Mets Merized Online » 2014 Wed, 17 Sep 2014 21:15:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Mets Granted Extension To Respond To Sexual Discrimination Law Suit Wed, 17 Sep 2014 19:33:13 +0000 uptown-Leigh-Castergine

Not surprisingly, the New York Mets have asked for and been granted an extension to respond to the the sexual discrimination lawsuit that was filed by fired Senior VP of Ticket Sales Leigh Castergine.

The extension filed by attorneys for the Mets now gives them until October 31 to respond to the federally filed complaint, according to Eric Fisher.

Apparently it’s going to require some additional time to say, “I didn’t do any of those things.”

Attorneys for Ms. Castergine filed a lawsuit last week 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 stated:

  • “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.’”

You can read the full complaint here.

On Tuesday, outgoing commissioner Bud Selig stopped by Citi Field as part of his farewell tour and dodged questions about the matter.

I know Selig will never do it, but I continue to call for new commissioner Rob Manfred to launch an independent investigation while fuly cooperating with federal authorities to get to the bottom of these allegations. A real commissioner would have already done this and even secured affidavits from all those who were present at many of these meetings where the allegations took place.

MMO will continue to update this story as further details come in.

MMO footer

]]> 0
After Impressive Bullpen Session, Harvey Is Done For 2014 Tue, 16 Sep 2014 13:00:49 +0000 matt harveyIt’s already starting to feel like spring for Matt Harvey who probably can’t wait to climb the mound on opening day 2015 and put the last year behind him. On Monday, Harvey took the final step in his rehab for 2014. Before being shut down for the off season, he threw a bullpen session at Citi Field which included him consistently hitting 95 mph on the gun. Harvey seems ready to compete again.

While Harvey’s rehab has been a rocky road at times, it seems as if both parties are ready to agree on shutting it down until spring training arrives. He threw three simulated innings on Monday and Terry Collins described it as being “really impressive” (Fox Sports).

With so many members of the Mets future in attendance on Monday to accept Mets Sterling Awards, Harvey set the tone. His presence seems to get everyone going and although Sandy Alderson said that Harvey’s workload will be restricted in some way next year, Harvey’s a guy who battles. No matter what comes his way, he seems ready for the challenge.

For the Mets ace, spring can’t come soon enough and for Mets fans it should feel the same way.

]]> 0
Steven Matz Concludes Dominant Season In Binghamton Sat, 13 Sep 2014 13:00:17 +0000 steve matz

It took 20 years but the Binghamton Mets have finally won another Eastern League title. Steven Matz, one of the Mets top prospects helped to get them to the championship game and then sealed his season with an incredible pitching performance last night.

Matz got the start for the B-Mets, and took a no-hitter into the 8th inning. His final line included 11 strikeouts, a single earned run, which scored after he was pulled from the game and just 2 hits. Matz also walked just 2 batters over his 7 1/3.

Throughout the night, Matz was the story. He completed his 2014 campaign in flashy style after pitching to a 2.24 ERA over 140.2 innings this year. The lefty struck out nearly a batter per inning and walked just 35 all season. That control has been a calling card for Matz who walked just 90 batters in 276 innings in the minor leagues. What makes Matz different than the rest of the pitchers in the Mets farm system is that he flew under the radar for so long. He missed the better part of two seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery in May of 2010.

Looking back on the surgery and his long recovery, Matz didn’t look at the surgery as a negative in his career. “But looking at it now, I just see it as a blessing because I learned so much about my body and just matured physically and mentally. It kind of eased me into it, and in the long run I feel it was almost a good thing” (Mike Puma, NY Post).

The emergence of Matz has truly been one of the best stories surrounding the team this year and this was a perfect conclusion to the 2014 campaign. He is poised to become the rare lefthanded ace of the Las Vegas 51′s at the start of next season and with so many righty studs in the farm system, his road to the major could be short if certain trades are made this offseason. For now, Matz will celebrate Binghamton’s win in the championship and look back on a phenomenal season of pitching.

]]> 0
Olney: ‘Could Be A Quiet Offseason In New York’ Thu, 11 Sep 2014 03:43:33 +0000 sandy aldersonAccording to a report filed by ESPN analyst Buster Olney, the Mets and Sandy Alderson expect their 2015 payroll to be similar to their 2014 payroll. Currently, the Mets have the 22nd highest payroll in baseball, sandwiched in between the San Diego Padres and the Chicago Cubs. The magic number for 2014 stands at $89,051,758 and if we understand the report correctly, this should be very close to the payroll for 2015.

Speaking on Monday, Alderson had this to say about the situation (via Buster Olney):

“… Improving a team isn’t always a function of just dollars spent. Most of the improvement that came from the Mets this year had little to do with the overall [spending]…so it doesn’t equate. We’ll have some flexibility. We’ll be able to do some things. We just have to see what’s there.”

Baseball is becoming less and less about money each year. As salaries continue to fluctuate, winning teams are coming from all brackets of the payroll ladder. The Oakland A’s payroll is lower than the Mets, yet they have the ability to win seemingly every year. Still, there has to be a balance, especially in New York.

You can feel the winds changing in Flushing. With the emergence of Zack Wheeler, Juan Lagares and Jacob deGrom this year, the continuing development of Travis d’Arnaud and The Dark Knight (Matt Harvey) himself on the horizon, the Mets are poised to become a really great team for years to come. The minor league system is stacked with talent and if Alderson is able to make the right moves, the team could contend for the rest of the decade if not beyond.

