Mets Merized Online http://metsmerizedonline.com Fri, 31 Oct 2014 13:00:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.4 MMO Roundtable: Will Mets Non-Tender Eric Young Jr? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/mmo-roundtable-will-mets-non-tender-eric-young-jr.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/mmo-roundtable-will-mets-non-tender-eric-young-jr.html/#comments Fri, 31 Oct 2014 13:00:06 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168605 eric young jr

The decision on how the Mets handle Eric Young Jr. this offseason is tricky for me. On one hand, he played really good defense in left field this season, is one of the best base-stealers in the league, by all accounts is a team first player, and for whatever reason, the Mets seem to win, more often than not, when EY is in the lineup.

On the other hand, he isn’t very good in center field, and doesn’t have the arm to play right, so having him restricted to left field limits the construction of the roster, and more specifically, the lineup, as LF is traditionally where you put your worst defensive outfielder, to add some pop to the offense. For whatever reason, Young has been terrible offensively at Citi Field, which I find very odd as the park is seemingly tailored for his game.

Young batted .210/.267/.283 at Citi last season while slashing at .246/.329/.338 on the road. A .329 OBP, with his speed is an asset in the NL, but his overall numbers are not.

The decision to tender him a contract and offer arbitration becomes a bit risky for me because they have to do it at the beginning of the offseason. If the Mets strike out on acquiring an outfielder, Young would make sense as a backup, occasional leadoff hitter, pinch runner, and defensive replacement. I guess the safe thing to do would be to offer him arbitration, which will cost the Mets roughly $2.5 million, just in case we don’t acquire a regular outfielder. If we do add an OF with some pop, or maybe more importantly, a leadoff hitter, I think you could always move Young in a trade to a team that is looking for speed.

Here is what some of my MMO colleagues had to say:

Gerry – Eric Young should be non-tendered to free up roster space ahead of the Rule 5 draft. While useful, his skills are best employed as a bench player and his limitations tend to be exposed over periods of extended playing time. At this point he clearly is what he is and shouldn’t be retained at the risk of losing a decent prospect. I would try to re-sign him to a lesser deal after the draft.

XtreemIcon – I wouldn’t be so quick to get rid of Young and he should be offered arbitration. He’s a good and useful piece off the bench. Young shouldn’t start regularly (maybe once a week to give a guy a rest), but he’s a solid defender in left field, and gives the Mets a fast baserunner off the bench. He should be guaranteed that bench spot.

Connor – It depends on how the offseason plays out, but I can see Young being a fifth outfielder or someone shuffled back and forth between Triple-A and the majors. I’m afraid though that if he is put in the hands of Terry Collins, he will see regular playing time. If that’s going to happen, non-tender him.

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Listen To Sandy Alderson On The Tip-Off Show http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/listen-to-sandy-alderson-on-the-tip-off-show.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/listen-to-sandy-alderson-on-the-tip-off-show.html/#comments Fri, 31 Oct 2014 12:30:50 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=169012 sandy alderson

Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson will join MMO’s John Bernhardt and Randy VanKeuren on today’s WIOX, Tip-Off show.

Tip-Off is a Friday morning sports show that airs from 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM every Friday morning on WIOX, 91.3 FM.

Sandy will field our questions during the last half-hour of the program and we invite MMO readers to listen by streaming Tip-Off at WIOXradio.org or at WIOX at TuneIn.com.

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Several Teams Expressing Interest In Alex Rios, Mets Not One Of Them http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/several-teams-expressing-interest-in-alex-rios-mets-not-one-of-them.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/several-teams-expressing-interest-in-alex-rios-mets-not-one-of-them.html/#comments Fri, 31 Oct 2014 11:00:18 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168797 alex rios

Several teams have already expressed interest in free agent Alex Rios already, but the Mets are not one of them reports Mike Vorkunov of NJ.com.

“The Mets have long been assumed to be looking to upgrade a corner outfield position this offseason and have been reportedly linked with several free agent outfielders. One outfielder on the market who could fit the profile is Alex Rios. The Rangers declined an option on him this month, making him a free agent.”

Rios had a precipitous drop in power this season, hitting just four home runs after averaging 15 homers and 32 doubles in his 11 year career.

Agent Paul Kinzer, who represents Rios, told The Dallas Morning News that the drop in production was due to injuries and that he played hurt during the second half of the season. He did not play after Sept. 4 because of a thumb injury. He also dealt with an ankle injury throughout the second half.

“His numbers were down because of the injuries. He stayed in the lineup and tried to do all he could because of what was happening with the team.”

October 28

Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors profiled free-agent Alex Rios, concluding that the 11 year veteran would earn $8.5 million on a one year deal. As we’ve seen from Sandy Alderson, he always prefers short-term contracts over lengthy, multi-year deals. Rios will be on the market and could make a let of sense until players like Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto arrive in 2016 and beyond.

Rios batted .280/.311/.398/.709 in 492 at-bats this season, hitting only four home runs in 131 games. However, he has been a very consistent player over the course of his career, hitting .278/.323/.439/.762 and averaging 17 home runs and 78 RBI. Coming off such a down year is unfortunate for Rios who is in the final year of the seven-year, $70 million contract he signed in 2008.

Chris Young was a one year fiasco and was in a similar position. He was floundering as a player after being highly touted early in his career. The difference is that Rios has a proven track record. His career numbers blow Young’s out of the water. You have to believe that one bad signing that didn’t work out, won’t make Alderson gun shy moving forward.

If the goal is to build from within and wait for Nimmo or Conforto to break through in the bigs, then Rios on a one year deal could make a lot of sense. He’ll be a veteran leader in the clubhouse, hopefully providing a little bit of power to go along with a resurgent David Wright and Curtis Granderson.

Rios alone isn’t the answer, but at one year and $8.5 million he might be too good to pass up for the bargain hunting Sandy Alderson.

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Mets To Relocate Fitness Camp From Michigan To PSL http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/mets-to-relocate-fitness-camp-from-michigan-to-psl.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/mets-to-relocate-fitness-camp-from-michigan-to-psl.html/#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 22:58:58 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=167246 fitness camp tejada michigan

Andy Martino of the Daily News is reporting that the Mets were so pleased with the results of an offseason conditioning program in Michigan last winter, that they will relocate the operation to Port St. Lucie.

“According to major league sources, the plan, which has not yet been made public, is to utilize newly hired strength and conditioning coordinator Mike Barwis at the Mets’ facility in Florida, rather than send personnel to Michigan.”

“Several players are expected to begin work in Port St. Lucie this week.  It was unclear if the Mets would totally discontinue use of the Michigan facilities, or simply move most of the work to Florida.”

The Mets have not confirmed the move.

Last winter, Lucas Duda, Wilmer Flores, Ruben Tejada and Juan Lagares all worked with Barwis in Michigan, and each player performed better this season than in 2013.

