Mets Merized Online » Bart Hubbuch Thu, 12 Jan 2017 01:57:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 NY Post’s Bart Hubbuch Answers Some Hot Stove Questions Wed, 25 Nov 2009 04:19:05 +0000 Bart Hubbuch of the NY Post was gracious enough to honor our request to answer a few reader submitted questions for us. He does an excellent job of covering the Mets all year long and is a valuable source of information both in the regular season and the hot stove season as well. I hope you enjoy what I believe is a great read on another slow Mets news day. Enjoy…  

Last off season, Omar Minaya proclaimed Mike  Pelfrey the team’s number two starter and we all saw him regress instead of  stepping up. Are the Mets willing to stick with him, or could he be included in  a trade to upgrade the rotation or shore up another weakness?

It’s safe to say Pelfrey’s sub-par season in 2009 set off alarm bells for the Mets. His lack of mental toughness has become a big concern. I’m not sure the Mets are still convinced he has the psychological makeup to be a No. 2 starter, much less an ace. That’s why you see them suddenly saying the top of the rotation is an area of need this winter. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see Pelfrey included in trade proposals this year. His extremely cheap salary ($500,000) next season would make him an attractive trade candidate for teams looking to cut payroll, too.

There are so many conflicting reports out there  regarding the Mets and free agent Matt Holliday. Who do you think he will ultimately sign with, and what if any are the Mets backup  plans?

I just don’t see Holliday coming here. Maybe the Mets have been saving up to go after him, but I don’t think that’s the case. And all of their other actions (i.e., draft spending, lack of moves at the trade deadline) since the Madoff scheme came to light indicate this team just doesn’t have a lot of cash at its disposal at the moment. Not only that, but I’m also not sure Holliday truly wants to come to the Mets considering how Citi Field is basically Death Valley for right-handed power hitters. They might go hard after Jason Bay instead, but I think he wants to stay in the AL. I know Mets fans probably won’t like it, but somebody like Xavier Nady, Rick Ankiel or Marlon Byrd might be the fallback.

It looks like Dan Warthen will keep his job  as pitching coach despite an across the board decline in performance by mostly  every pitcher including Perez, Pelfrey, Putz, Santana and K-Rod. I know  Warthen can’t pitch for these guys, but he presided over a team that issued the  second most bases on balls and led the league in bases loaded walks and wild  pitches. Was he ever in any danger of being fired and is he on the hot seat  in 2010?

It’s not just Warthen. All of the coaching staff will be on the hot seat with Jerry Manuel in the final year of his contract. I don’t know if Warthen being brought back was the Mets blaming injuries instead of the pitching coach for all the 2009 woes as much as it was them not wanting to spend the money to go after Dave Duncan or someone of his caliber. It would not surprise me, though, if Warthen gets the ax before Manuel if the Mets get off to another poor start and the pitchers are walking people all over the place again.

Do you think the Mets are actively shopping Luis  Castillo or are there no truth to some of the recent rumors that had him going  to the Chicago Cubs as part of a 3 team deal?

Absolutely, they’re shopping Castillo. Omar Minaya would dearly love for somebody to take the $12 million left on Castillo’s contract off the Mets’ hands. People are leery, though, despite Castillo’s terrific year at the plate last season. As well as him being extremely overpaid, other clubs don’t trust Castillo to stay healthy and are wary of his age and defensive limitations.

With last season now behind them, are the Mets  concerned with the drop in David Wright’s homerun total and do they have any  plans to address the situation by altering his swing or the dimensions of Citi  Field?

I don’t see any changes to the dimensions happening before next season. But if Wright (who, let’s not kid ourselves, is the face of the franchise) has another really poor season power-wise, I bet those fences come in by 2011.

Is there any chance that the Mets will attempt  to acquire San Diego first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and do you think they have  the pieces to get something done?

I could see them making an attempt, but I don’t know how serious they will be. First, the Mets are extremely high on Ike Davis and don’t want to block his arrival at first base in 2011. That’s why you see them talking about Carlos Delgado as a one-year stopgap. Second, it would probably require gutting their farm system to get the Padres’ interest. Lastly, Gonzalez is extremely underpaid for his production (about $3 million a year, from what I understand) and will be looking for an enormous raise — think: Mark Teixeira money — in the next year or two. I just don’t see the Mets gutting their system and paying out huge bucks for a first baseman when they think they have a potential All-Star waiting in the wings.