What’s scary is the lack of increase Alderson is speaking about. While there are plenty of years the A’s have won with a minimal payroll, most teams have a balance. For every superstar they have a few role players. The Mets won’t be able to win relying solely on homegrown talent. They need an influx of hitting and there doesn’t seem to be an impact bat on the horizon for 2015.

David Wright and Curtis Granderson will be paid roughly 40% of the Mets payroll this year. If this is the case in 2015, both players will be counted on to be much, much better than they were this year. If they’re unable to come through and the payroll remains around $90 million, I’m afraid we might be looking at a repeat of 2014 when the expectations are much higher in 2015.

]]> 0
Putting Lucas Duda’s Season in Perspective Mon, 08 Sep 2014 13:18:12 +0000 lucas duda

Lucas Duda burst onto the scene in 2011 with a stellar offensive season. “The Dude” finished his rookie season with a .292 batting average, .370 OBP and slugged .482 with an OPS of .852. After a couple of disappointing seasons, it seems as if Duda has finally come into his own. His 27 HRs currently rank 12th in all of baseball and 3rd in the NL, trailing only Giancarlo Stanton (36) and Anthony Rizzo (30).

What’s even more impressive is that he’s done his damage playing in one of the most difficult home conditions in the league. When the big man connects with the baseball, he hits no-doubters. 23 of his 27 home runs have gone 375 ft or more, and 17 of them have traveled at least 400 ft.

After starting the 2014 campaign splitting time at first base with Ike Davis and Josh Satin, Duda has averaged a HR every 16.5 at bats to date, and he’s been getting pitched around for more than a month now.

To put that in perspective, the great Giancarlo Stanton is averaging a HR every 14.6 AB, Rizzo 16.2 AB and Justin Upton is at 19.1. Duda also ranks 7th in the NL in RBI with 80 and 8th in walks.

Since the All Star break, only three players have more long balls than Duda’s 13. Chris Carter (17), Stanton (15) and Jose Bautista (14).  Those three batters all have one thing in common. They all bat from the right side. Duda has been the best left handed power hitter of all players since the break and only David Ortiz and Rizzo have more HRs from the left side on the year. Whether we realize it or not, we have an elite left-handed power bat manning 1B for us this year.

Maybe more surprisingly than his breakout at the plate, Duda has been, at the very least, solid defensively at 1B this season. He ranks 4th in double plays turned by a first baseman and ranks 4th in the NL in fielding percentage at the position. He’s also saved countless throwing errors for his infielders this season with his ability to pick errant throws.

Baseball-Reference currently has Duda at 3.5 WAR which is good for 6th, behind Jose Abreu, Paul Goldschmidt, Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols and Rizzo. That’s some pretty elite company. Abreu, Miggy and Pujols also have the luxury of DHing from time to time.

Duda is playing his age 28 season in 2014 and he looks very comfortable now that he’s settled in defensively. He is still under team control for three more years as a Super 2 player through his age 29-31 seasons. It certainly looks like we have the cleanup hitter we’ve been clamoring for. The only chink in his armor at this point is his inability to hit LHP. If he improves those numbers and takes another step forward now that he’s playing everyday, the sky is the limit for Duda.

MMO footer

]]> 0
We’ll Need More Than Just Harvey To Win In 2015 Sun, 07 Sep 2014 12:00:32 +0000 ichiro

On October 1, 2004, I was having dinner with my wife of six months and my new in-laws. As we bantered back and forth I kept one eye on the TV mounted in the corner of Applebee’s. When I saw a basehit up the middle,

I excitedly tapped my wife on the shoulder. “He did it!” My in-laws, who knew nothing about Baseball, asked, “Who did what?” I explained that Mariners’ outfielder Ichiro Suzuki just broke George Sisler’s record for most hits in a season, a record that stood untouched for more than 80 years. My mother-in-law asked innocently, “Are the Mariners a good team?” “No,” I responded. “They suck.” The look on her face was…well, priceless. How a team with such a talented player could suck was mind-boggling to her.

But that’s what makes baseball the most beautiful game ever created. You can’t keep getting the puck to Wayne Gretzky, handing off to Walter Payton or passing to Magic Johnson for a lay-up. The National Pastime, more than any other game, is a team sport. This is a fact we need to remember.


Enter Walter Johnson. Widely regarded as the best pitcher in history, The Big Train was to pitching what The Bambino was to hitting. Over a 21 year career, Johnson won 417 games, second only to Cy Young.

His career ERA was an anemic 2.17. He recorded 3,508 strikeouts. It took another 50 years for a pitcher to even reach 3,000. In the last 50 years only two pitchers—Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan—even came “close” to his record 110 shut-outs. They recorded 61. Johnson led the American League in wins six times, twice eclipsing 30 of them Throw in five ERA crowns and leading the league in strikeouts 12 times.

Yep, that Johnson guy was not bad. However, despite incredible numbers for two decades, Walter Johnson only was a World Champion just once.

The reason is simple. In spite of Johnson’s splendid career, he played for what is generally regarded as a bad team. He had poor defense behind him, and a weak offense provided little, if any, run support. Johnson compiled a .599 winning percentage while his team compiled a 492 winning percentage. Incredibly, in his 279 losses, the Senators were shut out 65 times. Imagine how many more games Johnson could’ve won had he played for a team with some decent hitting.

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at New York Mets

Matt Harvey made his debut for the Mets on July 26, 2012. In 10 starts he posted a 2.73 ERA and fanned 70 batters in 59.0 innings pitched. His strikeout to walk ratio was nearly 3:1, yet despite such a grand debut, Harvey had a losing record. 3-5.

Having Harvey for an entire season made the fan base cautiously optimistic for 2013. The Dark Knight became the newest member of  ‘The Next Tom Seaver’ club. Maybe, just maybe, this time there was some truth to this oft thrown around label.

