Mets Merized Online http://metsmerizedonline.com Tue, 29 Jul 2014 23:07:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 MMO Game Thread: Phillies vs Mets, 7:10 PM #HammerHamels http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/mmo-game-thread-phillies-vs-mets-710-pm-hammerhamels.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/mmo-game-thread-phillies-vs-mets-710-pm-hammerhamels.html/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 22:08:20 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=162024 dillon gee

The Mets continue their series against the Philadelphia Phillies tonight at Citi Field. Dillon Gee (4-3, 3.49) opposes left-hander Cole Hamels (5-5, 2.72) in the 7:10 PM matchup.

In his last start, Gee lost, 9-1, against the Milwaukee Brewers on July 24 at Miller Park. He pitched 5.0 innings for the second consecutive start, his shortest outings of the season, and allowed a season-high six runs, all earned, including a home run to Jonathan Lucroy.

Jeurys Familia has allowed one earned run over his last 20.1 innings dating back to June 12 for a 0.44 ERA, the third-lowest ERA in the majors over that span. Familia has hurled 8.0 straight scoreless innings and ranks seventh among NL relievers in ERA (1.88) with a minimum of 40.0 innings and leads the team with 10 holds.

In what was his final start before the non-waiver trade deadline, Colon notched career win No. 199 on Monday. Colon will try to join Juan Marichal (243) and Pedro Martinez (219) are the only Dominican-born pitchers to reach the 200-win plateau. Martinez notched No. 200 as a Met back in 2006.

Daniel Murphy registered his fourth straight multi-hit game last night, tying his career-high. He has had four straight multi-hit games six previous times. Murphy has
at least one hit in nine of 10 games, batting .341 (14-41) during that span and is tied for the NL lead with 127 hits with the Giants’ Hunter Pence.

Maybe some day Duda will learn to hit against LHP or maybe he won’t. One thing is certain and that is it will never happen if he keeps sitting against them – even during the most torrid hot streak of his career.

Adam Rubin calculates that Jenrry Mejia and Anthony Recker are currently projected to earn Super 2 status and get arbitration eligibility this offseason. Matt Harvey and Jeurys Familia will miss the cutoff. Super 2 status does not expedite free-agency, which occurs after a player accumulates six years of service. It merely means the players get four years of arbitration eligibility rather than three.

Starting Lineup

  1. Curtis Granderson – RF
  2. Daniel Murphy – 2B
  3. David Wright – 3B
  4. Eric Campbell – 1B
  5. Chris Young – LF
  6. Travis d’Arnaud – C
  7. Juan Lagares – CF
  8. Wilmer Flores – SS
  9. Dillon Gee – RHP 

The Mets got off to a strong start on the homestand with a 7-1 to win last night. The offense started strong dropping 4 runs on AJ. Burnett before tagging him for more before he was pulled out. Meanwhile the Mets pitching was on point. Tonight they look to replicate that with Dillon Gee on the mound has he squares off against Cole Hamels.

Dillon Gee is 4-3 over 11 games and 69.2 innings with a 3.49 ERA. His last two starts have been rough as he has allowed 10 ER in 10 innings of owrk. Before that he had a 2.56 ERA for the season. In his only start against Philly this year, he allowed 3 ER over 6.0 innings of work. The Phillies have the following numbers against Gee:

  • Rollins 11-22, 2 2B, HR
  • Utley 5-20, 2 2B
  • Howard 9-18, 2B, 6 HR
  • Brown 4-15, 2B
  • Ruiz 1-13, 2B
  • Revere 3-8

The Mets will get a look at a familiar foe tonight in Cole Hamels who is 5-5 on the season over 18 starts and 122.1 innings with a 2.72 ERA. In his last 2 starts he has tossed 15.0 innings while allowing 10 hits, only 2 ER and striking out 19 batters. He has faced the Mets three times this season with mixed results. The first time he allowed 6 ER run over 4.2 innings. The next two times he allowed a combined 2 ER, 3 total over 14.0 innings. The Mets have the following numbers against Cole Hamels:

  • Wright 24-73, 4 2B, 3B, 5 HR
  • Murphy 17-44, 4 2B, HR
  • Rejada 9-31, 3 2B
  • E Young 1-28, 2 2B
  • C Young 6-23, 2B, 3B
  • Lagares 8-20, 3 2B
  • Duda 1-13
  • Campbell 3-6, 2B
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Collins Doesn’t Sound Like A Big Fan Of Wilmer Flores http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/collins-doesnt-sound-like-a-big-fan-of-wilmer-flores.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/collins-doesnt-sound-like-a-big-fan-of-wilmer-flores.html/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 21:00:29 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=162110 terry collins snarky

The following transcript is courtesy of Adam Rubin of ESPN New York. It’s a conversation that just concluded between reporters and Terry Collins at Citi Field:

Reporter: ”When you take a look at Wilmer Flores, when he was up here in May, when he played in five consecutive games, he hit. When he plays every other game he doesn’t hit. Is now the time to see what Flores can do on an everyday basis?”

Collins: ”It all depends where you’re going to play him.”

Reporter: ”You don’t have confidence in him at shortstop?”

Collins: ”No, no. I didn’t say that. The other kid [Tejada] is playing pretty good. I don’t know what games you’ve been watching, but we’ve been playing pretty good lately.”

Reporter: ”He’s 3-for-29.”

Collins: ”We’re playing pretty good lately. You know, Ike Davis wasn’t hitting and we were winning games. So you pick and choose your spots. Wilmer came up because Ruben got beaned, so we were concerned about having a backup. So that’s why he’s here. There were no instructions to play him everyday. We’re going to try to get him at-bats. That’s why he’s in there today.”

Reporter: ”What do you need to see from him to keep him in the lineup everyday?”

Collins: ”Nothing from him. We’ve got to figure out if he is going to be the shortstop, or if the other guy is going to be the shortstop.”

During Flores’ first call-up to the Mets, he hit a grand slam and drove in six against the Phillies to win the game. Afterward, Collins said the following about Flores:

“It’s not like he hit it against Cliff Lee.”

After sitting idle for 12 straight days, Collins was asked if that was harmful to Flores’ development. The Mets manager responded:

“I cant worry about developing players, I have games I’ve got to win.”

Last week, when asked if Flores would share time at short with Tejada, the Mets manager said:

“Lets understand that if Tejada didn’t get beaned, Flores is not even here right now. Got it?”

Cripes… Yeah, we got it…

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Show Us the Money?! http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/show-us-the-money.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/show-us-the-money.html/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 18:20:15 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=162095 Ever since the end of the 2009 season, financial issues have been a critical if not overriding factor for the New York Mets and their decision making.

saul katz and fred wilpon

Whether it was the $140+ million major league payroll loaded with “toxic” contracts for a sub .500 mostly veteran team, the subsequent decline in attendance and related revenue, possible effects of the Madoff-Ponzi-scheme, including the claim filed by the administrator of the Madoff estate or some heavy leveraging of the Mets and related entities with all sorts of debt – it´s often been Finances first. And Baseball a very distant second.

Interestingly enough though, very little has been written or said about the Mets´ CURRENT financial situation. Basically, the claim/reporting – based on what transpired over the past few years – has been “they have no money” and it appears, fans, writers and the public believe and seemingly have accepted the Mets will be operating as a de-facto small-market team for a while.

That has led to discussion whether the Mets almost have to trade Bartolo Colon and Daniel Murphy for financial reasons leading up towards 2015 to possibly clear the roughly $20 million that duo will be making next year. Or whether the Mets even have the ability to think about taking on a significant contract such as that of Troy Tulowitzki or Carlos Gonzalez.

Shouldn’t we be discussing whether Noah Syndergaard or Rafael Montero (and Matt Harvey next year) are sufficient replacements for Colon or if and when Wilmer Flores, Matt Reynolds or Dilson Herrera can replace Daniel Murphy just fine at 2B going forward?

Shouldn’t the discussion be more about the pros and cons of parting with several promising young pieces in exchange for Tulo or CarGo than killing the debate with a “but they are too expensive anyway” comment?

METS FANS STRESSED SADHave the Mets themselves – successfully – lulled fans & media into a perception and belief that the payroll permanently has to be frozen in the $85 million range that it has hovered around for three years now?

