Mets Merized Online » bullpen http://metsmerizedonline.com Fri, 02 Dec 2016 20:05:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.16 Mets Would Like to Add Two Lefty Relievers http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/mets-would-like-to-add-two-lefty-relievers.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/mets-would-like-to-add-two-lefty-relievers.html/#comments Fri, 02 Dec 2016 15:57:00 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=227410 jerry-blevins-mets-win

The New York Mets biggest need left this offseason is improving the bullpen and according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag Sports, they intend to add at least two left-handed relievers.

One of those lefties could be simply re-signing Jerry Blevins who pitched for the Mets the past two seasons. Blevins had a 2.49 ERA, 1.085 WHIP, and struck out 10.7 batters per nine innings over two seasons with the Mets.

The left-handed reliever market has seen some action already this offseason with Brett Cecil (4 years, $30.5MM) signing and Marc Rzepczynski (2 years) on the verge of a deal.

Other names still available on the LOOGY market include Boone Logan, Travis Wood, J.P. Howell, and Mike Dunn.

The in-house options for the Mets that are on the 40-man roster are Josh Smoker (reverse splits), Josh Edgin (diminished velo), and Sean Gilmartin (bad 2016).

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MMO Free Agent Profile: Koji Uehara, RP http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/mmo-free-agent-profile-koji-uehara-rp.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/mmo-free-agent-profile-koji-uehara-rp.html/#comments Sun, 27 Nov 2016 15:30:36 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=227094 koji-uehara-jim-davis-globe-2013-09-03

Koji Uehara
Position: Reliever
Bats: Right – Throws: Right
Born: April 3, 1975 (Age 41)

As the New York Mets continue to scour the market for late inning relievers, one potential target is a right-handed arm that has experience in both closing and setting-up, in 41-year-old Koji Uehara.

The eight-year veteran began his major league career with the Baltimore Orioles in 2009, and was then involved in one of the Orioles’ best trades in franchise history, shipping Uehara to the Texas Rangers for RH Tommy Hunter and a young power first baseman, Chris Davis.

In the winter of 2012, Uehara signed as a free agent with the Boston Red Sox, where he’s remained ever since, going on to be named the 2013 ALCS MVP and eventual World Series Champions in his first season in Beantown. He even garnered some Cy Young votes that season, coming in seventh with a 5% share.

Uehara has been one of the most dominant relievers in the game, particularly between 2012-15. During that stretch, Uehara was sixth among relievers in fWAR (6.4), sixth in ERA (1.84), sixth in average against (.171), fifth in LOB% (86.2%), and led all relievers in WHIP (0.75) and BB/9 (1.21). Uehara has found great success relying mainly on three pitches, a four-seam fastball, cutter, and split-fingered fastball, according to Brooks Baseball.

For his career, Uehara has predominantly been a fly ball pitcher, averaging 52.3% in his eight-year career. His ground ball percentage peaked in 2013, where he registered a career high of 40.4%, only to see that number decrease down to 21.4% this past season.

His splits have been strong against both right and left-handed hitters, holding right-handed hitters to a .208/.237/.366 line, and lefties to an even better .183/.220/.335 stat line. In 2016, however, his splits were more pronounced, as he continued to dominate lefties (.478 OPS against), but right-handers teed off on Uehara, posting a .505 SLG and .812 OPS, both career worsts.

Despite his age (he turns 42 when the season opens in ’17), Uehara’s peripherals continue to impress. He posted a 10.49 SO/9 in 2015, the lowest it’s been since his rookie season in 2009, but bounced back in ’16 with a 12.06 SO/9, the highest it’s been since 2013. He also posted his seventh straight season of a sub 1.00 WHIP, posting a 0.96 WHIP in ’16.

Acting as the setup man for Craig Kimbrel, Uehara had 18 holds, and did step back into his old familiar role of closer when Kimbrel was placed on the DL due to a left knee medial meniscus tear in early July. Uehara stepped up in his absence, posting a 2.70 ERA in July in eight games, with a perfect four-out-of-four in saves, and holding opponents to a .231 average.

Injuries have taken a toll on Uehara since 2015, where he dealt with a strained left hamstring, a non-displaced distal radius fracture in his right wrist, and a right pectoral strain. In total, Uehara only appeared in 43 and 50 games respectively, being only a few years removed from appearing in 65, 73, and 64 in 2011, ’13, and ’14. His HR/9 numbers also shot up in ’16, jumping from 0.67 in ’15 to 1.53 in ’16. He also registered his highest BB/9 this year at 2.11, the first time in his career where he had back-to-back seasons of over 2.00 BB/9 (2.01 in 2015).

Uehara’s ERA was also a career high in ’16, posting a 3.45 ERA, the last time he posted an ERA above that was his rookie season in Baltimore (4.05 ERA).

Contract:

Uehara won’t draw the same attention that the elite relievers on the market will, and may not even draw the same attention the second tier pitchers will (Boone Logan, Fernando Salas, etc.). There are plenty of teams looking for back end help in the bullpen, and Uehara fits that description with his experience closing and setting up. His age shouldn’t give teams pause, however, a few of his declining numbers might. Look for Uehara to get one or two-year offers, in the $3-6 million annual range. Expect the Mets, Twins, Padres, Cubs, Mariners, Yankees, White Sox, and Red Sox to show interest.

Recommendation:

Sandy Alderson should be looking into many free agent arms to help for 2017, especially since Jeurys Familia is likely to be suspended in the beginning of the season due to his legal battle with domestic violence. The Mets should be looking at relievers that have experience closing, like Uehara does, so that he can be used as an option for the ninth, but also is comfortable appearing in the seventh and eighth innings as well.

Uehara should not be considered a big free agent signing, but as a supplement to whoever else Alderson brings in for bullpen help, along with Addison Reed who will likely handle the closing duties until Famila returns from suspension.

While the days of appearing in 60 plus games are likely over for free agent reliever, he still has stuff left in the tank and could prove a very useful piece late in games, and also in postseason play, where he has multiple year experience and with great success, posting a 0.833 WHIP and 10.5 SO/9 in 19 games.

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MMO Free Agent Profile: Joe Smith, RP http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/mmo-free-agent-profile-joe-smith-rp.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/mmo-free-agent-profile-joe-smith-rp.html/#comments Mon, 21 Nov 2016 15:00:34 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=226868 joe smith

Joe Smith
Position: Relief Pitcher
Bats: Right – Throws: Right
Born: March 22, 1984 (Age 32)

A familiar face emerges on the free agent market this winter for Mets fans, as reliever Joe Smith looks for a new home after his three-year, $15.75 million contract with the Los Angeles Angles comes to an end. He finished the 2016 season with the World Champion Chicago Cubs, as he was traded right before the August 1 deadline. Smith was not carried on any of the Cubs’ postseason rosters however.

The sidearm throwing Smith was originally drafted by the Mets in 2006 in the 3rd round (94th overall pick), and made his Major League debut in 2007 with the Amazins’. He appeared in 54 games, posting a 3-2 record in 44.1 innings with a 3.45 ERA and 9.1 SO/9.

Smith followed up that solid rookie campaign with an impressive 2008 season, where he was tied for third in the majors in games (82), a 62.6% ground ball rate (8th), and posted a 6-3 record with a 3.55 ERA.

