Mets Merized Online » Daily News Sat, 25 Feb 2017 00:34:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Alderson Plans To Discuss Extension With Red-Hot Neil Walker Wed, 10 Aug 2016 15:20:39 +0000 neil walker

It’s starting to feel like a broken record, but Mets second baseman Neil Walker did it again, blasting a go-ahead two-run homer in the sixth inning to give the Mets a lead. And unsurprisingly, the Mets still lost the game.

Overall it was Walker’s 20th home run of the season, but it was the seventh time this season that his homer gave the Mets a lead. The 20 homers are tied for the fourth-most by a second baseman in a single-season in team history, trailing only Edgardo Alfonzo, who holds the top two spots with 27 home runs in 1999 and 25 home runs in 2000, and Jeff Kent’s 1993 season where he hit 21 home runs.

Over his last 13 games, Walker is batting .491 (26-53) with two doubles, one triple, four home runs, 11 RBI and 10 runs scored. There is nobody hotter in baseball right now and since July 27, Walker has the best batting average in the major leagues. In that time, Walker has four, three-hit games, and one, four-hit game.

Still, if you were looking for someone who was all smiles after last night’s 5-3 loss to the last place Arizona Diamondbacks, it was quite the opposite for Walker who expressed frustration with his team’s inability to string together back to back wins for well over a month now.

“It’s kind of like it’s been one step forward and two steps back for us, but we’re playing hard,” said Walker, who was 3-for-4 on the night. “This is a hard time of year. It’s a grind-it-out time of year. The teams that are out of it can be dangerous teams too, like these guys. We’ve just got keep going out there and keep grinding and hope we get hot. Certainly nights like tonight can be frustrating.”

Walker, 30, has seen his share of the postseason, having played on three consecutive playoff teams from 2013-2015 with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

“Any team I’ve been on, especially the last three years, this is the time of year you have to get on a roll. April and May are months where if you don’t play great you can make up for it in June, July, August and September. But I haven’t been on a team that’s made the playoffs that hasn’t been good in August. So we’re grinding it out and trying to get it right.”

Meanwhile, Walker addressed his upcoming free agency before the game, likening his situation to “a double-edged sword.”

“Everyone wants, kind of, the certainty of your future, but it certainly is interesting to think about what could happen this offseason as far as teams’ interest and things like that,” Walker said. “But when you look at the big picture and you look at what’s going on here and you look at how I fit in here and how happy I’ve been … this is a really good fit for me.”

Mets GM Sandy Alderson was also asked about Walker and admitted that he has not had any conversations with his second baseman or his agents.

“Neil has had a very nice season for us, no question about that,” Alderson said. “And certainly he has been very productive over the last couple of weeks at a time when we needed that productivity with some of the injuries and other issues.” (Daily News)

“I have not had any conversations with his agent at this point. I expect that there will be some conversations before the end of the season.”

Alderson added that Walker has also filled a leadership void in the clubhouse in the wake of Michael Cuddyer who retired before the season, and David Wright who is out for the season.

“”He’s been a terrific player for us on the field. He’s been excellent in the clubhouse.”

Unlike last season, when the Mets opted to let Daniel Murphy walk because they believed Dilson Herrera was an up and coming star who was less than a year away, there is no de facto second baseman of the future waiting in the wings for the Mets.

In fact, when asked to address the future of second base after dealing Herrera for Jay Bruce at the deadline, Alderson cited Jose Reyes as the potential starting second baseman for the Mets in 2017. So it’s unsurprising that the Mets GM will look to see if he can lock up Walker for 3-4 years. Whether that happens or not is tough to say, given the many variables involved.

We have an active poll that asks you to weigh in with your opinion on whether the Mets should sign Walker to a multi-year deal.

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Hansel Robles Gets Rattled Again Wed, 10 Aug 2016 14:00:48 +0000 hansel robles

The Mets still haven’t won back-to-back games since before the All-Star break. This time, the fault goes to Hansel Robles for kicking away another winnable effort by Steven Matz.

Robles threw 32 pitches – few of them good – as he gave up three runs in two-thirds of an inning in the seventh of Tuesday night’s 5-3 loss to Arizona at Citi Field.

The Mets had taken a 3-2 lead in the sixth on Neil Walker’s two-run homer to give Matz a chance at the win.

However, manager Terry Collins allowed Robles to stay in the game to walk two hitters and give up three hits. The Diamondbacks also executed a double-steal It’s a close game, so it’s hard to understand Collins’ logic for leaving an ineffective reliever in the game that long.

“You saw him fall behind in some counts,” Collins said. “He had been so good. You think you have the perfect set-up. He just didn’t get it done.”

This is the second implosion for Robles in his last three relief appearances. He gave up three runs on three hits and two walks last week against the New York Yankees.

The Mets made acquiring a reliever a top priority last month and ended up signing Jon Niese at the trade deadline.

Reportedly, they have placed a waiver claim on a bullpen arm according to the Daily News, but no buzz on who or if they are close to completing a waiver trade.

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Zack Wheeler to Start Rehab Assignment on Saturday Mon, 01 Aug 2016 19:03:08 +0000 New York Mets Spring Training wheeler

Latest Update – 5:04 p.m.

More good news on Zack Wheeler’s comeback trail.  Anthony DiComo of reports that Wheeler will start a rehab assignment this Saturday.  It remains to be seen how long Wheeler will need to shake off the rust, but he still appears on target for a late August return.

Update – August 1

Zack Wheeler threw his first session to live hitters without incident, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports.

Wheeler sat in the 90-93 mile per hour range with his fastball and reported no discomfort.

The session is a significant step forward for the right hander as he looks to return to the Mets by the end of August.

Update – July 31

Right-hander Zack Wheeler is scheduled to face live batters on Monday for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery in March 2015, reports Adam Rubin of ESPN.

Last week, Wheeler said he believes that he could rejoin the team sometime around mid to late August after throwing a bullpen session.

“I’ve already had two setbacks, so hopefully nothing else arises,” Wheeler said. “Hopefully we just go smooth sailing from here.”

The former top Mets prospect last pitched in the major leagues on September 22, 2014, and posted a 3.54 ERA and 1.32 WHIP while striking out 187 batters in 185.1 innings over 32 starts that season.

Original Report – July 24

Zack Wheeler rejoined the Mets in Miami and threw a bullpen session in front of pitching coach Dan Warthen on Friday, Kristie Ackert of the Daily News reports.

During the session, Wheeler threw 30 pitches without incident.

“I’m happy where I’m at right now,” Wheeler told reporters in Miami.

The next step for the 26-year old right-hander is to face live batters before throwing simulated innings and eventually heading out on a minor league rehab assignment.

As of now, Wheeler’s return timetable remains the same. The Mets still believe that he can be ready to take the mound at Citi Field by mid to late August.