All of us at MMO would like to thank Bart for taking some time to answer some questions and give us some of his opinions on what might lie ahead for the Mets this Hot Stove season. I encourage all of you to add Bart Hubbuch to your Twitter accounts, and also follow his Mets Blog at the NY Post. He is a valuable source of Mets information and never misses a beat.

I also want to thank all the many readers who submitted questions. I’m sorry we couldn’t use all of them, but I will try to answer some of the ones we didn’t use in our MMO Mailbag feature later this week. By the way, you can also follow Mets Merized Online on Twitter too.

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Wally Backman To Manage Brooklyn Cyclones Fri, 13 Nov 2009 20:13:22 +0000 It looks like Wally Backman will indeed be managing the Brooklyn Cyclones in 2010.

It had already been reported three weeks ago by Adam Rubin, that Backman would be managing one of the Single-A teams for the Mets, but which one had not yet been determined.

Yesterday, Dora Licastri, long time friend of MMO, and Port St. Lucie native, reported on her Facebook Mets Rumor Mill that Wally Backman would manage the Brooklyn Cyclones and Edgar Alfonzo would manage the St. Lucie Mets.

You can add her to your Facebook here.

Bart Hubbuch of the NY Post has confirned the news and says that the Mets will make an official announcement early next week.

Mike Silva of NYBD reported that the Mets will hold that press conference on Tuesday.

Here’s to hoping that a new clean slate does wonders for Wally.

Welcome Back!

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Mets Decline Putz Option, Add Bowman To 40 Man Roster Thu, 05 Nov 2009 20:44:43 +0000 According to Bart Hubbuch of the NY Post in a post to his Twitter account, the Mets have told reliever J.J. Putz that they will decline his option and instead buy him out for $1 million dollars.

Not really a big surprise considering the Mets would have had to pay him over $9 million dollars to set up Frankie Rodriguez.

It doesn’t necessarily mean that Putz won’t be back, only that if he is it will be for a salary closer to $2 million instead of $9 million. Putz will have to prove himself as a setup man before any MLB team gives him an opportunity to close again.

In other Mets news, according to MetsBlog the Mets have added minor league third baseman Shawn Bowman to the 40 man roster. It’s a procedural move intended to keep him from being selected in the upcoming Rule 5 Draft in December. The free swinging Bowman batted .294 for AA-Binghamton, but struck out 104 times in 347 at-bats. He is not a top ten prospect for the Mets.

The Mets still have a few open spots which they will seek to fill in the coming days. One of those spots was recently created when they released 40 year old reliever, Ken Takahashi, last month.

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Mets Considering Uniform Changes In 2010 Thu, 01 Oct 2009 23:23:46 +0000 According to a New York Post blog by Bart Hubbuch, team officials are saying that the Mets are considering some significant changes to their uniforms in 2010.

The pinstripes that have been a staple of their home jerseys since their inception in 1962 may be on the way out.  Also being considered is a cream-colored uniform to be worn at Citi Field instead of the current snow white jerseys.  The cream-colored jerseys would be similar to the throwback uniforms the Mets wore in August, seen here being modeled by David Wright.

Hubbuch’s blog did not say whether the large “NY” would be across the chest or if it would be the usual script “Mets” logo that has been a part of all the Mets’ home uniforms throughout the years.

Nothing official was confimed by Jay Horwitz, but he did say that the team would do “something” with their uniforms next year although he did not go into specifics.

My personal opinion on this is blah.  If the Mets are considering making any changes, they should start with the players wearing the uniforms, not the uniforms themselves.  It’s clear that this is a move by ownership to sell more jerseys and T-shirts, just as the black jerseys in 1999 did the same thing.  Being the hypocrite that I am, I bought myself one of those black jerseys, but I probably won’t buy a cream-colored jersey until the product on the field is better.

Before the addition of the black jerseys in 1999, the last time the Mets made a significant change in their uniforms was 1993, when they made an alteration to the font of the word “Mets” and added a tail underneath it.  Here is Mets pitching legend Anthony Young modeling that monstrosity jersey.

