Mets Merized Online » David Wright http://metsmerizedonline.com Sun, 01 Feb 2015 01:16:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.5 Flores Confident He Can Play A Good Shortstop http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/flores-confident-he-can-play-a-good-shortstop.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/flores-confident-he-can-play-a-good-shortstop.html/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 20:08:25 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=173836 wilmer flores ss

In an interview that will televise at 10 PM tonight on SNY, Wilmer Flores admitted to Mets Hot Stove that while his range may not be as good as he would like, he’s confident that he can make the routine plays and play a good shortstop. “It’s no secret that I’m not Omar Vizquel,” Flores told SNY.

Watching the video you almost feel bad for the kid who’s been busting his ass since the season ended to get the routine plays down pat, while working on his footwork and positioning to compensate for his lack of range.

He’s been answering the same freaking question for months now, and I’m sure he’ll have to answer it a dozen more times once spring training starts in three weeks. I’ll tell you, I can’t wait for the season to start, and I’ll continue to say that Flores is going to have a lot of people eating crow this year.

— Joe D.

January 26

Marc Carig (Newsday) put together a nice article with some input from both Wilmer Flores and David Wright on the state of the Mets shortstop situation.  The topic obviously centered around what Flores has done to improve and whether the offseason banter has affected his outlook and determination.

“You hear people talking all the time.  Is this guy going to be a shortstop?  Can he play shortstop?  Can he not?” Flores said.

“I’m not going to say I don’t hear things. But I try not to because I know what I can do, man. Honestly, I know what I can do.”

“Not everyone can play shortstop in the big leagues. I think I did a pretty good job at short. I was impressed with what I did. I just want to do it again.”

It’s the first time Flores has contributed his thoughts on the matter after spending almost every day this offseason either playing winter league baseball in his native Venezuela or training in Port St. Lucie with little downtime at all.

Wright offered a realistic, yet genuine endorsement of his teammate.

“He hasn’t played there,” Wright said. “He was playing third, he was playing some second, then all of a sudden they wanted to throw him at shortstop at the big-league level. Obviously, there’s an adjustment period.”

“I would wager that he’s going to have a better year offensively than I would say the majority of shortstops in baseball. I’m not saying he’s going to be Omar Vizquel at shortstop.”

Here’s my thoughts. If Wilmer were to be graded on effort, focus and desire just from this offseason alone, he’d get straight A’s.

He’ll execute the routine putouts, turn the everyday double play and probably have a few web gems to go with the occasional blunder.  Some days will be bad, some will be good, but most of the time he’ll get the job done with the glove.

What’s odd is that unlike many, I see good reason to believe he’d be passable with his glove, at least as a short term solution.  Ironically, for all the talk of his offense, there seems to be little discussion around his splits.

Over his final 24 games last season, Flores finished strong, producing a .287/.320/.500 slashline.  However, of those games, 13 were played at SS (.255 hitter), 10 were played at second base (.368 hitter) and 1 was split between SS/2B (.200).

The story remains consistent across the entire season too.  His .251/.286/.378 stat line disguises how dismal he was offensively at SS (.239/.273/.324)versus 2B (.297/.328/.563).  Obviously, it’s a small sample size, but curious all the same.

In the end, it depends on the plan the Mets have for Flores both now and in the future.  If the goal is to milk this experiment for dollar value at the expense of his development and the integrity of the infield defense, it could foreshadow more of the same ‘upgrade’ chatter next offseason.

If the goal is to get above average production from him until the trade deadline on the heels of a Daniel Murphy deal, Flores will likely move to 2B, where he has thrived and this will likely be a savvy display of patience on the part of the Mets.

The point is, Wilmer Flores flashed some serious promise last year playing at second, which is where his career was headed since as early as 2011. He’s put a lot of work into this offseason and deserves to see it pay off.

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Featured Post: Do The Mets “Have The Horses” To Win? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/featured-post-do-the-mets-have-the-horses-to-win.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/featured-post-do-the-mets-have-the-horses-to-win.html/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 15:46:05 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=173699 It was the 7th game of the World Series, a heavyweight championship bout, and the Kentucky Derby all rolled into one. There was a definite buzz in the air during the summer of 1960 leading up to the presidential election. In one corner was Republican Richard Nixon. Fresh off 8 years as Vice President, Americans were already familiar with him. In the other corner was a young, vibrant John Kennedy, a man who at forty three would be the second youngest president in history.  Pundits predicted it would be a nail biter.