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Goeddel and Gilmartin On Way To NY Fri, 20 May 2016 19:03:07 +0000 sean gilmartin

LHP Sean Gilmartin and RH reliever Erik Goeddel are on their way to New York to potentially join the the New York Mets, according to Kristie Ackert of the Daily News.

However, Mike Puma of the Post adds that while both are en route, only one of them will be activated. Goeddel will be activated if Matt Harvey does not land on the DL, while Gilmartin will be activated if Harvey remains with the team.

The Mets say that no roster move will be made before tonight’s game so stay tuned.

Gilmartin, who posted a 2.45 ERA and 2.62 FIP in 62.1 major league innings last season, pitched five scoreless innings, striking out five and walking none in two games for the Mets last week. He’s posting some solid numbers for Triple-A Las Vegas (2.48 ERA, 1.113 WHIP), which is no small feat.

It’s been a different story for Goeddel who is having a rough go of it in Las Vegas, posting a 5.65 ERA and 1.745 WHIP in 13 relief appearances.

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Erik Goeddel Played Golf With Chase Utley During Offseason Sun, 28 Feb 2016 05:18:54 +0000 erik goeddelMets reliever Erik Goeddel told the Kristie Ackert of the Daily News that he played golf with Dodgers second baseman Chase Utley during the offseason while the two were in Mexico.

It wasn’t something that he planned and in fact it was Erik’s brother Tyler who had arranged it. Tyler Goeddel, an outfielder in the Philadelphia system, became friends with the former Phillies All Star.

The two of them had something else in common as they were both drafted out of UCLA.

As awkward as it was, the subject of Utley’s slide into Ruben Tejada in Game 2 of the NLDS was unavoidable.

“I didn’t really want to talk about it, I don’t think he really did either, but, you know, it just came up,” Goeddel told Ackert. “We didn’t talk about it in much detail really, it was quick. Kind of awkward.”

“I knew him a little before because he had gone to UCLA, too, and would come back,” Goeddel said. “I always thought he was a pretty good guy, he was always nice to me and then that happened and I really didn’t know. I was a little surprised when my brother said we were golfing with him.”

Small world.

(Photo: Steve Mitchell, USA Today)


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NLDS Report: Mattingly Has High Praise For Mets Starting Pitchers Thu, 08 Oct 2015 15:33:11 +0000 degrom harvey syndergaard

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly heaped plenty of praise on the Mets young trio of Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Matt Harvey before his team’s workout Wednesday at Dodger Stadium.

“Those guys are really good,” said Mattingly, the former Yankees star entering his third straight postseason with the Dodgers. “We’ve been looking at them for the last couple of days and even before that… These are some power arms with secondary pitches. They aren’t just guys going up there and chucking the fastball.” (Peter Botte, Daily News)

“Everybody in the league now throws 96-97-98 (mph). We see it all the time. So that’s not what makes them different. It’s the secondary stuff that makes them really good. They’ve got great arms and they’re in a good position, not only now but for the future, with those type of arms. That’s what you build your team around. So we know we have our hands full, but with that being said, we’ll have a game plan for each guy.”


Conversely, the Mets have been heaping some high praise on the Dodgers’ 1-2 punch of Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke and also have a game plan at the ready. 

”We all know that they’re both two of the best pitchers in the game,” Michael Cuddyer said during his media session on Tuesday. ”I think it does help to have faced them before. Whether you win or lose, I don’t think that really plays into it. But the fact that you faced them before, the fact that the guys have had at-bats against them, they know the arm angles, they know what the pitches look like, they know the shapes of the pitches. That all helps.”

“I think as deep as we are with our pitching, I don’t think anybody in baseball really has a Kershaw and Greinke,” David Wright said about the Dodgers’ Dynamic Duo. “We’re going to throw out there some good arms against them, but when you look at the back of the baseball card of those two guys, that’s about as good as it gets.”

But the Mets captain also put out his plan of attack to try and overcome the challenge.

“I think that you can’t go in with the game plan of trying to take as many pitches as possible because, again, you’re not going to have much success. I think your best chance is just going up there being prepared.”

Terry Collins countered that his pitching is pretty good too.

”I think we’re going to do just fine. I think we’re going to be able to go out there and play our game,” Collins said. ”I think you’ve got to like the two guys I’m pitching. I know who we’re facing, and I don’t want to say anything, but they’re facing a couple pretty good guys, too.”

And Yoenis Cespedes, well, he ain’t afraid of anything. He’s like Godzilla out for a stroll in downtown Tokyo.

”While I know that this team has faced these pitchers before, I personally haven’t. But they’re pitchers, just like anyone else. They’re going to throw the same pitches.”

Get ready for some big-time epic pitching duels. This is going to be a lot of fun!


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Mets and Cespedes Agree To Waive Clause Governing 5-Day Signing Window Wed, 09 Sep 2015 14:20:13 +0000 USATSI_8788370_154511658_lowres

According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the New York Mets and Yoenis Cespedes have agreed to amend the clause in his contract that gave the Mets only five days to sign him after the World Series.

“Thus, rather than be under a short-term constraint to decide whether to sign Cespedes as a free agent, the Mets can let the process play out and be like any of the other 29 clubs that can negotiate and sign him at any point this offseason.”

The Mets, however, are still unable to extend Cespedes a qualifying offer.

The sides agreed to the alteration in the past 10 days.

This doesn’t mean that they are suddenly going to dish out the $150 million Cespedes is sure to get, but it mutes the conversation at least until the  rest of the regular season and postseason.

It’s a well played strategy by the Wilpons and their legal team. And Roc Nation maintains a vested interest in keeping the New York Mets in the bidding process.

* * * * * * * *

The Cuban Missile Yoenis Cespedes continued his offensive assault against the Washington Nationals on Monday, going 3-for-5 with a home run, two doubles, two runs scored and two RBI in a stunning 8-5 win.

“I’m just going out there and concentrating on hitting the ball hard,” Cespedes said. “I don’t try to go out there and do too much. I just go out there and try to have fun and do my part. I put a little piece on my plate try to help the team to win.”

Cespedes, 29, continues to draw comparisons to Mike Piazza as one of the greatest trade acquisitions the Mets have ever made.

“There’s a reason why we went and got him, and there’s a reason why we traded what we traded to get him,” manager Terry Collins later said, speaking about the trade with the Tigers that brought Cespedes to the Mets.

However the big question that everyone is asking is will the Wilpons shell out the dollars to keep this potential MVP from bolting for free agency?

“I don’t really know what they are thinking, but my plan is to go out there and have fun,” Cespedes said of possibly re-signing with the Mets. “I enjoy the team. It’s a really great team. I love the city of New York, I love the fans and what we’ve got going here is a really good thing.” (Kristie Ackert, Daily News)

In 34 games since joining the Mets, Cespedes has driven in an astounding 31 runs and has produced a 1.7 WAR, more than double that of any other Met player.