And that a main concern right now should be that just keeping together the current roster minus free agents Chris Young, Dice-K and Bobby Abreu will probably cost over $90 million already? (Adam Rubin did the math a few days ago.)

Isn’t there some new evidence that the Mets currently are operating well below of what their “break even” ceiling actually is? Isn’t it time to reevaluate the situation? Books can and have been written about financial reorganizing or how the Mets got into this situation. But hasn’t the situation changed over the past couple of years ?

Leaving out the profits SNY – an entity majority owned by the Mets ownership group – has been earning, the explicitly stated financial goal for the Mets has been to “break even.” Something which it has failed to do for at least the past 4 years.

Operating losses - according to what´s been available via a google search or explicit statements by people who should know – were massive in 2010 and 2011 (Losses of $51 and $70 million reportedly) and a lot less severe over the past two years (23 million in 2012 and 10 million in 2013) as the major league payroll was cut by about $50 million. While instead of the dramatic decline in attendance (including premium seats) from 2009 through 2011, the Mets from 2012 through this season have merely experienced something between regression or stagnation at a very low level.

Unfortunately, there´s no detailed balance sheet for the Mets entity or “sister” companies such as SNY that are publicly available. But from what there is to gather, the financial picture is looking a lot better now than it has in recent past. The 2014 payroll, minus Ike Davis, for now projects to end up just around or even below $85 million and thus between $5-10 million less than it has been for the past couple of years.

The decline in attendance has apparently been stopped in 2014. And at least thus far, every loan due against the Mets has apparently been refinanced. Most of all though, the new National TV deal that kicked in for the 2014 season flushes in an extra $25-30 million – not subject to revenue sharing  for every MLB franchise. This is EXTRA revenue for the Mets that wasn´t there in 2013 or in previous years.

Do the math yourself: You save between $5-10 million on payroll, attendance related revenue at worst freezes at a low level or even improves slightly and you also get an extra $25-30 million in new revenue flushed into your operation. That’s a $30 to $35 million turnaround compared to 2013 and 2012 where the team – on average – reported losses of $16.5 million per year.

Mets CubsSo, assuming all other expenses (revenue sharing, travel, interest payments on debt, minor league operations, etc.) have remained about the same – and there is no indication of any significant change here between now and the past couple of years – this makes it seem probable the 2014 Mets figure to make an operating profit somewhere between $15 and $20 million if the payroll ends up close to its projection of $85 million. And in turn, the “break even” payroll would really be in the $100 to $105 million range for 2014.

Going forward, if the Mets happen to look like a more promising team in 2015 behind a full arsenal of high end young pitching and maybe the addition of another bat, attendance and revenue figure to rise, further lifting the payroll ceiling going forward.

Considering expected arbitration raises going forward, the injury to Matt Harvey and IP limits for various young arms, it’s actually understandable why the Mets didn’t already approach that payroll ceiling this year. But as it is, there’s really no reason why the 2015 payroll shouldn’t at least be in the $100 to 105 million range. And doesn’t that even make for some positive PR regarding ownership, showing their determination to field a winner?

Thus, trading Colon and / or Murphy should be BASEBALL decisions first and foremost. Just like acquiring a Tulowitzki or another high priced player should mainly be debated in terms of the young talent it’d take to make such a move instead of focusing on the annual salary. Sure, there’s no way the Mets will have a Top 5 in the majors payroll again – like they did on average from 1990 through 2011.

But it’s very likely, they’ll at least gravitate towards a “middle of the pack” payroll again rather sooner than later. Still, odd and tough to explain for a New York based franchise – but a lot better than finances being the overriding factor. So, show us the money!

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Sandy Has No Recollection Of La Russa’s Steroid Concerns… None, Zero, Nada… http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/sandy-has-no-recollection-of-la-russas-steroid-concerns-none-zero-nada.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/sandy-has-no-recollection-of-la-russas-steroid-concerns-none-zero-nada.html/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 17:29:01 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=161929 tony la russa

Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson said Monday that if Tony La Russa came to him with suspicions about performance enhancing drug use when the two were with the Oakland A’s organization, he doesn’t remember it.

“I spent a lot of time thinking about those kinds of circumstances over the years, particularly eight or nine years ago, and I have absolutely no recollection whatsoever of any such conversation,” Alderson said.

“If you go back and look at what I have said on the record, yes, I had my suspicions,” Alderson said. “I’m just here to respond to what Tony had to say and let’s leave it at that.”

Read more in the Daily News.

July 28

In an interview with the Daily News this weekend, 2014 Hall of Fame inductee Tony La Russa had some interesting things to say regarding the entire steroids era.

La Russa said he went to GM Sandy Alderson and the team’s ownership during that era about potential player steroid use, but nothing was done and he said he was confronted by “indifference” by the team’s brass.

“I knew our programs in Oakland were 100 percent clean,” La Russa told the Daily News. “But we had our suspicions — guys hitting stronger but not working out. I went to Sandy and ownership about this. And they told me flat off, ‘Right of privacy. It’s a collective bargaining issue.’”

Alderson is expected to respond to the allegations today at Citi Field before tonight’s game.

“I’m not going to comment on that until at least Monday,” said Alderson to the Daily News, presumably so he would not detract from HOF induction weekend.

La Russa also added:

“We have to acknowledge that that period for about 10 or 12 years, somewhere around the early ’90s to the early 2000s, was a black spot, a negative mark in our history.”

“If any manager had known for sure that his players were doing this and didn’t report it to the league, to me, that’s a breach of integrity and he shouldn’t be let in the Hall of Fame.”

La Russa believes that if Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds get into the Hall, they should have asterisks. 

The Hall of Fame governing bodies just made changes to HOF voting system, reducing the number of years a player can remain on the ballot from 15 years to 10 years. It’s being viewed as an attempt to block some of the steroids users who are currently on the ballot.

I would expect Alderson to say pretty much the same things he said in 2010 when he was confronted with this issue after being named the Mets GM.

After Alderson was interviewed by Congress and former Senator George Mitchell for a report on the subject, he told reporters:

“I guess in a nutshell, I suspected Jose Canseco of using steroids,” Alderson said. “I never suspected Mark McGwire. It was at a time when, as an organization, we actually had begun to emphasize weight training as part of our regimen.”

“But nonetheless it was new at that time and may have inadvertently gotten us involved with that steroid aspect of weight training and weight building, body building.”

“If you go back and put all that in perspective, do I wish I had done more?” he asked. “I think that’s almost always true with anything that we experience.”

Many have claimed that Oakland was Ground Zero for the growing steroid epidemic that has left an indelible stain on the game. It led to a controversial bestselling book by Oakland superstar Jose Canseco, who charged that the team knew everything, and that he and more than half of his teammates were all juicing.

Initially labelled as an opportunistic liar by Mark McGwire, Alex Rodriguez, Rafael Palmeiro and almost all of baseball, Canseco’s book blew the lid off the conspiracy to keep everything under wraps. A congressional hearing and a government oversight committee would eventually ensue and sweeping changes to the drug testing program and stronger and enforceable penalties would soon follow.

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Di-JEST: SNY Down To Final 4 In Search For Burkhardt Successor http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/di-jest-sny-down-to-final-4-in-search-for-burkhardt-successor.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/di-jest-sny-down-to-final-4-in-search-for-burkhardt-successor.html/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 17:12:44 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=162046 There’s news aplenty out of the Mets sports network, SNY.  First something that we at the Di-Jest applaud.  The programming department has now finally and officially abandoned their plan to find someone to fill the Ralph Kiner role in the Mets TV booth.

The SNY suits thought that it was possible to find some mature individual to visit with Gary, Keith, and Ron about once every few weeks for an inning or two.  The plan was scuttled as their last three candidates just didn’t pan out.

One of the three was Clint Eastwood.  His audition went south almost immediately when he insisted on talking to Ralph’s empty chair.

Betty White showed potential. She had some wonderfully ribald stories about her dating life with the likes of Tris Speaker and Dom DiMaggio.  Unfortunately she lapsed into some questionable areas when she insisted that she gave the idea to Abner Doubleday to place the bases 90 feet apart.   And anyway Ms. White has enough TV shows on her plate as it is.

