Mets Merized Online » 2013 http://metsmerizedonline.com Sat, 19 Apr 2014 02:16:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 It’s Time to End the Ruben Tejada Era at Shortstop http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/its-time-to-end-the-ruben-tejada-era-at-shortstop.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/its-time-to-end-the-ruben-tejada-era-at-shortstop.html/#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 17:43:42 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=153478 New York Mets Spring Training at their Minor League practice facility located within Tradition Field in Florida

Since the beginning of the 2013 MLB season there have been exactly seven shortstops to amass at least 250 plate appearances and had their services be worth a negative WAR value.  Of those seven shortstops, two are currently on the Mets active roster.  The Magnificent 7 are as follows:

  1. Adeiny Hechavarria: 640 PA,  -1.4 WAR
  2. Eduardo Nunez: 340 PA,  -1.4 WAR
  3. Ruben Tejada: 272 PA,  -0.8 WAR
  4. Ronny Cedeno: 288 PA,  -0.7 WAR
  5. Brendan Ryan: 349 PA,   -0.6 WAR
  6. Daniel Descalso: 376 PA,  -0.4 WAR
  7. Omar Quintanilla: 371 PA,  -0.2 WAR

The worst number on this list is the -1.4 put up by Hechavarria with the Marlins, but he is scorching hot to start the 2014 season, and 2013 was his first full season in the major leagues. 

You could also make a case that if Tejada would have amassed 640 plate appearances at his current rate of awfulness, he would have been worth -1.6 WAR over the same time period, with 3 more years of experience than the young Marlins SS.

Eduardo Nunez only played SS for the Yankees because Jeter was out for most of the 2013 season recovering from ankle surgery.  He has recently been released.

Brendan Ryan has been released a couple of times, but has never been known for his bat.  He is a dynamite defensive SS, and is currently a backup.

Ronny Cedeno has been released multiple times and hasn’t been seen as a starter for several years, although he has been much better than Tejada.

Daniel Descalso split time with Pete Kozma, who was pretty bad in his own right, as both were replaced by Jhonny Peralta this offseason by the Cardinals.

That leaves Omar Quintanilla, who is currently our own backup, as the only other negative contributor with at least 250 plate appearances in 2013-2014.  Embarrassingly, he has been far better than Tejada at the plate, and only slightly worse defensively.  I am at a total loss for words that the position was not upgraded this offseason.  WOW.

I thought there was absolutely no way that Tejada would be as bad this season as he was in 2013, but Tejada has taken futility to a whole new level, and somehow has proven to be worse than he was last year.

Amazingly, through 14 games, Tejada has compiled a -0.4 fWAR, easily the worst in baseball at the position in the early part of the season.  He’s not getting better folks.  He’s getting worse.

We all have the same feeling when his spot in the lineup is approaching.  Its an automatic out.  I actually have more faith in Niese, Wheeler or even the 41 year old punch line in the batters box Bartolo Colon, to contribute something offensively than I do Tejada.

Travis d’Arnaud won’t see a pitch he can do anything with as long as the auto-out Tejada is hitting behind him in the lineup.

Tejada is still very young, but the fact is that he isn’t very talented.  There just aren’t any tools that suggest he’ll ever be a decent player.  He will never be a threat on the basepaths.  He will never hit for power or extra bases.  He will never be an elite defensive glove, or have a rocket arm, or great range, or be able to make the amazing defensive play.  He is what he is. He’s really bad.  He’s the worst starting position player in the game by a landslide right now.  What makes matters worse is that he doesn’t seem to want to put in the extra effort to better himself. So why is he still clogging up the roster and lineup card at this point?

We are 7-7 with what looks like a team that may be able to hang around in the Wild Card race with all the promising young talent on the horizon.  How long can we keep our heads above water with the black hole that is consuming the shortstop position for our beloved New York Mets?

Sandy, please get a shortstop that is a major league baseball player on this roster, and lets compete.

Our fanbase needs a team we can be proud of.

Its time to cut the BS and play some baseball.  The monitoring period for who can and who cannot play has expired.  Its time for a new era at the SS position.

mmo

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Will Mets Have Revived Interest In Nick Franklin? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/will-mets-have-revived-interest-in-nick-franklin.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/will-mets-have-revived-interest-in-nick-franklin.html/#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 16:20:24 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=152919 franklin

The trade buzz on Nick Franklin is picking up again as both the Yankees and Tigers continue to get meager production from their shortstop position. And while there’s nothing to suggest that the Mets have any revived interest in the Mariners prospect, that could change if Ruben Tejada doesn’t start picking it up at the plate.

Franklin, who just turned 23, is currently tearing up the Pacific Coast League, slashing at an incredible .410/.489/.785 clip in 45 plate appearances. The former Seattle first rounder has hit three home runs with 11 RBIs and seven runs scored, while drawing eight walks. He has a 1.207 OPS on the season for Tacoma, and in a much larger sample size posted a .912 OPS last season for the same Tacoma team. Offensively, scouts say he’s the real deal.

With a .392 OBP in AA (335 PA) and a .370 OBP in AAA (518 PA), the switch-hitting Franklin could fill the Mets void at the top of their batting order. Franklin has good speed and has swiped 64 bases in parts of five minor league seasons.

Franklin started the season in the minors despite making his major league debut last season, as a result of the Mariners signing Robinson Cano to play second base, and Franklin losing a spring training shortstop battle with Brad Miller. Both infielders had solid springs but, but Miller had the edge defensively.

The Mariners have shown plenty of interest in trading Franklin, but won’t give him away. According to ESPN, the Mets, Tigers, Orioles and Yankees have all expressed varying degrees of interest in the past.

The Mets were reportedly scouting Franklin during spring training and the Mariners had several scouts following the Mets this spring as well however no negotiations developed. The Mariners are believed to want a young MLB ready starter in return for their prized asset.

“The Mets have been scouting Franklin to see whether he’d make a viable defensive shortstop, but one rival executive rated Franklin as ‘average to a tick below,’ suggesting he’s comparable to Jhonny Peralta,” CBS Sports reported last month.

With James Paxton going on the DL last week, the Mariners rotation is very questionable behind their ace Felix Hernandez. The Mets could probably snare Franklin with an offer of Rafael Montero or they could try and dangle a Dillon Gee or Jon Niese who are more established and could net the Mets an additional piece from the M’s instead, while opening up a rotation spot for Montero to make his MLB debut.

Franklin could always slide over to second base next season especially if they can’t work out an extension with Daniel Murphy who may even become trade bait at the deadline if the Mets find themselves too far back of a wild card spot. Murphy is already earning $5.7 million and enters his third year of arbitration after this season where he could see his salary spike to $8 million or more.

I’ve seen some analysts compare Franklin’s ceiling to Chase Utley. And if he can be as good as Peralta defensively for one year at shortstop, concerns about his glove are wildly overrated in my opinion.

Anyway, talk it out amongst yourselves Mets fans….

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First Base Follies To Continue http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/153008.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/153008.html/#comments Fri, 11 Apr 2014 13:05:51 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=153008 ike davis 2 mmo

Despite Ike Davis starting on Thursday night against the Braves and starter David HaleTerry Collins insists that Lucas Duda is still the starting first baseman and will continue to get the bulk of the playing time.

“We made a decision and you don’t have much credibility if you keep changing your mind every other day because somebody goes 2-for-4,” Collins said before the game.

“We’re not going to do that. I told Ike the other day he’s going to play (last night); matter of fact, he came in to make sure he was in the lineup (Thursday night). I said, ‘Hey, I told you you’re going to play, you’re going to play.’”

