Mets Merized Online http://metsmerizedonline.com Wed, 01 Oct 2014 05:52:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.4 AL Wildcard Game Thread: A’s vs Royals, 8:05 PM http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/al-wildcard-game-thread-as-vs-royals-805-pm.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/al-wildcard-game-thread-as-vs-royals-805-pm.html/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 23:00:09 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=166976

shields lester

Oakland Athletics at Kansas City Royals

Tuesday, Sept. 30, 8:07 p.m. ET. TBS

Jon Lester (16-11, 2.46) vs. James Shields (14-8, 3.21)\

Oakland A’s Lineup

1. Coco Crisp, CF
2. Sam Fuld, LF
3. Josh Donaldson, 3B
4. Brandon Moss, DH
5. Josh Reddick, RF
6. Jed Lowrie, SS
7. Stephen Vogt, 1B
8. Geovany Soto, C
9. Eric Sogard, 2B

Kansas City Royals Lineup

1. Alcides Escobar, SS
2. Nori Aoki, RF
3. Lorenzo Cain, CF
4. Eric Hosmer, 1B
5. Billy Butler, DH
6. Alex Gordon, LF
7. Salvador Perez, C
8. Omar Infante, 2B
9. Mike Moustakas, 3B

The clubs squared off seven times this season, with the Royals winning five of the seven. However, the two games the A’s won were with Jon Lester starting.

In December 2012, the Royals went all-in to improve their starting rotation by acquiring Shields and Wade Davis from the Rays for top outfield prospect Wil Myers. This past July 31, the A’s acquired Lester from the Red Sox along with Jonny Gomes for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.

“It’s everything that we hoped it would be,” general manager Dayton Moore said of getting Shields. “When you make deals, you hope and expect them to work for both organizations. I think it’s turned out that way. It strengthened our pitching to a point where we were able to play competitive baseball from the first day to the last.”

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DeGrom Named Rookie of the Month For September http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/degrom-odds-on-favorite-for-rookie-of-the-year.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/degrom-odds-on-favorite-for-rookie-of-the-year.html/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 22:47:24 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=166899 jacob degrom ks 8

Jacob deGrom has been voted the National League Rookie of the Month for September. The 26-year-old righty was 2-0 in four September starts, leading MLB rookie pitchers with 38 strikeouts, which also ranked fourth overall in the NL.

DeGrom posted a 1.67 ERA i 27.0 IP which was the top mark among qualifying NL rookies and ranked 10th overall in the Senior Circuit.

He finished his rookie campaign by earning his ninth victory on September 21st at Atlanta, fanning 10 Braves batters in 6.0 innings of work en route to a 10-2 win. It was the fourth double-digit strikeout game in 22 Major League contests.

Unlike in the American League where Jose Abreu won the award in three of six months (and will likely win AL ROY), deGrom stands as the only player to win the award twice this season in the National League. Billy HamiltonChris OwingsKolten Wong and Kyle Hendricks also took home top rookie honors this year.

This sets the stage for deGrom to win Rookie of the Year. That award should be handed out at the beginning of November.

September 29

At the start of the year, expectations were low for Mets rookie Jacob deGrom. As a 26-year old pitcher at  Triple-A Las Vegas, many believed that he did not have the talent to develop into a top starting pitcher. As it turns out, most pre-season predictions could not have been more wrong, and deGrom dominated with a 9-6 record, 2.64 ERA and 144 strikeouts in 140 innings pitched.

DeGrom’s ERA ranked within the top ten in the National League among pitchers with at least 140 innings. He also ranked 6th in NL in strikeouts per nine innings and he tied the MLB record for most consecutive strikeouts to begin a game with eight whiffs.

Given deGrom’s obscurity in the minors, his excellent performance this season went unnoticed around the league for most of the year. However, deGrom was so good down the stretch that many analysts are now tabbing him for top rookie honors, and some (Ken Rosenthal) even changed their minds as recently as a few days ago.

Jayson Stark, ESPN

“DeGrom has been one of the best starters in the whole NL,” Stark explains, who points out that deGrom has the second-best ERA in the National League during his last 15 starts, topped only by Clayton Kershaw, who will likely win the Cy Young award. “So if a guy is in that kind of company, would YOU have any regrets about handing him a Rookie of the Year trophy? Not me.”

Jon Heyman, CBS Sports

“For whatever reason, the favorite for the NL award seems to be Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton, a very exciting player who has racked up 56 stolen bases and played a very nice center field while batting a solid .259. But while he has had a nice year, his OPS-plus is 87, which is below average.”

Ken Rosenthal, Fox Sports

“Mets fans can stop tweeting at me now. I take it back. I TAKE IT ALL BACK! DeGrom kept improving, pitching to a 1.33 ERA, holding opponents to a .457 OPS and producing a 38-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio in September. He’s fun to watch. And yes, he’s Rookie of the Year.”

Las Vegas odds-maker Bovada, now has deGrom as the heavy favorite to win the award with 1-to-3 odds, far ahead of Cincinnati’s Billy Hamilton who’s now dropped to 2-to-1.

 It is great to see deGrom finally get the recognition he deserves. His emergence this season has been the biggest bright spot of the year, and he should be a lock to win the award as he has clearly outperformed Billy Hamilton. If deGrom somehow loses the vote, it will be because of Hamilton’s greater popularity and not his performance.

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Baseball America: Molina, Rosario, Conforto, Urena Make NYPL Top 20 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/baseball-america-molina-rosario-conforto-urena-make-nypl-top-20.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/baseball-america-molina-rosario-conforto-urena-make-nypl-top-20.html/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 19:07:02 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=167022 marcos molina

Today Baseball America released their Top 20 Prospects for the 2014 New York-Penn League Season, and wouldn’t you know it, four Mets topped the list.

Marcos Molina, Amed Rosario, Michael Conforto and Jhoan Urena came in respectively at numbers One, Three, Seven and Ten, showing how formidable and talented the Cyclones squad was this season.

Here is what they had to say about each:

#1 Marcos Molina, RHP

Molina had a breakout season, dominating older competition as a teenager. He led the circuit in strikeouts (91) and ERA (1.77) while tying for the lead in wins (seven) and walking just 2.1 batters per nine innings.

The athletic Molina has an ideal pitcher’s frame and a loose arm action with a high-three-quarters delivery that he repeats well. He has advanced feel for three offerings that he can throw for strikes or use as put-away pitches. His 93-95 mph fastball bumps 96 and has tailing life. His late-breaking slider projects as a plus pitch, and he has good arm speed on his changeup, which flashes above-average to plus.

“He’s going to be on the fast track, I think,” Brooklyn manager Tom Gamboa said. “Every once in a while you get a guy who’s just different, just a cut above the rest. For a 19-year-old, he has unbelievable mound presence and poise. It’s the whole package.”

#3 Amed Rosario, SS

Rosario has progressed quickly since signing for $1.75 million, the largest international bonus in Mets history. He was named the top prospect in the Rookie-level Appalachian League last year, and his OPS jumped from .637 last year to .717 in the NYPL, as his on-base skills improved.

Rosario still is something of a free-swinger, but he is adept at hitting behind runners and executing the hit-and-run, and he profiles as a prototype No. 2 hitter. He has quick hands and figures to grow into some power as he fills out his wiry frame, but he primarily is a line-drive hitter who can use all fields.