October 2

The Mets made another minor move Thursday after they announced that hitting coaches Lamar Johnson and Luis Natera would not return for the 2015 season. The team will also cut ties with strength and conditioning coach Jim Malone  and he will be replaced by Mike Barwis.

barwisBarwis, 41, has been with the Mets organization for the past few years as the senior adviser of strength and conditioning. He is the founder of Barwis Methods Training Centers, and has worked at the University of Virginia and the University of Michigan. Barwis is known for his intense “Barwis Methods”, and starred in the Discovery Channel show, “American Muscle”. He will oversee the hiring of all Mets training staff personnel

Malone, 47, had been with the Mets in the same role since 2013, after spending seven seasons with the San Diego Padres.

“Jim Malone did an excellent job for us over the last two seasons, and we wish him well,” said Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson.

“Mike Barwis and his organization offer the Mets an inclusive in-season and off-season approach to performance training, which we think will accelerate the development of our players at all levels.”

Barwis will be the third Mets strength coach in the past four seasons.

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Fielding Bible Awards: Juan Lagares Named Best Center Fielder In MLB http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/fielding-bible-award-juan-lagares-named-best-center-fielder-in-mlb.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/fielding-bible-award-juan-lagares-named-best-center-fielder-in-mlb.html/#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 22:12:14 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168378 juan lagares catch

Juan Lagares has been named the top defensive center fielder in the majors for the 2014 season by The Fielding Bible Awards.

“His throwing arm in center field is superb and deeply respected by baserunners,” said John Dewan. “He had six Outfield Arm Runs Saved in 2014. But it’s his ability to cover ground that sets him above the rest.”

“He saved 20 more bases on deep balls than an average center fielder (+20 Plus/Minus), the highest total among all center fielders. This is true despite the fact that, generally speaking, he plays on the shallow side. He had a +11 total on shallow balls, second best among center fielders. His +9 on medium hit balls was fourth best. Lagares finished first on every ballot except one.”

Lagares will be up for the more popular Gold Glove Award which will be announced on Tuesday at 7:00 PM on ESPN2.

He was named one of the three finalists for the National League Gold Glove Award in center-field. The other two finalists are Billy Hamilton and Denard Span.

October 22nd

Later this fall, Juan Lagares hopes to win his first Gold Glove in center field and according to BillJamesOnline.com‘s John Dewan, he will get it done.

Dewan cast his ballot for the 2014 Fielding Bible Award earlier this week and chose Lagares. His 28 defensive runs saved were the most by center fielders. Here’s what he had to say about Lagares:

Entering 2014, there was some question of whether Juan Lagares’ impressive rookie season was something of a fluke. He saved 26 runs in 2013, second most among center fielders despite playing just 820 innings.

Much of that success was the result of a position-leading 12 outfield kills, which is an unusually high total for a center fielder. Lagares emphatically answered any doubters with 28 Runs Saved in 945 innings this season.

As expected, runners were less aggressive in attempting to take extra bases against him this season, which coupled with his five kills resulted in six Runs Saved with his arm. His range accounted for 22 more runs, 7 more than the closest center fielder to him.

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

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Gil Hodges Up For Hall of Fame Consideration In December http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/gil-hodges-up-for-hall-of-fame-consideration-in-december.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/gil-hodges-up-for-hall-of-fame-consideration-in-december.html/#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 21:37:44 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168992 gil hodges bklyn

An MMO Fan Shot by Bill Hall

Gil Hodges is one of ten names on this year’s Golden Era Ballot the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum announced today.Players will be reviewed and voted on December 8 during the Baseball Winter Meetings in San Diego.

We support the election of Gil Hodges to the Baseball Hall of Fame. He is fully qualified under every one of the criteria set forth in the Hall’s own rules:

“Voting shall be based on player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.”

Gil Hodges was the premier first baseman in the National League during the Golden Era. He was an outstanding fielder, winning the first three Gold Gloves ever awarded in his final three seasons as a full-time regular. He was a dominant power hitter, topping twenty home runs for eleven consecutive seasons, and he totaled thirty or more homers in six of those years. He was an eight-time All Star. His on-the-field performance was a major factor in seven pennants and two World Championships during his fourteen seasons with the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers. He was second in both home runs and runs batted in for the National League during the 1950s, was tenth on the all-time home run list at his retirement, and in third place among right-handed batters.

gil hodges aims

His career totals might have been even more impressive had he not spent three years in the Pacific with the U.S. Marines during World War II, where he earned the Bronze Star, which is awarded for acts of heroism or meritorious service in a combat zone.

Integrity, sportsmanship and character may be hard to quantify, but Hodges displayed these qualities in abundance. As both a player and manager, he won the universal respect of his teammates, the players he managed, opponents and fans. He was widely recognized as the only player never to be booed in Brooklyn. Hodges made his home in the heart of the community where he played and he was extremely generous with his time, showing a special dedication to youth. Jackie Robinson credited him as a key figure in easing his difficult role as the first African-American in the major leagues in the 20th century. As a first-time manager, Hodges dramatically improved the performance of the expansion Washington Senators. When he returned to New York as manager of the Mets, he brought 25 young men together as a unit that accomplished one of the most improbable and best remembered feats in baseball history: the 1969 World Series title.

gil hodges place 1969 Mets parade

His untimely death at age 47 in 1972 robbed baseball and its fans of many more years of his great skills and character. His reputation had endured and grown in the decades since that loss. He has earned one distinction his generations of admirers would dearly love to see become a historic footnote–accumulating more votes than any candidate not yet enshrined in the Hall. His achievements during the quarter-century he did spend in the game have richly earned him a place in baseball’s shrine.

Once more, Hodges boosters are hopeful that his time has finally come. Although whoever is chosen by the Golden Era Committee will be a member of the Hall’s class of 2015, the election and announcement will take place in December, so the campaigners have adopted a hashtag to help publicize their cause: #14in14.

Sign our petition now.

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This Fan Shot was contributed by Bill Hall. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 25,000 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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MMO Free Agent Profile: Yasmani Tomas, RF/LF http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/mmo-free-agent-profile-yasmani-tomas-rflf.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/mmo-free-agent-profile-yasmani-tomas-rflf.html/#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 18:39:42 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168433 yasmani tomas

Yasmani Tomas

Position: Right/Left Field
Bats: Right, Throws: Right 
Age on Opening Day: 24

2014 Snapshot

Compared to his 2012 and 2013 seasons, Tomas’ 2014 season saw a big drop in production in the Serie Nacional, the main baseball league in Cuba. In 68 games last season (seasons are significantly shorter in Cuba), Tomas hit .286/.343/.444 with six home runs, 16 doubles, and two triples. That’s solid, but nothing compared to his 2013 season in which he hit .289/.364/.538 with 15 home runs, 18 doubles, and three triples in 81 games. His 2012 season was even better than that, posting an OPS 20 points higher.