After the ’08 season, Smith was shipped off as part of the 12-player, three-team trade with the Seattle Mariners and Cleveland Indians that brought J.J. Putz, Jeremy Reed, and Sean Green to the Mets.

Since 2009, Smith has been one of the most reliable relievers in the game, appearing in 503 games (7th among Major League relievers), with a 2.80 ERA, 146 holds (5th), 1.151 WHIP, and 203 runners stranded (6th).

Smith’s best overall season came in 2014 as a member of the Angels, where he posted a career best 1.81 ERA, tied his career high in wins with seven, pitched a career high 74.2 innings, had a career high 68 strikeouts, and posted his best WHIP at 0.804 (6th in the majors).

For his career, Smith has fared much better against right-handed hitters, holding them to a .215/.286/.305 slash line, compared to lefties who have slashed .244/.337/.369.

Smith is at his best when he induces ground balls, currently at a 56.2% rate for his career. When batters hit ground balls off of Smith, the results are rarely in their favor, as he has held them to a .210/.210/.220 slash line in 920 at-bats.

When Smith was initially traded to the Cubs this August, he got off to a rocky start, appearing in six games and allowing three runs on six hits and four walks in 3.2 innings pitched, resulting in a lopsided 7.36 ERA.

The Cubs placed Smith on the 15-day disabled list on August 17 due to a left hamstring strain, the same issue he was battling with the Angels in June before they placed him on the 15-day disabled list as well.

Once Smith was activated in September, he made a complete 180 turnaround and posted a 0.93 ERA in 9.2 innings pitched, striking out 12 while holding opponents to a .156 batting average against.

Contract:

Smith should have a bunch of suitors this winter, including the Mets, Yankees, Red Sox, Mariners, and Cardinals. Jon Heyman at FanRag Sports predicts Smith would sign a two-year, $8 million deal, which would be a steal for a guy that routinely appeared in 70 plus games between 2011-15.

His price tag took a hit due to his two hamstring injuries last season, and could be viewed as a great low/risk high reward option for a team searching for bullpen help. Plus the fact that Smith is a sidearm reliever, which Joe Maddon referred to as “funk in the bullpen” upon his arrival from Los Angeles, adds intrigue to teams looking to give right-handed hitters a tougher time at the plate.

I could envision a two or three year deal for Smith, with an average annual salary around $5-6 million.

Recommendation:

The Mets should be looking into the Joe Smith market, along with a bevy of other relievers on the free agent and trade markets. Smith’s ties to the organization should make it a smoother transition if he were to return to the team that drafted him.

The Mets could use his services, especially with the prospect of Jeurys Familia facing a considerable suspension to start the 2017 season due to the simple assault charges stemming from his arrest.

Smith also comes with a lowered price tag compared to his counterparts available in free agency, such as Mark Melancon, Kenley Jansen, and Aroldis Chapman. Smith would definitely be a welcomed addition the Mets’ pen, but they might be better suited trying to find a replacement for the left hander Jerry Blevins, if not resigning him.

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MMO Free Agent Profile: Brad Ziegler, RP http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/mmo-free-agent-profile-brad-ziegler-rp.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/mmo-free-agent-profile-brad-ziegler-rp.html/#comments Fri, 11 Nov 2016 19:00:17 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=226264 brad ziegler

Brad Ziegler
Position: Right-handed reliever
Bats: Right – Throws: Right
Born: October 10, 1979 (Age 37)

Brad Ziegler hits the open market at a time when teams are prioritizing bullpen help more and more these days, after watching what the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians did in this year’s postseason, and how the Kansas City Royals relied upon its dominant relievers in 2014-15.

Ziegler, 37, has played nine seasons in the majors with the Oakland Athletics, Arizona Diamondbacks, and a half season helping the Boston Red Sox clinch their first A.L. East division title in three years in 2016.

Between Arizona and Boston this season, Ziegler posted a record of 4-7 in 69 appearances, tossing 68 innings and holding opponents to a .258 batting average, with a 2.25 ERA (19th among all relievers). Ziegler fared better against right-handed hitters, holding them to a slash line of .252/.301/.329 in 155 at-bats in ’16, compared to .275/.380/.343 in 102 at-bats against lefties. The splits are even more pronounced for his career, as Ziegler has held right-handed hitters to a .559 OPS in over 1300 at-bats, compared to a .757 OPS against lefties in over 800 at-bats.

The submarine throwing right-hander offers a unique release point in his motion; inducing a high number of groundouts (63.3%, 4th best in majors among relievers) and movement on his pitches. Ziegler features a fastball, slider, sinker, and changeup, and relies on the slower speeds and deception to fool batters at the plate.

In 2016, Ziegler recorded his best swinging strike percentage of his career according to FanGraphs, at 11.7%, beating his previous season high of 10.9% in ’14. Ziegler also recorded his best O-Swing %, which refers to the percentage of pitches a batter swings at outside the strike zone, which was at 37.9% in ’16. In turn, his O-Contact % which calculates the percentage of times a batter makes contact when swinging at pitches outside the zone, was also a career best at 61.7%.

From 2011-’16, Ziegler has been the model of consistency and health, recording the second highest number of games with 424 behind only Tyler Clippard‘s 431, fourth most innings pitched at 403, fourth best HR/9 with 0.33, the second best groundball rate at 69.1%, and stranding the third most runners with 190 during that six-year stretch.

Ziegler also has experience closing out games, as he’s closed for all three of the major league teams he’s been on, recording a career high 30 saves in 2015 with the Diamondbacks, out of 32 chances. This past season, Ziegler was 18-for-20 in save opportunities with the Diamondbacks, and 4-for-8 with the Red Sox.

Contract: 

Ziegler’s coming off a two-year $10.5 million deal from Arizona, and one in which he lived up to his side of the deal. Ziegler has been one of most dependable relievers in baseball, appearing in at least 66 games in the last six seasons, and only posting an ERA north of 3.00 once during that span. He should be in line for at least another two-year deal, especially after posting even better numbers in the AL East as a member of the Red Sox. Look for a two-year, $12-15 million deal for the 37-year-old. Similar deals for relievers include Pat Neshek‘s two-year $12.5 million contract with the Houston Astros in ’14.

Recommendation: 

The Mets should be inquiring about Ziegler, and looking to potentially bring him in for 2017 and beyond. His age hasn’t slowed him down, especially since he doesn’t rely on velocity for his success. I also love the idea of having a sidearm/submarine type arm on the team, as it rattles the hitters and gives them a harder time to pick up the angle and movements on his pitches. Chad Bradford and Joe Smith are recent Met examples of guys who had success with sidearm pitching. With the recent news of Jeurys Familia facing domestic violence charges in New Jersey, and the prospects of losing the closer for a prolonged period of time in ’17, the Mets need to bring in a bevy of arms that can compete in camp, and Ziegler would offer a ton of value in Queens in 2017.

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Good Fundies Episode 26: Rumble Pony Up http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/good-fundies-episode-26-rumble-pony-up.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/good-fundies-episode-26-rumble-pony-up.html/#comments Fri, 11 Nov 2016 04:11:53 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=226301 XXX VINTAGE-CARNIVAL-RIDES-RD536.JPG A  ENT USA NY

Brian and Roger returned to talk about that crazy World Series and how Cleveland can’t handle winning. They also started the hot stove speculation on where Yoenis Cespedes will end up and how the team should approach their 2017 bullpen.

