Mets Merized Online Mon, 26 Jan 2015 11:00:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Wilmer Flores Talks SS; Has Been Working Hard All Offseason Mon, 26 Jan 2015 11:00:25 +0000 Wilmer - Flores

Marc Carig (Newsday) put together a nice article with some input from both Wilmer Flores and David Wright on the state of the Mets shortstop situation.  The topic obviously centered around what Flores has done to improve and whether the offseason banter has affected his outlook and determination.

“You hear people talking all the time.  Is this guy going to be a shortstop?  Can he play shortstop?  Can he not?” Flores said.

“I’m not going to say I don’t hear things. But I try not to because I know what I can do, man. Honestly, I know what I can do.”

“Not everyone can play shortstop in the big leagues. I think I did a pretty good job at short. I was impressed with what I did. I just want to do it again.”

It’s the first time Flores has contributed his thoughts on the matter after spending almost every day this offseason either playing winter league baseball in his native Venezuela or training in Port St. Lucie with little downtime at all.

Wright offered a realistic, yet genuine endorsement of his teammate.

“He hasn’t played there,” Wright said. “He was playing third, he was playing some second, then all of a sudden they wanted to throw him at shortstop at the big-league level. Obviously, there’s an adjustment period.”

“I would wager that he’s going to have a better year offensively than I would say the majority of shortstops in baseball. I’m not saying he’s going to be Omar Vizquel at shortstop.”

Here’s my thoughts. If Wilmer were to be graded on effort, focus and desire just from this offseason alone, he’d get straight A’s.

He’ll execute the routine putouts, turn the everyday double play and probably have a few web gems to go with the occasional blunder.  Some days will be bad, some will be good, but most of the time he’ll get the job done with the glove.

What’s odd is that unlike many, I see good reason to believe he’d be passable with his glove, at least as a short term solution.  Ironically, for all the talk of his offense, there seems to be little discussion around his splits.

Over his final 24 games last season, Flores finished strong, producing a .287/.320/.500 slashline.  However, of those games, 13 were played at SS (.255 hitter), 10 were played at second base (.368 hitter) and 1 was split between SS/2B (.200).

The story remains consistent across the entire season too.  His .251/.286/.378 stat line disguises how dismal he was offensively at SS (.239/.273/.324)versus 2B (.297/.328/.563).  Obviously, it’s a small sample size, but curious all the same.

In the end, it depends on the plan the Mets have for Flores both now and in the future.  If the goal is to milk this experiment for dollar value at the expense of his development and the integrity of the infield defense, it could foreshadow more of the same ‘upgrade’ chatter next offseason.

If the goal is to get above average production from him until the trade deadline on the heels of a Daniel Murphy deal, Flores will likely move to 2B, where he has thrived and this will likely be a savvy display of patience on the part of the Mets.

The point is, Wilmer Flores flashed some serious promise last year playing at second, which is where his career was headed since as early as 2011. He’s put a lot of work into this offseason and deserves to see it pay off.

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MLB Commissioner Defends Naming Fred Wilpon Finance Committee Chairman Sun, 25 Jan 2015 22:22:12 +0000 saul katz and fred wilpon

I wanted to update this post with some quotes via the New York Times from incoming MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred.

Responding to criticism over naming Fred Wilpon chairman of the MLB Finance committee, Manfred said:

“I understand the whole Madoff thing, but before and since, Fred Wilpon was an extraordinarily successful businessman.”

Manfred said the committee Wilpon will chair deals with two issues, executive compensation and a central office budget. “Obviously, to be a successful businessman, you have to know how to budget.”

“If you really understand which committees do what, I don’t see it as an issue,” Manfred said.

“He understands how the budget process in baseball has worked, and he’s more than qualified to fill that role.”

January 19

If any of you were hanging onto a slim hope that new MLB commissioner Rob Manfred would somehow be the antithesis to Bud Selig who turned a blind eye as Mets owner Fred Wilpon skirted the rules and nearly bankrupted a big market franchise, think again.

Bill Madden of the Daily News reports there was a lot more happening at last week’s owners meeting in Arizona than just a farewell party for Bud Selig.

New head honcho Rob Manfred announced a complete overhaul of major league baseball’s hierarchy and among the new restructuring he named Mets owner Fred Wilpon the new chairman and head of the MLB Finance Committee.

In what was his first major decision as the 10th commissioner of baseball, Manfred showed that the commissioner’s office will continue to have the same close and binding relationship with Fred and Jeff Wilpon – just as it had for nearly a quarter of a century under Bud Selig.

Wilpon, who allegedly lost about $700 million in the largest Ponzi scheme in American History – the second time he was embroiled in a massive Ponzi scheme – was nearly forced to sell the team three years ago and is still on uncertain financial footing.

Fox guarding the henhouse copy

What makes Manfred’s decision so bizarre is that Fred Wilpon admits to not being the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to financing, and in fact, Wilpon’s entire defense case in the trial brought on by trustee Irving Picard was based on his ignorance of how the convicted Bernie Madoff oversaw his investments as well as his role in team finances. His entire defense was based on ignorance of his own team’s finances.

Wilpon used Madoff to run the team’s finances and turned a blind eye as he negotiated deferred money into players’ contracts and then used that money to invest in high-yield fraudulent investments to make money for themselves before paying players.

The trustee, Irving Picard, also alleged at the time that the Wilpons had enriched themselves over many years of profitable investing – even outpacing the S&P 500 by 6-8% – while ignoring repeated warnings that Madoff was fudging the numbers, was fabricating false quarterly and annual statements that showed huge fictitious gains and balances, and even internal complaints from their own employees that he was committing fraud.

In addition to the millions lost in the Madoff affair, the Wilpons are currently buried waist deep in nearly three quarters of a billion dollars in debt between the team and the SNY Network which broadcasts the team’s games. A huge portion of that debt – a reported $600 million – is actually due in June of this year.

The MLB Players Association has recently opened an investigation looking into financial inconsistencies regarding offseason workouts being held at the team’s complex in Port St. Lucie. A team consultant is leasing space and then charging players who participate in a voluntary training regimen fees ranging between $1,000-$4,400 dollars.

It’s mystifying and completely logic-defying that Manfred would tap Wilpon for such an important chairmanship – one that on the surface would require someone who was supremely qualified in the areas of corporate finance and investing.

It just goes to show that the old adage is true — It’s not what you know, but who you know. Sadly, in his first official act as commissioner, Manfred looks to continue years of Selig cronyism under the guise of the best interest of the game.

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Mets Pass On Cuban SS Yoan Moncada; Yankees, Giants, Phillies Considered Favorites Sun, 25 Jan 2015 15:20:26 +0000 yoan moncada

(Updated 1/25)

Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada is close to being cleared to sign with an MLB team. He continues to conduct private workouts for several interested teams.