Pros

The most attractive quality for Tomas is his potential. At 24, he has already proven he is a star in the Cuban league, a league that is certainly nothing to scoff at. The successes of recent Cuban players is a sign of the strength of play there, and has people more confident in Tomas’ ability to hit in the majors.

With Tomas, and international players in general, the more certainty, the higher the price is. With more players from Cuba playing well in the U.S. right now, that adds some certainty that more will succeed in the future. There is definitely more certainty with Cuban players now than a few years ago, which is both a good and a bad thing. While it probably means Tomas will at least be a decent player, it also probably takes him out of Sandy Alderson’s price range.

Putting that aside, Tomas is the equivalent of a rookie who has just had a great first season. He’s young and there is still some question as to whether he can stick, but the tools are obviously there. Some scouts have said Tomas will be a slugger, regularly competing for the league lead in home runs. If that holds true, he is a perfect fit for the Mets, who need exactly that: a middle-of-the order bat who also plays a corner outfield position.

Cons

International players are risky.

Logically, if you don’t have a lot of money to spend, you would probably want to spend it on things that have a higher degree of certainty. Otherwise, you could blow everything on one acquisition. That is what Sandy Alderson has stuck to and is what all but completely eliminates the Mets from signing Tomas.

According to Ben Badler, Tomas has also shown some swing-and-miss tendencies, struggling against good breaking pitches. That could make him a high-risk signing.

Overall, I’d say the Mets have absolutely no chance of getting Tomas, but by some chance the Wilpons finally decide to spend money like real New York owners, Tomas shouldn’t be considered an automatic, sign-at-any-cost target. There is so much uncertainty surrounding him that it could get ugly pretty quickly.

Projected Contract

Due to the fact that Tomas can be had without having to give up a draft pick or any bonus pool money, there is a big incentive for teams to bid wildly on him. So man teams expressed initial interest in him, and I think enough will have serious interest to really drive up the price. Someone is going to get really desperate, seeing this as a chance to get an immediate star for no prospects and no draft picks. Jose Abreu got $68 million last year and Rusney Castillo got $72.5 million this year. The price is only going up, which is why I am predicting 7 years, $120 million for Tomas.

Previous MMO Free Agent Profiles

Colby Rasmus, OF

Nick Markakis, RF

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Must See TV: Bud Bewildered By Wilde Moment http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/must-see-tv-bud-bewildered-by-wilde-moment.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/must-see-tv-bud-bewildered-by-wilde-moment.html/#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 18:18:58 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168977 wilde selig bumgarner

You know that nauseating feeling you get whenever commissioner Bud Selig appears on your TV and his lips start moving?

Watching Selig’s reaction during the World Series MVP presentation to Madison Bumgarner last night, was priceless. In some small measure it felt like fate was exacting some revenge on my behalf.

In what may have been one of the most awkward World Series moments I’ve ever seen, Rikk Wilde, a marketing executive from Chevrolet, completely botched his presentation as he struggled to describe the Chevy Colorado truck that Bumgarner had won.

“It has “technology and stuff,” Wilde said as Selig agonized throughout the presentation, hoping someone would mercifully pull the plug.

Check out the video below, and remember, watch Bud…

 

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MMO Fan Shot: Could Juan Lagares Become the Mets Version of Lorenzo Cain? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/mmo-fan-shot-could-juan-lagares-become-the-mets-version-of-lorenzo-cain.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/mmo-fan-shot-could-juan-lagares-become-the-mets-version-of-lorenzo-cain.html/#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 16:42:19 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168957 lorenzo cain

An MMO Fan Shot by yfern328

Fresh off an ALCS MVP where he batted .533 (8 for 15) with two doubles, two walks, and a stolen base, Lorenzo Cain has catapulted himself from “that-guy-who-plays-baseball-for-the-Royals” to an oft mentioned name in the national spotlight of the World Series. In addition to his sound batting, Cain has not disappointed with the glove either as he’s played spectacularly in the outfield tracking down balls in the gaps while making highlight-reel catches. Simply put, watching Lorenzo Cain during this postseason has been a treat, and if anything, it affirms my belief that stars can be born with organizational patience and commitment. As a Mets fan, I couldn’t help but wonder how awesome it would be to have a player like Cain leading off for the Mets. And then suddenly it dawned on me—perhaps the Mets already have a similar breakout candidate on the roster? Maybe that player is Juan Lagares?

Considering that Cain broke out big time in 2014 with a line of .301/.339/.412, I figured that maybe Lagares had a shot to best his STEAMER projections for 2015 if he too could take a similar step forward. When I began comparing Lagares and Cain, the first thing I was drawn to was Cain’s 2013 season and Lagares’ in 2014.

In 2013, Lorenzo Cain posted a triple slash line of .251/.310/.348 along with a wRC+ of 80 in 115 games. In many ways, Lagares had a better season in 2014. Lagares posted a triple slash line of .281/.321/.382 with a wRC+ of 101 in 116 games. Going back just another year, I found that in 61 games in 2012, Cain posted a line of .266/.316/.419 which was slightly better, but roughly just as bad as the .242/.281/.352 line Lagares had in 2013 over 121 games. Looking at just the stats from the past couple of years, it was clear that Cain had a slight edge in his ability to get on base, so I wondered if Cain had that reputation in the minors as well.

Turns out that was true. When I compared the cumulative minor league stats of Cain and Lagares, I found that Cain had a .294/.366/.430 line over 728 games which was just a notch better than Lagares’ .281/.322/.403 in 633 games. The interesting thing to note however was that while Cain performed pretty well at all the levels he played in the minors, Lagares seemed to show improvement over time. For instance in all levels below A+, Cain posted a .311/.387/.446 line in 206 games while Lagares only had a .255/.297/.372 line in 327 games.

However, Lagares showed marked improvement in the minor leagues from A+ onwards as compared to Cain who continued to produce stats in a similar fashion—in 728 games Cain hit .294/.366/.430 as compared to Lagares’ line of .308/.347/.435 over 306 games. If we consider these numbers, Lagares and Cain actually have a lot in common. Considering that Lagares improved over the course of his minor league career to eventually be comparable to Cain at the high minor league levels, is it that unreasonable to believe that Lagares could continue to make improvements at the plate in 2015 like Cain did this past year? It’s certainly reasonable to speculate that with Lagares’ steady improvement over the years, maybe he starts to trend more towards the hitter he was in the high minor leagues moving forward.

Again comparing Cain’s 2013 to Lagares’ 2014, what can be noted is that the two had nearly identical strikeout rates (20.4% vs 19.2%) and isolated power (.098 vs .101) while posting the same line drive rates (21.9%).

