Mets Merized Online » 2010 http://metsmerizedonline.com Wed, 03 Feb 2016 00:21:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.13 Mets Offseason Strategy May Be Better Than You Think http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/mets-offseason-strategy-may-be-better-than-you-think.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/mets-offseason-strategy-may-be-better-than-you-think.html/#comments Mon, 11 Jan 2016 14:00:14 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=203954 CYZ3Fn1UEAAvZJP

I’ve been accused of having rose colored glasses permanently affixed to my head when it comes to the Mets. When I was a kid I used to pour over potential lineups rationalizing how they could actually win games. Richie Hebner batting third? That could work… Wayne Garrett leading off? Why the hell not? Of course as soon as the season started my hopes would be dashed like a dead seal on a line of jagged boulders off the coast of Vancouver Island. I mean Richie #%$ing Hebner?

Anyway. My dad would always say stuff like “that’s nice son” when I’d bring up potential lineups while bouncing my Spaldeen #4 … “Montanez could be a pretty good cleanup hitter.” He’d pat me on the head and smile as if trying to hold back the “keep dreaming kiddo” that you’d normally share with anyone but a starry eyed kid with baseball cards in every pocket.

Growing up in the late 70’s you kind of learn to deal with the Mets losing. We just figured it was part of growing up in Corona, like the constant rumble of the 7 train and the wonderful smell of empanadas and tostones. I think that’s why those of us fortunate enough to remember the early days have a tough time complaining about the current state. For me it was always easier to complain about high priced and high expectation disasters like 1992 and 2003.

So I have mixed feelings about 2016 … They certainly lack that high priced “what could possibly go wrong?” composition of early 90’s monstrosities, and, given the Mets placement as runner-up for the World Series, you’ve got to feel pretty good about the Mets getting back into the fray — kind of like how you felt after Rocky lost to Apollo Creed.

On the other hand the expectations are admittedly high and the potential for a letdown is something no Mets fan can really ever dismiss, after all there’ve been so damned many letdowns it’s hard to keep track. It’s in our frigging DNA at this point. There’s also the very worrisome dearth of investment in what was a very successful 2015 squad.

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Nevertheless I am pretty sure my glass is half full because, well, just look at it, it’s obviously half full. The Mets have been on something of a roll with their player moves, and one thing I noticed is that they picked up a couple of interesting switch hitters in Asdrubal Cabrera and Neil Walker.

A recent article on fangraphs showed how increasingly, successful hitters are going the other way. On the Mets we need go no further than Curtis Granderson to see the benefit of slapping the ball to the opposite field now and again.

The thing about Walker and Cabrera is that not only are they switch hitters but when you look at their hit spray (I hate that term, it reminds me of feral cats …) they spread the ball around pretty good. Even De Aza (to a lesser degree) can go the other way. This is a trend we shouldn’t ignore, shifts have been roughly doubling across the league every year for the past several seasons and we can be pretty sure there’ll be more of the same in 2016. So, these additions look pretty good in this respect.

The other consideration for next season is the conspicuous absence of a big signing for a big bat. For me, this is definitely the bigger concern.

“Look, we know Cespedes was instrumental to us getting to the World Series, but, I think along the way we learned a few things about ourselves and about the team and I think the way we’ve approached the offseason put some of those lessons in to play.” – Sandy Alderson.

A lot has been made of Cespedes’ contributions and how there was more to the Mets success than Yoenis’ admittedly gaudy numbers, which is true in and of itself, however, what’s been taken for granted is the “tipping point” effect of Cespedes’ presence in the batting order. You have to consider the element of protection both up and down the lineup around him. There’s a reason the Mets hit better after Yoenis was added and it’s hard to fathom how Cespedes’ looming presence was somehow detached from that broader uptick.

The Mets front office is constitutionally disinclined to long, expensive second generation contracts, and so I thought I’d look into it a little bit. I did a quick search of WAR and wRC+ (a scaled rate stat which shows the value of a hitter’s outcomes [hits] while accounting for park effects) from 1980 to the present at 6 different age points to see if there really is a precipitous decline as players age and whether this is worse now than it was during the steroid era.

Strangely, when looking at wRC+ the results can be dramatically skewed by two or three aging but productive players … this can happen when you have Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz in the league. That being said, contributions of older players appear to have been valuable even going back to the 80’s and 90’s … perhaps this is a function of wRC+, which quantifies a player’s value by runs created (Ortiz had a wRC+ of 138 last year), but the chart definitely shows that veteran players can be valuable in their ability to create runs.

This of course may be a simple function of longevity being a byproduct of competence — only a very good player will still be around well into his late 30’s — nevertheless, it’s surprising because the prevailing notion is that players lose their physical abilities as they age, their bat speed, dexterity, strength, what have you. This wRC+ chart seems to imply that good hitters continue to hit well into their late 30’s and that this hasn’t changed much over the years.

wRC+ by Age

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WAR by Age

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WAR on the other hand is perhaps a more appropriate measure when considering the contributions of aging players because it takes into account the fact that there are fewer players as you move up in age, reducing their aggregate contribution accordingly.

This is indeed the case with major spikes in value occurring between the ages of 27 and 33 … but again, somewhat curiously (when you consider how well some older players performed in wRC+), with the exception of 1985, players between the ages of 39 and 40 never produced more than a combined 8.3 WAR, and 37 year old players never combined for more than a 30.7 WAR (which they did in 2000).

When you contrast that with 27 year olds in 2010 putting up a 133.5 combined WAR, youth definitely has it’s advantages. Also, there is a pronounced recent spike in the contributions of 24 year olds in 2010 and 2015 as they put up the age bracket’s two highest combined WAR figures (69.5 in 2010 and 70.9 in 2015).

So, younger players are definitely trending up in terms of combined value. This shouldn’t shock anyone when you consider that injuries and attrition deplete the ranks of older players. Are younger players getting better? Perhaps, but the wRC+ chart also shows that those veterans that manage to stick around can sometimes be pretty darned good.

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There are two takeaways. Firstly, veteran players retain value into their late 30’s (although there are fewer of them), and that has been true since the early 80’s and it hasn’t really fluctuated much … Secondly, a value driven metric such as WAR really brings out the contributions of players in the 27 – 30 year old bracket, you can’t really ignore that.

If we know anything about Alderson’s approach it’s that he likes to work in the aggregate. This was true in his Oakland days when they spread OBP over a roster (and a system), and it’s true now when they concentrate their focus on younger players who work the count and (at least this off-season) use the whole field.

I think it’s hard to deny that approaching improvement by addressing deficiencies across an entire system has benefits over simply looking for the best guy who can fill a given need at a given time, which seems like a very reactionary after the fact approach.

There isn’t anything revelatory about this … we’ve always known that Baseball is a young man’s game and that great teams tend to have great farm systems. The fact that the Mets are putting this reality into practice is certainly a good thing. The only real surprise with the data above is that steroids over the years didn’t have as big an impact in sheer age related value as you’d think – which might be cause for further review.

In the end I’m keeping my hopes up that this Mets brain-trust knows a thing or two about securing winning “assets” or whatever you want to call them. It’s hard not to feel good about these current Mets because of their unbelievable pitching arsenal. With the exception of 1969 (a terrific omen by the way), I can’t recall a roster as pitching heavy as that of these Mets. But 1969 came and went and those mets were unable to sustain a lasting legacy because they didn’t have the positional depth to support their pitching.

Similarly these 2016 Mets are somewhat lacking on the positional side in terms of major league ready prospects while the organization also seems to lack the resources to purchase quality players on the free agent market, which is certainly foreboding … Still, until I see that dead seal smashed against the rocks I will continue to believe we’re in the midst of something special, something along the lines of a very smartly conceived Mets renaissance.

