Mets Merized Online » baseball http://metsmerizedonline.com Mon, 02 Mar 2015 17:57:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.5 Murphy Wants To Stay With Mets, But Extension Seems Unlikely http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/murphy-wants-to-stay-with-mets-but-extension-seems-unlikely.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/murphy-wants-to-stay-with-mets-but-extension-seems-unlikely.html/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 15:05:34 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=175252 daniel murphy

Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy told reporters that he has not had any talks with the Mets regarding a possible contract extension. Murphy, who is a free agent after the season, said he would like to remain with the Mets and hopes the team will speak with his agents.

“I’ve always been open to an extension. I’ve never approached the blessing of playing in the big leagues with thinking I need to maximize every single dollar I can get out of this game. I’ve made a whole bunch of money already.”

“As of right now I’m a Met for this year, for sure, love to be here in the future, but that is way in the future.”

According to Mike Vorkunov of NJ.com, Murphy does not believe he’s pricing himself out of the Mets’ range, as he pointed to the free agent deals the Mets have tendered Michael Cuddyer, Curtis Granderson and Bartolo Colon the last two offseasons.

Murphy, who turns 30 in April, will earn $8 million in what could be his final season with the Mets. An All-Star last season, it will be interesting to see how the Mets will handle the situation with the very popular Murphy this year.

With Dilson Herrera waiting in the wings, will they look to trade him before the deadline or ride the whole season out and risk not having anything to show for him when he heads to free agency?

Will the Mets gamble and make him a $16 million dollar qualifying offer after the season, an offer which Murphy may very well accept?

It’s certainly one of the many storylines to keep an eye on this season for the Amazins.

Murphy did say he would be willing to talk to the Mets about an extension during the season, but he prefers not to answer questions about it.

“The organization has a direction, just because I’m not locked up to a multi-year extension doesn’t mean I’m not part of that direction right now,” Murphy said.

“I am a part of what’s happening right now in 2015 which is exciting and which is what I think myself and the organization and everyone in that locker room is more concerned with.”

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Michael Cuddyer On Injuries, Coors to Citi, Troy Tulowitzki http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/michael-cuddyer-on-injuries-coors-to-citi-troy-tulowitzki.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/michael-cuddyer-on-injuries-coors-to-citi-troy-tulowitzki.html/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 17:13:19 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=175085 michael cuddyer

The prize of the Mets offseason, Michael Cuddyer, took some time to speak with reporters on a variety of topics:

On Going From Coors to Citi

“The last transition taught me that your approach can remain the same,” Cuddyer said. “No matter what ballpark you’re playing in, as long as you keep that same hitting approach, you can take that approach that I’ve been able to hone to pretty much any stadium in the big leagues. Now, are some balls going to leave the yard? Are some balls going to fall in? You play in so many different parks, that’s the nature of the beast.”

On Troy Tulowitzki

“Whether or not they eventually trade him, I don’t know,” Cuddyer said. “Nobody in baseball has a player like Tulo except for the Colorado Rockies. In my opinion you never let a guy like that go. I’m also not a front-office guy. I don’t know the payrolls in and out, the ins and outs of rebuilding and that nature. I don’t know and I don’t pretend to know.”

“He’s a great player, and he’s tenacious out there on the field. He has no interest in anything but winning. I think that type of player and that type of attitude is a fit everywhere, not just here with the Mets. I don’t know if that trade to the Mets will ever come to fruition because I don’t know if the Rockies will ever trade him. If I was the Rockies, I never would.”

Being Injury Prone

Cuddyer again downplayed playing in only 49 games last season with Colorado. He said his non-displaced shoulder fracture was a fluky thing during a rare appearance at third base. His arm was in a sling while healing and he could not do much general athletic work. He unwisely rushed back from the shoulder injury and jumped into the lineup and injured a hamstring.

Read more on ESPN New York.

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David Wright Notes: Health, October Baseball and The Future http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/david-wright-notes-health-october-baseball-and-the-future.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/david-wright-notes-health-october-baseball-and-the-future.html/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 13:00:01 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=175052 wright

Although the Mets position players are not due to report to Port St. Lucie until February 24th, David Wright is already putting in work on the field and talking to the media. He sat down for about 25 minutes on Sunday with various members of the media to talk about his shoulder, his expectations for the season, playoff baseball and more.

Here are a few key points extracted from his interview with ESPN’s Adam Rubin:

  • Wright commented on his shoulder, saying “It’s not something i’m worried about at all.” Wright missed significant time last season because of stretched out ligaments in his non-throwing shoulder that he suffered sliding head first into a base. He also noted that “I guess you really don’t know until you play games,” in reference to the strength of his shoulder at the present time.
  • Wright admits that at age 32, it is unrealistic for him to play in all 162 games this season. He understands that his body needs rest sometimes and he will not fight Terry Collins on the issue when it comes to giving him some off-days.
  • “Talk is cheap,” Wright said when it comes to speaking about October baseball, especially in February. “It’s about backing it up.”
  • The captain noted that he may not have ever before been a part of a team with such a strong pitching staff. He also drew comparisons of the Mets current bullpen to that of the 2006 playoff team.

Avery’s Thoughts:

I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say that there is more weight on David’s shoulders than ever before. Between the young flame throwers in the rotation, the dynamic role players in the pen, and a mix of young guys and veterans in the lineup, this is the best team David has been on in the last handful of years. There is a lot of expectation of this team making a potential playoff push, at least for a Wild Card. The team, the fans and the front office expect this team to be playing meaningful games in September.

In order for this to happen, Wright must be a new man from the one we saw on the field last year. Fans can blame the shoulder injury for the captain’s woeful season, but Wright won’t use that as an excuse. Wright batted .269/.324/.374 last year while batting eight home runs and driving in 63. That is just not the level of production that is going to carry this team to October baseball.

The pitching is there. Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Jacob DeGrom present one of the youngest and most dynamic front-three in all of baseball. The real question is whether the offensive will be able to support it. Bringing in Michael Cuddyer was really the only offensive-minded move Sandy Alderson made this summer and this points to one thing: the front office expects the offensive improvements to come from within. They expect Granderson to not have as slow a start as he did last year. They expect Lucas Duda to continue has power surge while increasing his production against left-handed pitching. While playing stellar defense, the Mets hope Juan Lagares can become a viable top of the lineup hitter that can swipe some bases. And Cuddyer, they hope will be the hitter that one the batting title in 2013.

However, it also starts and ends with Wright. I think it will be smart to give him his days off when he needs them, but he really needs to get into a grove early this season and stay healthy. Especially during the opening stretch of the season when the bulk of New York’s games will be divisional match ups.

All in all, I am excited about the potential of this season. I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that this season feels different. There seems to be some magic building and some pieces are finally taking form. That being said, the Mets have a ways to go.