Duda has struggled since being named the starter, but did single as a pinch hitter last night to raise his average to .217 after entering the game with a .182 average and .705 OPS in 24 plate appearances this season.

On the flip side, Davis went 0-for-3 with a walk on Thursday, although he had some very good at-bats and looks better at the plate of late.

I think Collins is just doing what he can with a situation that was plopped into his lap by the front office. After Sandy Alderson targeted first base as his top priority, said he had seen enough to make an appropriate evaluation and to expect a radical change, and then failing to resolve anything, what we have is this… Whatever this is.

Last season, Mets first baseman produced a league worst .234/.353/.368 batting line, and so far this season they’ve produced even worse delivering a .188/.297/.406 slash.

Yesterday, Maggie Wiggin of MetsBlog offered her analysis of the situation and wrote:

Mets first basemen have a .730 OPS, which ranks 16 out of the 30 MLB teams. They are also in the middle of the pack in home runs, runs scored and RBI. Duda alone would rank similarly, with his .773 OPS coming in at No. 13 among starting first baseman in baseball.

However, I believe she’s including pinch-hitting production which does skew the numbers considerably, and if you were to look at wOBA or wRC+, which I feel are better measures especially if we’re doing small samples, you’ll be able to better see that first base production is still league worst much as it was last season.

Compounding the issue further is the fact that we still have Josh Satin languishing on the bench. He’s actually the one first baseman the Mets have that would be All-World against lefthanded pitching. But the platoon we all thought was coming never materialized and he’s been an odd fit. In fact, on Wednesday, with a righthander on the mound, Collins chose to pinch-hit the righty Satin rather than Davis who was also on the bench. Satin struck out. That’s not exactly a case of Collins setting up Satin to succeed – or the Mets for that matter.

There really seems to be no rhyme or reason to what the Mets are doing here. They’re just flying by the seats of their pants.

On a side note – Jose Abreu – remember him? Well through his first ten major league games, the 27-year-old Cuban has an AL-best 14 RBIs and seven extra base hits among his 12 hits overall, the most recent of which were his two home runs last night, giving him four for the season. He is batting .300/.383/.725 and has played every game at first base and not DH where so-called experts pigeon-holed him in the days leading up to his signing. Abreu has already become a folk hero when earlier this week he ripped a foul ball that literally had the cover torn off in mid flight. Life imitating art.

So as the Mets get set for a weekend series at Anaheim, the scene of that notorious 3:00 AM axing six years ago, prepare yourselves to get treated to more of the Lucas Duda and Ike Davis show with the exception of tonight because wouldn’t you know it, Josh Satin is expected to get the start.

Lets Go Mets!

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MMO Morning Grind: Juan!!! http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/mmo-morning-grind-juan.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/mmo-morning-grind-juan.html/#comments Fri, 11 Apr 2014 11:05:35 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=153010 USATSI  juan lagares

Good morning, Mets fans!

Great win last night. Juan Lagares is on my mind after getting the game-winning hit to help us beat the Braves, so let’s talk about him, and see if I can get through this entire article without making Juan single pun. Wait, never mind.

During the offseason and throughout spring training, the entire Mets community was abuzz with a raging debate in the outfield: Eric Young or Juan Lagares?

Juan Lagares has shown us from the start that he is one of the best defensive players in all of baseball. He has a cannon, good speed, a knack for reading the ball, and the ability to make incredibly acrobatic catches look easy (see my artistic rendering below of his amazing play from Wednesday night’s game).

New York Mets v Atlanta Braves

However, Lagares wasn’t too good with the bat in his rookie campaign. For that reason, a lot of people in the organization were leaning towards giving Eric Young the 3rd spot in the outfield.

To me, the debate, “Young vs. Lagares, Bat vs. Glove”, was always based on a false premise. Why? Because in 2013, Eric Young wasn’t a very good hitter either. The second-baseman-turned-outfielder hit .251 after being traded to the Mets in June. As for speed? Yes, Eric is very fast, but Lagares is no slouch on the bases himself.

I’ve always thought Lagares was the better player. Fortunately, Juan was given the starting job in center field and hasn’t looked back. Lagares a clutch home run on Opening Day, and in our first 9 games, the 25 year-old Dominican outfielder is hitting .303 and has knocked in 6 runs. The glove has been great, but that was to be expected. It is the bat of Juan Lagares that has been the most pleasant surprise of the season’s opening stretch.

However, Eric Young definitely has a few things to bring to the table as well. Due to the injury to Chris Young, the Mets have been able to use both Eric and Juan for the first couple weeks of the season. If Chris returns soon, and stays healthy, the Mets will be faced with a choice. Curtis Granderson will not be heading to the bench, and Juan Lagares has been too good so far for Terry Collins to remove him from the lineup. Chris Young will probably be given a chance to take the job from Eric, and if he can hit like he did in the spring, the job should be his.

The Mets have a young, gold-glove caliber player in the outfield who has shown that he might be able to do some damage with his bat. After months of debate, Juan Lagares looks like the J— the one who belongs in center.

Enjoy your day, Mets fans. Get ready to stay up late to watch us play the Angels on the West Coast tonight. I hear they have a pretty good center fielder, too…

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Ruben Tejada Leads The Mets With A .400 OBP http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/ruben-tejada-leads-the-mets-with-a-400-obp.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/ruben-tejada-leads-the-mets-with-a-400-obp.html/#comments Wed, 09 Apr 2014 16:22:40 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=152922 ruben tejada

Don’t look now, but among Mets players with 20 or more at-bats on the young season, shortstop Ruben Tejada is second on the team in batting with a .286 average and he pairs that with an impressive team-leading .400 on-base percentage.

The young Panamanian native has taken a lot of flack over the last six months, but to his credit he’s been quietly going about his job and trying to put an abysmal 2013 season behind him.

Before last night’s 4-0 victory over the Braves, manager Terry Collins spoke about his starting shortstop’s performance thus far.

“I think Ruben certainly had some work ahead of him in spring training,” Collins said. “He’s started out this season probably the way you’d like him to. Confidence is up, his at-bats have been good, he’s played good defense. I think as we get into it and towards the warmer months, I think he’ll get better if we can keep him healthy. He’s going to play a lot. We gotta figure out some days off for him coming up here beyond this road trip, but he’s played very well so far.”

Tejada went 2-for-3 in Tuesday’s contest, driving in two runs and scoring another pair, but what has been tough to ignore is his growing confidence at the plate. He’s having some solid at-bats and squaring up the bat evenly against the ball.

Another thing worth noting is his patience at the plate which was on full display in his first at-bat against Braves starter Aaron Harang when he drew a five-pitch walk.

All in all it’s been a good start for Tejada who has hit in six of the team’s first seven games.

Defensively, Tejada committed his first error of the season in last night’s game, but he’s shown some significant improvement from the shaky defense he had exhibited this Spring and much of last season.

I’ve gotta tip my cap to him…

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Mets Alter Meal Schedule In Attempt To Improve Home Record http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/mets-alter-meal-schedule-in-attempt-to-improve-home-record.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/mets-alter-meal-schedule-in-attempt-to-improve-home-record.html/#comments Tue, 08 Apr 2014 12:59:07 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=152826 sad mets bench

In an attempt to get the team winning at home, the Mets brass have decided to make adjustments to their food service in an attempt to break their losing ways at Citi Field. Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal explains: 

For the Mets, leaving New York means escaping their personal haunted house—a black hole in Queens that inexplicably saps the team of its talent. More than any other franchise, the Mets can’t figure out how to conquer their own ballpark.

Since 2011, the Mets have gone 105-144 at Citi Field (including 2-4 so far this season), compared with 122-121 everywhere else. The bizarre discrepancy makes them the only major-league team with a winning record on the road and a losing record at home over that span.

