Mets Merized Online » Cy Young Wed, 03 Feb 2016 00:21:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Game Changer: The R.A. Dickey Trade Turns Three Thu, 17 Dec 2015 18:06:11 +0000 dickey tips cap

Today marks the three year anniversary of the trade I’ve come to refer to as The Game Changer for the New York Mets. It was on this day in 2012, that Sandy Alderson dealt the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for a package that included top prospects Travis d’ArnaudNoah Syndergaard and Wuilmer Becerra.

The Mets also received catcher John Buck in the deal, while young backstops Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas headed up north.

Such deals always take years to truly measure which team came out on top, but at the time, there were only a scant few who didn’t see this blockbuster deal as huge win for the Mets and a franchise-altering moment.

Following a brutal 2012 MLB season in which the Blue Jays finished with just 73 wins, good for fourth place in the American League East, 22 games back of the New York Yankees, Toronto appeared to be lost in the wilderness. With just 19 wins total in the months of August and September, the Jays appeared to be years away from competing for their first World Series title since winning back-to-back championships in 1992 and 1993.

Indeed, five straight fourth-place finishes had started to take its toll, with attendance continuing to drop precipitously in the wake of a 20-year playoff drought for Toronto.

Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos, feeling the pressure to quickly turn around the Jays fortunes, shook the baseball world with a November 2012 blockbuster trade with the Miami Marlins that brought All-Star shortstop and former Met Jose Reyes as well as Cy Young caliber pitchers Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson to Toronto in exchange for young hurler Henderson Alvarez, infielders Yunel EscobarAdeiny Hechavarria, and several other young prospects.

However, the Jays remained in desperate need of another big arm in the rotation, setting the stage for the deal for R.A. Dickey.

But much to the horror of Blue Jays fans and the quiet delight of Mets fans, Anthopoulos’ rapid two-month rebuild failed to produce wins, and Toronto finished dead last in the AL East. Dickey posted a 14-13 record with a 4.21 ERA, his worst numbers since becoming a full-time starter in 2010 – and a far cry from his final season with the Mets when he went 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA and led the league in strikeouts, complete games and shutouts.

Things got no better for Dickey and the Blue Jays in 2014. After posting a 21-9 record in May, the Jays flirted with the best record in baseball and were once again World Series betting favorites. But an 11-23 run in the five weeks prior to the All-Star Break once again doomed the Jays to a third-place finish, well out of contention.

travis d'Arnaud

From the Mets side of things, the deal began to produce promising results almost immediately as veteran catcher John Buck hit 15 homers and drove in 60, while guiding a young Matt Harvey to an All Star campaign and breaking the young and exciting Zack Wheeler.

Top catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud made his MLB debut that season and the Mets knew they were looking at their catcher of the future. They would parlay Buck along with Marlon Byrd and flip them to Pittsburgh for two more prospects, reliever Vic Black and promising youngster Dilson Herrera as the Dickey trade transitions into the gift that keeps on giving.

In d’Arnaud the Mets had themselves a solid major league catcher with a wonderful line drive swing that produced some nice power, as well as an impressive defensive skill set highlighted by some of the best pitch framing in the game. There’s a potential All Star caliber catcher packed in TDA and if he can stay healthy for a full season the numbers bear that out.

Syndergaard Noah

The future appears even brighter for Noah Syndergaard, whose rapid development has been incredible to watch. The 22-year old struggled with injury early on in 2014, pushing back his much anticipated major league debut. But scouts raved about the hard-throwing righty who was now hitting 100 mph with regularity in the PCL and emerged as one of baseball’s top ranked prospects overall and the No. 1 right-handed pitching prospect in the game.

In 2015, Syndergaard made his major league debut and he delivered big-time on all the promise and expectations that had preceded him. Syndergaard made 24 major league starts and finished the year with a 3.24 ERA, 3.25 FIP and a 1.041 WHIP in 150 innings with a 10.0 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9. Amazing.

Syndergaard was oozing with confidence and carried himself with so much swagger that he had no qualms about buzzing one past the head of Alcides Escobar in the World Series and later admitting it was with full intent. The Royals flipped out and had blood in their eyes. But the young Thor responded by daring them to meet him 60 feet and 6 inches from the mound if they had a problem with it. By his third start of the season it was no longer the Big Two, but the Big Three as Syndergaard became part of the Mets’ dominating triumvirate along with Harvey and Jacob deGrom.

But there’s more.

wuilmer becerra

The throw-in to the deal was a little known 17-year old outfield prospect named Wuilmer Becerra. This young talent is often the forgotten one, but after a breakthrough 2015 season he had scouts drooling over his five-tool skill set and his stock quickly vaulted to the top of every known prospect ranking.

Blessed with a powerful throwing arm, this exciting right fielder batted .290 last season with a .342 on-base percentage and .423 slugging while playing at the cavernous Grayson Stadium – the toughest hitting environment in minor league baseball. In 118 games for Single-A Savannah, Becerra stroked 27 doubles, three triples, nine home runs, scoring 67 runs, driving in 68 and stealing 16 bases.

Three words. What A Haul.

Perhaps manager Terry Collins best described what a huge impact the R.A. Dickey trade had on the franchise when he said the following:

“The year he won the Cy Young, we weren’t in the hunt,” Collins said before facing the Blue Jays last June. “What he brought back has allowed us to be in the hunt, so I think his value, what he provided for this organization, was a chance to move a guy and move the organization forward. He was a huge asset to the organization and one of the great stories in all of baseball.”

Yes, Dickey was a great story. Who knew when Omar Minaya signed him off the scrapheap, what destiny had in store for the future of the New York Mets.

The day was December 17, 2012. That was when everything changed for the Amazins. That was their tipping point. That trade was the Game Changer. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. LGM


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Six Reasons Why Niese For Walker Trade Made Sense Fri, 11 Dec 2015 16:37:44 +0000 neil walker

As you know, the Mets have traded left-handed starting pitcher Jon Niese to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for switch-hitting second baseman Neil Walker. From the reaction on social media it appears there’s a good chunk of fans who don’t like the deal. I’d like to point out six reasons why this was a fantastic trade for the Mets.

Neil Walker is really good at baseball

In 2010, his first full season, Walker finished 5th in Rookie of the Year voting. He has not let up and since then, Walker has a career .273/.338/.433 slash line, averaging 136 games, 16 home runs, 29 doubles, and 70 RBI per season. He also won a Silver Slugger award in 2014 for NL second basemen.

Last season was more of the same, as he hit .269/.328/.427 with 16 home runs and 71 RBI to go with a .325 wOBA and 108 wRC+. Slightly lower than his career average, but nothing to be worried about. He did appear in 151 games, and that consistent durability he has shown throughout his career is another reason why he is so valuable.

Defensively he is slightly below average, but definitely an upgrade over Daniel Murphy. He has never made more than 9 errors in a season, and in 2015 he made only 7 in 1,224.2 innings. The Pirates have many sinker-throwing pitchers such as A.J. Burnett, Francisco Liriano, Charlie Morton, and Tony Watson, so he’s had plenty of opportunities. He is very fundamentally sound and will rarely make an error.

Draft Picks

Because Daniel Murphy turned down the qualifying offer the Mets extended to him this offseason, the Mets will receive a compensatory first-round draft pick in the 2016 draft. If the Mets had re-signed Murphy, they never would have gotten that extra pick.

Furthermore, Neil Walker will be a free agent after the 2016 season. He should be one of the top second basemen on the market at only 31 years old. Considering he is almost an identical player to Ben Zobrist, except for the position flexibility, he would probably command a similar contract. From the sound of it, he’ll also get to play some third base for the Mets.

Taking all this into consideration, there’s a good chance that the Mets will extend Walker a qualifying offer following this season, which he will almost certainly reject. This means a compensatory draft pick in for the team in the 2017 draft as well.

$ Money $

Jon Niese will be paid $9 million this season, with club options for $10M in 2017 and $11M in 2018. Walker is expected to make $10-11 million in arbitration this offseason, which is more expensive in the immediate future, but also has no financial commitment in the long term.

After Walker walks, barring any setbacks, Dilson Herrera will almost surely be ready to take over as New York’s primary second baseman. He will be very cheap and Michael Cuddyer will be off the books as well, leaving the Mets plenty of money to possibly extend the contracts of one or more crucial players like Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Travis d’Arnaud, Michael Conforto, etc.

Dilson Herrera May Not Quite Be Ready

Many people think 21 year-old Dilson Herrera is ready to take over the role at second base, but this deal allows him another full season to develop without rushing. He could certainly be included on the Major League roster, maybe in a platoon with Walker against left-handed starters (more on that later).

If Herrera is not ready yet, however, the Mets could keep him in AAA Las Vegas knowing the keystone is manned for the season.

harvey degrom syndergaard matz

Four Young Guns, Five When You Count Wheeler

I’ve always been a fan of Jonathon Niese. He put in over 1,000 innings of work for the Mets which will not soon be forgotten. But unfortunately for him, the Mets have the four guys in that picture. They have four incredibly talented pitchers, all of whom are arguably capable of winning a Cy Young Award at some point. They all certainly have the potential to do so.

The Mets really don’t need Niese anymore. What they need right now is a stopgap for half a season until Zack Wheeler, another talented young flamethrower, comes back from Tommy John. They can go to the free agent market or use internal options like Logan Verrett or Rafael Montero, and won’t have to pay $9 million for that pitcher like they would have paid Niese.

The Mets also need better defense behind these guys. While Neil Walker is no Brandon Phillips at second base, he is definitely better than Daniel Murphy and will probably save some runs for the Mets this season.