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Even In Defeat, A-Rod’s Still A Winner http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/even-in-defeat-a-rods-still-a-winner.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/even-in-defeat-a-rods-still-a-winner.html/#comments Wed, 18 Feb 2015 14:00:22 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=174800 (Photo Credit: Noah K. Murray, USA TODAY Sports)

(Photo Credit: Noah K. Murray, USA TODAY Sports)

Alex Rodriguez‘s handwritten apology letter released to the media yesterday was a joke. It was authentic A-Rod: cold, unforgiving, and insincere. In a letter that should be the most humble apology we’ve ever heard, he didn’t explain himself. He didn’t even say what he did. He called his steroid use “the mistakes that led to my suspension.” However, it doesn’t matter at this point what A-Rod says (or writes). He realizes he doesn’t need to beg for forgiveness. He’s already won.

Sure, A-Rod’s reputation took a big hit years back when he admitted to using PEDs with the Texas Rangers between 2001 and 2003. But he was already hated. He had already alienated baseball fans everywhere with his stuck-up attitude. If you weren’t a Yankee fan, odds are you didn’t like him anyway.

Since then, Rodriguez has had nothing to lose. He’s played fast and loose with the media in the years since. He hasn’t cared what anyone thinks, nor has he needed to.

Yesterday, we saw two men in very similar yet vastly different situations. A-Rod apologized in what on the surface appeared to be a desperate move while Anthony Bosch, the former Florida clinic owner who sold steroids to A-Rod and others, cried in court before receiving a four-year prison sentence. While what Bosch did was far more despicable (selling steroids to minors), his punishment fits his crimes. A-Rod’s crimes against baseball will go practically unpunished.

No matter what happens with Alex Rodriguez this year, he wins. If he goes into spring training in terrible shape and can’t even beat out the likes of Chris Young and Chase Headley for playing time over the next two years, he still goes home $61 million richer, and that’s the worst case.

Even in a piece for ESPN New York scolding A-Rod and calling him “a serial liar and cheat who thought he needed underground pharmacology to become one of the all-time greats,” Ian O’Connor opened the door for redemption. “Alex Rodriguez has only one genuine way of connecting with fans who want to win a whole lot more than they want to read his handwritten B.S,” wrote O’Connor, “See the ball. Hit the ball. Hit the ball over the wall.”

Say Rodriguez returns with a 30 home run season and leads the Yankees to a surprise playoff run. In a country that craves redemption stories, he will suddenly be a hero, or at least, his reputation will be partially repaired. And that’s the problem.

A-Rod lied to the media, fans, his teammates, and his bosses time after time. He made us sympathize with him over the “pressures” he faced in Texas and made some understand why he did what he did. He even convinced most that he had turned over a new leaf. He has stepped on people and used the media to push people around. He doesn’t deserve a shot at redemption. Heck, he doesn’t even deserve his money. Players will look at A-Rod as someone who, while his reputation is damaged, got away with it all. He won’t get a plaque in Cooperstown or have his number retired by the Yankees, but he comes out of it all with fame, fortune, and yes, a shot at forgiveness. If he got through, so can others. How many times are we going to give clearly bad people who don’t show any true remorse second, third, and fourth chances? Until there is some sort of genuine, collaborative effort by both the players, owners, and teams to stop this from happening, can we really bet on players not repeating these mistakes? Can we really declare the so-called “Steroid Era” over?

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The Make Or Break Mets http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/the-make-or-break-mets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/the-make-or-break-mets.html/#comments Mon, 16 Feb 2015 15:48:12 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=174745 wright dugout harvey degrom

Mike Puma of the New York Post questions just how big of a window the Mets have to compete given the makeup of the team.

“In one sense, they are a team built on exciting young talent — think the power arms of Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Zack Wheeler and Juan Lagares’ explosive legs.

But in another sense, these are the Mets of David Wright, Curtis Granderson and Michael Cuddyer, all of whom already may have played the best baseball and could continue a downward trend in 2015.”

Puma points out that roughly 47 percent of the Mets’ projected Opening Day payroll will be allocated to Wright, Granderson and Cuddyer.

“Wright, 32, has another six years and $107 million remaining on the contract extension he signed before the 2013 season. Granderson, who will turn 34 next month, has three years and $47 million remaining on his deal. Cuddyer, who will turn 36 before Opening Day, signed in November for two years and $21 million.”

He tabs the Mets as a team that is only partly rebuilt from within and partly  veteran-laden with expensive players past their prime. In other words, he says, Alderson recreated the same team he inherited upon his arrival.

I think Puma misses the mark on a couple of things. First, the core strength of this team is still the young power pitching which he seems to gloss over. Harvey, deGrom, Matz, Syndergaard, Wheeler – this is the foundation upon which this team is built. Not Wright, Granderson and Cuddyer.

Also, there’s the positional depth that we hadn’t had before. Behind Cuddyer you have Nimmo, behind Granderson you have Conforto. There’s a plan here.

Look, I get that the scant resources Alderson has had to work with could have been spent or allocated better. I won’t deny that. But the overall body of his work was centered on rebuilding the farm and developing a pipeline of high upside talent to the majors, all while navigating through some choppy financial waters.

This is the year when we should be able to start reaping the rewards of this long rebuild. I like where this team is and I believe we are well positioned for a nice run of success.

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Spring Training 2015: It Was Harvey Day In Port St. Lucie http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/spring-training-2015-it-was-harvey-day-in-port-st-lucie.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/spring-training-2015-it-was-harvey-day-in-port-st-lucie.html/#comments Mon, 09 Feb 2015 20:07:28 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=174499 It’s 21 degrees here in New York, and as I look out my window I see gray skies, freezing rain, and an inch of ice is covering everything. But down in Port St. Lucie the sun is shining, the weather is gorgeous, and the Mets are getting ready for a new baseball season!.

matt harvey

Matt Harvey arrived to camp today and spoke to reporters after performing various running and agility drills and taking part in a round of fielding practice with his teammates.

According to Adam Rubin he expects to throw a bullpen session in the next few days, but isn’t sure when he’ll face hitters. Harvey also would like to face hitters relatively soon, but Mets officials said he won’t do that until March.

“Whatever they decide, obviously that’s what we’re going to go with and we’ll see what happens throughout spring training,” Harvey said.

harvey wheeler spring

“My goal is to be ready for opening day and regardless of what’s decided as far as starting roster, that’s not up to me. As far as that goes, I meant being healthy for the start of the season as far as being able to play. As of now I feel great and right where I want to be to be ready for that.”