The hard-throwing righty did not disappoint. Harvey whiffed 191 batters in 178 innings while walking only 31. He became the first Mets pitcher to start an All-Star Game since Doc Gooden a quarter of a century earlier. Harvey was having an epic campaign and yet despite all his gaudy numbers, he won just nine games in four months.

As you all know, Harvey was shut down after being diagnosed with a torn elbow ligament. He’d miss the rest of 2013 and all of 2014 after Tommy John surgery. Barring setbacks, in 2013 Mets fans were not clamoring “wait till next year” but “Wait till the year after next year.”

We widely regarded 2014 to be another ‘throw-away’ year. And it certainly has been. Yes, there have been some bright spots, but by and large the Mets have spent the year struggling to approach 500 and fighting to stay ahead of the Phillies to avoid last place. The general consensus is that next year (2015) when Harvey returns, we’ll be better. Many fans believe with Harvey pitching every fifth day the Mets have a legitimate shot at making the post-season. But do we?

Assuming Harvey returns in 2015 with the same dominance he showed for three-quarters of 2013, you can be sure he will be on an innings limit roughly between 150 and 175. The Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg was capped at 160.

This means that even if the Mets DO find themselves battling for a wild card, it’s unlikely Harvey will still be around in September. Could we compete for the playoffs with our ace on the bench during the month-long stretch run? I hope so, but who knows. I just don’t want to see 2015 turn into another ‘wait until next year’ grind when Harvey will be free of restrictions in 2016. I want to see a serious commitment to winning next season with plans A, B and C firmly in place.

The point here is twofold. The Mets really need to do better than an offense that ranks 29th in batting and 28th in OPS if we seriously intend to make a run for the playoffs next season. And it may be a good idea to have a solid backup plan for Matt Harvey – just in case. Lets be proactive for a change. This is going to be one of the most significant offseasons we’ve had in years. Lets make it happen in 2015. We need the teamwork to make the dream work.

MMO footer

]]> 0
Matt Harvey Will Be Shut Down For The Rest Of 2014 Fri, 05 Sep 2014 12:00:26 +0000 matt harveyAccording to a report from The Daily News, Matt Harvey will be shut down for the rest of 2014 and will resume rehabbing in the spring by the end of September. Harvey who was determined to pitch again in 2014 will have to wait until 2015 to face live batters according to the report from Kristie Ackert.

Harvey Will throw three more bullpen sessions and then his offseason will begin. Ackert is also reporting that the Mets will use a radar gun to make sure Harvey isn’t throwing at 100% during his final few sessions.

The rehab process for Harvey has been bumpier than most. He has constantly feuded with the front office and coaching staff about how fast he should progress through various stages of rehab. The Mets were forced to slow him down several times, including in June when he was still vying to return to the team in 2015.

What we have to hope is that Harvey comes back strong in 2015. A healthy Harvey will make everything better but if that doesn’t happen, the wedge between the Mets and Harvey could grow even larger.

]]> 0
Bobby Parnell On Track For Spring Return Thu, 04 Sep 2014 13:00:45 +0000 bobby parnellAccording to Mike Vorkunov of, Bobby Parnell is on track to return to the Mets in time for spring training. As he continues his rehab in Port St. Lucie, Parnell is now throwing from 60 feet and will continue to strengthen his arm, moving up to 75 feet sometime next week. Parnell spoke with Vorkunov about his rehab:

“I take it one week at a time for myself. I try not to look too far in advance because I know that a setback’s possible because, not necessarily reinjuring, but just sore from stepping up throwing or something like that. I just take it at a week at a time…A lot of people have come back from it. And the percentage of people coming back from it is high. It’s in there but I just know I gotta stick to the plan and go forward and be cautious at the same time and not rush anything.”

While Parnell won’t throw off of a mound until after Christmas, he continues to feel good and seems eager to return to the big league club. For now, it looks like Parnell is in line to join a much stronger bullpen than when he went down on opening day of 2014.

]]> 0
Where Exactly Did Juan Lagares Come From? Wed, 03 Sep 2014 17:21:57 +0000 juan lagares

Juan Lagares has been a saving grace this year for the Mets. Sure he’s saved a ton of runs and seems to shrink the outfield day after day but the true saving grace for Mets fans has been him saving the 2014 season. There hasn’t been much winning but each and every day, Lagares puts on a show and has become the most exciting player on the field for the Mets.

The question surfaced a few days ago about where Lagares actually came from. Signed two years before Wilmer Flores as a non-drafted International free agent, Lagares rose through the farm system as a shortstop before moving to center field. The comparison to Flores is made just as a point of reference. From a very young age, Flores was talked about by everyone from fans to the front office. He was always considered a future elite prospect and his stature grew as he developed in the system.

Each year, puts together a list of the top 20 prospects in the Mets system. Flores first appeared on that list in 2011 at the #1 spot. He fell in 2012 to #9 and then went up again in 2013 to #4. If you read deep into the 2012 list, you’ll find Lagares at #20. Here’s what the site had to say about him:

Quick bat, improved plate discipline from abysmally awful to merely poor and hit .349/.383/.500 as a result between High-A and Double-A. This was at least partially driven by unsustainable BABIP gains, and I want to see more before buying into him.

The grade they gave him was a C+. In 2013, Minor League Ball had him listed in the “others” section, no longer considering Lagares among the top 20. 128 days after the 2013 article was published, Lagares made his big league debut, going 1 for 2 against the Dodgers. He hasn’t looked back since.

juan lagares singleThis is in no way an indictment of No one saw the potential in Lagares. He was never high on prospect lists and until his call up in 2013, most Mets fans had only heard whispers of his name.