Lineup Flexibility

Walker hit in every spot in the lineup except leadoff in 2015. His best and most frequent spot was second, where in 198 at-bats he hit .293/.344/.475 with 7 home runs and 2 stolen bases. He also batted 4th, 5th, and 6th quite often and has proven he can hit anywhere in the lineup.

The fact that he is a switch hitter also helps greatly. While he is far better as a left handed hitter against right handed pitching, he is no slouch batting righty against lefties.

Career against RHP: 2668 PA, .275/.343/.457, 87 home runs, 141 doubles, 13 triples

Career against LHP: 758 PA, .260/.317/.338, 6 home runs, 33 doubles, 1 triple

As you can see, he has little to no power from the right side of the batters box, but still hits for a decent average. Terry Collins could choose to sit him against lefties, either utilizing a straight platoon with Dilson Herrera at second base, or shifting Wilmer Flores to second and starting Ruben Tejada at shortstop.

I love this trade, but I don’t think the Mets are done yet, as I think they must continue to look for bullpen help and resolve the center field situation with an everyday player or a platoon partner for Juan Lagares. Regardless, this was a fantastic deal and absolutely helps the team. I don’t see any cons to the deal, but if you do, comment below I’d love to hear it. Let’s Go Mets!


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Wright Snaps 1-for-19 Slump With RBI Double Off Arrieta Mon, 19 Oct 2015 16:30:49 +0000 david wright

Despite entering Sunday night’s game in a 1-for-19 slump, David Wright delivered the first blow against the Cubs’ ace Jake Arrieta. Wright crushed a double to centerfield over the head of Dexter Fowler that scored Curtis Granderson all the way from first base.

The double ignited the Mets first inning outburst off Arrieta, who did not allow a run during in the first inning over his previous 25 starts.

“Yeah, it felt nice,” The Mets captain said. “I’ve said all along I’ve had some poor at bats and some good at bats where you have nothing to show for it. But through all of it, you try to grind it out and you try to do some other things, if you’re not swinging the bat that well. So it’s nice to be able to come out and contribute early, especially off a guy that’s probably the frontrunner for the Cy Young.”

“It’s huge,” Terry Collins explained. “He’s so important to the club. I told you we had a little laugh last night when I asked him how he was feeling physically and he said he was fine, and he said, “Outside of the fact that I suck right now, I’m doing good.” But that’s the mentality.”

Even though Wright only has two hits this postseason, both have come in huge situations. Wright drove in the winning run in Game 1 against the Dodgers with a RBI single during the 7th inning. He turned on a 99 MPH fastball from Pedro Baez and belted it up the middle with two outs and the bases loaded.

Hopefully, his clutch RBI double last night is a sign that he’s ready to break out very soon. He’s batting just .087 in the playoffs, but he also went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts during his final three at bats yesterday.

However, Wright is one of the best hitters in franchise history, so it’s only a matter of time before he figures it out.  After returning from the disabled list late in season, he still preformed at a high level with a .289 average and five home runs during 38 games.

“We need his presence in the lineup,’ Collins said. “He’s still dangerous, and every time he walks in that batter’s box, you just feel good like he’s going to get something good to hit, and hit it over the fence or against the fence. That leadership, you’ve got to have it on the field.”


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NLCS Cubs vs Mets: Series Preview, Key Players, Predictions Sat, 17 Oct 2015 14:24:05 +0000 nlcs 15 cubs

The last time the New York Mets and Chicago Cubs were in our national consciousness man had just landed on the moon, our country’s cities had been burning and we were mired in Vietnam.

The Mets, in their seventh year of existence, climbed out of a huge deficit to overtake the Cubs and blitz through the postseason to win the World Series. The similarities of those teams in 1969 and those in 2015 were quite remarkable.

The 1969 Mets were built on pitching depth, as is this team. Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman and Gary Gentry in the rotation and Tug McGraw in the bullpen then; Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Matt Harvey in the rotation and Jeurys Familia in the bullpen now.

The 1969 Mets had a core of Tommie Agee and Cleon Jones, but came to life after the mid-season trade for Donn Clendenon. The 2015 Mets had its core in David Wright and Daniel Murphy, but needed the spark of Yoenis Cespedes.

The 1969 Cubs had quality pitching in Fergie Jenkins and Ken Holtzman. Today’s Cubs will throw at you Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester. Both the 1969 and 2015 Cubs are power laden teams. Ernie Banks, Ron Santo and Billy Williams then; Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber now.

The similarities are many, including the Cubs still playing in rickety old Wrigley Field and lamenting a century’s worth of bad luck.

By the way, there’s no truth to the rumor the Mets invited Steve Bartman to throw out the first pitch.

jacob deGrom


After nine years of misery, these Mets are a talented bunch, with “a bright future,’’ says manager Terry Collins. However, I don’t want to hear about the future, I want to see them win now, and it is possible with that young pitching staff. While the home field will play a role, the Mets will win the NLCS because their rotation is deeper and Familia is a better closer than the Cubs’ Hector Rondon.

After Arrieta and Lester, there’s nothing frightening about Jason Hammel and Kyle Hendricks. Meanwhile, I like the Mets’ Nos. 3 and 4 starters have.

The belief here is the Mets’ pitching can hold down the Cubs’ power, while New York’s offense can better manufacture runs.

Although the Mets won Game 5 of the NLDS in Los Angeles, it’s always better to have the extra game at home and Game 7 at Citi Field is enticing.

The Mets also have the “it’’ factor in having overcome so much this season to return to the postseason for the first time since 2006.

The Cubs owned the Mets 7-0 in the season series, but that run can’t last forever, as can’t the prolonged slumps of Wright and Lucas Duda.

Cubs advance to NLCS Rizzo


Yes, the Mets are due, but after a century’s worth of disappointment so is Chicago. After billy goats and Bartman, this could very well be the Cubs’ year. Sooner or later it has to happen.

One bright spot if it is will be that we won’t have to hear Cubs’ fans whining anymore about being cursed.

Arrieta should be the National League’s Cy Young Award winner, and Lester has proven to be a big-game pitcher in his own right.

Speaking of having a big game mentality, as good as Mets’ manager Terry Collins has been, Chicago’s Joe Maddon might be the best big game manager in the sport.

Pitching usually trumps power, but when that power is on a roll – as are the Cubs now – it is hard to contain. Bryant and Rizzo might be the game’s best 1-2 punch, and Schwarber makes three. The Mets don’t have that kind of power.

From top to bottom, the Cubs are loaded.

I don’t believe Chicago’s regular-season success will be the deciding factor, but the Cubs can’t help but enter the series with a measure of confidence. The Cubs clinching the day before gives them added rest, and we can’t help but wonder if the Mets aren’t emotionally spent from a grueling Game 5 against the Dodgers followed by a cross-country flight.

Being fresher could enable the Cubs from stealing one of the first two games at Citi Field.

Another reason to like Chicago is deep dish pizza.

Cespedes Yoenis


Almost all season long I’ve referred to the Mets as a team of destiny. Think for a moment of all the adversity this team has endured. They started the season losing a top of the rotation starter in Wheeler, then their closer gets suspended, their third baseman and starting catcher miss over three months of the season, all the controversies and media driven drama they’ve had to deal with, and yet here they are today, four wins away from the World Series. Why will the Mets win? Because it’s written in the stars.

But on a more serious note, the Mets will win because their starting is deeper and better. Sure the Cubs have Arrieta and Lester, but deGrom and Harvey are no slouches and Syndergaard and Matz easily trump Hendricks and Hammel. It’s not even close, Mets starting pitching is deeper and better.

I keep hearing about how much power the Cubs have, and granted they have some great young hitters. But the Mets hit more homeruns and had more extra-base hits than any other team in the league from August 1 to the end of the season. They also had more multi-homer games than anyone else. Yoenis Cespedes will be a beast in the NLCS and if Daniel Murphy stays hot and David Wright and Lucas Duda decide to join the party, the Cubs have no chance.

But the biggest reason the Mets will win comes down to one man, Justin Turner… The Cubs don’t have him. Only kidding, it’s my man Jeurys Familia… He has become a weapon of mass destruction.



Wait, what? Who says the Cubs are going to win? Fine, I’ll play along.

It saddens me to say this, but the Cubs are going to win because Joe Maddon makes Terry Collins look like a mental midget. Maddon is a brilliant strategist and tactician who is always looking for that edge. And he does his homework and always shows up well prepared, knowing the strengths and weaknesses of everyone in that opposing dugout. He’s considered one of the most innovative managers in baseball, having popularized defensive shifts and making the safety squeeze a staple. His players play hard for him, and so does Collins’ but it’s all those other things that sets Maddon apart.

The Cubs will win because they have two of the best young sluggers in the league if not the game in Bryant (5.9 WAR) and Rizzo (6.2 WAR) who combined for nearly 60 homers and 200 RBIs while also stealing 30 bases between them. They have tremendous bat speed and each of them can take over a game at anytime.  Mets pitchers, beware.

murphy game 5


Daniel Murphy: The Dodgers still don’t know where he is and it cost them the series. Plus, Murphy is a lifetime .305 hitter against the Cubs, including .349 with four homers and nine RBI in Wrigley Field.

Matt Harvey: Being the Game 1 starter also puts him in line to start Game 5 and maybe Game 7. Remember, there are no restrictions. Harvey is about atonement and he wants to make up for Game 3 against the Dodgers.

David Wright: He says he’s been waiting nine long years to get back into the playoffs and his .083 average against the Dodgers was not what he or anyone else was expecting. Look for Wright to flex some muscle in this series.