We applauded Binghamton for naming the Mets’ Double-A squad the Rumble Ponies, and wondered if the Mets should just go ahead and rename themselves the Rumble Ponies too.

The boys also dipped into the mailbag, realized how much Noah Syndergaard was robbed of a Cy Young nomination, touched on that recent election, and recounted that time Roger thought it was Usher when in fact it really was Usher.

iTunes  –  Stitcher  –  Twitter

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Mets Need Catching Coach, Possibly Pursuing Glenn Sherlock http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/mets-need-catching-coach-possibly-pursuing-glenn-sherlock.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/mets-need-catching-coach-possibly-pursuing-glenn-sherlock.html/#comments Wed, 09 Nov 2016 19:49:30 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=226219 terry collins dan warthen tim teufel

The Mets are in need of a new catching coach. With the exception of Rene Rivera, Mets backstops, specifically Travis d’Arnaud, really struggled behind the dish in 2016. Terry Collins is at the Winter Meetings, and he was recently spotted with Arizona Diamondbacks bench coach Glenn Sherlock, according to Ken Rosenthal on Twitter.

Diamondbacks GM Steve Hazen recently made it known that third base coach Matt Williams, hitting coach Mark Grace, and bullpen coach Garvin Alston would not be back in 2017. He declined to comment on the status of Glenn Sherlock, who has been on the Diamondbacks since the franchise’s conception 19 years ago.

He has a phenomenal reputation, remaining on the coaching staff despite a revolving door of 6 different managers in the last 19 years, which is very impressive.

Before the Diamondbacks, he was a catching instructor for the New York Yankees, working in the bullpen in 1992, 1994, and 1995. He has had an amazing 34-year career in baseball and would make a stellar addition to the Mets coaching staff.

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Alderson: Mets Unlikely To Pursue Top Tier Bullpen Arm http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/alderson-mets-unlikely-to-pursue-top-tier-bullpen-arm.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/alderson-mets-unlikely-to-pursue-top-tier-bullpen-arm.html/#comments Tue, 08 Nov 2016 01:38:41 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=226108 sandy alderson

According to Mets GM Sandy Alderson, the team is unlikely to pursue a higher-tier bullpen arm, reports Mike Puma on Twitter.

However, Alderson acknowledged that the team needs bullpen help, but mentioned in-house options such as Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo, Marc Carig tweets.

With Jeurys Familia‘s arrest for domestic violence, the Mets closer could face suspension time, leaving the Mets in a tough situation at the back end of their bullpen.

The team sent a scout to Greg Holland‘s showcase, as was reported earlier, so the need to strengthen the ‘pen is known.

It’s still very early, but don’t expect the Mets to land top closer options Aroldis Chapman or Kenley Jansen in what is a very thin market for free agents.

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Collins Not Planning to Change Postseason Bullpen Management http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/collins-not-planning-to-change-postseason-bullpen-management.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/collins-not-planning-to-change-postseason-bullpen-management.html/#comments Fri, 04 Nov 2016 18:00:36 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=225856 terry-collins

One theme we saw from the entire 2016 postseason, especially in the World Series, was a shift in how bullpens were used. Terry Francona constantly went to the whip with Andrew Miller, Bryan Shaw, and Cody Allen. In the World Series, Joe Maddon returned the favor with Aroldis Chapman. This was not just a departure from what we have seen in prior postseasons, but also in how Terry Collins has managed his bullpens.

Whereas Francona and Maddon asked more from their relievers, Collins pushed his starting pitchers in the postseason. It worked with Jacob deGrom in Game 5 of the NLDS as he somehow navigated through six innings allowing only two runs.

Conversely, it did not work with Matt Harvey in Game 5 of the World Series. Collins stuck with Harvey after Harvey told his manager he wanted to stay in the game. A walk and a double later, the Mets were in trouble. The Royals would tie it up in the ninth, and they would win the World Series with a seven run 12th inning.

Between the fallout from the Harvey decision with the praise that has been bestowed upon Francona with how he managed his bullpen this postseason, it is something that Terry Collins has considered himself:

“I don’t think you can do a lot during the season, because the season’s so long. You’ve got to protect your guys. But I think you’ll see the World Series and the playoffs played in a different manner from now. Those guys know their teams better than I do. You’re pitching good, you’re staying in the game. The Indians’ bullpen was outstanding throughout the entire playoffs. My guys are pretty good. I thought about last year, even Game 5 (of the 2015 World Series when Harvey talked his way into staying in the game). Joe’s a good manager. He knows what he’s doing. He’s got a good feel for things. You make decisions that you think are the best for your team and live with them.”

(Christian Red, New York Daily News).

While Collins likes his guys in the bullpen, he also likes his starting pitching, and who can blame him? Collins has a starting staff that features deGrom, Harvey, and Noah Syndergaard. All three of these pitchers have shown themselves not just to be great starting pitchers, but also great postseason pitchers. As long as they are healthy heading into the postseason, Collins does not anticipate having a short hook with any of them saying,

“We’ve got to keep those (pitchers) healthy. After watching the World Series, you’re picturing your guys out on that mound, they’re pretty good. I think they’re going to get a little farther than 4 2/3 (innings).”

Obviously, the key is health, and most notably Harvey’s health. On that front, Collins noted, “He looks great. He’s in tremendous shape. That’s what you’d expect from him. I know when he shows up in January, he’s gonna be raring to go.”

With Harvey, deGrom, and Syndergaard all healthy, the Mets have a terrific shot to go back to the postseason. If they are back in the postseason, Collins is 100% correct. These guys do not need to be bailed out before the fifth inning. They can go deep into the game and hand it off to a very capable bullpen.

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Memorable Mets: Catcher John Stearns Was One Tough “Dude” http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/memorable-mets-catcher-john-stearns-was-one-tough-dude-2.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/memorable-mets-catcher-john-stearns-was-one-tough-dude-2.html/#comments Sun, 30 Oct 2016 16:32:53 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=225555 john-stearns-2

In the 1973 Amateur Draft, right after the Texas Rangers selected the highly regarded and ultimately ill-fated David Clyde with the first pick, the Phillies used the second selection to take catcher John Stearns out of the University of Colorado.

The next two picks both turned out to be hall-of-famers, Robin Yount and Dave Winfield. Since Bob Boone was just starting what would turn out to be a long tenure as the Phillies’ #1 catcher, it’s a little hard to understand why they would have taken Stearns over Yount and Winfield.

Stearns, of course, never achieved anything close to HOF level, but after being traded to the Mets, he had a pretty good career. He might have fit in even better with a contending team, but the Mets were awful during Stearns’ entire tenure as catcher, while the Phillies with McGraw as bullpen ace and Boone as catcher were perennial contenders in the ’70′s and early ’80′s.

The December 3,1974 trade that involved Stearns and Tug McGraw was an interesting one. McGraw had some shoulder trouble during the 1974 season, and the Mets had some doubt whether he would return to form. So, trading McGraw along with two nondescript outfielders for Stearns, one of the best young catching prospects in the game, Del Unser, an experienced center fielder and well-regarded leadoff hitter, and Mac Scarce, a lefty specialist who looked like a cinch to win a spot in the bullpen, seemed almost like a no-brainer.

john-stearns

The “Dude”, as he was called, wasn’t quite ready for big league duty, but by 1977, he replaced Jerry Grote to become the team’s number one catcher and despite a string of injuries, was good enough to represent the Mets in the All-Star game four times.