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Nationals Sign Oliver Perez To Two-Year, $7 Million Contract http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/nationals-sign-oliver-perez-to-two-year-7-million-contract.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/nationals-sign-oliver-perez-to-two-year-7-million-contract.html/#comments Fri, 04 Dec 2015 21:37:47 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=201629 perez_1280_f0uhshel_zyxy1a5s

According to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com, the Washington Nationals have signed free agent left-hander Oliver Perez to a two-year deal worth $7 million dollars.

In his career as a starter and a reliever, Perez is 67-83 with a 4.44 ERA in 1,294 innings pitched. He has struck out 1,351 batters and walked 703, good for a career 9.4 K/9 ratio and 4.9 BB/9.

Perez, 34, has tried to resurrect his career as a reliever since being cut by the Mets. In a four-season span out of the bullpen, he has a 3.31 ERA in 182 innings with a 11.1 strikeout rate.

Last season, pitching for the Diamondbacks and Astros, he went 2-4 with a 4.17 ERA in 41 innings, striking out 51 and walking 15. He held left-handed batters to a .185/.235/.283 batting line.

He’s back…

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Juan Uribe Lifts Mets To Within Two Games Of First Place http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/07/juan-uribe-lifts-mets-to-within-two-games-of-first-place.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/07/juan-uribe-lifts-mets-to-within-two-games-of-first-place.html/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 00:15:53 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=188271 juan uribe

The Mets won in exciting fashion on Sunday, as newly acquired Juan Uribe singled off the center-field wall against former teammate Kenley Jansen to score Curtis Granderson with one out in the bottom of the 10th inning to give the Mets a stunning 3-2 walk-off win against the Dodgers at Citi Field.

Uribe collected his 10th career walk-off RBI with his dramatic 10th-inning single. His last walk-off RBI came in the 11th inning on August 14, 2010 as a member of the Giants against San Diego.

For the Mets it was their sixth walk-off win of the season and their first since Lucas Duda’s game-winning RBI against Cincinnati in the 13th inning on June 27.

But more importantly, the victory puts the Mets only two games out of first place in the NL East as the Washington Nationals were defeated today 3-1 by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

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Marlins Owner Quizzed People About Wally Backman At Citi Field http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/04/marlins-owner-quizzed-people-about-wally-backman-at-citi-field.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/04/marlins-owner-quizzed-people-about-wally-backman-at-citi-field.html/#comments Wed, 22 Apr 2015 15:03:28 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=179513 wally backman las vegas review-journal

Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria “quizzed” people at Citi Field during the weekend about Wally Backman’s readiness to be a major league manager, according to a report in the New York Post.

Loria was in attendance in Queens as his Marlins were swept in a four-game series by the New York Mets.

The Miami Herald reported on Sunday that manager Mike Redmond’s job is in jeopardy and Backman is a candidate to replace him. Backman manages the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas.

April 19

After a humbling and disastrous four-game sweep at the hands of the New York Mets this weekend at Citi Field – a sweep that now leaves them with the second-worst record in the majors at 3-10 – the Miami Marlins are in panic mode. At least that’s what some are saying in South Florida.

Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald is reporting that manager Mike Redmond is on the hot seat and that his job may be in jeopardy as the team heads to Philadelphia for a series with the Phillies that could decide his fate.

Sources say the organization is already bouncing around possible replacements and one possibility being considered is Mets Triple-A manager Wally Backman.

Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria would have no problem firing his manager this early in the season as he has been down this road before, firing Jeff Torborg in May of 2003, and Fredi Gonzalez in June of 2010.

Sources say Loria is not happy with the team’s play and he agreed with Giancarlo Stanton who blasted the team on Friday and saying that they lacked fire.

Many were looking at the Marlins has a surefire contender for a wild card spot this season and some were projecting Miami for a 90 win season.

Obviously Backman would certainly fit Loria’s desire for a fiery manager to replace the laid-back Mike Redmond. But I believe it’s way too early to think they would really ax Redmond this soon. However, with Loria, you never know.

That said, a source close to the Las Vegas manager told Daily News reporter Kristie Ackert, that neither Backman or his representatives, have been contacted by the Marlins yet. (Daily News)

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Heath Bell Announces Retirement http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/heath-bell-announces-retirement.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/heath-bell-announces-retirement.html/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 13:12:01 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=177160 Heath-Bell-115248981

After being released by the Washington Nationals on Monday, veteran reliever and former Met Heath Bell has announced his retirement from Major League Baseball.

Bell told MLB.com’s Corey Brock:

“My kids wanted me home. What’s more important: my kids or the big leagues? I’ve already accomplished more than I ever dreamed of. Now it’s time to help them accomplish their dreams.”

Bell pitched for the Mets from 2004-2006, but had his best years with the San Diego Padres from 2007-2011 after the Mets dealt him for relief pitcher Jon Adkins and OF Ben Johnson.

In three seasons. mostly as closer for the Padres (2009-2011), Bell went 15-9 while recording 132 saves, with a 2.36 ERA. He was an All-Star each of those three years and finished 8th in Cy Young voting in 2010.

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2015 Mets Season Preview: Bullpen http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/2015-mets-season-preview-bullpen.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/2015-mets-season-preview-bullpen.html/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 12:00:10 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=177006 Here is the second of a six-part MMO Special Feature, our 2015 Mets Season Preview. I previewed the starting rotation yesterday and over the next two weeks, I’ll be previewing our Bullpen, Catching, Infield, Outfield and Bench. I hope you enjoy my research, analysis, and insights. Let’s continue with Part 2, our bullpen.

Jenrry Mejia

jenrry mejiaAfter making eleven starts at four levels in the Mets organization last year, Jenrry Mejia finally made the permanent transition to the bullpen, filling in for the injured Bobby Parnell. Mejia made seven starts at the beginning of the season before gradually converting to the closer role, where he saw major success.

The 24 year-old, in his second major stint with the big league club, earned himself the closer role that so many scouts had envisioned him filling. After converting to the bullpen, Mejia posted a 2.72 ERA in 56.1 innings, striking out 60 batters (9.56 K/9) and walking 21 (3.36 BB/9). His WHIP dropped from 1.58 to 1.42, which still isn’t great, but is much better than we saw when Mejia was with the Mets in 2010 as a 20 year-old.

If you look at Mejia now versus back in 2010 when Omar Minaya rushed him to the big leagues, he is just a completely different pitcher. In 2010, he was raw, not ready, and clearly outmatched by his big league opponents. Last year, he was, at times, just too nasty for anyone to hit. Steamer projects 22 saves and a 3.43 ERA for Mejia this season. Based on the sheer dominance he showed at times, and the growing comfort Mejia showed with the role throughout the season, he could certainly do better than that.

Jeurys Familia

jeurys familiaOf all the Mets pitchers who broke out last season, none was more dominant than Jeurys Familia. After allowing 13 runs in 23 innings between 2012 and 2013, Familia posted a 2.21 ERA in 77.1 innings.

While Mejia got all the attention for taking over the role as closer, Familia was significantly better, and proved he could be a solid closer in his own right. The hard-throwing righty proved himself especially useful both in the eighth inning as a setup man and as a fill-in closer when Mejia was unavailable. As tempting as it is to have a single relief ace, I like what Terry Collins did with Mejia and Familia last year, not afraid to use either one at the end of the game. Having two dominant pitchers comfortable in the closer role can be extremely helpful down the stretch or in the playoffs.