Yoenis Cespedes: The most dangerous and most explosive hitter in the Mets lineup. If Cubs pitchers leave one hanging or groove one in his zone, Cespedes will make them pay for it. He could be a big threat to steal second when Lester is on the mound. Which brings us to…

Eric Young Jr. – My hunch is he makes the NLCS roster for the Mets so that they can exploit Lester and manufacture a run late in the game, especially in a tight one. But it’s a big if whether he makes the cut at the time of this writing.


Jake Arrieta


Jake Arrieta: He struggled in his last NLDS start against St. Louis and you have to wonder if the season hasn’t taken a toll. Or he could come back with a vengeance.

Kris Bryant: He’s no Justin Turner, but he can carry a team, and he can do it for seven games. His match-ups against Harvey and deGrom could be monumental. Frightening thought: For as good as Bryant is, his numbers did not match Rizzo.

Javier Baez: As the replacement for the injured Addison Russell he’ll attract a lot of attention. The Cubs don’t lose that much defensively. but Baez is better known for his bat. He went 4-for-5 with a home run, stolen base, and three ribbies in the NLDS.

Kyle Schwarber: He only has 288 major league at-bats, but has proven he can hit in the clutch – and drive the ball into next week. He is 7-for-13 in the postseason with three homers and five RBIs.

Kyle Hendricks: There will be games not started by Arrieta or Lester, and the Cubs need to win at least one of those. Either Hendricks or Hammel must find a way to beat the back end of the Mets’ rotation, which is much, much better.

John’s Prediction: I’m already on record saying I believe the Mets can get into, and win, the World Series. That means beating the Cubs in the NLCS. They’ll do it in seven games.

Joe’s Prediction: The Mets will win the NLCS in five games if Syndergaard starts Game 2, otherwise the Mets will defeat the Cubs in six games.


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Sizing Up Jacob deGrom and the NL Cy Young Race Mon, 07 Sep 2015 13:00:24 +0000 jacob deGrom

In his sophomore season, Jacob deGrom has pitched even better than he did last season, when he won the NL Rookie Of The Year. On a team with immense pitching talent, he has stood out among the crowd for both his stuff as well as his hair.

The ultimate award for a pitcher this day and age is the Cy Young, the award given to the most outstanding pitcher in the National and American Leagues. This season, many pitchers are vying for that honor in the NL, with many worthy candidates. Despite some recent struggles, deGrom’s numbers are definitely outstanding and in the mix.

He is 12-7 with a 2.40 ERA, which is 4th best in the NL. In 169 innings (11th) he has struck out 175 batters (7th) and walked 34, and he has  a 0.961 WHIP (5th) so far this season to round out his impressive 2015 resumé. He also has a stingy .210 opposing batting average,  4th best in the league among all qualified starters.

The won-loss records of starting pitchers have a great importance in the eyes of voters, so deGrom’s “mere” 12 wins may prove costly. People who follow the Mets closely however, know that the first half of the season was wrought with plenty of no-decisions for deGrom, in which he pitched well enough to win.

His numbers are absolutely impressive, but are they impressive enough? Let’s take a look at some of deGrom’s competition for the 2015 NL Cy Young Award.

clayton Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw, the reigning MVP and Cy Young winner has already had an amazing career. He has led the Major Leagues in ERA each of the last 4 seasons, with a 2.11 ERA in 895.1 innings in that span. After a rocky start this season, he has returned to typical Kershaw form.

Kershaw is 12-6 with a 2.18 ERA, good for 3rd best in the league. In 194 innings (1st), he has struck out an incredible 251 batters (1st) and walked only 34. He has a 0.897 WHIP (2nd), a .199 BAA (3rd), and a K/9 rate of 11.64 (1st). He has struck out 200 batters for the 6th consecutive season, and has already passed his former season strikeout mark of 248 set back in 2011. He has 3 complete games (T-1st) and 2 shutouts (T-1st) this season.

Since June 22 (12 starts), he has allowed more than one run only once. He has struck out 10 or more batters in one game 12 times so far this season, and has had games with 8 or more strikeouts and 0 walks 9 times. If he continues his dominant form and keeps lowering his ERA, he will absolutely be a worthy recipient of the Cy Young award for the 4th time in his young career.

Zack Greinke

The second Dodger on this list, Zack Greinke has had perhaps the best year so far of all these pitchers mentioned. He is 15-3 with an absolutely magnificent 1.59 ERA, best in the majors. In 186.2 innings (2nd) he has struck out 169 (8th). His .189 BAA (1st) combined with him allowing only 32 walks and 126 hits accumulates to a pristine 0.846 WHIP (1st).

Greinke, who won the AL Cy Young in 2009 with the Royals (16-8, 2.16 ERA), is currently in the best season of his career. This includes an impressive 45.2 inning scoreless streak in June/July ended by the Mets. If the season ended right now, he would most likely be selected the winner. If he continues to pitch well for the rest of the season, he has a very good chance of taking home his second Cy Young award.

Jake Arrieta

Jake Arrieta is very quietly having an amazing season for the Cubs. He has pitched to the tune of a 18-6 record with an immaculate 2.03 ERA (2nd). Like Kershaw, he has 3 complete games (T-1st) and 2 shutouts (T-1st), which includes a no-hitter against the Dodgers on August 30th.

In 191 innings this year (2nd), he has struck out 197 (4th) batters. 44 walks and 132 hits allowed comes out to a 0.92 WHIP (3rd), to go with a .194 BAA (2nd).

He has had a mostly tumultuous career before this season. From 2010-2013 with the Orioles and Cubs, he was 24-27 with a 5.23 ERA. A high walk rate (4.0 per 9 IP) led to an extremely high 1.428 WHIP during that span. However, last season, he pitched better going 10-5 with a 2.53 ERA. This season though, finally, he has put it all together. He is currently in the midst of a 17-game quality start streak and is absolutely worthy of consideration for the award.

madison bumgarner

Madison Bumgarner, fresh off a World Series MVP nod, has pitched very well for the Giants this season. He is 17-7 with a 3.05 ERA (13th). In 188.2 innings (3rd), he has struck out 203 batters (3rd), walked 32, and allowed 167 hits for a 1.05 WHIP (7th). He has tossed 3 complete games (T-1st) and has one shutout.

After a rocky first half, MadBum is 8-2 since the All Star Game with 82 strikeouts and 10 walks in 69.2 innings, allowing only 20 runs (2.60 ERA). Until this point, his regular season numbers have been fairly overrated, but he is proving haters wrong so far this season. If he lowers that ERA significantly before the end of the season, he has a decent shot at the Cy Young.

Jacob deGrom

As you can see, young Mr. deGrom has his work cut out for him going into the final month of the season. If he strings together some stellar starts he will absolutely be strongly considered for the Cy Young and pick up plenty of votes, but clearly the odds are stacked against him.

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Matz’s Debut A Day To Remember Mon, 29 Jun 2015 17:45:56 +0000 Steve Matz debut

Between his 7.2 very solid innings, six strikeouts, three hits and four RBIs, Steven Matz‘s debut proved to be worth the wait.

Drafted in the 2nd round of the 2009 MLB Draft, Matz did not make it to a professional mound until 2012 due to complications following Tommy John surgery. Eventually battling back to debut with the Kingsport Mets, the Stony Brook native shot quickly up the Mets ranks to achieve the esteem of a top prospect, and now a major league starter.

“It’s unbelievable, it’s like a dream,” said Vito Cervone, a former catcher of Matz at Ward Melville, seated in section 113 Sunday to see his former battery mate’s debut. “I’m living vicariously through him.”

With more than two years of rehabbing following surgery in 2009, and the prospect of having to potentially undergo a second Tommy John operation, it at one point became a real question whether a day like Sunday would ever be possible. Mets catcher Kevin Plawecki said Matz persevering to make it to this point is just a testament to how hard pitchers who’ve had Tommy John have to work.

“Anyone who goes through a surgery like that, you Harvey, Wheeler too, it’s a tough surgery, but it just shows the work ethic that all these guys have,” he said. “Unfortunately it’s part of the game nowadays. Thank goodness there’s doctors and rehab programs good enough to get these guys back healthy and where they were beforehand.”

Steven, Matz

His MLB debut would be further delayed by an addition three hours and 26 minutes as Saturday’s suspended game concluded, during which time Matz told 1988 AL Cy Young Award winner and current Las Vegas 51s pitching coach Frank Viola that he “must have walked three miles” waiting for the first game to end. Viola told WSOU, Seton Hall’s student radio station, how proud he was of Matz.

“It’s like watching a child of yours get the chance to do something that a lot of people have always wanted to do,” he said.

Viola said above all, Matz is genuinely a good person.

“He’s more than just a baseball player, that’s secondary, he’s just a wonderful person, terrific kid, you root for people like that,” Viola said. “The world need more people like Steven Matz.”

Matz’s debut marks the last of a tidal wave of young arms coming through the Mets system in recent years. Now that these long-awaited prospects are here, as Terry Collins said, the future, now shifts to the present.

“It sends a message to our fan base that the future is now,” he said. “We’ve been talking about down the road, next year, next year; the future is now.

(Photos By: Clayton Collier, MMO)

Presented By Diehards

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Pedro Martinez Says Mets Fans Settle, Yankee Fans Don’t Wed, 07 Jan 2015 18:12:47 +0000 New York Yankees v New York Mets

Anthony DiComo of reports that during his Hall of Fame press conference, Pedro Martinez said that Mets fans “settle for what they have,” while “Yankees fans cannot” settle.

It’s strange to hear a player contrast two fan bases from the same city that way, but the question is, is Pedro right?

Ironically, I wrote a post this morning that kind of touched on that somewhat.

I’ve see many Mets fans become overcome with apathy and many more others now resorting to saying things like “that player costs too much” or “pass, we can’t afford him”, basically sounding like they’ve been conditioned by years of watching an inept ownership operate like a small market operation.