Comedian Bob Newhart was also considered a strong candidate.  But in his audition his interplay with Gary and the others was weak.  Mr. Newhart apparently works better in a scripted environment (ask Larry, Darryl, and the other Darryl) or alone on stage doing a monologue.

As you might expect, no one can replace Ralph. And now, thankfully,  no one will.

But that’s not even the big news.  MMO has learned there are now just four final candidates to succeed Kevin Burkhardt as the roving reporter on Mets telecasts.  This is a coveted position.  Once the Leno and Letterman replacements were named this became the most sought after gig in the entire TV universe.

As you’ll see each candidate has something going for him/her but also a bit of baggage.

Ted McGinleyTed McGinley -  Ted is a handsome charming comedic actor who brings to his roles about what Anthony Recker brings to the Mets.

The focus group that observed his audition was blown away in a positive manner.

Unfortunately Ted’s problem is that he now has the reputation of being the “Sitcom Killer” as this article discusses.

As gruesome as some Mets losses often are none of us Met fans want to see the telecasts cancelled due to poor ratings.  For that reason SNY may have to look elsewhere for the next Kevin.

alexaAlexa – Forgive us for not knowing her last name or whether she even has one.  We know her from her Mets promo commercials with Brandon.

As one might expect the males in the focus group gave her exceedingly high marks on her audition although when the analysts inquired about what she had said on the air none of the men could actually remember a word.

The women in the focus group were less enthusiastic about her audition (except the two who revealed themselves as lesbians).

richard engelRichard Engel -  Richard currently works for NBC News  (NBC is a TV network that you may have never heard of.  Their shows famously air for about three episodes before being cancelled.

They do have a news department though and some people over the years have watched Johnny Carson and Jay Leno there).

Engel has been NBC’s go-to guy whenever some disaster, from nature or man-made, strikes.  It is thought that he would be less affected than others if the Mets win just 75 games again in 2015. The carnage would be nothing new to him.

gelbsSteve Gelbs – Steve could be considered the incumbent as he has been used extensively in the Kevin Burkhardt role during this, Kevin’s lame duck season roving the ballpark.

One would normally expect that he would be the natural choice for the Kevin position.  Unfortunately when an analyst walked in to interview the focus group that was observing Steve’s audition…. Well here’s what his report said, “I thought I had accidentally stepped into a sleep laboratory.”

So Gelbs’ chances of landing the job were not enhanced there.

Clearly this will be a difficult call for the powers that be at SNY.  The execs there likely prefer someone who will stay at the position for a number of years and not use it as a stepping stone to a higher profile job.  Should they opt for Alexa there is always the chance that when Erin Andrews ages a few years FOX will throw her over for someone like Alexa just as they recently tossed off Pam Oliver for having the audacity to become 43 years old.

If SNY takes the conservative route and selects Gelbs – no such concern.

We should know in a few months as to who will be our next Kevin Burkhardt.

* * * * * * * * * * *

To our readers: This article was inspired by a suggestion from my son Brandon.  Brandon lives and works in the city of Philadelphia – in fact his house is about two miles from Citizen Bank Park. I’m sure you join me in saluting Brandon and all the other Mets fans in this country who work and gather intel in hostile foreign cities like Philly.  I’ve had the chance to watch him walk the streets of that city proudly wearing his custom designed red-with-white-lettering cap with the NY logo prominently displayed.  He never takes any flak over it since the cap is the appropriate color and, heck, they’re Philadelphians.

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Colon Unfazed By Rumors, Leaves To A Standing Ovation, Applauds The Fans http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/colon-unfazed-by-rumors-leaves-to-a-standing-ovation-applauds-the-fans.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/colon-unfazed-by-rumors-leaves-to-a-standing-ovation-applauds-the-fans.html/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 14:38:13 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=159780 bartolo colon

A source told Andy Martino of the Daily News tweeted that “There’s absolutely nothing brewing on trade talks for Mets pitcher Bartolo Colon at the moment.”

Jon Heyman gives 5 reasons why the Mets will likely get stuck with Colon and the guaranteed contract they gave him for 2015.

1. He is 41 and will pitch at 42 next season (“At some point the end comes, and he’s going to be 42,” one AL scout pointed out);

2. While he has held up remarkably well he wouldn’t appear to be in tip-top shape (he’s listed as 283 pounds);

3. He is due to make $11 million next year;

4. The market is current flush with big names in their prime.

5. Among teams seen as having some interest, San Francisco already filled its rotation opening with Jake Peavy, while Seattle appears to be looking for the moment at the top-tier guys, including David PriceJon Lester and Cole Hamels.

Colon, 41, pitched into the eighth inning Monday night and left the game to a standing ovation at Citi Field. In return, Colon applauded the fans as he disappeared into the dugout. He surrendered one run and lowered his ERA to 3.88 ERA for the season.

The veteran righthander sees and hears the rumors and says he is unfazed by them.

“I know there’s talk about it because it’s everywhere, but I don’t really pay attention to anything anyone is saying,” Colon said. “I’m happy here and would like to stay here, but it’s really not up to me.”

July 28

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported that the San Francisco Giants acquired Jake Peavy from the Boston Red Sox on Saturday for a pair of minor league pitching prospects; Edwin Escobar and Heath Hembree.

The rumor mill was buzzing about a potential deal between the two teams over the last week or so. And on Friday FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the Red Sox and Giants were in serious discussions.

This puts the kibosh on any chance the Mets had of trading Bartolo Colon to San Francisco, but there’s still quite a few suitors out there for the Mets to deal with.

The Mets are reportedly willing to pay some of Colon’s remaining $3.5 million salary this season, but are unwilling to pick up any of his $11 million due in 2015 when he turns 42. That makes Colon less attractive to teams as the Mets were the only ones willing to give him a guaranteed contract for two years.

The Mets have said they feel no pressure to move Colon and are content hanging onto him, but I’m not buying it. Are you?

July 22

Citing a source close to Bartolo Colon, ESPN Deportes is reporting that the San Francisco Giants have expressed interest in acquiring the 41-year-old right-hander.

Colon is scheduled to pitch Wednesday against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. He is under contract for $9 million this season and $11 million in 2015.

Danny Knobler also heard the Mets are trying hard to move Colon. Sources have told ESPN New York that the Mets are receptive to trading Colon with the team considering itself deep at starting pitcher.

The Mets have Daisuke Matsuzaka they can turn to, Jeremy Hefner nearing a return from elbow surgery, and prospects Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero in Triple-A. Plus Matt Harvey is due to return from Tommy John surgery next season.

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Phillies and Yankees Schedule Private Workouts With Cuban Phenom Rusney Castillo http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/phillies-and-yankees-schedule-private-workouts-with-cuban-phenom-rusney-castillo.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/phillies-and-yankees-schedule-private-workouts-with-cuban-phenom-rusney-castillo.html/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 14:29:35 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=161690 Cuban Rusney Castillo arrives safely in

As was reported on Sunday, over a hundred scouts showed up and were very impressed with the showcase by Cuban phenom Rusney Castillo on Saturday. Now the serious teams are making their moves for the corner outfielder.

Ben Badler of Baseball America has confirmed that the New York Yankees have scheduled a private workout with Castillo, joining the Phillies and the Red Sox who were the first two teams to schedule one-on-ones.

The Houston Astros, who have plenty of money to spend after failing to sign their first rounder, is also a serious suitor.

July 27

According to Walter Villa of Baseball America, Cuban defector Rusney Castillo wowed all 28 teams in attendance during his showcase on Saturday and impressed the over 100 scouts who were on hand.

The 27-year old outfielder worked out for two hours and 45 minutes at the University of Miami as teams came to catch a glimpse of what could be the next great thing out of Cuba. Castillo fielded flyballs in the outfield as well as grounders at shortstop.

BA says the most pleasantly surprising aspect of Castillo’s game was the power he showed and the ability to hit to the opposite field with authority.

Running: Castillo ran the 60-yard dash somewhere between 6.4 seconds and 6.5, depending on which scout you asked. Castillo gave a slight “deke” before he started his sprint, which threw off some stop-watches. Either way, though, Castillo is a plus runner by consensus of various scouts.

