Mets Merized Online http://metsmerizedonline.com Thu, 23 Oct 2014 19:02:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.4 Royals Letting Yordano Ventura Exceed Innings Limit http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/royals-letting-yordano-ventura-exceed-innings-limit.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/royals-letting-yordano-ventura-exceed-innings-limit.html/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 19:02:29 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168477 Courtesy of Fox Sports

Courtesy of Fox Sports

Innings limits have become the norm in baseball and for many it’s at the cost of great baseball. Sure you want to take care of young arms but treating all pitchers the same doesn’t make sense. No two bodies are the same and the Royals are trying to push their young co-ace Yordano Ventura past an innings limit many clubs stick to, in hopes of winning the World Series.

Ventura threw 183.0 innings during the regular season of his rookie campaign, 33 innings more than in 2013 when he pitched 134.2 in the minor leagues and another 15.1 in the majors.

David Lennon of Newsday points out that the Mets could have found themselves in a similar situation this past season.

“For an example closer to home, we’re sure you recall how the Mets handled Jacob deGrom’s Rookie of the Year audition. As soon as deGrom went over 178 innings, a mark he reached on Sept. 21, the Mets pulled the plug without discussion.”

For the Royals, this feels like a once in a decade opportunity. With a ton of young players, this improbable run is something they have to capitalize on now. Before Game two of the World Series, Royals general manager Dayton Moore said that “Everybody has a small window of opportunity. All of our success is tied to that opportunity.” It’s true for all baseball teams. In most cases there is only a small window and not seizing it seems like a crime.

This season Matt Harvey will be coming off of Tommy John surgery and if history is any indication, he won’t be pushed much past 160 innings. That was the limit for Stephen Strasburg in 2012. Also in 2012, Adam Wainwright threw 198.2 for the Cardinals after the surgery but he had pitched 200+ innings multiple times before that.

Moore also points out something that many people in baseball seem to ignore. Not all players are created equal.

“No two players are the same,” Moore said. “The only commonalities in this game are 60 feet, six inches, the plate is 17 inches, the ball is the same weight, ninety feet [between the bases]. Those are the commonalities. But every pitcher is different. They all prepare differently. They all have different mindsets. Their arms work perhaps differently. They have different arsenals.”

So should Harvey and Strasburg have the same limits? Could the Mets have pushed deGrom harder if they were in the race? The baseball world will ponder those questions until the ends of time but for Moore and the Royals, they are recognizing that runs like this don’t happen often and when they do, pushing a guy into uncharted territory is sometimes a necessity.

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Juan Lagares Is Gold Glove Finalist http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/lagares-gold-glove-finalist.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/lagares-gold-glove-finalist.html/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 17:44:14 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168378 juan lagares catch

Update (October 23rd, 2:00 PM)

According to ESPN’s Adam Rubin, Juan Lagares has been 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. The award, which is based on both input from managers and fielding metrics will be announced on November 4th at 7 PM.

Lagares is the only Mets finalist.

Original Story (October 22nd, 7:00 AM)

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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Michael Conforto Made A Strong First Impression http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/michael-conforto-made-a-strong-first-impression.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/michael-conforto-made-a-strong-first-impression.html/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 16:00:18 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168462 michael conforto Patrick E. McCarthy

When players are drafted, it’s often difficult to see what the future holds for them. For every Mike Trout there’s a Lastings Milledge and for every Matt Harvey there’s a Mark Prior. Predicting baseballs future has become a huge industry and no one ever knows for sure. One post on Bleacher Report listed Michael Conforto as the fourth-best left fielder currently in the minor leagues.

Conforto’s experience playing at Oregon State puts him further along than some other Mets prospects drafted before him, including Brandon Nimmo.

“He’s a very advanced offensive player,” Paul DePodesta told John DeMarzo of the New York Post back in August.

“He has a tremendously mature approach at the plate, where it really fits with our organizational philosophy. He looks to do damage and has the discipline to wait for those pitches. It’s rare to find in an amateur player, somebody who not only does it, but has a real understanding of it.”

“It’s just rare to see that kind of selectivity in somebody that is so young,” Brooklyn Cyclones manager Tom Gamboa told Mike Vorkunov of the Star-Ledger. “Everything we had heard — he was one of the top college hitters in the country — has proved to be true in pro ball.”

“I don’t think that future is all that far away,” Gamboa adds.

What is most encouraging about Conforto is that his minor league numbers were not all that different from his career numbers at Oregon. In three years, Conforto hit .340/.463/.557/.1020 at Oregon, adding 31 career home runs in 668 at-bats.This past year with the Cyclones, Conforto hit .331/.403/.448/.851 with three home runs in 163 at-bats.

It’s clear that Conforto has a ton of potential and he’s quickly becoming the prospect that I’m most interested in heading into 2015.

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Former Mets Chaplain Relives 1986 World Series http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/former-mets-chaplain-relives-1986-world-series.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/former-mets-chaplain-relives-1986-world-series.html/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 15:08:05 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168467 1986 mets win

Here’s a story I wrote for The Tablet newspaper about former New York Mets’ team chaplain Father Daniel Murphy. A huge Mets’ fan, Father Murphy was there when the Mets made their magical run to capture the 1986 World Series.

Here is his story:

With the start of the World Series, New York Mets’ fans are reminded of a better time, because unfortunately, October baseball is a rarity in Flushing, Queens.

That better time was of course the 1986 World Series in which the Mets relied on a bit of divine intervention to cap off an improbable come-from-behind victory in Game 6, which in turn fueled the series-clinching win in Game 7.

And that divine intervention was provided by none other than the Mets’ team chaplain, Father Daniel Murphy, the current pastor of St. Saviour Church, Park Slope.

Father Daniel Murphy (Photo courtesy NET-TV)

Father Daniel Murphy (Photo courtesy NET-TV)

Father Murphy served as team chaplain for seven seasons from 1984 to 1990. He said Mass at Shea Stadium for every Sunday home game throughout the season. Of course, his fondest memories of his time as chaplain are the 1986 season and playoffs.

“We won 108 games,” said Father Murphy of his favorite team. “Today if you win 92, you make the playoffs. We won 108. We were good!”

The Mets were riding high after winning an exciting playoff series over the Houston Astros, so all that was standing in their way from their first World Series title since 1969 was the Boston Red Sox.

However, it was the Red Sox that earned the upper hand in the series, winning both games at Shea Stadium with the series then shifting to Boston’s Fenway Park.

The Mets rallied to win the next two games but then dropped Game 5 as they headed back to New York facing elimination.

Now, most priests who serve as team chaplains usually pray for the success of all those involved with an athletic contest. But Father Murphy is not your average priest; Father Murphy is a devout Mets’ fan, who also happens to be blatantly honest.

“I was really praying that we’d win,” he said. “I can’t say that I was praying that ‘may the best team win’ and that no one gets hurt.”

The events of Saturday, Oct. 25, 1986 will forever be engrained in the minds of die-hard Mets’ fans. Trailing 5-3 heading into the bottom of the 10th inning, the Mets were just three outs away from watching the Red Sox celebrate a World Series title on their own home turf.

