Mets Merized Online » Brian Stokes Tue, 21 Feb 2017 15:20:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The 2009 Mets: Where Are They Now? Mon, 09 Sep 2013 03:23:30 +0000 Welcome to the second installment of Where Are They Now?, where we take a Mets roster and check in on what the players have done since last playing in Queens. Last week, we looked at the 2010 Mets, so this week we go back a year and look at the 2009 team, the first year the Mets played their home games at Citi Field. That season, Jerry Manuel led his squad to a 70-92 record, good for a fourth place NL East finish. Let’s look at the players.

Right off the bat, 21 players also played for the Mets in 2010, who I covered covered in my previous article. If you wish to learn about what happened to Luis Castillo, Alex Cora, David Wright, Carlos Beltran, Jeff Francoeur, Fernando Tatis, Angel Pagan, Jose Reyes, Nick Evans, Josh Thole, Mike Pelfrey, John Maine, Oliver Perez, Francisco Rodriguez, Bobby Parnell, Pedro Feliciano, Sean Green, Fernando Nieve, Elmer Dessens, Jon Niese, and Tobi Stoner, check out The 2010 Mets: Where Are They Now?

Only one player (who hasn’t already been covered) that played for the Mets in 2009 is still playing for the Mets, Daniel Murphy who is now one of the top hitters in the Mets lineup. Murphy currently ranks second on the team in batting average and third highest with a 2.7 WAR. Not only does Murphy provide a presence in the top of the lineup, but he may give the Mets strong trade bait going forward.

Only two other players from the 2009 are still in the majors albeit with another franchise: J.J. Putz and Darren O’Day.

Putz, who amazingly only played in 29 games with the Mets, played with the Chicago White Sox in 2010, before heading to Arizona where he played for the Diamondbacks in 2011. He still plays for them now. Side-armer Darren O’Day was claimed off waivers by the Rangers in April of 2009 and played in Arlington until 2011. After that season, the Baltimore Orioles claimed him off waivers. He is currently in his second year with them.

Five players from that team are currently in the Minor Leagues with other organizations and include Omir Santos, Jeremy Reed, Fernando Martinez, Argenis Reyes, and Nelson Figueroa.

Omir Santos did the bulk of the catching for the 2009 Mets, and he now sits behind the plate for the Rockies’ Triple A affiliate in Colorado Springs. He also played for the Toledo Mud Hens in the Detroit Tigers system in 2011, before spending some time with the big league team for the Tigers in  2010. He’s also played with the Indians Triple-A team this season.

Jeremy Reed signed with the Blue Jays in January of 2010 and was called up on April 12th. On July 12th he was sent down, released, and signed with the White Sox. He played the rest of the season with their Triple A team, the Charlotte Knights. The Brewers signed him in 2011 and he made the opening day roster. He was sent down to make room for Jonathan Lucroy, which led to him being traded to the Twins, where he finished the year. He is now in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization, but is not currently assigned to a team.

fernando martinez

Fernando Martinez was claimed off waivers by the Astros in January of 2012 and played in Houston until he was traded to the Yankees this past June, knowing there was a chance that he could be suspended for steroids. He was among those named in the Biogenesis scandal and is currently serving a 50-game suspension.

Argenis Reyes played in the Red Sox system in 2010 and was then traded to the Cleveland Indians where he played the rest of the season. He spent time with the New Jersey Jackals of the Independent Leagues in 2011 before returning to the Indians system. He is currently not playing with an Indians team although he unassigned.

Nelson Figueroa saw time in the Phillies and Astros systems in 2010, and played in the majors with the Astros in 2011. He also played in the Pirates system that year. 2012 saw him spend time with the Yankees and Red Sox minor league systems, and now plays for the Diamondbacks Triple-A affiliate.

One 2009 Met is officially a free agent and that is Casey Fossum who played all of three games for the Amazins that season. Fossum was released at the end of April in 2009 and soon after signed with the Yankees. He played the rest of the year with their Triple A affiliate and then moved onto the Chicago Cubs system. His 2010 season was spent with the Hanshin Tigers in Japan, where he went 2-5 with a 5.72 ERA. Fossum signed with the Mets again in January of 2011 and played nine games, before being released a year later. He eventually signed with the Orioles but was soon released and has not resurfaced ever since.

13 players have retired. They are Gary Sheffield, Ryan Church, Brian Schneider, Cory Sullivan, Carlos Delgado, Ramon Martinez, Emil Brown, Marlon Anderson, Brian Stokes, Ken Takahashi, Lance Broadway, Jon Switzer, and Billy Wagner.

Gary Sheffield couldn’t find a team to play with in 2010, so he retired in the spring of 2011. Ryan Church was traded to the Braves for Jeff Francoeur and finished the year in Atlanta. 2010 was spent in Pittsburgh until the Pirates traded him to the Diamondbacks along with future Met D.J. Carrasco. He was non-tendered after the year and retired.