Diamond says from 2011 through 2013, the team’s on-base-plus-slugging percentage (OPS) on the road is .719, eighth-best in baseball. At home, that number plummets to .679, ranking 27th.

To try to stop that trend, the Mets plan to make home games this season feel more like away games, tweaking the pregame schedule to mimic road conditions.

In the past, the team would provide a light meal and snacks when the players arrived to work, consisting of salad and sandwiches. Then a larger meal, more akin to dinner, was served after batting practice, which ends about two hours before a 7:10 p.m. game.

After consulting the team nutritionist, they reversed the menu this year, with the heavier food coming out before batting practice. Teams eat this way on the road because they hit second, leaving them with little time between batting practice and the game. The Mets also changed the times of certain meetings to better resemble the road routine.

Seriously, this sounds bizarre to me. I just can’t imagine any other team blaming a lousy home record on the food service times, but I guess desperate times call for desperate measures.

Silly me… I thought the problem was that we needed better players… What do I know…

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MMO Game Thread: Reds vs Mets, 7:10 PM http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/mmo-game-thread-reds-vs-mets-710-pm.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/mmo-game-thread-reds-vs-mets-710-pm.html/#comments Fri, 04 Apr 2014 21:56:14 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=152550 Brad Barr USA TODAY Sports jenrry mejia

The Mets open up a three game weekend series with the Cincinnati Reds tonight at 7:10 PM at Citi Field. RHP Jenrry Mejia opposes RHP Mike Leake for the Reds.

Recent history has favored the Reds over the Mets, especially when it comes to pitching. Cincinnati’s pitchers have produced a 2.36 ERA (33 earned runs over 126 innings pitched) against the Mets in 14 games over the last two seasons.

At Citi Field, the Reds are 12-5 all time, which included a three-game sweep in 2013 and a 7-1 record over the past two seasons. They are 4-0-1 in the last five series in Flushing.

Starting Lineup

  1. Eric Young, Jr. – LF
  2. Daniel Murphy – 2B
  3. David Wright – 3B
  4. Curtis Granderson – RF
  5. Lucas Duda – 1B
  6. Juan Lagares – CF
  7. Travis d’Arnaud – C
  8. Ruben Tejada – SS
  9. Jenrry Mejia – RHP

Lucas Duda begins his test tonight as the Mets everyday first baseman. Terry Collins said Duda will get a full shot to show what he can do.

Prior to tonight’s game Eric Young, Jr. will be presented the Lou Brock Award for leading the National League in stolen bases last year. Young is 0-for-9 batting leadoff with five strikeouts.

 

Game Preview

The Mets are still looking for their first win of the season after being swept by the Nationals at home to start off the Year. The Nationals were able to exploit the Mets weakness for strikeouts and a weak bullpen to get the three W’s and the Mets’ opening schedule doesn’t get much easier with the Reds, but a new series means new perspective and the first start of the year for Jenrry Mejia as he faces off against Mike Leake.

Jenrry Mejia made 5 starts last year and went 1-2 with a 2.30 ERA over 27.1 innings. He had a strong spring as well with a 2.70 ERA over 13.1 innings. Last year he struck out 27 batters in 27.1 innings and in the spring he struck out 13 batters in 13.1 innings. In his career, he has faced the Reds twice, both in relief where he allowed 4 ER over 7 innings of work. As you can see below, the Reds do no have a lot of experience against Mejia:

  • Ludwick 1-2
  • Bernadina 0-1
  • Phillips 1-1
  • Votto 1-1

Mike Leake makes his 2014 debut vs the Mets as he looks to build off of a 2013 season that saw him drop his ERA from 4.58 to 3.37 over 31 starts and 192.1 innings with a record of 14-7 . He made two starts against the Mets last year where he pitched 8.2 innings while allowing 4 earned runs over 11 hits while striking out 6. The Mets have the following numbers against Leake:

  • David Wright 3-15
  • Daniel Murphy 3-15, 2B, HR
  • Davis 1-11, 2B
  • Duda 4-6, 2B
  • Tejada 2-6
  • Granderson 1-3

Lets Go Mets! Get that Win already!

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Mets Set MLB Record With 31 Strikeouts In First Two Games http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/mets-set-mlb-record-with-31-strikeouts-in-first-two-games.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/mets-set-mlb-record-with-31-strikeouts-in-first-two-games.html/#comments Thu, 03 Apr 2014 10:00:36 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=152476 MLB Opening Day at Citi Field

After leading the league in strikeouts in 2013, the Mets are off to an ominous start in 2014, setting a modern MLB record with 31 strikeouts through their first two games of the season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Still reeling from striking out 18 times on Opening Day against Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals, the Mets futility continued as they fanned 13 more times on Wednesday with Gio Gonzalez on the hill.

“Certainly we have to do a better job of putting the ball in play with two strikes,” manager Terry Collins said afterward. 

Five of those 31 strikeouts are from new right fielder Curtis Granderson who is off to an 0-for-9 start at the plate. Collins cited the switch in leagues as the reason why.

“No surprise really. Curtis is playing in a new league and it’s going to take some time for him to learn the pitchers. Two games in, it’s not anything to throw up the white flag over.”

Granderson however shouldered the blame and rejected his manager’s excuse.”Changing leagues is nothing new. This is something that has been done, and I can do it.”

The Mets have just five walks to go with the 31 Ks.

During the broadcast last night, SNY’s Keith Hernandez expressed some frustration and said that Mets hitters needed to get away from the sabermetrics and start putting the ball in play, whatever that means.

Hernandez then said the Mets were striking out at an alarming rate because they were taking too many pitches and focusing heavily on the count.

I’m not so sure that’s what’s happening, but I do believe they need to be a little more aggressive than they’ve showed thus far.

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MMO Game Thread: Nationals vs Mets, 7:10 PM, (SNY) http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/mmo-game-thread-nationals-vs-mets-710-pm-sny.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/mmo-game-thread-nationals-vs-mets-710-pm-sny.html/#comments Wed, 02 Apr 2014 22:31:46 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=152310 bartolo colon

Nationals vs Mets

Wednesday 4/2, 7:10 PM ET at Citi Field 

Starting Lineup

  1. Juan Lagares – CF
  2. Wilmer Flores – 2B
  3. David Wright – 3B
  4. Curtis Granderson – RF
  5. Chris Young – LF
  6. Josh Satin – 1B
  7. Travis d’Arnaud – C
  8. Ruben Tejada – SS
  9. Bartolo Colon – RHP

Mets Notes

The team announced that outfielder Chris Young will be in tonight’s starting lineup and make his Mets debut tonight. Young missed Monday’s game against the Nationals due to a strained right quad muscle.

Kyle Farnsworth and Wilmer Flores were added to the 25 man roster. To make room for them, the Mets placed Bobby Parnell on the 15-day Disabled List and Daniel Murphy on the Paternity Leave List. Reliever Ryan Reid was outrighted to make room for Farnsworth on the 40 man roster.

Jon Niese threw 4.2 innings in a simulated game in Port St. Lucie tonight, allowing four runs (two earned) while walking one and striking out four. He threw 49 of 76 pitches for strikes. This is the second minor league start since Niese received a cortisone shot in his pitching elbow to alleviate inflammation. He is on target to be activated on Sunday, April 6 for his start against the Cincinnati Reds at Citi Field.