Familia stuck with his fastball and slider last year, his bread and butter. No longer does he have to keep the starting pitcher mentality that he had for years in the minor league system. And with the eighth-fastest fastball in the major leagues last year (96.2 miles per hour), he can get away with simplicity. He has seen his walk rate gradually drop throughout his minor league career and last year, it hit a reasonable (for a reliever) 3.72 BB/9. Considering how few hits he is allowing, that is more than reasonable.

With Famlia still at 25 years old and finally having some job security, I can absolutely see him having a dominant season once again, although perhaps not as dominant as much as last season. His opponents’ BABIP points towards a less successful 2015, but I don’t envision his ERA climbing far above 3.00, if it does at all.

Vic Black

vic blackWill the line of young, hard-throwing relievers ever end?

The Marlon Byrd and John Buck trade is looking better and better with each passing month as both Dilson Herrera and Vic Black establish themselves as valuable pieces. Black, of course, is further along than Herrera, having had a terrific season with the big league club last year. The righty had a 2.60 ERA in 34.2 innings with the Mets last season, and has a roster spot locked up going into this year.

Black started off last season in the minor leagues despite a decent end to the 2013 season because of major control issues he showed in spring training. As last year’s numbers showed, these issues are still present. Black finished the year with a 4.93 BB/9 rate. For the 26 year-old righty, this has to be a concern going into this year because that kind of walk rate is just not sustainable. Black’s xFIP was 4.16 last year. That’s more the direction Black’s ERA will go if he continues to walk batters at such a high rate.

Seeing as this isn’t a new problem for Black, I don’t see it suddenly getting better this year. Until he gets this fundamental issue worked out, Black likely won’t be able to replicate last year’s results.

Buddy Carlyle

buddy carlyleBuddy Carlyle is proof of the wonders a small sample size, limited exposure, and a low opponent BABIP can do for a pitcher.

At 36, Carlyle had by far the best season of his career, locking up a spot in the 2015 bullpen. His 1.45 ERA in 31 innings could not be touched by any other Met. Ironically, however, he is probably the relief pitcher I trust the least for the Mets this season (which can be taken as somewhat of a compliment for the bullpen I suppose). While Carlyle did pitch well in both Triple-A and the majors last season, he is also a 37 year-old career minor leaguer. With Black, Familia, and Mejia, there is a track record of being a promising prospect not too long ago. With Carlyle, there isn’t.

I also haven’t mentioned the fact that opponents had a .250 BABIP against Carlyle this season, which cannot be sustained. Frankly, he probably just had a lot of luck last season, which is certainly feasible in a small 31 inning sample. This isn’t to say he won’t be effective, only that he won’t be dominant. Steamer and ZiPS are split on him this season. Steamer has him pitching a grand total of one inning all season (which we can safely say will be wrong if Carlyle makes the team as expected) while ZiPS projects him to put up a 4.42 ERA in 55 innings. Given his track record, that is in the ballpark of what I would project.

Carlos Torres

carlos torresCarlos Torres has probably been the most versatile pitcher for the Mets over the last two seasons. During that time, he has made ten starts, 96 relief appearances, and tossed 183.1 innings. Oh, and he’s actually pitched well, too.

In 2013, Torres had a 3.44/4.30/3.50 ERA/FIP/xFIP line, pitching most of those innings as a starter. Last year, mostly in relief, he improved to 3.06/3.86/3.59. What is so great about having Torres in the bullpen is that he can act as both a middle reliever and a long man, and be effective at both. He could split longman duties with Rafael Montero or take on the duties himself. Either way, the Mets have a pretty dependable arm.

The projection systems have Torres hovering between league average and his 2013 numbers, which is perfectly reasonable. His xFIP suggests that his ERA will rise a bit from last year.

Rafael Montero

rafael monteroRafael Montero is a very interesting choice for the bullpen to open up the season. It seems too early to give up on a 24 year-old as a starter, especially one who has had so much success starting, but the move was obviously out of necessity. Having Noah Syndergaard and Steve Matz sitting in Triple-A likely gives the Mets some comfort moving Montero to the bullpen, although I think it is premature, even if many scouts pegged it as his eventual destination.

That being said, Montero is an interesting bullpen arm because he has shown (although not recently) the pinpoint control of a starter. In Savannah, St. Lucie, and Binghamton, he averaged under two walks per nine innings and didn’t go much higher than two in Las Vegas. He also strikes out a decent amount of hitters, and is projected to punch out between eight and nine per nine innings this season.

The computer projections are strange for Montero. ZiPS has Montero making 29 starts with a 3.61 ERA and 3.63 FIP while Steamer has him making 10 starts, 25 relief appearances, and posting a 3.63 ERA and 3.73 FIP. They are both essentially saying Montero will be a tick above MLB average. Having read the scouting reports and having seen Montero conquer just about every level of the minor leagues, not only do I see no reason for him to not be on the big league roster, but I also see Montero meeting his projections if given an opportunity.

Dario Alvarez / Sean Gilmartin

sean gilmartinI can definitely see why the Mets organization is looking externally for a lefty reliever. Dario Alvarez is a somewhat interesting name. He struck out 95 batters in 61.1 innings last year for Savannah and had similar success in extremely small sample sizes in St. Lucie and Binghamton, but that doesn’t really warrant a spot on a major league team. Keeping in mind his age (26), he isn’t exactly a prospect either.

As for Gilmartin, I don’t see him lasting more than a few weeks either. He didn’t pitch extremely well in Triple-A, and Rule V players rarely work out over a full season anyway. Also, he has never been a relief pitcher, let along a LOOGY. Going from a starter to a pitcher who will routinely face only one batter in a game is a big transition.

I’m not even going to project how either of these players pitch because I don’t see either making the big league roster out of camp. Over the next two weeks, Sandy Alderson will find someone to fill that role.

Make sure to follow me on Twitter @connor_obrien97. And make sure to check back later this week for more previews of the 2015 Mets season.

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Ranking the National League East Shortstops http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/ranking-the-national-league-east-shortstops.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/ranking-the-national-league-east-shortstops.html/#comments Sun, 04 Jan 2015 15:18:56 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=172164 Andrelton+Simmons+San+Diego+Padres+v+Atlanta+_nTxnuPD1kll

Shortstop is a position where we still might see some additional flux between now and Opening Day – maybe not with the Mets as Flores will likely be starting in April, but almost certainly in Philadelphia. So for now, how do the shortstops stack up in the National League East?

1. Andrelton Simmons (Braves) – The 25 year old Simmons is one of the most exciting and dynamic glove men we’ve seen in a long time. Who cares that he’s a career .252 hitter with a .297 OBP. That Glove. Wow. The way we Mets fans drool over Lagares play in center field is the way they drool over Simmons’ glove in Atlanta. He is a Stud. There’s no one better in the East than him and I’d love to see him in a Mets uniform. Unfortunately, we have to watch him from afar in Atlanta.

2. Ian Desmond (Nationals) – Desmond has three straight Silver Slugger awards for a reason. Over the last three years, the Nationals shortstop has averaged 23 HR, 81 RBI and 32 doubles. He’s a career .270 hitter and does strike out a lot, having been punched out 183 times in 2014 and averaging 138 strikeouts per season since 2010. He’s also made 720 starts at short for the Nationals since becoming their everyday starter in 2010. Not too shabby.

3. Adeiny Hechavarria (Marlins) – Hechavarria has made 291 starts at shortstop for the Marlins over the last two seasons and he has averaged 2 HR, 38 RBI, 42 runs scored, 136 hits and 9 stolen bases with a slash line of .251/.287/.327. He’s not in Simmons class with the glove, but he’s certainly solid defensively in the field and can make some highlight reel plays of his own.