There is also a large contingent of Mets fans who will not settle and those are the ones who stopped going to games in some kind of protest, or who keep calling for change. They are most likely the ones who are largely responsible for declining attendance and ratings and demand a better product after six consecutive losing seasons.

Getting back to Pedro, we do congratulate him on his election to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Tuesday.

A three-time Cy Young Award winner and eight-time All-Star, Martinez dominated in an era known for big bats and big home runs. Always such a fun player to watch with a positive demeanor off the field, he was a fierce competitor on the mound and helped the 2004 Red Sox win the World Series.

With the Mets, Martinez pitched parts of four seasons and compiled a 32-23 record with a 3.88 ERA and 1.159 WHIP. His first season with the Mets was his best by far, going 15-8 record with a 2.83 ERA while striking out 208 batters in 217 innings.

So do Mets fans settle? What has been your experience? Speaking for myself, I’ve never settled on anything important to me in my entire life, and I’m not going to begin now. My writings on this site will strongly reflect that.

(Updated 1/7)

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Revisiting the R.A. Dickey Trade, Two Years Later Fri, 07 Nov 2014 16:31:59 +0000 dickey tips cap

It has been close to two years since the New York Mets’ blockbuster trade that sent NL Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for a package that included prospects Travis d’Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard.

Such deals always take years to truly measure which team came out on top and with two complete MLB seasons played since the December trade that got fans on both sides of the border talking about baseball at Christmas, the short and long term impacts are now coming into focus.

Following a brutal 2012 MLB season in which they finished with just 73 wins, good for fourth place in the American League East, 22 games back of the New York Yankees, the Blue Jays appeared to be lost in the wilderness. With just 19 wins total in the months of August and September, Toronto appeared to be years away from competing for their first World Series title since winning back-to-back championships in 1992 and 1993.

Indeed, five straight fourth-place finishes had started to take their toll, with attendance showing signs of tailing off in the wake of a 20-year playoff drought.

Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos, feeling the pressure to quickly turn around the Jays fortunes shook the baseball world with a November 2012 blockbuster trade with the Miami Marlins that brought all-star shortstop Jose Reyes and pitchers Mark Buerhle and Josh Johnson to Toronto in exchange for young hurler Henderson Alvarez and several other young prospects.

However, the Jays remained in desperate need of another big arm in the rotation, setting the stage for the deal for Dickey.

Following the acquisition of Dickey, the Jays’ immediately emerged as strong favorites to capture the 2013 World Series in MLB online betting at sportsbooks available through

But to the horror of Blue Jays fans and quiet delight of Mets fans, the Jays’ rapid rebuild failed to produce wins, with Toronto finishing dead last in the AL East, while Dickey posted a 14-13 record with a 4.21 ERA, his worst numbers since becoming a full-time starter in 2010.

Things got no better for Dickey and the Blue Jays in 2014. After posting a 21-9 record in May, the Jays flirted with the best record in baseball and were once again World Series betting favorites. But an 11-23 run in the five weeks prior to the All-Star Break once again doomed the Jays to a third-place finish, well out of contention.

Dickey once again finished with a 14-13 record and improved ERA of 3.71, but at age 40 and with the Blue Jays now at a crossroads following their failed experiment, Dickey’s future is uncertain.

The deal has also produced some interesting early results for the Mets. Top catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud has developed into a solid major league catcher, hitting .242 with 13 home runs in 108 games before missing the end of the regular season due to bone spurs in his right elbow.

However, the major concern for the Mets is the 25 year old’s history of concussions that has led to speculation that the club could transition d’Arnaud to the outfield in the future, but that’s not an immediate concern. If d’Arnaud can produce the same near .800 OPS as he did in the second half over a full season, the Mets will have themselves a potential All Star caliber catcher.

The future appears even brighter for Syndergaard, whose rapid development has been watched with chagrin from afar by Jays fans. The 22 year old struggled with injury early on in 2014, pushing back his much anticipated major league debut. But upon his return, Syndergaard unveiled his 100 mph fastball while emerging as one of baseball’s top prospects, and appears destined for a spot high in the Mets’ rotation as early as next season.

Syndergaard more than held his own in a hitter’s paradise where he was almost six years younger than the average Pacific Coast League player and more often dominated than not. What issues he did have were mostly with consistency and not due to a lack of an overpowering arsenal. He’s the first prospect often mentioned by opposing scouts or teams looking to trade with the Mets. That right there, speaks volumes.

The throw-in to the deal Wuilmer Becerra is often forgotten and yet this young outfielder is quickly garnering some major attention from the scouting community. Only 19, this right-handed slugger made some noise in Kingsport this season where he batted .300/.351/.469 with seven home runs, 29 RBI, 37 runs scored and seven stolen bases in just 205 at-bats.

Given all this immense potential that still has to play out for the Mets, and the fact that Dickey is at or near the end of his career, what appeared apparent two years ago still holds true today; the Mets were huge winners in this trade.


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October 25, 1986: Little Roller Up Along First… Sat, 25 Oct 2014 05:19:13 +0000 apollo 11

Every generation has its defining moment. People who grew up in the 1960s know exactly where they were when President Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. were assassinated. In the 1980s, every American knows where they were when the Space Shuttle exploded. It’s no different for Mets fans.

People who grew up rooting for the Mets remember every detail of the 1969 Miracle Mets’ run to the World Series. Fans of my generation well up with happy tears when you mention two words to them: Game 6. How can anyone forget the night of October 25, 1986?

The Mets were facing elimination entering Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. They fought back to tie the Series at Fenway Park after dropping the first two games of the Series at Shea Stadium. Then Bruce Hurst shut them down in Game 5 to send the series back to New York with the Mets down three games to two.

It was up to Bob Ojeda to save the Mets’ season. He was opposed by Roger Clemens, who was later given the 1986 AL Cy Young Award. Ojeda was also called upon for Game 6 of that year’s NLCS against the Astros, a game in which the Mets defeated Houston in 16 innings to claim the National League pennant. In that game, Ojeda struggled early, giving up three runs in the first inning before settling down. Game 6 of the 1986 World Series was no different for Ojeda. He gave up single runs to the Red Sox in each of the first two innings, but then settled down.

When Ojeda was replaced by Roger McDowell to start the seventh inning, the Mets had come back against Roger Clemens to tie the score at 2. Although the drama that unfolded in the tenth inning is what Game 6 is most known for, a number of interesting events occurred in the seventh inning that are often forgotten.

With one out and Marty Barrett on first base for the Red Sox, Jim Rice hit a ground ball near the third base line that barely stayed fair. Ray Knight fielded it and threw wildly to first base, with the ball popping in and out of the glove of a leaping Keith Hernandez. That brought up Dwight Evans with runners on the corners. Evans hit a ground ball for the second out of the inning, but Barrett scored the go-ahead run and Rice was able to advance to second base. That was when Mookie Wilson became a hero for the first time that night.

Roger McDowell was able to get ahead of Red Sox catcher Rich Gedman by throwing strikes on the first two pitches, but Gedman then grounded the 0-2 pitch from McDowell between short and third for a base hit that appeared to give the Red Sox an insurance run. However, Mookie Wilson charged the ball and fired a strike to Gary Carter at home plate to cut down a sliding Jim Rice for the third out of the inning.


The defensive efforts of Wilson and Carter helped keep the Red Sox lead at one, a lead that would be erased when the Mets came up to bat in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Roger Clemens had been pinch hit for in the top of the eighth inning, so the Red Sox brought in former Met Calvin Schiraldi to pitch the bottom of the eighth inning. Schiraldi had been brilliant in relief for the Red Sox during the regular season, compiling a 4-2 record and a sparking 1.41 ERA. However, all that changed once Lee Mazzilli led off the inning with a base hit. Lenny Dykstra followed with a sacrifice bunt, but he reached first base safely when Schiraldi threw wildly to second base in a failed attempt to nail Lee Mazzilli. Now the Mets had two men on with nobody out for Wally Backman, who laid down a bunt of his own. His successful sacrifice moved Mazzilli and Dykstra into scoring position for Keith Hernandez, who was intentionally walked to load the bases. That brought up Gary Carter. On a 3-0 pitch, Carter had the green light and lined a sacrifice fly to left field. The fly ball allowed Lee Mazzilli to score the tying run. When neither team scored in the ninth inning, the stage was set for the most dramatic inning in Mets history.

The inning started with a bang, but not the one wanted by Mets fans. Dave Henderson led off the inning with a laser beam down the left field line that just stayed fair as it cleared the wall. The home run off Rick Aguilera silenced the Shea Stadium crowd of 55,078 and gave the Red Sox a 4-3 lead. They weren’t done yet. Aguilera came back to strike out the next two batters but then proceeded to give up a double to Wade Boggs and a run-scoring single to Marty Barrett. The latter hit gave the Sox an insurance run as the lead was now 5-3. The next batter was hit by a pitch. Who was the victim of Aguilera’s wayward offering? None other than Bill Buckner (more on him later). Now there were two men on base for Jim Rice. Rice could have redeemed himself for being thrown out at home in the seventh inning with a hit in the tenth. However, Rice failed to add to the Red Sox lead when he flied out to Lee Mazzilli in right. His failure to come through in two crucial spots set up the events in the bottom of the tenth inning for the Mets.

gary carter 1986 ws hit

Wally Backman and Keith Hernandez were due to lead off in the bottom of the tenth inning. However, two fly balls later and the Mets were down to their final out with no one on base. The dream was one out away from becoming a nightmare. 108 regular season wins and a thrilling NLCS against the Astros would mean nothing if the Mets couldn’t start a rally against Calvin Schiraldi and the Red Sox. The Shea Stadium scoreboard was flashing “Congratulations Red Sox: 1986 World Champions” and NBC had already awarded its player of the game to Marty Barrett. Then Gary Carter stepped up to the plate and something special began to happen.