The funny thing about that is his best season came in 1978 and Mets fans felt he was an egregious All Star snub. Stearns delivered a 5.1 WAR season for the Mets, and in 563 plate appearances he slashed .264/.364/.413 with 15 home runs, 73 RBIs, 25 stolen bases and only 57 strikeouts. Not a bad year for a catcher, especially in that era.

The 1978 Mets Yearbook cover boy was solid all-around with exceptional speed for a catcher being his trademark. But he never really became a big star and certainly wasn’t in the class of Yount or Winfield.

Also, Stearns was injury-prone leading to a lot of missed time and ultimately a shortened career, and in retrospect, his numbers weren’t all that good, although they were better than what most of his teammates produced.

Stearns will be remembered as a hard-nosed, hustling player on some terrible Mets teams. Unser and Scarce were both disappointing, so the trade will ultimately be remembered as McGraw for Stearns. Essentially, Stearns was “replacing” a true Mets’ hero and one of the game’s great personalities, and it was kind of unfair to put that onus on him.

After his playing days were over, John Stearns would return as a coach and minor league manager for the Mets. Like so many young players who came to the Mets in trades, the fans had high hopes for him which were never quite fulfilled, but Stearns was solid and did put in a few good years with the team.

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Should Mets Take a Chance On Greg Holland? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/should-mets-take-a-chance-on-greg-holland.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/should-mets-take-a-chance-on-greg-holland.html/#comments Thu, 27 Oct 2016 11:00:36 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=225310 ykwjvvxa

Despite the impression you may have gotten from the NL Wild Card game, the Mets have a great bullpen. The team’s bullpen ERA of 3.53 was the third-best in the NL, save for that dreadful game 163.

And given the reality of post-Madoff life for the Mets, it’s safe to say the team won’t be breaking the bank on a big-name free agent this year. And even if they do, they’ll probably want to allocate most of their funds on more dire areas, like filling in Yoenis Cespedes‘ spot in the lineup. So don’t get your hopes up on Aroldis Chapman coming to Queens.

That being said, you can never have enough bullpen arms. And since the Mets probably won’t have a huge budget, they should go out and sign former Royals closer Greg Holland. Holland represents a reclamation project who has about as high a ceiling as a reliever can have.

The ex-Royal missed all of 2016 recovering from Tommy John surgery. He suffered the initial injury in September of his contract year– about as unfortunate a time possible. But from 2011-2014, Holland was one of the best closers in baseball. He ranked second among closers in ERA (1.86), seventh in saves (113), second in fWAR (9.1), and sixth in strikeouts per nine innings (12.57). Numbers for a reliever don’t get much better than this.

Holland started throwing in August and is expected to be ready to pitch in February.

Since he fell off a bit in 2015 with a 3.83 ERA, and since he’s coming off of an injury, Holland will likely cost any team that signs him no more than a one-year deal. This is someone who is a perfect fit for the Mets. No other one-year deal candidate has as high a ceiling as Holland does, maybe at any position but especially in the bullpen. This is a player the Mets should aggressively pursue.

The best-case scenario for Holland is that he returns to 2014 form. This would mean innings seven through nine would be anchored by a near-unhittable three-headed monster that features three pitchers who could be closers for most teams. The notion of the Mets having a bullpen that good probably seems unthinkable for those who lived through the Aaron Heilman/Frank Francisco/Jose Valverde days.

And the worst-case? He gets released midseason. That’s it. There likely won’t be a huge financial commitment here, so the Mets can do that. And Holland would probably be best suited in a one-year “prove it” deal for his sake too: If he does well, he might be able to sign a bigger deal elsewhere and recoup some of the money he could have earned last winter.

Sandy Alderson has bought in several reclamation projects that have worked out well: Marlon Byrd, Addison Reed, and even Jose Reyes have come to the team with little expectation and become key contributors. Greg Holland could be next.

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Featured Post: Mets Should Follow Trend, Add Dominant Reliever http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/featured-post-mets-should-follow-trend-add-dominant-reliever.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/featured-post-mets-should-follow-trend-add-dominant-reliever.html/#comments Thu, 20 Oct 2016 20:30:15 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=224885 wade davis

An offseason ago, the New York Mets had a chance to get involved in the Aroldis Chapman sweepstakes. Despite the Cincinnati Reds trading Chapman away for an underwhelming package and despite the bullpen failing the Mets in the 2015 World Series, Sandy Alderson never seemed to seriously get involved. This offseason, the front office should avoid making a mistake like that again.

Let’s preface this discussion with a truth: the Mets have a good bullpen already. Addison Reed was perhaps the best setup man in the NL, while Jeurys Familia led the major league in saves. The middle relief had its ugly moments but was generally reliable this season for Terry Collins.

But all of those truths are related to the regular season, and adding another top-tier bullpen arm is more about the postseason than anything else. With a healthier pitching staff and lineup, the Mets will again be among the top teams in the National League. They should expect to be a playoff team, and therefore, they should build a team that will thrive in the postseason.

There are three main things that adding another top tier bullpen arm does:

1) It shortens the game

Let the 2015 Kansas City Royals and 2016 New York Yankees be your blueprint, but throw in a better starting rotation. Imagine only needing six innings from your All-Star caliber starter and then not missing a beat (or possibly getting better) with three dominant one-inning bullpen arms. It also allows you to bring in one of your guys into a tough spot in the 5th, 6th or 7th inning and still know you have two relief aces in your back pocket. If things get tougher for Mets’ opponents once the starter gets out of the game, then New York is going to pile up a lot of wins.

2) It provides Familia or Reed insurance

As great as Familia and Reed were in 2016, the Mets are one injury or one down year away from having a pretty dicey bullpen situation. So hedge your bets and create a situation where even if one pitcher struggles, the Mets still have two reliable relief arms to turn to. This is especially true for Familia, who has failed in big postseason spots on multiple occasions. If this turns into a trend, it will be important to have several other options to turn to.

3) It allows you to rest relievers and starters

Part of the reason Familia may have struggled in the postseason is that he’s overworked in the regular season. Reed was also less dominant at times in the second half. Having three options instead of two means that even in close games, Collins can give one of his top relievers a night off if he needs to. This will ensure those pitchers are a little more fresh come September and October. And it also allows the Mets to shorten the workload of their starters here and there. Pulling Syndergaard or deGrom after six innings is a lot easier when you don’t have to figure out the seventh in order to get to the eighth. A reliable third reliever will likely save each starter about 10 innings over the course of a season and will have them fresher for the postseason.

So here are a handful of guys the Mets should target in free agency and trades, excluding guys that will likely be out of their price range (ex: impending free agents Aroldis Chapman, Mark Melancon and Kenley Jansen):

1) Wade Davis: One year left on his deal and coming off an injury-riddled season, Davis could likely be had for less than he’s worth. If healthy, he’s one of the best bullpen arms in baseball. The Royals also appear interested in moving him.

2) Alex Colome: The Rays closer was among the best in baseball last season, as he posted a 1.91 ERA and 11.3 K/9. He’s not a free agent until 2021, but the Rays aren’t too close to contention and could be motivated to move him for the right package.

3) Tyler Thornburg: Basically the same deal as Colome — good closer, bad team and far from free agency (2020). Mets and Brewers had discussed plenty of deals in the past, so it might be easy to to revisit talks.