The Mets finished the 1993 season with a 59-103 record, their first 100-loss season since 1967.  After the baseball strike cut the 1994 season short, the Mets came back in 1995 sans those depressing duds.  I’m not saying this new potential significant change for 2010 will produce more lean years, but…

…okay, I am saying it.  Please don’t get rid of the pinstripes!  If you need to make more money, spend it on better players, not a better tailor.  Then when the team is better, fans will put more green into your pockets.  I’m just sayin’…

]]> 0 K-Rod Was Also The Object Of Bernazard’s Ire Wed, 22 Jul 2009 23:09:03 +0000

According to a new entry on Bart Hubbuch’s Mets blog for the NY Post, Mets minor league players were not the only ones subjected to the mad ravings of Mets VP Tony Bernazard. Bart Hubbuch writes,

It turns out that ripping his shirt off and challenging minor-league players to fight him isn’t even Tony Bernazard’s most recent incident of outrageous, hot-headed conduct.

New York Mets All-Star closer Frankie Rodriguez confirmed this afternoon that he exchanged words on the team bus last week in Atlanta with Bernazard, the club’s embattled vice president of player development.

“Yeah [it happened], but I’m not going to talk about that,” Rodriguez told The Post before tonight’s game here with the Nationals. “Not going to get into it.”

Another player, who asked to remain anonymous, told The Post today: “That guy [Bernazard] is crazy. No one like[s] him.”

The hits just keep on coming.

This evening while meeting with reporters, Omar Minaya sounded like a broken record when he answered about seven questions about his hand picked assistant, with the same canned answer. “We take these allegations seriously and we will investigate these reports.”

David Lennon was a guest on SNY’s Wheelhouse after Minaya’s presser and he believes that Bernazard will not be fired for this incident. Hubbuch also said as much in his report adding,

“several team sources are that Bernazard, who is tight with Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon, will not be fired.”

Minaya did say that Bernazard is now at home in New Jersey, but it didn’t sound like it was for disciplinary reasons or because of anything regarding all of the incidents..

I believe it was Brandon Tierney of SNY’s Daily News Live, who asked a great question.

Why is the guy who is supposed to be running the minor leagues, spending such an unusual and extraordinary amount of time with the major league team?

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Madoff Stole $700 Million From Wilpon! Tue, 14 Jul 2009 23:37:33 +0000 Mets beat writer Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post reported a little while ago in his blog that Bernie Madoff stole $700 million from the Wilpons.  That is a lot higher than the originally reported $300 million that the Wilpon’s allegedly lost.  Since the scandal broke late last year the Wilpons have not publicly admitted to how much they lost and the impact it’s had on the Mets.  In fact since it was first reported the Wilpons were one of many people who lost money from the Madoff scandal they have done everything they can to assure the media and their fans that it did not have any effect on baseball operations.

I think we can plainly see that the Madoff scandal has hurt the Mets.  I never understood the point in denying it, in fact if they did come out and say they lost a significant amount of money, the fans and media would not be breathing down their necks as well as Omar demanding a trade or second guessing their lack of moves in the off-season.

Right after last season ended with the Mets not making the post season again by 1 game the Wilpons and Omar promised that money was not going to be an option and would go out and improve this team.  They signed K-Rod not too long before the scandal became public knowledge and then their biggest free agent signing after that was Oliver Perez for 3 years, $36 million.

I wonder how much longer they can survive?  Perhaps the Wilpons will have to sell their majority ownership?  I agreed with Joe D’s post earlier in the day when he said “I really wish the team was in the hands of an owner who loved the Mets and all their history, and was also smarter than a fifth grader.”  Perhaps that will come sooner than later?

Here is a link for Bart Hubbuch’s original blog post.

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Gary Sheffield To The Disabled List? Wed, 24 Jun 2009 20:21:30 +0000

Earlier this afternoon we posted the following on our site…

Earth to Sheffield, earth to Sheffield, can you read me? You would think that with Beltran going on the DL, it would open up even more playing time for right fielder Gary Sheffield. Especially when you consider that he is now our active homerun leader, and only true power source. So why has he yet to take the field since Beltran hit the skids?

“I’ve got to make sure we keep him fresh,” Manuel said. “It’s no secret that his legs are still somewhat bothering him. So we’re trying to freshen him up as much as possible.”