The New York Yankees are the latest team to hold a private workout for Moncada. Several industry sources told Baseball America, the Yankees are one of the frontrunners to sign Moncada. The 19-year-old switch-hitter who would likely slot it at second or third base, they said, and he would immediately become the Yankees’ top prospect if he ended up signing with them.

According to what team sources told reporter Anthony DiComo of, the Mets have done their due diligence on Moncada, but do not view him as a realistic option given their budget and financial constraints.

Top talent evaluator Ben Badler of Baseball America recently said that the Cuban infielder is a dynamic player with premium bat speed, an enticing combination of power and speed along with a strong track record of hitting.

He also added that while all 30 MLB teams would undoubtedly love to have Moncada, his high price tag ($30 million bonus plus $30 million tax) limits his signability to big market teams like New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Boston and Chicago.

“That’s why you can comfortably count out teams such as the Indians, Twins, Royals, Pirates, Athletics and Mets when it comes to handicapping the Moncada sweepstakes.”

Moncada, who has abundant speed and power, has been compared favorably to Dodgers star Yasiel Puig.

While discussing international free agency at the Winter Meetings, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson told reporters that while the Mets had been mostly bystanders in foreign markets over the years, that was going to soon change.

“We haven’t been in that category,” he said. “I expect we will be in that category, soon.”

Many took that to believe that the Mets would be players for Korean shortstop Jeong-ho Kang and five-tool prospect Moncada.

Alderson also told reporters the Mets were considering a bid on Kang and that they were very interested, but a month later on the eve of the bidding deadline he announced the Mets were out.

A day later the Pittsburgh Pirates won the rights to Kang and ultimately signed the 27-year-old infielder to an $11 million, four-year contract on Friday.

Reports have suggested that Moncada will likely receive a signing bonus in excess of $30 million and in addition to that there will be a 100 percent penalty for any team who signs him.

Besides the Yankees, the San Francisco Giants also worked out Moncada last week. The Phillies. Dodgers, Rangers and Cubs are also very interested and held private workouts previously.

There have been no reports linking Moncada to the Mets.

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Sandy Alderson Pokes Fun At Mets Shortstop Situation Sun, 25 Jan 2015 14:21:24 +0000 sandy alderson

Last night, at the Baseball Writers of America Awards dinner in New York, general manager Sandy Alderson introduced Cal Ripken Jr. to the podium.

“It’s a big night for me and for Mets fans, who have been waiting all winter for me to introduce a shortstop.”

It’s been a while since Alderson has made one of his self deprecating jokes.

Mike Puma of the NY Post writes that the Mets are set to head to Port St. Lucie with Wilmer Flores and Ruben Tejada at the position.

He adds that the Mets have been disinterested in taking on Troy Tulowitzki’s contract in a trade from Colorado and unwilling to part ways with Noah Syndergaard for Washington’s Ian Desmond.


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Most Consistent Mets Players By Position Sun, 25 Jan 2015 14:00:27 +0000 keith hernandez

What does it take to be a reliable everyday position player? At the major league level, it can be summed up in two words, consistency and durability. The player needs to be consistent in his performance; at or above league average in any of the five tools. A speedy guy with a great glove can make a living at the bottom of the order for years. A slow, lumbering corner guy can be a mainstay as long as he can find the seats with his bat.

There are many ways for a player to find his way onto the lineup card, but staying there is a whole other ballgame.

Players who can prove they are consistent at what they do well, usually find themselves a home until the consistency fades. If they prove to be durable and can keep up their good work while staying off the disabled list, they will probably find themselves on the same team at the same position for three or more years.

So how long does it take to find a legitimate starter? A player who can man a position for three or more years while playing 100 or more games each season? A ballplayer that we know exactly what to expect, because we are totally familiar with him?

When talking about the Mets, those questions are not so easy to answer.

Our position players, for the most part, have been a carousel ride.  Digging into Mets history, it is surprising to see how many legitimate starters we have had at each position.

I was interested in refreshing my memory on who our mainstays were at each position going back to the good old days of ’86 when the Mets seemed to have everything under control. As a benchmark, I looked for players who had over 100 games played at the same position for three seasons or more with the Mets. This didn’t work out so well for guys like Eddie Murray and Paul LoDuca, but here’s a position by position look at  players who have given the Mets some consistent playing time over the last 30 years or so.


gary carter out at homeOn the bright side, things are looking up. Travis d’Arnaud played 104 games in 2014 and it looks like he can possibly be our catcher for years to come. With Kevin Plawecki waiting in the wings and the light chatter of moving d’Arnaud to the outfield since suffering his third concussion last season, we can be slightly confident that either way we may have a legitimate starter on our hands. Looking back, it has been a rough ride at catcher for quite some time.

This was a position we did not have to worry about for more than a decade. Gary Carter played over 100 games four years in a row between 85-88. After three years of Cerrone, Sasser and Lyons, the Mets had Todd Hundley behind the dish for six consecutive years, wearing the tools of ignorance more than 100 times in four of them.

Hundley passed the torch to Mike Piazza in 1998 who crouched at Shea until 2002. In 17 years, the Mets had three stud Starting Catchers and three misses. It was an amazing time for the Mets behind the dish.

Since 2002, it has been a swing and a miss. Vance Wilson and Jason Phillips got a chance only to be taken over by Piazza again in 05. LoDuca looked promising, but only lasted two years in a Met uniform.

From there, the closest we have had to a consistent starting catcher was the Josh Thole Project. Buck, Barajas, Santos, Schneider, Wilson and Phillips (Insert “Hold On” joke here) filled in the gaps in the Mets attempt to fill the gaping hole left by Piazza. So in the 12 seasons since Piazza was the starting catcher, the Mets have auditioned eight players, nine including d’Arnaud.

Consistent Starting Catchers Since 1985

Carter 1985-1988
Hundley 1992-1997
Piazza 1998-2002, 2005

Honorable Mentions

LoDuca  2006, 2007
Thole  2011, 2012

The Rest

Lyons 1989
Sasser 1990
Cerrone 1991
Wilson 2003
Phillips 2004
Schneider 2008
Santos 2009
Barajas 2010
Buck 2013

First Base

carlos delgadoBeing a lefty myself, first base was always my favorite position. I always looked up to the first basemen of the Mets growing up and ended up playing it in high school before moving to the outfield in college. I remember getting Rico Brogna plaques (they made those?) for my birthday and wanting to wear a helmet on the field to be more like John Olerud. The first base spot has been more stable than catcher thanks to guys like Carlos Delgado and Olerud.