While Lagares did have a slightly higher BABIP compared to Cain (.341 vs .309), overall Lagares’ numbers were slightly better as a whole, so even if his stats regressed a little bit, the point is that Cain still ended up breaking out in 2014 with slightly worse numbers in 2013. One thing to note is that Cain had a much higher walk rate in 2013 (7.5%) compared to Lagares in 2014 (4.4%). Oddly enough though, in Cain’s breakout year he ended posting a 4.8% walk rate, so maybe there is hope for Lagares after all.

juan lagares claps

Additionally on the base paths, Lagares compares quite favorably. In 2013 and 2014 Juan Lagares stole 6 and 13 bases respectively. In 2012 and 2013 Cain respectively stole 10 and 14 bases, and in his breakout season Cain managed to steal 28 bases.It’s not crazy to think that Lagares could be a mid-20’s steal candidate in 2014 considering the ability he showed late in 2014 when he was given the green light. In fact, Lagares was no slouch in the minors either. Over his minor league career Lagares managed to steal 100 bases compared to Cain who stole 140.

Lastly there’s defense: both players are quite adept defensively, but Lagares is arguably the best centerfielder in baseball. Among qualified players, Lagares was the only one in baseball to be in the top 5 in DRS, UZR, and UZR/150 besides Alex Gordon. So assuming his defensive value remains constant, I don’t think it’s too lofty to believe that Lagares can have the same impact as Cain next year if his bat improves. In 2014 Cain was a 4.9 fWAR player while Lagares was pretty good himself at 3.8 fWAR. But what exactly does Lagares need to work on?

To me the big thing that stuck out was Lagares’ performance versus RHP. In 2014 Lagares hit a whopping .349 against LHP but only .264 against righties. While he showed improvement from his 2013 numbers where he hit .241 against LHP and .243 against RHP, Lagares has got to improve against RHP to even out his splits.

In 2013 Lorenzo Cain hit .238 against LHP and .256 against RHP but drastically improved on those figures this year by hitting .313 against LHP and .297 against RHP. If Lagares could hit righties with more authority, there’s every reason to believe that he can post similar numbers to Cain considering he already hits southpaws better. Outside of June and July, Lagares had a pretty solid year, but he’s got to build on this past season to really break out.

What is encouraging is that Lagares had pretty even Home/Away splits, so I’d continue to hope that Lagares can be a consistent player for the Mets in 2015. Another thing I do like about Lagares is that he had slightly better numbers with men in scoring position this past year, and that has been a trademark for Cain this postseason. That said, Lagares has got to improve upon hitting off-speed pitches. With more exposure to the league, and with more experience, I think Juan can greatly improve in this facet of his game as well. Moving into 2015, if Lagares continues to make steady improvements, he could be a very valuable hitter at the top of the Mets lineup.

Overall, do I project Lagares to become the next Lorenzo Cain? No. But what I am saying is that it isn’t out of the realm of possibility to assume that Lagares can breakout like Cain did this past year. Currently STEAMER projects Lagares to hit .256/.298/.360 with a 2.6 fWAR in 2015. I think those figures are shockingly low. Lagares has the potential to put up that level of fWAR defensively alone. He’s a good bet to approach the 4.8 fWAR Cain posted this year, or at least get into 4.0 fWAR territory with some moderate improvement.

In closing, Lagares has always shown steady improvement at the minor league level, and has made adjustments while continually improving at the major league level as well. Everything points to a player that’s gaining experience and continuing to develop and evolve as time passes. Nothing would make me happier than to see Juan Lagares take that next step and become every bit as good as Lorenzo Cain – and that he can pull it off as soon as next season.  Let’s Go Mets.

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This Fan Shot was contributed by MMO reader yfern328. 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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Free Agency Officially Began This Morning http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/free-agency-officially-began-this-morning.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/free-agency-officially-began-this-morning.html/#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 15:38:57 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168963 wilpon alderson

And away we go. With the World Series now concluded after the San Francisco Giants  defeated the Kansas City Royals 3-2 in Game 7, the Hot Stove Season officially kicked off at 9:00 AM this morning.

All players with no contractual obligations for 2015 officially became free agents this morning. For the Mets it’s a very short list that includes Daisuke Matsuzaka, who may be returning to Japan, and Bobby Abreu, who announced his retirement last month.

MLB teams have until Monday to inform their eligible players if they are getting a qualifying offer of $15.3 million dollars. The player then has seven days to decide whether to accept or reject it. If the one-year offer is rejected by the player, the team then receives a draft pick the following June if that player signs elsewhere.

Among free agent players the Mets may kick the tires on, you have shortstops Asdrubal Cabrera and Jed Lowrie, while outfielders Melky Cabrera, Nelson Cruz, Chris Denorfia,
Josh Willingham, Emilio Bonifacio, Colby Rasmus, Nori Aoki, Michael Cuddyer, Nick Markakis, Alex Rios and Yasmani Tomas, might be some of the names that will get varying degrees of buzz.

Of course, buzz is one thing and for the Mets’ reality is something altogether different. Both Jeff Wilpon and Sandy Alderson already hinted that there would be no significant free agent additions this offseason and each cautioned against a spike in payroll, so most of these names fall into the “look but don’t touch” category.

My guess is that Cuddyer for two years will be as good as it gets for the Mets assuming they aren’t outbid by another team. But the trade market should be buzzing with activity for the Mets as Sandy seeks to improve the team using a surplus of starting pitching and possibly moving Daniel Murphy as well. Should be a fun Winter to follow the team’s progress.

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AFL Update: Mazzilli Is Red Hot, Nimmo and Reynolds Get All Star Nods http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/afl-update-mazzilli-is-red-hot-nimmo-and-reynolds-get-all-star-nods.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/afl-update-mazzilli-is-red-hot-nimmo-and-reynolds-get-all-star-nods.html/#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 14:58:37 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168801 mazzilli

Mets outfielder Brandon Nimmo and shortstop Matt Reynolds have been named Arizona Fall League All Stars and will represent the Mets in Saturday’s Fall-Stars Game, which will be televised at 8:00 PM on the MLB Network.

Nimmo, 21, was the 13th overall pick of the 2011 Draft and he made great strides this year in the Mets system. The Wyoming native started the season at Advanced-A St. Lucie where he batted .322 with a .448 on-base in 227 at-bats before earning a promotion to Binghamton. Nimmo struggled for the most part in Double-A batting .238/.339/.396 in 240 at-bats with six homers and 26 RBI.

brandon nimmoIn the AFL, Nimmo is batting .231 with just three extra-base hits in 52 at-bats with 20 strikeouts. He told MiLB.com that he is enjoying the opportunity to play in the elite developmental league and is eager to build on the progress he made this year.

“There’s always just little things that you’re working on,” Nimmo said. “For me, I’m always going to try to include every aspect of the game — the fielding, the first steps when I’m trying to steal bags, obviously the hitting, being a little more consistent.”

Nimmo said he knows ups and downs are an inevitable part of baseball. But he hopes he can learn to even out his performance and avoid prolonged slumps.