Rosario’s arm rates as plus, but he needs to become more accurate with his throws. He fell into a rut this year where he sat back and let balls come to him, resulting in errors, but he did a better job charging balls in the final month. He has the fluid actions, range and hands to be a standout defensive shortstop down the road, and he also offers good speed, though he is not an aggressive basestealer at this stage.

Rosario needs to get stronger and improve his stamina, but the Mets are thrilled with his developmental track.

Michael Conforto, LF

Conforto capped his decorated college career by earning first-team All-America honors as a junior and getting drafted 10th overall by the Mets. An accomplished hitting machine, Conforto stood out as one of the safest bats in the NYPL.

“We’d get excited every time he got out, because it didn’t happen very much against us,” Staten Island manager Mario Garza said. “This guy—wow. He’s got the body, he’s got an approach, he’s got box presence. It seemed like he doesn’t miss pitches. He really works the middle of the field well, and has bat speed.”

Conforto is primarily a gap-to-gap hitter, but he has plus raw power and drives balls the other way with authority. He needs to do a better job turning on hard stuff over the inner half, but he has the special hand-eye coordination and feel for the strike zone to be a plus hitter with above-average to plus pop.

Conforto is physically mature and will be tied to left field, but he has worked hard to become a solid defender with a knack for making big plays, and his arm is solid-average. He earns raves for his competitiveness and leadership qualities.

#10 Jhoan Urena, 3B

Urena, who played all season as a 19-year-old and turned 20 on Sept. 1, has performed well in each of his first three pro seasons since signing for $425,000. He ranked second in the NYPL in RBIs (48) and tied for the league lead in doubles (20), while also flashing home run power and promising defensive ability at third base.

Urena hit .300 from both sides of the plate, posting an .805 OPS against lefties and a .783 OPS against righties. He has a dead-pull approach from the right side but uses the whole field as a lefthanded hitter, and he boasts plus raw power from both sides. He struggles against offspeed stuff, like many hitters his age, but punishes fastballs and can handle velocity.

Urena has a rifle arm at third base but must improve his accuracy, for most of his 17 errors were on wild throws. He has the instincts, hands, agility and range to be a standout defender at the hot corner.

As you can see, our boys were rightfully placed in the upper tiers of the league. As I have stated many times, my enthusiasm for Molina is curbed due to his delivery being only through his arm, with little-to-no leg action. This can be problematic for a pitcher, and does not help them in the long run. If he can increase his movement below the waist, he can not only add velocity to a fastball that gets up to 96, but also longevity in the process.

As for Rosario, it seems Baseball America has lessened their own enthusiasm, projecting less power, but still believing the kid will be a hitting machine and a solid shortstop. He is incredibly thin, rail thin to be exact, but I have been assured early on by a coach in the system that he’s someone to watch going forward.

The scouting report on Conforto is encouraging, not only giving you an idea of what he needs to improve on, but the idea that he’s a plus hitter with plus power. They also, as I have reassured in the past, calmed down concerns of his ability to play left. As I have seen, Conforto is a more than capable left fielder, with a good arm, and he moves well.

Lastly but not least, Jhoan Urena. He has a lot of time, but is proving to be a hitting machine. Had we not signed Wright to a long-term deal, I’d say Urena would definitely be the one to take his place in the future, and as a switch hitter who bats well from both sides, and packing a lot of power.

In total, this is a very intriguing and exciting list, one to be encouraged by, but remember they’re all kids. Some things can happen, but it’s a good feeling to have so much talent in this system to watch and dream on. As for assignments? The three young ones to Savannah, and Conforto to St. Lucie.

Stay tuned as I’ll be updating the comment section with what they say in the BA Chat.

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Featured Post: More Flexibility Does Not Mean More Spending Or Higher Payroll http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/featured-post-more-flexibility-does-not-mean-more-spending-or-higher-payroll.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/featured-post-more-flexibility-does-not-mean-more-spending-or-higher-payroll.html/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 18:07:53 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=166925 jeff wilpon

Adam Rubin of ESPN New York takes an educated guess that Mets payroll in 2015 will flirt with $100 million. I’m sorry, but I can’t see that happening after weeks of the general manager himself cautioning it would remain around the same $84 million, and the team’s COO Jeff Wilpon saying we shouldn’t expect a spike.

Yes, they have to address arbitration and contractual raises just to keep payroll from climbing to about $95 million. But a snip here and a snip there and that’s not the problem it appears to be.

In the past four years, if we’ve learned anything it’s that baseball decisions take a backseat to finances and maintaining a minimum payroll still trumps anything else the team does.

Moving Bartolo Colon and his $11 million plus Daniel Murphy and his projected $8-9 million, will bring the Mets back to a more manageable (in the eyes of the Wilpons) $75 million which translates to around $10 million in payroll flexibility. And I haven’t even mentioned that one of Jon Niese or Dillon Gee will go too.

If you examine anything that both Jeff Wilpon and Sandy Alderson have said, it is their abundant use of the term, we’ll have “more flexibility” this offseason to make any necessary moves.

Flexibility does not equal payroll spike.

I’m sure the Mets will do what they can to improve the team, but it will be more akin to trading Player A so that we can clear enough payroll to add Player B. That’s what flexibility means.

Additionally, both of the head honchos have already said not to expect any significant free agent signings.

That doesn’t mean we can’t win without a significant addition, we certainly can. But what it does mean is that there will be no 6-7 year deals doled out for anyone including Cuban power prospect Yasmani Tomas.

My guess is that as long as Michael Cuddyer is willing to sign a a two-year deal, he’s at the apex of what the Mets might be able to afford this Winter.

Sure, you’ll have plenty of shills and wishful thinkers out there dreaming big, espousing all the front office talking points, or waving the owner’s propaganda banner. But the fact of the matter is that for five straight seasons this Mets regime and ownership have slashed payroll and even when they promised spending after 2013, payroll went from $95 million to $84 million.

The trick is to stop listening whenever you see Jeff and Fred’s lips moving. If you do that, you’ll be able to survive the next few months.

Remember, more flexibility does not mean more payroll.

And that’s not just an educated guess, it’s a matter of fact.

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Doc Gives Them A Dose Of Reality http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/doc-gives-them-a-dose-of-reality.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/doc-gives-them-a-dose-of-reality.html/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 15:46:05 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=165515 dwight gooden

Doc Gooden was a guest on the Boomer and Carton show last week. Like most Met fans, Gooden is hyped over all the young pitching in the Mets system believing the Citi Field boys are a lot closer to relevancy than most people give them credit.

But, Gooden was incredulous over management’s recent chatter that once again the fences might be moved closer to home plate at Citi Field.

“One thing I can’t understand is the talk about moving the fences in,” Gooden told the WFAN hosts. Gooden went on to say that teams need to build their rosters around the dimensions of the park they play in, not move the fences in and out to accommodate one or two players which seems to be the motivation. With a pitching strong team like the Mets, the former ace feels it’s foolhardy to move the fences in again. The other team’s batters hit at Citi Field, too.