He is hitting .311 with 13 home runs, eight doubles, three triples, 31 runs scored and four stolen bases since the Mets acquired him, and he is 13-for-28 during his last six games, batting .464 with a 1.214 slugging percentage.

Cespedes has a clause in his contract that releases him within five days of the World Series if the Mets don’t sign him before then. He wouldn’t be eligible to re-sign with the team until May 15 of next year if he hits free agency.

For years the Wilpons and GM Sandy Alderson have said that once fans began to fill Citi Field, the team would increase payroll accordingly. Since acquiring Cespedes, the Mets have filled the park during every single home game including four sellouts with standing room only.

So will Cespedes stay? Or will the Wilpons let him go? And if that happens, how in the world will they replace his MVP-caliber production which has been the impetus for the Mets’ offensive turnaround?

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Jon Niese Placed On Paternity Leave, Logan Verrett Recalled Sat, 25 Jul 2015 16:15:42 +0000 logan verrett

LHP Jon Niese was placed on paternity leave on Saturday and the Mets recalled RHP Logan Verrett to take his place on the roster.

On Friday night, Niese was shelled for six runs by the Dodgers, his mind clearly on his wife who was expecting the couple’s child.

Niese was saddened when he learned that his wife went into labor and wasn’t there for her, but was able to watch his son being born on FaceTime in the Mets clubhouse.

“He gave us 100 percent, and I know he wanted to be with his wife, today especially. I know he was bummed when he found out during the game that he had missed it. So I’m just happy that he was able to get back there to her now, and he did a great job given the circumstances.” (Daily News)

Niese has since left the team for Ohio to be with his wife Leah and new son Tatum Jeffrey.

Verrett, was pulled from his start last night for Triple-A Las Vegas, where he is 3-1 with a 2.93 ERA. He had a 0.73 ERA in 12 1/3 innings and struck out 12 during his first stint with the Mets.

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Conforto and Nimmo Shine at 2015 Futures Game Mon, 13 Jul 2015 01:04:54 +0000 michael Conforto

Top prospects Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo represented the New York Mets very well on Sunday during the 2015 MLB Futures Game which saw the USA team beat the World team 10-1 at Great American Ballpark.

Showing off his electric bat, Conforto stroked two line drive singles to center and right in his two at-bats.  But he also impressed in the field when he showed off his cannon and fired a throw to the plate to nail a runner in the second inning.

Asked if he thought he was big league ready, Conforto smiled and said,  ”I feel ready. I feel I am confident.”

“I think there are some things I need to work on. I need to get better in the outfield. My approach needs some work. I have to be able to adapt quicker, as quick as possible.”

“But every day I play in the minor leagues, I am getting better,” Conforto said. “The people who make those decisions, they will let me know when they think I am ready. And then I will be ready to go up there.” (Daily News)

Last week, Mets GM Sandy Alderson told reporters that the team had considered promoting Conforto, but that it’s unlikely that it will happen in the near future.

“At this point, he’s still in Binghamton and I would expect him to be over there for the near term,” Alderson said.

Conforto is batting .312 with a .394 on-base percentage and a .869 OPS in 37 games with Double-A Binghamton. He has ten doubles, two triples, and three home runs in 160 plate appearances while scoring 17 runs and driving in 21.

Joining Conforto at the Futures Game was B-Mets teammate Brandon Nimmo. The two 22-year old, lefty-hitting outfielders have struck up a great friendship.

“We’ve definitely developed a friendship,” Nimmo said. “It’s great to have someone similiar, to learn with, to see how they are going to pitch us and talk about things with.”

“We have been able bounce ideas off each other a lot,” said Nimmo, who was making his second Futures Games appearance.

“We are a little similar. We both hit from the same side of the plate, similar approaches to the game. With that, we’ve developed a relationship on the field and off the field too, because really our lives revolves around baseball.”

Nimmo, the Mets top pick in the 2011 Draft, went 1-for-2 with an RBI on Sunday. He’s batting .289 for Binghamton with a .351 on-base percentage. In 248 plate appearances he has 11 doubles, two triples, two home runs and 13 RBIs.


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A Media Maelstrom and Why the Mets Can’t Have Nice Things Sun, 12 Jul 2015 04:54:15 +0000 matt harvey

Jeff asks…

I’m so disgusted that I don’t know where to begin, but can you please tell me why everyone is turning on Matt Harvey and painting him as a villain every time he says or does something? This hurts me so much because Matt Harvey is my favorite player and has made it fun for me to watch the Mets again.

For the first time in eight years I purchased two ticket packages for me and my wife, mostly because we were excited that Harvey was coming back this season from Tommy John surgery.

It seems like sites like MetsBlog, Daily News and the Post just love to rip him to shreds whenever they can. It breaks my heart and this is why we can never have good things.

Why do they hate him so much? What has he done to merit all this scorn with the Daily News calling him an A-Hole, MetsBlog pleading with him not to be a douche bag, and all those awful things in the New York Post article.

Can you please reply back? It would be very appreciated if you could shed some light on this.

Thanks, Jeff

Joe D. replies…

I wish I had an answer for you, but to be honest all I can do is venture a guess as to why the media is painting Matt Harvey as Public Enemy No. 1. First, let me summarize the recent events chronologically for our readers who may not know.


It all began when Matt Harvey posted a picture of himself in a private jet heading to a resort during some personal time off.

Some assumed that he was taking this private flight instead of the team charter with his teammates, which was not the case at all. A few knuckleheads began killing Harvey on Instagram and Twitter.

Seeing how some fans were reacting, Harvey posted another pic of himself with his teammates flying back to New York on the team charter.

“Just landed back in NYC on ‘THE TEAM FLIGHT’ ‘WITH THE TEAM,’ Harvey wrote after the recent west coast road trip.

Everything seemed to calm down after that with a few even apologizing for their overreaction.

But just as the mini-drama was winding down, SNY’s MetsBlog posted the incident on their site and in two hours the Instagram comments jumped from about 75 to well over 300. Matt Cerrone followed that up with a personal open letter to Harvey 12 hours later.

“Let it go, man. You’re 26, a nice guy, more humble than people realize, you’re great at what you do, you’re healthy, guys want to be you, women find you attractive and you’ll one day sign a $200 million contract. It does you zero good to come across as petty and irritated.”

“I realize you love to compete and that is part of what makes you great. But, trust me, save that target and energy for your on-field opponents. In the last day, you’ve comes across like you’re competing with your critics when you respond in code and snark online.”

That created even more animosity as any positive intention Cerrone may have had, backfired and Twitter exploded with a two day hate-fest that lasted into Saturday when he was expected to start.


Then things took a terrible turn for the worse.