On a 2-1 pitch from Schiraldi, Carter singled to left. Then Kevin Mitchell, pinch-hitting for Rick Aguilera lined a hit to center on an 0-1 curveball. The tying runs were now on base for Ray Knight. If you recall, Knight had made an error in the seventh inning that led to a run for the Red Sox. Perhaps this game would never have gone into extra innings had Knight not committed his error. Knight didn’t care. All he cared about was getting a hit to continue the inning. Unfortunately for him, Schiraldi threw his first two pitches for strikes. The Mets were down to their final strike, but Ray Knight had something to say about that.

On a pitch that was headed for the inside corner of the strike zone, Knight fisted it over Marty Barrett’s head into short center for another base hit. Carter scored from second base and Mitchell went from first to third on the hit. The tying run was 90 feet away and the winning run was at first base. Red Sox manager John McNamara had made up his mind. He was going to Bob Stanley to try to win the World Series. Stanley would face one batter, Mookie Wilson, with everything on the line.

Stanley would throw six pitches to Mookie Wilson to get the count to 2-2. Hoping for strike three with his seventh pitch, Stanley let go of the pitch and at the same time, let go of the lead. The pitch was way inside, causing Mookie to throw himself up in the air to avoid getting hit. Fortunately, the ball didn’t hit Mookie or Rich Gedman’s glove (or home plate umpire Dale Ford for that matter). The ball went all the way to the backstop and Kevin Mitchell was able to scamper home with the tying run. The wild pitch also allowed Ray Knight to move into scoring position with the potential winning run. All Mookie needed to do now was get a base hit to drive him in, or perhaps he could so something else to bring him home.

During the regular season, John McNamara had always removed first baseman Bill Buckner for defensive replacement Dave Stapleton during the late innings. However, this time Buckner was left in the game despite the fact that he was hobbling around on two gimpy legs and had just been hit by a pitch in the previous inning. What was McNamara’s reasoning for the decision? He wanted Buckner to be on the field to celebrate their championship with his teammates. Instead, Buckner was on the field during a different kind of celebration.

Buckner was at first base as the count went to 3-2 on Mookie Wilson. A mountain of pressure had been lifted off his shoulders once he went airborne to elude Stanley’s pitch. A relaxed Mookie came back to the plate to finish what he came up there to do. After fouling off two more pitches, including a line drive that curved foul down the left field line, Wilson hit a little roller up along first, bringing Mets fans to their feet as Bill Buckner hobbled to the line in an attempt to field it. I’ll let NBC broadcaster Vin Scully describe what happened.

“Little roller up along first. Behind the bag! It gets through Buckner! Here comes Knight and the Mets win it!”

A miracle had happened on the diamond. Perhaps Mookie’s grounder hit a pebble. Perhaps Buckner took his eyes off the ball as he watched Mookie sprint down the first base line. Perhaps God was a Mets fan. Regardless of what caused it to happen, Mookie’s grounder found its way under Buckner’s glove and the Mets lived to see another day.


As a dejected Bill Buckner walked off the field, Shea Stadium was rocking as it never had before. Mookie Wilson was still running towards second base because he had no idea that Ray Knight had scored the winning run. Ron Darling, who was scheduled to start the seventh and deciding game of the World Series the following night (even though it was rained out and played two nights later), admitted that he could see dust falling from the roof of the Mets dugout because of the vibrations caused by the fans jumping up and down over it. Keith Hernandez had left the dugout to go into Davey Johnson’s office after making the second out of the inning, but never moved from the chair he was sitting in, even after the historic rally had begun because as he admitted afterwards, the chair he was sitting in had hits in it.

As the unbelievable events were flashing on the TV screen for those of us who weren’t fortunate enough to have tickets to the game, Vin Scully came back on the air after a long pause to tell the viewers everything they needed to know about what they had just seen unfold at Shea Stadium on that Saturday night. The Hall-of-Fame broadcaster said:

“If one picture is worth a thousand words, you have seen about a million words. But more than that, you have seen an absolutely bizarre finish to Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. The Mets are not only alive, they are well and they will play the Red Sox in Game 7 tomorrow.”

Game 6 didn’t give the Mets the World Championship as many baseball fans mistakenly believe. There was still one game left to play. Although it was scheduled for the following night, rain put a hold on Game 7 until the night of Monday, October 27. Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd, who had been scheduled to start the seventh game for the Red Sox, was scratched from his start to allow Met killer Bruce Hurst to pitch. But I’ll leave that blog for another night.

ray knight

For now, think of the memories you have of that unbelievable Game 6. Imagine how different things would have been if Jim Rice had not been thrown out at home plate in the seventh inning, or if Bob Stanley had relieved Calvin Schiraldi before Gary Carter, Kevin Mitchell or Ray Knight produced base hits in the tenth inning. Mets fans who celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Miracle Mets this season might still be talking about that team as their only championship team.

A miracle happened at Shea Stadium 28 years ago today, on October 25, 1986. It is the single greatest Mets memory I have. I’m sure for many of you reading this, it’s your favorite Mets memory as well. Do Mets fans believe in miracles? If you watched Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, the answer is a definite yes.

The rest, as they say, is a matter of history…

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MMO Game Thread: Astros vs Mets, 1:10 PM (This Is It!) Sun, 28 Sep 2014 14:02:54 +0000 bartolo colon

The end is near. This afternoon at Citi Field the New York Mets will play their final game of the season, a rubber match against the Houston Astros. The veteran Bartolo Colon (14-13, 4.08) will close out the 2014 campaign for the Mets and he’ll be opposed by Astros right-hander Nick Tropeano (1-2, 3.78) in a 1:10 PM start.

The Mets (78-83) enter the final day of the season tied with the Atlanta Braves for second place in the NL East, and one game ahead of the fourth place Miami Marlins.

Colon is just 3.2 innings shy of reaching the 200-inning plateau for the Mets. The last time he tossed 200 innings was in 2005, when he went 21-8 and won the American League Cy Young Award for the Los Angeles Angels.

Bobby Abreu is expected to be in the lineup for what will be his final start as a major leaguer. On Friday, the 40-year-old veteran outfielder announced that he would retire after this season. “I feel happy with my career,” he said. “I’m blessed. We all create goals in our lives. And to me, as a baseball player, I created all my goals and I met all those goals.”

After hitting a dramatic walk-off home run on Saturday night, Lucas Duda is just one more longball away from a 30-homer season. He’s also two runs batted in away from a 90 RBI season.

No matter what happens today, the Mets will not have a protected draft pick in 2015. That means they will forfeit their first-round selection next June if they sign a free agent who receives a qualifying offer from his former team.

Starting Lineup

  1. Matt den Dekker – LF
  2. Bobby Abreu – RF
  3. Daniel Murphy – 3B
  4. Lucas Duda – 1B
  5. Curtis Granderson – CF
  6. Wilmer Flores – 2B
  7. Ruben Tejada – SS
  8. Juan Centeno – C
  9. Bartolo Colon – RHP

The Mets and Astros button up the jerseys for one more time this season as they look to turn the lights out on the 2014 season. Last night, the Mets won thanks to a walk-off homer from Lucas Duda, his 29th of the season, and today they look to win 79 games in a season for the first time since 2010. Today Bartolo Colon takes the mound as he squares off against Nick Tropeano.

Bartolo Colon is 14-13 over 30 games this season pitching 196.1 innings with a 4.08 ERA. Colon is going to have to bounce back from a poor start in Washington where he allowed 4 ER over 6.0 innings. Last year he pitched against Houston four times allowing 3 earned over 6, none over 7, 5 over 4 and 1 over 6. The Astros have the following numbers against Colon:

  • Altuve 5-14, 2B
  • Dominguez 2-12, 2B
  • Castro 6-9, HR
  • Carter 1-10, 2B
  • Villar 1-5

Nick Tropeano gets the fourth start of his rookie season. He is coming off of the worst start of his brief career, allowing 4 ER over 6.2 innings. He has not faced the Mets in a major league game and has never faced any current Mets players.

This is my last game preview of the year. It’s been a pleasure writing these for you. I’ll be back again in the Spring when I begin my 8th season with the best group of Mets writers on the web – Metsmerized!

Lets Go Mets!


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With A Heavy Heart, Colon Delivers A Sparkling Performance Wed, 09 Apr 2014 13:20:23 +0000 USATSI_ bartiolo colon by brad barr

One of my favorite moves of the offseason was the signing of Bartolo Colon to a two year, $20 million dollar deal. And while I never expected him to duplicate his near-Cy Young season of a year ago, I loved the veteran presence he was bringing and his ability to bear down in every game, throw strikes and give our team a chance to win.

Once you get past all the fat and age related jokes, you might just find that Colon is every bit the ace of this team.

Last night we saw Colon stymie the Atlanta Braves and toss seven scoreless innings as the he picked up his first win of the season and his first as a member of the Mets.

There was no nibbling on the corners, no long delays in between pitches, and no unnecessary wasted pitches. All we got was a blue-collar, nose-to-the-grindstone performance – the kind we don’t get enough of.

Colon allowed just six hits, no walks and struck out five. In a word, he was stellar. Among his 101 pitches thrown, the soon to be 41-year old threw 65 of his 88 fastballs for strikes.

When he threw his final pitch of the evening, a 93 mph fastball to retire Jason Heyward on a groundout, he looked like he was ready to go all the way. This guy wasn’t even breaking a sweat.