Lets start our journey in 1983 with the acquisition of Keith Hernandez. He played a magnificent first base until 1988, playing in over 90 games in all 6 years, and over 100 in four of them. He was then followed by Dave Magadan who Started there 89-91, eclipsing 100 games in two of the years. Then came the aging Eddie Murray for two more,  which led to a slew of first base tryouts including David Segui, Rico Brogna, and Butch Huskey before finally landing Olerud in 97. Olerud went on to play in New York for three years playing over 140 games in each season during his tenure. Todd Zeile joins Murray in the almost group, playing first for two seasons. Then came Mo Vaughn, Jason Phillips, a Mike Piazza appearance and Doug Mientkiewicz for a year apiece.

The next guy set the bar pretty high for three years. Delgado was the real deal at the right corner of the infield. A year of Murphy led us to a promising year from a young Ike Davis. All Met fans know how that saga ended four years later with Lucas Duda finally winning the job. Duda had a strong showing in 2014 and much like d’Arnaud, has the ability to hang round for a few years if he continues to produce.

Consistent Starting First Baseman Since 1983

Hernandez 1983-1988
Olerud 1997-1999
Delgado 2006-2008

Honorable Mentions:

Magadan 1989-1991 (87 games in 89)
Murray 1992-1993 (154 games each year)
Zeile 2000-2001 (Over 140 games played both years)
Murphy 2009, 2011
Davis 2010, 2012-2013

The Rest

Segui 1994
Brogna 1995
Huskey 1996
Vaughn 2002
Phillips 2003
Piazza 2004
Mientkiewicz 2005

Second Base

edgardo alfonzo white jerseyOur second baseman from ’86 is still with the Mets organization waiting for his call-up much like he probably was as a player in Tidewater in 1980. Wally Backman controlled second base from 84-86 finding his way onto the field over 110 games in each. Teufel played 92 in 1987 and Wally matched that the following year giving him a forth year of being the Mets starting second baseman.

Gregg Jefferies followed with a three-year stint but did not make the cut due to his 75 games in 1991. Willie Randolph was the only layover before we were graced with a powerful second baseman in Jeff Kent for three solid years. There was a three-year gap before we found our next mainstay in Edgardo Alfonzo who played there until 2001.

Thanks to this past season, Daniel Murphy is the first Met to play over 100 games at second base for three consecutive seasons since Fonzie. Luis Castillo played for four years but only saw the field more than 100 times in 2009.

Consistent Starting Second Baseman Since 1984

Backman 1984-1988
Kent 1993-1995
Alfonzo 1999-2001
Murphy 2012-2014 (and beyond!)

Honorable Mentions

Jefferies 1989-1991
Baerga 1997, 1998
Alomar 2002, 2003
Castillo 2007-2010

The Rest

Randolph 1992
Vizcaino 1996
Garcia 2004
Cairo 2005
Valentin 2006
Turner 2011

Third Base

robin-venturaDavid Wright has been our third baseman since 2004, playing in over 100 games for nine straight seasons. Looking beyond Wright, third base has been pretty solid in our recent history, scattered with good ballplayers. The list for this position is short thanks to David. I went back to 1981 here to make sure Hubie Brooks got a mention. Howard Johnson controls six years, Alfonzo for four (non-consecutive) with Ventura being the last stop of consistency before Wright.

Consistent Starting Third Baseman Since 1981

Brooks 1981-1984
Johnson 1985, 1987-1991, 1993
Ventura 1999-2001
Wright 2004-2014

Honorable Mention

Alfonzo 1997, 2002

The Rest

Knight 1986
Magadan 1992
Bonilla 1994
Kent 1996
Wigginton 2003


reyes-mets-reds-july-6-c9825a1b4377128f_largeOh, to have a starting shortstop again. When I dream my baseball dreams I have a fast, switch-hitting leadoff man at shortstop. A guy who can hit line drives in the gaps and excite everyone as he rounds second and heads to third. We are entering our fourth season without a real shortstop.

Maybe we were spoiled by Jose Reyes, he did set the bar very high, but we have had nothing even close. When he left, so did our speed and excitement. Sometimes I would hate to see him excessively celebrate, but you truly don’t know what you have until it’s gone. I would do anything to have a healthy Reyes back in that leadoff spot.

Besides Reyes, Ordonez and Santana are the only 3 year/100+ game guys on the list. Kevin Elster played 4 consecutive years and had 100+ games in 3 of them. The problem is his 92 game season breaks them up and if I break the rules for Elster I’d have to break them for everybody.

Consistent Starting Shortstops Since 1985

Santana 1985-1987
Ordonez 1996-1999, 2001, 2002
Reyes 2003, 2005-2008, 2010, 2011

Honorable Mention

Elster 1988-1991(Just missed. 148, 150, 92, 107)
Vizcaino 1994, 1995
Tejada 2012, 2014

The Rest

Schofield 1992
Bogar 1993
Bordick 2000
Matsui 2004
Cora 2009
Quintanilla 2013

Left Field

george fosterWorking backwards, left field is a weird position. The Mets have had limited success in the corner outfield spots. In left field, Eric Young Jr. played the most games for us the last two seasons, never nearing 100 games.

The Jason Bay project lasted three years, two of which were under 100 games. Cliff Floyd who barely missed making the cut, played four years straight but missed the 100 game mark twice (Barely). Bernard Gilkey just missed by 24 games in his final year at Shea.

Left field hasn’t produced very many 3 year/100 game players for the Mets. You have to go back to Kevin McReynolds and his five-year tenure from 1987-1991 to find the last player that did it. He played in over 125 games each season. You don’t have to go too far back before him to find George Foster who was the everyday guy for four years and playing over 120 games in each of those seasons.

One of our most famous and exciting plays in history took place in left field. Endy finds his name on the list for one year in 2008, two years after making our hearts stop.

Consistent Starting Left Fielders Since 1982

Foster 1982-1985
McReynolds 1987-1991, 1994

Honorable Mention

Gilkey 1996-1998 (151, 136, 76…so close!)
Agbayani 2000, 2001
Floyd 2003-2006 (95, 106, 150, 92 Close!)
Bay 2010-10212 (92, 122, 65)
Young Jr. 2013, 2014

The Rest

Reed 2009
Chavez 2008
Alou 2007
Cedeno 2002
Henderson 1999
Orsulak 1995
Coleman 1993
Boston 1992
Wilson 1986

Center Field

mookie wilsonLagares is on the verge this season of becoming a legitimate and consistent starter. He has played in 108 and 110 games the past two seasons. He is certainly not Beltran offensively but he is proving that he is an above average player in many ways.

Speaking of Beltran, he currently holds the title of the most recent centerfielder according to my made-up benchmark. From 2005-2008 we had nothing to worry about out there. Even 2009 was a decent showing from him in his 77 games. After him, however, you wont find another until Mookie from 1981-1987.

Hopefully 2015 will be filled with 150 games of Lagares making our jaws drop in centerfield, pushing Beltran farther into Mets History.