After Wally Backman flew out to left and Keith Hernandez flied to center, hope seemed bleak. But the tides turned with consecutive singles by Gary Carter and Kevin Mitchell.

“I had given up until Kevin Mitchell’s hit,” Father Murphy said of the fateful night. “I knew Carter was not going to go down easily. But when Mitchell got the hit, I think I saw destiny happening!”

And destiny certainly happened. Ray Knight followed with an RBI single to get the Mets within two. With Mookie Wilson batting, a wild pitch by Boston pitcher Bob Stanley allowed Mitchell to score the tying run.

Just like his teammates, Wilson would not go down easily.

“Half of the pitches he (Wilson) swung at were balls, but he wasn’t striking out,” Father Murphy said.

Then on the 10th pitch of at-bat, Wilson grounded a ball toward Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner, and the words of the sweet baritone voice of NBC broadcaster Vin Scully took over from there:

“Little roller up along first … behind the bag! It gets through Buckner! Here comes Knight, and the Mets win it!”

“I will never forget the clubhouse that night,” Father Murphy said. “It was as if they (the Mets) didn’t go home. It was wild!”

Red Sox manager John McNamara later called Wilson’s at-bat the second greatest at-bat in baseball history, behind only Bobby Thomson’s famous “Shot Heard ’Round the World” to send the New York Giants to the 1951 World Series.

So with the series tied, Father Murphy held his typical Sunday Mass at Shea Stadium prior to the game on Oct. 26, 1986. The regulars at Mass – Danny Heep, Rafael Santana and Tim Teufel – were of course present, but other players like Jesse Orosco, Sid Fernandez, Lee Mazzilli, Backman and Wilson all joined in that day.

“Usually when I walked in (to Mass), it was pretty quiet … maybe a few people walking around,” Father Murphy said. “But when I walked in (prior to Game 7), it was like Grand Central!”

Game 7 was actually rained out, but the players’ prayers at Mass were answered the following night, as the Mets defeated the Red Sox 8-5.

Father Murphy may no longer be team chaplain for the Mets, but he continues to pray for the team’s success. Though the baseball gods may not have been listening the past few years, 2015 will be a different story – at least St. Saviour’s pastor hopes so!

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The 2014 Mets All-Prospect Team http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/the-2014-mets-all-prospect-team.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/the-2014-mets-all-prospect-team.html/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 13:10:50 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168365 noah syndergaard

2014 has been another encouraging season for the Mets minor league system. The Mets minor league affiliates have posted the highest winning percentage among all the MLB farm systems, and many players have emerged as exciting prospects.

In this post, I will rank the best prospects at each position for MMO’s 2014 All-Prospect Team. The players chosen will be based on a combination of their upside and MLB readiness.

C – Kevin Plawecki

In 376 at bats for Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Las Vegas this season, Plawecki excelled with a .309 average, 11 home runs and 64 RBI. According to MLB.com, he is rated as the number two prospect in the Mets system and the 59th best prospect overall in the majors.

1B – Dominic Smith

Despite an unimpressive season, Smith still remains as the Mets top first base prospect. Smith has more power potential than his stats indicate, and he also has a very good eye at the plate. At only 19 years old, Smith has plenty of time to turn his promising skills into results.

2B – Dilson Herrera

After getting called up to AA, Herrera  was outstanding. The 20 year old second baseman batted .340 with ten home runs and 48 RBI in 241 at bats. This excellent performance earned him a call up to the majors in September where he exhibited a lot of potential. Herrera crushed three home runs and 11 RBI during his 18 games in New York.

3B – Jhoan Urena

Third base might be one of the Mets weakest positions in the minors, but the Mets have several talented third basemen emerge in the lower levels in 2014. One of these players is Urena, who was signed by the Mets as an international free agent in 2011. This season for the Brooklyn Cyclones, Urena batted .300 with five home runs and 47 RBI in 75 games. Urena is a powerful hitter who can develop into a dangerous home run threat as he gets older and stronger.

SS – Amed Rosario

Rosario is one of the most talented players in the Mets system. He has the ability to provide above average offense and defense from the short stop position. While Rosario’s production this year was not excellent, he was able to produce respectable numbers despite being one of the youngest players in his league. Rosario hit .289 with a home run and seven steals during 68 games played.

LF – Michael Conforto

Conforto has quickly established himself as a very good prospect. The Mets selected Conforto with their 10th overall pick in this year’s draft, and he batted .331 during his first professional stint with the Brooklyn Cyclones. MLB.com rates Conforto as the number four prospect in the Mets system, and he is expected to advance quickly through the minor leagues.

CF – Brandon Nimmo:

Nimmo started off the year on fire, hitting .322 with a strong .448 on base percentage while playing for Advanced-A St. Lucie. While Nimmo slowed down significantly after being promoted to AA, it was a positive season for him overall. He manged to cut down his strikeouts, and he was also able to hit for more power, tallying ten home runs and 21 doubles during his 127 games played.

RF – Cesar Puello

It seems like a long time ago since Puello annihilated AA pitching last season. Puello batted .326 with 16 home runs and 24 steals in 91 games back in 2013. However,Puello’s disappointing performance this year and suspension for performance enhancing drugs have caused him to plummet in prospect rankings. Despite these concerns, Puello still has the raw skills to develop into productive major league player with his solid combination of power, speed and defense in right field.

SP 1 – Noah Syndergaard

Syndergaard is the consensus number one prospect in the Mets organization. His fastball is explosive, and he should reach the majors as soon as this upcoming season. While Syndergaard battled with inconsistencies in AAA this year, he clearly has the talent to potentially become a top of the rotation starter.

SP 2 – Steven Matz

With a exceptional 2.24 ERA, Matz was utterly dominant this season for Double-A Binghamton and Advanced-A St. Lucie. He struck out 131 batters in 140 innings pitched, and he yielded only three home runs all season long. While Matz once looked like a bust due to several elbow related injuries and setbacks, he is now past all of that of the best prospects in the Mets system.

SP 3 – Rafael Montero

Even though Montero does not have the same electric stuff as Syndergaard, he can achieve success with excellent command and poise on the mound. Baseball America rated Montero as the 68th overall prospect in the MLB heading into the season, and he has succeeded throughout his minor league career with a 2.69 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in four season. 

SP 4 – Marcos Molina

Molina was perhaps the most dominating pitcher in the Mets minors this year. He posted a fantastic 1.77 ERA and struck out 91 batters during 76 innings pitched. Following this tremendous performance, Molina was named the number one prospect in the New York Penn League by Baseball America.

SP 5 – Matthew Bowman

While Bowman does not receive as much attention as other Mets top pitchers, he has the ability to make an impact in the majors. Bowman has pitched well in every level of the minors, and he owns a  22-14 record with a 3.06 ERA in 291 career innings pitched. He also posted a solid .3.47 ERA while pitching for Las Vegas, which is an extremely difficult environment for pitchers to have success.