“He was really, really good tonight,” said Terry Collins after the game. “He pitched in, pitched out, pitched down, pitched up. He really gave them a different look no matter what he was throwing. He really did a good job.”

Asked about his dominating performance, Colon told reporters he felt great. “Especially when you face a team as tough as Atlanta, you prepare to be very tough mentally. So that’s how I felt today.”

Perhaps his catcher Travis d’Arnaud described it best. “His ball moves all over. I don’t even know what to say. I just know he has command of all his pitches and he did what he wanted to do.”

What made his performance even more remarkable was that Colon pitched the entire evening with a heavy heart.

“I have not had my head in baseball for several days. Not since they called me from my house to tell me that my mom has cancer,” Colon told Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes.

His mother, Adriana Morales, had been diagnosed with breast cancer and Bartolo will learn the results of further tests today.

“It’s a situation where you’re trying to be strong, but you cannot,” Colon said. “Everyone in the family is very worried, hoping the results come out negative. But when you hear the word cancer, you always think the worst.”

Colon plans to bring his mother to New York to ensure the best care.

“My mom is my best friend, my confidant,” he said. “I talk to her every day, and the only thing that comforts me is that she has not lost her sense of humor. She is a very happy woman.”

Say a prayer for our ace who left it all on the field last night. Let’s hope he gets some good news today about his mom…

Presented By Diehards

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Frank Viola To Undergo Heart Surgery Tue, 25 Mar 2014 14:01:26 +0000 viola

Adam Rubin of ESPN New York is reporting that former Cy Young winner Frank Viola is scheduled to undergo open-heart surgery next Wednesday and will be unable to serve as pitching coach of the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s.

Viola, 53, had a heart issue detected during his initial spring-training physical. Viola spent the past three seasons as a Class A pitching coach for the Mets.

Ron Romanick is expected to replace Viola as the pitching coach for the Pacific Coast League team.

Very sad to hear… All of us at MMO wish Frank the best with his surgery, our prayers are with him.

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Inside Look: Dead Arm Syndrome Wed, 26 Feb 2014 19:10:09 +0000 jon nieseHere is a little more information about what Jon Niese thinks he is experiencing, and why the Mets are sending him back to New York for a MRI. The following is taken from Wikipedia:

Dead arm syndrome starts with repetitive motion and forces on the posterior capsule of the shoulder. The posterior capsule is a band of fibrous tissue that interconnects with tendons of the rotator cuff of the shoulder. Four muscles and their tendons make up the rotator cuff. They cover the outside of the shoulder to hold, protect and move the joint.

Overuse can lead to a build up of tissue around the posterior capsule called hypertrophy. The next step is tightness of the posterior capsule called posterior capsular contracture. This type of problem reduces the amount the shoulder can rotate inwardly.

Over time, with enough force, a tear may develop in the labrum. The labrum is a rim of cartilage around the shoulder socket to help hold the head of the humerus (upper arm) in the joint. This condition is called a superior labrum anterior posterior (SLAP) lesion. The final outcome in all these steps is the dead arm phenomenon.

The shoulder is unstable and dislocation may come next. Dead arm syndrome won’t go away on its own with rest—it must be treated. If there’s a SLAP lesion, then surgery is needed to repair the problem. If the injury is caught before a SLAP tear, then physical therapy with stretching and exercise can restore it.

Here is an excerpt from a piece that was on, back in 2009, on Dead arm syndrome:

For Seattle starter Ryan Rowland-Smith and many other Major League pitchers, it’s mostly a Spring Training thing.

“You’re coming off an offseason where you have your own throwing program,” Rowland-Smith says.

“All of a sudden you get to camp and you’re throwing to bases, doing extra stuff. You’re on your legs all day, and that’s when you get that dead arm. You’re in the heat, with day games after day games. You’re up early in the morning. All those things factor into it.”

And when the dog days of August hit and teams are plowing ahead in the latter stages of a 162-game regular-season grind, dead arm can resurface and potentially taint a pennant race.

The key, most veterans agree, is to do the only thing you can do to get rid of it.

“Just pitch through it,” C.C. Sabathia says.

Easier said than done for a 6-foot-7, 280-pound perennial Cy Young candidate, but Linebrink says Sabathia’s dead-on about curing dead arm.

“You absolutely have to just keep going and pitching and you know it’ll come back,” Linebrink says.

And here is an excerpt from a piece written in the Wall Street Journal back in 2011:

Still, “dead-arm syndrome” varies so much in its degrees and its causes that even its name “has become sort of a bucket term,” said Dr. Michael Hausman, the vice-chairman of orthopedics at Mount Sinai Hospital. “It’s not a precise diagnosis.”

Usually, Hausman said, a pitcher who has a “dead arm” has a slight injury to his labrum, the rim of cartilage that keeps the shoulder’s ball-and-socket joint stable. The injury and the shoulder’s resulting instability might be so subtle that the pitcher wouldn’t sense any pain at all. “The brain is trying to protect your body,” Hausman said, “and it basically lowers your fastball in order to prevent you from damaging your arm.”

My experiences with pitchers and players experiencing dead arm (it’s not just isolated to pitchers), is that there generally isn’t pain involved with dead arm. As you can see from the Wikipedia description, nowhere is the word pain used in the explanation. Dead arm is simply fatigue—the ball doesn’t come out with the same snap as usual. It’s fairly common in pitchers early in camp as they do extra throwing due to fielding practice and adjust to the Florida heat…

But the pain scares me. Pitching coaches and trainers know the signs of dead arm, so to be sent for a MRI means there may be more to it. Let’s hope that Niese’s dead arm is not a result of an underlying injury, and his body’s way of protecting itself from further injury by lowering his arm strength, as Dr. Michael Hausman pointed out in the WSJ article.

Keep checking back with MMO for updates on the Niese situation.

Presented By Diehards 



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2014 Mets Top Prospects: No. 2 Travis d’Arnaud, C Tue, 11 Feb 2014 13:00:49 +0000 Top 25 Prospects d'arnaud 2

2. Travis d’Arnaud, C

Height: 6’2”
Weight: 195 lbs.
Age: 24
Bats/Throws: Right/Right

Travis d’Arnaud was the centerpiece in the deal that moved R.A. Dickey to Toronto last offseason and he became the best position prospect the Mets had right way. To give you an idea of his ceiling, let me first mention that he was twice traded for Cy Young Award Winners. He was originally drafted by the Phillies as the 37th overall pick in the 2007 draft. In 2009, the Blue Jays acquired him when they sent Roy Halladay to the Phillies and of course, the Mets acquired him in 2012. Now 25, Travis is definitely one of the older top prospects in baseball. That’s not necessarily because it took him a while to figure it out but has more to do with the multitude of injuries he’s experienced. He probably would have made his major league debut two seasons ago if it weren’t for foot, back and knee injuries. Although more of a freak injury, last season he took a foul ball off the foot, causing a fracture, which delayed his major league debut until August. In his short stint in the majors, d’Arnaud slashed a dull .202/.286/.263 with 21 K’s in 99 AB’s. He should be cut some slack for those numbers, however, as he worked hard rehabilitating his foot and then not only had to deal with the New York media, but also prove he could be a viable defender behind the plate and properly handle a young Mets pitching staff. The Mets see d’Arnaud as their catcher of the future with good reason. His sweet swing gives him the chance to hit for both a good average and considerable power; a very rare combination from behind the plate. It doesn’t stop there though as his natural athleticism and above average arm should allow him to be a pretty nice defender at the position. He’s a quiet kid but a natural leader who should have no trouble handling a pitching staff.

Outlook: There will continue to be questions in regards to d’Arnaud’s health and ability to stay on the field and it is up to him to prove the naysayers wrong. I believe his health will be just fine as he is one of the more athletic catchers I’ve seen and last years injury had more to do with bad luck than anything else. Kevin Plawecki is making a name for himself in the minors right now and if d’Arnaud cannot make improvements this season, his leash will continue to shorten until Plawecki is ready. D’Arnaud still has a much higher offensive and defensive ceiling than him, however, so I think the Mets are really hoping he works out. During the latter half of his debut last season, d’Arnaud looked like he was finally putting it together, making more contact and hitting hard line drives. At his peak, I could certainly see d’Arnaud hitting between .280 and .300 with 15-20 home runs per season and solid defense; accolades that could probably earn him multiple All Star game selections. He needs to start putting it together soon though because at 25 he is only 2 years away from his supposed “prime”; one that could certainly be shortened due to the physical demands of catching everyday. Due to the current state of the Mets offense, a breakout season from him would give the Mets a huge boost in their run scoring abilities.


25. Wilfredo Tovar, SS

24. Juan Centeno, C

23. Cory Mazzoni, RHP

22. Jeff Walters, RHP

21. Jack Leathersich, LHP

20. Luis Mateo, RHP

19. Jayce Boyd, 1B

18. Domingo Tapia, RHP

17. Gabriel Ynoa, RHP

16. Vic Black, RHP

15. Michael Fulmer, RHP

14. Jeurys Familia, RHP

13. Dilson Herrera, 2B

12. Jake deGrom, RHP

11. Gavin Cecchini, SS

10. Steven Matz, LHP

9. Brandon Nimmo, CF

8. Amed Rosario, SS

7. Cesar Puello, OF

6. Wilmer Flores, 2B

5. Kevin Plawecki, C

4. Dominic Smith, 1B

3. Rafael Montero, RHP

2. Travis d’Arnaud, C


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Previewing Mets Opening Day Starter Candidates Wed, 29 Jan 2014 15:20:43 +0000 opening day

With our injured ace Matt Harvey on the sidelines for imaginably all of 2014 (although Harvey eyes a September return), there is still an argument to be made as to who should be the Mets Opening Day starter.