Consistent Starting Center Fielders Since 1981

Wilson 1981-1987
Beltran 2005-2009

Honorable Mention

Boston 1990, 1991
Thompson 1993, 1994
McRae 1998, 1999
Payton 2000, 2001
Pagan 2010, 2011
Lagares 2013, 2014 (Has a chance to do it this year.)

The Rest

Samuel 1989
H. Johnson 1984
Butler 1995
L. Johnson 1996
Everett 1997
Perez 2002
Duncan 2003
Cameron 2004
Torres 2012

Right Field

darryl strawberryOK, I am going to cut to the chase here. We have not had a consistent everyday Right Fielder since Darryl Strawberry. We are embarking on our 25th year without a steady, dependable right fielder. The list in right field is scattered with failed projects, aging stars and one hit wonders. With Granderson possibly moving to left, and Cuddyer coming in; the future still does not look promising of ever having the same guy go out there with confidence for 3 years or more. If Grandy stays in right, he would have to play two more years to make the list. Until then, with 8 consecutive amazing seasons under his belt Strawberry is king.

Consistent Starting Right Fielders Since 1983

Strawberry 1983-1990

Honorable Mention

Bonilla 1992, 1993
Ochoa 1996, 1997
Cedeno 1999, 2003
Francoeur 2009, 2010

The Rest

Brooks 1991
Orsulak 1994
Everett 1995
Huskey 1998
Perez  2001
Burnitz  2002
Hidalgo  2004
Diaz  2005
Nady  2006
Green  2007
Church  2008
Beltran  2011
Duda  2012
Byrd   2013
Granderson 2014

That’s 19 different starting right fielders in 24 years since Strawberry. Hopefully one of our outfield prospects, Nimmo or Conforto, can end the drought and become a fixture for a decade or so.

Final Thoughts

It would be nice to get some consistency around here. As of right now, we are set at third and second. We have Lagares on the brink of joining them and Duda and d’Arnaud look like they may be around for a while. It is not news to any Met fan that the corner outfield spots and shortstop are still a problem.

This was fun to research and if nothing else, I hope you enjoyed seeing some old and familiar names you may not have thought about in a while like Carlos Baerga and Benny Agbayani. Now, can somebody find us a corner outfielder that will be around for a while? Lets Go Mets!


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MMO Mailbag: How Many Games Will The Mets Win This Season? Sun, 25 Jan 2015 12:00:30 +0000 lucas duda calebration

Mets Lifer asks…

Will the Mets finally have a winning season in 2015, or considering the lack of significant upgrades this offseason, are we to expect another 79 win season as FanGraphs projected for us? Do you think we can squeak into the postseason?

Andre replies…

An 85-77 record this year seems like a pretty reasonable mid-ground bet. Let me explain.

If not for Jose Valverde, Kyle Farnsworth, and some serious early season bullpen meltdowns, the Mets were probably an 81-win team talent wise in 2014.

I expect David Wright and Curtis Grandersona to do a bit better collectively this season and that should be good for +1 or +2 wins.

Michael Cuddyer and his backups (Mayberry vs. L / Nieuwenhuis vs. R) should be better than the production we got from Eric and Chris Young, that too should be good fo for +1 win.

Matt Harvey over Dillon Gee is easily +1 or +2 wins even without Harvey in top form.

Our depth is going to be much better than last year and probably better than most teams. The Mets will open 2015 with 5 (!) consensus Top 100 MLB prospects at Triple-A who should all be ready to step in by the 2nd half of the season.

All of them seem like pretty good bets to be at minimum adequate replacements for whoever they need to replace. But it’s very likely that in some cases they may represent an upgrade. That´s a unique situation in MLB that no other team has going for them. I´ll say +1 win for that too.

One important thing to note is that the Mets have no individual player who seems like an irreplaceable superstar. Now, some of the Mets young arms could emerge as that – but for now I´m not projecting any of them to be that, at least in 2015.

The quality of the rest of the team should be similar. While Lucas Duda may regress slightly, Travis d’Arnaud figures to improve some to even that out.

Juan Lagares and Daniel Murphy seem like sure bets to repeat what they´ve done recently. I don´t expect much from shortstop, so that remains unchanged.

Jacob deGrom may regress a bit but Zack Wheeler and Jon Niese should certainly see some improvement. Wheeler in particular finished last season very strong and could be in for a breakout season.

While I already added a couple of extra wins for losing Valverde and Farnsworth who cost the Mets more than that, I expect similar if not better results from the returning core bullpen group of Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia, Vic Black, Carlos Torres and Josh Edgin, backed up by the young arms at Vegas too.

Overall, that should allow the Mets to contend deep into the season.

However unless shortstop turns out better than expected, or Wright and Harvey return to 2013 levels, or someone else has a surprising big breakout, I don’t expect the Mets to be a playoff team this season, which is quite disappointing.

But to answer your question, yes I do believe the Mets will have a winning season and that they’ll play meaningful baseball for most of the season. After six consecutive losing seasons, that will represent progress. It could also be the prelude to bigger and better things in 2016.

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Featured Post: Promises, Promises Sat, 24 Jan 2015 17:09:07 +0000 new-york-mets braintrust collins, katz, wilpon alderson
On Wednesday, executive vice president Lou DePaoli told Newsday that Mets ticket sales are up 19.26 percent over last year.

Considering the team hasn’t produced a winning season since 2008 and failed to add any high-priced box-office draw, Howard Megdal of Capital New York finds it astonishing that ticket sales would surge that significantly especially since they did nothing to impact those two primary drivers of attendance spikes for baseball teams.

Additionally he asks, if sales are really up almost 20 percent, it would also seem to “fly in the face of a promise by the team’s financially troubled owners to increase payroll when revenue rose.”

“Why would the team invite such trouble with its fan base, after years of misleadingly sunny projections and unfulfilled spending pledges,” he asks.

Megdal speculates that one motivation for the Mets to come out and make such a public claim is because it helps their defense in the discrimination lawsuit against the team by a former Mets executive who was in charge of ticket sales. Plus the fact remains that the Mets could claim anything they want right now and can distort those figures knowing that they are not obligated to provide evidence of it.

An increase in sales this large would be historic. Megdal points out how the Seattle Mariners experienced the biggest jump in attendance in 2014, going from 1,761,546 in 2013 to 2,064,334, a rise of 302,788, or a jump of 17.1 percent.

But the Mariners drove that by signing Robinson Cano for $240 million and giving Felix Hernandez a $175 million extension, arguably the best hitter and pitcher in the game.

Even if you assume this 19 percent spike in sales is completely legit and the Mets have truly achieved an “economic miracle” without a winning season or big splash signing, why are they not acting like a team swimming in $23 million dollars of new revenue?

Why do the Mets continue to cower in fear at the presence of any player who could help the team when the subject turns to dollars?