4. Wilmer Flores (Mets) – Should Flores be our Opening Day shortstop? Will or won’t the Mets trade for Troy Tulowitzki? Will the Mets sign Stephen Drew who still remains on the free agent market? It’s looking more and more like Flores will start the season at short for the Mets, and while we all know that he has a world of potential with the stick, the defensive concerns still cast a pall on him. In 105 big league games, he’s a career .240 hitter with 7 HR and 42 RBI. Since becoming a regular in the second half of 2014, his slash line was .257/.295/.408 with 5 HR and 22 RBI in 53 games and 49 starts. A shortstop can get away with those offensive numbers if your last name is Simmons. If your last name is Flores, the production will need to be better. He’s at number four now, but once the Phillies upgrade, Flores couls slide down to number five until he proves otherwise.

5. Freddy Galvis (Phillies) – With the Jimmy Rollins trade to the Dodgers complete, Galvis now stands atop the depth chart for the Phillies. The Phillies didn’t win the rights to Jung-ho Kang and until Ruben Amaro upgrades the spot, the utility infielder with his career slash line of .218/.259/.362 is first in line.  His .176 batting average in 2014 in 43 games played makes the Phillies envious of Ruben Tejada. He’s fifth on the list for the time being, and even with the Phillies looking like a complete disaster heading into 2015, I can’t see them sticking with Galvis as their everyday shortstop for too long.

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Yankees Considering Omar Minaya For High Ranking Front Office Position http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/yankees-considering-omar-minaya-for-high-ranking-front-office-position.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/yankees-considering-omar-minaya-for-high-ranking-front-office-position.html/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 04:04:07 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=167835 2013 San Diego Padres MLB Draft

Omar Minaya, VP of Baseball Operations for San Diego Padres on Draft Day.

Erik Boland of Newsday is reporting that the New York Yankees are considering adding former Mets general manager Omar Minaya in a high ranking front office position.

According to Boland, Yankees GM Brian Cashman is very close with Minaya who is currently serving as the senior vice president of baseball operations for the San Diego Padres.

It’s not clear what role Minaya would fill, but Boland points out he could replace VP of baseball operations Mark Newman who recently retired.

Of course, he could also take on a role similar to that of Paul DePodesta with the Mets as a VP in charge of scouting and player development.

Minaya was the GM of the Mets from 2005 until he was fired in 2010. He’s been the focus of media attention in the past 18 months after the emergence of All Stars Matt Harvey and Daniel Murphy, and most recently Jacob deGrom, Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia, Juan Lagares, Wilmer Flores and Lucas Duda, many of whom now form the new core of Sandy Alderson’s Mets. 

While with the Mets, the team had four winning seasons in six, and won a 2006 NL East Title, coming within one out of the World Series.

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D’Backs Tab Former Mets Coach Chip Hale As Manager http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/dbacks-tab-former-mets-coach-chip-hale-as-manager.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/dbacks-tab-former-mets-coach-chip-hale-as-manager.html/#comments Mon, 13 Oct 2014 15:50:54 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=167806 Chip+Hale+5XMKziU1jj3m

The Diamondbacks will announce the hiring of new manager Chip Hale on Monday, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports has confirmed, and he will receive a two-year contract.

He had managed Arizona’s Triple-A affiliate for three seasons and had impressed many in the organization at the time.

Before that, Hale served as Bob Melvin‘s bench coach with the Athletics from 2012-14, and was formerly the third base coach of the New York Mets from 2009 through 2010.

Hale had interviewed to become manager of the Mets after Jerry Manuel was fired and was considered a finalist, but the Mets opted for Terry Collins instead.

The Minnesota Twins were also after Hale, but he turned them down last week to pursue the opportunity with Arizona.

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Can Dillon Gee Crack 2015 Mets Rotation? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/can-dillon-gee-crack-2015-mets-rotation.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/can-dillon-gee-crack-2015-mets-rotation.html/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 12:00:31 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=166032 harvey gee wheelerAs far as 2015 goes, it seems as if there’s really only one guy with a firm lock on his rotation spot. On opening day, barring any unforeseen circumstances, Matt Harvey will take the mound as the Mets ace. Beyond that, the rotation is as big a mystery as any.

There are certain guys that we expect to be here. Unless they are traded, Jacob deGrom and Zack Wheeler will pitch behind Harvey. They are both young guns that the Mets view in high regard. If one of them is traded in the off season, Noah Syndergaard is the likely replacement, fitting the same profile as a hard throwing, young right hander.

That leaves one or two spots open and several pitchers left to fill them. Unless he’s traded, Jon Niese makes a ton of sense as the teams only lefty starter. As does Bartolo Colon if he’s still here. You can’t send a veteran who led your team in wins to the bullpen. Especially when he’s 42 years old.

The guy I keep circling back to is Dillon Gee. I can’t figure out where he fits into the Mets future. He’s been an incredibly dependable starter for the Mets since his debut in 2010. Over the span, he’s won 40 games with a career ERA of 3.89. That’s been helped by his 3.88 ERA this season.

Still he’s an unremarkable pitcher in a rotation that is about to be loaded with elite talent. Sure he could be a 5th starter but only if there’s room. Someone will have to be traded but Gee doesn’t seem like a guy many times will give up major league ready talent for. He could be packaged in a larger deal but once again, the returns would be minimal.

After getting the loss on Wednesday, Gee fell to 7-8 on the season. Despite his down year in wins, he’s still on pace to have one of his lowest ERA’s and is ever dependent as an innings eater. He averages over 6 innings pitched per start and seems to be out there as often as he’s able to be.

Gee is an interesting case and we can all expect the Mets to have a much different look in 2015. With so much young talent and only so many innings to go around, tough decisions are going to have to be made. Gee seems like the kind of guy that could easily lose his job if things don’t break his way.

Do you think Gee will crack the starting rotation in 2015?

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Terry Collins Appears Safe For Start Of 2015 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/terry-collins-appears-safe-for-start-of-2015.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/terry-collins-appears-safe-for-start-of-2015.html/#comments Sat, 13 Sep 2014 13:30:22 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=165678 terry collinsWhile he is signed only through the end of next season, it appears that Terry Collins‘ job is safe heading into the off season. According to CBS’s John Heyman, Collins has the support of ownership and is all but certain to be back with the club next season.

Since taking over the Mets in 2010, the team has won a high of 79 games. That was in 2010. Since then, the Mets have fallen short of that mark each and every season. The low came during the last two seasons when the Mets won just 74 games. Now it seems that the Mets have a chance to break through that 79 game peak.

With half a month of baseball to be played, the team stands at 72 wins. It’s conceivable that they could reach 79 or even 80 with a strong finish. That strong finish appears to be one of the reasons the club will likely bring Collins back for a sixth season. According to one unnamed member of the front office, they’d be “shocked” if Collins didn’t return.

The question I’ve always raised is, if not Collins then who. You aren’t going to fire Collins, who has worked with this young team, developing guys like Lucas Duda, Juan Lagares and Daniel Murphy, and then fire him for an unproven commodity. If a guy like Mike Scioscia (Angels) or Joe Maddon (Rays) suddenly became available then I’d feel differently. But those guys aren’t going anywhere and the free agent talent among managers isn’t exactly blowing anyone away.

It appears Collins will be back for 2015 but if the Mets stumble out of the gates, the pressure will be on the ownership and Sandy Alderson to give him the hook and bring in a fresh face.