Throwing: Castillo started out in right field, fielding base hits and firing to third base. He then took base hits and threw home. All his throws were on a line and hit the mark on the fly or on one hop. “He has a 50 arm,” said one scout. “It’s an average big league arm. He could be used in all three outfield spots in a pinch, but his arm plays more like a left fielder.”

Batting Practice: Castillo showed a natural lift to his hacks, upper-cutting balls with force. After a few minutes in the cage, Castillo took three rounds of batting practice on the field. This is where he made his biggest impression. “After his second round of batting practice, I would have stopped right there because I didn’t think he could improve on that,” one scout said. “But he did.” Another scout was also impressed with his hitting. “I like him,” the scout said. “He’s a major league player.”

Live Batting: Castillo hit live against 6-foot-3 righthander Nate Carter, 22, who was 4-1, 1.54 with eight saves for Division II Florida Southern this past season. Carter was asked how well he thought Castillo did with his pitches. “He’s a great hitter,” Carter said. “I threw some fastballs at the knees on the outside corner, and he hit them over the fence or close to it.” Castillo took 16 cuts, missing two and fouling off eight. Of the six he hit fair, only one was a likely out, a couple of shots were off the wall and a couple went over the fence.

July 25

According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, scouts representing 11 MLB teams are flocking to Miami to watch free agent Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo, who has been said to be like “Brett Gardner with power.”

The Mets, Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers, Astros, Cubs, Braves, Giants, White Sox, Orioles and Marlins are all expected to be on hand Saturday at the University of Miami.

Considering how fellow Cubans Jose Abreu, Yasiel Puig, Yoenis Cespedes and most recently Odrisamer Despaigne, have recently rewarded their signing teams, expect Castillo to be in high demand.

Castillo is short at 5’9″ but has a strong, athletic build. His speed is his calling card, and Baseball America says he is one of the best base stealers in Cuba and an aggressive, high-energy player with a line-drive stroke.

Heyman compares the 27-year old center fielder to Kenny Lofton and Jacoby Ellsbury, and scouts believe he could be in the big leagues by the end of this season.

He profiles as a leadoff or number two-type hitter.

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Alderson Says Blockbuster Deal Possible, But Wouldn’t Bet On It http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/alderson-says-blockbuster-deal-possible-but-wouldnt-bet-on-it.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/alderson-says-blockbuster-deal-possible-but-wouldnt-bet-on-it.html/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 14:04:11 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=161869 sandy alderson 2

Sandy Alderson told reporters at Citi Field that it’s unlikely the Mets make a deal before the Trade Deadline – sort of.

“If I had to make a guess, I would say nothing will happen,” Alderson said. “But you never know what’s going to transpire in the next three days or so. Clubs that may be having conversations elsewhere circle back based on what they think their options might be. So I’d say we have an opportunity to do a thing or two, but we’re not inclined to at this point. It’s speculation, but I wouldn’t bet on something happening before the Deadline.”

When asked if he viewed his team as being sellers or buyers, Alderson responded, “When I say it’s unlikely that we’ll do anything, we’re not anxious to be sellers and we’re cautious about being buyers.”

Asked if he could envision dipping into his farm system to make a blockbuster deal (CarGo/Tulowitzki) happen in the future.

“That’s a possibility,” Alderson said of a significant deal to add offense. “In fact, to me that sounds more desirable than inching your way there, giving up prospects in more cautious transactions. So I wouldn’t rule that out. But it’s got to be the right time for the right player under the right circumstances.”

The Mets have been shopping Bartolo Colon and Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported that even the team’s top prospect Noah Syndergaard is being dangled. There has been little interest in Colon, but that could change if the team is willing to eat some cash.

Alderson has already downplayed the possibility of trading second baseman Daniel Murphy, the team’s lone All-Star. Of course they’ll to listen to offers.

“We like the team as it’s developing,” Alderson said. “So I think that, in and of itself, would make us reluctant to move players at the Deadline.”

Thoughts from Joe D.

It’s obvious that Sandy believes his team is closer now than ever before to being relevant again. In the past he would brush off questions about trading for players like Stanton or Tulowitzki, but this time he says “it’s possible.” That’s a big step forward for him, but it’s still all talk until he makes something happen.

Alderson also keeps denying that any player is being shopped or available, but that’s what they all do now, it’s simply GM-speak. You can bet he was gleaming after Colon’s performance last night and that his only hope was fielding a dozen calls about him this morning.

As for Murphy, a different situation entirely. Sandy knows if he moves Murphy and doesn’t receive MLB-ready talent that can help the team immediately, it will be viewed as another setback and waving the white flag on this season. I don’t think Murphy’s going anywhere.

(Updated 7/29 with quotes from Anthony DiComo)

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Connor’s Corner: Why Tulowitzki Makes Sense For Mets In Right Deal http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/connors-corner-why-tulowitzki-makes-sense-for-mets-in-right-deal.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/connors-corner-why-tulowitzki-makes-sense-for-mets-in-right-deal.html/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 14:00:50 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=161990 Tulo and the Mets -- a match made in heaven?

Tulo and the Mets — a match made in heaven?

Jeff Passan put a match to the impatience of Mets fans yesterday, reporting that the Mets are “prepared to offer” Noah Syndergaard in a deal to acquire Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. Passan did not say the Mets had offered a deal involving Syndergaard, only that they would be willing to part with him in a trade for Tulo. Even that made headlines and divided the Mets fanbase.

There is a “right deal” for almost every player out there. Most trade proposals from Mets fans are “the right deal,” but they are almost always too light (except for that WFAN caller yesterday who suggested DeGrom, Syndergaard, Wheeler, and Gee…). The reason for that is quite simple: fans always assign way too much value to their own prospects. In the broader picture, a deal that looks fair to the rest of the league will almost always look unfair to the team giving up its top prospects, at least according to its fans.

The Mets have roughly five big-name, tradeable pitchers in the organization right now: Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, Dillon Gee, Rafael Montero, and Jon Niese. These pitchers can be broken down into categories. If the team deals Syndergaard or Wheeler, they may be able to get away with not giving up another pitcher from that group of five. Otherwise, I see two from that group being dealt.

As highly rated as he is and as highly as I think of him, Noah Syndergaard is the odd man out. DeGrom has been a beast in 14 starts, showing nasty stuff. Wheeler has shown flashes of being really good and can be, at minimum, a dependable league average pitcher. Gee and Niese have done the same, with Niese often being well above average. Montero hasn’t given me much to grasp on to, but again, if you dealt him, you would need to give up another pitcher from that group. (And of course this is all theoretical.)

Falling in love with prospects is a dangerous game. The odds are stacked against them, even those in the top of the rankings. Take a look at this study by Royals Review, which looked at the success rates of top 100 prospects (Baseball America). It categorized players as busts, successes, or stars based on their WAR. If a player was below average, he was labeled a bust, and up it went from there. Even at the top of the list, the likelihood of success, and stardom, was slim, especially for pitchers. Take a look:

Decile_Pitchers_Table (1)

Syndergaard was recently ranked number 13 overall by MLB.com. While there are no other major midseason lists out there right now, it is safe to say, considering Syndergaard’s performance through four months in Triple-A, that he falls in the 11-20 range. Should the Mets really reject a trade for a superstar in favor of a player who has less than a 40 percent chance of being above average? The percentage may be even lower for prospects who have struggled at Triple-A the way Syndergaard has. Mets fans are exposed almost exclusively to news of their own prospects, so in our own bubble, they are often almost sure stars. There isn’t anything wrong with that… until it is time to make a deal.

Every Met fan salivates over the possible rotation next year, but even without Syndergaard, it still looks incredible. Say the Mets deal Syndergaard, Brandon Nimmo, Dominic Smith, Gabriel Ynoa, and Logan Verrett. Take a look at the Mets rotation next year (assuming Colon is traded) without Syndergaard.

  1. Matt Harvey – Ace
  2. Jon Niese – Above Average
  3. Jacob deGrom – Above Average
  4. Zack Wheeler – Average to Above Average
  5. Dillon Gee – Solidly Average
  6. Waiting in the wings: Rafael Montero, Steven Matz

That extra group “waiting in the wings” sure looks a lot less appealing than it otherwise would with Syndergaard, but at the end of the day, only five pitchers are going to make the rotation. It would be a tough decision to give up Syndergaard, but to get the big bat Mets fans are clamoring for, they must give up a big package.