According to my own calculations and assuming the Mets unload Dillon Gee, payroll will see a slight uptick of about $3 million dollars above last year’s $89 million level. If they trade Daniel Murphy at the deadline – as many predict – payroll could actually finish lower again for the fifth straight year.

So if things are so much improved financially, and if money issues are in the rear view mirror, and attendance is rising, and now we hear revenue is projected to rise at MLB historic levels, why does it still feel like we’re in Kansas?

Inquiring minds want to know.

“I do believe that payroll will go up if we’re able to generate the kind of revenue that will support that.” ~ Sandy Alderson

Promises, promises…


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Do The Mets “Have The Horses” To Win? Sat, 24 Jan 2015 17:07:05 +0000 It was the 7th game of the World Series, a heavyweight championship bout, and the Kentucky Derby all rolled into one. There was a definite buzz in the air during the summer of 1960 leading up to the presidential election. In one corner was Republican Richard Nixon. Fresh off 8 years as Vice President, Americans were already familiar with him. In the other corner was a young, vibrant John Kennedy, a man who at forty three would be the second youngest president in history.  Pundits predicted it would be a nail biter.

CL24354As Election Day neared, a photo of Nixon was circulated. Grinning slyly and appearing smarmy, the caption read “Would YOU buy a used car from this man?”

After more than 68,000,000 ballots were cast on November 8, 1960, Kennedy prevailed by a mere 112,827 votes, 49.7% to 49.6%. Did one simple picture posing one simple question make the difference? Americans didn’t trust Nixon to lead the nation. They didn’t want to buy a used car from him.

Fast-forward fifty five years.

The Mets were floundering. From 2001-2004, they played .455 ball and finished a collective 92 games back. Ownership, now flush with a shipload of cash from the USS Madoff and the promise of a new ballpark in 2009, urged their new GM to go on a spending spree and bring in some pizazz. And boy, did he ever. Over the next few years, they handed out millions like candy. Contracts offered to Carlos Beltran, Pedro Martinez, Carlos Delgado, Billy Wagner, Johan Santana, Jason Bay, Shawn Green, Luis Castillo and Tom Glavine totaled more than half a billion dollars. The return on the investment? One post-season that ended shockingly in an upset to the Cardinals. That sure didn’t work out too well.

Enter Sandy Alderson whose job it was to right the ship. The new course was for the Mets to win the old-fashioned way. We’d rebuild the farm system. We’d go with youth. We’d win with a roster flush with homegrown players just like we always have. We’d shy away from splashy trades and long-term contracts. Weary fans applauded the new direction. Yes, yes, a homegrown championship, just like before.

Nothing could be further from the truth. No team in history, not even our beloved Mets, has ever won with only homegrown talent.

donn clendenon

1969 was actually shaping up to be a decent year. For the first time in our history, the Amazins actually had an outside shot to finish over .500. At the trading deadline we were 30-26 and nine games behind the powerhouse Chicago Cubs. And that’s when management acted. Four players were sent to the Montreal Expos in exchange for Donn Clendenon. Buddy Harrelson would later state this was the turning point of the season. It indicated to the guys in uniform that the guys in suits were willing to take the next step, that they believed. With this acquisition the Mets now possessed a legitimate power hitter in the middle of the lineup. Clendenon would go deep 12 times in 14 weeks. The Mets would go 70-36 after the trade.

When we think back to ‘69, we like to think we did it with just the kids. Homegrown talent like Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Cleon Jones and Gary Gentry definitely did their part. But it was the players acquired that cinched the deal. Clendenon would become the first player in history to hit three home runs in a five-game World Series. His performance would earn him the World Series MVP. Tommie Agee, who arrived the previous year, led the team in home runs and RBIs and single-handedly – or perhaps single glovedly – won Game 3. Yes, the kids were an integral part. But would the Mets have won their first championship without key big additions like Agee and Clendenon?

Four years later, we were back in the Fall Classic. Many kids remained from that first championship club and now had the experience of post-season baseball. But it was players who’d been traded for that made the difference in 1973.

Felix Millan came from Atlanta that spring. In addition to solid defense, he led the team in hits (185) and batting average (290). Rusty Staub, obtained the previous season, was the team’s leader in RBIs, setting a new team record with 105. He also led the Mets in on-base percentage (.361) and doubles (36), while finishing second in base hits, batting average and slugging percentage.

On the pitching side we had the most intimidating trio of starters in the NL. But in 1973, homegrown Seaver, Koosman and Matlack were just a combined 6 games over .500. It was George Stone, acquired in the same trade that brought Millan over, that made the difference. Stone was 12-3, nine games over .500 for a team that was only three games over at 82-79. Without George Stone, the Mets don’t win. Without Stone, Millan and Staub, the Mets get no pennant.

keith hernandez gary carter

1986. Ah, yes. The kids. Darryl Strawberry, Mookie Wilson, Wally Backman, Kevin Mitchell, Lenny Dykstra all played in Tidewater. But Mets do not win by kids alone. It was Keith Hernandez, acquired three years prior, who led that championship club in hits, runs, doubles and OBP. Like Clendenon and Staub, it was a former Expo who cemented the deal. Gary Carter, aka KID, went deep 24 times and tied Rusty’s record with 105 RBIs.

Oh, and the young pitching we had. Doc Gooden, Ron Darling and Sid Fernandez. But it was Bobby Ojeda, 18-5, 2.57 who the Mets traded for the previous winter that led the team in wins and ERA. His +13 was higher than Doc, Darling or El Sid.

The MVP of the 86 Series? Ray Knight, who like Clendenon, had been acquired through a trade.

In 2000, Mets fans adored homegrown stars like Edgardo Alfonzo, Timo Perez and Benny Agbayani. But let’s face it; it was primarily Mike Piazza along with Robin Ventura and Todd Zeile who guided us to the NL pennant. They combined for an astounding 84 HR’s and 276 RBIs. Without those three acquisitions, the Mets accomplish nothing in 2000.

In 2006, the Mets returned to the post-season for what we believed would be the first of many. We were on the cusp of recapturing the city from the Yankees thanks to a pair of exciting youngsters named David Wright and Jose Reyes. The Mets collected 97 victories and finished 12 games ahead of the second place Phillies. But it was a pair of Carlos’ who spearheaded the offensive assault all summer long. Carlos Beltran was an offensive juggernaut and led the team in runs score, home runs, slugging, OBP, and he tied Wright for first in RBIs. Carlos Delgado added not only a stellar glove at first, but slammed 38 homers while knocking in 114 RBIs. Without Beltran and Delgado, two key acquisitions, there’s no post-season in 2006.

In just over two months the 2015 Mets, a team largely comprised of homegrown talent and kids, will take the field against Max Scherzer and the Nationals. The goal is to return to the post-season for the first time in almost a decade and hopefully capture our first pennant since 2000 and maybe, just maybe, win a championship for the first time since Ronald Reagan was president. How confident are you?