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Mets Executive Says She Was Fired For Being Pregnant and Single, Files Federal Lawsuit http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/mets-executive-says-she-was-fired-for-being-pregnant-and-single-files-federal-lawsuit.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/mets-executive-says-she-was-fired-for-being-pregnant-and-single-files-federal-lawsuit.html/#comments Thu, 11 Sep 2014 03:26:33 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=164732 leigh castergine

Fired Mets VP of Ticket Sales Leigh Castergine, has filed a lawsuit today in Brooklyn Federal Court against the New York Mets.

Castergine claims she was fired by the team because COO Jeff Wilpon objected to her becoming pregnant and single.

Additionally, the filing states:

“He frequently humiliated Castergine in front of others by, among other things, pretending to see if she had an engagement ring on her finger and openly stating in a meeting of the Team’s all-male senior executives that he is ‘morally opposed’ to Castergine ‘having this baby without being married,’” the suit states.

“Wilpon told her that, when she gets a ring, she will make more money and get a bigger bonus,” the suit states.

Wilpon told Castergine that “something had changed” in Castergine after the birth of her child — “with still no ring on her finger,” the suit states. “Wilpon told her that she was no longer as ‘aggressive” as she used to be.”

When the first female senior vice president in the team’s 52-year history complained about Wilpon’s behavior to the team’s human resources department, she was abruptly terminated, according to the suit.

“In particular, the Team’s front office has failed to field a winning team in six years, including 2014, and has made a series of public relations blunders that too frequently led to the franchise being ridiculed in the sports pages,” the suit states.

“The team’s ownership and front office have only made things worse,” the suit states, noting that the Mets alienated their fan base by denying obvious financial difficulties while failing to sign big-name stars.

“Some fans had become so disenchanted that they pledged not to attend any games until there was a change in ownership,” the suit states. “Others compared Castergine’s job to selling ‘deck chairs on the Titanic’ or ‘tickets to a funeral.’”

MMO will be continue to be on this like white on rice.

September 1 - Mets Fire Senior VP of Ticket Sales Leigh Castergine

In a statement released to Fred Kerber of the New York Post, the Mets confirmed the recent whispers that Leigh Castergine, senior vice president of ticket sales had been fired.

“Leigh Castergine, Senior Vice President of Ticket Sales & Services, is no longer with the organization. Although no replacement has been named yet, we have a talented staff in place to handle all ticket related business while we embark on a national search for this role.”

With only the Diamondbacks and Marlins selling fewer tickets in the National League than the Mets, writes Kerber, the team made the decision to ax Leigh, who had been with them since 2010.

Every disaster demands some blood-letting and a fall guy, or in this case, a fall girl.

Leigh leaves an indelible mark on the organization as she was the force behind modernizing the Mets ticket operations by ushering in dynamic ticket pricing while it was still in its infancy – a growing trend that has since been adopted by many other major league teams.

She also had an acute awareness of her marketplace and the ticket environment as a whole, confronting the ever-growing secondary ticket market head-on by offering ticket buyers more value for their dollars in the form of Summer Concerts, Free-Shirt Fridays, Family Tickets, and other unique promotions geared toward customer satisfaction and consumer value.

Unfortunately for Leigh, and despite all her best efforts, she could not overcome the fact that more and more fans were becoming disinterested in the primary product she was trying to market – a lackluster team who hasn’t had a winning season since 2008.

Castergine, who became a mother this year after the birth of her first child on Opening Day, will bounce back and reappear somewhere. There’s always a need for talent like hers in the sports industry, and after successful stints with the Orlando Magic in the NBA and the Boston Bruins in the NHL, it won’t be long until she’s called upon by another team. 

We wish her luck.

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Mets Expand Roster, Promote Four Players http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/08/mets-expand-roster-promote-four-players.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/08/mets-expand-roster-promote-four-players.html/#comments Sun, 31 Aug 2014 22:58:00 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=164705 josh satin mmo

The Mets announced that four players will be called up when rosters expand on Monday. Infielder Josh Satin and right-handed reliever Erik Goeddel received promotions from Triple-A Las Vegas and catcher Juan Centeno and left-handed reliever Dario Alvarez received promotions from Double-A Binghamton.

Satin and Centeno have both seen time with the Mets before. Satin was hitting .289/.386/.439 with nine homers and 49 RBIs in 374 at-bats for Las Vegas, while defensive backstop was batting .238 for Binghamton.

Here’s a couple of capsules from Adam Rubin on Goeddel and Alvarez:

Goeddel, 25, was drafted in the 24th round in 2010 out of UCLA and signed for an over-slot $350,000, a rare move for the Mets at the time. He nearly exclusively started as a professional until being moved to a relief role this season, but did work in relief in college. Goeddel was 3-2 with a 5.37 ERA and had a .296 opponent batting average with Vegas. 

Alvarez, 25, began the season at low-A Savannah, rose to St. Lucie, then Binghamton and now the majors. He was a combined 10-1 with a 1.10 ERA in 29 appearances (six starts) across those three levels. He had a 0.886 WHIP. A native of the Dominican Republic, Alvarez was with the Phillies in the Dominican Summer League from 2007 through ’09. He wasn’t signed by the Mets until 2013. He pitched in Panama in 2010 and ’11 and Venezuela in 2012.

Earlier today, the Mets promoted 2012 first-round pick Gavin Cecchini to Double-A Binghamton to replace Dilson Herrera and bolster the team for the Eastern League playoffs. St. Lucie was eliminated from postseason contention on Sunday,

Cecchini, 20, hit .236 with five homers and 31 RBIs and had a .325 on-base percentage in 68 games with St. Lucie after a mid-season promotion from Savannah.

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Mets to Honor Frank Cashen with Patch and Moment of Silence http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/mets-to-honor-frank-cashen-with-patch-and-moment-of-silence.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/mets-to-honor-frank-cashen-with-patch-and-moment-of-silence.html/#comments Fri, 04 Jul 2014 15:32:26 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=159519 ny_e_cashen_patch_b1_300x300

The Mets will honor the late general manager Frank Cashen on Friday night, before the start of their game against the Texas Rangers at Citi Field.

The team announced that they will wear a patch with Cashen’s initials on it, and that it will be worn on the right sleeve for the remainder of the season, just below the patch remembering late broadcaster Ralph Kiner.

The Mets also will have a moment of silence in memory of Cashen.

June 30

gary-carter-frank cashenSadly, the New York Mets announced that former general manager Frank Cashen died today at Memorial Hospital in Easton, Maryland, after a short illness at the age of 88.

Known for his signature bow tie, Cashen was the architect of the 1986 Mets World Series championship team.

Hired in 1980, Cashen transformed a last-place team into a juggernaut that became the most dominant force in baseball.

He made the trades that brought first baseman Keith Hernandez and future Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter to the Mets, and was responsible for drafting Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry.

“Frank was our leader,” Strawberry said in a statement. “I always admired the way he put together our team. He mixed young guys, like me and Doc, with guys like Carter and Hernandez. He was able to find the perfect blend to build a championship.”

Cashen also hired his former second baseman in Baltimore, Davey Johnson, to be the Mets’ manager.

“He was a man of integrity and honestly, and that was most important. He told you the truth,” Keith Hernandez said. “It was a day when the general managers didn’t pal around with the players. We hardly ever saw him, but there was a relationship there. He was just a wonderful man.”

“On behalf of all of us at the Mets, we extend our deepest condolences to Jean Cashen and her entire family,” Mets principal owner Fred Wilpon said in a statement. “Frank Cashen revitalized our franchise when he took over in 1980 as general manager and helped engineer us to a world championship in 1986.

“I dealt with Frank on a daily basis, and he was a man of integrity and great passion. No one had a more diverse career than Frank. He was also a lawyer, sports writer and marketing executive. His accomplishments will always be an integral part of our team history.”