Jerry Manuel said that he wanted to keep Sheffield fresh and give his knees some rest, but is there more to it than that?

Bart Hubbuch of the NY Post thinks so and he wrote the following on his Twitter minutes ago…

Gary Sheffield is not in the lineup again (knee) and might be headed to the DL.

This starting to border on the ridiculous now… And the sad part is that we never seem to get a straight answer from the Mets. Everything is always clouded in mystery.

Stay tuned…

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Jose Reyes Not Hurt After Car Accident Tue, 23 Jun 2009 03:12:05 +0000

According to a tweet from Bart Hubbuch of the NY Post, Jose Reyes and trainer Ray Ramirez were involved in a car accident.

Jose Reyes and the Mets trainer were in a car accident on the Triboro Bridge today. Reyes was not injured. Reyes and Ray Ramirez were hit from behind by a fire truck.

Are we living in the Twilight Zone or something? writes,

Injured shortstop Jose Reyes and Mets trainer Ray Ramirez were rear-ended by a firetruck on the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge sometime Monday while driving to the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan for a check-up visit, Mets spokesman Jay Horwitz said. No one was injured in the accident, Horowitz said.
The Mets said nothing about the accident until starting pitcher Tim Redding unknowingly spilled the beans after Monday’s 6-4 win over St. Louis.

“I got here about 10 after 4 and a lot of things were going on,” Redding said. “Apparently a lot of things were going on all over the city. Our shortstop and our trainer, who’s been working his butt off to keep us on the field, got into an accident. Carlos was getting an MRI and being placed on the DL. And people were being moved, brought up and sent all over the place. So it was a whirlwind day.”

Okay, this is not funny anymore… If I find out they were out looking for good Cuban food, I’ll be pissed!!!

Seriously though, thank God he’s okay and that nobody was hurt…

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Mets Give Javier Valentin and Wily Mo Pena The Boot Mon, 22 Jun 2009 18:34:36 +0000 According to several sources including Bart Hubbuch of the NY Post, the Buffalo Bisons released outfielder/first baseman Wily Mo Pena and infielder Javier Valentin today.

The Mets released two veterans, outfielder Wily Mo Pena and infielder Javier Valentin, from Triple-A Buffalo today while activating newly claimed left-handed reliever Arturo Lopez to the Bisons’ roster. Pena had five homers and 21 RBIs in 41 games for Buffalo, while Valentin had been mired on the disabled list recently. I’m hearing Pena might have asked for his release after being passed over in favor of Nick Evans for a promotion last week.

I don’t blame Pena if he wanted out after the Nick Evans promotion, he was having a decent season at Buffalo and the Mets could have used his power bat while letting Evans stay in the minors and playing everyday.

Pena was batting .276 with 5 homers and 21 RBI in 41 games. Valentin was batting .260 with 3 homers and 10 RBI in 23 games.

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Jose Reyes Has Torn Hamstring Fri, 05 Jun 2009 00:12:46 +0000 According to a tweet by Kevin Burkardt: Reyes has a tear in his right hamstring tendon. Add SS to the list of Mets needs.

Wow, I hate to say it, but the Mets have done it again, and again, and again…

More to come on this…

Adam Rubin confirms ;

Jose Reyes has a small tear of his right hamstring tendon, the team said in a statement Thursday night. Team doctor Struan Coleman advised Reyes to rest for two days, then resume treatment. Clearly, Reyes will not return very soon.

Bart Hubbuch of the NY Post adds:

Reyes will rest for two days, then be re-evaluated. Probably out until All-Star break.

The Mets official statement:

“Jose Reyes today was examined by Mets team physician Dr. Struan Coleman and subsequently underwent an MRI at New York’s Hospital for Special Surgery. The MRI revealed a small tear in his right hamstring tendon, a new injury. Reyes will rest for two days and then resume treatment.”

]]> 0 Jerry Manuel On Luis Castillo And The Lineup Mon, 16 Feb 2009 12:58:23 +0000 The following is transcribed from Jerry Manuels press conference this weekend.

Q: Would you have Castillo lead off permanently?