Can outfielder Curtis Granderson lead the team the way outfielder Rusty Staub did in 1973? Can one-time Red Sox Bartolo Colon replicate the performance of another one time Red Sox named Ojeda? Can catcher Travis d’Arnaud, imported from Canada, lead team the way another catcher from Canada once did?

fred wilpon

Will this team unseat the defending NL East Champions? Have they done enough to jump from a 79 win team to a 90 win team? Everyone from the players on down to the coaches, manager and front office say yes. But that’s expected, nobody goes into Spring Training and tells reporters they’re going to stink.

The Mets are selling. More importantly Mets owner Fred Wilpon is selling. And he’s hoping you’re buying. Last week he said the Mets now have “the horses to win,” but when pressed for details Wilpon refused to comment and would only defer to his GM.

The Mets have put together an exciting bunch, and as far as pitching goes they have what it would take to make a legitimate run. But pitching alone doesn’t win games, do the Mets have the offense and defense to compliment their rotation and bullpen?

During previous championship runs, Mets brass always acted when they knew they had the young core to challenge for a title. They went out and added all star caliber players who were in their prime to support the team and maximize their chances to win it all.

There’s no denying that the Mets are at this point right now. We all can see it in our up and coming stars like Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Lucas Duda, Juan Lagares, Travis d’Arnaud, Zack Wheeler, Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia. We can see it in a farm system loaded with blue-chip prospects that’s ranked among the best in baseball. We have David Wright and Curtis Granderson, and let’s face it, neither one is getting any younger. So if not now then when?

Do the Mets really have the horses as presently constructed to advance to the playoffs as Fred Wilpon says? Or was there more he could have done?

Wilpon says he has never once denied Sandy Alderson any player he wanted to acquire. Are you buying that?  I’m not sure I can. I’m not sure I’d buy a used car from this man, would you?


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Wright Believes In His Team, Supports GM’s Decision Not To Trade Young Arm Sat, 24 Jan 2015 12:25:16 +0000 david-wright

Speaking to Newsday reporter Marc Carig at his fundraiser to benefit a children’s hospital in his hometown Friday night, Mets third baseman David Wright said he supports Sandy Alderson’s decision not to trade a young arm like Steven Matz, Rafael Montero or Noah Syndergaard to bring in a player that can fill or upgrade a vital position.

“My focus is short term,” he said. “But I understand the long-term view of this also. We spent some pretty miserable years getting to this point. The last thing you want to do is you spend all this time getting to this point, then all of a sudden you start trading it away to go all-in on one year.”

The team captain is confident in the current team and last week said he expects this group to be playing October baseball.

“Are there some places where we probably tried to upgrade that we couldn’t? I’m sure there is. But I believe in the group that we have. I believe in our guys that we do have continuing to get better.”

“Is Sandy still trying to upgrade the roster? I’m sure,” Wright said. “But I thought going into the season that we weren’t too far off. And we’ve definitely filled a big hole for us signing Michael Cuddyer.”


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Market For Gee Continues To Shrink As Spring Training Nears Sat, 24 Jan 2015 12:03:02 +0000 dillon gee

The Mets have been looking to move starter Dillon Gee since the winter meetings in December, but a trade has yet to materialize. Last week Joel Sherman of the NY Post reported that the Mets will likely need top free agent pitcher James Shields to sign first before they can make a deal.

However, an MLB executive recently told Jayson Stark of ESPN that teams are currently “in bottom feeding mode” since the market for Shields has come to a halt. This could mean that the Mets will start receiving more interest in Gee as well as Bartolo Colon and Jon Niese.

The Milwaukee Brewers have emerged as a potential match for the Mets after trading veteran starter Yovani Gallardo to the Texas Rangers. Brewers GM Doug Melvin told MLB Network Radio yesterday that the team could acquire a starting pitcher to replace Gallardo, however they are not interested in a top level starter such as Shields. He also added that they could sign a top reliever instead and reports now have them going hard after Jonathan Papelbon.

On Friday, the Giants agreed to a one year deal with free-agent starting pitcher Ryan Vogelsong, who decided to pass on the Houston Astros and stay put in San Francisco. That means one less suitor for Gee.

Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart told reporters that his team is out on James Shields which could make them a possible trade partner for the Mets. However, Stewart is also on record as saying he has no interest in Gee, Niese or Colon, and prefers young high upside pitchers with 3-5 years of control or more.

While the Mariners continue to scour the market for a veteran starting pitcher to add some depth to their rotation, they’re only interested in someone who will accept an assignment to the minor leagues if he doesn’t win a job in Spring Training. The team are no longer looking to move Brad Miller or Chris Taylor and some believe they were never serious in moving one of their young infield prospects anyway. They too are a dried up opportunity for a Gee deal.

With pitchers and catchers reporting in less than three weeks, it could be that Gee reports to Spring Training as Sandy Alderson continues to search for an ideal opportunity to strike a deal.

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Dominic Smith Named MLB’s 4th Best First Base Prospect Sat, 24 Jan 2015 01:08:12 +0000 dominic smith

Jonathan Mayo of released his list of the top ten first base prospects in baseball today, and Dominic Smith came in at #4 on the list, with Josh Bell of the Pirates topping off the rankings at #1.

“Smith was thought to be the best pure high school hitter in the Draft class of 2013, and he was the third prep bat taken that June when the Mets selected him with the 11th pick overall. While he swung the bat well for part of the 2014 season, he tired by the end of his first full year of pro ball as one of the youngest regulars in the South Atlantic League.”

“Smith is still plenty young enough to rebound and produce as expected. The left-handed hitter has the chance to hit for both average and power. He has excellent hand-eye coordination and an advanced approach at the plate. He still drew a fair amount of walks and didn’t strike out much in 2014. Smith didn’t exhibit much in the way of extra-base pop, though some of that can be attributed to hitting in a very pitching-friendly ballpark. He’s limited to first base but has excellent hands and range and should be an above-average defender at the position.”

The 19 year old spent the entirety of last season with the Single-A Savannah Sand Gnats and hit at a .271/.344/.338 clip. But the alarming statistic that stands out is that Smith only knocked one ball out of the park in 461 at-bats.

I fully expect Smith to work out his kinks and have an even better 2015 season, after experiencing what pro-ball is like last year in a tough hitter environment.

So far Mayo has ranked the top left-handed and right-handed pitching prospects, catching prospects, and first base prospects today, and the Mets have had a representative in each group.

RHP Noah Syndergaard No. 2, LHP Steven Matz No. 8, C Kevin Plawecki No. 6, 1B Dominic Smith No. 4.

That’s pretty incredible if you ask me.