RP – Akeel Morris

It is hard to have a more impressive season than the one Morris had out of the bullpen for Single-A Savannah this season. Morris overpowered the competition with a 0.63 ERA and 0.71 WHIP. He also struck 14.1 batters per nine innings and allowed just 19 hits in 57 innings pitched.

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Cuddyer At Two Years Fits Sandy’s Plan http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/cuddyer-at-two-years-fits-sandys-plan.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/cuddyer-at-two-years-fits-sandys-plan.html/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 12:13:21 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168450 michael-cuddyer-rockies

Andy Martino of the Daily News sees free agent Michael Cuddyer as the exact sort of piece that fits the Mets offense and that people familiar with the Mets’ thinking say that they consider him attractive on a two-year deal.

With the Mets highly reluctant to trade any of their young pitchers this winter, coupled with a lack of money to add a more significant player, Cuddyer makes sense for them Martino says.

One executive said that it was hard to imagine Cuddyer getting more than two years, but free agency can be so unpredictable.

Cuddyer, who turns 36 years next Spring, played just 49 games in 2014 after being plagued by a shoulder fracture and two other DL stints for hamstring injuries, which could be a big concern for interested teams, especially at his age. Since 2011, which was his final season with the Twins, Cuddyer has missed more than one-third of his team’s games.

That said, Cuddyer is a versatile player who could slot in at left, right and first base, and when he was healthy he won a batting champion in 2013 with a .331 average. He batted .332 with 10 homers in his limited play last season.

As Martino points out, two years of control at a rate that will not bust the Mets’ tight budget makes Cuddyer better than many other choices. He could get anywhere between $20-25 million for two years and as much as $30 million for three.

There are huge risks here, but this is what the Mets have become, always looking for value in flawed or advanced age players with injury concerns. In that regard, Cuddyer is the cream of the crop. 

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I’ll Take “Worst Owners In Baseball” For $500, Alex… http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/ill-take-worst-owners-in-baseball-for-500-alex.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/ill-take-worst-owners-in-baseball-for-500-alex.html/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 20:41:40 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168416 alex trebek jeopardy

Alex – The answer is… Because the Wilpons had no money after becoming embroiled in a second Ponzi Scheme with arch criminal Bernie Madoff.

Joe D. – Why didn’t the Mets sign Jose Reyes?

DING, DING, DING, DING, DING….

It looks like I missed out on all the fun this morning where various Mets Twitter celebs battled over why we didn’t sign Jose Reyes or why we don’t try and get him back.

jose-reyesWe can debate the pros and cons of bringing Jose Reyes back all we want, but the fact is the Blue Jays have no intentions of trading him. But that’s not the point of this post anyway.

As to why we didn’t sign him, Matt Cerrone lays out his case on MetsBlog and concludes:

“My understanding is that Sandy Alderson simply didn’t want to be paying $22 million a year to Reyes when, in his mid 30s, Jose’s legs and body would not likely be able to do the things that made him great on the Mets.”

I’m sorry, Matt, but that’s not even close to why we didn’t sign Reyes. You are asserting that if Alderson did want to sign him he could have. That’s undeniably wrong and misses the mark completely.

The Mets didn’t sign Reyes because the financial state of the team was in such distress that they could not afford him.

When the truth finally came out Sandy Alderson himself admitted that the Mets never even made him an offer.

Additionally, they didn’t even bother negotiating with Reyes when they had their exclusive window and long before the Miami Marlins were even allowed to mention his name and enter the picture.

This had nothing to do with Alderson and not wanting to invest big dollars on a player whose game relied mostly on his speed.

This was all about the Wilpons and Saul Katz putting their own franchise in a dangerously precarious position due to their utter incompetence and open-eyed involvement with the notorious criminal Bernie Madoff.

The Wilpons were still teetering on bankruptcy that offseason, and there was never any chance that Jose Reyes was getting signed at the time.

In fact, David Wright would not have been signed to that exorbitant $138 million dollar deal either had his free agency come at the same time as Reyes. This was never an either-or situation.

These facts are material and undeniable.

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Handicapping Trade Value and Odds Of Mets Pitchers http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/handicapping-trade-value-and-odds-of-mets-pitchers.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/handicapping-trade-value-and-odds-of-mets-pitchers.html/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 18:11:09 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168227 zack wheeler

To get something, you have to give something, but what the New York Mets don’t want to give up is their young pitching.  Understandable, but how long can they hold out?

The Mets say they won’t deal Matt Harvey, but remember there is no such thing as an untouchable. What if some team, in the words of Don Corleone, make them “an offer they can’t refuse.’’

Let’s take a look at the Mets’ young arms in relation to their trade value and odds they could be dealt.

MATT HARVEY (75:1) Everybody wants him and that’s a given. However, coming off Tommy John surgery there might be a twinge of reluctance of making a big offer although the odds of recovery are good. They might get more if Harvey rebounds with a good season, which would undoubtedly spike his value. Also a consideration is that he may eventually bolt when given the chance considering his sometimes rocky relationship with management. If he continues to perform well and the Mets don’t sign him to a long term contract, his salary would increase dramatically through arbitration. Sometime in that process, if they can’t get a long term deal done, they might seriously think of trading him off before he leaves as a free agent to the Bronx. But not this offseason.

ZACK WHEELER (50:1) Some scouts say his stuff is better than Harvey’s, but Zack Wheeler doesn’t have nearly the poise or knowledge of pitching. Harvey is way ahead in those areas. Wheeler is reminiscent of Nolan Ryan early in his career when he threw hard with no idea where the pitch would go. Wheeler tries too much for the strikeout, which elevates is pitch count and reduces his innings. His potential is so high that he’s worth waiting for, but conversely it is so attractive there will be takers. Another thing about Wheeler, and this also applies to Harvey and Jacob deGrom, is they are very affordable for the next 3-4 years. Mets would have to be overwhelmed.

JACOB deGROM (50:1) It would be a crime if he is not the Rookie of the Year. He’s closer to being where Harvey is than Wheeler. He’s got great stuff, an outstanding breaking ball, poise and a sense about what pitching is all about. He’s definitely more a pitcher than a thrower. Like Harvey in his first year, deGrom caught teams by surprise. It might be different in 2015. But, I like this guy and would be more disappointed if he were traded than Harvey or Wheeler.

NOAH SYNDERGAARD (25:1) Some scouts say Noah Syndergaard might be the best prospect of all, but we really won’t know what he is until he pitches at the major league level, which won’t be until June at the earliest. He’s got a terrific breaking ball, great stuff and by all accounts could be the real thing. We shall see, and I hope we see it in Flushing.

JON NIESE (10:1) He’s left-handed, throws hard, 27 and signed to a reasonable contract. That makes Jon Niese attractive to the Mets and other teams. What’s not to like? Well, there’s his injury history, inconsistency (only one winning season in seven years), and the bad habit of not being able to put away hitters and letting innings unravel. The argument is a change of scenery might help, but unlike the previous four mentioned his value has decreased. Good GMs don’t typically sell low.