“You’re going to have the peaks and the valleys, it’s just minimizing that and keeping it a little more constant and consistent,” he said. “I think I did better at that this year. I think there is still a lot of room to improve, especially from that jump from high A to Double-A.”

Matt Reynolds had a breakthrough season for the Mets in 2014. The 2012 second-rounder batted a combined .343 between Binghamton and Las Vegas with a .406 on-base and a robust .859 OPS in 478 at-bats. He could win a job on the Opening Day roster with a good Spring. In Arizona he’s showing some power, posting a .542 Slugging Percentage with three doubles and three homers in 48 at-bats.

One Met prospect who certainly deserved an All Star nod is second baseman L.J. Mazzilli, who is in the top ten in many offensive categories. Mazz, who is sporting a 7-game hitting streak, has a .316/.422/.506 slash line for Scottsdale in 11 games. He was the Mets fourth-round pick in the 2013 Draft and batted .301/.361/.440 with 11 home runs in 131 games in his first full professional season. His approach at the plate and his defense has been drawing raves from scouts.

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More Trouble With Hemi-Roiders http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/more-trouble-with-hemi-roiders.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/more-trouble-with-hemi-roiders.html/#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 13:27:50 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168922 It’s one thing for Jose Canseco to get pulled over with a goat in a diaper riding in his back seat, it’s quite another if he blows one of his fingers off cleaning a handgun.

jose-cansecoUnless he had bag of ice (or even a slushy) handy , the likelihood is that this little piggy is going in the medical waste bin. What a shame, fingers are handy, especially when you get cut off on an on-ramp by a muscle-bound idiot in a jacked up Ford pickup. The whole thing reminds me of a guy I knew in the service.

He was a shitbird. A shitbird is what we called guys who didn’t press their uniforms and didn’t get regular haircuts. Our unit was real big on personal hygiene and polished boots, because, well they wanted us to look neat and clean if we ever had to go kill people. I was introduced to this guy by a friend and I immediately thought “shitbird” when I saw him. A few months later I happened to see him on an operation in the desert. It was our first couple of days out in the field and we were still getting acclimated and I remember it was very hot. I finally understood what it meant when people would say, “it’s like a desert out here today.”

So I see this guy walking not far from a mess tent and he was carrying 6 MRE’s — MRE is an acronym for “meal ready to eat.” They are beyond nasty, they contain stuff like desiccated pork patties that taste how you’d imagine a pig that’s been through a wood chipper with a stack of cardboard boxes might taste after being dehydrated and cut up into patties. So I say “hi” and he stops and looks at me with this wide crazy eyes look like he’s got several lbs. of hashish duct taped to his ribs. He says, “hey what’s up man.” I say, “what’s with the MRE’s dude?” and he launches into an epic diatribe about calorie content and how they are packed with protein and nutrients and they help him gain weight (never mind that they taste like the wrong end of an ostrich).

“Why do you want to gain weight?” I ask. “Oh yeah,” he says, “I did a cycle.” A cycle, I didn’t know what that meant. “Like a bicycle?” I said imagining him trying to pedal a Schwinn over the sand dunes. “No, dude, you know steroids,” said Private Shitbird dropping his voice to a whisper and shifting his eyes back and forth like someone was listening (there was no one within 1,000 feet of us). “Yeah man, I’ve put on blah blah blah …“ he goes into this litany of weights and measurements as my eyes glazed and I began to feel dizzy from the sun. He ended with, “I can get you some.”

I looked at him and thought, some? MRE’s? Oooooh, Steroids, the injectable kind.  “I’m good, I don’t really need to gain weight.” I said, still under the impression you could pop on a urine test for using. “ Aren’t you worried about getting caught?” I said, knowing this guy had already popped on a piss-test for smoking weed. “Nah,” he said. I got a Corpsman buddy at Division, he gives me a heads up, besides they don’t even pick up on that stuff. “Aahh,” I said, thinking that’s what they all say. I’d reached that point in a conversation with someone you don’t really know where you’ve run out of stuff to talk about and then you’re just looking around wondering why you’re standing in the blistering sun. “Ok well, gotta go.”

I saw this guy a couple of times after that, each time he was noticeably bigger. Then I heard about it one day after returning to Garrison, everybody heard about it. He’d rolled over onto another operation (shitbirds spent a lot of time in the desert because no one liked them) and he got bit by a rattlesnake. That wasn’t the end of it. Apparently he went into a rage after the thing bit him and he grabbed it (whereupon it bit him again) and then he tore into the poor animal with his teeth and ripped its head off. Something you might imagine from, oh I don’t know, Ozzy Osbourne on steroids.

roid rage

Needless to say he needed a medevac pronto and legend has it they even punched a breathing hole in his throat because the venom got into his mouth causing his face and throat to swell up to several times their normal size (I would have paid to see that). It was one of these stories that made it’s rounds around the barracks and you ended up hearing several different versions from several different people before the day was over, and every time it got crazier. Eventually you’d have believed he chewed his way out of a pit of vipers and they punched a hole in his throat with a Ka-Bar and a ballpoint pen. What was clear was the guy was an absolute moron, an evolutionary throw-back who should have been tossed out with the discards in boot camp like some sort of mutated trout. How guys like that made it as far as they did always amazed me. Shitbird survived only to get kicked out – bad papers and all – a few months later for failing a third urinalysis, positive for THC.

Anyway, that was my first real experience with steroids. I later actually worked for a platoon sergeant who was juicing. I began to realize that while they did supposedly check for hormone levels we never heard about anyone getting busted for steroids. They called this guy “the Beef” – as in “where’s the Beef?” He would eat like six cans of tuna for lunch, plain, no bread or mayonnaise or olive oil, not even a sprinkling of paprika and dill. Just gross tuna right out of the can. He was also moody like you wouldn’t believe. One day he’d be cool with three of us being so drunk at morning formation we’d literally be falling over each other, another day he’d have the platoon digging ditches because someone got some shaving cream on one of the bathroom sinks. It kind of sucked, in fact the entire steroid thing kind of sucks.

Sure, conceding that many recent lists of potential MLB HOF inductees are speckled with cheaters is upsetting, even though the Hall of Fame’s rolls are littered with drunks and rogues and some not very nice people, but the statistical integrity of the game is another story.

The users have made it really difficult to figure out what’s what. What does 30 homers mean? What does 40 homers mean? How dumb is Manny Ramirez? Would he bite off a rattlesnake’s head? I could totally see that actually. But getting back to statistical continuity, these roiders (incidentally if you drive a Dodge truck while doing “a cycle” does that make you a hemi-roider?) … anyway, Canseco & Co. have made it really difficult to put a finger on a baseline norm for offensive performance over the past 20 years.