So what makes a guy like Lagares, who clearly has a ton of raw talent, fly under the radar while guys like Flores rise to the top? It’s all about the hype machine. The same way certain stories make the 10 o’clock news and others don’t. Lagares almost became the forgotten piece.

During his 9 seasons in the minor leagues, Lagares batted .281. Right before he was called up to replace Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who was struggling mightily, he was hitting .346 in 78 at bats for triple-a Las Vegas. At that time, he was considered to be an above average defender, on par with Matt den Dekker (the #15 prospect on the 2013 list). Wally Backman, who managed him in Binghampton, told ESPN that “he has a knack for getting the barrel on the ball.”

Lagares has now played in 224 major league games and over that time has recorded 198 hits, 78 RBI’s and is hitting .262 in his short career. What he’s done in 2014 is show that he not only can be the center fielder moving forward but that he has the ability to hit at a rate no one expected. Juan Lagares has become an elite defender and if he can keep his batting average up, could start to compete as one of baseball’s best in center.

]]> 0
MMO Game Thread: Mets vs Marlins, 7:10 PM Tue, 02 Sep 2014 20:20:13 +0000 jon niese

Tonight the Mets send Jonathon Niese (7-10, 3.48) to the mound, hoping to bounce back from a disastrous game on Monday in which they committed 6 errors and gave up 9 runs. Brad Penny (1-0, 5.40) will make his third start for the Marlins after signing a minor league deal back in June.

Vic Black threw from 150 to 160 feet today and also tossed 12-13 flat ground pitches. He is scheduled to pitch from a mound on Thursday for a scheduled bullpen.

Josh Edgin and Daisuke Matsuzaka received cortisone injections Tuesday in their pitching elbows at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan. Terry Collins expects both relievers will rejoin the Mets on Friday in Cincinnati and be available.

Starting Lineup

  1. Juan Lagares – CF
  2. Curtis Granderson – RF
  3. David Wright – 3B
  4. Lucas Duda – 1B
  5. Travis d’Arnaud – C
  6. Matt den Dekker – LF
  7. Dilson Herrera – 2B
  8. Wilmer Flores – SS
  9. Jon Niese – LHP

The good news from yesterday: Herrera hit his first career homer. The bad news from yesterday: the Mets had 6 errors in the field and lost the game 9-6. Today the Mets look to move beyond behind Jon Niese as he takes on Brad Penny in game two of the series.

Niese is 7-10 this season over 25 starts and 155.1 innings with a 3.48 ERA. In his last four starts he has pitched 27.0 innings with a 3.33 ERA. In two starts against the Marlins this year he was 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA over 13.0 innings. The Marlins have the following numbers against Niese:

  • Stanton 9-24, 2 HR
  • R Johnson 9-24, 2B
  • Baker 7-17, 2B
  • McGehee 2-12, 2B
  • Lucas 3-11, 2B
  • Solano 4-11, 2 2B

Brad Penny gets the start for the Marlins tonight, his 5th game of the 2014 season where he has pitched 13.1 innings with a 5.40 ERA. He didn’t pitch in 2013 at all in the majors and in 2012 he pitched 22 games, no starts with a 6.11 ERA for the Giants and in 2011 he had a 5.30 ERA over 31 starts for the Tigers. The Mets have the following numbers against Penny:

  • Wright 13-21, 2B, 4 HR
  • Granderson 4-11, 2B, 3B
  • Tejada 0-2
  • E Young 0-1

Lets Go Mets!

]]> 0
Mets Promote Conforto, Rosario, Urena To Savannah Tue, 02 Sep 2014 04:29:14 +0000 michael conforto

The Mets have promoted outfielder Michael Conforto to Single-A Savannah as the Sand Gnats head to the playoffs.

Joining the 2014 first-rounder will be his Brooklyn Cyclones teammates shortstop Amed Rosario and third baseman Jhoan Urena.

Conforto batted .331/.403/ .448 with three home runs, 10 doubles, 30 runs and 19 RBI in 42 games with Brooklyn.

Urena batted .300/.356/.431 with five home runs, 20 doubles, and 47 RBI in 75 games for Brooklyn.

Rosario batted .274/.320/.372 with two home runs, 11 doubles, 6 triples, seven stolen bases and 42 runs scored in 75 games for Brooklyn and Savannah.

Very happy to see these three excellent prospects rewarded for their fine seasons.

Go Gnats!

MMO footer

]]> 0
Looks Like Syndergaard Will Not Be Called Up In September Sun, 24 Aug 2014 13:45:46 +0000 noah syndergaard

On Friday night, Mets top pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard took the loss, allowing six runs, five earned, in six innings of work for Triple-A Las Vegas.

It now appears more and more likely that Syndergaard will not pitch in the majors in 2014.

“The results are just not there,” a Mets source told the Daily News on Friday. “We know he’s talented, but we just aren’t seeing the results yet. He’s young and it shows.”

Syndergaard has a 4.85 ERA in 24 starts for Las Vegas this season and has often claimed that he needs to become more consistent before he could confidently say he was ready to pitch in the big leagues.

Two weeks ago, pitching coach Frank Viola suggested that the Mets leave the 21-year old at Triple-A where he can continue developing as a pitcher. He believed that promoting him before he was mentally and physically ready can end up backfiring at a critical stage in a young pitcher’s development.

Additionally, Syndergaard has already has logged 124.1 innings – seven innings more than last season despite two separate stints on the disabled list including once for a strained forearm.

Terry Collins had this to say on Saturday. “He’s got to be a little more consistent. He’s had some good games. He’s had some rough games.”