4) Kyle Barraclough/David Phelps: The Marlins are desperate for starting pitching, and the Mets have a lot of it. Both of these pitchers had over 100 K and a sub-3.00 ERA last season. Could a Seth Lugo or Robert Gsellman be enough to lure one from Miami?

5) Brad Hand/Ryan Buchter: The Padres also had a couple of dominant late-inning options last season, and they have been shown in the past to be willing to deal guys like these. They’re also a team looking for starting pitching.

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Jay Bruce Offers the Mets Trade Options http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/jay-bruce-offers-the-mets-trade-options.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/jay-bruce-offers-the-mets-trade-options.html/#comments Thu, 13 Oct 2016 13:30:16 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=224777 jay bruce 2

With the offseason underway early for the New York Mets, decisions loom for the team as they look to get healthy and back into the postseason for the third year in a row, something the club has never done in their 55-year history.

One such decision is whether or not to pick up Jay Bruce’s option for $13 million for next year, which was one of the intriguing factors in the front office’s decision to trade for the 29-year-old slugger at this year’s deadline. Looked upon as insurance in case Yoenis Cespedes opts out and signs on with a new team, Bruce is considered a backup plan to make up for the lost power and contributions that Cespedes would take with him to his new squad.

I believe the Mets should pick up Bruce’s option, rather than declining it and paying him a $1 million buyout. Bruce, despite his faults and rough beginning with the Mets, still offers 30 home run power and the ability to drive in 90 plus runs, all for a relatively cheap cost heading into 2017. Fans can also point to the fact the Bruce was heating up at the plate, going 12-for-25 with four homers and eight RBI from September 24 to the end of the season, as a sign that perhaps Bruce was starting to break out of his month and a half long slump.

The Mets also have another option at hand: picking up his option and exploring trade possibilities with other clubs. Teams are always in the hunt for power and obtaining it as cheaply as possible. On the free agent market, names like Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista, Mark Trumbo, and Yoenis Cespedes (assuming he opts out) offer said power, but will all earn more than $13 million either by the qualifying offer ($16.7 million) or signing a long-term deal. The free agent market is also pretty bare this year, with few impactful bats available. Obtaining a legitimate slugger on the cheap, who also is entering his walk year, could be a shrewd move for many teams, and surely the hot stove rumors will start to make their rounds once the World Series concludes.

One such team that looks to be in need of a power bat in their lineup is the Baltimore Orioles, who stand to lose Matt Wieters, Mark Trumbo, and Pedro Alvarez to free agency. Those three-combined hit 86 homers and drove in 223 runs in 2016, a ton of production to replace. The club could look to bring back Trumbo, who hits 47 of those 86 homers and drove in 108 RBI. However, Trumbo might find suitors who are willing to give him multiple years, something the Orioles might be reluctant to do. The Orioles have gotten lucky in the past few seasons, getting contributions from Nelson Cruz, Trumbo, and Alvarez, all while paying them under $25 million combined.

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Which brings us back to Bruce. He falls in line with Orioles looking to replace production while not overpaying for it. It’s worth noting that in a small sample size of four games played at Camden Yards, Bruce has gone 5-for-18 (.278), with a homer, four RBI, and an .871 OPS, nice success but in a very limited amount.

With the Mets looking to add bullpen arms in the off-season, could a trade be in the mix for one of the Orioles’ young arms? The Orioles featured a fearsome bullpen in 2016, and for the season the Orioles ranked third in bullpen ERA (3.40), second in LOB% (78.2), and fifth in WAR (5.5).

One intriguing arm is RHP Mychal Givens, the Orioles’ number five prospect heading into 2016. Givens, 26, is a hard tossing (averaging almost 95-mph with his four-seam fastball), side-armer, who is a converted middle infielder, after being drafted by the Orioles in 2009 as a shortstop in the second round of the draft. His offensive struggles in his first few minor league seasons prompted the Orioles to begin the conversion to bullpen arm in 2013. Givens was a two-way prospect from the beginning, who had a mid-90s fastball as a pitcher, which gave the Orioles hope that he’d have a better chance of succeeding as a pitcher. By 2015, Givens would be in Double A Bowie, going 4-2 in 35 games, with a sparkljng 1.73 ERA, and 0.94 WHIP in 57.1 innings.

Givens had a fantastic rookie season out of the pen this season for Buck Showalter, appearing in 66 games with a 3.13 ERA, and an 8-2 record. In 74.2 innings, Givens struck out 96 batters, ninth in baseball among relievers. Givens absolutely owned right-handed hitters, holding them to a .154 average and 2.26 ERA in 55.2 innings. On the flip side, Givens’ kryptonite during the season was facing lefty hitters though, as they crushed him to a slash line of .361/.464/.561 with 15 walks in 19 innings.

Givens started the season off strong, posting a 2.32 ERA while striking out 33 batters in 23 innings between April and May. A rough stretch ensued in June, where his ERA ballooned to an even 6.00, while giving up eight earned runs in 12 innings of work. However, after the All-Star break, Givens tossed 34.1 innings, holding batters to a .188 average, with a 2.88 ERA.

Givens pitched in the American League Wild Card game against the Toronto Blue Jays, relieving Chris Tillman in the fifth, tossing 2.1 innings while striking out three, not allowing a batter to reach base. He was the first man up for Showalter, an impressive display of trust and reliance on the rookie right-hander.

Bruce alone won’t bring back Givens, as the Orioles wouldn’t give up a rising bullpen arm for a year rental of Bruce. Perhaps if the Mets entice the O’s with one or two upper level prospects, a deal could be reached. Or if the Mets were to take back Ubaldo Jimenez in the deal, who’s making $13.5 million in his final year with Baltimore after signing a four-year $50 million deal in 2014, that could help sweeten the pot for a deal to be made between the two clubs.

Of course that’s just one suggestion, as there will be plenty of suitors looking for outfield help, so the Mets can engage with a number of teams looking to add a slugging left-handed hitter to their team. Teams such as the Toronto Blue Jays, Seattle Mariners, St. Louis Cardinals, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angels, and San Francisco Giants could all be looking for a power bat in the outfield in the offseason. Needless to say, there will be plenty of hot stove rumors permeating throughout the offseason, some far-fetched, others rooted in a sense of realistic possibilities.

For the Mets, picking up Bruce’s option for $13 million should be a no-brainer, as he offers them a fall back option but also an intriguing trade candidate, who could help bolster their roster heading into 2017 and beyond.

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Report: Matz To Undergo Elbow Surgery To Remove Bone Spurs http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/report-matz-to-undergo-elbow-surgery-to-remove-bone-spurs.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/report-matz-to-undergo-elbow-surgery-to-remove-bone-spurs.html/#comments Tue, 27 Sep 2016 20:16:38 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=223881 matz-degrom

Sources tell ESPN’s Adam Rubin that Steven Matz will have surgery to remove the bone spur in his pitching elbow.

No shoulder surgery will be required, although the impingement remains an issue that will be closely monitored. The Mets have estimated a three-month recovery time for the elbow surgery.

Obviously, his season is over.

Original Report – 11:00 AM

Manager Terry Collins all but made it official on Monday, telling reporters that LHP Steven Matz is “unlikely to pitch again this season” after visiting with team doctors in Manhattan.

Collins backpedaled a day after inferring the Long Island southpaw could pitch out of the bullpen this week, now saying that even if Matz does feel healthy enough to throw off a mound, it is unlikely he would contribute out of the bullpen.  ”I don’t think it’s fair to him or us to do it,” Collins said,

Matz, who last pitched on August 14, was 9-8 with a 3.40 ERA in 22 starts this season.