Before working with the Mets, Cashen had been a front office executive with the Orioles during their World Series title years in 1966 and 1970 and later served as their GM.

In recent years, Cashen spent his time in Easton and in Port St. Lucie, Florida, where the Mets hold spring training. He was in camp with the Mets this year.

He is survived by wife Jean, seven children and nine grandchildren.

R.I.P. Mr. Cashen.

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MMO Game Thread: Yankees vs Mets, 7:10 PM http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/05/mmo-game-thread-yankees-vs-mets-710-pm-2.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/05/mmo-game-thread-yankees-vs-mets-710-pm-2.html/#comments Thu, 15 May 2014 21:43:33 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=155765 jake degrom

For the second night in a row, the Mets will have a starting pitcher making his major-league debut, when Jacob deGrom faces the Yankees in the Subway Series finale tonight at 7:10 PM. DeGrom was 4-0 with a 2.58 ERA for Triple-A Las Vegas.

The Yankees will be countering with 24-year-old Chase Whitley who will be making his MLB debut as well.

Tonight will mark the seventh time in Mets franchise history that pitchers (starters or relievers) have made their Major League debuts in back-to-back games. Most notably, it was done by Tom Seaver on April 13, 1967, and Jerry Koosman in relief on April 14.

Derek Jeter will play his final regular season Subway Series game tonight. Jeter has played in 87 career regular games vs. the Mets and five more World Series games. He has hit .368 with 13 home runs and 44 RBI vs. the Mets in the regular season. The Mets will commemorate him at 5:05 p.m. in the Press Conference Room. 

Curtis Granderson has five RBI in this series and 12 RBI in his last 11 starts. Granderson is hitting .319 (15-47) with a .396 on-base percentage and 12 RBI this month.

Sandy Alderson announced that Travis D’Arnaud will be placed on the 7-day disabled list and that Juan Centeno has been activated.

Starting Lineup

  1. Eric Young, Jr. – LF
  2. Daniel Murphy – 2B
  3. David Wright – 3B
  4. Curtis Granderson - RF
  5. Chris Young – CF
  6. Lucas Duda – 1B
  7. Ruben Tejada – SS
  8. Juan Centeno - C
  9. Jacob deGrom – RHP

We’ll be back with the starting lineup shortly…

Game Preview

The Mets look to take the Subways Series tonight as they finish of the four game set with the last game of the Queens leg. Yesterday Tanaka was on point and it was one of those days you need to tip your cap to the opposing pitcher. The Mets made some mistakes but Tanaka rained on Montero’s debut parade. Today is one of those rare days were both starting pitching are making their major league debut.

For the Mets, Jacob deGrom makes the start for an ailing Gee on the DL. deGrom was 4-0 over 7 starts this year with a 2.58 ERA over 38.1 innings with 29 strikeouts. His career numbers are 21-11 over 58 starts and a 3.62 ERA. Jacob was born in 1988 and drafted in the ninth round of the 2010 draft.

Chase Whitley was selected in the 15th round of the same draft. He is 3-2 on the season with a 2.39 ERA over 7 games and 6 starts over 26.1 innings with 32 strikeouts. In the minors he is 22-16 over 151 games, 14 starts with a 2.64 ERA.

Lets Go Mets!

MMO

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Worried About David Wright? Relax… http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/05/worried-about-david-wright-relax.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/05/worried-about-david-wright-relax.html/#comments Sat, 03 May 2014 16:05:58 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=154825 david wright

Let’s all calm down about David Wright. Yes, he’s off to a slow start this season, batting just ,261 with one home run and 15 RBI with a .310 OBP through May 2nd. But let’s not start jumping off of bridges.

As long as the captain stays healthy, by the time the season is over, he’ll be hitting close to .300, have around 20-25 home runs, and will have driven in 90+ runs.

Prior to 2013, when he was consistently solid for every month of the season, Wright has typically had month-long slumps throughout his career.

In August of 2012, David hit just .271 with 1 HR and 7 RBI. He finished the season batting .306 with 21 HR and 93 RBI.

In May of 2010, he hit just .248 with 4 HR and 18 RBI. He finished the season batting .283 with 29 HR and 103 RBI. In August of the same season, he hit .225 with 4 HR and 9 RBI.

In July of 2009, he hit .269 with 2 HR and 9 RBI. He finished the season batting .307/.390/.447 with 72 RBI.

In March/April of 2007, he hit only .225 with 0 HR and 6 RBI. He finished the year .325 with 30 HR and 107 RBI.

In August 2006, he hit .245 with 2 HR and 21 RBI. He ended the year batting .311 with 26 HR and 116 RBI.

In other words… he’s going to have an off month here and there. He’s had cold months before and been fine come the end of the season. Relax. He’ll be fine.

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Chris Young, Low and Away http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/chris-young-low-and-away.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/chris-young-low-and-away.html/#comments Wed, 26 Mar 2014 15:15:50 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=151673 chris young

It is a tough predicament when you have a true weakness. Nowadays, with data available on every facet of the game, there is no way to hide it. Chris Young must know this. When a blogger, like me, sitting on my couch at home can find out how to pitch to Young’s weakness, then surely opposing pitchers will do the same.

So what is this obvious weakness in Chris Young’s game?

When you look at Chris Young’s zone profile, it is clear that throughout his career opposing pitchers have liked to pitch him low and away. The chart below highlights this point. Taken from the catcher’s perspective, we can see that since Young entered the big leagues, he has seen more pitches low and away than almost all inside pitches or those high outside the strike zone combined.

Chris  Young Pitches Seen

Why would pitchers throw so many pitches in one quadrant of the zone matrix presented above? There must be a reason. And of course there is. On pitches low and away, Chris Young has a futile .062 career slugging percentage.

Chris  Young Zone SLG

So, on nearly 25% of all pitches Chris Young has seen in his career, he is slugging below .180, depending on exactly where the low and away pitch falls. It made me wonder. Are these numbers skewed by particularly bad seasons? Perhaps the volatility in Young’s year-to-year numbers can be explained by his success at chasing pitches low and outside. However, that does not appear to be the case.

Chris Young’s best season was arguably in 2010. He hit 27 home runs and slugged to a league and park adjusted OPS+ of 108 (best of his career). In that season, pitchers still frequented pitches low and outside, accounting for 13% of all pitches Young saw. And he still struggled to hit them, with only two hits on such pitches.

Now, before we take all of this information and become too concerned with Young’s hitting weakness, let’s consider where pitchers are focusing their pitches. There are pitches that are low and away, but inside the strike zone. In other words, pitches that paint the outside corners. In Young’s case, the pitches that he most frequently sees are well outside the strike zone. He doesn’t need to hit these pitches to be successful. He needs to be more selective in letting them hit the catcher’s mitt and called balls.

Since 2008, Chris Young has seen the 11th most pitches low and away among right-handed batters. What is hurtful to his game is that he has the 8th highest percentage of those pitches turned into strikes. Put simply, pitchers are throwing so that Young will chase pitches outside of the strike zone, and based on the percentage of those pitches that go for strikes, he is happily obliging.

We know that in his two best seasons – 2010 and 2011 – Young still chased pitches low and outside of the strike zone. However, that doesn’t mean that he can ignore this weakness and hope to find continued successful. It will be something to watch as he gets regular at-bats with the Mets in 2014.

All statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference, Brooks Baseball, and Baseball Savant.

(Photo: Brad Barr, USATSI)

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A Big Season From Granderson Will Be Crucial To Any Mets Success http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/big-season-from-granderson-will-be-crucial-to-any-mets-success.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/big-season-from-granderson-will-be-crucial-to-any-mets-success.html/#comments Wed, 26 Mar 2014 14:33:03 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=150452 granderson brad barr

In this latest MMO Roundtable, I asked our writers to tell me which new Mets player would be most critical to the team’s success in 2014.