Brian Schneider played with the Phillies from 2010 to 2012 and retired officially on January 29th this year. Cory Sullivan, who is most remembered for being the last player to hit two triples in one inning, played with the Houston Astros for half of 2010. He played with the Phillies for half of 2011, and retired after failing to make the Dodgers opening day roster in 2012.

After being injured for most of the 2009 season, the Mets released Carlos Delgado when the season was over. The Boston Red Sox signed the future Hall of Famer to a Minor League contract. He went 3-for-13, was released and retired on April 13th 2011. He was most recently the hitting coach for the 2013 Puerto Rican team in the World Baseball Classic. Current Mets pitching coach Ricky Bones was the pitching coach for that team (and if you ask me, Delgado and Bones look extremely like each other).

Not much to say about Ramon Martinez here. The infielder who played only 12 games with the 2009 Mets was released after the season and immediately retired. Emil Brown retired after being released on June 22, 2009.

Super utility man Marlon Anderson was released in April and signed with the Newark Bears of the Independent Leagues. He played the rest of the season there and retired when the season was done. He was last seen in professional baseball as the hitting coach for the Potomac Nationals in 2012.

Brian Stokes was traded to the Angels for Gary Matthews Jr. prior to the the 2010 season and made 16 appearances for the Halos that year. In 2011 he played in the Arizona D-Back’s system, and then moved onto the Camden RIversharks of the Independent League. Ken Takahashi became the third oldest player to make his Major League debut at the age of 40 on May 2nd 2009. He was released by the Mets in October of that year and went back to his homeland of Japan and played with the Hiroshima Carp in 2010. He retired after that year.

Lance “Best Name in Baseball” Broadway has not played in the Majors since his time with the Mets. He spent time with the Blue Jays organization in 2010 and played with their Triple A team, the Las Vegas 51′s. He has since retired and done what I believe no other Met has done in their lifetime. Lance played Agent O’Neil in the 2013 movie, Olympus Has Fallen. We should keep an eye out for other movies that feature Mr. Broadway.

Jon Switzer only got into four games as a New York Met, which led to a 8.10 ERA. He signed with the Astros and played in their Minor League system in 2010. He retired after 2010 and went back to school. He is now a business manager.

billy wagner

Billy Wagner, who is probably the greatest Mets closer of the last 10 years, was traded at the end of the year to the Red Sox for Chris Carter and minor leaguer Eddie Lora. Wagner played two games for Boston and then signed with the Atlanta Braves for the 2010 season. He was injured in the NLDS, but instead of going on the disabled list, he retired. Billy is currently the Head Coach for Miller High School in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Two players are currently in the Independent Leagues. Wilson Valdez played for the Phillies in 2010 and 2011 and was then traded to the Cincinnati Reds before the 2012 season. The Reds traded Valdez to the Giants in December of 2012 but he was released this past March. He signed with the Miami Marlins the next day and was released on May 19th. He is now with the Camden River Sharks. Longtime Mets backup catcher Ramon Castro was traded to the White Sox for Lance Broadway in 2009, but I don’t think it mattered to Ramon, because later in the season he was behind the plate when Mark Buehrle tossed a perfect game. He was released by Chicago after 2011, and did not play baseball in 2012. He signed a Minor League contract with the Dodgers this March but was released after failing to make the roster. He now plays for the Long Island Ducks.

anderson hernandez

Three players are playing in foreign countries, and they all play in Mexico. They are Anderson Hernandez, Angel Berroa, and Robinson Cancel. Hernandez, who was traded from the Tigers to the Mets back in 2004 for Vance Wilson, was claimed off waivers by the Indians in 2010 but was claimed by the Astros in July. 2011 was spent in Triple A with the Astros franchise. In 2012, Hernandez played with the Pirates Triple A team. This year he has been playing with the Piratas de Campeche, where he is hitting five points south of .300 with 11 home runs.

The 2003 American League Rookie of the Year (I still think Rocco Baldelli should have won) Angel Berroa, who before LaTroy Hawkins and David Aardsma was the last player to play for both the Mets and Yankees, played in the San Francisco Giants organization in 2010. In 2011 he played with the Arizona Diamondbacks Triple A team and the Bridgeport BlueFish of the Independent Leagues. 2012 saw Berroa play with the New Jersey Jackals. He now plays for Leones de Yucantan in Mexico. He is hitting .293 with 12 homers.

Robinson Cancel made his first big league appearance since 1999 in 2008 with the Mets. He spent 2010 with the Long Island Ducks, 2011 with the Astros Triple A team (and a few games in the Majors), 2012 with Monterrey in Mexico, and is still playing in Mexico with Minatilan.

One player is coaching. Andy Green went 1-4 with the Mets in 2009. He spent 2010 in Buffalo playing for the Bisons at the Mets Triple A level. He is now managing the Diamondbacks Double A team, the Mobile Bay Bears. He is managing former Met Nick Evans.