Look… As I’ve maintained all season long, there really is no need to rush Syndergaard at this stage of the game.

However, I do find it appalling that so many people, including Kevin Kernan of the New York Post, believe Syndergaard should be promoted simply because it would be exciting for the fans.


MMO footer

]]> 0
Wheeler Hears The Trade Rumors, Wants To Be Around For Mets Resurgence Fri, 22 Aug 2014 14:28:23 +0000 zack wheeler

Zack Wheeler has been a huge part of the Mets rebuild and says he wants to be here when the team begins to turn it around, according to the Daily News. He hears his name often mentioned in various trade rumors for bats, most recently surrounding Colorado’s Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez until both went down with injuries.

“I know it’s the business, it’s part of the game,” Wheeler said. “I know that all these young pitchers can be used as trade bait, but I’ve been part of the rebuilding here. I’d like to see what happens.”

“I want to see the results.”

Pitching coach Dan Warthen feels Wheeler has shown real growth this season.

“He couldn’t control breaking balls on a regular basis,” Warthen said. “Now he can locate it on both sides of the plate. He can move a two-seam and four-seam (fastball) where he wants to. He’s become a pitcher, not just a thrower. Zack’s now a pitcher with really good stuff.”

Wheeler gave up four runs (two earned) over 5 2/3 innings in an 8-5 win over the Athletics on Wednesday. He missed his 10th consecutive quality start by one out. 

Manager Terry Collins pulled Wheeler with two outs in the sixth inning, and the young righthander wasn’t happy about it. After 103 pitches, he was done.

Since he was 3-8 on June 30,  Wheeler has won six straight, going 6-0 with a 2.40 ERA over his last 10 starts.

“You never want to be 3-8,” Wheeler said. “But I try to battle and just give your team a chance to win every time out.“

The six straight wins tie Bartolo Colon for the team high in consecutive victories this season. 

It’s been a breakthrough season for Wheeler and in his last ten starts we’ve seen him dominate at times, but also gut it out when he didn’t have his best stuff. His curve and changeup have become big-time weapons and he’s no longer afraid to use them and throw them for strikes.

In a season where little has gone right, Wheeler has emerged as a clear number two starter and one of the most consistent starters in the National League.

This kid’s the real deal.

Like Bobby Ojeda said, I hope the Mets don’t baby him the rest of the way and instead allow him to grow into the bulldog and innings eater we need him to be.

(Updated by Joe D.)

August 20

At age 24, Zack Wheeler is hitting his stride. It’s tempting to say “finally” when it comes to him, but in reality he’s still a very young pitcher. What makes Wheeler different is his potential.

He was highly sought after from a very young age and it seems like we’ve been watching him for a long time. In reality, he’s only been in the Mets farm system for three years. It definitely seems like longer.

What we are witnessing in 2014 is the birth of a number two starter. While Wheeler may have the potential and skills to be a number one, it’s clear that he doesn’t quite have that bulldog mentality that has pushed Matt Harvey to the front of the Mets rotation. Not yet anyway.

Winning teams need solid arms throughout the rotation and Wheeler is showing us his keen ability to be that number two guy in tandem with Harvey. Some people will look at being a “No. 2″ as a negative. After all, the ace of the staff always gets the spotlight.

But for every Dwight Gooden there has to be a Ron Darling. For every Tom Seaver there’s a Jerry Koosman. Andy Pettitte is an amazing example of a #2. He was never the best pitcher on a team but embraced the role of taking the ball in game two better than anyone.

Over his last nine starts, Wheeler hasn’t lost a game, lowering his ERA along the way from 4.25 to 3.49 and striking out almost a batter per inning over that stretch. He also has gone at least 6.0 innings in every start since his shelling against Oakland on June 25th.

Wheeler still has room to grow. He is only 24 after all. There’s no question that he can grow mentally as a pitcher, learning to fight back and win games when he isn’t quite ‘on.’

If he can push his game, especially from a mental perspective, there’s a chance that he could surpass Harvey. I’ll take the stand that Wheeler will always be the #2 on this staff and that should be perfectly fine with him (and Mets fans). MMO footer

]]> 0
Mejia Continues To Struggle, Should He Be Shut Down? Tue, 19 Aug 2014 12:00:34 +0000 Jenrry - Mejia

On August 11th it was reported that closer Jenrry Mejia had been laboring through a sports hernia that would require surgery in the off-season. At that moment questions started to swirl about why the 24-year old closer would pitch through the injury. After all, the Mets playoff hopes have stalled and while they seem destined to compete in 2015, their 2014 campaign is quietly coming to an end. Mejia’s recent struggles don’t support his decision to pitch through the pain.

Over the past 11 days (6 games), Mejia has surrendered 6 runs. That includes the game winner to Starlin Castro on Sunday and a two run bomb to Cubs rookie Javier Baez on Monday. Closers go through droughts. It’s not all that uncommon to see Mejia struggling, especially given how good he’s been all season. But with the news of his injury right in the middle of this bad streak, you have to wonder if it is effecting him more than he’s saying.

There is something of an aberration in the last two appearances for Mejia. Many closers also struggle in games that are not save situations. There’s no science to it, but it seems more often than not that closers have some of their worst outings when the pressure is off. That can be said for Mejia. Both Castro and Baez’s home-runs came in non-save situations. Sunday it was a tie game and Monday the Mets were already down. So was it the injury or the situation that caused the lapse? Who knows.

After Sunday’s loss, Mejia had this to say about Castro’s at bat: “I threw outside, it went outside a little bit late — a two-seamer — and he made the swing and he got me…I think he was waiting for a fastball because I threw a fastball away and he swung” (Roger Rubin, Daily News).