Rubin adds that Harvey is confident he’ll be able to regain the form he had in 2013, when he went 9-5 with a 2.27 ERA, struck out 191 batters in 178.1 innings and was the National League starter in the All-Star game.

matt harvey spring

“My mindset’s the same,” he said. “I’m going attack hitters the way I always do. It’s not like I’ve missed pitching for that long. I’ve pitched my whole life. Getting back and being down here in spring training and facing hitters is a huge plus and very exciting for me. As far as that mindset goes, it’s going to stay the same.”

Donning the new Mets alternate cap for 2015, Harvey showed up brimming with confidence and from what we’re hearing the rest of the team is feeding off of it. He’s become a beacon of hope and excitement not just for fans but for his teammates as well.

Seeing some of the video clips of Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Zack Wheeler working out side by side this morning gave me goosebumps. It’s going to be amazing watching them perform together for the first time ever in the same starting rotation.

mets spring training

One last note… Jared Diamond says attendance is pretty high at Tradition Field, especially with 10 days remaining until pitchers and catchers are required to report. A lot of early arrivals. #WheresTerry :-)

Among those in camp are Zack Wheeler, Jacob deGrom, Travis d’Arnaud, Lucas Duda, Josh Edgin, and Eric Campbell.

(Photos by Daily News, NY Post, Mets.com)

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MLB Source: Yoan Moncada Could Be Next Robinson Cano http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/mlb-source-yoan-moncada-could-be-next-robinson-cano.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/mlb-source-yoan-moncada-could-be-next-robinson-cano.html/#comments Mon, 09 Feb 2015 00:37:44 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=174484 yoan moncada

As was reported last week, Cuban phenom Yoan Moncada is now free to sign with any MLB team.

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says he can’t find one GM, either involved or not involved in obtaining him, who doesn’t rave about Moncada, and who wouldn’t take him No. 1 in the draft if he were an American amateur player.

“Most teams involved can’t talk about Moncada on the record because he’s a free agent, but one National League talent evaluator pointed out, “He could be the next Robinson Cano or Chase Utley, but more Cano. That’s the kind of potential bat we’re talking about.”

“He may be better than Yasiel Puig or Jose Abreu or Yoenis Cespedes or Jorge Soler,” said one National League GM. “Certainly there’s more upside, and the fact he’s a middle infielder who can hit for average and power makes him a much sought-after commodity. There isn’t anyone who compares to him in the draft or a player of his age around the league. He’s got every tool.”

The Red Sox, Yankees, Dodgers, Padres, Brewers, and Cubs have been the most aggressive, but the Athletics, Phillies, Tigers, Giants, Rays, and Rangers also covet him, writes Cafardo.

Sandy Alderson spoke with season ticket holders and told them the Mets are unlikely to bid on the Cuban phenom because of the cost and because league rules would prohibit them from making future signings.

“We’ve seen him, we like him, I doubt that we’ll be in on him. This is a player who is 19-years-old, he’s subject to the International Pool limits that exist for amateur International players, so – let’s say he gets a $30 million contract, that would require an immediate $30 million tax be paid within 30 days. And, more importantly than that, it would also limit us over the next two years from signing another Amed Rosario out of the Dominican Republic.”

“I think our goal here is that we invest at least somewhat efficiently, but also spread it out so we give ourselves the best chance to succeed. The bottom line is that our farm system is one of the best in baseball. So, one of these days, maybe we will be in on a guy like Moncada, but my guess is that you’re going to find that teams that are in on him don’t have a Rosario at the bottom end of their system, and they’re doing it because of a real hole they have as opposed to dealing from strength.”

I don’t know how true that is when you have the Cubs’ Theo Epstein in on Moncada despite having two of the best middle infield prospects in baseball right now. I think it’s just easier to say we can’t afford him and stop there. Because anything else doesn’t really matter if you’re never in a position to afford him anyway.

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Rob Manfred Urges HOF Voters Not To “Assume PED Use” http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/rob-manfred-urges-hof-voters-not-to-assume-ped-use.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/rob-manfred-urges-hof-voters-not-to-assume-ped-use.html/#comments Sat, 07 Feb 2015 13:55:18 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=174415 mlb_e_manfred11_600x400

During a half-hour Q and A session with some ESPN reporters, new baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said that Hall Of Fame voters should not assume people did Performance Enhancing Drugs without evidence.

“I think it’s unfair for people to surmise that Player A did X, Y or Z, absent a positive test, or proof that we produced in an investigation, or whatever. I just think it runs contrary to a very fundamental notion in our society, that you’re innocent until somebody proves you’re guilty.”

Manfred did not address any players by name, but if any two players on the ballot should be happy to hear him say this, they’re first baseman Jeff Bagwell and catcher Mike Piazza. Both players sport career numbers that merit a first-ballot induction, however swirling PED rumors have stunted their ascension to HOF immortality.

Bagwell is one player who is “suspected of PED use”, but nothing more. Known among other things for his batting stance, he played all of his 14.5 seasons for the Houston Astros along new Hall inductee Craig Biggio. He hit 449 home runs and drove in 1529 RBIs to the tune of a .297/.408/.540 slash line. The 1991 NL Rookie of the Year also won 3 Silver Slugger awards and one Gold Glove. The 4-time All Star was the 1994 NL MVP. In the strike-shortened season, he hit .368/.451/.750 with 39 home runs and 116 RBIs in only 400 at bats.

Piazza is another player who, in my opinion, should have been inducted on his first ballot but has been punished without evidence of PED use. He played most of his career with the Dodgers and Mets, as well as short stints with the Marlins, Padres, and Athletics. Beginning with his NL Rookie Of The Year win in 1993, Piazza would be an All Star every season until 2002, and then again in 2004 and 2005. Despite never winning an MVP, he won the Silver Slugger award for catchers every year from 1993-2002. He hit 427 career home runs with a .308/.377/.545 slash line and 1,335 RBIs. In 1997 he had one of the best offensive seasons ever for a catcher, hitting .362/.431/.638 with 40 home runs and 124 RBIs, with 201 hits and 104 runs scored in 152 games.

Both players absolutely have the credentials to be inducted into Cooperstown, and Rob Manfred urging voters to dismiss rumors not backed by evidence could help both their cases. This last vote, Bagwell finished with 55.7% of the vote and Piazza had 69.9%. Both players have shown an upward trend in voting totals in recent years, but neither have been able to get over the 75% needed.

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Frank Cashen Ranked 10th Best GM in Baseball History http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/frank-cashen-ranked-10th-best-gm-in-baseball-history.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/frank-cashen-ranked-10th-best-gm-in-baseball-history.html/#comments Thu, 05 Feb 2015 22:14:00 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=174392 cashen

So our friends Mark Armour and Dan Levitt are continuing to roll out their Top General Managers in MLB history. They, of course, are the co-writers of In Pursuit of Pennants, which examines how front offices have historically found innovative ways to build winning teams.