So there are your 2009 New York Mets. What were some of your best and worst memories of that season? Next week we’ll take a look at the 2008 team and the last year of Mets baseball at Shea Stadium.

addicted to mets button

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This Day In Mets Infamy With Rusty: Add Me To List Of The Walking Wounded Edition Sat, 07 Sep 2013 14:01:53 +0000 mr met ambulance hospitalIn major league baseball, injuries are a common, almost expected part of the game. If you are an everyday player, you generally play between 135 and 150 games a season. If you are a starting pitcher you may appear in as many as 30-35 games. A reliever can pitch theoretically at around 100 games max.

When we look at all the members of the Mets that have landed on the DL for either parts of the season ( David Wright, Lucas Duda) or other players that are now out for the rest of the season - Matt Harvey, Ike Davis, Johan Santana, Bobby Parnell and most recently Scott Rice you have to scratch your head at how such physically fit players can be so fragile.

Well you can now officially ad my name to the list of the Mets walking wounded. Since March I have had a sometimes sharp, most of the time dull pain in my right shoulder (my writing arm). I figured that it was just a strain, and in time the pain would subside on its own with big quantities of Tylenol as well as larger quantities of alcohol. But no the discomfort got progressively worse to the extent that I would be up half the night trying to find a comfortable position to sleep. So I said to myself maybe I should seek out the Mets trainer, Ray Ramirez.

Ray suggested that I should just ice it down and if all else fails he could lop it off with a machete. Needless to say I ran for the hills when I saw that look of delight in Ray’s eyes. He seemed to want to lop my arm off – was he trying to tell me something without actually saying it?

Next I went to a specialist to whom I was recommended for my pain. She took X-rays which showed no bone spurs or broken bones – to which I breathed a sigh of relief. She scheduled me for an MRI and I got the results back from yesterday. The MRI revealed that I had a partially torn rotator cuff, a slight labrum tear, some leakage from one of my capsules – not sure which one and yes – I HAVE ARTHRITIS !!!!

So needless to say I am not happy with the diagnosis – and I cannot blame Metsmerized’s owner for overuse (DANG IT!). But hopefully with physical therapy, ice packs and if all else fails cortisone shots, I should be feeling better. I wont be going the PED route since I am full of integrity. I promise that I shall write my posts while gutting through this injury. No there will be no 15, 30 or 60 DL stints for me, and hopefully by Opening Day may arm shall be at 100%.

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

Mets alumni celebrating a birthday today includes:

Mets pitching coach from ’99-’00, Dave Wallace, is 66 (1947).

Reserve catcher from the ’82 season and one time Mets AA manager, Rick Sweet turns 61 (1952).

Reserve outfielder from the ’01 season, Darren Bragg is 44 (1969).

One third of  ”Generation K”, pitcher  Jason Isringhausen is 41 (1972). “Izzy” went on to be a dominant  reliever once he was traded from the Mets, abut returned for the ’11 season and pitched quite effectively .

Reserve outfielder from the ’07 season, David Newhan is 40 (1973).

Middle reliever from ’08-’09, Brian Stokes is 34 (1979).

Sadly on this date we lost  two members of our Mets extended family. Third baseman from ’66-’67, Ken Boyer in 1982 and middle reliever from the ’67 season, Hal Reniff in 2004.

Some other notables include:

  • The  New York Mets purchased the contract of pitcher, Galen Cisco from the Boston Red Sox on September 7, 1962. “The Cisco Kid”  spent 4 seasons with the Mets mainly as a starting pitcher and compiled a record of 18-43 with an ERA of 4.04.
  • The Cincinnati Reds claimed light-hitting back up catcher, Alex Trevino from the Mets on waivers on September 7, 1990.
  • Not many fans care to remember when the Mets signed free agent middle reliever, Guillermo Mota on September 7, 1990. That was not a memorable time for the Mets faithful (we generally try to forget about Mets malcontents). Mota actually received his first professional baseball contract from the Mets in 1990.
  • The New York Mets signed free agent  first baseman, Jorge Toca on September 7, 1998. Many Mets fans may remember Toca as that power hitting Cuban defector that hit pretty well in the Mets minors. But in his brief time with the Mets he proved to be nothing more than a AAAA washout.

Mo Vaughn fantasizes about being bathed in a bathtub of veal parmagiana.

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Mets DFA Gary Matthews Jr., Recall Omir Santos Fri, 04 Jun 2010 20:17:54 +0000 The New York Mets have pulled the plug on Gary Matthews Jr. and will recall Catcher Omir Santos from AA Binghamton.

Matthews Jr., or GMJ for short, came over from the Los Angeles Angels for Brian Stokes, shortly after Carlos Beltran hit the DL.

GMJ has an unremarkable .190/.266/.241 line in 65 plate appearances, following a good Spring Training.

Omir Santos has been horrific since moving to the minors after the signing of Rod Barajas forced him out.

Santos holds an .074/.167/.111 line in eight games since being demoted from AAA Buffalo.