Despite his last few appearances, Mejia is still 18 for 21 in save opportunities with a 4.04 ERA. That ERA has ticked up since the start of August from 3.58. With the hernia surgery looming, the Mets should just call it a season for Mejia and make sure he’s ready for spring training. There’s no point in pitching through any pain given the outlook for the rest of this season. Mejia will have stiff competition heading into spring training in 2015 and he’ll need as much recovery time as possible to compete with Jeurys Familia, Vic Black and the returning Bobby Parnell.

MMO footer

]]> 0
Terry Collins Unhappy With Matt Harvey’s Most Recent Session Thu, 14 Aug 2014 12:53:08 +0000 matt-harvey-3

August 14th (Harris Decker)

According to ESPN’s Danny Knobler, Terry Collins and the Mets are trying desperately to slow down Matt Harvey‘s recovery from Tommy John Surgery. Yesterday, the Mets manager tried to get in touch with the recovering ace to discuss a reworked schedule only to find out that he was on the radio talking with ESPN New York.

“I threw a bullpen today and I didn’t miss a spot,” Harvey said during that interview. “I felt like I was easily throwing into the low to mid 90s, with pretty much no effort.”

Obviously this is a double edged sword for Mets fans. The fact that he’s pitching and hitting his spots with “no effort” is great. Jeremy Hefner‘s most recent injury feels like a cautionary tale.

“One of the reasons we have tried to back Matt off is how he is mentally. This guy is a bulldog. There is no such thing as low speed or low gear. It’s all-out forward. There was a phone call made [Tuesday] where it was, ‘Yeah, we’ve got to back this down,’ and [Wednesday] he throws a 27-pitch bullpen.” Clearly Collins is not amused. He concluded that sentiment with “I’m going to put my head through the wall.”

There’s no question that every person recovers in a different way, a point Harvey brought up in the radio interview regarding Hefner. Just because Hefner had a major setback, doesn’t mean the same will happen to Harvey. Collins and the Mets seems to be singing a different tune. It’s not about Hefner, it’s about Harvey and the Mets. As the Mets fall further and further out of relevancy in 2014, it makes less and less sense to put Harvey back out there.

August 12th (Sean Sullivan)

In the wake of Jeremy Hefner’s setback, Sandy Alderson held a press conference prior to tonight’s game in which he all but affirmed the idea that Matt Harvey will not pitch in a game this season, minor leagues or otherwise.

Yesterday it was revealed that Jeremy Hefner, who underwent Tommy John surgery last summer, had re-injured his ulnar collateral ligament. Hefner had made six minor league starts for Port St. Lucie this summer while rehabbing from the original injury that ended his season on August 9th of last year.

jeremy hefner metsClaimed off waivers from Pittsburgh in 2011, Hefner made his major league debut for New York in 2012. That year he appeared in 26 games and made 13 starts. He was a regular member of the Mets’ rotation in 2013, going 4-8 with a 4.34 ERA in 24 games (23 starts) before being shut down. After the diagnosis of a torn UCL, Hefner ultimately underwent surgery three weeks later.

In the eyes of Sandy Alderson, Hefner’s setback provides a cautionary tale for Harvey’s own rehabilitation. Thus far, Harvey has thrown off the mound several times and maintains his desire to pitch in 2014. However, given the reality of the situation and the clubs hesitancy to risk a similar narrative for the team’s burgeoning superstar, it is apparent that they will be overly cautious going forward.

At this point in the season, I can’t argue with the logic here. If the Mets were seriously in contention with a shot for some truly meaningful games in September, maybe I would criticize the Mets front office for being too cautious in this circumstance. However, at this point in time, I believe that the Mets’ and Matt Harvey’s priority should be to arrive in Port St. Lucie next spring healthy and ready to go.

MMO footer

]]> 0
Collins Likely To Return As Mets Manager In 2015 Wed, 13 Aug 2014 22:03:36 +0000 terry collins

Terry Collins will return to manage the Mets in 2015 as long as the team don’t completely fall apart before the end of the season, a source familiar with the situation told Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports adds that if the Mets go into the 2015 season with a manager on the hot seat, it would be in no one’s best interests.

Bad decision if this is true. This is not the manager who will usher in this bright future they keep talking about.

Who’s ready for Spring Training?

August 9

I had some additional thoughts on Terry Collins after Friday night’s developments. Nobody knows what was said and what transpired when Sandy Alderson met with Collins behind closed doors prior to the Mets 5-4 win. But wouldn’t you have loved to have been a fly on the wall?

One thing was certain, and a new and improved Terry Collins emerged to greet reporters.  That big smile on his face when he said we’ve got to give Wilmer Flores some significant playing time from now until the end of the season almost looked genuine.

Collins even used the word “development” or some form of it six times. It was a very convincing act and if I could I’d even give him an Oscar for his efforts.

Gone were phrases like “we’re in the hunt” and “I can’t babysit young players we’ve got games to win” and in their place we heard “we’re all about the future” and “these kids deserve the time to show what they can do. ” Could you hear the Twilight Zone music playing in your head too?

I’m being asked again and again whether yesterday’s drama means Collins is about to get fired.  The truth is I don’t know.  But after reading the tea leaves, I’d say Collins is now on some shaky ground and if I were him I’d think twice before renewing the lease on his condo.

August 8

I think it’s time to end the charade and get back to reality. The Mets have about as much of a chance to get into the post season as the Philadelphia Phillies – two teams separated by two games occupying the two bottom spots in the division.