Gooden claims the Mets need to be on the lookout for solid line drive hitters, hitters that play well to the dimensions of Citi Field.  Although he never said it, Gooden could have been talking about Daniel Murphy like hitters, guys who can take what the pitcher gives them and shoots the ball anywhere from foul line to foul line. Then again, it’s highly unlikely Murphy will be playing for the Mets next year.

The good doctor says the Mets are lacking the big bats they need and that altering the dimensions of Citi is not going to transform poor performances into great ones. If you want better offensive production you go out and get better players.

He’s right.

Let’s stop the subterfuge with this fence moving nonsense.  It’s just a cunning cover to nudge Met fans into believing the dimensions of their home park is the real reason performance has lagged badly since the team took up residence at Citi Field. 

The truth is the Mets shed their most productive assets in favor of promising prospects because they did not have the financial capacity and/or resolve to pay them the salaries their performance demanded on the open market. It was the perfect time for a rebuild and that takes time.

With the obvious upgrade of our minor league system, our young pitching proving to be as good as advertised, and the team at the brink of contention. it would be hard to argue that the strategy is without many successes. But, attributing our poor offensive output during this rebuild process on the dimensions of Citi Field is inventive at best. What was it the front office preached when they first took over? Develop and stockpile the pitching… Buy the bats… It’s time. 

Tell it like it is, Doc.

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Mets Will Have 15th Pick In The 2015 MLB Draft http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/mets-will-pick-15th-in-the-2015-mlb-draft.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/mets-will-pick-15th-in-the-2015-mlb-draft.html/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 15:00:24 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=166992 2013 draft

The Mets will have the 15th overall pick in the MLB Draft next June.

MLB Trade Rumors released the complete list this morning which includes two first round picks for the Astros. Their first round pick in 2014 did not sign with the club, so the Rockies will be bumped back to three while the Astros take the second and fifth overall picks.

1. Diamondbacks
2. Astros
3. Rockies
4. Rangers
5. Astros
6. Twins
7. Red Sox
8. White Sox
9. Cubs
10. Phillies
11. Reds
12. Marlins
13. Padres
14. Rays
15. Mets
16. Braves
17. Brewers
18. Blue Jays
19. Yankees
20. Indians
21. Mariners
22. Giants
23. Pirates
24. Athletics
25. Royals
26. Tigers
27. Cardinals
28. Dodgers
29. Orioles
30. Nationals
31. Angels

The Mets did not finish with one of the worst 10 records in baseball and will therefore not have their first round pick protected by Major League Baseball.

This means they would forfeit their first rounder if they were to sign a free agent who received a Qualifying Offer

Various blogs have already chimed in with their mock drafts and have the Mets selecting a wide range of players. SportsBlog.com has them selecting Kolby Allard, a left handed pitcher out of San Clemente high school. FanGraphs has Nick Plummer, a high average left fielder, as their #16 player on the board. The #15 player is a catcher and we can assume the Mets have enough of those right now.

In recent years the Mets have fared well in the draft. Since a run of several off years for the front office, they selected Matt Harvey in 2010 and seem to be making the right decisions more and more. Every player they’ve selected recently has progressed in some way and some are knocking on the door at the major league level. Here are their recent picks:

This June the Mets will select a player that will join a farm system that has dominated in recent years. They are overflowing with talent and should get even stronger this June.

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MMO Mailbag: Will Mets Be A Playoff Team In 2015? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/mmo-mailbag-will-mets-be-a-playoff-team-in-2015.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/mmo-mailbag-will-mets-be-a-playoff-team-in-2015.html/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 13:48:13 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=166955 sandy alderson

Are the Mets as close as Sandy Alderson says we are, and will the Mets be in the post season in 2015? That is the big question.

This upcoming off-season is very crucial. There’s no reason that this team shouldn’t be a legitimate contender in 2015. And incremental moves could be key to getting the Mets over the hump.

I´m quite confident that 85 wins is highly likely barring any significant injury issues. But the difference between 85-86 wins and 90-91 wins is meaningful games in September vs. meaningful games in October.

The front office has to put the best possible 25-man roster on the field and put together a roster that meshes together well and doesn´t feature three first basemen or six outfielders, but no backup infielder at the same time.

Also, the F.O. should not underestimate the importance of defense up the middle. A Daniel Murphy and Wilmer Flores combo at second base and shortstop is absurd and would easily qualify as the worst middle infield tandem in the majors. It’d be a worst case scenario for our young pitching staff and totally counter to our effort to keep pitch counts down.

While Murphy has been a steady and solid contributor, and Flores has also shown promise, there’s no way that these two should play together frequently in 2015.

And while Matt den Dekker and Kirk Nieuwenhuis could be solid 4th outfielders each, the Mets can´t hold a tryout camp at the corner outfield spot, but instead need to bring in a solid veteran corner outfielder with contact skills and some pop to bridge the gap until Brandon Nimmo and/or Michael Conforto arrive in 2016.

Michael Cuddyer probably is the best free agent fit out there. He likely won’t receive a qualifying offer from the Rockies so the Mets wouldn’t have to sacrifice their first round pick.

Considering that he’ll turn 36, he won´t be looking at more than a 2-year contract max, if that. Overall, this sort of aligns well with Nimmo and Conforto arriving a year or so from now and wouldn´t even block den Dekker from getting into the lineup more frequently if he performs above expectations.

Cuddyer is a professional hitter who averaged an .800 OPS on the ROAD from 2011 through 2013 and who is a very solid bat outside of Coors Field. A professional hitter with some pop who is not an easy out and who would lengthen the lineup.

That he´s also very good friends with David Wright also shouldn’t hurt. And while his defense is rather mediocre, you may ignore the metrics that get skewed due to the Coors Field factor which turns any outfielder there into a liability.

World Series titles really are impossible to plan. But over the next half a dozen years, I’d pretty much bet all I have on the Mets making the playoffs more often than the Yankees.

Anything below 3-4 playoff qualifying seasons would be massively disappointing for the Mets over that span and I don’t expect that to happen.

In closing, with a few small and effective moves, this current Mets team is in line for a run of sustainable success such as they’ve never experienced before, and infinitely better than making the playoffs just three times in the last 25 years.

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Murphy Hasn’t Been Approached About Playing Outfield http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/murphy-hasnt-been-approached-about-playing-outfield.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/murphy-hasnt-been-approached-about-playing-outfield.html/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 12:26:36 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=166973 daniel murphy

On Sunday, April 12th, 2009, left fielder Daniel Murphy drifted towards the warning track inside Dolphins Stadium in Miami, FL. Johan Santana was on the mound and just a few games into the season, Murphy was about to blow a game for the New York Mets with a big error. Josh Johnson would go on to pitch a complete game shutout while Santana got a tough luck 2-1 loss.

This April, that memory will turn 6-years old and surprisingly talks have once again surfaced about moving Murphy back to the outfield according to a report by Mike Puma of the New York Post.

“Mets officials have broached the idea with Daniel Murphy about possibly playing some left field in 2015, according to a club source, but the second baseman isn’t in favor of the idea, and the team isn’t expected to press the issue.”

However. Murphy says he hasn’t been approached yet according to Mike Vorkunov of the Star-Ledger.

“It doesn’t mean it’s not coming,” Murphy said. “It just means that as of Sept. 28 that’s nothing that’s anybody has come to me and mentioned to me.”