RAFAEL MONTERO (5:1) He has loads of potential, but other teams also see that in him. Rafael Montero is a lot like Jenrry Mejia in that the Mets haven’t found a definitive role for him. Starter or reliever? He could be in the rotation until Syndergaard is ready and if Niese were traded. But, on Opening Day I see him either in the bullpen or Triple-A.

DILLON GEE (3:1) He’s rated no higher than a fifth starter and could be bumped to the bullpen when Syndergaard is ready. Too bad. Gee doesn’t have great stuff, but is mentally tough – until he gets to Philadelphia – and shows a lot of poise. He’s somebody that could get the Mets something at the deadline as he can also work out of the bullpen in long relief. There’s things a contender could like about him. Question is, will the Mets be such a contender? The Mets could have traded him numerous times, but there were no serious takers. That says something.

BARTOLO COLON (2:1) At 41, he threw over 200 innings and won 15 games. Was it all him, or did the move to the National League and spacious Citi Field have something to do with that? Colon will get $11 million in 2015, of which half of that will be gone by the trade deadline. If the Mets are in it, they’d be wise to keep him, but if he’s pitching well he could bring something in return in the right package. He’s likely being shopped, but nobody will offer anything until they explore the free-agent market.

BOBBY PARNELL (30:1) I remember the day he hit triple digits on the radar gun at Fenway Park. But, it never happened for him as a starter. After some trial and error he won the closer role in 2013, but missed last season because of an injury. Should Mejia or Jeurys Familia win the closer role and Parnell proves healthy in spring training, maybe he gets dealt. But for now he’s not going anywhere.

JENRRY MEJIA (25:1) When the Mets were bouncing him from the bullpen to the rotation his value declined. Especially when it led to elbow surgery. Now, it was a sports hernia that cut his breakout season. Mejia showed he has the stuff to be a closer, especially since he’s learning how to pitch rather than just trying to blow heat past a hitter. There’s value here.

JEURYS FAMILIA (20:1) Had an outstanding rookie season and drew a lot of attention. Some believe he could be the closer of future, however some teams might think he could be a closer now. This is a tough one considering the fragile nature of constructing a bullpen. Of these three relievers, Parnell could be the most available, but also bring the least in return.

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Mets Won’t Be Players For Yasmani Tomas http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/mets-wont-be-players-for-yasmani-tomas.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/mets-wont-be-players-for-yasmani-tomas.html/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 16:44:10 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168409 yasmani tomas cuba

Here is the latest on Cuban outfielder Yasmani Tomas as reported by Andy Martino of the Daily News.

Tomas has been linked to with varying degrees of seriousness to the Dodgers, Padres, Phillies, Twins, Rangers, Giants and Tigers.

Martino says that people involved in the process now identify the Phillies as strong contenders for Tomas, and the Padres and Dodgers as far less likely. “And don’t count out the Tigers,” one source said.

The Yankees and Mets are not expected to be players for Tomas, league insiders say — the former due to a glut of outfielders (which assumes that Carlos Beltran can still contribute), and the latter because when was the last time the Mets gave $100 million to someone not named David Wright?

I’m reading and hearing the same things about the Phillies potentially ending up the winner in the Yasmani Tomas sweepstakes. Martino adds more on that:

“He makes a lot of sense for Philadelphia,” said one rival executive, noting that that the Phillies have money, a thin farm system, and a desire to reverse their fortunes as quickly as possible. Plus, people around the game took note when GM Ruben Amaro Jr. flew to the Dominican Republic to personally scout Tomas.

It was interesting to note that multiple executives with teams interested in Tomas say that, if he were a free agent, he would be a $15 million per year player, making a 5-year, $75 million contract for 23-year-old reasonable.

However, because he is not attached to a draft pick, and will be the subject of a bidding war, Tomas could easily end up with a $100 million deal, executives told Martino.

“Tomas’ best attribute is his power, a trait that is in short supply in today’s game. Only 14 players hit 30 or more home runs in 2013, and fewer might reach that threshold this year.  Tomas has 70 raw power on the 20-80 scale,” wrote Baseball America’s Ben Badler, “So he profiles as one of those rare 30+ home run bats.”

I don’t like this year’s free agent class one bit, but Tomas is someone that the Mets should be looking at. And by looking I mean more than just a passing glance. The experts endorse him, scouts are impressed, and executives and GMs are in hot pursuit. That’s quite telling.

What’s also quite telling is that the lack of interest by the Mets probably best illustrates that payroll is not rising anytime soon. The more Sandy, Fred, and Jeff keep saying that there are no financial limitations to the team’s payroll, the more their actions scream otherwise.

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Mets and Ricciardi Could Have Extension Completed Within A Week http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/mets-and-ricciardi-could-have-extension-completed-within-a-week.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/mets-and-ricciardi-could-have-extension-completed-within-a-week.html/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 16:13:07 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168222 ricciardi

Andy Martino of the Daily News reports that the Mets and J.P. Ricciardi could have a new extension wrapped up within a week.

The Mets, who extended Sandy Alderson in September, could wrap up a new deal for assistant GM J.P. Ricciardi within week, according to a person with direct knowledge of the situation. Ricciardi, a respected baseball man who oversees the pro scouting department and advises Alderson, arrived with the GM in late 2010.

That’s the first confirmation of what Nick Cafardo originally reported.

Ricciardi is under contract until the end of the 2015 season, so that they would seek to extend him now as opposed to later is quite telling to me.

First of all, Ricciardi and Sandy Alderson have been joined at the hip for three decades, and any GM should be able to choose his own assistants. But adding to that, I see Ricciardi as the heir apparent to Alderson once Sandy steps down or retires at the end of his newly signed contract.

I’ve been told that Ricciardi has worked very hard on polishing his image that was heavily tarnished during his tenure as the GM of the Toronto Blue Jays. He dealt with many trust issues with management, the players and the fans.

Ricciardi received heavy criticism for the mega deals he gave to Vernon Wells and Alex Rios. Sports Illustrated tabbed the Wells deal as one of the worst contracts in MLB history. 

People change and I’m sure that in retrospect Ricciardi wishes he could have handled some things much better than he did, especially the B.J. Ryan and Adam Dunn incidents. Nobody’s offered Ricciardi a GM position since then and he seems better suited to being a second wheel rather than a head honcho. 

October 19

According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Mets are working on an extension deal to keep J.P. Ricciardi as a special assistant to general manager Sandy Alderson. The two worked together for 12 years with the Oakland Athletics.

Prior to joining the Mets, Ricciardi previously served as Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations and general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays from 2001 until he was fired in 2009 and replaced by Alex Anthopoulos.

Ricciardi is considered by most to be the heir apparent to Alderson once he retires or steps down.

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2014 Free Agent Review: The Long Term Deals (Part 1 of 3) http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/2014-free-agent-review-the-long-term-deals-part-1-of-3.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/2014-free-agent-review-the-long-term-deals-part-1-of-3.html/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 15:35:38 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168251 robinson-cano

Baseball is a game that is constantly evolving and the team’s that successfully navigate the natural growth of the sport are identifying their strengths and maximizing the results.  The traditional format of growing pitching and buying bats is transitioning into an all organic format.  