After Harvey, Kevin Plawecki, Jon Niese and other players played a round of golf at the brand new golf course Donald Trump opened in the Bronx, he posted a picture with all his Mets teammates, simply thanking Trump for the free round of golf.

Boom… That was it… The media wolves tore him to shreds believing he was endorsing Trump’s political campaign. It was a bloodbath, and it forced Harvey to delete the Instagram post and photo.

Not to be outdone, the Post and other tabloids cherry-picked some of the most vicious attacks on Harvey from the private plane fiasco and published them the next day.

“After your pitching performances, it’s fitting you take a plane by yourself. Degrom is better”

“What a douche riding in his own plane.”

“You’re an a—–e and everyone knows you’ll be a Yankee soon.”

These are just the mild retorts, there are hundreds more that were more hurtful, vicious, and vile. And they were all from a small minority of Mets fans who were riled up from reading the two MetsBlog posts, two articles in the Post, and the cake-topper by the Daily News.

matt harvey

The sad part about this was how a few Met fans made the entire fan base look so bad. Fox News painted a terrible image of us and even the San Diego Padres posted “Wow! It looks like Matt Harvey is being run out of town.”

What really sucks is that the vast majority of Mets fans abhorred what was going on and saw the whole incident for what it was – a madcap media maelstrom created out of a non-story to drive site traffic and page views. Character assassination, hurt feelings, and emotional abuse be damned.

There are many who believe the whole incident was spearheaded by Mets ownership, and considering the apparent ties to SNY and Sterling maybe they’re right. After all, the Wilpons are the masters of “whisper campaigns” against players who fall out of favor with them for either personal reasons or financial ones.

Harvey is eligible for arbitration this offseason for the first time and in line for a significant raise.

matt harvey

So to wrap this up, Harvey has gone from superhero to villain all because he took a private jet to a resort on an off day, and thanked Trump for treating the team to a free round of golf.

And the worst part – besides how deviously Harvey was treated by an out-for-blood media – is that fans like me and you had to watch helplessly as the player who put the Mets back on the map and revived the fan base was torn down by uncaring misanthropes.

In what I can only call poetic justice, it was great to see Matt Harvey rise above all the faux-carnage and personal attacks on him with a powerful performance against the Diamondbacks on Saturday in which he struck out nine and hit what would be the game winning homer. I cheered my ass off for him.

Here’s my message to Harvey:

Ignore all the haters and the condescending and patronizing know-nothings. Just remember that the vast majority of Mets fans love you and think you’re freaking awesome. We love your swagger, your free spirited nature, your infectious enthusiasm, and your determination to win. Qualities this team has lacked for years until you showed up. You f**king rock!

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Lucas Duda Sighting At Citi Field… No Not That One, The Good One Sat, 11 Jul 2015 15:41:08 +0000 lucas duda

He’s Baa-aack… Or maybe not, but during the Mets 4-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks, there was an actual Lucas Duda sighting at Citi Field

No, not that wind-sucking Lucas Duda we’ve seen over the last two months, but the deluxe version we remember from April and May when he boasted a .989 OPS.

For the first time since June 18, Duda blasted a home run – a three-run shot over the center field wall that would prove to be the difference maker in the game.

Since that last homerun, Duda was hitting just .121 with a .368 OPS and 27 strikeouts in that 18 game span.

He also struck out twice and grounded into a double play, but the home run was good to see and perhaps it’s something the slumping slugger could build on.

“I’m definitely not doing what I’m capable of,” Duda remarked. “I’m not helping the team in the ways that I should. So I’ll play these next two games, take the All-Star break off, kind of take a deep breath and relax a bit, and then get back to work.”

Understanding the importance of getting Duda going, manager Terry Collins sounded hopeful.

“Tonight the two guys we hope to ride in the second half broke out a little bit. If we get Cuddy and Lucas going, it just changes the whole dynamic of the lineup.”

A now clean-shaven Duda still has a long way to go before we can all breathe easy again. But for at least one night, he came through for the Mets and it may be a sign that better days are coming for him and his offense-starved team.

July 10

Lucas Duda continues to struggle mightily at the plate and despite all the mental breaks, games off, extra batting practice, and watching videos with Kevin Long, nothing seems to be working.

“It’s a pretty prolonged stretch for me, just because I’m not doing the things I’m capable of,” Duda told reporters.

Duda, who has just one home run since May 29,  produced a .576 OPS in June, and that number has dwindled to a pathetic .267 for the first eight games of July. (New York Post)

“We gave him a mental break and he came back and hasn’t gotten a hit since, but I’m not overly concerned,” said hitting coach Kevin Long. “I think Lucas Duda is a very good hitter and he’s capable of still putting together a very good season.”

The Mets are concerned that Duda has fallen into some old mechanical problems with his swing and that the 29-year old is struggling with his timing at the plate. (Daily News)

“He’s swinging at some fastballs that he is a little bit tardy on, some of the offspeed pitches he is a little out front on, a little in between. That is kind of what happens when you struggle a little bit,” Long said.

”We’re just trying to slow things down. Manage his leg kick a little bit better, see if we can’t get him back on track.”

With the Mets dead last in the majors with a .653 OPS, and second to last in runs scored and on-base, they can ill-afford Lucas Duda carrying this slump over to the second half of the season.

One thing that hasn’t been mentioned is whether Duda’s next contract is adding some additional pressure on him after he reportedly turned down a three year contract extension from the Mets last April.

Duda is batting .175 over his last 100 plate appearances. He’s not making any contact and he looks like a deer in the headlights when he’s up at the plate.

He’s taking first pitch strikes at an alarming rate and once he’s in the hole he’s just chasing pitches out of the zone like we saw a lot of in 2013 before his breakthrough in 2014.

Basically he just looks lost up there and he must find a way to work his way out of this slump if the Mets are to have any chance to make some noise in the second half.

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Should The Mets Trade For A Reliever? Sat, 20 Jun 2015 17:09:07 +0000 jeurys familia

(Updated 6/20)

Andy Martino of the Daily News argues that the Mets need to upgrade their bullpen at the trading deadline in addition to their lineup.

“You think?” one team official said on Tuesday, when asked if the Mets needed to acquire a reliever.

Martino says that the Mets do not have a solid 8th inning option to compliment their dominating closer Jeurys Familia.

“Is there any way the Mets can plug this eighth-inning hole? The team had introduced one top pitching prospect after another since 2012, and is nearly tapped out. Once Steven Matz debuts, all of the team’s top arms will have tasted the major leagues, and no one who projects to make an impact this year will be left in the minors. And a survey of familiar names yields no solutions”

One trade target Martino mentioned was the A’s Tyler Clippard, who will be a free agent after this season. He owns a 2.88 career ERA, and he has been one of the best setup men in the league over the past few years.

While the Mets could certainly benefit from adding a pitcher like Cilppard, I don’t think the bullpen situation is as problematic as Martino suggests.