When asked if he’d be amenable to a position change if one were to be asked of him, he said, “You play baseball, you do what you’re told,” Murphy said. “That’s the easy part.”

Murphy has a .956 fielding percentage in the outfield , the lowest he’s recorded at any position in his career. In 2014, he was a .974 fielder at second base.

Murphy is expected to earn about $8 million in arbitration this Winter, leading to speculation about whether he’s played his last game as a Met.

Asked if he thinks he’ll be back with the Mets next season, Murphy said, “That’s a question probably for him [Sandy Alderson]. I want to be back. I know I got another year of control. People way smarter than me deal with that. …I just run out there and try to play as hard as I can.”

Murphy is one of many interesting story-lines that will unfold as we move into the winter months. He batted .289 this season and led the team with 172 hits, 37 doubles and 79 runs scored. Additionally, his .734 OPS was second only to Lucas Duda among qualifiers.

As he enters his third and final year of arbitration it should be noted that he and the Mets have always avoided arbitration the past. But the real question is whether he’s priced himself out of the Mets’ reach and is moved this offseason, or if he’ll be back at second base for the Mets in 2015.

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Derek Jeter Through The Eyes Of A Mets Fan http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/derek-jeter-through-the-eyes-of-a-mets-fan.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/derek-jeter-through-the-eyes-of-a-mets-fan.html/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 04:00:52 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=166908 derek jeter

Derek Jeter, the crosstown rival player we Mets fans loved to hate. He was the embodiment of perfect and one heck of a ballplayer. From the clutch hits to the jump-throw across the diamond to saying exactly what you are supposed to say after a valiant losing effort. For 19 years Jeter did it all.

Many will argue how good Jeter actually was and to all those people I would like to politely say “shut up.” Jeter was a 14 time All-Star, 5 time Gold Glove, 5 time Silver Slugger, 5 time World Champion, the American League Rookie of the Year in 1996, and the World Series MVP in 2000. He finished his career on Sunday with 3,465 hits and a lifetime batting average of .310.

Sure Jeter was an overrated fielder, but whenever the game was on the line, you knew Jeter was going to shine. His instinctual manner on the baseball field was matched by no one. Diving head first into the stands to make a game saving catch, knowing the outcome was not going to be favorable for his body, is everything Jeter was about. Winning no matter what the cost may be. His iconic flip in Game 3 of the 2001 American League Division Series against the Oakland Athletics to save the game still does not make sense. How did a shortstop know to sprint from his position to the first base line and flip the ball perfectly to cut down the tying run at home? Only Jeter.

He was the epitome of consistency. For most of his career you could pencil No. 2 into the lineup every game. Jeter played 145 or more games in 16 out of his 19 full seasons in the Major Leagues. If only the Mets could find someone like that.

Hating the New York Yankees is something most baseball fans enjoy doing because it is so easy. The way they spend money, Alex Rodriguez, the “Yankee way”, their fans, Roger Clemens, the list goes on and on. Jeter was always different than any of that. He was a hero in the baseball world. One of the most well-mannered and classy individuals to ever have ‘New York’ emblazoned across the front of their jersey. The way he played the game and handled the media, while frolicking around with a new super model every week, was something else. It is almost unimaginable that someone can be as successful as he was in the New York market for 10, let alone 20 years.

He deserved all the praise, gifts and commercials this year and anyone who wants to complain about that just has not being paying attention. We all witnessed a player grow from a starry-eyed 20-year-old to one of the best to ever play the shortstop position, a living legend. It was fun to watch and as a baseball fan it is sad to see him go.

With Jeter retiring, the Yankees’ dominance of New York should soon follow suit. Now the time has come for the New York Mets to take center stage and take this town over. No more ‘Core 4,’ no more living legends. The Mets are young, talented and ready to rock the baseball world. it’s our time, now.

So for one last time we tip our caps to Derek Jeter, the Captain. Not our captain, but a darn good one at that.

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Alfonzo and Abreu Among Candidates To Replace Lamar Johnson http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/former-mets-alfonzo-abreu-among-candidates-to-replace-lamar-johnson.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/former-mets-alfonzo-abreu-among-candidates-to-replace-lamar-johnson.html/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 00:41:17 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=166958 bobby abreu

Edgardo Alfonzo and Bobby Abreu have emerged as the leading candidates to replace Lamar Johnson as Mets hitting coach according to Mike Puma of the New York Post.

Abreu expressed interest in the job after his retirement on Sunday and according to Puma’s sources, Alfonzo was not very interested in the job before the season but would consider it if he was offered the position.

Last week, the Post reported that while the Mets might have interest in moving 3rd base coach Tim Teufel to that role, he is not currently interested.

Alfonzo was an extremely popular player in the ’90s. He hit .292 in 8 seasons in New York. He ranks 5th in Mets franchise history with 1136 hits. Alfonzo is also 9th on the Mets all time list with 120 home runs.

Abreu on the other hand is an all time great hitter. He is 103rd on the all time hits list with 2470, collecting most of those for the Phillies. He also collected 400+ hits for the Yankees and Angels.

Either would be a positive influence on the Mets and could potentially fit Sandy Alderson’s philosophy. Both could preach patience and one will likely become the next Mets hitting coach.

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Mets Management and the Acceptance of Mediocrity http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/mets-management-and-the-acceptance-of-mediocrity.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/mets-management-and-the-acceptance-of-mediocrity.html/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 21:27:57 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=166722 Jeff+Wilpon+Sandy+Alderson+New+York+Mets+Introduce+hIi7kWeRE_bl

The Mets entered the 2011 season with a new skipper and a new General Manager. Despite realizing we’d need to rebuild, Fred Wilpon claimed, “In this city, it’s all about winning.” We are now four years removed from that statement and apparently it’s NOT all about winning. After finishing below .500 every year since, ownership recently decided to bring back both Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins for more of the same.

Yes, our farm system is stronger now than it was in 2011. Yes, the Mets are on the cusp of possibly having the most dominant rotation in the league, if not all of Baseball. (Of course, we hold our breath after the disaster that was Generation K twenty years ago). But, if as Wilpon stated, it’s all about winning, why is mediocrity now being rewarded?

Davey Johnson was our most successful manager. In six full-seasons, the Mets always finished over 500. He guided this club to their second and last World Series championship, two division titles and was the skipper of our most successful run ever. His .588 winning percentage is unmatched. Yet, Davey was fired early in 1990 when the Mets were (gasp!) two games under .500. Winning was expected and mediocrity (20-22) would not be tolerated.

willie randolph

The second most successful manager in our history was Willie Randolph with a .544 winning percentage. In three full seasons a Randolph-led Mets team never finished below 500. Yet, in spite of dethroning the Braves atop the NL East in 2006 and keeping his team in the fight until game 162 in 2007, Randolph was dismissed in 2008 when the Mets were (gasp again) one game under .500. Once again, winning was expected and mediocrity (34-35) would not be accepted.

Loved or hated, Bobby Valentine’s .534 winning percentage is 3rd best in Mets history. He’s the only manager to lead the Mets to two consecutive post-seasons, something that Davey or Gil Hodges never accomplished. In his six full seasons, Valentines’ Mets finished over .500 five times. The first time he finished under, 75-86, Valentine was fired.