The Mets are nine games back in the NL East and despite a run differential that says the Mets are better than a .500 team, they are seven games under. Enter Terry Collins.

Some of you thought I was too quick to call for his head back in April. To quote a line from the thriller Stigmata, “How’s your faith these days?”

My chief gripe about Collins has always been that he’s the worst possible candidate to put in charge of a major rebuild and especially one that was going to be dependent on nurturing and developing a cadre of young minor league talent. To begin the year his main concern was not getting Jenrry Mejia and Jeurys Familia going, but instead catering to the likes of John Lannan, Jose Valverde and Kyle Farnsworth. Only disastrous results by the veterans eventually brought in a sense of calm as the young Mets power arms took over the late game duties and transformed the bullpen into a strength. None of that is on Collins.

Collins operates without any thought about player development and has an unnatural predisposition to playing older and unproductive veterans who he sees as the keys to winning. On many occasions he’s made it clear that he has no time to worry about developing the Mets’ top prospects – he views them as distractions because he has “wins to worry about.”

But on top of my problem with his disdain for the longterm approach for the Mets, there’s his maddening use of the bullpen, his constant belly-flops as an in-game tactician, and the steady decline of the team’s fundamentals as well as the lack of accountability for players who just lollygag it on the field.

I’m tired of hearing about how the players love him, of course they love him, he defends them when they screw up rather than addressing and confronting issues head on.

I love this team. But I love the future of this team even more and we deserve a manager that can embrace that concept.

Who among you isn’t beleaguered whenever he gripes that the Mets were in every game? That we were right there? That the win was within our grasp? Collins is not getting the most out of this roster, he’s getting the least. We’re not finding new ways to win, we keep finding new ways to lose. We are a team that often clutches defeat from the jaws of victory. Hence the damn run differential, and hence the reason we’re on pace for another 77 win season.

The ONLY reason the Mets have appeared close to contention is mostly due to the parity in the division and not because of anything fantastical that Collins has done.

What if Collins had the brains to have gone with the younger and better options from the beginning, rather than waiting for injuries and DFAs to get them in as the last resort? Shouldn’t they have been the first resort?

We need a new and refreshing message and a leader who can deliver that message as the Mets get set to usher in a brighter and better tomorrow. Terry Collins is not that leader.

With a roster packed with players mostly in their mid-twenties, and with so many questions yet to be answered, we need someone who understands that the next 7 weeks should be devoted to development and determining which players are part of the solution and which are not.

But instead we’re saddled with a man whose main priority this weekend is trying not to look bad against the last place Phillies. Collins has his priorities upside down.

The remainder of the 2014 season should be open tryouts for the 2015 season.

Collins deserves credit and appreciation for doing his best with what he had as the GM disassembled the team while we were in a transformative period. But the future is here and we need someone who understands that and embraces it.

MMO footer

]]> 0
Showcase Showdown: Mets Poised To Find Out Who Stays and Who Goes Sat, 09 Aug 2014 15:29:29 +0000 MLB: Spring Training-New York Mets at Miami Marlins

It’s odd to think about the months of November, December and January right now. After all, it’s still hitting 90 degrees on almost a daily basis and there’s still almost two months of baseball left to play. Football hasn’t started and no teams have clinched playoff berths yet. Still, the Mets are poised to help their offseason by showcasing a few key players during August and September. Those showcases begin in earnest today.

We’ll start with the recently recalled Matt den Dekker. who was leading the Pacific Coast League in batting with his .334 batting average. This isn’t so much an aberration but a progression for the young outfielder. In five seasons of minor league ball he has a .289 average and a .824 OPS. If den Dekker can avoid the injury bug, he’s still an extremely promising prospect, even at age 26.

With Juan Lagares and Curtis Granderson secure in center and right field, den Dekker could make sense in left if he’s able to produce the way he had in AAA. During his very limited stint in the majors, he batted just .184 over the 2013 and 2014 seasons. You’d imagine that his incredible run in Las Vegas could mean he has finally turned the corner.

The major problem with den Dekker is that he isn’t a power hitter, the obvious need for the Mets in left field. Assuming the big bat is still high on the priority list, there won’t be a position for him in 2015. That could mean his anticipated playing time, could be important for Sandy Alderson’s offseason plans. If he hits the way he’s shown in AAA, you can add him to the long list of players other teams could seek in a trade.

wilmer floresAlso in this group of potential showcase players will be Wilmer Flores and Lucas Duda. Both have the ability to make a case for next season, but I don’t believe either can do so with a weak August and September.

If Duda falters then eyebrows will be raised and Alderson could shift a portion of his offseason to thinking about the first base situation. Again. Flores is in a straight audition. He can win this job with a stellar showing at the plate. But if he’s unable to get his average up and show some power, Flores will find himself without a position on the Mets in 2015.

Finally, there’s Bartolo Colon. After win No. 200 last night, the veteran needs to stay sharp so that Alderson has some flexibility and a valued commodity. If a pitcher on a playoff contender goes down in August then Colon could become the missing piece. That could net another prospect or maybe a major league ready bat heading into next season. If that isn’t the case, Alderson will try to trade Colon in the Winter, a proposition that will be hindered if he doesn’t finish the 2014 season strong and healthy.

The next few months will be fun for the Mets. We’ll get to see a lot of youth and a lot of the future. We could find a third outfielder, a starting shortstop or maybe even add some new prospects in a waiver deal. Strap yourselves, think 2015, and enjoy the final few weeks of 2014. Remember, it’s almost Harvey time!