Last week, they named ranked Sandy Alderson 12th Best GM of all time, which led to some hot debate as you would imagine. But this time I think most Mets fans will be pleased and will whole-heartedly agree with their choice of Frank Cashen as the 10th Best GM of All Time.

“Frank Cashen had two stints running a big league baseball operation.  In his first job he oversaw a budding great team as president and later kept it contending in the GM role as well. At his second stop he took over a long struggling franchise that needed a complete transformation.  He succeeded at these two opposite challenges masterfully, meriting his status as one baseball’s best baseball ops executives.”

frank-cashen-davey-johnson

“In early 1980 Nelson Doubleday, the new owner of the New York Mets, talked Cashen back into baseball, giving him complete control of the club (acting as both GM and the COO).  The Mets had been a woeful team for four years, and in 1979 played before fewer than 800,000 fans (still the low water mark for the team).  Cashen told ownership that he needed at least four years to turn the organization around, and he began by revamping the scouting and minor league systems.  Over the next several years the Mets developed Daryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, Kevin Mitchell, Lenny Dykstra, Mookie Wilson, Rick Aguilera and several others.”

“Cashen’s biggest decision for 1984 was the hiring of new manager — Davey Johnson, who Cashen knew from his Oriole days.  Johnson had managed in the system, and like Cashen wanted to play the kids rather than continuing to lose with veterans.”

Of course the Mets would go onto win 90 games that year after having won fewer than 70 for seven consecutive seasons, and then the rest, as they say, is history.

This is an excellent read with some great biographical research. Check out the rest of the article here.

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Featured Post: A Call For Optimism As New Season Approaches http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/featured-post-a-call-for-optimism-as-new-season-approaches.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/featured-post-a-call-for-optimism-as-new-season-approaches.html/#comments Wed, 04 Feb 2015 11:53:54 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=174002 wright spring

We all come to this website for the same reason; we all love the Mets.  While we all love the Mets, we may not all love what has been going on with our team.  We may disagree about the owners, the manager, the coaches and whom they trot out there, but one thing we cannot disagree on is this…

Baseball is a special game because any team can beat any team on any given day.

We as fans cannot control who controls our team.  We can whine as much as we want about owners, coaches and players, but none of us have any control over the Mets as a franchise.

With or without the Wilpons the Mets will take the field with the opportunity to win. With or without Terry Collins, the Mets will be afforded the occasion to score more runs than the other team. With this current roster of players, the Mets will have 162 chances to be victorious. Enthusiasm and hope are on the rise again, and even Mets ticket sales are up a reported 20 percent according to Newsday, you can order your tickets here.

There is a time for negativity, especially as a Mets fan.  Right now just isn’t that time. With each new season comes a clean slate.  The year 2015 is no different. The Mets will start the year with a 0-0 record.

This goes not only for the Mets but also for every team.  All baseball fans should be optimistic in April.  The Mets and 28 other teams had to “wait ‘til next year”.  We are not alone, but the fact remains that each and every game is winnable.

It doesn’t matter what you or I think will happen, what matters is what actually happens. While the common fan and “expert analysts” may make predictions on which teams will play meaningful games come September, they are seldom correct. It’s easy to say which teams will and will not make the playoffs but the fact remains that each year there are surprises and disappointments with those predictions.

People like to point out which teams spent the most or acquired the most but that, again, does not always equal a playoff spot.  Sometimes low payroll teams win and sometimes high payroll teams lose. Nobody is ever a shoe-in. This applies especially in the game of baseball. Not with 162 games to play.  Not with a three round playoff system and a sudden death wild card round.  Not when the winner isn’t decided in a one game winner takes all championship.  A baseball season is not a sprint; it is a marathon, slow and steady wins the race.

New York Mets Spring Training at their Minor League practice facility located within Tradition Field in Florida

It’s easy to fall victim to negativity as a Mets fan.  Without much to celebrate since 2006, we must, as Mets fans, look at this coming season in a positive light.  Every season should be approached with optimism, but I will plead my case for 2015 in particular.

Last year, we won 79 games.  That roster has not changed much, besides the addition of Matt Harvey, a full year of Jacob deGrom, Michael Cuddyer and Wilmer Flores‘ bat at short. They lost 30 games by one run or in extra innings. That’s 109 winnable games out of 162.  The Mets roster in comparison to last year has not gotten worse with those additions.  It may not be substantially better but it is certainly not worse. The Mets are not getting destroyed; they are “in” almost every game.  Only 33% of the time in those losses, was the game out of a home run’s reach in the last inning.

For those who predict an exact or roundabout number of wins for an entire season, you are missing out.  You are missing out on the beauty of what a baseball season is made of.  You are forgetting that each series, game, inning, out and pitch is its own entity.  You are negating each hit, bloop, blast and bobble to a mere unrelated number.  You are omitting everything that makes the game of baseball beautiful and have failed to remember that as of April 6th 2015, the Mets are not out of the playoffs yet.

I invite all who predict to remove themselves from their crystal ball and remember that each time the Mets wear any of their many combinations of blue and orange – there is a chance they will win.  I challenge you to look at each game as its own small jigsaw of a 162-piece puzzle.

Let’s keep the playoffs and a championship on the back burner and focus on each game as its own being.

Ask yourself on April 6th, “Can the Mets win today?”, the answer is yes. The answer to that question will be yes for another 161 games as well.

matt harvey

Series breakdown

I offer to you, my fellow met fans, a new way to look at a season.  It involves no prediction and it allows time for optimism until the team tells you otherwise.

I wrote an article recapping the Mets season series record a while back.  In it I mentioned that my coach in college would say, “you don’t have to win every game, you just have to win the series.” before we embarked on a weekend 3 game set.

I have since developed a system to tell me if I should be negative or not.

The season is separated into 54 individual 3 game series’.  Download the attached link to get your own print out of my season series breakdown. Following the season with this formula lets you know when its time to be negative.

The goal is to win 2 out of every three games (108 wins).  Obviously, even the best teams do not do this (unless you’re the 1986 Mets), so each team will end up with a negative number.  The average playoff team finishes with a season total no worse than -18.

Each series the Mets can sweep (+1), get swept (-2) win two out of three (0) or lose 2 out of 3 (-1).

Looking at the season this way gives each game meaning up until that breaking point.  Even at that breaking point there is a chance to sweep or win a series to stay afloat.

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Final Thoughts

As a side note, when I take my nephews to games (my daughter will go to her first game this year), they don’t complain about the Wilpons. They don’t argue over Sandy’s decisions and they have no say about the lineup Terry put together.  They just love the Mets and know when they get to the ballpark; there is a chance for them to win that day. It’s pure unbridled optimism. As adults, we too often over-analyze and scrutinize things out of our control.  Lets try something different this year; let’s watch the game and the team we love like we used to when we were kids. At least until they get to -18 with my formula.  Last year, that happened 84 games into the season. I hope you guys enjoy and Lets Go Mets!