BTW: I know you’re wondering how Brian Stokes is doing in Anaheim. Let’s say that the trade has no winners. Stokes has a 7.31 ERA and 2.50 WHIP in 16 IP.

Adam Rubin writes that the Mets chose Santos over Jesus Feliciano because backup Henry Blanco is banged up. He writes that Feliciano will be called up as soon as Henry Blanco is alright.

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Trying To Make Sense Of The Outrage Sun, 24 Jan 2010 17:05:51 +0000 Only Mets fans can spend 48 hours vigorously debating a trade that swapped one 25th man for another.

All of a sudden Brian Stokes, who allowed 72 hits and 38 walks in just 70 innings, is likened to a budding star due to his same old and tired 95 mph fastball that has yet to accomplish anything noteworthy.

His 1.56 WHIP last season already ranked in the bottom 5% of all relievers and his 3.97 ERA didn’t even account for all the inherited runners he allowed to score.

I’m equally surprised at how much of the outrage comes from the sabermetric crowd especially when you consider that their founding father Bill James projects Brian Stokes for a 4.72 ERA in 2010, and that was before he got traded back to the AL. I would suspect an updated projection will have him eclipsing a 5.00 ERA. (Incidentally, this is another strong case of where advanced metrics are being used to paint one player in a good light and another in a bad, a big pet peeve of mine.)

Even before the Mets promoted Stokes from Class-AAA in 2008, his numbers (4.43 ERA, 1.39 WHIP) hardly merited the call-up. 

This post is not an attempt to applaud the arrival of Gary Matthews Jr., because quite honestly it really doesn’t mean anything in the grand scheme of things. His declining skills means that his days as an everyday player are now over.

Last season we filled our #4 and #5 outfield spots with two career minor leaguers, and this year we’ll have at least one of those spots filled by a career major leaguer. I’ve read several other blogs lamenting the fact we didn’t bring Jeremy Reed back. Really? I wonder what they’ll miss most? His .248 batting average in 178 plate appearances? His .301 OBP? His near league worst .609 OPS?

I mean if you’re going to take the time to voice your opposition, shouldn’t you at least do it in an objective way? I mean, put some damned teeth into your argument for crying out loud.

As I said, this trade boils down to a swap of scrubs at this point…

Two 25th men at best…

Quite honestly, where was Brian Stokes going to fit in anyway?

The signings of Kelvim Escobar and Ryota Igarashi pretty much put Stokes on the outside looking in. Unless of course you want to send Bobby Parnell back to the minors so you could have your much ballyhooed Stokes in the back of the bullpen?

(K-Rod, Escobar, Igarashi, Feliciano, Green, Parnell, Nieve/Niese)  

And when you look at it that way, it then translates into us trading a minor leaguer for Matthews and getting the Angels to pay for the tab.

I’m done with this.

I’ll no longer waste another moment of my time quarreling over a trade that’s just not worth the time and effort.

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Mets Trade Brian Stokes For Gary Matthews Jr. Sat, 23 Jan 2010 03:49:08 +0000 Latest Update 12:00 PM: Jon Morosi of Fox Sports as well as WFAN is reporting that reliever Brian Stokes is the player going to the Angels to complete the Gary Matthews Jr. deal.

It’s a good move and gives the Mets a strong backup to Angel Pagan who will start while Beltran is out. It also keeps F-Mart in the minors, where he belongs.

The best part is that the Mets are paying Matthews about $2 million over two years, or $1.0 MM annually. You can’t argue with that.

Latest Update 11:10 AM: There’s speculation that a third team could be involved like the Reds and the Angel Pagan may be involved somehow in a trade for Bronson Arroyo. This is all speculation at this point and comes from Baseball Digest on Twitter.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

According to a recent tweet from Jon Heyman of, the Mets are on the verge of acquiring outfielder Gary Matthews Jr. from the Angels.

Matthews, 35, has hit just .248 since signing a five-year, $50 million contract with the Angels in 2007.

Heyman believes the Angels will pay most of the $24 million due to Matthews during the next two seasons.


I assumed this could involve current Mets second baseman Luis Castillo, but now I hear that he is not involved in the deal.

Heyman also says Beltran will return in late April, but that the Mets are worried.

Details to follow…

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Phillies Sign Brian Schneider Tue, 01 Dec 2009 18:16:16 +0000

According to several reports, Brian Schneider has just signed a two-year deal worth $3 million dollars with the Philadelphia Phillies.

The former Mets catcher became a free agent and the Mets had no plans to offer him arbitration. Schneider, 33, hit .218 in 59 games last season, and .244 in 169 games overall as a Met.

Phillies GM Ruben Amaro said in a statement.

“We feel Brian is ideal for our ballclub. He has played in the NL East for this entire decade, so he knows the opposing hitters in this division well and he has proven he can handle the bat. He’s a guy that we would feel comfortable with playing for an extended period of time, if needed.”