In addition to the shoulder impingement that has essentially wiped out the rest of his season, Matz has also pitched with a bone spur in his pitching elbow which will need surgery this winter.

There is still an outside chance that Matz could impress in the instructional league, and return to the Mets as a relief pitcher later in the postseason.

“If he pitches in some games in St. Lucie and shows that he’s got the command of his stuff, and it’s legitimate, then you’ve got to think about it,” Collins said. “But, that’s down the road.”

It’s a bit shocking that four of our Fab Five have all gone down with varying degrees of arm or shoulder injuries after we had such high expectations back in April. Only Noah Syndergaard remains as the one healthy option heading into the final two series of the regular season and a potential post season. Pitchers Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom have each undergone season ending surgery.

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Matz and deGrom May Combine To Replace Montero http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/matz-and-degrom-may-combine-to-replace-montero.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/matz-and-degrom-may-combine-to-replace-montero.html/#comments Wed, 14 Sep 2016 15:34:19 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=222886 matz-degrom

So to sum it up, the Rafael Montero experiment failed. In 13.1 innings he walked 15 batters and allowed 15 hits, pitching to a 2.250 WHIP and a 8.10 ERA. Those numbers are obviously pretty terrible, so Terry needs to find a way to fill the gap he left in the rotation.

With Steven Matz and Jacob deGrom coming back from injuries, Terry could fill that void with a Matz/deGrom 1-2 punch. Matz, 25, has been out since August 22nd with a left shoulder impingement, and deGrom, 28, has been out since September 1st with forearm soreness.

Steven Matz was scheduled to throw a bullpen session Tuesday but it was postponed due to the weather in Port St. Lucie. Jacob deGrom threw a 35-pitch session Monday and is making good progress. Terry Collins said that he doesn’t think a rehab start would be needed:

“As long as he’s healthy, as long as his arm is okay. We’ll certainly monitor the workload of that particular game, but if he’s throwing the ball like we know he can, he should get us through, and we’ve got ample guys behind him. We’re hoping that Steven will be ready at about maybe the same time.”

The Mets do have an off day Thursday, so they could opt to just skip that turn in the rotation altogether and bring Noah Syndergaard back on regular rest Sunday.

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Mets Options to Replace Rafael Montero http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/mets-options-to-replace-rafael-montero.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/mets-options-to-replace-rafael-montero.html/#comments Tue, 13 Sep 2016 14:40:07 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=222805 matz-degrom

After Monday night’s 8-1 loss to the Washington Nationals, Terry Collins stated the obvious when he said Rafael Montero wouldn’t get another start and was out of the rotation. The natural follow-up Collins couldn’t quite answer yet was, who would replace Montero in the rotation. “I don’t know who yet, but we’ll make a switch,” Collins said.

The Mets don’t have too many options at this point in the season, but here is who we might see next weekend:

Injured Starters

One of the reasons Montero is in the rotation to begin with is because Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz are injured. While there have been optimistic reports about them getting back on the mound, there are no indications either will be available to pitch on Saturday.

Right now, it appears that deGrom is the closer of the two, and the Mets are planning to to use him out of the bullpen for now.

Skip the Fifth Starter’s Spot

With the Mets having an off day on Thursday, they can pitch everyone on normal rest for one turn through the rotation. If the Mets pursue this option, the team wouldn’t need a fifth starter until Wednesday, September 21 against the Braves.

This route accomplishes two things. First, it allows the Mets to pitch their best (remaining) pitchers thereby giving them the best chance to win. Second, it gives deGrom and Matz a little more time to rejoin the rotation.

Gabriel Ynoa

If you’re judging Gabriel Ynoa by the 5.1 innings he has thrown in the majors, you wouldn’t want him or his 15.19 ERA anywhere near the mound.  Worse yet, in Ynoa’s outings, he has been hit hard, and he has had trouble putting batters away.

However, it should be noted those are only 5.1 innings. It should also be noted Ynoa was pitching out of the bullpen in each of these spots, which is a very unfamiliar role for him.

Ynoa also was on a hot streak before getting called up in September. In his final four starts of the season, he was 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP. These are better numbers than what Montero had in Double-A when he was tabbed the fifth starter.

Logan Verrett

Mets fans have seen enough of Logan Verrett in the rotation this year. In his 12 starts, he was 1-6 with a 6.45 ERA and a 1.617 WHIP. These are terrible numbers, and yet they are better than what Montero is giving the Mets right now.

Sean Gilmartin

Unfortunately, the 2016 version of Sean Gilmartin had been nowhere near as good as the 2015 version. Whether it was due to the shoulder injury which put him on the seven day DL or not, the results aren’t there for him.

In 18 starts and one relief appearance in AAA, Gilmartin was 9-7 with a 4.86 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP. His worst month was August where he was 0-2 with a 6.43 ERA and a 1.93 WHIP in three starts.

In his 11 appearances for the Mets this year, he has a 5.40 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP. However, he has been pitching better of late. In his last six appearances, he has allowed only two runs with a 1.17 WHIP.

Bullpenning

With the publication of Brian Kenny’s new book, “Ahead of the Curve” there has been more and more discussion about the plausibility of the concept of bullpenning.

Bullpenning is when a team eschews a starting pitcher, and instead opts to go with their bullpen for all nine innings. With September call-ups, the Mets have a deeper bullpen certainly making this concept a plausible option.

With Fernando SalasAddison Reed, and Jeurys Familia set for the last three to four innings, the Mets would only need to account for the first five to six innings of the game.

Now, given the fact that Ynoa, Verrett, and Gilmartin have not been stretched out in a while all three could give two innings each to begin the game.  Hansel Robles has also shown the a ability to go multiple innings to either change the look batters see it to step in if one of the aforementioned pitchers falter.

Bullpenning could also be an avenue to start deGrom and Matz while still limiting their innings and pitch count.

As it stands at the moment, there is no obvious solution. With that in mind, the Mets are probably going to need a hybrid approach to replace Montero in the rotation. At least until one of deGrom or Matz are ready to rejoin the rotation and give the Mets six or seven innings.

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Fernando Salas Could Be 7th Inning Fixture http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/fernando-salas-could-be-7th-inning-fixture.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/fernando-salas-could-be-7th-inning-fixture.html/#comments Thu, 08 Sep 2016 18:00:13 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=222300 fernando-salas

As September 1 was rapidly approaching, Sandy Alderson knew he needed to add a viable arm for a bullpen that has had inconsistencies and injuries throughout the 2016 season. Jim Henderson being overused and then succumbing to a DL stint due to bicep tendinitis comes to mind. Or Hansel Robles losing command and control in August, putting up an ugly 9.00 ERA in 13 games, and having as many walks (12) as he did strikeouts (13). And Jonathan Niese was also given a shot at earning a bullpen role, after the team reacquired him from the Pittsburgh Pirates at the deadline for LHP Antonio Bastardo. But in six-innings out of the pen, Niese gave up seven earned runs, walked five, and gave up two home runs, before injuring his meniscus in a August 23 start in St. Louis, requiring arthroscopic knee surgery in his left knee.

Even the impeccable Jeurys Familia had a bad month in May, where in 14 games he posted a 5.40 ERA, giving up 13 hits and eight runs in 13.1 innings pitched, illustrating how even the best in the game have their underperforming moments.