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Syndergaard Among Five Mets Prospects In MLB Top 100 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/syndergaard-among-five-mets-prospects-in-mlb-top-100.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/syndergaard-among-five-mets-prospects-in-mlb-top-100.html/#comments Sat, 31 Jan 2015 18:00:43 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=173584 noah syndergaard - las vegas 51s

RHP Noah Syndergaard has been ranked by MLB.com as the third best pitching prospect in baseball for 2015.

“Even though he was pitching at home in hitting-friendly Las Vegas, Syndergaard still managed to lead the organization in strikeouts in 2014,” said MLB Network’s Jonathan Mayo.

“The two-time Futures Gamer is knocking on the door with his combination of stuff and command, a fastball that can get up to 98 mph, a curve and a changeup, all of which are above-average offerings. His 3.82 strikeout-to-walk ratio in his career thus far speaks volumes about what he’s capable of.”

The Top 100 Prospects is put together by prospect experts Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis and they base it mostly on input from league wide scouts and scouting directors.

MLB released their Top 100 on MLB Network last night, ranking Syndergaard No. 10 overall. Four other Mets prospects made the cut including C Kevin Plawecki (No. 63), LHP Steven Matz (No. 66), OF Brandon Nimmo (No. 72) and OF Michael Conforto (No. 82).

Congrats to all of them.

Syndergaard is expected to begin the season in Triple-A where he’ll be the ace of a Las Vegas rotation that will also feature fellow Top 100 prospect Steve Matz, Rafael Montero, and Cory Mazzoni.

(Updated 1/31)

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Alderson Ranked 12th Best GM Ever http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/alderson-ranked-12th-best-gm-ever.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/alderson-ranked-12th-best-gm-ever.html/#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2015 20:51:53 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=174056 Sandy-Alderson-New-York-Mets1

According to Mark L. Armour and Daniel R. Levitt, authors of the new book Pursuit of Pennants: Baseball Operations from Deadball to Moneyball, Sandy Alderson is the 12th-best General Manager in baseball history.

“He was the first modern GM to actively introduce analytics, though rudimentary by current standards, into a team’s decision making, and he was the first young executive of the modern era hired to run a major league team’s baseball operations without coming from a baseball background.”

Alderson has had 5 winning seasons in 19 as a GM. All of them came in one five year run in Oakland. He has since had  9 consecutive losing seasons and his lifetime record as a GM is 1,504 – 1,508.

I’d bet Sandy would be the first to tell you he relied mostly on his advisers during that one period of success. He is being miscast by these authors who are really lauding him as an innovator and not as a GM that boasts a historic record of success.

But ironically, his innovative use of advanced metrics wasn’t what drove that one run of winning baseball. It was a Top 5 payroll ,and some would also add the 4-5  MVP caliber players that were rampant steroid users, that led to that success. Not sure if that’s totally valid, but it’s certainly in the mainstream so I mention it.

The advanced metrics and their impact, didn’t really kick in until his assistant and protege Billy Beane took over as general manager after new ownership slashed payroll to a bottom 5 level and Alderson resigned.

After some strong consideration, I think what these authors should have called this list is The Most Influential GMs In Baseball History, and if they did, I’d argue Alderson should be in the top five. But if by best you mean a great record of success, I’m not sure Alderson should be ranked this high.

However, if he brings a championship to the Mets under these current conditions, I’ll call him the best ever.

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MLB Commissioner Defends Naming Fred Wilpon Finance Committee Chairman http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/mlb-commissioner-defends-naming-fred-wilpon-finance-committee-chairman.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/mlb-commissioner-defends-naming-fred-wilpon-finance-committee-chairman.html/#comments Sun, 25 Jan 2015 22:22:12 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=173441 saul katz and fred wilpon

I wanted to update this post with some quotes via the New York Times from incoming MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred.

Responding to criticism over naming Fred Wilpon chairman of the MLB Finance committee, Manfred said:

“I understand the whole Madoff thing, but before and since, Fred Wilpon was an extraordinarily successful businessman.”

Manfred said the committee Wilpon will chair deals with two issues, executive compensation and a central office budget. “Obviously, to be a successful businessman, you have to know how to budget.”

“If you really understand which committees do what, I don’t see it as an issue,” Manfred said.

“He understands how the budget process in baseball has worked, and he’s more than qualified to fill that role.”

January 19

If any of you were hanging onto a slim hope that new MLB commissioner Rob Manfred would somehow be the antithesis to Bud Selig who turned a blind eye as Mets owner Fred Wilpon skirted the rules and nearly bankrupted a big market franchise, think again.

Bill Madden of the Daily News reports there was a lot more happening at last week’s owners meeting in Arizona than just a farewell party for Bud Selig.

New head honcho Rob Manfred announced a complete overhaul of major league baseball’s hierarchy and among the new restructuring he named Mets owner Fred Wilpon the new chairman and head of the MLB Finance Committee.

In what was his first major decision as the 10th commissioner of baseball, Manfred showed that the commissioner’s office will continue to have the same close and binding relationship with Fred and Jeff Wilpon – just as it had for nearly a quarter of a century under Bud Selig.

Wilpon, who allegedly lost about $700 million in the largest Ponzi scheme in American History – the second time he was embroiled in a massive Ponzi scheme – was nearly forced to sell the team three years ago and is still on uncertain financial footing.

Fox guarding the henhouse copy

What makes Manfred’s decision so bizarre is that Fred Wilpon admits to not being the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to financing, and in fact, Wilpon’s entire defense case in the trial brought on by trustee Irving Picard was based on his ignorance of how the convicted Bernie Madoff oversaw his investments as well as his role in team finances. His entire defense was based on ignorance of his own team’s finances.

Wilpon used Madoff to run the team’s finances and turned a blind eye as he negotiated deferred money into players’ contracts and then used that money to invest in high-yield fraudulent investments to make money for themselves before paying players.

The trustee, Irving Picard, also alleged at the time that the Wilpons had enriched themselves over many years of profitable investing – even outpacing the S&P 500 by 6-8% – while ignoring repeated warnings that Madoff was fudging the numbers, was fabricating false quarterly and annual statements that showed huge fictitious gains and balances, and even internal complaints from their own employees that he was committing fraud.

In addition to the millions lost in the Madoff affair, the Wilpons are currently buried waist deep in nearly three quarters of a billion dollars in debt between the team and the SNY Network which broadcasts the team’s games. A huge portion of that debt – a reported $600 million – is actually due in June of this year.