The Mets’ relievers this season rank inside the top ten in the MLB in ERA, WHIP and Batting Average Against. Reinforcements are also coming as Bobby Parnell has just returned and looked good, while Jenrry Mejia‘s suspension will soon be coming to an end.

There’s also Vic Black, who despite suffering a setback recently, could still be a valuable arm down the stretch. And recent call-up Logan Verrett impressed in his Mets debut this week in Toronto.

This seems like an issue that could work itself out, so I’d rather they trade for a bat instead of an arm for the bullpen.

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MMO Feature: Tom Seaver’s 19 Strikeout Classic Turns 45 Wed, 22 Apr 2015 19:06:24 +0000 tom seaver bw

On this day in Mets history, 45 years ago, Hall of Famer Tom Seaver tossed his 19-strikeout gem against the San Diego Padres and set the major league record with 10 straight strikeouts to end the game.

It happened on April 22, 1970 and our own Stephen Hanks was there. Here is an article he wrote back in 2010 to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of one of the greatest moments in Mets history. Please enjoy…

mmo feature original footerThere is a mantle above an unused fireplace in my home office that I’ve turned into a little shrine to my sports idol Tom Seaver. It’s nothing crazy, just a bunch of old action photos, vintage baseball cards, magazine covers, bobble head dolls, figurines depicting that classic Seaver right-knee scraping the mound motion, even an empty bottle of Tom Seaver recent vintage wine. But among all these treasures, there is one that bears special significance today: the scorecard I recorded at Shea Stadium on April 22, 1970, the day the man I consider the greatest right-handed pitcher of all time (Roger Clemens forfeited that title the day he picked up a syringe) struck out 19 San Diego Padres, including the LAST 10 IN A ROW.

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Here are both pages of my original scorecard.
(click to enlarge them)

It’s hard to believe it’s been 40 years since that glorious afternoon, but not hard to believe how I ended up being an eyewitness to baseball history. Tom Seaver had been my baseball hero from the day he started his first game for the Mets in 1967, although I became aware of him during his one season pitching for the Jacksonville Suns in 1966. At that point, I was a 10 1/2-year old Mets fanatic desperate for a young star and baseball role model to cling to.

I attended my first Mets’ game at the Polo Grounds in 1963, watched the entire 10-hour epic double-header, including the 23-inning second game, against the Giants in 1964, and spent my early childhood thinking my favorite team would never get out of last place. By mid-1966, my burgeoning adolescent hormones were contributing to take my Mets obsession to a fever pitch. And like all Mets fans who didn’t think the losing was cute anymore, I was hoping for a savior to finally change our fortunes.

So I started checking The Sporting News, which in those days was considered the “Bible of Baseball” and printed every major league and Triple A box score from the proceeding week, in addition to all the league stats. I started noticing there was a 21-year-old named Tom Seaver on the Jacksonville pitching staff who was actually winning as many games as he lost.

Even more impressively, he was striking out an average of eight per game, wasn’t walking a lot of guys, and had a great hits-to-innings pitched ratio. At that point, very few Mets fans knew about the bizarre circumstances that made Seaver a Met–the voiding of his contract with the Braves while he was still at USC, and the Mets subsequently being selected out of a hat in a lottery staged by Commissioner William Eckert. All I cared about was that we might finally be developing some semblance of a major league pitcher and I followed Seaver’s minor-league starts religiously throughout the summer.

Although it was clear that Seaver was the Mets’ best pitcher going into the 1967 season, he started Game 2 against the Pirates, struck out 8 in 5.1 innings and got a no-decision. By his next start, a 6-1 win over the Cubs, this hard-throwing righthander with the picture-perfect delivery was my favorite player and probably the favorite of every other Mets fan.

For me, Tom cemented his hero status on May 17, 1967. That year and until 1971, the Mets games on radio were carried on WJRZ-AM with a pre- and post-game show hosted by an intelligent and very congenial man named Bob Brown, who staged various fan contests. I sent in a bunch of postcards hoping to get selected for a call and before the game against the Braves that May night, my phone rang. It was Bob Brown offering me a chance to win a baseball glove if I could pick three Mets to get a total of four hits in the game at Fulton County Stadium. So naturally I picked the Mets’ three hottest hitters at that point–Tommy Davis, Ed Kranepool and Jerry Buchek.

Going into the ninth inning, Davis and Kranepool had combined for three hits (Buchek was shutout) but Davis came through for me with a single and I won a Bobby Shantz glove. You may think this whole story has been a digression, but the kicker is this: Tom Seaver went three for three that night, with two RBI, a walk and a stolen base. The best athlete on the team was a rookie pitcher.

Anyway, you know what happened over the next couple of years. Seaver wins 16 games in both ’67 and ’68 (with 32 complete games combined) and then leads the Mets to the promised land in 1969 with 25 victories, including the near-perfect game against the Cubs. After celebrating my team’s improbable World Championship, which I watched from my home in the South Bronx not far from Yankee Stadium, my family moved that December to the spanking new Co-Op City middle class housing project in the Northeast Bronx. Now 14, I was old enough to get a job delivering the Daily News in my 33-story building and the gig earned me about $30 to $40 a week, a fortune for a kid that age at that time. My plan for spending my new-found wealth? Go to as many games of the defending champs as possible, especially considering you could sit in the upper deck behind home plate for a buck and a half.

But I didn’t want to attend just any games. I wanted to see EVERY game Tom Seaver pitched at Shea Stadium (that wasn’t on a school night, of course) and the Mets’ five-man rotation made it pretty easy to figure out when Tom Terrific was going to be on the hill. Seaver was on a five-day cycle even when there were off days. So I knew that after opening day on April 7, Tom would pitch on the 12th, 17th and 22nd, the latter a Wednesday afternoon game I could attend because it would be the second day of Passover and public schools would be closed. I really splurged for that one and for six bucks got tickets for me and my brother in the first row of the loge (second deck) behind home plate.

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After settling into our seats on a beautiful spring day (I don’t recall it being chilly), Tom proceeded to strike out two in the first inning. The way the sound of the Seaver fastball was reverberating after hitting Jerry Grote‘s mitt only confirmed it was going to a long day for the Padres. Ken Boswell‘s double off some guy named Mike Corkins drove in Bud Harrelson (who had singled), giving the Mets a first-inning lead. But the Pods’ cleanup hitter and leftfielder Al Ferrara led off the second inning with a home run to tie it (I think it scraped the back of the fence on the way down) until we got the lead back in the third on a Bud Harrelson triple that just missed going out. Given the Mets’ offense, which could disappear for innings or days at a time, I figured that run would have to hold up if Tom was to get a W. (I can’t tell you how many times during Seaver’s Mets career I sweated out a game because of lack of run support. My mother once threatened to start giving me sedatives whenever Tom pitched because I’d pace around the TV room and scream at the set imploring the Mets to score a freaking run.)