Mark McGwireHow many of Mark McGwire’s gargantuan blasts were the result of testosterone? How many were due to improved nutrition and training? Ever look at a suit of armor from the 1500’s? They were tiny back then — like little kid tiny. I mean if I saw one of these munchkins coming at me in a medieval forest seriously I would laugh, thinking, “is this guy for real?” right before he’d run me through with a lance (not so funny now HA!).  But athletes have been getting bigger and stronger and faster with every generation so there are multiple variables at work here when you look at the ebb and flow of offensive production.

I look at my kids sometimes as they hack my wife’s Amazon account and think “evolution” right there, I can barely get into my email. The improvement in training methods and medicine is another variable. A hundred years ago a broken leg was life threatening, you could be put down … like a horse. Now-a-days they’re talking about bionic hands and total knee replacements. So guys are coming back from injuries that would have been career ending in the not so distant past. They also get paid a lot more, and don’t think that isn’t a factor, I know people who would do some crazy shit for twenty-grand let alone twenty-million.

The sad truth, however, is that the roiders skewed the statistical integrity of the game. There is simply no way to tease the effects of steroids from whatever natural increases we may have seen due to human progress and improved nutrition and exercise. Professional baseball players (and all of their enablers) who took it upon themselves to use performance enhancing drugs have largely taken something away from the game that we can never get back.

I don’t really care for most of these guys who didn’t make it into the HOF. Bonds was a misanthropic grouch with a persecution complex and a head that eventually generated enough gravitational pull to support small satellites (saltshakers and shot glasses and stuff like that). I know several small furry creatures that I honestly believe are smarter than Sammy Sosa.

Jose Canseco is a parody of himself, an embarrassment in his own time lifted from a really bad Tarantino flick. Clemens is a fat and arrogant bully who appears to be living in a world of his own fabrication where he is and always will be the greatest man ever to breath air and eat pancakes – if he even is a man – there are days when he really wonders if maybe he’s some kind of god??! So yeah, I don’t care for these knuckleheads and generally feel like they had the HOF snub coming. I’m convinced each one of these guys has a rattlesnake somewhere waiting around a bend ready to bite them in the ass.

mike piazzaI do, however, feel bad for Mike Piazza and Craig Biggio. Two stand-up players who seemed to stay clean and never really hurt anyone or said anything terribly stupid. I don’t know for sure whether Piazza used but I doubt it.  He doesn’t fit the “unbelievably self-absorbed and dumb enough to bite a rattlesnake” profile.

When I think of steroid side-effects, the moodiness also comes to mind. I remember “the Beef” and how incredibly different he was when he was in a roid-rage. Piazza as we all know was about as laid back and even keeled as you could be – maybe to a fault. Fans used to lament that he wasn’t enough of a “leader,” that he didn’t “get in people’s faces” and that he didn’t turn the broken bat into a Roger-popsicle, and that he spent too much time playing air guitar, but Mike just never struck me as a juicer. Mike also never tested positive.

Murray Chass may go on his witch-hunt and follow Piazza and his back acne into the very gates of Hades for all I care. Who knows why, maybe a young Piazza snubbed Murray in the locker room because he had to take a leak, maybe Murray’s wife called out “oh yes, MIKE!” during an intimate moment, maybe Chass decided to demonstrate the might of his pen by randomly destroying one of the most prominent talents on the NY sports scene just for the hell of it. I don’t know and I don’t care, I don’t have any Murray Chass journalist cards the last time I checked.

It is nevertheless something of a sad travesty that guys like Biggio and Piazza got lumped in with the swollen boils on baseball’s hindquarters — those who didn’t have the presence and wherewithal not to cheat are and always will be the snake-biter shitbirds who end up blowing off their own body parts and getting holes punched in their necks.

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San Francisco Giants Are World Series Champs, Bumgarner Named MVP http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/san-francisco-giants-are-world-series-champs-bumgarner-named-mvp.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/san-francisco-giants-are-world-series-champs-bumgarner-named-mvp.html/#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 05:53:00 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168898 posey bumgarner

Congratulations to the 2014 World Series Champions San Francisco Giants, who defeated the Kansas City Royals with a 3-2 win in Game 7 on Wednesday night at Kauffman Stadium.

The Giants are the first National League team to win three World Series in five years in 68 years.

Madison Bumgarner was named the World Series MVP. The 25-year-old lefty tossed five scoreless innings in relief in Game 7 on just two days rest. He allowed only one run in 21 innings over his three games pitched in the series, including a shutout in Game 5 in San Francisco.

It was a heck of a series, hopefully it will be us in the near future.

manager Bruce Bochy

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Report: Joe Maddon To Manage The Cubs http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/report-joe-maddon-to-manage-the-cubs.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/report-joe-maddon-to-manage-the-cubs.html/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 22:17:56 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168521 joe maddon

Only five days after opting out of his contract with Tampa Bay, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports is reporting that Joe Maddon will become the new manager of the Chicago Cubs.

The Cubs and agent Alan Nero denied that a deal is done, but people familiar with the dealings say that it is certain to be completed in coming days, and that Maddon would indeed be the next Cubs manager.

Maddon will replace Rick Renteria, who had been serving as manager and had two years remaining on the three-year pact he signed with Chicago last offseason.

The Cubs get themselves one of the most respected managers in Major League Baseball and at a time when they are at the brink of contention as they’ve constructed a core of such young stars as Anthony RizzoStarlin CastroJorge SolerKris BryantJavier Baez and Jake Arrieta among others.

President of baseball operations Theo Epstein is also reportedly ready to back up that core with the money and resources necessary to pursue Jon Lester or Max Scherzer to headline their rotation next season.

October 26

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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MMO Roundtable: What To Do With Ruben Tejada http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/mmo-roundtable-what-to-do-with-ruben-tejada.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/mmo-roundtable-what-to-do-with-ruben-tejada.html/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 20:00:26 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168603 ruben tejada

Deciding what to do with Ruben Tejada is somewhat of a difficult decision this offseason.  He definitely improved from his horrid 2013 season to become serviceable defensively, and he has always hit lefties relatively well.

He’s not a starting shortstop option for the Mets going forward, but as I’ve stated in the past, he can have value in a platoon role, or strictly as a backup middle infielder.  The problem with him being in that role, is that I have never once seen Terry Collins bring in a defensive replacement for Daniel Murphy at second base, even in games when Flores was the starting shortstop this past season.

I’m also not sure if Tejada would be a positive clubhouse presence for the entire year as a backup. He’s clearly stated on several occasions that he thinks he should be starting, and it could cause an in-house issue at some point.

Sandy should see if  anyone is willing to take a chance on him taking a step forward this offseason, as he is still only 24 years old.  If nothing is available via the trade route, it would be beneficial for the Mets to just non-tender him and take the $2-3 million he will make in arbitration and apply it to another area of need.  There is a good chance that Matt Reynolds or Wilfredo Tovar could provide similar value at league minimum.