*   *   *

There has been so much debate over whether Troy Tulowitzki is worth it, his home-road splits, his contract, and more. Let me put it simply: he is, without question, worth a hefty haul.

When healthy, Tulowitzki is a top ten position player. This season, he is second in fWAR only to mike Trout with a 5.1 mark. He leads the National League in batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage. He has hit 21 home runs, put up an ISO of .263, and has played tremendous defense to boot. This guy is legit.

There will, of course, be debate over the effects of Coors Field on his statistics. There is no doubt that the hitting environment there contributes to his incredible numbers, so let’s take those out of the equation for a minute. Before we look at his road numbers, keep in mind one thing: his numbers will likely be better than this. Hitters always do better at home than on the road, so even if Tulowitzki really is only as good as his current road numbers suggest, his statistics will be better with half of his games at Citi Field. For his career, here are Tulowitzki’s road numbers:

.274/.349/.469, 480 G, 77 HR, 94 2B, amounting to an 84 tOPS+

That looks somewhat disappointing when compared to his home splits, but in reality, those statistics are still incredible for a shortstop. Here are the shortstops who have equaled his road OPS (.818) this year:

Now here are those who have done it in any single season since 2010:

Even on the road, Tulowitzki is an incredible hitter for his position. His 118 wRC+ away from Coors Field shows he is well above average for the league (not the position) when not aided by the thin air of Colorado. Getting a league average 100 wRC+ from a shortstop is rare, but being 20 percent higher is extremely hard to come by, and Tulowitzki has done it consistently.

The next two hurdles are his health and his contract. Looking over his injury history, it is easy to say he is fragile. While I am not going to say anything either way on this, I will point out that a few of his injuries (like a cut he got on his hand) aren’t the type that reoccur frequently, and almost ll of his injuries are in different body parts. It is hard for any of us as average fans to say that Troy Tulowitzki‘s bones, tendons, ligaments, and muscles are ALL physiologically more breakable and tearable than the average baseball player. Being frequently injured does not mean you are injury prone. If you are constantly injuring your legs like Jose Reyes is, then it may be safe to say you are injury prone. However, as someone who doesn’t have a medical degree and hasn’t done tests on Troy Tulowitzki, I am not going to say one way or the other.

Circling back to Tulowitzki’s numbers in relation to his contract… Tulo is owed $20 million each year through 2019, and another $14 million in 2020 with a $15 million team option ($4 million buyout) for 2021. If the option is declines, he will end his contract at 35 years old. Based off his road batting splits, he is likely a 5-6 WAR player going forward, even while playing at Citi Field. In the free agent market, the value of 1 WAR worth of production is north of $5 million. (Some have even pinned it at $7 million.) For most of the contract, which will only last until his mid-30s, he will certainly be worth the deal.

Adding Tulowitzki and another above average outfielder could push the Mets into playoff contention next season. With a full season of Jacob deGrom, a new-and-improved Travis d’Arnaud, a great platoon at first base, and a good bullpen from Day One, the Mets will likely see improvements from the players currently on the active roster. Then add in Matt Harvey. Getting him back will be equivalent to trading for an ace, but without the loss of other pieces. Add in Tulo and another piece and the Mets are suddenly a dangerous team.

It is always extremely tough to part with players you have grown to like and be hopeful for, but the Mets offense desperately needs help, and shortstop is the perfect place to upgrade. There will never be a perfect player out there and if there were, why would that player’s team trade him? There are going to be lumps and flaws with almost every player the Mets acquire. And the fewer lumps and flaws there are, the more the Mets will have to give up. Tulowitzki isn’t perfect, but he has a very favorable balance of flaws and potential rewards and most importantly, he makes the Mets substantially better.

Follow me on Twitter @UpAlongFirst

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Mets Minors Report 7/29: Plawecki Back In Action, Reynolds Making A Case For Short http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/mets-minors-report-729-plawecki-back-in-action-reynolds-and-tovar-making-a-case-for-short.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/mets-minors-report-729-plawecki-back-in-action-reynolds-and-tovar-making-a-case-for-short.html/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 13:00:19 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=161999 plawecki-milb

Last Night’s Quick Scores

Prospect Pipeline

  • In his first at bat since missing time due to a mild case of vertigo, Kevin Plawecki singled and finished game 2 for 4.
  • John Lannan, in his first start for Vegas, threw six shutout innings, allowing six hits, with a walk and strikeout, to earn the victory.
  • Josh Satin hit his sixth home run for Vegas and finished 2 for 3 with two RBI’s.
  • Matt Reynolds went 3 for 5 with a triple and RBI and is batting .305 in Triple A.
  • Steven Matz (4-2, 3.27) drops only second game as a B-Met by tossing five innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on 10 hits, with a walk and four strike outs.
  • Brandon Nimmo singled and has hit safely in four straight games and has upped his batting average to .214 in Double A.
  • T.J. Rivera singles to extend his current hit streak to six games.  He has hit safely in nine of his last 10 games batting .368 (14 for 38) in that span.
  • Jayce Boyd finished 2 for 4, and has hit safely eight of his last ten games with Bingo.
  • Wilfredo Tovar finished 3 for 4, with a double, triple, two walks and two RBI’s including the tying run in the bottom of the ninth on a single.
  • Gavin Cecchini went 3 for 6 and since his promotion, he is now batting .195 for St. Lucie.
  • Akeel Morris tosses one inning, striking out the side and lowered his ERA to 0.78 in Savannah’s Game 2 victory.
  • With two more hits on Monday, Amed Rosario has an 11 game hitting streak, with six multi-hit games in that span.
  • Red Hot Michael Conforto has proven that he can handle NY Penn League pitching and now he should be promoted. With a single in Monday’s Cyclone victory, Conforto has hit safely in his first ten games in pro ball. During the streak he is batting .394.
  • Left handed relief pitcher, Shane Bay, a Tulsa, OK native, has saved eight games in 11 chances for Brooklyn.

Organizational Pitching Leaders

SAVES

1 Chasen Bradford LV 13
2 Robert Coles STL 12
3 Randy Fontanez BIN 10
4 Akel Morris SAV 10
5 Cody Satterwhite BIN 10

Prospect Tweets

 

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MMO Game Recap: Mets 7, Phillies 1 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/mmo-game-recap-mets-7-phillies-1.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/mmo-game-recap-mets-7-phillies-1.html/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 03:01:36 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=161998 bartolo colon

The New York Mets (51-55) took on the Philadelphia Phillies (46-60) tonight at Citi Field for the start of a seven game homestand. Bartolo Colon took the mound for the Mets, as A.J. Burnett got the nod for Philadelphia.

What you should know: 

The Mets got off to an early start tonight, as they put up a four spot in the first inning thanks to RBI hits by Daniel Murphy, Lucas Duda and Juan Lagares.

Travis d’Arnaud broke the game open in the bottom of the fifth inning as he launched a three-run home run to left field. d’Arnaud would accumulate three extra base hits tonight (the home run and two doubles).

Burnett did not fare well at all for Philadelphia, as he was tagged for all seven runs over the span of five innings. Along with the seven earned runs, he also allowed eight hits, and walked two while striking out four.

Bartolo Colon on the other hand was terrific for the Mets. He would pitch 7.2 fantastic innings, allowing only one run and striking out six.

Dana Eveland came on in a low leverage situation to shut the door in the ninth but was forced to leave the game after being nailed by a comebacker in his pitching arm. Vic Black came on to get the final two outs, and secured the win for the Mets.

Despite having thirteen hits, the Phillies could only muster up one run, as the Mets defeated A.J. Burnett for the first time in nine years.

travis d'arnaud hr

Player of the Game:

Tonight, I decided to award two New York Mets with Player of the Game honors. Mets starting pitcher Bartolo Colon, who threw seven shutout innings before allowing just the one run in the eighth, and earning his tenth win of the season. The second player of the game goes to catcher Travis d’Arnaud, who had three extra base hits and three runs batted in in the Mets routing of the Phillies.