I guess this is revenge for signing catcher Chris Coste who will always be a Phillie…

Schneider was a nice guy, but nice doesn’t win ball games, producing at the plate does, and Schneider wasn’t cutting it. Still, it’s a good move for the Phillies who unlike the Mets, aren’t desperate for offense. Plus it’s always a good thing to snag your rival’s catcher and pick his brain in the war room before each three game series.

Mets by the way, are still considering the virtues of catcher Henry Blanco despite the Chris Coste signing yesterday.

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Breaking Down The Mets Bullpen: Brian Stokes Sun, 15 Nov 2009 19:27:32 +0000 While the 2009 season as a whole was a lost cause for the New York Mets. It did hold some significance for certain players on the team.

One of those players was reliever, Brian Stokes.

Last season, Stokes, 30, appeared in a career-high 69 games and pitched 70.1 innings, which were also the most in his four year career.

All the while, the hard throwing right-hander was able to maintain a 3.97 ERA, which isn’t all that spectacular but certainly is acceptable.

The main concern with Stokes was that he was inconsistent, at times. During the start of the season, the young pitcher was lights out, as he did not allow an earned run throughout his first twelve innings pitched.

He continued his successful run well into the middle of May where he accumulated an ERA of 0.52. Unfortunately, he took a couple steps back on May 24th against the Red Sox, in which he allowed 5 earned runs in only 1.1 innings.

From there aside from similar meltdowns against both the New York Yankees in June and the Chicago Cubs in August, he pitched relatively well until the month of September.

September was by far Stokes’s worse month on the mound, as he was roughed up by the Rockies, Cubs and Nationals. In total for the month Stokes allowed 10 earned runs in 11 innings pitched, which equates to a nasty ERA of 8.18 for the month.

It seems as if September is not the month for Brian Stokes. Even in 2008, his ERA was nearly two runs higher in September than it was in August.

One reason behind this is that the pitcher maybe tiring out. Nonetheless when looking to build a contender you need a players that can step up their game for a playoff push.

I had read recently that Brian Stokes could be under consideration to be the team’s setup man next season. Despite the fact that I am a fan of the pitcher, I do not think this role is appropriate for him.

Setup men generally are power pitchers who throw hard and strike out batters frequently. While Stokes may be a power pitcher his strike out numbers could use improvement.

Last year, he had a 45:38 K/BB ratio, which is OK for an average reliever, but you would want more out of a setup man.

To me, Stokes is an average-to-slightly above average middle reliever. Keep in mind though, unlike other positions a 30 year-old relief pitcher is still considered very young so there is a lot of time for improvement.

This season, Stokes made somewhere just north of $400K, which is hardly anything in terms of baseball money. He should be looking at a similar salary next season before he heads for his arbitration year following the 2010 season.

Final Verdict: The fact that Stokes is still young and has had success under the tutelage of pitching coach, Dan Warthen, coupled with the fact that he earns a relatively low salary makes Stokes an ideal choice to round out one of the final spots in next year’s bullpen.

As in the case of Sean Green, if Stokes struggles, the team can afford to let him go and replace him with someone else without having to suffer a significant financial burden.

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Mets Continue To Stockpile Arms For 2010 Sat, 26 Sep 2009 04:12:19 +0000 Now that the Mets have accepted the fact that their 2009 season is all but over they are looking to rebuild their roster with hopes of returning to the post season. Over the past year we have seen them add names such as Pat Misch and Lance Broadway to help bring some youth to their beleaguered farm system.

Today the Mets continued this trend by picking up pitcher Jack Egbert off of waivers from the Chicago White Sox.

Egbert was a top pitcher for Rutgers University from 2002 to 2004 before being drafted in the 13th round by the White Sox. Egbert joins David DeJesus and Jason Bergmann as byproducts of Rutgers to make it to the big leagues.

Egbert’s career in affiliated baseball started rather promising. In 2006, he was solid with both the White Sox’s Class A and Class AA affiliates, posting a combined ERA of only 2.67 in 161.2 innings.

In 2007, he followed up with another solid season this time exclusively in Class AA. In 28 games started, he pitched to a 12-8 record and an ERA just a hair over 3 (3.06).

Upon being promoted to the Class AAA Charlotte Knights in 2008, Egbert could not find the same success he had in his previous two seasons in the lower levels of the farm system. His earned run average nearly doubled to 4.65 and he had a disappointing record of 4-12.

Not wanting to give up to quickly on their young pitcher, the White Sox opted to give Egbert a second season in Class AAA to work out the kinks. However, he soon found himself in the majors pitching out of the bullpen. Unfortunately for him he gave up eight earned runs in only two appearances before finding himself back in Charlotte.

He did not fare much better throughout the rest of the season and ended up with a 6-11 record and a ERA over 5.

The numbers suggest that Egbert’s chances of becoming a major league caliber pitcher are relatively low. However, it is important to recognize the fact that prior to the 2008 season, he was ranked the #3 prospect in the White Sox farm system.

The Mets have found themselves relying on players like Egbert to sure up their bullpen over the past few seasons. Guys like Pedro Feliciano and Brian Stokes were both acquired in low profile moves and now both players play a large part in the bullpen.