The hurlers that have a shot at standing on the mound on March 31st, 2014 (Mets Opening Day) are Jonathon Niese, Bartolo Colon, and Dillon Gee. With an honorable mention for sophomore Zack Wheeler, who needs to get some more MLB experience in him and also work on his control issues. If all goes well this season for Wheeler, he might be in the Opening Day starter debate come 2015.

So here we go…

The Contenders

jon niese 2013Jonathon Niese: The Mets southpaw was the Opening Day pitcher for the Mets in 2013. Niese had a mediocre season last year, as he struggled a bit at the beginning of the season, posting a 4.32 ERA during the first half. He was injured for about a month of the season, when he partially tore his left rotator cuff in late June. But after his return from the DL Niese definitely settled in, as his second half ERA was at a much palatable 3.00. Niese has proven that he is a competitive pitcher who can battle on a mound and help the Mets win some games. He definitely has the credentials to be the first pitcher to touch the rubber at Citi Field this year. If the Mets hadn’t signed Colon, Niese probably would have been the odds on favorite.

dillon geeDillon Gee: Dillon Gee needs a strong case to win over Collins, but he has also shown that he has talent. You may remember at the beginning of last season, Gee had his struggles. It was to the point where Terry Collins, the Mets manager, said during a post-game that it was either Dillon Gee or Jeremy Hefner that was going to be sent to the minors. You may also remember that after this statement by Collins, both Gee and Hefner showed vast improvement. Dillon’s ERA through the first two months of the season was a staggering (not in a good way) 6.34. The game against the Yankees was the start of his turnaround. Against the Yankees, Gee went 7.1 innings, allowing just one run on four hits. Dillon’s ERA in the last 4 months of the season was around 2.75. Like Niese, Gee has shown he can be a big time competitor when he’s on the mound. He is without a doubt the underdog in the competition, but he sure has a valid argument for the nod.

bartolo colonBartolo Colon: The newest addition to the rotation, Bartolo Colon, is likely the favorite to start for the Mets on Opening. Colon has has roughly twice as many years of service than Jon Niese and Dillon Gee combined and is Sandy Alderson’s top pitching acquisition this Winter. Colon has had an extremely successful career with with an outstanding 189-128 won-loss and finished in the top 10 in the Cy Young Award voting four times, while winning once. The only thing stopping Colon from being the Opening Day starter would be a complete meltdown in Spring Training or an overpowering performance by one Niese or Gee. Colon is getting a bit long in the tooth, but last year at the age of 40, he went 18-6 with a 2.65 ERA, and finished 6th in the Cy Young voting. He is hands down the number one candidate for the job right now, but anything can happen between now and March 31st, so stay tuned.

“Spring training is what makes or breaks a team.”  ~  Rickey Henderson

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Travis d’Arnaud Named MLB’s Top Catching Prospect Fri, 17 Jan 2014 04:05:57 +0000 travis-d'arnaud named Travis d’Arnaud of the New York Mets their Number One ranked catching prospect today, edging out Austin Hedges of the San Diego Padres.

Travis d’Arnaud, Mets: If it hadn’t been for injuries, d’Arnaud would be off this list. Despite missing time with a knee injury in 2012 and a broken foot in ’13, he made his Major League debut in August. Traded twice for Cy Young Award winners, he is ready for a full-time gig in the big leagues. The 24-year-old has the chance to be an outstanding offensive player with the ability to hit for average and power. He’s not a slouch behind the plate, either, with more than enough catch-and-throw skills to be an everyday player. All d’Arnaud needs is health, because he has the skill set to be one of the best all-around catchers in the National League.

D’Arnaud received high marks from the scouts who graded him a 60 Overall on the Scouting Scale.

Players are graded on a 20-80 scale for future tools — 20-30 is well below average, 40 is below average, 50 is average, 60 is above average and 70-80 is well above average.

The Mets’ starting catcher in 2014, also got a 60 in Power as well as 55 in Hitting, Throwing and Fielding.

D’Arnaud wasn’t the only Mets catcher to get recognized by MLB Pipeline as Kevin Plawecki just missed the Top 10 and got a well deserved honorable mention.

“Plawecki earned a promotion during his first full season in the Mets organization, showing a knack for hitting for average and getting on base at both stops.”

“If he displays a little more power and continues to prove to people that he can stay behind the plate despite his big frame, he could be a big league regular someday.”

It’s great to see both of our top catching prospects reap such recognition, something which has been very rare to see for Mets position players. Maybe this is a sign that things are moving in the right direction for the organization.

(Hat tip to kw_all for the link)

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Clayton Kershaw Agrees To Record $215M Deal With Dodgers Thu, 16 Jan 2014 15:42:43 +0000 kershaw

The Los Angeles Times reports that Clayton Kershaw has agreed to a seven-year, $215-million contract extension with the Dodgers.

The deal, which isn’t expected to be officially announced until Friday, will make Kershaw the highest paid pitcher in baseball history. The previous record contract for a pitcher was the seven-year, $180-million deal signed last winter by Justin Verlander of the Detroit TigersThe deal would give Kershaw an average annual salary of $30.7 million.

Kershaw’s new contract also  includes an out-clause that would allow the left-hander to void the remainder of the contract after five seasons.

In a meeting with L.A. Times on Wednesday, Dodgers President Stan Kasten said he was optimistic the team could sign Kershaw to an extension by Friday. That is the deadline for teams to exchange salary figures with their arbitration-eligible players. He would have been a free agent after next season.

Kershaw, 26, went 16-9 with a career high 1.83 ERA and a 0.915 WHIP last season, The two-time Cy Young Award winner also led the NL in strikeouts for the second time in three years. He’s led the National League in ERA in each of the last three seasons.


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Val Pascucci Named Hitting Coach For Class-A Savannah Tue, 14 Jan 2014 19:39:43 +0000 Sand Gnats ok

Luis Rojas will return to manage the Single-A Savannah Sand Gnats. in 2014. Joining the staff will be pitching coach Marc Valdes and athletic trainer Eric Velazquez, both of whom spent 2013 with the Mets Class-A Short-Season Brooklyn Cyclones. The club will also welcome first-year hitting coach and former Mets slugger Val Pascucci.

Luis Rojas enters his ninth season with the Mets organization and his third as manager of the Savannah Sand Gnats. Rojas led the 2013 Savannah Sand Gnats to its first title in 17 years defeating the Hagerstown Suns, three games to one, in a best-of-five series. “I feel blessed to come back as the Sand Gnats manager. 2013 was truly a memorable season,” said Rojas. “We’ll compete in the 2014 season inning by inning to defend our title.”

Pitching coach Marc Valdes enters his eighth year in the Mets organization and his third overall in Savannah. Valdes spent 2009 and 2010 with the Savannah Sand Gnats. Valdes returns to the club after coaching with the Brooklyn Cyclones of the New York-Penn League in 2013 and the Double-A Binghamton Mets of the Eastern League in 2012.

Hitting Coach Val Pascucci enters his first year coaching after a 13 year playing career that included a stint in the Japan Pacific League. Pascucci was drafted in 1999 out of the University of Oklahoma by the Montreal Expos. The 6’6″ outfielder and first baseman hit his way to the majors in 2004 with the Expos and again in 2011 with the Mets. Pascucci, a Bellflower, Calif., native, won the 2012 Triple-A All Star Game Home Run Derby as a member of the Buffalo Bisons.

binghamton b-mets

Fresh off one of the best seasons in Binghamton Mets history, the New York Mets announced today that manager Pedro Lopez, hitting coach Luis Natera and pitching coach Glenn Abbott will return to guide the Double-A club in 2014.

Lopez, 44, led the 2013 Binghamton Mets to a franchise-record 86 wins and a trip to the postseason, their first since 2004. The club compiled the best record in the Eastern League and took home the regular season Eastern Division crown under their second-year manager.

Entering his fourth season in the New York Mets’ organization, Abbott returns to the Southern Tier for his third year as pitching coach. Prior to his time with the Mets, Abbott was a pitching coach for five years in the San Diego Padres’ system, spent four seasons with the Texas Rangers’ organization and logged 13 years at various levels with the Oakland Athletics. The Arkansas native began his coaching career with the Little Falls Mets in 1985.

Luis Natera will serve as the B-Mets hitting coach for the seventh straight season and eighth overall. This year marks Natera’s 23rd in the Mets’ organization. He has served as a hitting coach at five different levels during that timeframe, including stints with Buffalo (AAA, 2009), St. Lucie (High-A, 2007), Hagerstown (Low-A, 2005-06), Kingsport (Rookie, 2003-04), and Capital City (Low-A, 1999).

st. lucie mets logo

Over the weekend, the St. Lucie Mets (Advanced-A) announced their coaching staff as well. Ryan Ellis will return as the Manager and is joined for the third consecutive season by pitching coach Phil Regan and hitting coach Joel Fuentes.

Ellis begins his third season as the team’s manager. In 2013, Ellis guided the Mets to a record of 71-60, just falling short of the second half South Division Playoffs. The Mets finished the season with the second best overall record in the Florida State League Southern Division. He was named Florida State League Manager of the Year in 2012 as the Mets finished with the most wins in team history at 83-52.

Veteran pitching coach Phil Regan enters his sixth season with the St. Lucie Mets. Regan was the pitching coach for the Cleveland Indians in 1999 and served in the same role for the Chicago Cubs in 1997 and 1998. He also was the pitching coach for Team USA during the 2000 Olympics. Regan managed the Baltimore Orioles to a 71-73 record during the strike-shortened 1995 season.