On deck:

The Mets look for the series victory tomorrow night at Citi Field, with Dillon Gee (4-3, 3.49 ERA) squaring off against Cole Hamels (5-5, 2.72 ERA).

Ya Gotta Believe mmo

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MMO Game Thread: Phillies vs Mets, 7:10 PM (Welcome Home!) http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/mmo-game-thread-phillies-vs-mets-710-pm-welcome-home.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/mmo-game-thread-phillies-vs-mets-710-pm-welcome-home.html/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 20:07:41 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=161882 bartolo colon

The Mets are back in Flushing and open a three game series with the Philadelphia Phillies tonight at 7:10 PM. Bartolo Colon (9-8, 4.03) will oppose A.J. Burnett (6-9, 3.86) in a battle of righthanders who could be pitching for new teams by Thursday night.

Colon had a perfect game for the first 6.2 innings and earned the victory in the Mets’ 3-2 win at Seattle in his last start on July 23. Matt Harvey was the last Mets pitcher to take a perfect game 6.2 innings when he did so against the White Sox at Citi Field on May 7, 2013.

Jacob deGrom became the first rookie in team history to win four consecutive games in one season while pitching more than six innings and allowing no more than one run in each game. Since 1982, the only other pitchers with four-game streaks of that kind for any major league team in their rookie season are Roy Oswalt (2001 Astros), Jered Weaver (2006 Angels) and Matt Cain (2006 Giants).

Daniel Murphy registered his third straight multi-hit game on Sunday and is second in the NL with 125 hits, one behind the Giants’ Hunter Pence. He is also tied for fifth in the NL with 28 doubles and is tied for sixth with 34 multi-hit games.

Starting Lineup

  1. Curtis Granderson, rf
  2. Daniel Murphy, 2b
  3. David Wright, 3b
  4. Lucas Duda, 1b
  5. Chris Young, lf
  6. Travis d’Arnaud, c
  7. Juan Lagares, cf
  8. Ruben Tejada, ss
  9. Bartolo Colon, rhp

The Mets are coming home to and they are bring Philly with them. Fresh off a 10 game road trip that saw the Mets go 5-5, including 4-3 against playoff contenders, the Mets look to keep roll going in Queens. Tonight should also be a heavily scouted game as AJ Burnett and Bartolo Colon, both starters, have been in trade rumors for the last week or so.

Bartolo Colon is 9-8 on the season over 1340 innings with a 4.03 ERA over 20 games. His last start was way better than the stat line of 7.1 innings of 2 ER suggests. He retired 20 batters straight to start the game and it was the bullpen that allowed the runners to score. He has made one start against the Phillies this year where he allowed 2 ER on 6 hits over 7.0 innings while striking out 5. The Phillies have the following numbers against Colon:

  • Rollins 5-15, 2B, HR
  • Brignac 5-12
  • Sizemore 1-8
  • Byrd 0-4
  • Howard 2-4, 2 HR
  • Ruiz 0-5

A.J. Burnett is on the bump for the Phils. On the season he is 6-9 over 144.2 innings and 22 starts with a 3.86 ERA. He is coming off one of his strongest starts of the season where he shut the Giants out for 8 innings while allowing 4 hits, 4 walks and striking out 6. He made one start against the Mets this year where he allowed 5 ER and 11 K’s over 7 innings. The Mets have the following numbers against Burnett:

  • Abreu 25-78, 10 2B, 2 HR
  • Wright 3-24, 3B
  • Granderson 3-16, 2 2B, HR
  • Murphy 2-12
  • Tejada 1-6
  • Lagares 1-4
  • E Young 2-3
  • Duda 1-2, 2B

Lets Go Mets!

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Mets Prepared To Offer Syndergaard To Get Tulowitzki http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/mets-prepared-to-trade-syndergaard-to-get-tulowitzki.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/mets-prepared-to-trade-syndergaard-to-get-tulowitzki.html/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 19:01:44 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=161742 Carlos+Gonzalez+Troy+Tulowitzki+San+Francisco+rUY3TpSfSyel

In the latest Troy Tulowitzki rumors, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports says that the Mets have reached out to Colorado and are prepared to offer top pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard in a deal for the All Star shortstop.

Of course they’d likely have to include Plawecki and probably Nimmo too, but there ya go…

Passan speculates that the Rockies front office would move him if that’s what Tulo wants. He angered some in the front office when he spent Sunday at Yankee Stadium to watch his favorite player Derek Jeter.

The plot thickens…

July 27

Team insiders told Adam Rubin of ESPN New York that the Mets are not engaged in any substantive trade talks at present. However that does not mean something won’t materialize in the coming days and before Thursday’s 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline.

A Mets source also “severely tempered” the recent buzz that the team inquired about Colorado superstars Troy Tulowitzki or Carlos Gonzalez. The team exec said the Mets worked hard over a few years to build up their young pitching and are “unlikely to part with multiple high-level pitching prospects in one deal” for a big-ticket item.

It was interesting to hear SNY’s Jim Duquette give his opinion on what it would take for the Mets to land Troy Tulowitzki or Carlos Gonzalez from the Rockies.

The former Mets GM said the cost for acquiring either player would be significant and speculated that any deal would begin with Zack WheelerRafael Montero, and Dominic Smith. Plus depending on if ot’s Tulo or CarGo at least one other player. Wow… That’s pretty steep…

Tulowitzki, 30, is owed $114 million through 2020 with a $15 million team option for 2021.

Gonzalez, 29, is owed $53 million through 2017 after which he becomes a free agent.

When word reached David Wright about the Tulo/CarGo rumor, it left the Mets captain wondering how that would even be possible. ”What are you willing to give to obtain that? And that is kind of an open-ended question.”

Despite embracing the opportunity to pay with someone like Tulowitzki who he’s befriended, Wright also downplayed the possibility of such a deal transpiring.

“Sandy Alderson has got a tough job because, yeah, I’m sure we’re interested, but I’m sure there’s 29 other teams that are interested, also. “What are you willing to give, because the Rockies are not going to be giving these guys away.”

“You’re talking about two of the better players in the game,” Wright said. “Ruben Tejada is starting to swing the bat better, so it’s no knock on any shortstop. It’s just that Tulowitzki hits like a corner infielder or corner outfielder and plays tremendous defense.”

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Rangers Expected To Deal Rios, Could Be Nice Fit For Mets http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/rangers-are-expected-to-deal-rios-could-be-good-fit-for-mets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/rangers-are-expected-to-deal-rios-could-be-good-fit-for-mets.html/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 17:39:41 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=161971 Alex-Rios

The Texas Rangers are getting a lot of inquiries on outfielder Alex Rios, who now seems to be a lock to be traded before July 31.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported on Monday that at least four teams have expressed interest in Rios, who has about $5 million remaining on his contract for this season and a $13.5 million team option for next season with a $1 million buyout.

Rios is batting .299 this season with a .754 OPS and given his overall offensive and defensive package, that team option for 2015 makes him much more valuable than a typical two-month rental.

I wondered if the Mets could make a play for Rios a couple of weeks ago, and I see him as a player who’d be very well suited for a park like Citi Field.

The 33-year old has a league-leading eight triples, 22 doubles, four home runs, 42 runs scored and 43 RBI on the season with 16 stolen bases. He bats right-handed and is slashing at .378/.413/.659 against lefthanded pitching.

Last season, Rios hit 18 home runs, drove in 82 runs and stole 42 bases while scoring 83 runs, and while his defense has dipped in center, he’s a solid defender in left or right field.

An outfield of Curtis Granderson in left, Juan Lagares in center and Rios in right would make for one of the best defensive outfields in the league.

Additionally, Rios would give the Mets a true leadoff hitter that could free up Grandy to bat in the middle of the order which is why he got that $60 million deal from the Mets in the first place.

Sandy Alderson has said he’s not interested in trading for any two-month rentals and has his sights set on players who can help the team next season as well. 

“I don’t think we would deal significant prospects or significant value for somebody who is going to help us for a couple of months,” Alderson said. “We spent too much time improving our Minor League system and setting ourselves up for the future to commit significant resources to somebody in a deal that is only going to help us for a short period of time. In that sense, we would probably be looking for somebody who can help us longer term as well.”