The MLB Players Association has recently opened an investigation looking into financial inconsistencies regarding offseason workouts being held at the team’s complex in Port St. Lucie. A team consultant is leasing space and then charging players who participate in a voluntary training regimen fees ranging between $1,000-$4,400 dollars.

It’s mystifying and completely logic-defying that Manfred would tap Wilpon for such an important chairmanship – one that on the surface would require someone who was supremely qualified in the areas of corporate finance and investing.

It just goes to show that the old adage is true — It’s not what you know, but who you know. Sadly, in his first official act as commissioner, Manfred looks to continue years of Selig cronyism under the guise of the best interest of the game.

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Featured Post: Promises, Promises http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/featured-post-promises-promises.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/featured-post-promises-promises.html/#comments Sat, 24 Jan 2015 17:09:07 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=173646 new-york-mets braintrust collins, katz, wilpon alderson
On Wednesday, executive vice president Lou DePaoli told Newsday that Mets ticket sales are up 19.26 percent over last year.

Considering the team hasn’t produced a winning season since 2008 and failed to add any high-priced box-office draw, Howard Megdal of Capital New York finds it astonishing that ticket sales would surge that significantly especially since they did nothing to impact those two primary drivers of attendance spikes for baseball teams.

Additionally he asks, if sales are really up almost 20 percent, it would also seem to “fly in the face of a promise by the team’s financially troubled owners to increase payroll when revenue rose.”

“Why would the team invite such trouble with its fan base, after years of misleadingly sunny projections and unfulfilled spending pledges,” he asks.

Megdal speculates that one motivation for the Mets to come out and make such a public claim is because it helps their defense in the discrimination lawsuit against the team by a former Mets executive who was in charge of ticket sales. Plus the fact remains that the Mets could claim anything they want right now and can distort those figures knowing that they are not obligated to provide evidence of it.

An increase in sales this large would be historic. Megdal points out how the Seattle Mariners experienced the biggest jump in attendance in 2014, going from 1,761,546 in 2013 to 2,064,334, a rise of 302,788, or a jump of 17.1 percent.

But the Mariners drove that by signing Robinson Cano for $240 million and giving Felix Hernandez a $175 million extension, arguably the best hitter and pitcher in the game.

Even if you assume this 19 percent spike in sales is completely legit and the Mets have truly achieved an “economic miracle” without a winning season or big splash signing, why are they not acting like a team swimming in $23 million dollars of new revenue?

Why do the Mets continue to cower in fear at the presence of any player who could help the team when the subject turns to dollars?

According to my own calculations and assuming the Mets unload Dillon Gee, payroll will see a slight uptick of about $3 million dollars above last year’s $89 million level. If they trade Daniel Murphy at the deadline – as many predict – payroll could actually finish lower again for the fifth straight year.

So if things are so much improved financially, and if money issues are in the rear view mirror, and attendance is rising, and now we hear revenue is projected to rise at MLB historic levels, why does it still feel like we’re in Kansas?

Inquiring minds want to know.

“I do believe that payroll will go up if we’re able to generate the kind of revenue that will support that.” ~ Sandy Alderson

Promises, promises…

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Mets To Unveil New Larger High-Def Scoreboard At Citi Field http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/mets-to-unveil-new-larger-high-def-scoreboard-at-citi-field.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/mets-to-unveil-new-larger-high-def-scoreboard-at-citi-field.html/#comments Mon, 19 Jan 2015 22:46:40 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=173526 citi field hi def scoreboard
2015 CITI FIELD SCOREBOARD UPGRADE

The New York Mets announced today they are installing a new Daktronics high definition Citi Field center field video board that is 62% larger than the original screen.

The installation puts the Mets in the top 10 largest displays in professional baseball and makes Citi Field one of the few baseball venues to feature more than one video capable LED display in the seating bowl.

“As we look forward to a great season on the field in 2015, these significantly bigger and higher resolution video boards are state-of-the-art in size and LED technology and reinforce our commitment to provide our fans a superior experience when attending games at Citi Field,” said Mets COO Jeff Wilpon.

The new true high definition video display in centerfield will measure 54 feet high by 105 feet wide and feature a 13HD pixel layout resulting in more than 1.5 million pixels.

Two new ribbon displays along the left field fascia of the seating areas will measure approximately five feet high by 234 feet wide and five feet high by 49 feet wide respectively.

The larger display will feature sponsor messaging and the other display will track strikeouts of opposing batters by Mets pitchers via a “K-Board.”

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Rockies Shopping Charlie Blackmon http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/rockies-dangling-charlie-blackmon-why-mets-should-check-in.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/rockies-dangling-charlie-blackmon-why-mets-should-check-in.html/#comments Mon, 19 Jan 2015 05:44:37 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=173518 charlie-blackmon-

It’s that time of year.  As January rolls towards it’s conclusion and the spring training itch becomes an irritant, I rifle through baseball stats and begin my research for the fantasy baseball draft.  That process always unearths some surprises.

I play in a 15 team keepers league. Overall production, not positional balance has always been the philosophy that guides my draft selection process. Overall I rank position players in one giant pool based on an arbitrary star system.  That system is built around solid, above average performance in all five offensive categories.

To earn five stars, a position player must hit .275 or higher, score 75 runs or more, slam at least 20 home runs, amass 75 or more RBI and steal a minimum of 20 bases. Attaining each of those marks earns a star.  Position players who earn stars in each category are 5-Star players, guys to be coveted on draft night, you get the idea.

Amazingly, based on 2014 statistics only one major league position player reached my minimums and rated as a 5-star player.  Can you can guess who he is? It was Cleveland outfielder Michael Brantley. Brantley batted .327 with 94 runs scored, exactly reached the minimum HR total of 20, knocked home 97 runs and stole 23 bases. That’s quite a season.

Another young outfielder who had quite a season is the Colorado Rockies’ Charlie Blackmon. Sources tell Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports that the Rockies have discussed Blackmon in trade talks with multiple teams.

“The Rockies have spoken with the New York Mets about Dillon Gee this offseason, but Blackmon almost certainly would be too high of a price to pay for Gee alone. The Mets also appear set with their starting outfield of Curtis Granderson, Juan Lagares and Michael Cuddyer.”

Blackmon was a National League All-Star in 2014, batting .288 with 27 doubles, 19 home runs, 82 runs, 72 RBIs and 28 stolen bases, while batting leadoff for the Rockies.

This might be the place where Sandy Alderson lets caution blow away in the wind and makes a move.  At 28, Blackmon is just beginning to move into his high production years and would come with a low price tag and be under the Mets control through the 2018 season.

Yes, there are some concerns. Blackmon was an under the radar minor leaguer who was never projected to become a major league star. 2014 was a breakout year for him and Coors Field is a lot more friendlier hitting venue than Citi Field.  And his splits fell off some in the second half of the season; .305/.349/.479 compared to .288/.335/.440.

