wilmer Flores, the Mets have moved past the evaluation process, and he considered a central player and critical part of the 25-man roster. He seems to be getting frustrated at addressing this question at every meeting with the media. Wilmer Flores is the Mets everyday starting shortstop.

Terry Collins also spoke with reporters and said:

  • Jon Niese is in the best shape of his life. Ha ha, just kidding, but he did say that Niese is clearly feeling better this Spring than at any point last year. His arm angle and arm speed are all improved and he say’s he is more on top of the ball which is when Niese is at his best.
  • Matt Reynolds looked solid defensively, and he will continue to play regularly so they can get a good look at him. He’s a headsy player and does all the little things well.
  • Collins is not concerned about Zack Wheeler‘s command or lack of it today, as that’s the “last thing to come for power arms.”
  • If Rafael Montero were to make the team as a reliever, a longshot at best, he would be a long man type who could come in and pitch multiple innings at a time. I think Montero is going to be a nice arm out of the pen at some point.
  • The Mets are very confident in Travis d’Arnaud as an offensive player, however the focus right now is solidifying his defensive game. Collins said he’s very impressed with how d’Arnaud is throwing right now, one of his problem areas last season.

That’s it for now… LGM

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Alderson Says No Active Trade Talks With Rangers About Gee Tue, 03 Mar 2015 16:45:05 +0000 jurickson-profar-landov2

Sandy Alderson denied there were any active trade discussions with the Texas Rangers about trading a starter.

He added that it’s “fair to say” the Mets have had little to no recent talk about trading Dillon Gee or any other starting pitcher in recent weeks.

If a trade were to materialize, he expects it would happen much later in spring training if it were to happen at all.

March 2

Sources have told Chris Cotillo that the Texas Rangers are still interested in trading for Mets starter Dillon Gee.

It is unclear if the sides are in active discussions about a deal for Gee, says Cotillo, though Texas has been interested in the right-hander dating back to the Winter Meetings.

One possibility that is being bandied about is a deal that would send Gee and a few other pieces to the Rangers for shortstop Jurickson Profar, who is out for the year after shoulder surgery. The Mets could see Profar as a buy low target.

We’ll keep an eye on this and see if it picks up any steam.


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LHP Kyle Regnault Trying To Impress In Camp Tue, 03 Mar 2015 16:39:19 +0000 regnault

Kyle Regnault is a left handed pitcher who has been pitching the Can-Am league for the last 3 years after pitching at URI. He is 26 years old and last year did some starting, relieving, and closing for the Les Capitales de Quebec. In his 3 years in the league Kyle has a 4.11 ERA, 1.306 WHIP, 8.3 H/9, and a 2.65 SO/W ratio with his best WHIP 1.235 and SO/W 3.75 last year.

When I saw that Kyle was in camp I was curious because I knew nothing about him and wanted to learn more about what kind of player he is. Here is the interview I did with him last week.

Mike M: First off, thank you from MetsMerized Online and congrats on being part of the Mets organization. How and when did the Mets approach you about becoming part of the organization?

Kyle: Thank You! I started working out with Phil Regan during the offseason last year. After this past season with the Quebec Capitales. I came to St Lucie in October to throw a bullpen for some of the Mets staff.

Mike M: What have you been doing this winter to get ready for the upcoming season? And did it differ at all because of being with the Mets?

Kyle: Yes it changed a bit. After signing with the mets in October, I was able to have follow the mets off-season strength program.

Mike M: Tell me about your pitch arsenal and how you like to work hitters.

Kyle: I throw a fourseam fastball, curveball, change up, and a cutter as my fourth pitch. As a reliever I’ve had a lot of success working off my fastball and having my curveball as an out pitch. With a change up that contrasts well off my fastball. As far as working hitters, it varies from player to player looking at tendencies and swings allows me to determine how to pitch them.

Mike M: Do you prefer to start or relieve? And have the Mets given you any indication which they would like you to do?

Kyle: Well, for the past few years I have been a reliever. Last year I moved into the rotation and made 12 starts. I would say I am a more polished reliever because I have had more experience. But I could do either one. Early indication reliever with Mets.

Mike M: I saw that in 2012 you got to play with Jose Canseco, what was that like?

Kyle: It was a great experience be able to play beside him. Also great to pick his mind and hear some of his stories. He’s a funny guy.

Mike M: Who was the toughest hitter you faced in the Can-Am league?

Kyle: Sebastian Boucher, he was my teammate the past 2 seasons. A veteran hitter with one of the best approaches I’ve seen. I faced him many times my first season when I player for Worcester.

Mike M: What you think you need to improve on to take the next step and get closer to the Major Leagues?

Kyle: As a player I feel like you’re always trying to improve every aspect of your game. Whether it is trying to get ahead in counts, lowering walks, being more consistent with off speed, fielding your position. There is always room for improvement and they all go hand in hand.

Mike M: Thanks again for answering my questions! Good luck this season and hope you are successful with the Mets.

Kyle: Absolutely, Thank you!

Kyle obviously has a long way to go coming from the Can-Am league and never pitching in the affiliated Minor Leagues. But with the way Terry Collins handles his LOOGY the Mets need all the left handed depth they can get.

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