MMO footer

]]> 0
Collins Will Start Giving More Playing Time To Younger Players Fri, 08 Aug 2014 20:21:05 +0000 wilmer flores

This is getting creepy now… I feel like I’m being stalked… :-)

Terry Collins spoke to Sandy Alderson this afternoon and effective immediately, the Mets manager will be playing the younger players more. A lot more…

Collins told reporters that Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Wilmer Flores specifically, will begin seeing more playing time and each of them are in tonight’s starting lineup.

I would imagine as soon as Chris Young gets released that Matt den Dekker will get called up and also receive some major playing time.

This afternoon I wrote that enough is enough and this charade about hunting a wild card has to stop. So let me end this post the way I ended that one…

The rest of the 2014 season should be open tryouts for 2015.


MMO footer

]]> 0
Collins: All Of A Sudden, Wheeler Is A Different Animal Out There Wed, 06 Aug 2014 15:04:15 +0000 zack wheeler

Last night during our game thread, I was taken aback when a reader commented during the second inning that the problem with Zack Wheeler was that he’s a thrower and not a pitcher. I jumped right in and said nothing could be more further from the truth and that Wheeler was mature beyond his years as a pitcher and that like most young players will have the occasional hiccup.

Wheeler proceeded to validate my faith in him and realizing he didn’t have his “A” game, did what all great pitchers do and made changes on the fly and battled his way into what ended up being a gutsy seven inning performance that limited the Washington Nationals to just one run.

He put on a pitching clinic, getting the big outs when he needed them most including a critical pair of rally-killing doubleplay grounders. Wheeler admitted afterward that he had no feel for his curve, slider or changeup and decided to stick to his two and four-seamers to get the job done, spotting them and mixing up speeds.

It’s not fun pitching without his best stuff, he told reporters. 

“You’re mad at yourself and you’re trying to figure out what it is. I wouldn’t say it’s mentally draining, but it’s frustrating. I could tell it was going to be one of those days, but you have to get through it.”

And get through it is exactly what the young righthander did. He now owns a 4-0 record with a 1.59 ERA in his last seven starts, while pitching at least six innings and allowing just two or fewer runs in each outing. Boom.

“You can let the game get away and he didn’t,” Terry Collins later said. “That’s why I’m telling you, this kid is really starting to figure it out.”

“You see it in every phase. He’s not just throwing now, he knows what he wants to do. But the biggest thing is, I’ve seen a whole different competitor on the mound. All of the sudden he’s a different animal out there.”

A different animal out there? Indeed.

(Joe D.)

August 5

Heading into this season it was unclear who the ace of the Mets staff was. Was it the veteran Bartolo Colon, the crafty lefty Jon Niese or maybe even the opening day starter Dillon Gee.

While the entire staff has been excellent this year, with the summer came the emergence of two youngsters vying for the top spot in 2014. Tonight in Washington, Zack Wheeler will try to keep pace with Jacob deGrom.

As Jamie Ross discussed on, Wheeler is coming off another great start and has put together an impressive run. Over his last six starts he’s gone at least six innings while posting a 1.63 ERA and he hasn’t lost since June 25th against the first place Oakland A’s.

Wheeler said he’s confident with the way his team is playing behind him.

“We’re a good team right now, I feel,” Wheeler said. “We’re just a couple of swings or outs away from turning the corner. … I feel like we’re a whole different team from the beginning of the season, honestly.”

Wheeler is up against a tall task. The Washington Nationals remain in first place in the NL East and have one of the best pitching staffs in the majors.

Tonight Wheeler will face-off against Gio Gonzalez and it doesn’t get much easier from there. The remaining games in the series will be pitched by the newly acquired Doug Fister and the co-ace of the staff Jordan Zimmerman.

mmo presented

]]> 0
Featured Post: Jacob deGrom Is The One You Keep Mon, 04 Aug 2014 01:50:36 +0000 jacob degrom

Incredible, amazing, spectacular… Those are the kind of words that get tossed around whenever Met fans talk about Jacob deGrom. The young and exciting righthander continues to build a case to be this year’s NL Rookie of the Year.

DeGrom was unstoppable on Saturday night as he twirled 6.2 no-hit innings against the San Francisco Giants. It all came to an end when Pablo Sandoval lined a double just past the outstretched glove of a diving Juan Lagares. Despite losing the no-hit bid, the fans at Citi Field roared with approval and responded with a rousing standing ovation for deGrom. His 6.2 innings of near perfection was the third longest no-hit bid by a rookie in franchise history. 

The 26-year old phenom put on a pitching exhibition usually reserved for a ten-year veteran, mixing speeds and utilizing the entire strike zone to overpower hitters and keep them from doing any damage. With this latest gem, deGrom is now 6-1 with a 1.52 ERA over his last eight starts, walking 14 and striking out 56 during that span.

Selected in the ninth round of the 2010 MLB Draft, deGrom has cemented himself as an untouchable fixture atop the Mets rotation. I can hardly wait to see him combine with Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler in 2015 to form a lethal 1-2-3 punch.  

“I think it’s going to be unreal,” deGrom said about the Mets’ future rotation. “When Harvey comes back, I think we’re going to have a great staff. We want to make a run at this now with what we have, but we look forward to next year, too.”

DeGrom has impressed everyone with his poise, his maturity and his pitching smarts. He may not have the high ceiling other Mets pitching prospects have, but he knows how to pitch and this is where he belongs. 

DeGrom was regarded by most, including those in the organization, as a future bullpen arm. If not for an injury to Dillon Gee, that’s exactly where he was heading until fate stepped in and said, no way…

Funny how that works sometimes. DeGrom has turned the tables on everyone, and he’s no longer the pitcher we’re going to dangle or shop… Instead, he’s now the pitcher we keep.

Way to go kid…

MMO footer

]]> 0