Gerry – The new Met that will prove most critical to the team’s 2014 success will likely be Granderson. Marlon Byrd‘s emergence as an offensive force behind David Wright gave the lineup whatever semblance it had of providing a consistent threat last year, and Grandy is due for a bounce back after his injury plagued 2013. I just hope they can get some people on base ahead of him.

Xtreem – Granderson. The Mets have the pitching. Colon doesn’t really need to be an ace so long he’s at least solid. It would be nice, but I digress. Granderson needs to regain his form and form a real dangerous 1-2 punch with Wright. They need to score runs.

Stephanie - Granderson has the weight of the world on his shoulders. Being that this is the first year in his deal, it is crucial that he does not come out of the gate slow. David Wright finally has worthy protection in the lineup and he cannot afford for Granderson to slack, especially if he has a season like last year. Grandy has the potential to have a career year in terms of doubles and triples; his home run count will presumably go down as these go up. Not just on the offensive side, but his position in the outfield is important for obvious reasons: the outfield is the Mets’ weak point, especially the corner spots. With Byrd gone and all other corner outfield options essentially being bench players, Grandy has huge shoes to fill.

Peter A. – In my opinion, Chris Young. If he can return to his 2010 form or something remotely close, it would be a huge boost to this offense and give them a formidable 3-4-5 combo in Wright, Granderson, and Young. It’s not out of the question as he’s just 30 years old. He worked with Rod Carew over the winter in order to become a more complete/consistent hitter and claims to thrive under the spotlight. Maybe he just needs a change of scenery. Maybe not. We’ll just have to see. One thing is for sure though, he has looked mighty good this spring.

Roger – I think the most critical new addition is Curtis Granderson. We still have a bad taste in our collective mouths from the Jason Bay signing and we need a big signing to actually perform like a big signing. Grandy offers protection to David Wright and a big threat that can hit one out, even in Citi Field. Yes, he will strike out a ton, but even when he’s hitting .240 and striking out, he’s not going to walk back to the dugout with that hound dog look on his face that tells the opposition that they’re in his head. He also has a winning pedigree that can hopefully rub off on the rest of the squad.

Andrew D. – Curtis Granderson. The range of possible outcomes is extra wide for him. He could hit 40 homers, or he could hit 15. He could hit .260, or he could hit .210. He could continue playing nimble defense, or he could turn into an aging, slow liability. He could return to his traditionally healthy and dependable ways and prove those two HBP last year were a fluke, or he could get hurt again. And unlike our other big acquisition – Bartolo Colon – we have no other options to replace him if he gets hurt or sucks. The last power hitting outfield acquisition the Mets tried to acquire through free agency didn’t go so well, so hopefully Granderson can buck the trend and carry an otherwise uninspiring Mets lineup this year.

Dylan – Curtis Granderson will be most vital for not only Met success this season, but in the coming seasons. He will be the Carlos Delgado to Wright’s Carlos Beltran. He will provide what the Mets have longed for in a pure cleanup hitter. With 30+ homers from Granderson this season, who knows where the Mets will wind up.

David – Curtis Granderson – he is coming from an organization that puts everything into winning and has proven that, so with what he experienced in the Bronx, that sort of leadership will be key and will tremendously help Wright not only in the clubhouse but also on the field. If, and I am very optimistic that he will, but if he puts up good numbers and gives Wright the protection he needs in the line up, Wright can will finally have a year that he can focus on not doing it all by himself.

Dexx - I actually think Chris Young is the most crucial to the Mets success in 2014.  If he repeats his 2010 or 2011 season, then we have the steal of the free agent class, and a well above average OF with the glove that can hit in the middle of the lineup, and steal 20+ bases.  If he is the Chris Young of 2013, and most of 2012, then we have a 4th OF that we wasted $8 million on.

Corey – Curtis Granderson. Grandy brings a legitimate presence to the Mets lineup and clubhouse that will be extremely valuable over 160 games this season. Equally important to his production will be the impact that he provides batting after David Wright. Granderson is the first legitimate threat behind Wright since Carlos Delgado and should help Wright get back into the MVP discussion.

This was pretty much what I expected as all one needs do is to simply follow the money. The Mets are banking a lot of money on Granderson and they’ll need to see him hit the ground running.

Kevin Kernan of the NY Post recently wrote that in a spring training where much has gone wrong for the Mets, Granderson has done everything right and that he has been one of the biggest positives of the spring.

“With the Yankees, Granderson was another cog in the machine. With the Mets, he’s out front, leading the way. None of this is an act — Granderson truly believes. David Wright is not alone anymore as a positive force.”

This is one of the things the Mets needed from Granderson in addition to his potent bat. I’ve been impressed with his demeanor and the way he handles himself not only on the field, but also with the media which is just as important when you play in New York.

I’m looking forward to a big season from Curtis Granderson – and in fact 2-3 of them.

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Do $100 Million Dollar Players Guarantee Success? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/02/do-100-million-dollar-players-guarantee-success.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/02/do-100-million-dollar-players-guarantee-success.html/#comments Tue, 11 Feb 2014 17:57:33 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=147665 As Mets fans who have had to deal with the angst of the past few years, it wasn’t enough that the clubs play during the season was sub .500 for five straight years, we also have had to deal with the last three offseasons of no money to go out and buy the big ticket free agent that might have helped us get closer to the promised land. In fact, the only $100M+ plus investment we made was in Captain David Wright. There has been a smattering of opinion that suggests we could have done better by trading him for prospects and starting over, but what cannot be denied is that he is easily one of the best third baggers in baseball (apologies to Miguel Cabrera). And lets not forget that the organization was put into shock with previous large contracts that blew up in the teams face. Throw in a good old fashion Ponzi scheme, and then you can start to hear shoes squeak over at Willets Point.

So, with all that as a backdrop, the question I wanted to pose and try to answer in this article is this; Could we have done any better spending big on free agents?

Theo Epstein, Carl Crawford

And by big, I am referring only to those contracts where the total value was over $100 million-plus and added during the Sandy Alderson era. Clearly, one player does not make a team, but when you sink that much dough, not to mention years, into some of the players that have received these deals over the past three years, teams like the Mets cannot afford to have duds, they need All-Star caliber players. As an aside, I follow the European soccer scene very closely and have watched as teams in small English towns spent heavily to try and compete with the powerhouses in London and Manchester, only to find themselves bankrupt, with no trophies to show for their efforts, and fans in despair (sound familiar?).

Since Sandy Alderson and Co. joined the Metropolitans in October 2010, there have been 14 players who have signed deals with a total value of over $100M in his first three years (I have not included anyone who signed this offseason as there is no data to evaluate their performance yet). These players have signed deals that total over $2.1 billion over an average length of seven years. The annual average value of these contracts is approximately $21 million. Now it bears noting that of these 14 deals, five have to be excluded as those deals were actually extensions (Troy Tulowitzki, Joe Mauer, Matt Kemp, Matt Cain, and Cole Hamels). They are included in the statistical analysis.

In order to determine the relative worth of these ballplayers and if they could have helped the Mets to a title, I used WAR values provided by Baseball Reference. One can debate the relative merits of WAR as a statistic but it is really the only way to look at position players and pitchers together and determine worth. Again, I am only focusing on those nine players who signed their deals since Sandy Alderson and his band took over the Mets front office.