This is an intriguing pickup for the Mets, and it should be interesting to see how Egbert fares in Buffalo next season.

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Mile High Meltdown: Mets Fall To Rockies 5-2 Thu, 03 Sep 2009 12:00:03 +0000 Tim Redding’s late season renaissance continued, as he enjoyed his third consecutive solid outing.  However, his enjoyment of the game was short-lived, as party pooper Brian Stokes gave up three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning for the second time in five games, including a bases loaded two-run pinch-hit single to former Yankee Jason Giambi.  The latest Rockie Rally gave Colorado a 5-2 victory over the Mets Wednesday night in Denver.

Before the Mets came to the Mile High city, the Rockies were showing signs of wilting in the late summer heat.  They had lost five straight games and visions of a Rocktober sequel appeared to be fading.  Enter the perfect remedy for Colorado’s case of defeat-itis: the Mets.

Ubaldo Jimenez took the mound for the Rockies, hoping to keep his team in the Wild Card lead after the Giants had won earlier in the day.  Jimenez had just completed a brilliant month of August in which he went 5-1 with a 1.77 ERA.  But the Mets wasted little time in putting together a run.

Angel Pagan led off the game with a double to deep center field.  This was followed by a beautifully placed bunt single by Luis Castillo.  Daniel Murphy then hit a sacrifice fly to left field and the Mets took the early lead on the Rockies.

Tim Redding was so unfamiliar working with an early lead that he gave it right back two batters into the game.  After retiring Carlos Gonzalez to begin the first inning, Redding gave up a solo home run to Seth Smith.  The blast tied the game at 1.

The game of “you score one, I score one” continued when the Rockies took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the third inning, only to have Jeff Francoeur tie the game in the top of the fourth inning with a home run to left field.  It was his 12th home run of the season, surpassing his total for 2008, and his seventh home run for the Mets since being traded to New York from the Braves in July.

After the home run by Francoeur tied the game, the Mets were only able to manage one measly hit for the remainder of the game.  Fortunately for them, Tim Redding was able to keep the Rockies off the scoreboard until he was taken out of the game with two outs in the seventh inning.  It was his third consecutive good outing for the Mets.  However, he only has one win to show for it, despite the 2.45 ERA and .197 batting average against him in 18.1 innings pitched.  Tonight he held the Rockies to two runs on seven hits in his 6.2 innings of work.  He also added six strikeouts and walked only one batter.

With the score still tied at 2 heading to the bottom of the eighth, Jerry Manuel brought in Brian Stokes to start the inning.  It was Stokes who gave up the go-ahead three-run homer in the eighth inning to Alfonso Soriano last Friday in Chicago to turn a 2-2 tie into a 5-2 deficit.  As Yogi Berra used to say, it was deja vu all over again.

Stokes started off well by getting Todd Helton to ground out to third base.  However, the dreaded walk came back to haunt the Mets as Troy Tulowitzki drew a free pass from Stokes.  This was followed by a double into the left field corner by Brad Hawpe.  Ian Stewart was intentionally walked to load up the bases for Clint Barmes.  However, it was not Barmes who stepped up to the plate for the Rockies, but recently acquired slugger Jason Giambi.

Giambi had left his Village People cover band in New York this past offseason when he reunited with his original band in Oakland.  However, that reunion did not last long, as he was clearly not the same mustachioed marauder he used to be during his first stint with the band.  Oakland released him and the Rockies signed him to be a spark off the bench.  What a spark he provided tonight!

He lined the first pitch by Stokes over the outstretched glove of Anderson Hernandez into center field for a two-run single, giving the Rockies a 4-2 lead over the Mets.  An RBI single by neglected stepchild Yorvit Torrealba added another run, giving the Rockies their final run in the 5-2 victory.

Although the Mets will not win a series for the tenth straight time (eight series losses, two splits dating back to their last series victory in late July over the Rockies), they can still avoid a sweep with a victory in tomorrow’s afternoon affair.  They were able to avoid the broom in each of their last two series by taking the finales against the Marlins and the Cubs, respectively.

Pat Misch will take the mound in the finale against the Rockies.  He will be faced by 14-game winner Jason Marquis.  Game time for the matinee will be at 3:10 PM.

Misch pitched well in his last start against the Cubs.  He may not have a future as a starting pitcher for the Mets, but another solid performance could lead to renewed confidence and a role on next year’s team.  As long as he doesn’t pitch like Brian Stokes pitched on Wednesday night, the Mets might be able to avoid the bristles of the Rockies’ broom.

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Note To The Mets: Don’t Neglect The Bullpen Thu, 20 Aug 2009 15:28:27 +0000 With all the talk of the Mets plans for 2010 and beyond, few if any have mentioned the bullpen. As one of the lone bright spots for the team this season, the bullpen is going to need some attention next season.