By the top of the 6th inning, Tom had yielded just one other hit and had nine strikeouts. Of course the score was still 2-1 so the ace would really have to bear down. After a popup and a fly out, Tom struck out Ferrara for his 10th K of the game. I don’t think I was aware of it at the time–and I could be corrected if I’m wrong–but by the top of the 7th, afternoon shadows were starting to creep over home plate while the sun was still shining over the rest of Shea. This would not be good for a Padres lineup that was already flailing at Seaver’s fastball, which that day looked and sounded like it was in the upper 90s–and we didn’t need a radar gun to tell us that.

At this point in the game, I was totally transfixed on the man on the hill, picking up every nuance of that motion on the mound. As a Babe Ruth League pitcher, I was already mimicking Seaver’s delivery, which was never better described than by Roger Angell in The New Yorker after Tom was traded on June 15, 1977 (still one of the worst days of my life):

“One of the images I have before me now is that of Tom Seaver pitching; the motionless assessing pause on the hill while the signal is delivered, the easy, rocking shift of weight onto the back leg, the upraised arms, and then the left shoulder coming forward as the whole body drives forward and drops suddenly downward–down so low that the right knee scrapes the sloping dirt of the mound–in an immense thrusting stride, and the right arm coming over blurrily and still flailing, even as the ball, the famous fastball, flashes across the pate, chest-high on the batter and already past his low, late swing.”

In the top of the 7th, Seaver struck out Nate Colbert, Dave Campbell and Jerry Morales, the latter two looking. While that was impressive, none of the 14,000 of us cheering madly at every strike thought it out of the ordinary for our Tom and when he led off the bottom of the 7th, he got the obligatory polite ovation.

Of course if this game had been played in 2010 instead of 1970, Gary Matthews, Jr. would have been pinch-hitting because, hey, you need to get another run and our ace might be hitting his pitch count to boot. Thankfully, Gil Hodges wouldn’t think of pulling his best arm and when Bob Barton, and pinch hitters Ramon Webster and Ivan Murrell all K’d in the 8th (the latter two swinging), there wasn’t a soul in Shea who thought we weren’t watching history, let alone believe the Padres would actually hit another pitch.

As Tom took the mound for the top of the 9th, the buzz in the park was palpable and my heart was palpitating. Van Kelly led off the ninth and when he struck out swinging for the 8th strikeout in a row, the crowd sounded more like 40,000.

With every strike that whizzed by a Padre hitter I felt as if I was being levitated out of my seat. I don’t have a pitch chart of the game (don’t know if there is one available), but it seemed as if every pitch in those last two innings were strikes and the crowd roared louder with every one. Cito Gaston struck out looking for nine in a row and 18 for the game. One more strikeout and Tom Seaver would set a new record of 10 Ks in a row and match Steve Carlton‘s 19-strikeout game (which he lost thanks to those two Ron Swoboda home runs) against us the year before.

With the entire park on it’s feet and screaming itself hoarse, Tom fittingly blew away Ferrara for the record-breaking K. By this point I was jumping up and down so wildly I almost fell over the loge railing. I carried that emotional high all the way to 7 train and for the entire trip back to the Bronx. It is still the greatest pitching performance I’ve ever seen live (and I saw a couple of Seaver one-hitters and his 300th win at Yankee Stadium). Again, the Terrific One didn’t just strike out 10 in a row, he mowed down the LAST 10 IN A ROW.

As you can see above, I dutifully saved my scorecard of that game (and I wasn’t a kid who kept score much, so I must have had a premonition) and all of my handwritten annotations (including the note about Jerry Grote setting a new putout record-20) were added that day. There is one additional scribbling on the Mets side of the scorecard.

In early 1983 I was about to launch my own magazine called NEW YORK SPORTS and the Mets gave me the best launch present I could imagine by bringing Seaver back from the Cincinnati Reds that winter. Putting my idol on the cover of my magazine’s premiere issue was a no-brainer and before spring training I hiked out to Shea with a camera crew to shoot Tom Terrific. As I was leaving my house that morning, I thought, “Damn, I’ve got to ask Tom to sign the 19K-game scorecard” and found it in a huge pile of Seaver memorabilia I had been collecting for years. After assuming my best professional editor’s air during the photo session (even pressuring my hero to smile once in a while), I reverted to sheepish fan mode and asked Tom to autograph the scorecard. As he turned my prized possession into even more of a collector’s item, he looked down at the card and said, “Hmmm, that was a pretty good outing.” Indeed.

There’s one more postscript. In 1996-97, I was editing a elementary school classroom newspaper and decided to do a feature on the Baseball Hall of Fame. The executives at the Hall took me to lunch at a quaint Cooperstown bistro and we spent a pleasant hour or so talking baseball history. Naturally, Tom Seaver came up in the conversation and I told my story of attending the 1970 pitching masterpiece, mentioning that I still had the scorecard. The Hall curator perked up. “Wow, would you be willing to donate that to the Hall of Fame?” he asked wide-eyed. “Well, what would I get for it,” I responded. “Well, we could give you a lifetime pass to the Hall of Fame.”

I’ve been to the Baseball Hall of Fame a few times since that lunch meeting. The scorecard still resides in my own personal Tom Seaver Museum. Happy Anniversary, Tom!

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Remembering That Baseball Is Supposed To Be Fun Wed, 04 Mar 2015 03:03:02 +0000 wright harvey

During today’s Intrasquad game, which ended in a scoreless tie by the way, the Daily News handed Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom a couple of mice and the two go doing play by play.


That’s what spring training is all about right there. A few dozen players taking to the field to prepare for a new season but still having fun and remembering it’s just a game.

I miss those old days when we didn’t have internet and how I used to hit my father up for a dime to get the Sports Final edition of the Daily News, in the Brooklyn where I grew up we called it the Night Owl.

During the spring it was full of funny stories and anecdotes from the team. Managers like Gil and Yogi were always good for a great story and you knew they were having just as much fun as the players. Gil’s stories always carried a moral, while Yogi just made absolutely no sense at all and nobody really cared.

In the eighties the Mets teams were full of pranksters and jokesters. They were young like today’s team and we had so much personality and colorful characters. Howard Johnson and Roger McDowell were always good for a few laughs. And I loved how they used to seek out and prank Gary Carter who always fell for their gags, took it in stride and also got a kick out of it too.

I miss those days. Now we live in a culture of “gotcha reporting” where reporters prefer to dig for seedy drama and sensational storylines, so they could then brag about how many retweets they got.

I guess new isn’t always better.

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Bobby Ojeda Out At SNY Thu, 29 Jan 2015 23:26:53 +0000 Since 2009, Bobby Ojeda has been the lead Mets analyst on SNY's pre and post game coverage.Bob Ojeda is out at SNY, according to Andy Martino of the Daily News.