Per Baseball Reference, an All-Star is defined as one with a WAR of 5.0 or better. A Major League class starter is one with a WAR of 2.0 or higher. Now, it can be expected that once a team drops over $100M on a player they should expect All-Star caliber play for the majority of that contact. Sadly, the figures do not bear this out. Of the three seasons analyzed (30 total “seasons” for the 14 players who signed mega-deals), only 20% of all those seasons produced a WAR of 5.0 or higher. Of these six seasons, two were in 2011 (Tulowitzki, Lee), one was in 2012 (Pujols), and three were in 2013 (Tulowitzki, Joe Mauer and Lee again!). Of these players, only Cliff Lee has helped his team to at least one playoff appearance.

It gets worse. From the 30 seasons produced by the 14 players signed to mega deals, a whopping 40% of those seasons produced a WAR of 2.0 or less. That means that players signed to play for over $20 million a season could not even produce a WAR capable of an average major league starter, never mind an All-Star. With a failure rate as high as this, teams with little or no flexibility in their budget simply cannot afford to be part of such a crapshoot. I’m surprised that the Angels aren’t taking more heat for their bad spending over the past two years, as Pujols and Hamilton have contributed very little to delivering a .500 season for their team, let alone a championship, for Los Angeles.

Previously I had discussed the high WAR value of players such as Cliff Lee and Troy Tulowitzki. I also found that Joe Mauer had also produced over a fairly high level since signing his mega extension. Lee, specifically, is a phenomenon, over the three years since he signed his 5 year, $120 million contract in the 2010 offseason, the man has produced over 20 WAR! That accounts for one fifth of the total WAR of all the mega free agents signed since 2010. It’s an incredible statistic. Add in the total WAR for just these three players, they accounted for 52% of the total WAR of all players signed to $100M+ deals.

While this may not be a complete apples to apples comparison, it is a fairly compelling piece of information when you consider that even when their average WAR per year is compiled, these three still rank at the top of the list of 14. Only Adrian Gonzalez comes close with 7.5 WAR over two years.

Okay, maybe WAR shouldn’t be the measurement we use to measure success against a mega contract, maybe its just too sabermetric for you, and doesn’t beat what is really important to Mets and baseball fans everywhere, and that is winning the World Series. And to some extent I heartily agree, a player signed to a huge $100M contract should help his team into the playoffs and World Series. Surely, on this scale, we should see success, right?

Unfortunately, even by this measurement, these players do not provide proof that big spending buys championships. Over the past three years only one player has signed a $100M deal and won a World Series. Bad news again, is that this player signed an extension with his current team and wasn’t even allowed to hit the free agent market (Matt Cain of the 2012 Giants had a 3.9 WAR in the Giants run to the title in 2012, but slipped to an injury plagued 0.5 WAR in 2013). There is only one free agent who signed a mega deal that has at least made a World Series appearance (Prince Fielder with the Tigers in 2012). Seven of the 14 players have at least had the privilege of playing in the playoffs (thanks to three different Dodgers who made it in the last post-season: Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Zack Greinke. Matt Kemp was not counted as he was injured and did not play).

What conclusions can be drawn by this? Well, it seems that signing a player to such a humongous contract over an equally long period of time is a very, very, very risky proposition, as more of these contracts fail then succeed. Mets fans have been close to the bone on this with the Johan Santana and Jason Bay contracts (though the latter was only for $64M). A mixture of free agents on shorter term deals with home grown talent would seem to be the way to success, just ask the Cardinals, Rays, and Pirates. So, whether or not we believe that the plan as stated by our GM is working, he is working to a script that at least has had proven success with other teams.

mmo

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This Day In Mets Infamy: My Brush With Ralph Kiner http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/02/this-day-in-mets-infamy-my-brush-with-ralph-kiner.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/02/this-day-in-mets-infamy-my-brush-with-ralph-kiner.html/#comments Fri, 07 Feb 2014 15:35:51 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=147390 201402061436525825329

Yesterday another piece of my childhood faded away.

While I was at work I received a email from the Mets announcing the passing of Hall Of Fame ballplayer and original Mets announcer, Ralph Kiner. At first it didn’t sink in. I don’t know if this was because I was so caught up with my work – or I was just aloof. But upon driving in my car on my way home from the office I started to cry – and cry hard. I am not really the emotional type. I didn’t cry when my grandfather passed away six years ago , and I certainly didn’t cry when I got the news that my father had passed almost two years ago. But for some reason whether it was with Tug McGraw, Bob Murphy or Gary Carter before him I cried.

My best guess is because the aforementioned men were like my babysitters. I was barely old enough to remember McGraw as a Met – but for some reason I gravitated to his infectious source of positivity. With Murph and the Kid along with Ralph that was the era that I was truly aware of baseball – when I truly understood the game.

I had the honor being in Ralph’s presence twice in my lifetime. The first was around 1983 at a charity stickball event. I met the likes of Tom Seaver and Jake LaMotta that day – but Ralph was the nicest and warmest of the celebrities at that event. He even signed my autograph book without having to beg.

Fast forward to August of 2010. My wife and I are in attendance for the Mets Hall Of Fame induction ceremonies for Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, Frank Cashen and Davey Johnson. Towards the end of the game my wife and I caught up with my sister, brother in law and two nephews in the Caesars Club. We all decided to leave just before the end of the game and we took the club elevator to leave the building. And then it happened…

The elevator stopped at one of the private floors and who happened to get on but Ralph Kiner and a woman who I guess was his wife being wheeled into the elevator car by their attendants’. My nephews who must’ve been about 5 at the time were acting precocious as most 5 year olds do, and Ralph just looked at them and smiled. I didn’t utter a word to Ralph in that elevator because I respected his privacy and he looked extremely tired. But Ralph looked at me and nodded. I smiled back and wanted to thank him but I was just basking in the aura of this man.

Technically Ralph wasn’t a Met – but in many respects he truly was. No he never played one game as a Met, but he will always be tethered to the tapestry of this team. He will always be an original Met.

Even in his latter years with his speech impaired by Bell’s Palsy and often sounding tired, he could still inspire me with stories from his days of old with the Pirates – or even regale you with tales of Choo Choo Coleman, Casey Stengel or Dwight Gooden.

My innocence was lost many years ago – but I always felt that as long as I heard Ralph’s voice I still could hold onto a childhood that left me many years ago. I will miss you Ralph – and as I shed a tear, I also raise a glass of whiskey in your honor.

And with that said…. HERE COMES THE INFAMY !!!

Mets alumni celebrating a birthday today include:

  • Reserve outfielder from ’74-’76, Benny Ayala is 63 (1951).
  • One of the better starting pitchers from the “oh so bad early ’80′s teams“, Charlie Puleo is 59 (1955). Puleo was the main cog in the trade with the Cincinnati Reds that brought Tom Seaver  back to Flushing.
  • The man responsible for one of the most amazing catches in the history of the baseball postseason,  Endy Chavez is 36 (1978).

Other notable transactions include:

  • The  New York Mets traded spot starter/middle reliever,  Hank Webb and minor league pitching prospect, Rich Sanders to the Los Angeles Dodgers for minor league shortstop, Rick Auerbach on February 7, 1977.
  • One time Cy Young Mets pitcher, Mickey Lolich announced his retirement on February 7, 1977. Lolich would come out of retirement a year later to pitch for the San Diego Padres.
  • The New York Mets released utility infielder, Ross Jones on February 7, 1986.
  • The New York Mets claimed reserve infielder, David Lamb on waivers from the Tampa Bay Rays on February 7, 2000.
  • The Seattle Mariners  signed backup catcher,  Kelly Shoppach of the New York Mets as a free agent on February 7, 2013.

Mo Vaughn was so fat he couldn’t bend over!!!”  Ralph Kiner, August 10th 2010

kiner waves

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