But, even Blackmon’s second half slash line would have shined for the Mets and would have ranked second in batting average to Daniel Murphy by only a point and third in slugging percentage by a whisker behind Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Lucas Duda.

With all our young pitching prospects it seems a lower level arm like Cory Mazzoni or Michael Fulmer could be added to a trade with Gee. That would give Colorado two potential starting pitching options in the trade. Possibly, to compensate for Colorado’s outfield loss ,Nieuwenhuis might be dangled to help get the deal done.

Blackmon is a versatile outfielder who played in all three outfield slots last year for Colorado. The kid is also durable and played in 153 games for the Rockies.  Further more, Blackmon batted at the top of the lineup in Colorado.  That’s an area that has been sorely lacking for the Mets since Jose Reyes. Blackmon’s 19 HR’s were second in the league from the lead-off spot trailing only Carlos Gomez of the Brewers.

Yes, on paper the Mets outfield is set, but Michael Cuddyer’s track record includes long stints on the disabled list, and John Mayberry is not adequate in filling in as a long-term replacement given his woeful numbers against RHP.

Blackmon’s breakout season and his promising numbers should make Colorado’s left-handed lead-off hitter an appealing option for the Mets.  Most appealing, though, would be his $504,000 price tag in 2015.

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Kevin Long Discusses Hitting Approach and Philosophy http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/kevin-long-discusses-hitting-apporach-and-philosophy.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/kevin-long-discusses-hitting-apporach-and-philosophy.html/#comments Sun, 18 Jan 2015 14:00:49 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=173425 Kevin long cage

This off-season, the Mets hired former Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long to help alleviate some of the Mets woes on offense. In an article by John Harper of the NY Daily News, Long shared his thoughts about the Mets approach and he believes there are misconceptions about it.

“I think they’ve had to try to change the culture here,’’ says Long. “It’s funny, because, isn’t walking a byproduct of swinging at good pitches? It’s about swinging at good pitches. It’s about making smart decisions.”

“I believe the most important thing you can have as an offensive unit is guys that walk and guys that drive the baseball for power. But to drive the baseball, they have to swing at strikes.”

“I’d say that 95% of big league hitters can do damage with a pitch that gets some part of the heart of the plate. So if we can hone in on that, our walks will go up and we’ll drive the baseball.”

“I do think you can be too patient, if you’re taking fastballs in the heart of the plate just to work the count. But with some guys you do need to make them take just so they learn. We want to be aggressive in the strike zone but take the walk if it’s available because we want traffic on the bases. It goes hand in hand.”

Long also talked about his own philosophy and style as a coach:

“I feel very comfortable with what I see and taking that to the player and saying, ‘here’s what I’m seeing, here’s the adjustment I think needs to be made, here’s the drill I think can fix that, and let’s go to work.’

“Part of it is listening to their feedback too and creating a trust with the player. My philosophy is that I work within a guy’s individual scheme. I don’t have a cookie-cutter approach. Remember Walt Hriniak (a Charley Lau disciple who worked with the Red Sox and White Sox in the 80s), where everybody did it one way? That’s not my style.

“My style is more to work within what an Ichiro does, or a Jeter did, or a Cano. Or take a Swisher and kind of put him back together again. I’ve been given a lot of credit for being able to do that. And I feel comfortable doing that, where some hitting coaches, they can’t do it. It’s not their forte.”

Long has already worked with some of Mets hitters and provided an early analysis of several players. Here is what he had to say:

David Wright:

“I wasn’t here, I didn’t live that shoulder injury with him, but if you have a shoulder injury and you start to extend your swing, especially on a pitch away that you want to drive to the opposite field…if you feel pain doing that, you cut your swing off to compensate, and you can’t get through the ball and drive it. What I’m seeing now is a guy who’s healthy, he feels good, and I’m sure he’s on a little bit of a mission.”

Lucas Duda:

“He’s a beast. This guy’s special. You know when Lucas Duda’s hitting because it’s a different sound. There are some things he needs to work on, and lefthanded pitching is one of those. But we’ll gain on it. Remember, the knock on Curtis (Granderson) was he couldn’t hit lefties. And what happened? He ended up killing lefties (as a Yankee). It’s basically about angles. We’ve started on some drills to help Lucas with that and, I’ll tell you what, he looks great.”

Curtis Granderson

“I’m excited about working with him. We’ll just try to get back to what he was doing some of those years (with the Yankees) when he was hitting 40 home runs. You look at where his swing was. You look at where it is now. I felt like we had a very good blueprint. Get compact, ‘A’ swings that will play in any ballpark.”

Wilmer Flores

“He has a good understanding, a good feel for what he’s doing. He uses his hands real well. A lot has been made of using his lower half a little more. He’s a no-stride guy so he should be able to make good decisions. He’s looking to go middle-away but I feel like he reacts to the ball inside very well. There’s room for improvement and we’ll address things as we go along.”

Travis d’Arnaud

“When he came back from Triple-A he looked like he had some fire in him, and he wasn’t thinking so much. He’s got to get his body in a good position to be explosive. He’s got power but when his hands are moving all around or he’s jumping at the ball, those things aren’t going to come out. He’s quieted down quite a bit and he’s moving in the right direction.”

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Mets Paying Out Of Pocket For Training (Updated) http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/mets-paying-out-of-pocket-for-training-updated.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/mets-paying-out-of-pocket-for-training-updated.html/#comments Fri, 16 Jan 2015 02:53:25 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=173266 fitness camp tejada michigan

In the spirit of fair play some new facts emerged since news broke this morning that Mets players were being charged $1,000 to participate in offseason workouts at Port St. Lucie.

Most of the legwork on this was conducted by Mike Vorkunov and it does clear up some issues.

First of all, no other MLB teams have offseason workouts in January where players have to pay out of pocket. In fact, the MLB Players Association quickly decided to investigate this once they learned about it, and spokesperson Greg Bouris confirmed they are looking into this.

Vorkunov says the Collective Bargaining Agreement allows for mini-camps in January but for no more than seven days and only to players on the 40 man roster who are not yet arbitration eligible.

“The mini-camp, the CBA specifies, is voluntary and players have to be invited by a formal process and receive paid accommodation,” he writes. “These workouts, however, do not seem to fit under these parameters.”

A Mets spokesperson confirmed that each player is paying $1,000 to participate. They also said that Mike Barwis is a consultant for the organization and an independent contractor who is renting the facility. The fees collected from the players go to him, not the Mets.

This afternoon, we spoke to the father of one of the Mets minor leaguers and this is what he told us:

“It’s a good deal, they pay for his food, supplements, a hotel room, and it is a good
value for the camp.”