The majority of playoff quality teams are rounding out their lineups of homegrown talent with one or two well chosen external pieces that hurdle the club to the top. There are exceptions to every rule for spending in the free agent market, but examining the results of last year’s class may provide some insight as to how the Mets should proceed this winter.

The type of signing that brings the most risk to reward ratio is a long term contract, ranging 7-10 years with over $100 million in guaranteed salary. In the first of five installments, let’s take a look at 2014’s long term free agent signings and identify which two contracts represent the best and worst deals inked over the long haul.

Long term signings are becoming a rarity in today’s game.  Most MLB teams hedge on their young talent with front loaded, team friendly deals, in order to maximize the return on their productivity. There are still exceptions, particularly for players in their prime who possess multiple plus tools. Last year’s headliners were Robinson Cano and Shin-Soo Choo.

Cano, formerly of the New York Yankees, was signed to a 10 year, $240 million contract by the Seattle Mariners last offseason.  It’s ironic that there was ever a deal too rich for the Yankees’ blood, but the former Bomber transitioned to the West Coast nicely. His 14 home runs was nearly half his total from the previous season, but there’s little difference in his overall statistics aside from that.

His .314/.382/.836 slash line had a plus-minus margin of 0.00/(.001)/(.063) when compared to last year’s production in the Bronx. Critics may argue that the slugger was paid $24 million to do just that, hit home runs, but the majority of MLB teams would pay his contract if they could guarantee his 2014 numbers that included 187 hits, 82 RBI, 77 runs and a 1.108 OPS with runners in scoring position. Cano also stayed healthy all season and played gold glove caliber defense over a stretch of 157 games. His unique range and strong arm gave the Mariner’s an upgrade in run prevention, but the back end of his contract also holds less risk in the American League since the Mariners can transition him to a DH role later on past his prime.

Seattle made a bold decision when they agreed to pay Cano $24 million a year for 10 years, but the contract is a direct reflection of the impact that aggressive bidding has on the free agent market.  The team that signs a premium candidate is sacrificing payroll on the back end of the deal in order to secure high caliber production on the front end.  The Mariners found themselves in a position to contend with the addition of a top end player and felt that their window of opportunity to make the playoffs coincided with the prime years of Cano’s productivity.  Overall, Seattle missed the post-season, but the team improved their 2013 campaign by 16 wins, finishing at 87-75.  If they can get half that improvement heading into the 2015 season, they’ll be a lock for October baseball.

Shin-Soo Choo

Shin-Soo Choo was regarded for his high OBP and efficiency on the base paths, registering 107 runs scored in 2013 as a member of the Cincinnati Reds.  In 2014, with the Texas Rangers, he played in 31 less games, registered 52 less hits, 49 less runs scored and drew 54 less walks.  His slash line had a plus-minus differential of (.043)/(.083)/(.171) compared to last year and his wRC+ dropped by 34% down to an even 100. That metric has a median focal point of 100, where every point above that number is a point above standard production.  So the Rangers were, by definition, paying $14 million for a league average player.

Choo could very well bounce back, but an interesting piece by FanGraphs points out that his .309 batting average on balls in play (BABIP) in 2014, was drastically lower than his .346 career mark that spans over eight years and 4,000 plate appearances.  While .309 is still above league average, he would have to make contact at an unrealistic rate in order to generate the same results he had in 2013.

The deal becomes further complicated since, unlike Cano, Choo’s projected value stemmed entirely from his offensive production. His defense is not strong enough to offset his struggles at the plate, so his contract inherently carries more risk, gambling on a skill set that only contributes to one side of the ball. The Rangers appeared to have signed the albatross contract of 2014, especially when you consider that Choo’s deal increases to $21 million per year in the final two seasons.

Every free agent is signed with the intention of filling a void in a playoff team’s post-season narrative. There’s risk that comes with paying eight figures to an athlete on the wrong side of thirty, but Robinson Cano provided the type of output that kept Seattle in the playoff hunt all season.

Hypothetically, had the Mets signed Cano last offseason, it would have immediately upgraded the lineup. The Amazins’ had their own All-Star second baseman in Daniel Murphy, but Cano is an elite level talent compared to Murphy, whose defense negatively impacts is overall value.

The Mets found themselves on the outside looking in as the teams operating model discourages lengthy deals that are pricey and driven by a player’s past performance, not future.  Cano’s output would still be a welcomed addition to the Mets offense, but in retrospect, his deal now makes even less sense in Flushing since the emergence of Wilmer Flores and Dilson Herrera.  Both of those young players have a long road to travel before they reach a level similar to Cano’s, but their futures are bright and New York has other positions in need of attention.

Choo was considered by many baseball writers and experts as a great fit for the Mets last Winter, but it’s clear that New York dodged a bullet by passing on the former Reds standout.  The stadium in Arlington doesn’t have a suffocating effect on hitters, so it’s reasonable to assume that Choo’s drop off would have been exponentially worse in Citi Field.

jacoby-ellsbury

The Mets will almost certainly avoid any long term deals in the near future.  The only other long term deal (7-10 years) was the Yankees signing of Jacoby Ellsbury at seven years and $153 million. However, at a cost of around $500,000 through the next several years, Juan Lagares is clearly the better option in my opinion.

As a left-handed hitter in Yankee stadium, Ellsbury turned in 16 home runs, 70 RBI’s and 39 stolen bases.  Whether that production is worth $21 million per year is debatable, but unlike the Mets, many teams are willing to pay elite salaries for above average offense.  The orange and blue got to watch their own star grow in center while the biggest deals from 2014 played elsewhere.

Given the current needs of the team,  I believe the front office made the right decision by passing on these three players and this offseason, the results should be the same.  None of the free agent position players warrant a deal longer than 7 years, so the focus should be on shorter, more team friendly deals that can improve the team.  .

Up next, mid level contracts ranging anywhere from 4 to 6 years.  There were several names within this group that many believed the Mets should have pursued, so I’m expecting some heated debate on this one.

Lets! Go! Mets!

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David Wright vs. George Brett: The Royal Treatment http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/david-wright-vs-george-brett-the-royal-treatment.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/david-wright-vs-george-brett-the-royal-treatment.html/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 14:08:44 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168344 david wright

David Wright has taken a lot of knocks over the last several months and undeservedly so… He’s a player on the decline. He’s always getting hurt. He’s washed up.

There was another MLB star Third Baseman who is currently in the Hall of Fame that has a similar statistical profile to Wright through their age 31 seasons. Like our captain, this HOF player missed a lot of time during his age 30 season to the disabled list and played in only 123 games. He also missed 29 games while on the DL during his age 31 season, playing in just 104 games. In his age 30-31 seasons, this HOF Third Baseman played in just 227 games, compared to David’s 246.

This other Hall of Fame Third Baseman is George Brett. David has played 11 seasons, getting called up in 2004. Brett appeared in 12 MLB seasons through his age 31 season (including 13 games in August/September 1973 and the strike shortened 1981 season).