RHP Cory Mazzoni, who strained his right triceps in the Grapefruit League finale, remained in Port St. Lucie when Triple-A Las Vegas players broke camp. The injury is considered “nothing significant” and Mazzoni is unlikely to miss much time, a Mets official suggested. Still, Mazzoni is due for a follow-up appointment with team doctors in New York. (Rubin)

Nationals vs Mets Preview

The Mets look to bounce back from their Opening Day loss against the Nationals tonight as Bartolo Colon makes his Mets debut. Gee pitched well on Monday, but that pattern was not transmitted to the bullpen which fumbled on multiple occasions, even after a go-ahead homer by Juan Lagares. Anyway, the Mets ended up losing 9-7, a score that was assisted by a two run homer by Captain Wright in the bottom of the tenth. On a positive note, the Mets hit three homers, including Andrew Brown who a lot of us, including myself, made fun of for being in the lineup that day.

Bartolo Colon looks to build off of his impressive 2013 campaign for the Athletics where he went 18-6 over 30 games and 190.1 innings of work with a 2.65 ERA. He has made two career starts against the Nationals allowing 3 ER over 17.0 innings of work, which is a 1.59 ERA while posting a 1-1 record. The Nationals have the following numbers against Colon:

  • Span 0-3
  • LaRoche 0-2
  • McLouth 2-3

And that’s it. No extra base hits against Colon and a lot of mystery against the Big Man.

On the Nationals side of the diamond, Gio Gonzalez gets the nod as he looks to build off of a 2013 that saw him go 11-8 over 32 games and 195.2 innings of work with a 3.36 ERA. He made three starts against the Mets last year pitching 20.0 innings allowing 5 ER and only 9 hits while striking out 20 batters (a 2.25 ERA). The Mets have the following numbers against Gio:

  • Granderson 2-16, HR, 5 K
  • Wright 4-13, 2B, 3B, HR
  • Davis 4-12, 2B, HR, 4 K
  • Murphy 2-10
  • Tejada 2-6
  • Duda 1-6
  • Eric Young 0-8
  • Lagares 0-6
  • Andrew Brown 0-5

Lets Go Mets! Get that first W!

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Alderson’s Bullpens Have Been Awful http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/aldersons-bullpens-have-been-awful.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/aldersons-bullpens-have-been-awful.html/#comments Wed, 02 Apr 2014 17:35:29 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=152428 sandy alderson by Jeff Roberson AP

Not once during Sandy Alderson’s tenure as general manager with the Mets has he pieced together anything close to an adequate bullpen, writes Marc Carig of Newsday. And as the Mets begin their fourth season under Alderson, it’s unclear whether that will change any time soon.

“The bullpen has not been good over the last several years,” Alderson said before a bullpen implosion ruined Opening Day. “It needs to get better.”

Carig states that Alderson’s track record for accumulating useful bullpen pieces has been nothing short of abysmal.

It hadn’t always been that way. In 2010, the final season before Alderson’s arrival as GM, Mets relievers ranked a respectable 5th in the National League with a 3.59 ERA.

I actually posted the Mets NL Bullpen Rankings over the last five years in an earlier post this morning:

  • 2009 – 3.89 ERA Ranked 8th
  • 2010 – 3/59 ERA Ranked 5th
  • 2011 – 4.33 ERA Ranked 15th
  • 2012 – 4.65 ERA Ranked 15th
  • 2013 – 3.98 ERA Ranked 12th

Alderson results have been staggering Carig points out, noting that from 2011-13, just three Mets relievers logged at least 30 innings and posted an ERA below 3.00.

Overall, Alderson awarded roughly $29 million in guaranteed contracts to lure free agents to the Mets from 2011 to 2013. Relief pitching accounted for roughly $19 million — two-thirds of his spending.

Sandy said, “We’re in the process of introducing more of our young players into that bullpen.” 

I would point out that many of the better relief prospects close to MLB ready were dispatched to minor league camp two weeks into Spring Training.

His bullpens have sucked royally, all of us know that. But if you’re going to develop young relievers then do so already and fast. Stop saying you’re building a bullpen through the minors, and start doing it instead.

In the last 48 hours we’ve spotlighted several candidates and solutions. Let’s get this done already because I’m tired of watching our bullpen blow lead after lead after lead. I’m getting sick of it. Four years and counting…

Presented By Diehards

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Early Look Into The Second Half Rotation http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/early-look-into-the-second-half-rotation.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/early-look-into-the-second-half-rotation.html/#comments Wed, 02 Apr 2014 13:44:20 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=152185 USATSI_ bartiolo colon by brad barr

This is undoubtedly one of my favorite times of the year. I get to retire my big coat and not look at its depressing hues of gray that I have been wearing daily for the past three months. I have the luxury of enjoying one or two weeks of fresh air before my nose is greeted by the arrival of allergy season, but most of all, I find a new way to give myself (false) hope in the upcoming baseball campaign.

I visit this site daily in hopes of hearing about or discussing something new that is related to blue and orange. And with the common topics having been kicked around more than a pair of flip-flops that are falling apart, I can’t help but think about the second half of the season already. In particular, the starting rotation in August and September.

With seven starters available in the early part of the season, the Mets should not have many rotation decisions to make until June. If one of the top five is injured, they get replaced by #6 and #7, which appear to be Daisuke Matsuzaka and John Lannan, respectively. And in a worst case scenario where injuries leave you with Jenrry Mejia, Dice-K and Lannan as your 3-5 starters, the trio should be able to carry you into June when it would financially make sense to bring up Rafael Montero and/or Noah Syndergaard.

But why be pessimistic to start the season? I want to think of an exciting scenario, ideally after the All-Star break, when we have pitchers at each level, from Savannah to Las Vegas banging on the doors for a promotion.

In this scenario, the Mets have the original seven starters as well as newbies Montero, Syndergaard, and deGrom ready to pitch at Citi Field. For reality’s sake, let’s say of the ten total starters, two are injured and one is performing so poorly, he is no longer considered for a rotation spot. That still leaves SEVEN pitchers to fill in five slots. So let’s go ahead move deGrom to the pen, as relieving is likely his ultimate destination anyway, and we are now down to six pitchers for five slots…or do we have another option?

syndergaard montero

Could the Mets just go with six starters for the remainder of the season? On a team where the top of the rotation is usually significantly better than the bottom half of the rotation, it would not make sense to reduce the number of starts that your #1 and #2 make – but it doesn’t look like that would apply to the Mets in our situation.

A six man rotation could be beneficial by

  • Giving the team the ability to evaluate another starter for next year.
  • Limiting innings gives more recovery time between starts for injury prone pitchers.
  • Limiting innings for younger pitchers helps build their arm strength or keep them from reaching their innings cap.
  • Another bonus is that pitchers who have an extra day of rest increase their effectiveness.

Let’s not kid ourselves. Half of our personnel is not built for the grind of a full season and the other half has never even been through a full big league campaign. Here are the two groups and their injury history plus workload ability.

The disabled list veterans:

  • Colon – He’s been throwing baseballs since before the Stegosaurus became extinct from our ecosystem.
  • Niese – Anyone who successfully acts surprised if he lands on the DL is more Oscar-worthy than Leonardo.
  • Matsuzaka – Two years removed from Tommy John but looked very good this spring.
  • Mejia – Jenrry knows the MRI guy on a first name basis. His career high in IP was in 2012 when he registered 108.2 innings.

The youngsters:

  • Wheeler – Career high in IP is 168 between Triple-A Vegas and the Mets last year.
  • Montero – Career high of 155.1 innings in 2013.
  • Syndergaard – Career high of 117.2 innings in 2013.