Currently, the Mets have two ex-All-Star setup men on their roster in Billy Wagner and J.J. Putz. Although, both have options for next season it is highly unlikely either will be brought back without at least signing a new deal that will pay them less money. Even so, I still don’t see this happening.

In Wagner’s case, he wants the role of closer, which he has held with numerous teams for the better part of the past decade. This is something that the Mets simply cannot offer him due to that position being occupied by the younger Francisco Rodriguez.

As in Wagner’s situation, J.J. Putz would also prefer to close, however agreed to setup K-Rod upon being traded to New York from Seattle. Putz is also six years younger than Wagner and in theory has a few more productive years ahead of him.

However, despite this there is no way even the Mets could justify handing out nearly nine million dollars to a pitcher, who posted an ugly 5.22 ERA. I understand Putz was hurt, but at the same time when it looks as if management may only be able to allot $20 million dollars for salary next year that amount of money becomes a significant issue.

Taking Wagner and Putz out of the equation, the Mets will have a bullpen consisting of Brian Stokes, Pedro Feliciano, Sean Green and Francisco Rodriguez. I neglected to include Bobby Parnell, who could either start or relieve next year.

This all is obviously subject to change as it is still to early to tell whether or not this tandem will be back in a Mets uniform.

It wouldn’t be unimaginable for the Mets not to tender a contract to Green, who has been less than stellar this season with a 5.13 ERA and three blown saves.

Assuming the Mets do not retain him for next year that would leave them with three quality arms for the bullpen. Clearly, that is not enough to warrant a solid bullpen. Whether it be via a trade or a free agent signing, the Mets are going to have to get a reliever that can get lefties out.

For the past two years, the Mets have supposedly been searching for a lefty specialist to take some of the workload off Pedro Feliciano. However, after some 152 relief appearances over the past two seasons Feliciano has still yet to receive reliable assistance in the bullpen.

Looking exclusively at the upcoming free agent class there aren’t that many intriguing names out there. Sure there’s Joe Beimel, but if Omar didn’t pick him up last off-season when he had the chance to last year I don’t see it happening this season when he will have even less funds to spend.

As for filling the other impending voids in the pen the Mets had a young reliever who had the ability to get both righties and lefties out in Darren O’Day, but they put him on waivers to enable Nelson Figueroa to make a spot start back in April. Another great roster move by Mr. Minaya.

Since joining the Rangers O’Day has been stellar, posting a 1.84 ERA and accumulating 16 holds.

All in all, the Mets will have a lot of voids to fill this coming off-season, however it is important that they do not neglect the one aspect of the team that lead to a very disappointing season in 2008.

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Parnell Shines As Mets Shutout The Giants 3-0 Sat, 15 Aug 2009 01:36:32 +0000 The Mets donned their throwback jerseys and defeated the San Francisco Giants by a score of 3-0 tonight at Citi Field. The Mets combined some solid pitching and timely hitting to win their second straight game. It was a nice way to start their longest homestand of the year.

Bobby Parnell delivered an electrifying performance tonight as he held the Giants to just three hits, all singles, in six scoreless innings. Parnell threw 61 of his 86 pitches for strikes, and walked none while striking out seven batters. Wow. Now that’s more like it. At one point in the game, Parnell retired eleven straight batters including four strikeouts in a row. His fastball was smoking and frequently hit 96 mph even in his final inning of work. I’m keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that this was just the start of something big by the young righty. He’ll have at least seven more starts before the season ends, and it should give us a good read on him.

Angel Pagan got the Mets on the board, leading off the game with a homerun to give Parnell a small cushion to work with. The Mets got their second run thanks to a long double by Jeff Francoeur in the fourth inning to score Luis Castillo who led off the inning with a single. Castillo scored again in the sixth courtesy of a line drive double off the bat of David Wright that moved him to third, followed by a sac fly from Gary Sheffield.

Brian Stokes started the seventh inning and pitched perfectly, but walked the first batter on four pitches to start the eight and was replaced by Pedro Feliciano who wrapped it up with no problem. Frankie Rodriguez treated the fans to a rare 1-2-3 inning to pick up his 26th save of the season.

It was a well played game that may have given us a glimpse of the future of our rotation in Bobby Parnell.

The Mets got some good news on Carlos Beltran who shagged some flies before the game. The plan is for more of the same on Saturday and barring a setback, he may soon play in some rehab games.

A big Happy Birthday to longtime Mets icon Jay Horwitz!

The Mets will have their ace Johan Santana face the Giants’ Matt Cain in a marquis matchup that will be televised on FOX at 4:00 PM. Lets play spoiler!

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Stokes Out To Prove Pessimistic Wagner Wrong Tue, 28 Jul 2009 04:40:30 +0000 During an interview with the New York Post two weeks ago injured Mets reliever, Billy Wagner was asked about what he role with the club would be. Wagner was very honest and blunt in his response about whether or not he thought he would have a significant spot in the bullpen.

“No. Not at all. I can’t see it. I think that would be foolhardy to even insinuate something like that,” he said. “I think what I would be is a Brian Stokes-type player. I might pitch once a week. I can’t see ‘em doing that.”