A: I would never do anything permanently. I’m talking regular season and that depends on how it looks, how it fits, how Jose fits maybe batting second, third, or whatever, there’s a lot of little different things that you can try to accomplish in spring training. Spring training you have some freedom to look at things differently, and you have to try to do everything you can to try and exercise that time frame where you can look at things differently and say, he might look good there, and see what it might look like without it costing you, why certain things are being done.

Q: Would having Castillo lead off cut down on Reyes’ stolen bases?

A: See, this is not about – the one thing we have to be careful of is this is not about statistical success. It’s about winning as a team and you have to put people in positions that you feel is best to win as a team, whether that means Jose batting second, third whatever, first or leading off, you have to accomplish that, that’s a big part of the message throughout spring training is the game takes precedent over the individual stats. That’s the message.

Q: Would you have liked to see Luis here earlier?

A: I think he’s been on the program at the Dominican academy working with Rafael Landestoy during the winter, he’s doing extremely well, so as long as he’s active, we have the time here in spring training, its always longer than it should be, so we have the time here to get him on the right track.

Q: Can Castillo still be successful in the No. 2 hole?

A: Yeah, I do. I do. I think any time any player in the upper order he can be successful. The danger is putting him in there and then talking permanently and that affects the rest of the team. I’m trying to put him there in order to get him off to a good start and if that can happen, then I think the rest of the team can kind of roll with that. because once he gets going, then there are some things that we can do that could be advantageous for a winning team.

Thanks to Bart Hubbuch for transcribing this interview.

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Jerry Manuel On 2008 Versus 2009 Sun, 15 Feb 2009 18:57:03 +0000

The following has been transcribed from some of the questions from Saturday’s press conference by Jerry Manuel.

Q: Was something missing the past two years?

A: Again, what’s key is you try to identify what you think was wrong, and the obvious you try to address. But from the position that I sit in, you try to dig a little deeper and find out that, hey, maybe we didn’t play the style or the way or mentally how we should have handled that. Are we every year looking for the obvious to blame rather than to look at ourselves and said, `Hey, I could have done a better job, gotten a guy over or got that run in.’ So for me, once the obvious has been settled, then I have to go through the layers and try to improve some of that. I don’t want a team to be able to blame one thing. I think it’s the whole thing. It’s everybody’s mess, you know what I’m saying. That’s the message that has to be clear. If you just deal with the obvious and let the other things go, they still grow. But if you deal with the obvious and the other things that people might not want to talk about or deal with, then at least you’ve addressed. Now whether they can handle or not, that’s a whole different thing. Then you can evaluate and say, `Hmmm, that’s not championship material.’

Q: Have you identified any of those things?

A: I think one of the identities is team vs. individual stats. That’s one of the things for me. That’s a big challenge for baseball with the way the industry is set up. You reward those things vs. the team, and that’s a challenge for coaches and managers in this industry.

Q: Is your team selfish?

A: Not to the degree that is different than anybody else. But I do think that there was some selfishness to the degree that the team wasn’t fully embraced. I know what you’re going to write tomorrow: `The team’s selfish, so that’s why they didn’t win,’ and that’s OK. That’s cool. But that’s not what I’m saying. I’m just trying to take this to a different level. Stolen bases aren’t important to me – it’s important when you steal the base, you know what I’m saying. Just to have the numbers aren’t important. It’s when you steal a base that’s important.

Q: Is your team fired up because of the mocking by the Phillies this offseason?

A: Oh, I think so. Anytime the opposition calls you out, then obviously it creates a greater challenge for you. For me, sitting on this side, I like it when those things are said because I don’t have to go out and push you and challenge you to be intense or focus at a different level. So I think that’s all good. I think it’s good for baseball that teams challenge each other during the winter. I think it makes for great rivalries. If you have a good team, then you can have a rivalry. So obviously, as much as people talk about us, they feel that we have a good enough team. And that’s a good thing. All that’s good. Now, how they feel about all that? Again, I don’t spend a lot of time in the winter. I let guys rest during the winter. But because guys come early and are getting ready early, I think that’s a good sign that they want to get some things done and get some things accomplished.

Q: Will you name a captain this year?

A: Nah. What we have here is some core players, some guys that go out there every day for the most part.

Thanks to Bart Hubbuch of the NY Post for transcribing the Jerry Manuel press conference on Saturday.

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