Joel Fuentes will begin his first season as hitting coach for the Mets. Fuentes returns from Savannah, after serving two years as the Sand Gnats hitting coach and in the same role with Brooklyn Cyclones in 2009-2010. In 2008 and 2011, Fuentes coached in St. Lucie. He will enter his eighth season with New York Mets organization.

Las Vegas 51's

Finally,  Wally Backman will return for his second season as 51s manager, and Frank “Sweet Music” Viola will be the pitching coach for the New York Mets’ Triple-A affiliate, the team announced last week. During the 2013 season, Backman led the 51s to their first Pacific Coast League playoff berth since 2002.

“Frankie’s a great guy. He’s very knowledgeable about the game. He’s a baseball guy,” Backman said. “He played the game a long time and takes a lot of pride working with the pitching staff. He’s going to be an asset to our club.”

The 1987 World Series Most Valuable Player and 1988 American League Cy Young Award winner for the Minnesota Twins, Viola has been a pitching coach in the Mets’ farm system the past three seasons — the past two for the Single-A Savannah Sand Gnats after spending 2011 with the Single-A Brooklyn Cyclones. Viola replaces Randy St. Claire on the Las Vegas coaching staff.

George Greer will return as hitting coach for Las Vegas.

Updated 1/15/2014

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As Mets Get Closer To Spring Training, How’s Your Enthusiasm? Mon, 13 Jan 2014 18:35:36 +0000 terry collins spring training

How are you feeling about the Mets these days, are you excited about the moves we’ve made so far? Are you looking forward to the start of Spring Training and are you pumped for the new season?

I asked our staff what their enthusiasm was like as we get closer and closer to pitchers and catchers reporting in four weeks. Here’s what some of them had to say:

Peter K. – I have been so jaded over the failures big free agent signings by the Mets over the years that I am so scared of Curtis Granderson turning into Jason Bay. I really hope I am wrong, and there are indications to believe that his contract will play out better than Bay’s, if only for the first two years. I have read a lot of analysis regarding the Bartolo Colon signing and I can only conclude that 2 years and $20 Million was the going rate for a pitcher of his pedigree, even at the ripe old age of 41.

Tommy R. – This offseason has been about other money coming off the books and the Wilpons deciding not to try to stuff every last penny into their drained pockets. But I am very excited about the new additions. Our team looks pretty good, although it would look much nicer if our ace weren’t out for the year.

Zack – Enthusiasm is high. It has been a huge relief to see the Mets go out there and make some legitimate moves to improve the team. It doesn’t make them automatic contenders, but it’s nice to see them heading in the right direction.

Jessep – I think any Mets fan who is at least not excited for Opening Day is missing the point. Do I think over the last few weeks the Mets became a title contender? No. But I do think they are heading toward legitimacy, and competitive late season baseball. The teams that try to become an overnight title contender normally fail. They are using free agency in the way it’s currently intended to be used. They still have work to do, but anybody who doubted the Mets intentions this off-season by saying they wouldn’t spend money and wouldn’t bring anybody in has been proven wrong.

Barry – Definitely more excited, but if the Mets are to contend, it will take not only good years from the new additions but major contributions from players like Travis d’Arnaud, Zack Wheeler, Juan Lagares, and a couple of the young relievers as well as upgrades on the bench.

John G. – Overall I am pretty excited to see if it is going to pay off or not. As far as the players that have signed on here I have to say that Granderson excites me the most. There is so much he brings to the table in terms of clubhouse and leadership but will it all translate well on the field? I am not sure if he will be able to belt 40 homers but he will certainly have his fair share of extra-base hits which is exciting in their own right. As we have heard over the years there was money to spend after some contracts came off the books and it is good to see that they are spending it.

Joe S. – Alderson like most GM’s, plays everything close to the vest. Why tell everyone you have cash to spend? It’s like announcing you keep your doors unlocked at night – you’re bound to have someone try to rake you over the coals – that means you Bronson Arroyo. I’m perfectly fine with the deals that have been offered so far. Alderson isn’t offering the moon but is offering slightly more than market value. Spending just to say you’ve spent is as foolish as not spending at all. Sometimes you have to pull the trigger and so far he’s doing that.

Matt B. – I am guardedly enthused. it’s tough to buy into enthusiasm after the past few seasons, but I really like Chris Young and Grandy added to our outfield.

TexasGusCC – Enthusiasm is much greater, about two times greater, and I will give the Chris Young signing a chance. However, I’m still not excited with the shortstop situation or happy with the same cast of characters still being our first base options.

Andrew – I’m very enthused. Three weeks ago there was such a doom and gloom atmosphere around the team, and Sandy’s purported $30 million budget for this offseason seemed like a faraway fantasy we would never reach. Three free agents later, we’ve passed $30 million (7.5 for Young + 13 for Granderson + 10 for Colon = $30.5 million added to the 2013 payroll) and Sandy doesn’t appear done. We have an exciting outfield with both offensive and defensive upside, a recent Cy Young candidate, and the potential to make additional acquisitions via trade (either directly in exchange Davis, or indirectly by signing someone with the cap space freed by his departure). Of course there’s a risk – there always is – but for the first time in years I feel like there’s a not-outlandish chance we could compete for a playoff spot if we get a few lucky breaks. Some will say a payroll south of $90 million is unacceptable in New York, and we may not agree about whether Sandy’s done enough to field a winner. But I think most of us will agree he’s done more than we expected him to.

Tom W. – The team is marginally better, though clearly improved. All three signings are the kind of guys you add to a strong core, which the Mets do not possess. Can this get them to .500? Maybe.

Gerry – My enthusiasm has definitely been given a boost by the recent acquisitions which I hope are indicative of greater financial health on the part of the organization. Although work remains to be done in terms of fortifying the bullpen, the infield, and the bench, I no longer am of the mindset that the team will be continually sifting through the bargain bin for spare parts. Hope it works and hope it lasts.

Big Mets Fan – I’m not sold by any means on the Chris Young, but I’m very optimistic about the Granderson and Colon acquisitions. Grandy gives protection to David Wright in the lineup, and while he doesn’t hit for a high average, he generates runs and knows how to win. Colon at two years isn’t a huge risk and gives the Mets a solid 4 starters without having to rely on one of the young guys to have to come through right away.

Xtreem – This is a team on the rise. Grandy will help anchor the lineup for a while while Young and Colon on short, low risk deals will bridge to some of the highly touted prospects. It’s a better team now, for sure. That said, all FAs come with risks and there’s a chance these guys get hurt. In the present time, they are all good signings.

Jacob R. – Sandy has done his job and convinced me that this team is headed in the right direction. I am looking forward to seeing two power bats in the outfield and a proven All-Star in the rotation. LGM 2014.

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Featured Post: What Tom Glavine’s Induction Means for Doc Halladay Fri, 10 Jan 2014 18:24:17 +0000 The election of Tom Glavine into the Hall of Fame makes me wonder how voters will reflect on Roy Halladay’s career. The two careers are by no means similar, but that’s what makes it a fascinating comparison.

Glavine is well deserving of his induction. Over his twenty-year career from 198-2007 (excluding his very first and last seasons in which he combined to throw only 113.2 innings), which spanned the heart of the PED era, he compiled a 3.48 ERA, a 1.304 WHIP, fewer than one hit per innings, fewer than one home run per nine innings, 2,550 strikeouts and, of course, the magical 300-plus win total (301 to be exact, 305 for his entire career). He also won two Cy Young awards and finished with two more second place finishes and still two more third place finishes. He was a ten-time All Star and received five top-25 MVP finishes, including one top-10 in 1992. And all that while pitching with Greg Maddux.

Halladay doesn’t have those counting credentials. His career as a full time starter only spanned ten years, 2002-2011. He only has 170 wins in that span (though he does have the wins per season advantage over Glavine 17-15), but he does have 203 overall having played part time for four seasons before becoming a full time starter in 2002 and hanging on for two injury-plagued seasons in 2012-13. He only has 2,117 career strikeouts, and he spent most of his career playing after the PED era (though it’s naïve to think PEDs were eradicated after 2004).

But here’s the case for Doc. The hardware is very similar. Also two Cy Young awards and also two other second place finishes. He has one third place finish and two other fifth place finishes. He’s an eight time All Star and has two top-ten MVP finishes, all in ten fewer years to accomplish these feats. When you consider most of that came while pitching in the AL East in the 2000’s, without question the toughest offensive division, while on a bad team for most of it and in hitter’s parks, and Glavine pitched for one of the best teams in baseball, I give the hardware edge to Doc.

Halladay’s rate stats were also superior. He had a 2.97 ERA and 1.111 WHIP in his ten-year period of dominance, considerably better than Glavine’s numbers. Halladay has the better career FIP, as well (3.39 to 3.95). Glavine, for all his dominance, only had a pedestrian 1.78 K/BB ratio during his full-time years while Halladay’s was a loftier 4.57 during his stretch.

My ballot would include Roy Halladay the second he becomes eligible. His average season was better than Glavine’s, his trophy case is very similar in ten fewer years, and even though his career may not have the longevity of Glavine and some of the other best pitchers in the game, he does indeed have a very dominant ten-year stretch, which is the unwritten, unofficial minimum one can have to be considered dominant.

However, I feel if Doc were on this year’s ballot, he wouldn’t have been elected. There’s still a predilection among voters to over-value counting stats without much attention to their context. Some will cite Doc’s 203 career wins and mention Rick Reuschel, Kenny Rogers and Chuck Finley, others with similar win totals with no chance at enshrinement. Or his 2,117 strikeouts and offer Kevin Millwood, A.J. Burnett and David Wells as comparison.

Hopefully the culture will change in five years and voter turnover will open the doors for Halladay to receive the respect he deserves.

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