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Cuddyer Downplays Injury History, Says Mets Will Challenge For NL East Supremacy Sat, 24 Jan 2015 00:45:14 +0000 michael cuddyer cage

Michael Cuddyer told Mike Puma of the NY Post that he doesn’t buy the notion he’s a “disabled list stint waiting to happen” for the Mets.

The Mets’ biggest splash this offseason was limited to 49 games last season with the Rockies, but told Puma the injuries were “freakish in nature.”

“A broken shoulder was a freak injury … which I don’t see that happening here,” Cuddyer said Thursday at Citi Field. “And because I was in a sling for eight weeks and I wanted to get back on the field, my rehab wasn’t great as far as my legs are concerned.

“There were specific reasons for the injuries. It wasn’t anything that I’m concerned with that it’s going to happen again.”

Puma adds that the Mets are betting $21 million over the next two seasons that Cuddyer, who will turn 36 just before Opening Day, can stay on the field, and will be asked to help anchor a lineup that includes two other players, David Wright and Curtis Granderson, who need strong rebound years.

Meanwhile, responding to questions that he basically represents the entire extent of the Mets offseason, and if that adds any pressure to perform, Cuddyer responded that he’s not the only big acquisition the Mets have made, and that a healthy David Wright and Matt Harvey are also big additions.

“That’s the beautiful thing about the Hot Stove League,” Cuddyer said. “A lot of people get caught up in the signings and you tend to forget who’s actually on the team.”

Since Cuddyer’s signing on November 10, the Mets have spent just $1.45 million in the 11 weeks since.

Finally, Cuddyer said the Mets already have what it takes to go toe-to-toe with the Nationals and challenge them for supremacy in the NL East.


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Ichiro Suzuki and Marlins Agree to One-Year Deal Fri, 23 Jan 2015 19:22:53 +0000 Ichiro

After the Marlins reportedly offered Ichiro Suzuki a one-year $2 million contract yesterday, today, a source told Joe Frisaro (Marlins site reporter for both sides have agreed to a one-year deal pending a physical.

The Marlins already have an outstanding outfield that includes Christian Yelich, Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna, and having a potential Hall of Famer as a fourth outfielder only makes them better. The Marlins have no plans to move Yelich to the infield.

In 386 at-bats last season, Ichiro hit .284 with 102 hits, 42 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases. He is still an above average right fielder defensively, and can fill in at the other two outfield positions if needed. He also brings some speed off the bench for late game pinch-running situations.

Ichiro holds the single season record for hits with 262. He has 2844 career hits and will continue his quest for 3000 in the NL East.


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Kevin Long Says If Hitters Can Deliver Peak Performances, Offense Will Be Pretty Good Fri, 23 Jan 2015 17:37:14 +0000 kevin long

I just viewed the video on Kevin Long, who’s in Port St. Lucie, speaking to Daily News reporter John Harper on Mets Hot Stove.

The new Mets hitting coach says that if all the players remain healthy and stay on the field AND if they all deliver their peak performance or better than their peak performance, the Mets can have the type of offense they’re looking for in 2015.

“I feel pretty good about our offense. Certainly we’re gonna need them to stay healthy and be on the field. We’re gonna push them to their limits. They’re going to have to perform if not close to their peak level then above their peak level.”

“There’s going to be a few things I try to do that they’ll be uncomfortable with. But hey, I’m uncomfortable coming to a new team and working with all these new faces.”

It’s extremely rare for a team to stay healthy all year and have a lineup full of players each having the best seasons of their career. Any team that can pull that off usually wins the World Series.

We won’t really know how Long impacts this team until at least the All Star break. By then we’ll have enough of a sample size to see what kind of offense Sandy Alderson has built and if Long truly gets all these peak performances out of them.

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Ryan Vogelsong Re-Signs with Giants Fri, 23 Jan 2015 16:57:39 +0000 imgresAccording to Aaron Gleeman of NBC Sports, free agent starting pitcher Ryan Vogelsong and the San Fransisco Giants have agreed to a one-year deal.

Vogelsong had been reportedly close to a deal with the Houston Astros in recent days, but ultimately decided to re-sign with the team he’s been with since 2011.

Last season, Vogelsong went 8-13 with a 4.00 ERA in 184.2 innings while striking out 151 batters. More details on the deal to follow.

This basically eliminates the Giants as a potential trade partner for Dillon Gee or any of the other Mets’ backend starters.


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Nationals Talkin’ Shit, But Don’t Count Us Out Yet Thu, 22 Jan 2015 21:23:14 +0000 MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Washington Nationals

Michael Cuddyer was at Citi Field today entertaining some local kids at a charity event. Afterward while speaking to reporters, he responded to the hype surrounding the Washington Nationals being the best team in the NL East and comments by ownership and management about their powerhouse rotation.

“I think the ‘Baseball Almanac’ would be written a lot differently if you donned a champion in February every year.”

During the Nationals press conference to introduce Max Scherzer, GM Mike Rizzo lauded his new starting rotation which will be headlined by Scherzer and followed by Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister and Gio Gonzalez.

“We’ll stack our rotation up with anybody’s in our division, our league and maybe in baseball,” Rizzo told reporters.

Teams owner Mark Lerner called his rotation historic, saying that they could possibly allow the fewest runs ever in the National League.

The plan is to keep Zimmermann and Strasburg, and neither will be traded as some have speculated. At 88, the principle owner Ted Lerner wants to see the Nats win a World Series in his lifetime and is prepared to do anything to make that happen.

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

That said, they lost Mets killer Adam LaRoche and that’s gotta make some of our starters happy. Still, the road to the playoffs for the Mets goes through Washington, have we done enough to make up the 17 win gap from last season?

Is good health, a couple of bounce-back seasons, and improved performances from returning players plus the addition of Cuddyer enough to bridge and overcome that gap? It’s not impossible.

There’s a lot of optimism in Flushing these days, and sometimes great things happen when you least expect it. But silly me… You already knew that… You’re Mets fans.

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Kevin Plawecki Named MLB’s Sixth Best Catching Prospect Thu, 22 Jan 2015 20:37:28 +0000 kevin plawecki

Jonathan Mayo of ranked the Mets’ Kevin Plawecki as the sixth best catching prospect in baseball, with Blake Swihart of the Red Sox taking the top spot.

“The Purdue University product has been on a fast track ever since the Mets took him with the 35th overall pick of the 2012 Draft. Plawecki has excelled at two levels in each of the last two years, playing in the 2014 Futures Game and finishing with strong showing in Triple-A.”

“Throughout his climb up the Mets’ ladder, Plawecki has shown a penchant for making consistent contact. He rarely strikes out and has hit for average at every stop, with a career .295 average entering the 2015 season. He has a contact-over-power approach, but he does have enough strength to clear some fences. Plawecki hit 11 homers in 2014 and that sounds about right in terms of what’s fair to expect in the future. Drafted as an offensive-minded backstop, Plawecki has been solid behind the plate, with good hands and enough agility to block balls well. His arm is average, and he’s never going to be the kind of catcher who completely shuts down a running game.”