Here is what some of my MMO co-writers had to say on the matter:

Connor – The Mets should either cut him or trade him. The Mets need more offensive production, and wasting a spot on someone who hasn’t sniffed league average offense since 2011 is impractical.

XtreemIcon – He should start. Simple answer. He’s the best shortstop the Mets have right now. That’s not to say the Mets shouldn’t look to upgrade, but that would have to come from outside the organization. If they trade for Addison Russell or Chris Owings, terrific. Tejada is then the backup or perhaps was included in the deal. But if it’s him or Wilmer Flores, it’s Tejada everyday and twice on Sunday.

Drew – His time with the Mets is probably at an end. He’s due a raise and there’s no chance the Mets will pay him $3 million to be a backup. He’s not nearly as bad as he’s been portrayed and at 25 he can still carve out an MLB career, but it won’t be with the Mets.

Gerry – Tejada should be retained as at least a backup infielder and get a shot at competing for the SS job in the spring barring no new additions. He’s still young enough to improve and has shown flashes of potential as a better and more consistent hitter than he has demonstrated to date.

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Mets and Cubs Matchup Well, But Deal Unlikely Because of Differing Perceived Values http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/mets-and-cubs-matchup-well-but-deal-unlikely-because-of-differing-perceived-values.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/mets-and-cubs-matchup-well-but-deal-unlikely-because-of-differing-perceived-values.html/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 17:19:52 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168853 starlin castro

Andy Martino of the Daily News takes a poke at the Mets shortstop situation and says the Mets are most likely to go internal, with Wilmer Flores and Matt Reynolds as possibilities, and speculates that Ruben Tejada will either be gone or a backup.

He also reports that despite being a player that Sandy Alderson has liked in the past, free agent shortstop Jed Lowrie will not be a target of the Mets right now, according to sources.

As for the long-rumored possibility of a trade with the Cubs, for Starlin Castro or another of their shortstops, Martino says sources on both sides consider a deal unlikely. “It’s only a fit in the most simplistic “you have pitching, I have hitting” way.” The holdup is the differences in perceived value of each club’s young players.

Back in August, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports said that despite what seems to be a glut of young and promising infielders, there’s a real sense that Theo Epstein feels no pressure to move any of them like some are speculating.

Three time All-Star Starlin Castro batted .292 this season with 33 doubles, 14 home runs, a .777 OPS and a 114 OPS+ in 134 games. It would take a significant haul to pry the 24-year old away.

Logic dictates that one of Zack Wheeler and Jacob deGrom would be the starting price for the Cubs who crave a starting pitcher. And the Mets may still have to kick in an MLB ready prospect like Kevin Plawecki. Epstein seems to have all the leverage because he has money and can very simply go after a free agent like Jon Lester, James Shields or Max Scherzer this offseason.

Nobody believes the Cubs will trade top prospects Javier Baez and Addison Russell, who Epstein truly covets. Instead, most writers from Chicago point to 28-year old Luis Valbuena as the player that most likely gets traded. However, with a career .313 OBP in seven seasons, he won’t have much appeal to Sandy and the Mets.

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Mets Arbitration Predictions, 40 Man Roster Considerations http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/mets-arbitration-predictions-40-man-roster-considerations.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/mets-arbitration-predictions-40-man-roster-considerations.html/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 15:34:46 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168883 MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at New York Mets

MLB Trade Rumors posted their projected arbitration awards for nine eligible Mets players.

Arbitration Eligible Salary Projections

That totals $30.5 million in arbitration eligible players. They project that Buddy CarlyleRuben Tejada and Eric Young Jr. will be non-tendered this winter. If that happens each will become a free agent and be able to sign with a new team or re-sign with the Mets for less money. Everyone but Parnell, who will likely earn the same salary after spending the season on the disabled list, is getting a sizable raise with Murphy topping the list.

One important date to note, and one that will have significant bearing on who gets tendered or not, is November 20. On that day, the Mets have to lock in their 40 man roster and try to protect what prospects they can from the Rule 5 Draft.

The Mets will have to add Matt Harvey and Bobby Parnell to the 40 man roster and reinstate them from the 60 day disabled list. That won’t be a problem as they’ll simply replace Daisuke Matsuzaka and Bobby Abreu.

However, Noah Syndergaard will certainly need to be added to the 40, while pitchers Cory Mazzoni, Logan Verrett and Akeel Morris will get heavy consideration too. Among hitting prospects, T.J. RiveraDaniel Muno, and Dustin Lawley are just a few names the Mets may have to consider.

Remember that anyone selected in the Rule 5 Draft must remain on the new team’s 25 man roster all year or be returned to the original team. So the strategy is to try and protect those players who could help an MLB team right now.

Here is the full list of Rule 5 eligible players as comprised by Chris Walendin of TGP Mets.

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Vic Black Feels Great, Could Begin Throwing Next Week http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/vic-black-feels-great-could-begin-throwing-next-week.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/vic-black-feels-great-could-begin-throwing-next-week.html/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 15:23:10 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168892 vic black

Andrew Harts of MLB.com spoke to Vic Black today, who told him that his arm and neck feel great. Black added that he expects to begin his off-season throwing program next week.

“I’m good to go,” Black told reporters at a team event in Staten Island.

Black had his season cut short in September due to a herniated disk that was causing neck pain and an unresponsive shoulder.

After struggling with control, Black failed to make the team out of Spring Training. However, he was eventually called up in May and despite a few hiccups, pitched very effectively out of the pen.

He finished the season with 41 appearances, posting a 2.60 ERA and 1.30 WHIP in 34.2 innings pitched, striking out 32 and walking 19.

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Mets Are A Bandbox Team Playing In A Pitcher’s Park http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/mets-are-a-bandbox-team-playing-in-a-pitchers-park.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/mets-are-a-bandbox-team-playing-in-a-pitchers-park.html/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 14:34:44 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168806 MLB Opening Day at Citi Field

An adaptation is a trait that plays a role in the survival of a given organism. Animals adapt to their surroundings by means of natural selection because those who are not well adapted to their environments die off — like a penguin in the Sahara. Humans adapt as well … my wife tells me I am well adapted to carrying stuff and she insists she’s adapted to telling me to carry stuff. She may have a point. The rule applies to most competitive habitats, even the baseball diamond. Some teams are more adapted to their environments than others.

The mark of any good team, however, is not only how well adapted they are to their surroundings but how well they perform against top teams, and in 2014 The Mets did not do so well. Out of all the playoff teams on the Mets schedule, the only one they had a winning record against was the Cardinals against whom they went 4–3. The Mets split against the A’s, lost season series against the Dodgers and Pirates (2–4 and 3–4 respectively) and lost badly against the Giants and Nationals (1–6 and 3–15). That comes out to a combined 15 wins and 34 losses against playoff bound opponents which is a .306 winning percentage for those of you keeping score at home. While the Mets did beat up on many lesser clubs, you aren’t going to get very far in this league if you do that poorly against the upper echelon … Bottom feeders tend to stay near the bottom.