Perhaps Rios is the kind of player that would appeal to Sandy.

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Lagares’ Head First Slide Didn’t Sit Well With Collins http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/lagares-head-first-slide-didnt-sit-well-with-collins.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/lagares-head-first-slide-didnt-sit-well-with-collins.html/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 15:42:20 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=161908 lagares

During Sunday’s game at Miller Park, in the eighth inning, Juan Lagares was trying to beat out a ground ball to shortstop, when he decided to slide head first into the first base bag. Lagares was out on the play; a decision that Terry Collins was not too pleased about.

“Everybody said it — I know he doesn’t read the newspaper very much — but anybody who’s been hurt in the last two months, it’s all about diving into the bases,” Collins tells Mike Vorkunov of the Star-Ledger.

Bryce Harper and Josh Hamilton both have missed a time this season after being injured for the very play that Lagares chose to engage in.

According to Collins he spoke with Lagares after the game and the young outfielder said no one had approached him about the play.

“I was just trying to do something to get a hit because I don’t remember the last time I did,” said Lagares.

Lagares finished 0-for-3 on Sunday and is hitless since July 21st. He is 0 for 17 in that span. Collins gave him a day to work on his approach at the plate. “We gotta get him back on track,” Collins said.” He’s scuffling right now. For a young guy, he needs a break.”

“We’re trying to get him, again, to reduce the strike zone. He’s enlarging it. We gotta get him to shrink it a little bit and get some balls and don’t be afraid to get a strike called on you. We need him to get going because he’s a big piece, especially defensively here.”

(Photo Credit: Rob Foldy/Getty Images)

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MMO Fan Shot: Trading Murphy Would Be The Smart Move For The Mets http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/mmo-fan-shot-trading-murphy-would-be-the-smart-move-for-the-mets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/mmo-fan-shot-trading-murphy-would-be-the-smart-move-for-the-mets.html/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 15:00:56 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=161867 wright murphy

An MMO Fan Shot by Quinn Barry

Daniel Murphy has been one of the best hitters on the New York Mets this season. Murphy is batting .293 with 7 homers, 11 Steals, 57 runs scored, and is second in the National League with 125 hits. However, the time to trade Daniel Murphy is now.

As the focal point of the Mets’ offense, Daniel Murphy’s trade value has never been higher. Plus, Murphy is becoming increasingly more and more expensive. According to ESPN.com, Murphy is making $5.7 million this season. Next year, his final year of arbitration, Murphy will earn upwards of $8 million dollars. That’s not exactly cheap for a Mets team that ranks 25th in league payroll, according to Deadspin.

Adding on to that, Murphy will be a free agent following the 2015 season, where he could presumably walk if the Mets don’t extend him, leaving the Mets with zero compensation.

Finally, trading away a player with an extra year of team control would maximize the Mets’ return. Moving on from Murphy now would allow the Mets more financial flexibility and greater value from the incoming prospects/players they would receive in a potential trade.

wilmer-flores-2013-bmPutting the money and trade value aside, the Mets would be able to rebound from trading Murphy, as they have a glut of second base prospects in the upper levels of the minor leagues.

Perhaps the most MLB ready replacement is Wilmer Flores, who was recently called up from Triple-A Las Vegas. Prior to receiving the call, Flores hit .323 with 13 home runs and sported an incredible .935 OPS in just 55 games. While many question Flores defensively, scouts say he has the arm strength, range, and hands to play an adequate second base.

Looking beyond Flores, 2012 second-rounder Matt Reynolds provides another intriguing option at second. Although he doesn’t hit for much power, the 23 year-old dominated the competition at Double-A Binghamton this year, hitting .355 with a .430 OBP, and earning a call-up to Triple-A Vegas. However, since arriving at Triple-A Reynolds is only hitting .285, and his on-base percentage is down almost .100 points from his Double-A clip. These struggles suggest that even though Reynolds is not big-league ready like Flores is right now, he could become a legitimate option down the road.

herreraAnother option and one that may have more potential than both Flores and Reynolds, but will need a bit more time to develop first. is Double-A second baseman Dilson Herrera. He has been a highly-touted prospect ever since the Pirates signed him out of Colombia in 2010, and has only seen his stock rise since he came over to the Mets in last August’s Marlon Byrd trade.

Herrera was raking at Class-A St. Lucie, hitting .307, before getting promoted to Double-A. Since arriving at Binghamton, Herrera has hit .353 with a .412 OBP and a ridiculous .978 OPS. For a twenty-year-old kid, those are some pretty impressive numbers. Herrera has a chance to become an impact bat in the Mets’ lineup as early as 2015.

A Murphy trade would save the Mets financially, bring back valuable talent, and open up a spot for one of their young second baseman to shine. If a trade centered around Murphy brought back a power-hitting left fielder, it should be a no-brainer for the Mets’ front office. It’s time to trade Daniel Murphy.

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

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Five Mets Featured On MLB’s Midseason Top 100 Prospects http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/five-mets-featured-on-mlbs-midseason-top-100-prospects.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/five-mets-featured-on-mlbs-midseason-top-100-prospects.html/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 15:00:52 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=161860 bryan green

MLB.com released its latest set of prospect rankings tonight, and the Mets have five prospects who made the cut.

Noah Syndergaard (13), Kevin Plawecki (67), Brandon Nimmo (68), Michael Conforto (86), and Dominic Smith (88) each made the overall top 100 list.

Here’s some of what the MLB.com staff had to say about each of them:

Syndergaard:

Scouting grades: Fastball: 70 | Curveball: 60 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 60 | Overall: 65

Syndergaard is a classic power right-hander, and he uses his big frame to throw downhill and induce ground balls. His fastball regularly reaches 98 mph and runs inside on right-handed hitters. Syndergaard’s 12-to-6 curveball is his best secondary pitch, though his changeup has the potential to be a third plus pitch in his arsenal. He has excellent command and posted a 4.75 K-to-BB ratio in 2013.

Many expected Syndergaard to follow the path that Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler blazed and reach Queens early this summer. But some minor injuries and on-field struggles at Triple-A Las Vegas slowed down Syndergaard’s progress this season. He still profiles as a front-line starter and remains on track to make his Major League debut at a younger age than either Harvey or Wheeler.

Plawecki:

Scouting grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 45 | Run: 35 | Arm: 50 | Field: 50 | Overall: 5

Plawecki has impressive bat control and a knack for making contact. His swing is built more for hitting line drives than for power, but his natural strength gives him a chance for more pop in the future.

Defensively, Plawecki is a good receiver and earns praise for his leadership skills. He has an average arm and his game calling is making strides. Plawecki’s play has alleviated pre-Draft concerns about his ability to stay behind the plate, and he now looks like he’ll be more than capable of being an everyday player in the big leagues.

Nimmo:

Scouting grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 50 | Run: 50 | Arm: 50 | Field: 50 | Overall: 55

Despite his atypical background, Nimmo has a mature approach at the plate. He lines balls from gap to gap and he knows how to work a walk. Nimmo’s swing has a little length to it, and he has been prone to high strikeout totals early in his career.

Nimmo is a center fielder now, but his average speed may eventually force him to into an outfield corner. His game still needs refining, but Nimmo’s on-base skills and quick hands give him the potential to be a solid Major Leaguer in time.

Conforto:

Scouting grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 60 | Run: 40 | Arm: 50 | Field: 50 | Overall: 55

Conforto has athletic bloodlines, as his father Mike was a Penn State linebacker and his mother Tracie (Ruiz) won two gold medals in synchronized swimming at the 1984 Olympics. Conforto picked baseball, which proved to be a wise choice as he was named the Pac-12 Player of the Year in 2013 and was drafted 10th overall a year later.

Conforto’s signature tool is his left-handed power, which could produce 25-plus homers on an annual basis once he gets to the Major Leagues. He doesn’t get cheated at the plate, taking a big uppercut hack that produces nice loft on his drives.

Smith:

Scouting grades: Hit: 60 | Power: 55 | Run: 40 | Arm: 50 | Field: 60 | Overall: 55

Smith has the potential to hit for both average and power. His hand-eye coordination and advanced pitch-recognition skills allow him to get on base often, while still driving balls.