Alderson was scouring the waiver wire throughout August, hoping to make a trade that would help strengthen the pen for the playoff push. So on August 31, Alderson pulled off a deal with the Los Angeles Angels for RHP Fernando Salas, a 31-year-old reliever from Mexico, in exchange for minor league right-hander Erik Manoah, a 20-year-old who was pitching for the Brooklyn Cyclones after being drafted in the 13th round in the 2014 draft. Dealing for Salas before September 1 guarantees that he can be on the postseason roster for the Mets, giving the veteran a month to showcase what he can offer.

The move went somewhat under the radar, since Salas was having a subpar season, at least in the first half of the year with the Angels. But with Salas making only $2.4 million in his final year of arbitration, the Mets would only be on the hook for $419K, so adding him was a no-brainer, and gave them another low-risk, high reward type reliever.

His numbers this year weren’t that particularly impressive for the Angels: a 3-6 record with a 4.47 ERA in 58 games. He held opponents to a .248 average and had a 1.26 WHIP. Not terrible stats, but let’s be honest, we weren’t acquiring Andrew Miller or Aroldis Chapman for the stretch run here.

However, digging deeper into Salas’ stats this season, he’s actually pitched better than his numbers advertise. For April and May, Salas appeared in 24 games and had a combined ERA of 2.48, with 22 strikeouts to only five walks. Salas held the opposition to a .617 OPS during that stretch, and had eight holds through May 23.

When May turned to June, that’s when Salas had his worst month of the year. In 12 games, Salas’ ERA ballooned to 10.32, giving up 13 runs on 14 hits in 11.1 innings. The strong strikeout-to-walk ratio he had in the first two months disappeared, as he gave up more walks (6), than strikeouts (5).

fernando salas

Injuries to Huston Street and Cam Bedrosian in August led Angels’ manager Mike Scioscia to put Salas into the closers role for the time being. Salas has ninth-inning experience from his days with the St. Louis Cardinals, saving 24-of-30 games in 2011. Salas put up more respectable numbers in his final month with the Angels, posting a 3.48 ERA in 11 games, holding opponents to a .211 average and earning the save in all four of his chances.

And looking at his post All-Star game numbers with the Angels, numbers Alderson and Co. were most likely turning to when judging whether he’d be of use with the Mets, Salas posted a 2.93 ERA in 15.1 innings, holding opponents to a .224 average in that timeframe.

It wasn’t too long ago, 2014 to be exact, that Salas was thriving and having one of his best seasons as a pro, appearing in 57 games for the Angels, pitching to a 3.38 ERA with 61 strikeouts in 58.2 innings pitched. He held the opposition to a .228 average, and had the second best WHIP of his career, at 1.09.

With the back end of the Mets’ bullpen solidified with Addison Reed and Familia, Salas will get plenty of chances to showcase his talent in the seventh inning for Terry Collins. And so far, Salas has looked strong in the four outings he’s made including in Tuesday night’s 5-3 win in Cincinnati, tossing 4.1 innings giving up only two hits, no runs, no walks, and five strikeouts with a .133 batting average against. If he can provide the Mets with a trustworthy arm in the seventh, along with Jerry Blevins against tough lefties, then passing the baton off to Reed and Familia in the eighth and ninth, that might be the winning formula for the Mets to have their best chance at shutting down games late.

This trade almost has the same feel as the Reed trade last August with the Arizona Diamondbacks, when Alderson acquired the former closer who had been struggling last year and was even optioned to Triple A Reno in June for Arizona. Reed has excelled sine being with the Mets, becoming a dominant set-up man for Familia, and posting fantastic splits and being considered one of the best relievers in the game, posting the 6th best reliever’s WAR (2.2) in baseball.

Salas has an opportunity to show Collins why he belongs in the 7th inning, and looks to gain his trust during the final month. While his numbers haven’t been sparkling throughout the 2016 campaign, Salas has the opportunity to right the ship with the Mets, in similar fashion to what Reed did last year. The palindromic right-hander might turn out to be another successful under-the-radar move for Alderson, and give the Mets a veteran option for the back-end of the bullpen.

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Bartolo Colon: A Hunk Of Burning Love http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/bartolo-colon-a-hunk-of-burning-love.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/bartolo-colon-a-hunk-of-burning-love.html/#comments Tue, 06 Sep 2016 11:00:29 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=222204 bartolo colon

Every great baseball season is sprinkled with so many profound and uplifting stories, some that even transcend the game itself. Stories within a story that sometimes gets lost amidst all the balls and strikes, safe and out calls, wins and losses.

I love the stories of the late bloomers who come out of nowhere to inspire and lead their teams, or those unheralded youngsters who show up to the big leagues and perform way beyond anyone’s expectations. The Mets have certainly had their share of those this season, haven’t they.

Then there’s Bartolo Colon, a larger than life baseball treasure, who doesn’t really fit so neatly into those aforementioned categories. Bartolo deserves a category unto himself.

Watching Bartolo Colon pitch is one of the great joys of baseball. The way he performs his craft so effortlessly at the ripe old age of 43 is not only astounding and uncanny, it really is a thing of beauty.

As Mets fans, we are so fortunate to have this titan of the mound leading our rotation and providing the consistent performance that has kept this team afloat in a season that has been beset with far too many injuries to our young and promising players.

And it’s not just his prowess on the mound that separates Colon from most other pitchers, it’s all the other thing he brings to the table, in particular his valuable veteran leadership and the special bond he’s developed with all his teammates. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Bartolo was the most respected player in the Mets clubhouse.

Colon Bartolo

It amazes me that at a time when the Mets are getting socked with a slew of devastating injury news on several of their key players, that it was Bartolo Colon above all others who came forward and stepped up his game, providing the leadership and a steady hand that the team needed to navigate through the last two weeks.

After another spectacular performance on Monday against the Cincinnati Reds, Colon is 3-0 with a 2.39 ERA in his last four starts.

In his latest act, it was mesmerizing to see him escape a pair of jams with a runner on third and no outs. It was like watching a neurosurgeon perform the most delicate and dangerous of procedures with such remarkable ease. Not only did Colon walk away with a scoreless six inning performance that lowered his season’s ERA to 3.22, but he didn’t even break a sweat doing it.

There were a pair of special moments in his outing that really stood out for me. The first was after Colon navigated through that two on, nobody out jam. After he got the third out, the camera followed him to the dugout before cutting to a commercial. There was Colon standing amongst his peers a little winded, when I saw Travis d’Arnaud walk up and hug him as Bartolo smiled and hugged him back. I don’t really know what precipitated that, but it was a poignant moment you rarely get to see.

bartolo colon

The true highlight of the game for me didn’t even go in the Mets’ favor. It was an epic at-bat in that same sixth inning that pitted Reds slugger Joey Votto against Bartolo Colon in a tense showdown when the game was still on the line.

After putting Votto in an 0-2 hole, the All Star first baseman worked the count to 3-2 and then kept fouling one pitch after another off with neither player willing to give up an inch. Eventually Votto worked out a walk as Colon was unwilling to give him that pitch over the plate he desperately wanted.

As he jogged to first base, Votto glanced over at Colon who nodded his head and Votto did the same. Two baseball giants paying each other some respect. It was a cool ending to a key moment in the game.