Yogi Berra is a baseball icon, especially in New York. He was a coach in 1969 and managed the ’73 club that came within one hit of winning the World Series. The Mets finished above .500 in two of Berra’s three seasons at the helm. However, management was unhappy and wanted more. Yogi posted a 497 winning percentage and unlike the aforementioned managers, he was actually OVER 500 (56-53) at the time of his dismissal.

Enter our current skipper. Terry Collins is the only Mets manager in franchise history with four consecutive losing seasons. Under Collins, the Mets have failed to improve, have failed to play one single important game, and have continually gone through the motions of playing out the schedule after the All-Star Break.

One out of every three teams in the NL now makes the post-season. But since 2011, the Mets have not even come remotely close to being in a pennant race. His winning percentage is .467, lower than even Jerry Manuel and Joe Frazier, only slightly above good ol’ Dallas Green and Jeff Torborg. Regardless of Collins’ failures for four straight seasons, it’s evident that mediocrity is not only tolerated now, but actually rewarded.

I found it amusing that within hours of ownership compensating Collins and Alderson for four straight seasons of utter averageness the Braves fired their GM, Frank Wren. After all, Wren’s Braves made the post-season only 3 times in 7 years. In Atlanta, as it used to be in Flushing, mediocrity is not rewarded.

When I pointed out this irony to a friend of mine who’s also a die-hard Mets fan, he stated, “That’s because the Braves are built to win now whereas the Mets are building to win long-term.” I found this amusing also. Think about it. The Braves have made the post-season 14 times in 20 years and they’re built to win now. Meanwhile, the Mets, who’ve made the post-season just 3 times in 20 years are built to win later.

I think it’s safe to say that with 14 trips to the playoffs since 1995, the Braves are in fact built to win now and in the longterm. But if winning longterm really is the Mets goal, does anyone out there truly believe in their heart the Mets will make the playoffs 14 times between next year and 2035?

To further drive home the point about mediocrity being the new normal, on Friday the D-backs fired their skipper. In 2011, Kirk Gibson was Manager of the Year, his first full season. In 2012 and 2013, Arizona finished 81-81. Yet, with his team sitting at the bottom of the division this year, management felt a change was needed. Unlike New York, losing was not accepted, nor rewarded.

Many of you probably disagree with me. The Mets are quite possibly poised for a dynasty—just like we were in 2006 and again in the mid-90’s with Paul Wilson and Bill Pulsipher leading the way. Alderson had to rebuild. He needed to trim salary. We can blame Jason Bay, Bobby Bonilla, Omar Minaya, Bernie Madoff, the dimensions of Citi Field and anything else we choose to. But, as Fred Wilpon said, “It’s all about winning.” One would think, by listening to the ‘company line’ and regurgitating the same talking points our front office spews, that the Mets are the only team who need to turn things around. This is not true.

Chicago White Sox v Kansas City Royals

In 2010, the KC Royals finished last with 67 wins. In 4 years, they’ve improved by more than 20 victories and are returning to the post-season in 2014.

In 2010, the Baltimore Orioles finished last with merely 66 victories. In 2014, they have the 2nd best record in the AL, burying both the Yankees (12 GB) and the defending champion Red Sox (25 GB). It’s amazing what can be accomplished with a good manager.

In 2010, the Angels finished below 500 and in third place. In 2014, they have the best record in Baseball.

In 2010, the Mariners lost more than 100 games. Last year they lost 91. This year, however, they battled for the wild-card all season before just falling short.

In 2010, the Pirates lost 105 times! Now, in 2014, the Bucs will be returning to the post-season for their 2nd straight year.

In 2010, the Nats finished last with a record of 69-93. In 2012, just 2 years later, and again this year, they have the best record in the National League.

In 2010, the Mets finished with 79 wins. Four years later, four years under the Alderson/Collins regime, and where are we? …well, 79 wins.

What separates the other teams from the Mets is they’re actually doing what it takes to win, not just promising fans a brighter tomorrow and spouting lip service. They’re bringing up rookies, signing players, and hiring good managers and talented coaches. They’re not rewarding mediocrity.  These teams I mentioned above are able to turn things around in a matter of four years while in Flushing nothing has changed other than promises of better tomorrows.

frank-cashen-davey-johnson

In 1984, ownership promoted Davey Johnson from AAA. The Mets were rebuilding with youth then also and Johnson was the obvious choice. He knew the players—Doc, Darryl, Mitchell, Dykstra—and they knew him. It seems like history should be repeating itself. But not nowadays. While Wally Backman has guided the Triple-A team to the championship two straight years Collins has yet to reach .500 in four years.

Like Davey 30 years ago, Wally knows these young players and they know him. I don’t know if Wally would be a success or a failure and neither do you. However, based on his record of winning contrasted with Collins’ record of losing, I’ll take my chances with Wally.

The 2014 regular season has concluded and Mets fans will do what we always do lately: watching ten other teams play in October. Oh—and counting down until Opening Day. Surely, 2015 will be better and our future is bright. After all, it’s all about winning, right Fred?

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Biggest Takeaways From the 2014 Season http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/biggest-takeaways-from-the-2014-season.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/biggest-takeaways-from-the-2014-season.html/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 20:15:54 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=166688 With the Mets 8-3 win yesterday afternoon over the Astros, they closed out what was a rather hectic 2014 season, one filled with both surprises and disappointments, yet one that brought reasons to be optimistic for next season. They finished 79-83, solidly better than last year, but still leaving room to improve. Here are my five biggest takeaways from this year.

The Bullpen is Legit

jeurys familia

The bullpen has been a huge question mark for the Mets over the past few seasons, but they seem to have solved the problem with a strategy a number of teams are now using: put young pitching in the bullpen.

Sandy Alderson finally gave back-end bullpen jobs to Jenrry Mejia and Jeurys Familia, who have both been nasty. After having among the league’s worst bullpens the past few years, the Mets now have a top ten ‘pen. And unlike many dominant bullpens, it is relatively young.

Instead of opting to stick pitchers like Familia and Mejia in the rotation, the Mets made the right call converting them to relievers. In order to be a starter, you really need three good pitches, with the third preferably being a changeup. Familia and Mejia just weren’t meant to be starters and it’s about time they were put in their rightful places.

Mets Made the Right Choice at First

The choice was finally made this April, when the Mets picked Lucas Duda over Ike Davis in one of the most significant decisions the front office made all season. Duda went on to post a 133 wRC+ and a 3.1 fWAR, while Davis lagged behind with a 109 wRC+ and 0.3 fWAR. Duda ended the year with 30 home runs, while Davis finished with 11. The right choice has obviously been made.

While the Mets will likely have to find a good platoon partner for Duda, they have found themselves a legitimate slugger, one who could hit 30 plus home runs for a few years (Duda is only 28).

Lagares is Baseball’s Best Defender

juan lagares catchJuan Lagares catapulted himself this year from a question mark to a cornerstone player. Lagares put up a solid .281/.321/.382 line, hovering around a league average wRC+. That’s not bad, especially for a center fielder. When you combine Lagares’ incredible defensive numbers, this season was much better than you might think.

Say what you will about defensive metrics, but they were pretty consistent with Lagares this year. Almost every defensive metric, from SABR Defensive Index to UZR, had him around 20 runs above average. That’s astounding, especially when you consider the sample size. Lagares didn’t even qualify for the batting title this year.