“He trains with the bigger named players and prospects, and they all train together and learn from each other.”

“Typically a trainer would cost us $300 to $1,000 dollars a month, and private even more. I believe we are getting bang for our buck.”

I hope this adds a little more clarity to the situation. At MMO we do strive to tell the complete story. We always update our reports as new and relevant information is received.

Original Post 1:00 PM

We had a big discussion about this a year ago, when we heard that Wilmer Flores, Ruben Tejada and a few others were footing the bill to fly to Michigan and stay there for three weeks to participate in a voluntary offseason training regimen run by Strength and Conditioning Consultant Mike Barwis.

Now that the training facility has been relocated to the team’s complex in Port St. Lucie, it’s being reported by Florida reporter Jon Santucci that the players are still being charged to participate.

Adam Rubin elaborated on Twitter:

screenshot-hardballtalk nbcsports com 2015-01-15 12-53-47

According to Craig Calcaterra of NBC Sports, during the Winter Meetings he spoke with a baseball source who voiced some non-specific skepticism about these workouts and the Mets’ hiring of Barwis.

“I am going to assume that Rubin’s view — that Mets players are, more or less, being compelled to attend these things, at their own expense, no less— is what they were talking about.”

“If this is true — and given that Barwis himself is telling people that minor leaguers are paying him, there’s a good chance it is  — it’s simply awful.”

Is Calcaterra right? Is this awful? Or is this fair game for the Mets to operate these offseason workouts this way? Are other teams doing this?

Charging your players to attend voluntary workouts at team complex, Fair or Foul?

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Mets Captain Is Locked On, Wright Says Playoffs Or Bust http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/mets-captain-is-locked-on-wright-says-playoffs-or-bust.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/mets-captain-is-locked-on-wright-says-playoffs-or-bust.html/#comments Wed, 14 Jan 2015 11:00:00 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=173167 david wright by NY Post

Kevin Kernan of the NY Post caught up with David Wright who is swinging a bat again pain free and insists he is right where he needs to be for 2015, a season in which he expects to be playing in October.

“I fully expect us to be in the playoffs,” the 32-year-old Wright said. “It’s not coming out here and boasting, but I think where we stand right now, we’re a much better team than we were last year and in years past. You win with young, dominant pitching and we have quite a bit of that, and offensively, we are going to be better than we have been.”

Wright is swinging a bat and is 100 percent ready to go as he gets his body and his mind in shape at the Mets training facility in Port St.Lucie. “In my eyes, I’m not too far behind from where I am normally at this time of year.”

Wright and many other Mets have embarked on this new offseason training program with Mike Barwis of the Discovery Channel show “American Muscle.”

“I’ve always worked out in the offseason, but I wish I would have had something like this earlier in my career,” Wright said. “It’s not just about getting yourself the strongest and the fastest. Everything we do in here is engineered, and it will translate to the baseball field. We’re all paying to do this. To see the dedication of all the guys throughout the organization is pretty impressive.”

Joining Wright at PSL are teammates Lucas Duda, Jon Niese, Bobby Parnell, Travis d’Arnaud, Jeurys Familia, Rafael Montero, and Ruben Tejada.

Getting back to Wright, the Mets captain is a man on a mission and he vows to bounce back in a huge way and lead the Mets to the postseason in 2015.

“The thing that solves all problems is winning. The burden is on us as players and as an organization to go out there and win baseball games. If we start winning baseball games in April, the fans will come out, but we have to prove we have a good product on the field.”

“That is where the bar is set. The bar is not set to be just better than last year or to be a .500 team. The bar is set to be a playoff team.”

I really love hearing him talk like this. Wright needs to set the tone and really bust out of the gate next season as an offensive force and leader. All the young players respect him and look up to him. This is his team.

I’m very optimistic that Wright is going to have a great comeback season in 2015 and that his presence in the middle of the Mets lineup is going to make players like Lucas Duda, Curtis Granderson, Travis d’Arnaud and Juan Lagares better. I can’t wait to get this season started. LGM

(Photo credit: Dennis A. Clark)

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Does Kevin Long Plan To Adapt Mets Hitting Philosophy? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/does-kevin-long-plan-to-adapt-mets-hitting-philosophy.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/does-kevin-long-plan-to-adapt-mets-hitting-philosophy.html/#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2015 13:00:20 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=173077 Kevin long cage

In perusing old magazines ferreting unusual sports stories that might be topics on my Tip-Off sports radio show, I found an interesting quote from the New York Mets’ recently hired hitting coach, Kevin Long.

Mind you now, Long had yet to be released by the Yankees and hired by the Mets when he made his comments to Tom Verducci in a piece the noted baseball journalist penned for Sports Illustrated.  Even so, Long’s quote got me wondering if we might  see some some nuances to the Mets batting philosophy once Long begins to work with Met hitters altering a hitting approach that has generated much heated debate in recent years.

The main theme in Verducci’s piece was the impact a horde of young flame throwing relief pitchers had on the game of baseball during the regular season in 2014 and predicting how that impact might even be more pronounced in the post season.  With that backdrop, here’s what Long had to say.

“You really have to rethink you’re hitting philosophy. It used to be that you wanted to take pitches and get the starter’s pitch count up so you could get into the other team’s bullpen. Now if you do that, chances are you’re going to see a better arm coming out of the bullpen, and it’s one after another. I mean look at Andrew Miller. Wow. He’s so nasty, do you want to see him? It seems every team has two, three, four guys with nasty stuff they can go to.”

The ‘used to be’ philosophy Long was referring to sounds an awful lot like the prevailing hitting ideology in Flushing over the last few years. Will Long espouse a different outlook this Spring with the Mets? Is it possible the Mets might turn their hitters loose early in the count in certain situations or with certain batters at the plate in the early innings of contests? Could driving in runs rather than on-base-philosophy become a new standard in the batting approach Long brings to the Mets?

It’s food for thought that lends support to an evolving hitting approach. Verducci packs his piece with pitching and batting stats from 2014 that demonstrate the dominance the guys on the hill had over the boys at the plate. Here are a few.

  • Getting a base hit was more difficult in 2014 than in any previous year since 1972.
  • Runs per game reached lows not seen since before 1976.
  • For the ninth year in a row this year’s strikeouts total reached a record high.
  • Complete games happened rarely, only once in every 41.2 starts. The ratio last year for the Mets was one complete game per every 162 contests with Zack Wheeler recording the only complete game of the season.

You get the picture. It was not difficult for Verducci to build a case that the way teams are using pitchers in the modern game has changed dramatically, thus altering the balance between pitchers and batters with pitchers becoming more and more dominant every baseball campaign.

With flame throwing relief pitchers now a major part of today’s pitching dominance, should teams adapt their hitting philosophies as Kevin Long suggests? We’ll see.

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