You cannot measure what Bartolo Colon has meant to the young arms who look up to him and try to emulate his straight forward approach to throwing strikes and trusting your stuff. Clearly, his value to the team this season cannot be overstated.

The Mets are 12-4 in their last 16 games and 25 percent of those wins are on account of Bartolo. This latest win, the 231st of his career, makes Colon the active MLB leader in wins and he ties Luis Tiant for the second most wins All Time by a Latin American-born pitcher.

I don’t know about you, but I’m so glad that I’ve had the opportunity to see this class act pitch for my beloved Mets. And I truly hope we are not seeing the last of him and that he will return to pitch for the orange and blue next year which he says will be his final season.

Watching Bartolo close out his career in Flushing would be a fitting end to a remarkable career and one of the best storylines of the 2017 season for the New York Mets.

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Niese Will Have Knee Surgery Thursday, Mets Recall Goeddel http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/niese-will-have-knee-surgery-thursday-mets-recall-goeddel.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/niese-will-have-knee-surgery-thursday-mets-recall-goeddel.html/#comments Wed, 24 Aug 2016 23:52:49 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=221288 jon niese

The New York Mets announced that LHP Jon Niese will undergo arthroscopic surgery at the Hospital for Special Surgery tomorrow to repair a meniscus tear in his left knee. Mets Team Physician Dr. Struan Coleman will perform the procedure.

Niese, 29, said he has been dealing with pain in his knee since June, but felt no pain warming up in the bullpen before Tuesday’s start against the St. Louis Cardinals.

However, in the first inning he felt a pop in his knee after the second batter, and then experienced a shooting pain down his left leg, eventually prompting his removal from the game after facing just four batters by Terry Collins.

“It progressively got worse and worse,” said Niese, who likely ends his second tenure with the Mets with an 11.45 ERA in six appearances. “Every pitch, there was just a sharp, shooting pain down my leg. … I’ve got to get it fixed. I can’t keep going out there like that.”

For now, rookie right-hander Robert Gsellman will take Niese’s next turn in the rotation this Sunday. Gsellman threw 3 2/3 scoreless innings of relief after Niese left the game on Tuesday. 

The Mets recalled RHP Erik Goeddel to take Niese’s spot on the 25-man roster. He will pitch out of the bullpen.

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Mets Promote Pitching Prospect Robert Gsellman http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/mets-promote-pitching-prospect-robert-gsellman.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/mets-promote-pitching-prospect-robert-gsellman.html/#comments Mon, 22 Aug 2016 20:56:46 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=221144 robert gsellman

With the Mets putting Steven Matz on the disabled list with a mild strain in his rotator cuff, the Mets are promoting Robert Gsellman from AAA Las Vegas.

The 23-year old Gsellman was the Mets 2011 13th round draft pick out of Westchester High School in Los Angeles, CA. He started the year with AA Binghamton, and he worked his way up to AAA. Gsellman has combined to go 4-9 with a 3.99 ERA and a 1.252 WHIP. In his nine AAA starts, he has gone 1-5 with a 5.73 ERA and a 1.479 WHIP.

In 2015, Gsellman was the Sterling Organizational Pitcher of the Year after going a combined 13-7 with a 2.89 ERA (46 earned runs/143.1 innings) in 24 starts between St. Lucie (A) of the Florida State League and Binghamton.

Gsellman has been better lately with a 3.72 ERA in his last six Las Vegas starts with 35 strikeouts in 38.2 innings during that span. He was ranked as the Mets number 6 prospect according to Baseball America in their midseason update.

The plan is to move Gsellman to the bullpen. In his professional career, Gsellman has come out of the bullpen only 12 times but half of those were piggyback starts. The other half were in his first pro season as the Mets were limiting his innings. The plan is to go with Jon Niese and Seth Lugo in the rotation.

With Niese and Lugo having recently been in the bullpen, Gsellman should be insurance for either one of them not being able to go deep into games.

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Mets Need A Bat, Not A Bullpen Arm http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/07/mets-need-a-bat-not-a-bullpen-arm.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/07/mets-need-a-bat-not-a-bullpen-arm.html/#comments Wed, 27 Jul 2016 15:19:27 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=218677 hansel robles

Leading up to the trade deadline, most of the talk from inside the Mets organization and among media members has been that the Mets’ top priority is to add a bullpen arm. While it’s always good to have bullpen depth, using the team’s resources on an extra late-inning arm seems puzzling given the other holes on the team.

First, let’s look at the current state of the bullpen. Jeurys Familia is rock solid in the closer spot. Addison Reed is possibly the best eighth-inning man in baseball this season. From there, the Mets have Jerry Blevins and Hansel Robles, both of whom are having stellar seasons and have shown the ability to get big outs late. So the seventh, eighth and ninth inning seem pretty well covered, and there seems to be no need to mess with their roles.

The last three arms in the bullpen right now are Erik Goeddel, Antonio Bastrado and the long man, Seth Lugo. Bastardo’s contract keeps him with the Mets through next year, and nobody trades for an upgraded long man, so the upgrade here would be over Goeddel. This begs the question, do the Mets really need to trade anything of value to upgrade over Goeddel?

As the Aroldis Chapman trade showed, good relievers don’t come cheap, so if the Mets are looking for a upgrade, then it will cost at least one talented player. And that’s for an acquisition who if the team makes the postseason may throw five innings all of October. Is a prospect for five innings worth it when Familia, Reed, Blevins and Robles are already on the roster and getting the job done?

What the Mets need to do is to look back at last season and remember two things. First, they can wait till August and still trade for an impact reliever like Addison Reed and not need to give up nearly as much. Second, if the team makes the playoffs, Logan Verrett and possibly Bartolo Colon will be added to the bullpen. Like it or not, Collins has shown to be very willing to use Colon in big relief spots.

What makes the desire for a bullpen arm even more puzzling is that the team has so many other holes. The Mets could use an upgrade at fifth starter, and even more importantly, the Mets’ offense is terrible. Only the Phillies and Braves have scored less runs. I understand that the team is banking on the struggles with RISP to eventually balance out, but adding a bat to either the infield or outfield mix could also go a long way.

The Mets are likely going to need a little outside help to make the postseason this year. So they should be targeting their glaring weakness and not adding an arm to their biggest strength. The offense has been a problem nearly all season, and the club needs to address that problem before it leads to their demise.

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Alderson Says Starting Pitcher or Bat Unlikely, Unwilling To Deal Top Prospects http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/07/alderson-says-starting-pitcher-or-bat-unlikely-unwilling-to-deal-top-prospects.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/07/alderson-says-starting-pitcher-or-bat-unlikely-unwilling-to-deal-top-prospects.html/#comments Mon, 25 Jul 2016 20:57:41 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=218622 sandy alderson presser

Mets GM Sandy Alderson spoke to reporters at Citi Field before the game on Monday and said that it’s unlikely that the team will add a starting pitcher or position player and that their focus is on adding a bullpen arm before the trade deadline.

“I think realistically, the bullpen is the area we can get someone,” Alderson said. “I enjoy sizzle as much as anybody. But you have to be realistic.”

Alderson also said that other teams have been asking for the team’s top prospects, but he is unwilling to deal them, according to one report from Newsday’s Laura Albanese. 

Without mentioning Jonathan Lucroy by name, Sandy said that a rumored deal for a prominent player was “dead on arrival.”

Still a week to go before the deadline, a lot can still change.

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