Stokes took offense to his teammate’s uncalled for remarks and rightfully so, as he has managed to keep himself out of the limelight and out of trouble with the media, which can’t necessarily be said for Wagner, who seems to have found trouble wherever he goes.

Rather than engaging in a war of words, Stokes seems to be showing Wagner up on the field. Since the article was published Stokes has appeared in 6 games, pitching 5 innings, while allowing no runs on one hit and striking out 3.

This includes a near perfect two inning performance tonight against the Rockies, in which Stokes allowed only one hit, which aided in holding off the resurgent Rockies and enabled the Mets to score the go ahead runs off of Fernando Tatis’ grand slam later in the game.

Pretty good for a $400,000 investment (which is all the Mets paid to acquire Stokes from the Tampa Bay Rays prior to the 2008 season).

In a club that has been full of change and inconsistency, Brian has proved himself to be reliable. Outside of a couple of rough outings in May and June, Stokes has been rock solid and has amassed a 3.69 ERA in 38 appearances this season.

In comparison, Billy Wagner, despite having a more illustrious career, has yet to throw a single pitch in the big league level. According to the Mets Wagner should return sometime in August. Even so there is no telling how effective he will be.

In short, Billy Wagner once again put his foot in his mouth and Brian Stokes has shown him and the rest of the baseball world that he is more than just the 25th man on the roster.

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Mets Fall To Orioles 6-4 Despite 12 Hit Attack Thu, 18 Jun 2009 00:53:24 +0000 Game Summary

The Mets lost another one of those games that could have easily been a win for them if not for shooting blanks whenever they needed a timely hit. The Orioles outscored them 6-4 despite a 12 hit attack from the Mets offense.

Game Recap

Tim Redding, making his sixth start of the season started off solid but in the end he was charged with four runs on seven hits in 5-1/3 innings, including a two-run homer in the second inning by Orioles rookie catcher Matt Wieters. Redding said he didn’t have his best stuff after the game.

In the seventh inning, Pedro Feliciano cam into the game with the score tied at 4-4, but made a couple of bad pitches giving up a single to Nick Markakis and two-run homer to Aubrey Huff to put the Birds ahead for good.

Bobby Parnell and Brian Stokes both had scoreless stints and rebounded from shaky outings last time out.

Offensively, Gary Sheffield homered in the sixth inning to bring the Mets a run closer. It was part of a 2 hit day for Sheff, and he has now homered in three of his last five games.

After Sheffield homered, the Mets loaded the bases, and pitcher Mark Hendrickson walked Alex Cora to force in a run and make it 4-4. But in a critical spot and with a chance to break the game wide open, Fernando Tatis grounded into a double play.

Daniel Murphy had three hits in the game, all singles, and scored a run.

Carlos Beltran and David Wright went 1-10 in the game, leaving six runners on base between them.

Ryan Church had two hits, and I wish we could just leave the guy alone in rightfield. With consistent playing time, Church could give us a big second half.

Game Thoughts and Notes

Despite playing with a DH and playing games in two of the top three homerun hitting parks in the game, the Mets have not found their power stroke. Where would they be without Gary Sheffield? If you take away Sheffield homers, the Mets would be ranked dead last in MLB. As it stands now, they are ranked 28th with 41 homers.

Feliciano was holding lefthanded hitter to a .125 average coming into the game last night. He was as close to being automatic as you can get before being tagged by Huff for a two-run homer. After the game he admitted he shouldn’t have shook off Brian Schneider on that pitch.

For rookie Matt Wieters, it was the first homerun of his career. It seems like the Mets give up a lot of these first homeruns going all the way back to 2007. I wonder if they keep stats on things like that?

The good news? The Phillies also lost last night, so the Mets still remain just three games back.

Game Ball

Gary Sheffield

On Deck

The Mets will send Livan Hernandez to the mound to try and nail down the rubber game tonight.

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Calling All Cars, Be On The Lookout For Brian Stokes Sat, 09 May 2009 09:39:57 +0000 Brian Stokes has been missing since April 28th and none seems to know why he hasn’t been seen in a game since then.

When last seen, Stokes was wearing his home uniform and had tossed 1.2 scoreless innings against the Marlins.

He can easily be identified by his 0.00 ERA.

Stokes is known to brandish a 98 MPH heater in his arsenal so consider him armed and dangerous.

He asn’t been convicted of any crimes, but we’d like to bring him in for questioning.

He may have been injured during an encounter with a pesky Marlin, but none of his associates have confirmed that.

Some believe he may a victim of foul play by his manager, Jerry Manuel, who has been known to bury people alive in the back of the bullpen and sometimes chain players in the back of his doghouse. We are keeping a close watch on him and consider him one of our prime suspects in this case.

We are also keeping an eye on one called Sean Green who has apparently had a lot to gain since Stokes disappeared.

We will continue to update you as we learn more information.

SERIOUSLY… Where is this guy???

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