Mayo’s colleague Jim Callis added that while the Mets already have Travis d’Arnaud, who ranked No. 1 among catching prospects a year ago, Plawecki could conceivably push him for the starting job in the second half of 2015.

“Plawecki doesn’t have a standout tool,” he writes. “But he also doesn’t have a weakness, as he makes repeated contact with gap power and is an efficient thrower and receiver.”

In an exclusive interview with MMO’s John Bernhardt, GM Sandy Alderson acknowledged to us that it’s a good problem to have.

“Right now we’re fortunate that we have two who are essentially major league ready. I think Plawecki is close and of such high quality. At the same time, as they sort of both converge on the major leagues, it’s a question of whether both can be accommodated.”

“I think there are circumstances under which that’s possible. For example, sharing the catching duties and then one of them playing first base a little bit or playing in the outfield. Or, during interleague games one of them DHing against left-handed pitching. I think there are ways to do it.”

“The question is really whether that’s the best use of those two resources. And it may be, because beyond those two there’s a little bit of a drop-off at least in the catching we have in the system. We’ve got a couple of very young guys that we really like, but there may be a little bit of a drop-off after Plawecki. And so we have to be careful about trying to keep both of those guys in the system.”

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MMO Fan Shot: Big Market Hickory Thu, 22 Jan 2015 16:28:45 +0000 HoosiersTeam

An MMO Fan Shot by Dezzy S.

To state the painfully obvious, Mets fans have not been given many gifts from the Baseball Gods over the years. Disasters, yes. Collapses, for sure. Heartbreaks, more than we care to count. But with the signing of Max Scherzer, we might have been given the greatest gift we could ever ask for…

Unquestionable underdog status.

Here me out for a second, as this article is light on metrics and WAR and long on gut feel.

Let’s face it, the Mets don’t do a particularly good job of meeting lofty expectations, and they have a comical track record of signing formerly respectable free agents who disintegrate before our eyes under the New York spotlight (I won’t list them here so your salty tears don’t interfere with your ability to read on).

We win — with one rare exception in 1986 — when no one expects it. The Nationals, on the other hand, cannot seem to win when everyone expects it. How many years has the press talked about Bryce Harper’s projectable awesomeness, which somehow always seems to translate into a .270 and 55 RBI season? The Nationals have been a favored team to win it all for several years running now, and how many times have they made it out of the first round of the playoffs?

The way I look at the Scherzer deal is that it adds enormous pressure on a team that has yet to prove it can handle it. Bryce Harper, Matt Williams, Stephen Strasburg, and the whole crew can thank the $210 million dollar Boras monster contract for exponentially increasing the pressure on the Nats to win right now.

To me, the Scherzer signing makes 2015 a make-or-break year for the Nationals’ collective psyche. If they choke again, how will they exorcise what will become The Curse of Stephen Strasburg’s innings limit? How can you not win it all with far and away the best pitching staff in baseball and a lineup stocked with stars? The Nats’ core group won’t be the same, psychologically, or, for that matter, from a personnel standpoint due to impending free agent departures of key players.

If they don’t win it all this year I think they are done.


The Mets have a perfect opportunity to thrive as the underdog here. Crappy ownership. Small market budget in a big market city. A bunch of kids looking to make their mark, older guys looking to return to glory, and major contributors returning from injury. Who would have thought a New York City team could actually become the Hickory of MLB.

The Baseball Gods are lining things up for Mets fans to truly embrace our real heritage and identity – and why we love the team so dearly. We love the fighter and the underdog and the disrespected. This is who we are and now the Mets have the absolute perfect opportunity to embody everything that we love. We have always been more Rocky than Drago, more David than Goliath, more Hickory than South Bend.

Here’s how you can bring some light to what feels like a very dark Mets’ winter:

Think Ed Pinckney and Patrick Ewing, Villanova versus Georgetown. The 1985 National Championship game that stunned the sports world just one year before the Mets won it all.

Who’s gonna be our Harold Jansen or Jimmy Chitwood? Who’s gonna stand up and say, “I’ll make it.”

My bet, Matt Harvey, whether he is 100% back or 50% back from his injury.

He’s the one that will stand up and say, “Bring it on Nats. Let’s see what you got, Beltway Evil Empire. We cannot wait to see you wilt under the heat of the spotlight. And when you do, we’ll be there to snatch that NL East title right out of your grasp.”

Lets Go Mets! Opening Day can’t come fast enough.

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This Fan Shot was contributed by MMO reader Dezzy S.. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 25,000 Met fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to us at Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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Steven Matz Ranked Eighth Best LHP Prospect In Baseball Thu, 22 Jan 2015 11:00:59 +0000 Jeff Roberson Associated Press  steven matz

Mets top prospect Steven Matz, was just ranked by Jonathan Mayo of as the eighth best left-handed pitching prospect in baseball. Top Dodgers pitching prospect Julio Urias was ranked first.

Scouting Grades:

Fastball: 65 | Curveball: 50 | Changeup: 60 | Control: 50 | Overall: 55

Mayo writes:

Matz is lean, lanky and loose, firing mid-90s fastballs with ease and having the ability to reach back for more when he needs it. He throws it with sink, not only missing bats, but also generating groundball outs. His changeup is his best secondary offering, which he turns over and sinks very well. His curveball has gotten better, a big breaking ball he can keep down in the zone and is now a Major League average pitch. He doesn’t hurt himself with walks, and his overall command has improved over time.

Thoughts from Joe D.:

Matz was the Mets top draft pick in 2009 and hails from Long Island, New York. However shortly after signing with the Mets, he tore the UCL in his left elbow and lost over two years to Tommy John surgery and several associated setbacks.

But Matz is making up for lost time and since returning to the mound in 2012 he has performed spectacularly and quickly rose up the prospect rankings while impressing scouts along the way.

In 2014, Matz was the most dominant pitcher in the Mets system, leading the organization in ERA and finishing second in strikeouts. He posted a  2.24 ERA with 131 strikeouts in 140 innings pitched for Double-A Binghamton and Advanced-A St. Lucie.

Matz also excelled in the playoffs, striking out 11 batters and taking a no-hitter into the eighth inning to lead the B-Mets to a title. He’ll be assigned to Triple-A Vegas to begin the year and should make his debut at some point in the season.

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Mets Minority Share Owner Speaks On Cuba and Shortstop Situation Wed, 21 Jan 2015 23:03:25 +0000 maher

During the latest episode of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, the comedic host, who also happens to own a minority stake in the Mets, made light of the team’s shortstop situation.

While segueing into the recent policy change about normalizing relations with Cuba, Maher says:

I don’t know if this is legal or not, but if it gets the New York Mets a better shortstop I am so f***ing down with this.”


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