Ojeda, who joined SNY as a Mets pregame and postgame analyst in 2009, was very popular with fans because of his passion and fearlessness in calling things out.

You could always count on Ojeda to be refreshingly and brutally honest after a tough loss or a bad call from the dugout.

A source close to Ojeda told Martino that the former 1986 Met “absolutely” wanted to return, but the two sides could not reach an agreement on a new deal.

Former Met pitcher Nelson Figueroa is the frontrunner to replace Ojeda, Martino concludes.

Before Ojeda, the Mets had former players Lee Mazzilli and Darryl Strawberry doing the pre and post game shows, which actually was great for my insomnia.

Ojeda livened things up and even if you disagreed with his opinions, you respected his high energy and passion. He will be missed.

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DePodesta Draws Comparisons Between Steven Matz and Jacob deGrom Mon, 05 Jan 2015 15:03:21 +0000 steve matz

Mets left-handed pitching prospect, Steven Matz, had perhaps the most dominating season of any player in the Mets minors in 2014. Matz posted an excellent  2.24 ERA with 131 strikeouts in 140 innings pitched for Double-A Binghamton and Advanced-A St. Lucie. Matz also excelled in the playoffs with a phenomenal start in the Eastern League Championship Series. Matz struck out 11 batters and allowed just one run in 7.1 innings to lead the B-Mets to a title.

Following this fantastic season, expectations about Matz’s future are beginning to rise. His success has propelled him to the top of most Mets prospect rankings this winter. Both Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus rate him as the Mets second best prospect behind only Noah Syndergaard.

In a recent article by Kristie Ackert of the NY Daily News, Mets Vice President of Player Development, Paul DePodesta, said he believes Matz will continue to thrive once he arrives to the major leagues. DePodesta compared Matz to 2014 National League Rookie of the Year winner, Jacob deGrom.

“I am not predicting the rookie of the year in 2015 by any stretch,” DePodesta said. “But I do think there are a lot similarities between the guys.”

“This is a guy who absolutely rises to the occasion and I think that his maturity has a lot to do with it.”

Matz says that seeing deGrom’s success with New York has been inspiring to watch.

“He had called me, told me he was going up (to the major-league club) and he was getting a start,” Matz recalled in a phone interview. “They all had the TVs on his game. We had a game, but I wasn’t pitching that day, so I’d run in and keep checking on how he was doing.”

“Obviously, coming from the minor leagues, you never know what it is like, but watching him go through all that and make his debut, watch his rookie season I can relate to that. I know what kind of pitcher he is, and knowing (his) personal level, watching him throughout the season, it’s been exciting and encouraging.”

“The Mets have so many good arms in minor league system, if you don’t do well, you will get put aside,” Matz said. “That definitely gives you a little extra push, a little extra drive.”

Matz is projected to start this season Triple-A Las Vegas, but it is more than likely that he gets called-up at some point this season. While it is unrealistic to expect him to come up and duplicate deGrom’s extraordinary level of success upon his promotion, Matz certainly has the talent to shine and become a difference maker for the Mets in the near future.

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Granderson Won’t Change Approach, Expects Better Numbers Next Season Wed, 26 Nov 2014 13:18:25 +0000 Curtis - Granderson

Responding to team reports that he could have hit nine more home runs last season with these new Citi Field dimensions, Curtis Granderson said he isn’t interested in playing “the would’ve, could’ve game.”

The Mets right fielder told Anthony McCarron of the Daily News that he doesn’t intend to change his approach. “There’ll be no adjustments because of the dimensions,” Granderson said in a phone interview.

Granderson said he’s already preparing for his second season as a Met and that he may go visit new hitting coach Kevin Long if it fits both their schedules. He disagreed with what Long said last week about the pressure of his 4-year, $60 million contract impacting his numbers last season.

“I don’t think the contract did,” Granderson said. “I think the change from this year to now − playing (roughly) 50 games to playing (155) games. Baseball’s funny − you have to play to fine-tune your craft, and when you’re injured, that takes away from it. Pitchers were outperforming me. I tip my hat to them.”

Granderson is confident that he can improve on his .227 batting average next season as well as the 20 homers. “If you hit it, it’ll go. It’s all about getting consistent. Put yourself into a position to attack.”

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Do We Have What It Takes To Get That Impact Bat? Fri, 07 Nov 2014 18:25:06 +0000 noah syndergaard

Bill Price of the Daily News lays out what he thinks it’s going to take for the Mets to trade for the bat they need. However, he also takes issue with some Met fans, pointing out that they’re the ones who might be gun shy, and not the front office.

A week ago I suggested Murphy and/or Wheeler for Cespedes and was ripped a new one. John Harper today suggests Syndergaard for Justin Upton. Again, most of the reaction was “how can you trade Syndergaard for a one-year rental (we’ll get to that in a second)?’

Cuddyer? He would cost us a draft pick. Morse? He gets hurt all the time. Castro? No way we give Wheeler away. Cargo? Prospects for a guy who gets hurts and plays at Coors Field? No way.

Price contends that if the Mets are going to trade for a big power bat, it’s going to cost them either Zack Wheeler or Noah Syndergaard, and that no one wants Dillon Gee, Jon Niese or Rafael Montero.

For me, if you can get the same deal for either one, I would give up Syndergaard. For a guy who was supposed to cruise through Triple-A this year, he never really got it going. Makes you wonder a bit, no?

As for the one-year rental thing, Price says, it’s a sad state of affairs that Mets fans assume any guy on a one-year deal would never stay here.

“If the Mets traded for an Upton or Cespedes and those guys have monster years and the Mets don’t shell out the cash to keep them, what’s the point?”

Ultimately, making a trade or two is the only route I see the Mets taking if they’re serious about winning 90 games next season and getting into the post season. While I see plenty of solid available options that could give the Mets the bat they are seeking, I can’t say the same for free agency.

In the end it will come down to how bad you really want it and whether or not you’re willing to outwit or outbid other teams that will have just as much interest in many of the same available players. Are we willing to do what it takes? Or nah?


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Alderson On d’Arnaud To Left Field: No Chance, Never Discussed Sat, 30 Aug 2014 12:37:24 +0000 travis d'arnaud

August 30

Sandy Alderson put to rest for once and for all, that the front office had no conversations whatsoever about moving Travis d’Arnaud to left field.

He told Mike Puma of the New York Post that not only was there no such conversation within the organization, but that there was no chance that it’s something that could happen in the future.

“No, not really,” Alderson said.

Amazing how some immediately started floating rumors that TDA would be traded this Winter or that the organization preferred Plawecki (who I love) to d’Arnaud and wanted to make the switch.

I’m so glad that at MMO we just stick to reporting and opinion, and stay out of the “sources” business.  

August 29

Updating last night’s report that the Mets have discussed a possible move to left field for catcher Travis d’Arnaud, here’s some new information.