The biggest argument against a six man rotation would be the usage of an extra roster spot at the expense of a bench or bullpen player. But would the benefits of a sixth starter outweigh the loss of a utility glove and bat? If the Mets have seven/eight starters in July and none of them get traded then this is an interesting proposition to consider, additionally it’s definitely not a bad problem to have.

mmo

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Opening Series Preview: Washington Nationals http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/opening-series-preview-washington-nationals-at-mets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/opening-series-preview-washington-nationals-at-mets.html/#comments Mon, 31 Mar 2014 13:00:20 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=152108 bryce harper

The long winter is over. It is Opening Day 2014!

The Mets will begin their schedule playing host to the division rival Washington Nationals. A team that finished 2013 on a strong note, but still comes into the new season having something to prove to make up for an overall disappointing campaign. For the Mets, 2014 has been marked by Sandy Alderson believers as the year the team is supposed to get competitive. An injury to Matt Harvey hampered those expectations a bit, but for the first time since Bernie Madoff began to make headlines, the Mets enter the season with an improved roster, at least from a free agent acquisition standpoint. It is the Opening Series, so a time for all fans to be optimistic. The Mets will play three games against the Nationals before Cincinnati comes to town over the weekend.

The Nationals

The Washington Nationals will not soon forget October 12, 2012. It was Game 5 of the NLDS and somehow a 6-0 lead turned into a 9-7 defeat. The Nationals had a remarkable season in 2012 ruined by a heartbreaking defeat. 2013 was supposed to be their year of redemption, or at least continued realization of a young roster stocked with talent. Instead, the team struggled to find any groove, hovering around .500 most of the season, before finishing September with an 18-9 record. Ex-Met manager Davey Johnson didn’t get a chance to complete his dream of another World Series title. 2014 brings a new manager and fresh opportunity for the Nationals to take their talented roster back to where they left off on that October night in 2012.

2014 Lineup

The Nationals return with the same lineup they used most of 2013.

  1. Denard Span CF
  2. Ian Desmond SS
  3. Jayson Werth RF
  4. Ryan Zimmerman 3B
  5. Bryce Harper LF
  6. Adam LaRoche 1B
  7. Wilson Ramos C
  8. Anthony Rendon 2B

New Faces

  • Matt Williams will take the managerial reigns from Davey Johnson. It will be his first year as a major league manager.
  • The Nationals lost starting pitcher Dan Haren, who signed with the Dodgers in the offseason, but replace him with the under-appreciated Doug Fister. In his last two seasons with Detroit, Fister pitched over 370 innings, striking out 7.19 per 9 innings, walking only 1.97 per nine, while allowing only 0.70 HR/9.
  • For added depth on the bench, the Nationals signed OF Nate McLouth and traded for back-up catcher Jose Lobaton.

Key Injuries

  • Newly acquired Doug Fister will start the season on the disabled list with a sprained lat.

Pitching Probables

Monday (1:10):  RHP Dillon Gee (0-0) vs. RHP Stephen Strasburg (0-0)
Wednesday (7:10):  RHP Bartolo Colon (0-0) vs. LHP Gio Gonzalez (0-0)
Thursday (1:10): RHP Zack Wheeler (0-0) vs. RHP Jordan Zimmermann (0-0)

mmo

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AL East Preview: The Price Is Right http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/al-east-preview-the-price-is-right.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/al-east-preview-the-price-is-right.html/#comments Sat, 29 Mar 2014 19:30:41 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=152046 The AL East to me, is the most interesting division heading into 2014. Last year, the World Series champions (Boston) had what some might call, the luckiest season health wise in recent memory. In reality, if you picked any of the five teams to win this division – you wouldn’t be going out on a huge limb.

5th Place: Baltimore Orioles

Part of the problem with the Orioles prediction for me is, I have great faith in Buck Showalter. However, I have not been on the Orioles bandwagon for the last two years. I have always thought this team cannot compete in the AL without the addition of a true #1 starter.

They took a step back last year, but still managed to win 85 games.

I do not consider the addition of Ubaldo Jimenez to be the #1 starter they need. Can Johan Santana be that guy? I’d love to see it, but I just do not have faith in Santana coming back near the start of summer and being a #1. johan-santana

Last year, I predicted that Chris Davis would break out and (self pat on the back) I’d say I hit that one right on the head. Now? I can’t see Davis duplicating his 2013 campaign. If you look at his 2nd half, you have a red flag heading into 2014.

You’ll often see players drop in the 2nd half, but his power decline was drastic.

Manny Machado will start the year on the DL, but everybody who saw him play last year is hoping he gets healthy – quickly.

Overall, it’s still a good team, but I just don’t think they have the arms to hang in there.

4th Place: Toronto Blue Jays

Everybody jumped on the Blue Jay bandwagon after Jose Reyes joined them, but it seems those feelings have stalled.

Now, Reyes (as some predicted) is dealing with lower body injuries heading into the 2014 season. Reyes’ health will be instrumental in the progress of the 2014 season for Toronto.

jose reyesIn many ways, this team actually leads the league in “if.” If Jose Bautista and Jose Reyes are healthy for 140+ games, Toronto will be better than many are probably giving them credit for. I just don’t think they will stay healthy.

R.A. Dickey, Brandon Morrow and Mark Buehrle are three starters that a team like Baltimore would love to have. That is the biggest difference to me between the two teams. I think if both teams are healthy on offense, Toronto can be more explosive and their pitching to me is way better.

Still, they have so many questions on health and it all starts with Jose Reyes as we head into April. If Toronto can get healthy quickly, they will go past 4th place, but I don’t see it happening.

3rd Place: New York Yankees

One thing you can never do is underestimate the Yankees. But, I just don’t see it in 2014.

To me, they have one of the worst fielding infields in the sport right now. If Mark Teixeira can play every position – they’ll be okay. But, since he can’t, they will have problems.

It’s a nice thought to say you’re replacing Robinson Cano with Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran and Jacoby Ellsbury. But in reality, you’re replacing a durable producer with three guys with consistent health problems approaching (if not already in) the twilight of their careers.

I think part of why they got Beltran was because they believe his playoff numbers will carry them further than they have gone in the last few years – the problem is, I don’t think they will get to find out.

I don’t think you can really downplay the loss of Mariano Rivera. There’s a difference between having any other closer (let alone a guy who is new to the role), and having Rivera. Rivera gives you confidence that if you get a lead, you’ll keep it. David Robertson won’t give them that feeling. He’s good, but he isn’t Mariano.

Much of the pitching success will be based on C.C. Sabathia & Michael Pineda. I know many are looking at Masahiro Tanaka, but to me – he can be a solid starter and it won’t matter.

Sabathia needs to prove he is back, and I’m not sure that he will.

As for Pineda, this is the year where the team needs him to be the guy they thought they acquired. If he can be that guy, then the Yankees might be in better shape than I think.

To me, it’s an 83-86 win team, not a bad team – just a team begging for luck when it comes to health, and I can’t put my chips on that.

2nd Place: Boston Red Sox

Last year, the Red Sox got the most out of every player on their roster it seemed.

I knew I would not pick Boston to win the division the minute they signed A.J. Pierzynski. This is a team that thrived because of the locker room. Now they go and sign a catcher who honestly, I can’t see fitting in at all. Sizemore2

The loss of Jacoby Ellsbury could be a problem for the Red Sox, but who isn’t excited or curious about the idea that Grady Sizemore is on the Opening Day roster instead of Jackie Bradley Jr.?

Bradley likely will get his shot but it won’t be right away, and frankly, I am pretty pumped to see if Sizemore can find it again.

For me, I don’t think this rotation will be as healthy as they were in 2013. Sure, last year Clay Buchholz dealt with injuries, but guys like John Lackey who seemed lost prior to 2013 found their way back. I’m not sure I believe it will happen again.