Wright vs. Brett through age 31 seasons:

                                        David Wright                             George Brett

Games Played                      1508                                          1462

Batting Average                     .298                                           .314

Base Hits                               1702                                          1783

Runs Scored                           907                                            894

OBP                                       .377                                           .368

Slugging                                 .494                                           .500

Doubles                                  375                                             362

Triples                                     26                                               103

Home Runs                            230                                              163

RBI                                         939                                              866

Stolen Bases                          191                                              131

All Star Games                        7                                                  9

Is Wright washed up? No. Did he have a very uncharacteristic season? Yes, he was hurt. Brett’s age 31 season also was below his career norms when he was recovering from an injury that kept him from starting the season on time. He only hit .284 with 107 hits.

David will be fine.

george brett

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World Series Thread: Giants vs Royals, 8:00 PM http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/world-series-thread-giants-vs-royals-800-pm.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/world-series-thread-giants-vs-royals-800-pm.html/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 13:46:33 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168428 peavy ventura

San Francisco Giants vs. Kansas City Royals

Game 2: Wednesday, 8:00 PM ET on FOX

Jake Peavy (1-0, 1.86) vs. Yordano Ventura (0-0, 4.85)

Here are the lineups for Game 2 of the World Series in Kansas City:

Giants:

  1. CF Gregor Blanco
  2. 2B Joe Panik
  3. C Buster Posey
  4. 3B Pablo Sandoval
  5. RF Hunter Pence
  6. 1B Brandon Belt
  7. DH Michael Morse
  8. LF Travis Ishikawa
  9. SS Brandon Crawford

Royals:

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

Giants right-hander Jake Peavy gets the ball as San Francisco tries to take a 2-0 Series lead against the Royals in Kansas City. Rookie righty Yordano Ventura will try to gain the Royals a split at home with first pitch at 8:07 PM.

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MMO Free Agent Profile: Colby Rasmus, CF http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/mmo-free-agent-profile-colby-rasmus-cf.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/mmo-free-agent-profile-colby-rasmus-cf.html/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 12:09:38 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168126 colby rasmus

Colby Rasmus

Position: Center Fielder 
Bats: Left, Throws: Left 
Age on Opening Day: 28

2014 Snapshot

After a very productive 2013 season, Rasmus fell off a cliff this year, seeing his numbers drop across the board. The 28 year-old posted a slash line of .225/.287/.448 with a .321 wOBA and 103 wRC+ with 18 home runs in 376 plate appearances. In almost every major fielding statistic, Rasmus went from solidly above average to solidly below average in center, compounding on an already lackluster year.

The one thing that remained through it all for Rasmus was his power. His 18 home runs in so few trips to the plate stick out, along with his .223 ISO, his second-highest mark ever. However, Rasmus watched his offensive numbers drop across the board from a fantastic .276/.338/.501 (129 wRC+) 2013 season. If we are in the game of comparisons, Rasmus is on the opposite track of Nick Markakis, who, although the rest of his numbers have gone up, his power numbers have dropped. In the middle tier of free agent outfielders, it may be a pick-your-poison scenario.

Pros

Rasmus has incredible upside. In 2013, he posted a 4.8 fWAR, the second four-win season of his career. He boasts solid and consistent power numbers, and, if healthy, is sure to hit 20 or more home runs in a Met uniform, even at Citi Field. According to ESPN’s Home Run Tracker, Rasmus was in the upper tier with an average 401 foot “true distance” on his 18 home runs. I don’t have any doubt that his power would transfer, no matter what kind of season he is having.

Rasmus has also proven at times to be a solid defender, posting well above average fielding metrics before 2014. However, Rasmus’ numbers have been inconsistent in these metrics, leaving some uncertainty here.

Cons

Of course, if Rasmus were always at his upside, he would be way beyond the Mets’ price range. What makes players cheap is uncertainty, and there is a whole lot of it with Rasmus. While Rasmus has had two seasons with a 4.0 fWAR or higher, he also has three with a 1.0 fWAR or worse. He is, without a doubt, an enormous risk.

Rasmus is striking out at absurd rates. Last year, he struck out in a third of his plate appearances. And those offensive numbers last year were coupled with a normal BABIP. That’s not exactly a recipe for future success.

While the added power would be a nice addition to the lineup, the possibly dreadful On-Base Percentage and batting average would greatly eat away at the added value. That may still even equate to overall league average offense, but with uncertainty about Rasmus’ defense, any significant financial commitment will mean taking a big risk. Rasmus doesn’t seem like the type of player a penny-pinching team like the Mets can afford to gamble on. Not to mention he plays center field and has never regularly played a corner position in the majors…

Projected Contract

Unlike Markakis, Rasmus is coming off a down year, so he should be cheaper. With that being said, he is also younger and less likely to have a qualifying offer attached to him. With teams considering the horrible situation with BJ Upton, a similar player to Rasmus, and the stronger center field free agent class next year, demand won’t be too high. I predict that Rasmus will get two years and $24 million.

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Mets To Formally Interview Kevin Long On Wednesday http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/mets-to-formally-interview-kevin-long-on-wednesday.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/mets-to-formally-interview-kevin-long-on-wednesday.html/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 01:12:52 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=167893 Kevin long cage

According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Mets will formally interview former Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long on Wednesday, for the vacant hitting coach position created when Lamar Johnson was relieved of his duties.

Long was the hitting coach for the Yankees for seven seasons before being fired by Brian Cashman two weeks ago.

In addition to the Mets, he is drawing interest from the Blue Jays, brewers, Pirates, D’Backs  and Braves.

October 15 – Who is Kevin Long

With all the talk about the Mets considering Kevin Long to fill the Mets vacant hitting coach position, I decided to spend an hour researching him and learning what this former Yankee is all about. I learned some things along the way and thought I’d share some of them with you.

Long Is Very Confident

“If you’re going to fix somebody’s swing, you better know what you’re doing because you’re putting your name and reputation on the line. One of the criticisms I heard was how I could teach this caliber of player when I never played at this level. That doesn’t matter. It matters what kind of educator and teacher I am that I can get these guys to compete at an optimal level.”

Long Is A Hard Worker

“There’s always three things that I think are going to put you above anybody else as a coach. First of all, work ethic. No one is going to outwork me. No one is going to put in more time. That’s number one because the players see that.

Number two is knowledge. I’ve got to be very knowledgeable about what I do. Drill work, what adjustments I make with these guys… I have to know what makes good hitters good. I’ve done my homework. I’ve studied. I’ve taken Barry Bonds’ swing and broken it down into the finest details. And that’s how I started with my philosophy.

The third part—and if you don’t have this, you might as well pack it in as a hitting coach— is you’d better be personable. You’d better have people skills.”

About the Home Run Drill

“You never know if it’s going to catch on,” Long said. “You’re trying to help players become as consistent as possible. When you see guys have a lot of success with a certain drill, you keep it around. And it’s just one of those drills where I’ve seen numerous people throughout my career get better and better with it.”

The drill is intended to build muscle memory and teach players to consistently pull the ball for power.