On a per-game basis, there is no player slicker with the glove than Lagares. He put up a 3.8 fWAR in just 116 games. If he can play a full season, he is a perennial All-Star caliber player.

Starting Rotation is Loaded

The starting rotation was expected to be a force this season, but it exceeded its expectations. Not only did Jonathon Niese, Bartolo Colon, and Zack Wheeler deliver solid seasons, but the team also saw the emergence of a future ace, Jacob deGrom.

The rotation for next year was already looked loaded, even without deGrom. With Matt Harvey back next season, the Mets could have two 130 ERA+-type pitchers to go along with three or four in the 100 range. How many teams can say that every one of their starters is near or above league average? Not many. The rotation will be, barring a plethora of unforeseen injuries, among baseball’s best.

This Team is Built Right

matt harvey

How many teams can lose their ace for the season, have their best player play injured, and still win five more games than the previous year? Without an influx of new money, it doesn’t happen very much.

As tough as the past few years have been, the Mets are clearly on a brighter path. The record has looked more or less the same over the past few years, but the composition of the roster has changed drastically. Compare the 2011 roster with this year’s.

On the position player side, the Mets are a younger team, with more youth coming. With the way the Mets roster was constructed a few years ago, they had to get younger before they could get better. They are now clearly on the upswing.

* * * * * * * *

When the Mets come back to camp next year, they will have a healthy Matt Harvey and a healthy David Wright. Assuming similar production from the rest of the roster, that immediately makes them borderline playoff contenders. Then you factor in  full years of second half-like production from Travis d’Arnaud and Jacob deGrom, and the Mets are right there. Granted that’s a very optimistic view, but it shows just how close this team is from being a contender. If the Mets can add one or two significant pieces this offseason, they will be a dangerous team next year.

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3 Up, 3 Down: Hot Hand Luke http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/3-up-3-down-hot-hand-luke.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/3-up-3-down-hot-hand-luke.html/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 17:00:31 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=166894 daniel murphy lucas duda

The New York Mets wrapped up their 2014 campaign at Citi Field yesterday, taking two out of three from the Houston Astros to finish 79-83 on the year. The Amazins’ concluded their final two games with authority as they head into a highly anticipated offseason. Below are the series takeaways in this edition of 3 & 3.

3 Up

1. In front of a crowd of nearly 35,000 fans, which included his parents, Lucas Duda smashed his 30th home run of the season and rounded out one of the most hysterical dugout celebrations I’ve ever seen on television. The two-run jack was his 14th at home this year, the most by any player at Citi Field in a single season and it was a total no-doubter. To witness a player discover his power stroke in Flushing, in a lineup where he is the protection, is just remarkable. For the series, Duda hit (.333), slugged (.917) and totaled an OPS of (1.250) to go with his 6 RBI’s and 2 runs scored.

2. Matt den Dekker turned in one of the best series of his brief Major League career, going 4 for 10 (.400) with an RBI and a run scored. The majority of writers, fans and critics believe the Mets would benefit from another power bat in the lineup and feel that left field is the most logical position for such an acquisition. However, den Dekker put up a strong fight towards the end season to throw his name in the conversation. In the month of September, he hit .328, got on base at a .426 clip and posted an .858 OPS. After being in center for the majority of his amateur and professional career, den Dekker made great adjustments defensively and played a strong left field. An outfield tandem of den Dekker in left and Juan Lagares in center is about as ‘lock-down’ as you can get. I’m probably in the minority here, but barring any overwhelming offers, I’d like to retain the pitching we’d use to trade for an outfielder and watch Matt back them up in left.

bobby abreu3. In the 5th inning of yesterday’s game, Bobby Abreu knocked the 2,470th hit of his 18 year MLB career. Immediately after, Abreu left to a standing ovation as Eric Young Jr. came in to pinch run for the veteran. Citi Field sent the former All-Star off with a warm and joyous applause, but many see this as merely the beginning of Abreu’s career as a Met. The front office believes he had a positive influence on the many young call-ups in search of guidance this season and find his offensive approach to be identical to the organizations hitting philosophy. MLB.com’s Tim Healey summed up the end to Abreu’s storied career nicely, noting that he “was playing against the organization with which he got his professional start (the Astros), playing for the team against which he collected his first big league hit (the Mets), and playing under the same manager as when he was a 22-year-old September callup in 1996 (Collins).” Congratulations Bobby, may all the good fortune that followed you as a ball player continue in the next chapter of your life.

3 Down

1. Jon Niese battled injuries and discomfort all season and ended up leaving Friday’s game early with the return of an accelerated heart rate. Overall, Bartolo Colon was the only Mets pitcher to reach 200+ innings this season. Zack Wheeler came close at 185.1 and despite the fact that he remained healthy all year, he consistently suffered from high pitch counts that forced him to routinely exit games in the 5th or 6th inning. Dillon Gee was also no stranger to the disabled list. Matt Harvey will be coming off of Tommy John Surgery and undoubtedly be under an innings limit and Jacob deGrom, aside from an outstanding rookie campaign, battled shoulder soreness with a stint on the DL. For a team that is grounded in its young starting pitching, there’s a component of durability that’s certainly missing.

2. The Mets did tie for second place, but did so with a losing record for the 6th straight season. The club hasn’t made it to the playoffs in 8 straight seasons now and aside from the “additions” they’ll be getting from the disabled list, it doesn’t appear that much will change heading into 2015. If the team can stay healthy all season, I think we have the pieces to be relevant, at least in the wild card standings, but I hope the front office has a better back up plan than AAA Las Vegas should the youth initiative fall through next year.

3. The season is over with and I’ll still be paying an outrageous cable bill even though I’ll have nothing to watch. Here’s to Spring Training 2015, down in Port St. Lucie.

A special thank you to all those who followed along with 3 & 3 this season, I learned a tremendous amount from all of those who added their input. I also realized that expanding my thoughts on the Mets through MMO is a true passion of mine, so a special thank you to Joe D and all the MMO staff for allowing me to be a part of such a great entity. The writing was as therapeutic as the season was frustrating, but I would not have enjoyed 2014 as much as I did had it not been for Mets Merized Online.

Lets.Go.Mets.

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A Look Back At 2014′s Boldest Mets Predictions http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/a-look-back-at-2014s-boldest-mets-predictions.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/a-look-back-at-2014s-boldest-mets-predictions.html/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 16:00:21 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=166892 zack wheelerI love looking back after a season at what people were saying during spring training. Sure Sandy Alderson said that the team could win 90 games but we all knew that wasn’t a realistic goal. Instead, guys like Adam Rubin, Joe Lemire and the fine folks over at Bleacher Report all made predictions for the season. Let’s see how they did.

ESPN’s Adam Rubin speculated about whether .500 was a legitimate goal and if it mattered. Turns out the Mets fell short of that goal. He also correctly alluded to the trading of Ike Davis. He correctly speculated that Chris Young was overrated by Sandy Alderson but thought the same of Bartolo Colon. Colon ended up being a strong point for the Mets.

chris youngOne of the funniest things to look back on were the bullpen projections. Names like Jose Valverde, Kyle Farnsworth and Bobby Parnell were quickly replaced with Jenrry Mejia, Vic Black and Jeurys Familia. In the end, Rubin had the Mets finishing in 4th in the NL East with a 76-86 record. They ended up winning three more games and finishing in 2nd.

Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Sean Cunningham made some of the more amusing predictions. He had Chris Young finishing in the top 10 in home runs in the NL, Travis D’Arnaud becoming a first time All-Star and Daniel Murphy finishing in the top 5 for the batting title. Murphy’s .289 average puts him at #13.

Cunningham did get two things spot on. He predicted that Zack Wheeler would have the team’s worst winning percentage and that Juan Lagares would win a Gold Glove. While Wheeler’s wasn’t quite the worst at .500, it wasn’t good and Lagares could easily take home center field’s top award next month.

Sports Illustrated’s Joe Lemire made a few bold predictions that got away from him. Among them were that the Mets would have a winning season with 82 wins. We know now that this wasn’t the case.

The prediction game is fun but it’s meant more as an exercise than a critique. Predicting sports is near impossible and baseball is probably the trickiest of them all. I’ll be sure to make my predictions for 2015 well known so that one year from now I can see how wrong (or right) I was!

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Was Game 162 The Start Of Something Special For Alderson’s Mets? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/was-game-162-the-start-of-something-special-for-aldersons-mets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/was-game-162-the-start-of-something-special-for-aldersons-mets.html/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 13:15:53 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=166882 lucas duda USATSIIt’s hard to witness the moment that a team finally clicks, especially when that team has been trying to turn things around for half a decade. Yesterday’s 8-3 win over the Houston Astros in the seasons final game felt like it meant something. While the team will still finish below .500, they won more games than last season and a little bit of winning energy was infused into Citi Field.

Energy is a very hard thing to measure for a baseball team. With so much momentum required to win, people have talked all year about the Mets needing to learn-how-to-win in 2014, so that they’re prepared to win in 2015. This season on the whole didn’t feel like them ‘learning to win.’

September was a different story. They finish the month with a 14-10 record, one victory shy of their season high marks in April and July. Still, it felt different. Before the game, Terry Collins seemed to foreshadow that very ideal. “In the past, it’s always been about these guys have collapsed in September. We haven’t done that. We’ve actually played well, and I think at the end, the guys are going to be rewarded in the future” (Zach Schonbrun, NYT).

Sandy Alderson addressed the state of the team Sunday after the game.

“If we’re going to be one of the top five teams we’ve got to be in the top five with run production, we’ve got to be in the top five pitching-wise. Do I think we can get from eight to five with what we have? I think it’s possible but that doesn’t mean we’ll rely on what we have. But I do think we need to get better in that regard, but we don’t have to get a lot better. If we can go from, like I said, middle of the pack – I think we’re eight or something like that – if we can get up to three or four we’ll be in great shape”

New York Mets Sandy Alderson at Citi FieldSo the manager and general manager both seem optimistic about 2015. Alderson seems to feel that adding 10-12 wins will get the job done. The question is, did game 162 feel like the spark?

It was the way in-which they won. They payed homage to Bobby Abreu in his final game while Lucas Duda smacked the ball around the yard. Even Ruben Tejada got in on the home run hitting. There was applause and energy in a stadium that has been filled with empty seats for so much of the summer.

Alderson has led us this far. He’s re-tooled the minor league system, stocked the pitching staff with more arms than a manager could know what to do with and is now just a few moves away from putting a winning team on the field. 2014 might have sucked on the whole but games 161 and 162 showed us that winning baseball is on the horizon in New York and Sandy Alderson is leading us there.

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Wally Backman Will Not Join The Mets In 2015 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/wally-backman-will-not-join-the-mets-in-2015.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/wally-backman-will-not-join-the-mets-in-2015.html/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 12:27:20 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=166884 backman

Wally Backman will not join the Mets in 2015. Instead he will return to AAA Las Vegas, where he just won a division title and Manager of the Year in the Pacific Coast League, according to ESPN’s Adam Rubin. Instead, Sandy Alderson, who spoke briefly about the topic on Sunday, will likely make some minor changes to the coaching staff including reassigning Lamar Johnson and Luis Natera.

Without any other changes to the major league coaching roster, it seems there is no fit for Backman in Queens. Side stepping like a pro, Alderson concluded that “I never like to announce changes if there are going to be any at the time the season ends. So anything we do will be deferred (Adam Rubin, ESPN).

Adam Rubin’s source calls the changes the Mets will make “limited” while Andy Martino of The Daily News quoted a source as saying that the previously mentioned coaches would be reassigned and Bob Geren would return.

The most interesting twist in this discussion is the idea of Backman interviewing outside of New York. His history with the Mets front office aside, Backman has done an admirable job with the 51′s and with coaching vacancy’s looming throughout baseball, he could make sense for another club.

Mets fans seem more interested in moving Backman into a position with the major league team than Alderson and the front office. For now it appears he’ll be back in Las Vegas for 2015 unless another team poaches him.

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Alderson Says Mets Will Likely Make Citi Field More Homer Friendly http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/alderson-says-mets-will-likely-make-citi-field-more-homer-friendly.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/alderson-says-mets-will-likely-make-citi-field-more-homer-friendly.html/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 02:55:41 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=166612 david wright

After the Mets handily defeated the Astros by a score of 8-3 on Sunday to close out the season, Sandy Alderson met with the media and fielded questions about the state of the team and shared some early offseason thoughts.

“Offensively, we need to score some more runs and in a couple of places in the batting order and in the field, we probably need to take a look at things,” Alderson said.

One way the Mets will look to boost offensive production will be to bring in the fences.

“I think it is likely. We made changes a couple of years ago,” Alderson said. “Those have been received well and play well. Anything we do will probably be limited to center and right-center areas. But I think they’ll be good for the game, good for the fans. I’m sure that one or two of our players will benefit as well.”

It’s no secret that these dimension changes are geared toward making Citi Field cozier for David Wright and Curtis Granderson

Obviously bringing in the fences will aid the opposition as well, but the Mets seem convinced it will help them more.

In 2014, the Mets hit 58 home runs at Citi Field while their opponents went deep 71 times.

The last time the Mets brought in the fences after the 2011 season the opposition went from 58 home runs to 88 home runs – a difference of 30 more homers.

As for the Mets, they went from 50 home runs to 67 home runs – a difference of 17 more homers.

I think what the Mets fail to realize is that the problem may not be the fences, but the fact we need better hitters.

Interestingly enough, the original concept for Citi Field was to cater to pitching and defense. Now that the Mets have finally gotten to that point with a young and promising rotation, plus one of the best defensive center fielders in the game, they’ve decided to make it more homer friendly because “it’s good for the fans.”

I’d rather do things because it’s good for our chances to get into the postseason, but what do I know.

Check out this pretty good rant about this on Fair and Unbalanced who writes: “So, instead of getting the hitters they need, the Mets will try to enhance the warning track power of the hitters they have by bringing in the fences.”

Yep, exactly…

(Updated 9/28)

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MMO Game Recap: Mets 8, Astros 3 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/mmo-game-recap-mets-8-astros-3.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/mmo-game-recap-mets-8-astros-3.html/#comments Sun, 28 Sep 2014 21:19:17 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=166852 lucas duda hr 30

Capping off his breakout season, Lucas Duda provided the offense with a four-RBI afternoon as the Mets ended 2014 on a high note Sunday, routing the Astros by a final score of 8-3.