Smith is a below-average runner, limiting him to first base. He has all the skills necessary to develop above-average defense at the position. Even if Smith’s defense does develop as expected, there will always be pressure on his bat. Scouts are confident he will provide enough offense to make him a solid Major Leaguer in time.

There were a few notable snubs on the Mets’ side, including Dilson Herrera, Steve Matz, and Rafael Montero. Remember, Montero pitched 20 innings for the Mets earlier this season, but did not lose his rookie eligibility, so he was still eligible for this list. Montero was ranked 85th going into the season. It’s interesting that Syndergaard’s struggles only cos him three spots on the list, but Montero’s knocked him off it completely.

Overall, however, this list includes four first-round picks by the Mets (all but one of Sandy Alderson’s first-round selections) and one trade acquisition.

If that doesn’t fire you up, perhaps this will. Along with MLB.com’s new top 100 list, they also released an updated top 20 list for each team, and it includes three new draftees or acquisitions. Glancing over the top ten, you could make a case for almost all of them to be in the overall top 100 list. Here is the list:

  1. Noah Syndergaard
  2. Kevin Plawecki
  3. Brandon Nimmo
  4. Michael Conforto
  5. Dominic Smith
  6. Rafael Montero
  7. Amed Rosario
  8. Dilson Herrera
  9. Steve Matz
  10. Gavin Cecchini
  11. Milton Ramos
  12. Gabriel Ynoa
  13. Cesar Puello
  14. Cory Mazzoni
  15. Jack Leathersich
  16. Marcos Molina
  17. Blake Taylor
  18. Michael Fulmer
  19. Matt den Dekker
  20. Logan Verrett

And there you have it.

MetsMerizedOnline will be releasing its own official top 25 Mets prospects tomorrow morning. Stay tuned for that, and tons of other minor league analysis here and at MetsMinors.net.

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Connor’s Corner: Appreciating Lucas Duda http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/appreciating-lucas-duda.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/appreciating-lucas-duda.html/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 14:00:45 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=161794 lucas duda

Lucas Duda came through once again yesterday, hitting another crucial home run that would be the difference in the game. The home run was his 18th of the season, tied for sixth best in the National League and second among National League first basemen. Going into yesterday’s game, he was tied for 16th in all of baseball in wRC+.

In roughly the same sample size as this season, Duda was a sub replacement level player in 2013. This year, he has been worth 2.2 wins above replacement, averaging out to around 3.3 if he were to keep this up over a 150 game stretch. That’s a solidly above average player, one who would fetch $10-15 million annually on the open market*. The point is, this guy has been really good.

Say what you will about Duda’s approach at the plate under Dave Hudgens versus Lamar Johnson, but the strategy has been constant the entire season. Johnson has been the one tasked with preaching the very same system Hudgens taught, except to the minor leaguers. If anything, the way that has been delivered to the players has changed drastically since Hudgens’ firing (which his writing on hitting strategy could tell you).

The Mets have put Duda in a position to succeed this season by not asking him to be more than he is. As of now, Duda is a platoon player. As much as his production against right-handers is going to tempt people to want him to face lefties as well, that shouldn’t happen. Duda has proven throughout his career that he can’t hit lefties.

I’ve said all along that Duda could make partner with someone else to make a very productive platoon at first base. As someone who hits righties, Duda will play the vast majority of games. All the Mets need is find someone who is reasonably productive against left-handed pitching. They seem to have found that player in Eric Campbell. Campbell has hit lefties well this season (.3328/.357/.449) and can obviously play a host of other positions when not at first base.

What really ate into Duda’s numbers last year was his time against lefties. He got almost twice the exposure to lefties as he has this year. When you hit well under .200 against lefties, even in a somewhat limited sample, that’s going to eat into your overall statistics pretty badly. Against right-handers last year, Duda hit a very respectable .240/.369/.462, not the numbers he has put up this season, but very solid nonetheless. Duda having job security and a fresh voice in his ear in Lamar Johnson, the Mets are setting him up for this type of season.

If there is one player who the Mets have handled perfectly this season, it’s Lucas Duda. They put their trust in the right first baseman, even if it meant having to play someone else a quarter of the time. There is no shame in a platoon, especially if it produces these kinds of results.

As a team, the Mets have a 130 wRC+ from first basemen this season. Who is that tied with? None other than the Chicago White Sox, who spent close to $70 million on Jose Abreu this offseason.

The Mets made a gamble when they traded away Ike Davis and committed to Lucas Duda once and for all, but boy has it paid off.

*1 WAR has been worth roughly $5 million in free agency.

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Jacob deGrom Earns NL Player Of The Week Honors http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/jacob-degrom-earns-nl-player-of-the-week-honors.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/jacob-degrom-earns-nl-player-of-the-week-honors.html/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 13:11:25 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=161986 jake degrom

deGrom went 4-1 with a 1.77 ERA in July

Mets rookie right-hander Jacob deGrom was awarded the NL Player of the Week Award in the NL for last week. deGrom shared the honor with Marlins closed Steve Cishek.

The 26-year old deGrom went 2-0 with a 0.68 ERA in two starts last week. He struck out 11 and walked just three in 13.1 innings in victories against the Mariners and Brewers.

deGrom is now 5-5 on the season with a 2.79 ERA in 14 starts. He’s striking out 8.59 batters per nine innings and walking 3.21. He leads all NL rookie pitchers with a 1.4 WAR.

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Mets Minors Report 7/28: Thor Dominates, Conforto Is Sizzling, Alvarez Is Human Afterall http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/mets-minors-report-728-thor-dominates-conforto-is-sizzling-alvarez-is-human-afterall.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/mets-minors-report-728-thor-dominates-conforto-is-sizzling-alvarez-is-human-afterall.html/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 13:00:43 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=161791 noah syndergaard - las vegas 51s

Last Night’s Quick Scores

Prospect Pipeline

  • Noah Syndergaard tossed five innings, allowing two runs (1 earned) on five hits, walking two and struck out eight. Even though Thor threw a dominating game, he did not earn the victory. Miguel Socolovich gave up three runs (2 earned) in the top of the 7th inning, to temporarily put the Bees in the lead.
  • Matt Reynolds launched a three-run shot over the left field fence in the 7th inning to put the 51s in the lead for good. Reynolds hit his first Triple A home run on Saturday, making it two straight days.
  • T.J. Rivera singled on Sunday to extend his current hit streak to five games.  In his last ten games, Rivera is batting .395 (15 for 38), with two doubles and seven RBI’s.
  • Rainy Lara (5-4, 4.98) gave up seven runs on 11 hits, giving up two home runs and only struck out one batter.  Lara has not won a decision since June 30, which dates back five starts including Sunday’s loss. In his last ten starts, he is 3-3, with a 5.68 ERA.
  • Jeremy Hefner pitches three innings, allowing three runs on three hits, walking four and striking out four. This was Hefner’s first start with St. Lucie on his comeback trail from Tommy John surgery. He pitched in three games with the Gulf Coast Mets prior to Sunday’s start.
  • Wilfredo Tovar started for St. Lucie in the doubleheader, is first two games with St. Lucie since coming off the DL, and a combined 1 for 7, with an RBI.
  •  Dario Alvarez suffered his first blown save and loss on the same night as he gave up three earned runs in the eighth inning.
  • Michael Conforto goes 2 for 4 to extend his current hit streak to nine games. What a start to his pro career, as he has at least one hit in each of his first nine games.
  • Amed Rosario went 2 for 6 and extended his current hitting streak to ten games. He is batting .383, (18 for 47), with 10 runs scored and eight RBI’s in that span.
  • Cyclone outfielder Michael Bernal went 4 for 4 with Four RBI’s in the victory.
  • Wuilmer Becerra finished 2 for 5, and has three straight multi-hit games. In his last ten games, Becerra is batting .366 (14 for 41), with two home runs.

Prospect Injury Update

  • Kevin Plawecki still has not returned to the 51s and hasn’t played since July 17th. Plawecki has been sidelined with a mild case of vertigo. According to Robert Brender, he caught in the bullpen yesterday for the 51s, a sign that he could be close to returning.

Fun Tweet From The Farm 

(Feature Photo Credit:  K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

 

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