Long Goes Above and Beyond

“I went to the Dominican Republic to work with Robinson Cano. Did the Yankees pay for that? Did Robinson Cano pay for that? You know who paid for that? Kevin Long paid for that….It wasn’t the Yankees saying go. I went in order for me to be a good instructor. You know what Robinson Cano thinks of me? He thinks I’m the greatest guy in the world…And as I do that, and as we go through a season where there’s struggles and this and that, he now feels he can lean on me, and we can lean on each other and that part can get you over the hump.”

Carlos Pena on Kevin Long

“You can know it all, but if you don’t know how to share it with your players, then the knowledge is lost. His strength is not actually all he knows, but how he teaches, how he can relate to a single player and make the player comfortable and confident and make the player trust him. Regardless of the stage or the level of the hitter, they start to feel they are the best in the world without ever even realizing it.”

Hope you enjoyed this and that you learned a little bit more about Kevin Long that you didn’t know already. These quotes were courtesy of ESPN, the New York Times, Hardball Magazine and Fox Sports.

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Alderson’s Draft Picks Are Indication Of Long Term Plan http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/aldersons-draft-picks-are-indication-of-long-term-plan.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/aldersons-draft-picks-are-indication-of-long-term-plan.html/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 16:31:07 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168341 brandon nimmoThe hardest thing about building a winning team is the anticipation. Before 1996, there were no guarantees that Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and the rest of a very young Yankees team would prosper at the same time, if at all. The same can be said about the 1986 Mets. Frank Cashen took Darryl Strawberry with the #1 overall pick in the 1980 draft. It happened to be the very first pick Cashen made in New York and it turned out pretty well.

Fast forward to 2011 when Sandy Alderson took over the Mets and selected Brandon Nimmo with the 13th overall pick in the draft. Like Strawberry, Nimmo was a high school outfielder with a ton of raw talent. It took Strawberry three years to reach the majors, debuting in 1983. Three years after that, they won the World Series. Now Alderson is hoping Nimmo is on the same track.

An interesting note from Cody Derespina of Newsday revolved around other high school players taken early in the draft.

“Since 1980, there have been 16 high school players drafted No. 1 overall. That list includes Strawberry, Ken Griffey Jr., Chipper Jones, Alex Rodriguez, Josh Hamilton, Adrian Gonzalez and Joe Mauer. Of the 14 No. 1 picks out of high school from 1980-2011, only Brien Taylor, Matt Bush and Tim Beckham didn’t debut in the majors within three years. Bush and Taylor never even made it to the bigs.”

Nimmo being a 13th overall pick won’t fit into that group but it’s clear that the Mets have completely abandoned a win-now approach in favor of the win-long-term strategy. Mets’ vice president for player development and scouting Paul DePodesta, had this to say about building for the future.

“We’re not necessarily looking for quick fixes. We hopefully plan on being here for a while and really trying to do this right. We’re not going to take a guy just because he might be the quickest mover to the big leagues.”

Nimmo will enter his fifth season in the Mets minor league system this spring at the age of 22. As Derespina points out, three to four years isn’t all that long for a high school player to mature and Nimmo will take longer than that. Gavin Cecchini and Dominic Smith were other players who Alderson drafted out of high school and who are unlikely to debut anytime soon.

Derespina also notes that with Alderson’s contract extension in place, he’ll likely be around until 2017 and by then, Cecchini, Smith, Nimmo and 2014 first-rounder Michael Conforto could debut.footer

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Familia Replacing Mejia As The Mets Closer? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/familia-replacing-mejia-as-the-mets-closer.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/familia-replacing-mejia-as-the-mets-closer.html/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 13:59:46 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168337 jeurys familia

Mike Vorkunov of NJ.com ponders if the Mets should just go with Jeurys Familia as the team’s closer next season.

He argues that as as impressive as Jenrry Mejia was last season in his first stint as closer, Familia was far more consistent than him.

“While Mejia’s saves could sometimes feel like he was walking a tight-rope (A 1.50 WHIP in save situations), Familia was more stable. So it’s worth asking: Should Familia be the closer next season?”

I love Familia and before the season I predicted that he would be one of the most valuable arms in our bullpen. He finished the season with a pristine 2.21 ERA and he became our eighth inning setup man, a job he did very well.

I just don’t understand why we have to screw around with something that we finally fixed. After five years of struggling with an awful bullpen – including three doomed attempts to revamp the bullpen by Sandy Alderson – we ended the season with an incredibly strong and with a very bright outlook. Roles were set and established and several relievers shined.

Everyone seems to be on a mission to usurp Mejia from the closer role, be it for Bobby Parnell who may or may not be ready by Opening Day, and even doing something as drastic as not naming a closer at all and simply going with a committee as was asserted on MetsBlog last week.

Just when we seem to finally have everything set and looking good, give me one good reason why we should blow all that up on some whim?

Who can ensure me that Familia would be just as effective closing games as he was as a setup man? There’s an incredible amount of pressure to come out with the game on the line and secure those final three outs. It takes a special swagger. You not only need the stuff you need the mindset.

While not perfect, and let’s face it who is, Mejia quickly took to his new role as closer and ran with it. As a reliever, he posted a 2.72 ERA with 60 strikeouts in 56.1 innings and he saved 28 games. Only the Marlins’ Steve Cishek saved more games in the second half last season than Mejia who had 18 to his 19.

We’ve all seen how big a role confidence plays in the performance of Familia and Mejia over the years. How do you think that plays out if you yank Mejia out of the closer role after he thrived in it? Don’t we have enough issues on this team without having to manufacture some new ones?

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Nimmo and Mazzilli Off To Solid Starts In AFL http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/nimmo-and-mazzilli-off-to-solid-starts-in-afl.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/nimmo-and-mazzilli-off-to-solid-starts-in-afl.html/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 13:17:06 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168318 Jessica Quiroli of Minor League Ball is reviewing many of the prospects currently competing in this year’s Arizona Fall League. She had some interesting things to say about a pair of Mets prospects who have impressed her.

Brandon Nimmo

brandon nimmoBrandon Nimmo is that rare breed of focused aggression and intensity, mixed with patience and teachability. His story is legend at this point: with no high school baseball program in Wyoming, he played the showcase circuit. Scouts noticed and he was drafted in 1st round in 2011 He came to the Brooklyn Cyclones of the New York Penn League as poised as a ten-year veteran. By the end of the season, however, the inexperience showed. Fatigue affected what was otherwise a highly successful debut.

He entered Spring Training in 2013 ten pounds heavier and talked about the noticeable difference in getting to balls in the outfield. He made the jump to Double-A Binghamton in 2014. He showcased more power, with a smooth swing path (it looked wobbly at times in 2012), and good hip rotation. He simply looked like a more solid version of the guy that played 69 games in Short-A ball in 2012. The selection to the fall league wasn’t a surprise.

Nimmo is the top outfield prospect in the organization, and one of the top outfield prospects in all the minor leagues. In tough fall league competition, he can work on developing more power and improve already very good plate approach. After the struggles with consistency that he exhibited down the stretch in his first professional season , he showed more ability to perform at the level he’s capable of in 2014. He ended the season hitting .278/.394/.426 in 127 games. He’s had a good fall league debut, hitting .393/.476/.571 in his first seven games.