Overall, the team is certainly a playoff contender, but I am not sure I believe they can catch lightning in a bottle twice.

1st Place: Tampa Bay Rays

This is a team that is hard to not root for, unless of course you live in the Tampa area (seriously buy some tickets!).

The Rays have the best manager in the entire sport, but they also have two of the best players in the sport in Evan Longoria and Wil Myers.

That’s right, 2014 will be the year Myers puts himself on the map as one of the best hitters in the AL.

The team is a model for depth. Unlike many of their division mates, they don’t have success based on the word “if.” They have even proven that they can succeed without Longoria, because they have so much talent coming through the pipeline.

David-PriceThe rotation is lead of course by David Price, who is possibly pitching to up his trade value, or secure Tampa’s first pitching long term deal.

Alex Cobb and Matt Moore are no slouches either. In fact, I’d take those three guys over any of the 1-3 in the AL East. Moore of course is recovering from a “near Aroldis” injury, but he’ll be fine.

Grant Balfour returns to Tampa Bay, but this time he has a resume as a closer in the regular season that cannot be denied.

Overall, with Joe Maddon at the helm and guys like Longoria, Myers, Ben Zobrist, and Desmond Jennings playing behind Price, Cobb and Moore – this will be a tough team to beat and I have them taking the division by about 5 games.

AL East MVP: Evan Longoria – He’s the best overall player in the division, and I think he is in the AL MVP conversation if not for guys like Trout and Miggy.

AL East CY: David Price – Similar to Longoria, except he doesn’t have competition standing in his way at taking the AL award. He’s just as good as anybody.

AL East Sleeper: Grady Sizemore – Why not? It’s a shot at being different, but he was one of my favorite players to watch and I am just hoping he can find his way in 2014. 

XtreemIcon’s Picks

See: Jessep. It sounds lazy, but it’s not intentional. The Red Sox got very lucky last season. They added four free agents to their every day lineup and all four not only played well, they had career years. That won’t happen again. Despite Will Middlebrooks poised for a breakout year, the team is not nearly as good as a defending champion should be.

If I were to make one unpopular pick, it would be that I can easily see Reyes, Edwin Encarnacion and Bautista being healthier than Ellsbury, Beltran and Derek Jeter. I’d be less than surprised to see the Yanks finish fourth. All winning the off season does these days is basically ensure the team loses the real season. It’s not like it was in 2009 when a 29-year-old Teixeira and a 28-year-old Sabathia were available. And when people discuss the loss of Rivera, no one seems to mention how they also downgraded in the 8th inning simply by having Robertson slide into that closer role. The Yankees are better on paper than the Jays, so I’ll go with them to finish third, but the health risks are very concerning.

I feel like every team in the division got worse except the Rays. I don’t think it’ll be quite as large a runaway as the NL West, but the Rays should have this division wrapped up early and handily. There’s no real competition for them.

AL East MVP: Evan Longoria – He’s been my pick for several years running because he’s that good. He just needs to stay healthy.

AL East CY: David Price – He’s my pick for the league Cy Young.

AL East Sleeper: We’ll go with Middlebrooks. Tons of talent. This is finally the year for him.

 

mmo

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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.

Presented By Diehards

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Only The Marlins Are A Worse Draw On Road Than Mets http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/only-the-marlins-are-a-worse-draw-on-road-than-mets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/only-the-marlins-are-a-worse-draw-on-road-than-mets.html/#comments Wed, 26 Mar 2014 13:57:28 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=151684 mets tickets

Here is a different way to look at the secondary ticket market. (Hat tip to Joanne) Sreekar Jasthi of Nerd Wallet took a different approach and analyzed how visiting teams impacted ticket prices overall.

Using current ticket pricing data from TiqIQ, here is a chart showing the results of their team by team comparison.

MLB-teams-road-ticket-prices-032414

Not surprisingly, the New York Yankees are still the biggest draw in the game, but what was surprising was where the New York Mets ranked.

Only the Miami Marlins were a worse draw on the road than the Mets who drove down ticket prices a little over 20% on average.

What that means is that a pair of tickets with a total face value of $60 can be had for about $45 at secondary ticket outlets like Stub Hub and TiqIQ.

Another chart also showed that there’s a big swing between average Mets ticket prices at home and on the road. Currently, the average ticket price at Citi Field is $88.59 while that figure drops to $68.77 on the road.

Presented By Diehards

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Mets Re-Sign Farnsworth To Minor League Deal http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/mets-re-sign-farnsworth-to-minor-league-deal.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/mets-re-sign-farnsworth-to-minor-league-deal.html/#comments Tue, 25 Mar 2014 14:49:19 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=150295 Kyle_Farnsworth

(Photo by Dave Conde, Metsmerized Online)

March 26

As expected, the Mets have re-signed Kyle Farnsworth to minor-league deal. He actually traveled to Viera yesterday when the Mets played the Nationals.

March 24

Kyle Farnsworth, who was released by the Mets on Sunday, is officially due to be re-signed Tuesday, according to a report by Adam Rubin. He is expected to open the season in the minors.

The move saved the Mets a $100,000 retention bonus, which they were unwilling to pay.

Farnsworth needs to wait 48 hours to re-sign. That will satisfy to the Players’ Association that Farnsworth unsuccessfully looked for other opportunities and is not just allowing the Mets to circumvent that collective-bargaining-agreement mandated $100,000 bonus. 

Farnsworth has struggled all spring (5.63 ERA) and his fastball velocity was down to 87-89 mph. He was not expected to make the Mets opening day roster.

The Mets’ bullpen is pretty much set now barring injuries, and will include Bobby ParnellVic Black, Jose ValverdeCarlos TorresJeurys FamiliaScott Rice and John Lannan.

March 19

Updating my 2014 Mets Bullpen Projection with a quote from Terry Collins that suggests Jose Valverde is moving closer to ensuring a spot in the Opening Day bullpen.

“I don’t know where, but he’s certainly making a very, very strong case for a guy who’s going to pitch in the back side of that bullpen, no doubt,” Terry Collins told beat writers on Monday.  ”He just takes it even keel every day, and if we’re as young as we think we’re going to be we’re going to need that.”

March 15

As we venture closer and closer to a new Mets season, some elements of the Opening Day roster are already beginning to take shape. Based on what I’ve read and discerned, I believe the following seven relievers will comprise the Mets bullpen to open the 2014 season.

The Magnificent Seven?

Bobby Parnell - In the “no-doubt-about-it” category, you have Bobby Parnell, the team’s undisputed closer. He continues to make good progress and in Wednesday’s loss to the Cardinals, his fastball was in the 88-89 mph range which Parnell says is relatively normal for this time of year. Team officials have become less and less concerned about his readiness and by all accounts he’s good to go.

Vic Black – The hard-throwing righthander we pillaged from the Pirates last season is also a lock for the bullpen. Black has been plagued by inconsistency and bouts of wildness, but his walk rates continue to improve and hopefully his confidence will as well. He’s going to log a lot of late inning relief to start the season as the Mets look to see what they have in him.

Carlos Torres – One of the nicest surprises from the 2013 season, Torres has shown the capacity to be a solid long reliever for the Mets. While his spot in the bullpen was not assured as pitchers and catchers reported to camp, Terry Collins put any doubts to rest and said the righthander will indeed be in the Mets bullpen to start the season. Torres tossed two more scoreless innings on Wednesday, raising his total to six in Grapefruit League play.