MetsBlog’s Matt Cerrone wrote that a a move from behind the plate could be inevitable for TDA given that Kevin Plawecki is nearly MLB-ready and the front office loves him. Additionally, he suggests that d’Arnaud could also become a trade candidate this winter because his bat becomes less valuable if he’s moved to the outfield.

Marc Carig of Newsday dashed any thoughts of trading their present catcher, hearing from a team source that the Mets “have little to no interest in trading d’Arnaud.”

I think some are starting to  put the cart ahead of the horse. What everyone seems to be forgetting is how low key and casual this conversation was. In all honesty, Terry Collins should have never mentioned it.

But given the way social sports media works these days, expect this off-the-cuff conversation to blow into an avalanche of d’Arnaud trade speculation this offseason, it’s the nature of the beast.

In my opinion, neither d’Arnaud or Plawecki are going anywhere, especially not until the Mets get enough information on both of them. That could take at least another year.

However, I am glad to see Plawecki finally getting some well-deserved attention. As regulars here know, he’s been high on my list since he was drafted.

August 28

Terry Collins told the Daily News that the Mets front office has had casual conversations about moving Travis d’Arnaud to left field, although the manager noted that it was just CASUAL conversation and not some plan.

The aim would be to keep d’Arnaud healthy and avoiding concussions while keeping his bat in the lineup, according to Collins.

Collins told the Martino, “As of right now we haven’t even approached left field as an option, because he would have to be go to the instructional league.”

This is surprising to me because if you took d’Arnaud’s numbers and put them in left field his value plummets.

TDA has been hitting better of late, but is still batting just .248/.292/.463 since the All-Star break.

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Wright Says His Struggles At The Plate Are Mental Thu, 07 Aug 2014 11:32:59 +0000 Mets

David Wright insists he’s not injured and that he’s not hurting. Instead, he tells Daily News columnist John Harper that he is struggling mentally at the plate, and that he has forgotten what it feels like to be in a good hitting groove.

“I’ve made some mistakes this year, revamping some things with my swing that I probably shouldn’t mess with,” Wright said.

“Especially after the All-Star break I started trying to change things when I didn’t get the results I wanted. Pretty soon you’re trying something new every at-bat and thinking about all the wrong things.”

Wright is mired in one of the longest slumps he’s ever experienced and is sitting on career lows in on-base percentage (.329) and slugging (.386). He has just one extra-base hit since the All-Star break and his .714 OPS is almost 200 points lower than last season.

“Instead of realizing there are going to be times during the season when you’re going to have a hiccup and you need to ride it out, I was too quick to make adjustments, and you get to the point where you can’t remember what it felt like when you were going good.”

Harper said Wright sounded like a man whose confidence is surprisingly fragile and that at this point it has to be somewhat alarming to the Mets.

Manager Terry Collins believes that Wright is simply trying too hard to carry an “offensively challenge club.” He also says the shoulder injury may have created some bad habits at the plate.

“His front shoulder has been flying open,” Collins said, “and he’s not driving the ball to right field, like he’s done so well in the past. That could be a result of what he went through (with the shoulder).”

Wright continues his dominance against lefty pitching, but has seen his average fall to .232 vs. righthanders this season with a very uncharacteristic .630 OPS. 

“He’s more vulnerable on pitches away this year,” an NL scout said. “He used to let the ball get deep and drive it to right. This year he’s pulling off fastballs away and he’s chasing sliders off the plate.”

Perhaps things are coming around for Wright who says that he has felt better at the plate the last few days.

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Sandy Has No Recollection Of La Russa’s Steroid Concerns… None, Zero, Nada… Tue, 29 Jul 2014 17:29:01 +0000 tony la russa

Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson said Monday that if Tony La Russa came to him with suspicions about performance enhancing drug use when the two were with the Oakland A’s organization, he doesn’t remember it.

“I spent a lot of time thinking about those kinds of circumstances over the years, particularly eight or nine years ago, and I have absolutely no recollection whatsoever of any such conversation,” Alderson said.

“If you go back and look at what I have said on the record, yes, I had my suspicions,” Alderson said. “I’m just here to respond to what Tony had to say and let’s leave it at that.”

Read more in the Daily News.

July 28

In an interview with the Daily News this weekend, 2014 Hall of Fame inductee Tony La Russa had some interesting things to say regarding the entire steroids era.

La Russa said he went to GM Sandy Alderson and the team’s ownership during that era about potential player steroid use, but nothing was done and he said he was confronted by “indifference” by the team’s brass.

“I knew our programs in Oakland were 100 percent clean,” La Russa told the Daily News. “But we had our suspicions — guys hitting stronger but not working out. I went to Sandy and ownership about this. And they told me flat off, ‘Right of privacy. It’s a collective bargaining issue.’”

Alderson is expected to respond to the allegations today at Citi Field before tonight’s game.

“I’m not going to comment on that until at least Monday,” said Alderson to the Daily News, presumably so he would not detract from HOF induction weekend.

La Russa also added:

“We have to acknowledge that that period for about 10 or 12 years, somewhere around the early ’90s to the early 2000s, was a black spot, a negative mark in our history.”

“If any manager had known for sure that his players were doing this and didn’t report it to the league, to me, that’s a breach of integrity and he shouldn’t be let in the Hall of Fame.”

La Russa believes that if Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds get into the Hall, they should have asterisks. 

The Hall of Fame governing bodies just made changes to HOF voting system, reducing the number of years a player can remain on the ballot from 15 years to 10 years. It’s being viewed as an attempt to block some of the steroids users who are currently on the ballot.

I would expect Alderson to say pretty much the same things he said in 2010 when he was confronted with this issue after being named the Mets GM.

After Alderson was interviewed by Congress and former Senator George Mitchell for a report on the subject, he told reporters:

“I guess in a nutshell, I suspected Jose Canseco of using steroids,” Alderson said. “I never suspected Mark McGwire. It was at a time when, as an organization, we actually had begun to emphasize weight training as part of our regimen.”

“But nonetheless it was new at that time and may have inadvertently gotten us involved with that steroid aspect of weight training and weight building, body building.”

“If you go back and put all that in perspective, do I wish I had done more?” he asked. “I think that’s almost always true with anything that we experience.”

Many have claimed that Oakland was Ground Zero for the growing steroid epidemic that has left an indelible stain on the game. It led to a controversial bestselling book by Oakland superstar Jose Canseco, who charged that the team knew everything, and that he and more than half of his teammates were all juicing.

Initially labelled as an opportunistic liar by Mark McGwire, Alex Rodriguez, Rafael Palmeiro and almost all of baseball, Canseco’s book blew the lid off the conspiracy to keep everything under wraps. A congressional hearing and a government oversight committee would eventually ensue and sweeping changes to the drug testing program and stronger and enforceable penalties would soon follow.

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