L.J. Mazzilli

L.J._MazzilliSimilarly, Mets second base prospect L.J. Mazzilli is developing more power at the plate. His ability for gap-power was on display in 2013 with the Brooklyn Cyclones.And while Mazzilli has the same kind of professionalism and maturity as Nimmo, Mazzilli’s is all pedigree, as the son of former major leaguer Lee.

The younger Mazzilli also remained unfazed by the super-hype of his introduction to the New York media at Citi-Bank Field. That kind of laser-focus helped him adjust quickly to pro- ball. He exhibited rock-solid maturity off the field, and a consistent approach at the plate, also proving to be a strong defender with good speed. He hit .301/.361/.440 in 131 games between the Florida State and South Atlantic Leagues this year.

He spoke about his goals this off-season, working on strengthening and agility, with a focus on further improving his speed. Putting those elements together in fall league, and continuing that program through the winter, could lead to him seeing Double-A time in 2015. While not highly ranked in the system by some sources, he can play himself into a more valuable role with the Mets.

* * * * * * * *

I took a quick look at their stats this morning and both seem to be off to a solid start in Arizona where Nimmo is slashing at .323/.447/.419 in 31 at-bats, and Mazzilli is posting a .250/.400/.400 line in 20 at-bats.

Last night was only the sixth game for Mazzilli, who lined a triple into the gap and scored two runs during Scottsdale’s 7-3 victory over Glendale on Monday night. Nimmo added an RBI single in the game.

“I’m still trying to get in that groove offensively,” said Mazzilli after the game. “I feel I did well this year. I learned a lot in the first month-and-a-half of the season when I was struggling a little bit. I figured out what it takes for me to be the best I possibly can be, and I stuck with that plan and approach.”

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MMO Free Agent Profile: Nick Markakis, RF http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/mmo-free-agent-profile-nick-markakis-rf.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/mmo-free-agent-profile-nick-markakis-rf.html/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 11:00:44 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168121 MLB: JUL 20 Rays at Orioles

Nick Markakis

Position: Right Fielder
Bats: Left, Throws: Left
Age on Opening Day: 31

2014 Snapshot

While Nick Markakis didn’t return to his old self this year, he did bounce back significantly from a sub-replacement level season in 2013. He had solid seasons on both offense and defense, improving his wRC+ from 88 to 106 while improving most of his defensive metrics by a few runs as well.

His final line on the year was .276/.342/.386 with 14 home runs, 27 doubles, and a triple in 710 plate appearances. He ended the season with a 2.5 fWAR and a 2.1 rWAR.

Pros

As Joel Sherman of the New York Post pointed out, Markakis would make a solid leadoff hitter. Among right fielders, Markakis ranked ninth in On-Base Percentage last year with a .342 mark. Over the past few years, he has consistently walked in eight to nine percent of his trips to the plate, and owns a career 9.3 walk percentage. As a team, the Mets batted .235/.308/.333 in the leadoff spot this season, making Markakis a clear upgrade in this spot.

Assuming Curtis Granderson would move to left field, Markakis represents a clear upgrade in the outfield as well. Mets left fielders hit just .219/.306/.309, giving them an OPS 38 percent worse than league average this season. Markakis is already to be a league average hitter, and could definitely be even more productive than that. On top of all this, he’s just 30 years old.

Cons

While Markakis would definitely add to the Mets outfield, is he really the right fit? Probably not. Markakis is certainly a nice leadoff option, but the Mets already have a carbon copy of him at second base: Daniel Murphy. In fact, Daniel Murphy is slightly better than Markakis, and at a position where hitting is harder to come by The leadoff problem is more a problem of lineup management than personnel. If Terry Collins would just bat Murphy (107 OPS+ over last three year vs. Markakis’ 105), the leadoff problem would be solved. (Of course, the Mets could certainly decide to trade Murphy for a bigger bat this winter, in which case there would be a need for a leadoff hitter.)

Put lineup position aside for a minute and look at Markakis as a player. While his walk rate may make him an attractive leadoff hitter, he doesn’t have much else going for him. Over the last three years, Markakis has a mediocre 4.1 fWAR over 419 games. His fielding numbers have been dreadful almost his entire career, regularly playing ten or more runs below average. That greatly detracts from his value. Also, while he gets on base, he is doing so with less quality than he used to, with his power numbers dropping dramatically from early in his career. If the Nick Markakis of five years ago was available — the one who regularly had an ISO in the .160 to .190 range — then I would say he is a perfect fit for the Mets. However, the Mets need to add as much power as possible to their lineup, even in a leadoff hitter. So while Markakis may get on base at a decent clip (although it isn’t even that great), he is only a middle-of-the-road player that isn’t going to have a huge impact on the Mets if they were to sign him.

Projected Contract

Markakis is only 30 years old, which means he will be seeking, at absolute minimum, a three-year deal, and will be fighting like crazy to get a fourth or fifth year. As one of the younger options in a sea of mid-30s outfielders, Markakis will be helped by his age. Plus, with Yasmani Tomas and Nelson Cruz looking to sign monster contracts, Markakis and his main competition Melky Cabrera, will be vying for spots on teams with money but unable or unwilling to make a huge splash. Ironically, because only a few young, mid-range options exist this winter, teams may have to pay upwards of $50 million to ink either of them. Assuming the Orioles don’t take the big risk of giving Markakis a qualifying offer. Projection: 4 years, $44 million

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Beltran Could Have Altered Fate For World Series Teams http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/beltran-could-have-altered-destiny-for-world-series.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/beltran-could-have-altered-destiny-for-world-series.html/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 04:11:16 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168353 beltran

The trade that sent Carlos Beltran to the San Francisco Giants for Zack Wheeler set off a chain of events that could have impacted the fates of both the Giants and Royals.

Beltran went on to sign with the Cardinals during the following offseason and then signed a three-year deal with the Yankees before the 2014 season. According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, teams were convinced that Beltran would land with the Royals, the team that he came up with a decade earlier.

“When it happened, I cried. Because I was emotional,” Beltran told Dick Kaegel of MLB.com back in 2012.

“I signed with the Royals, I came up with the Royals, I had many years in that organization. But at the end of the day, those types of moments make you stronger as a person and make you understand a little more the game of baseball and how things happen. Baseball is a business, big business.”

How different would the playoff landscape look right now if that had been the case?

Wheeler could be getting ready to pitch game three or four for the Giants while Beltran would undoubtedly be one of the best hitters on the opposing team.

Obviously the trade has nothing to do with either players path. If Beltran wasn’t traded to the Giants, it doesn’t mean he would have been any more likely to end up in Kansas City years later. Still, the connection between the two players exists.

Beltran’s homecoming was thwarted by the three-year deal the Yankees offered him and Wheeler will be a part of the Mets stellar rotation for years to come.

It’s clear now that the Mets won that trade, as the Giants failed to make the playoffs in 2011, losing Beltran to free-agency the year after, while the Mets will end up getting seven years of service from Wheeler. Both could have been playing in the World Series this year had their paths been different.

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