Scott Rice – If you’re a lefty and can do a batter than decent job against lefthanded batters, you’re a lock for the Mets bullpen. Rice had a surprising rookie season at the age of 31 and posted a 3.71 ERA in 73 appearances last season. He held lefthanded batters to a .171 average and .468 OPS in 2013. Well done, kid… Err, sir…

Jeurys Familia – The long-forgotten righthanded fireballer has impressed scouts, coaches and pretty much everyone who has seen him throw off a mound in the last three months. After an impressive stint during Winter Ball, Familia continues to throw high-octane heat at Port St. Lucie. 2014 will be his breakthrough season and by September he’ll be the Mets’ official setup man and closer of the future. You heard it here first. You heard it here in October. Just remember you heard it here.

John LannanIf we assume that a second lefty is as essential as Terry Collins seems to be letting on, Lannan is your sixth man in the bullpen. He has virtually no competition at all – now that every other lefthanded reliever was dispatched to minor league camp on Tuesday. I’ve already wrote extensively about what a bad idea Lannan is. What I find extremely questionable is that the sole purpose you carry a lefty specialist is to get lefthanded batters out. Take a look at these splits:

2012

Lannan vs RHB – .267 AVG, .359 OBP

Lannan vs LHB – .281 AVG, .378 OBP

2013 

Lannan vs RHB – .288 AVG, .358 OBP

Lannan vs LHB – .323 AVG, .371 OBP

Do the math. Looking at those opposing on-base percentages presents a gloomy outlook when Lannan comes in to face some of the most feared lefthanded sluggers in the league. Get out your rally towels.

Jose Valverde – This one-time solid closer is my choice for the final bullpen spot, and what will likely represent another bad decision by the organization. Valverde, now 36, is currently sporting the worst numbers of any Mets pitcher battling for a bullpen spot. But Terry Collins says he doesn’t care about his numbers “because he’s done it.”

Here’s what he’s done actually. Last year, the Tigers decided to bring Valverde back on a minor league deal after the veteran reliever couldn’t land a major league job elsewhere. He made the team out of Spring Training, but after just 20 relief appearances and going 0-1 with a 5.59 ERA, he was designated for assignment in June. The right-hander spent the remainder of the season at Triple-A Toledo. 

Perhaps Valverde can rediscover his velocity and the life on his pitches that once made him a very effective closer, but at 36 it’s more likely that Jim Leyland is right and that his best days are long behind him. But what the heck does Leyland know… Plus we need Valverde to head up the Dominican Mafia as I read on another blog.

Who didn’t make the cut?

Jenrry Mejia is the big loser here, getting pushed out of the rotation by Dice-K and then squeezed out of the bullpen by the likes of Jose Valverde and John Lannan. But apparently the Mets believe the veterans have a better arsenal and give the Mets a better chance of competing this season. I disagree. There isn’t a scout in Florida who wouldn’t vouch for Mejia over Lannan and Valverde. 

Kyle Farnsworth is also out of the picture, and deservedly so. He has struggled all spring and his fastball velocity is now down to 87 mph continuing it’s steep decline. In recent years his velocity has dropped from 96.0 mph in 2009, 94.9 in 2010, 94.7 in 2011, 93.2 in 2012 and 92.6 last year.

Jeff Walters (26) and Jacob deGrom (25) were also in the competition, but this morning each were optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas. We’ll see both of them at some point this season, I’m sure. Scouts also love both of these arms and we actually felt good about both their chances. But the Mets will tough it out with grizzled veterans signed off the scrapheap while their own high-upside internal options head back to the minors.

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Mets Announce Dillon Gee Will Start Opening Day http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/mets-announce-dillon-gee-will-start-opening-day.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/mets-announce-dillon-gee-will-start-opening-day.html/#comments Mon, 24 Mar 2014 20:42:55 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=151331 USATSI dillon gee

March 24

Mets have officially announced that Dillon Gee will be their Opening Day starter vs. the Washington Nationals on March 31.

Terry Collins made the announcement after Monday’s 5-3 win over the Cardinals.

Congrats to Dillon who finished strong last season.

March 21

Dillon Gee, who has been slated as the Mets Opening Day starter, pitched his second to last game of the Spring today against the Twins and was  satisfied with his performance, “I am happy with what I did today. I located well and threw my off speed pitches for strikes,” says Gee.

“That was outstanding. Even the umpire said every pitch he threw was going one way or the other. It’s a great sign. He felt great. He’s looked great,” says Terry Collins.

Gee threw five innings, giving up a run, on five hits, struck out four and has one more game before he finishes out the Spring.

When the official word comes down that will make Gee the Mets 23rd Opening Day starter, he will be ready and elated to get the start, “It will be a huge honor, says the right hander.

Watching Gee throw today, it is very evident that he is ready and should be given the opening day nod.  He located his fastball and off-speed pitches well and is poised and ready to get the start.  He says that the official word has not been given to him yet and that even his family has been anxiously asking, “I am still waiting on the final word, everyone is congratulating me, and my family is hearing about it and I tell them I haven’t been told yet.”

Having a healthy and dominate Gee will really help the rest of the rotation, and will give the Mets another quality arm that they can count on. The key is that he is ready and he feels he is, “I am ready to start the season. I feel really good,” says a confident Gee.

Let the games begin, the season can not start any quicker. LGM!

(Photo Credit: USATSI)

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2014 Mets Outfield Projections http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/2014-mets-outfield-projections.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/2014-mets-outfield-projections.html/#comments Sat, 22 Mar 2014 13:08:49 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=150039 Curtis Granderson - Jeff Roberson-Associated Press

Curtis Granderson, 2.9 fWAR

The jewel of the Mets 2013-2014 offseason was one Mr. Curtis Granderson. This one is difficult to project as Granderson changed his whole game after being acquired by the Yankees. The short porch in right field turned him into an all or nothing pull hitter, not unlike the approach of Ike Davis. I think Curtis will need to refine his swing a bit and use his speed which will undoubtedly lead to less home runs, but better overall production. If Granderson can supplement his season with some additional doubles, triples and stolen bases, along with a higher batting average and on-base, he should produce some really good numbers at a corner outfield spot with plus-defense. He is on the downside of his career as he will be 33 for the 2014 season.

600 PA – 26 HR – 92 RBI – 81 R – 14 SB

.243 AVG – .331 OBP – 113 OPS+ – .351 wOBA –  117 wRC+

USATSI juan lagares brad barr

Juan Lagares, 3.4 fWAR

There is no questioning Lagares’ ability to play center field with anyone in the league defensively. He was pure death to all fly balls hit anywhere near him in 2013. He started off very slow at the plate, before achieving levels of success offensively in the summer months, and then faded down the stretch. If he hits, look out folks. We have an All-Star CF for years to come, if he doesn’t, he’s a borderline starter or 4th OF. His defense is so good, and his tools are so recognizable, that I don’t see how he can’t have the 1st crack at the CF job. He’s a former SS that took a year or so to adjust at every level. I don’t think this level will be any different in that regard.

475 PA – 9 HR – 52 RBI – 57 R – 11 SB

.259 AVG – .308 OBP – 93 OPS+ – .304 wOBA – 92-wRC+

chris young

Chris Young, 2.3 fWAR

There is reason for optimism when projecting the upcoming season for Chris Young. A couple of variables have changed since last season with Oakland, which was by far and away the worst season of his career. He switched leagues, which means learning a lot of new pitcher’s tendencies and arsenal, and he also switched positions. Young should be more comfortable this season playing the corners and we know he can play an above average CF. He was also injured for a portion of the 2013 campaign. If he is healthy this season, you have to think he will be more at ease playing the majority of his games in the NL.

Worst case scenario, a healthy CY plays plus-defense at all 3 spots in the outfield, and crushes LHP, just like he always has. Best case scenario is that he realizes he needs to have a monster season to cash in on free agency, and returns to the All-Star CF he was in Arizona. However, another below average season will crush his value.