Duda reached a pair of individual milestones in the game, most notably his 30th home run, which came in his final at-bat of the year. Duda also reached 92 runs batted in, both figures the most for a given Mets player since 2012 when Ike Davis had 32 home runs and David Wright had 93 RBIs.

Bartolo Colon went six innings allowing three runs on eight hits while walking two and striking out four, earning his 15th win of the season. It is the eighth time in Colon’s career that he has reached 15 wins or more and the 204th victory of his career.

bobby abreu

Bobby Abreu, who announced his retirement Friday, had a base hit in the fifth inning and was replaced with Eric Young Jr. on the basepaths, walking off to a standing ovation from the 34,897 fans in attendance. Abreu retired with 2,470 career hits, 1,475 walks and 574 doubles in 18 seasons for the Mets, Astros, Phillies, Yankees, Angels, and Dodgers.

The Mets end their season 79-83, their highest win total since 2010 but their sixth straight losing season.

Thank you from all of us here at MMO for reading.

Get ready for what we hope will be a lively offseason!

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MMO Game Thread: Astros vs Mets, 1:10 PM (This Is It!) http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/mmo-game-thread-astros-vs-mets-110-pm-this-is-it.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/mmo-game-thread-astros-vs-mets-110-pm-this-is-it.html/#comments Sun, 28 Sep 2014 14:02:54 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=166825 bartolo colon

The end is near. This afternoon at Citi Field the New York Mets will play their final game of the season, a rubber match against the Houston Astros. The veteran Bartolo Colon (14-13, 4.08) will close out the 2014 campaign for the Mets and he’ll be opposed by Astros right-hander Nick Tropeano (1-2, 3.78) in a 1:10 PM start.

The Mets (78-83) enter the final day of the season tied with the Atlanta Braves for second place in the NL East, and one game ahead of the fourth place Miami Marlins.

Colon is just 3.2 innings shy of reaching the 200-inning plateau for the Mets. The last time he tossed 200 innings was in 2005, when he went 21-8 and won the American League Cy Young Award for the Los Angeles Angels.

Bobby Abreu is expected to be in the lineup for what will be his final start as a major leaguer. On Friday, the 40-year-old veteran outfielder announced that he would retire after this season. “I feel happy with my career,” he said. “I’m blessed. We all create goals in our lives. And to me, as a baseball player, I created all my goals and I met all those goals.”

After hitting a dramatic walk-off home run on Saturday night, Lucas Duda is just one more longball away from a 30-homer season. He’s also two runs batted in away from a 90 RBI season.

No matter what happens today, the Mets will not have a protected draft pick in 2015. That means they will forfeit their first-round selection next June if they sign a free agent who receives a qualifying offer from his former team.

Starting Lineup

  1. Matt den Dekker – LF
  2. Bobby Abreu – RF
  3. Daniel Murphy – 3B
  4. Lucas Duda – 1B
  5. Curtis Granderson – CF
  6. Wilmer Flores – 2B
  7. Ruben Tejada – SS
  8. Juan Centeno – C
  9. Bartolo Colon – RHP

The Mets and Astros button up the jerseys for one more time this season as they look to turn the lights out on the 2014 season. Last night, the Mets won thanks to a walk-off homer from Lucas Duda, his 29th of the season, and today they look to win 79 games in a season for the first time since 2010. Today Bartolo Colon takes the mound as he squares off against Nick Tropeano.

Bartolo Colon is 14-13 over 30 games this season pitching 196.1 innings with a 4.08 ERA. Colon is going to have to bounce back from a poor start in Washington where he allowed 4 ER over 6.0 innings. Last year he pitched against Houston four times allowing 3 earned over 6, none over 7, 5 over 4 and 1 over 6. The Astros have the following numbers against Colon:

  • Altuve 5-14, 2B
  • Dominguez 2-12, 2B
  • Castro 6-9, HR
  • Carter 1-10, 2B
  • Villar 1-5

Nick Tropeano gets the fourth start of his rookie season. He is coming off of the worst start of his brief career, allowing 4 ER over 6.2 innings. He has not faced the Mets in a major league game and has never faced any current Mets players.

This is my last game preview of the year. It’s been a pleasure writing these for you. I’ll be back again in the Spring when I begin my 8th season with the best group of Mets writers on the web – Metsmerized!

Lets Go Mets!

mmo

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Mets Should Seize The Moment And Rock This Town Next Season http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/mets-should-seize-the-moment-and-rock-this-town-next-season.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/mets-should-seize-the-moment-and-rock-this-town-next-season.html/#comments Sun, 28 Sep 2014 13:58:13 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=166746 curtis granderson jacob degrom

As we head into the offseason, the city of New York is ripe for the picking. The Yankees are still king while the Mets have been the butt of the joke for years. But an era is ending in the Bronx. The last link to the Yankee Dynasty will be gone. Our crosstown rivals will have missed the playoffs for two straight seasons. Five Octobers will have passed since the last Yankee world series.

An entire generation of young fans have grown up knowing nothing but winning in the Bronx. The Mets on the other hand, have six straight losing seasons and have missed the playoffs the last eight. If becoming a Mets fan wasn’t ingrained into you from a relative that was already a die-hard and your baseball loyalties were up for grabs in the New York area – chances are you’re likely not reading this and you’re likely wearing a No. 2 jersey.

The Mets have a chance to spark some change and grab some of the New York spotlight as soon as the 2015 season… But will they take advantage of this opportunity?

Spearheading a Mets renaissance is a young, dynamic pitching staff being led by young guns Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, and Jacob deGrom. Their back end of the rotation currently consisting of Jon Niese, Dillon Gee, and Bartolo Colon is solid, although at least one of them will likely be traded before next Opening Day. Not to worry as the Amazins have some strong reinforcements waiting in the wings in Noah Syndergaard, Rafael Montero, and Steven Matz. Additionally, the bullpen, which was a perennial weakness, has suddenly emerged as a major strength.

Does the offense need some work? Yes, it does. The Mets rank 26th in the majors with a .670 OPS, 28th with a .238 batting average, and 22nd in runs scored. Clearly, they need to address this and it may take more than just bringing in the fences. Another bat or two is what it will take to get them into the top third of the league in runs. We squandered far too many solid pitching performances this season – enough to know that great pitching alone won’t get us where we want to be. We have a chance to do something special, but it will take a true commitment to winning and a dedication to securing the right pieces to make it all work.

When you look across town, what do you see? An icon that is gone, an offense that has struggled since their best hitter went to Seattle, and the return of baseball’s biggest freak show – Alex Rodriguez. With an aging roster saddled with too many bloated and underperforming contracts, the Yankees are clearly on their way down.

If the Mets play their cards right and are willing to address the few remaining issues this offseason, they can seize this opportunity and capture the city in a way that hasn’t been seen since the 1980s when the Mets ruled New York. It’s happened before and it could happen again. Even with the impediment of owners who don’t seem to care and are unwilling to increase payroll, we can still overcome their dysfunction and rock this town if we make the right moves this offseason. Let’s do it.

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