Below is a breakdown of where the playoff teams on the Mets schedule ranked respectively for ERA, OPS and UZR … As you can see Mets pitching and defense ranked up there with some of the better teams, but the offense was abysmal. Also of note is that arguably the most balanced team in the league in terms of offense and pitching (the Dodgers) was promptly bounced from the playoffs, as were the Pirates and Nationals, with all three sporting bottom third in the league defensive rankings. The Giants, who are looking like they might win the world series, have done it with an average offense, an average defense, and very good pitching.

Mets vs ERA OPS DEF/UZR
(3–15)   Nationals 1st 8th 20th
(4–3)   Cardinals 11th 18th 6th
(1–6)    Giants 10th 14th 15th
(2–4)    Dodgers 6th 3rd 23rd
(3–4)    Pirates 8th 5th 27th
(2–2)    A’s 3rd 13th 8th
TOTAL (15–34) Mets 9th 26th 11th

The takeaway here is that with a little improvement to the offense the Mets should be able to keep pace with some of the better teams. As the Cardinals and Giants (and the A’s) showed, the Mets don’t even necessarily need a great offense. The league averaged a .700 OPS in 2014, so for the Mets, who had a .673 OPS, a .027 point bump might just do it.

The Giants and Nationals absolutely killed the Mets to the tune of a combined 4 wins and 21 losses and they did it by matching Mets pitching and outhitting them. Against the Giants it was particularly frustrating because they didn’t outhit the Mets by much, but they didn’t need to, which is an important point.

If the Mets had even a slightly better offense this past year they would have been in a lot more ballgames. Unlike the Giants, the Nats outhit the Mets handily, and they capitalized on all of the Mets’ weaknesses. Not only was their pitching better, they walloped the Mets offensively, and, to rub salt in the wound, it sure felt like they kept Mets contact rates down by striking the hell out of them thereby insulating the problematic Nationals defense. Had the Mets made more (or better) contact against the Nats they may have fared somewhat better … but nope, the Mets couldn’t even take advantage of their one true weakness.

The Mets simply need to make more contact. There is a general sense among fans that the Mets strikeout too much, but is there any truth to that?

The weird thing is that the Mets’ contact rates weren’t all that bad.

Plate Discipline: League Mets
Z Contact % 87.3 87.6
O Contact % 65.8 66.1
Contact % 79.4 80.2
F Strike % 60.6 61.1
Sw Strike % 9.4 8.8
Z Swing % 65.7 64.9
O Swing % 31.2 28.8

According to the above, the Mets made slightly more contact than the rest of the league on pitches inside the zone (z contact) and outside the zone (0 contact), and the Mets also had a lower swinging strike percentage and swung at fewer pitches both in the zone (z swing) but especially out of the zone (o swing), all good things. The league struck out 20.4% of the time while the Mets struck out 21.1% of the time which is less than a 1% difference. The Mets also walked 3.13 times per 9 innings to the league’s 2.89/9, so in general Mets plate discipline was pretty solid.

Mets batting average on the other hand was .239 and as a team they slugged .364 to the league’s .251 BA and .386 SLG — kind of a significant difference. They also had a BABIP of .286 to the league’s .299, so the Mets may have also been slightly unlucky, but I dislike BABIP for one important reason — low BABIP sometimes has nothing to do with luck and everything to do with poor contact (we’ll get back to that later). Additionally, the Mets had a 75.7% left on base percentage to the leagues 73% … they left a lot of guys on base.

Yes, the Mets did strikeout slightly more than the rest of the league (especially at home where they struck out 2.6% more than they did on the road), but they walked a lot more too, and, while their plate discipline was decent, they left a ton of guys on base. The Mets clearly got on base at a healthy clip, but they stalled far too frequently.

Why? What killed the offense? Was it the Mets’ marginally higher tendency to strike out? Was it a lack of aggressiveness? (I don’t think their plate discipline metrics support that at all). Was it bad luck? Turns out it wasn’t any of those things. The Mets didn’t strike out that much more than the rest of the league but they made outs a lot more on balls in play … which brings us back to BABIP and the real culprit.

The Mets had the 4th highest flyball percentage in baseball at 36.7%, and even more astonishing, they had the second lowest ground ball rate at 42%. The Mets are essentially a team built for a band-box playing in a pitcher’s park (which explains why they did so well against the Phillies). Now, I get the whole “chicks digging the long ball” thing, but the Mets are not really well adapted to Citi Field’s expansive dimensions … their flyball rates are way too high and they hardly ever hit the ball on the ground. Hopefully the Mets front office will address this disparity this off-season by signing a hitter or two with a knack for line drives and ground balls through the hole.

Will the fly ball problem be somewhat mitigated by bringing in the fences? Maybe … it doesn’t help that the Mets are an extreme flyball team playing in an extreme flyball park. What the Mets don’t need are more all-or-nothing flyball hitters.

The Mets clearly need to do a better job of adapting their roster to their home confines or they will suffer the fate of the dodo and the triceratops.

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Will Bartolo Colon Still Be With Mets In 2015? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/will-bartolo-colon-still-be-with-mets-in-2015.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/will-bartolo-colon-still-be-with-mets-in-2015.html/#comments Tue, 28 Oct 2014 15:10:07 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168751 bartolo colon

One of the questions I get asked a lot is whether I think Bartolo Colon will be traded this offseason. I still feel the same way now as I did before the trade deadline and believe Colon will be in the 2015 Opening Day rotation.

Back in July, I took issue with this prevailing notion that the Mets would trade Colon to anyone that would simply take his contract off their hands – even for no players in return. One site continued to push that narrative all through the waiver period that followed, but when all was said and done Bartolo was still a Met. Big surprise to them, not to me.

Sandy Alderson would never just give Colon away especially after giving the fan base quite the sell job after signing him for $20 million dollars and then trying to justify that second guaranteed year that no other team was willing to offer.

Simply giving him away at the time, would also have fanned the flames that the Mets were STILL in financial distress, something they’ve been trying desperately to extinguish, albeit quite unsuccessfully.

Colon and his remaining $11 million should be easier to move this offseason, but I’m still convinced the Mets will keep him.

For one, Sandy Alderson could get a lot  more in return by trading Jon Niese or Dillon Gee who other teams view more favorably than Colon – who still carries a lot of risk.

But secondly, and perhaps more importantly, Sandy Alderson could keep Colon because he’s a workhorse who stabilizes the rotation, serves as a hedge against Matt Harvey not returning at full strength, and he provides and insurance against injuries and innings caps.

The Mets would still have to kick in some money to facilitate any deal for Colon, something they would be very reluctant to do. When Colon passed through waivers without so much as one claim, it showed that nobody was willing to take on Colon’s contract even if it would have cost them nothing in return.

So to answer the question, yes, Colon will still be with the Mets in 2015.

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