He’s a career .230 hitter, but he just missed a 30/30 season in in 2010 with 27 HRs and 28 SBs. He followed that up in 2011 with 20 HRs and 22 SBs. I don’t expect him to have a career year, but I think it will be much better than last season.

505 PA – 16 HR – 53 RBI – 57 R – 17 SB

.232 AVG – 99 OPS+ – .317 wOBA – 96 wRC+

eric young jr

Eric Young Jr., 1.9 fWAR

When Sandy Alderson acquired Eric Young Jr. from the Rockies on June 19th of last season, the speed and excitement that was injected into the lineup had an immediate positive impact. EY had 33 hits in his first 107 ABs (.308 Avg). The only thing that could cool him off was the All-Star break. We know this about EY. He’s fast. He led the NL is SBs last year with 46. He plays a good LF, and he’s adequate in CF & 2B defensively.

However, it seemed like EY tired as the season wore on – his first full season as a starter. He had almost half of his 1,273 career plate appearances (598) in 2013. Its going to be interesting to see how the outfield rotation works out, and exactly how much playing time Young will get this season. He certainly won’t play quite as much as he did last season, not with the additions of Granderson and Chris Young. But he will probably play more than he did with Rockies in a utility role.

I’m not sure exactly what to make of EY’s Home/Road Splits since joining the Mets.

2013 Home(Citi Field as a Met) - .201/.265/.260

2013 Away(as a Met) - .293/.361/.385

Hopefully he can get those numbers home numbers to look like those away numbers in 2014.

He also had a .375 Avg when bunting. I know that sabermetrics frown upon the sac bunt, but a if there is a runner on first base, I’d like to see EY bunt him over and use his speed, to turn those sac bunts into infield singles, and perhaps force a few errors on hurried throws. FanGraphs had EY at 1.7 fWAR with the Mets in 2013. I feel EY can be more productive by playing less, and bunting more.

430 PA – 0 HR – 24 RBI – 61 R - 39 SB 

.268 AVG – 88 OPS+ – 83 wRC+ – .304 wOBA

USATSI andrew brown

Andrew Brown, 0.6 fWAR

I’m not sure if Andrew Brown heads north with the team to start the season, but he should see some time with the Mets in 2014 one way or another. He certainly deserves a spot on the team, but the final decision will come down to Brown, den Dekker, Nieuwenhuis, and the Davis/Duda situation. He plays an above average LF, and average to slightly below average RF. He doesn’t hurt the team on the corners defensively. He also provides some pop as a reserve outfielder, and hits LHP particularly well. He also held his own against RHP last season. He’s not gonna draw a ton of walks, but he had 7 home runs in 150 at-bats last season in a very limited role.

182 AB – 9 HR – 27 RBI – 18 R – 2 SB

.236 AVG – 96-OPS+ – .309 wOBA – 97 wRC+

I look forward to reading your thoughts in the comments and please feel free to share your own player projections as well.

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Arizona is Shopping Didi Gregorius in Search of a Starter http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/arizona-is-shopping-didi-gregorius-in-search-for-a-starter.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/arizona-is-shopping-didi-gregorius-in-search-for-a-starter.html/#comments Wed, 19 Mar 2014 12:44:18 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=150786 digi gregorius

March 19

The Arizona Diamondbacks are making Didi Gregorius, and not fellow shortstop Chris Owings, available in trade discussions with other teams, an industry source told ESPN New York.

The D-backs seek an MLB-ready starting pitcher in return, hoping to offset the loss of intended Opening Day starter Patrick Corbin with a UCL tear.

A trio of Arizona scouts, including special assistant Todd Greene, watched a Mets intrasquad game involving Double-A and Triple-A players Tuesday on a back field at the Port St. Lucie complex. Noah Syndergaard, Logan Verrett and Jacob deGrom, who all may be in Triple-A Las Vegas’ rotation to open the season, pitched in that game. Syndergaard almost certainly is off-limits in Mets discussions, writes Adam Rubin.

We speculated on this Monday, which you can read below.

March 17

With Didi Gregorius losing Arizona’s shortstop battle to star prospect Chris Owings, he suddenly becomes an intriguing trade target for the New York Mets. While some Mets fans aren’t high on Gregorius, he would solidify the Mets weakness at shortstop. Gregorius is an extremely talented player, and he has the ability to become a solid major league starter.

Coming up through the minor league leagues, Gregorius was a top rated prospect.  Baseball America ranked him the 80th best prospect in baseball last season, and he was rated #63 overall by MLB.com.  While he never had impressive minor league statistics, scouts have always raved about his athleticism and defensive skills.

With Gregorius’ standout defensive skills, his fielding was impressive for the Diamondbacks last season.  He showed above average range, and he showcased a very strong throwing arm. Solid defense up the middle is crucial for the Mets, so this factor alone makes him a valuable piece.

While some criticize him for his hitting, these concerns are overblown.  Even though he hit just .252 with seven home runs and a .332 on-base last year, these numbers should not be held against him so harshly. 2013 was Gregorius’ first full season in the majors, and he was just 23 years old.  As he gains more experience and strength, his numbers will likely improve. Also, production among shortstops around the league is extremely low, so he does not need to post incredible numbers in order to be a productive player at his position.

While his late season slump at the end of the season is worrisome, there is no denying his talent. He has better skills across the board than incumbent Ruben Tejada, so he would be a significant upgrade this season.  Since Gregorius is a young and inexpensive player, he is also a piece that the Mets can potentially build around as well, and he won’t cost nearly as much as Owings would have or Nick Franklin as well.

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Mets Reassign Syndergaard and Montero to Minor League Camp http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/mets-reassign-syndergaard-and-montero-to-minor-league-camp.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/mets-reassign-syndergaard-and-montero-to-minor-league-camp.html/#comments Tue, 18 Mar 2014 12:44:34 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=151090 syndergaard montero

Newsday reports that Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero were reassigned to minor league camp on Tuesday morning.

“It’s always disappointing when you get a taste of being in the big-league clubhouse, getting the treatment like a big leaguer gets, and then you’ve got to go back over to the minor-league side where things aren’t so glamorous, ” said Syndergaard. “So that’s kind of disappointing,”

Syndergaard, the Mets top pitching prospect, had a 5.19 ERA in 8.2 innings this spring, striking out 10 and walking five. Montero had a 3.00 ERA in nine innings, striking out five and walking two. Neither were expected to make the team’s roster out of spring training, though both are likely to play a role during the 2014 season.

Righthander Joel Carreno and infielder Brandon Allen were also reassigned to minor league camp. Catcher Juan Centeno and righthander Ryan Reid were optioned down, too.

Despite his elevated ERA in camp, Syndergaard impressed with a dominating fastball and mature poise. The spring performance built on a superb 2013 campaign split between Single-A and Double-A. He posted a 3.06 ERA and 1.14 WHIP and struck out 133 in 117.2 innings last season.

Montero doesn’t have Syndergaard’s stellar repertoire, but possesses exceptional control. He split the 2013 season between Double-A and Triple-A, striking out 150 and walking 35 in 155.1 innings. He notched a 2.78 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in 27 starts overall.

I thought this was a good move by Sandy Alderson, coming on the heels of Terry Collins asserting that Montero was being considered as a bullpen option for the Mets to open the season.

When Collins told reporters that, I actually speculated that Alderson must have gulped upon hearing his manager make such a preposterous claim. Now the decision has been taken out of Collins’ hands only 48 hours later.

We’ll see both Montero and Syndergaard later this season when both are ready to contribute, and safely past the Super 2 cutoff.

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