CL24354As Election Day neared, a photo of Nixon was circulated. Grinning slyly and appearing smarmy, the caption read “Would YOU buy a used car from this man?”

After more than 68,000,000 ballots were cast on November 8, 1960, Kennedy prevailed by a mere 112,827 votes, 49.7% to 49.6%. Did one simple picture posing one simple question make the difference? Americans didn’t trust Nixon to lead the nation. They didn’t want to buy a used car from him.

Fast-forward fifty five years.

The Mets were floundering. From 2001-2004, they played .455 ball and finished a collective 92 games back. Ownership, now flush with a shipload of cash from the USS Madoff and the promise of a new ballpark in 2009, urged their new GM to go on a spending spree and bring in some pizazz. And boy, did he ever. Over the next few years, they handed out millions like candy. Contracts offered to Carlos Beltran, Pedro Martinez, Carlos Delgado, Billy Wagner, Johan Santana, Jason Bay, Shawn Green, Luis Castillo and Tom Glavine totaled more than half a billion dollars. The return on the investment? One post-season that ended shockingly in an upset to the Cardinals. That sure didn’t work out too well.

Enter Sandy Alderson whose job it was to right the ship. The new course was for the Mets to win the old-fashioned way. We’d rebuild the farm system. We’d go with youth. We’d win with a roster flush with homegrown players just like we always have. We’d shy away from splashy trades and long-term contracts. Weary fans applauded the new direction. Yes, yes, a homegrown championship, just like before.

Nothing could be further from the truth. No team in history, not even our beloved Mets, has ever won with only homegrown talent.

donn clendenon

1969 was actually shaping up to be a decent year. For the first time in our history, the Amazins actually had an outside shot to finish over .500. At the trading deadline we were 30-26 and nine games behind the powerhouse Chicago Cubs. And that’s when management acted. Four players were sent to the Montreal Expos in exchange for Donn Clendenon. Buddy Harrelson would later state this was the turning point of the season. It indicated to the guys in uniform that the guys in suits were willing to take the next step, that they believed. With this acquisition the Mets now possessed a legitimate power hitter in the middle of the lineup. Clendenon would go deep 12 times in 14 weeks. The Mets would go 70-36 after the trade.

When we think back to ‘69, we like to think we did it with just the kids. Homegrown talent like Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Cleon Jones and Gary Gentry definitely did their part. But it was the players acquired that cinched the deal. Clendenon would become the first player in history to hit three home runs in a five-game World Series. His performance would earn him the World Series MVP. Tommie Agee, who arrived the previous year, led the team in home runs and RBIs and single-handedly – or perhaps single glovedly – won Game 3. Yes, the kids were an integral part. But would the Mets have won their first championship without key big additions like Agee and Clendenon?

Four years later, we were back in the Fall Classic. Many kids remained from that first championship club and now had the experience of post-season baseball. But it was players who’d been traded for that made the difference in 1973.

Felix Millan came from Atlanta that spring. In addition to solid defense, he led the team in hits (185) and batting average (290). Rusty Staub, obtained the previous season, was the team’s leader in RBIs, setting a new team record with 105. He also led the Mets in on-base percentage (.361) and doubles (36), while finishing second in base hits, batting average and slugging percentage.

On the pitching side we had the most intimidating trio of starters in the NL. But in 1973, homegrown Seaver, Koosman and Matlack were just a combined 6 games over .500. It was George Stone, acquired in the same trade that brought Millan over, that made the difference. Stone was 12-3, nine games over .500 for a team that was only three games over at 82-79. Without George Stone, the Mets don’t win. Without Stone, Millan and Staub, the Mets get no pennant.

keith hernandez gary carter

1986. Ah, yes. The kids. Darryl Strawberry, Mookie Wilson, Wally Backman, Kevin Mitchell, Lenny Dykstra all played in Tidewater. But Mets do not win by kids alone. It was Keith Hernandez, acquired three years prior, who led that championship club in hits, runs, doubles and OBP. Like Clendenon and Staub, it was a former Expo who cemented the deal. Gary Carter, aka KID, went deep 24 times and tied Rusty’s record with 105 RBIs.

Oh, and the young pitching we had. Doc Gooden, Ron Darling and Sid Fernandez. But it was Bobby Ojeda, 18-5, 2.57 who the Mets traded for the previous winter that led the team in wins and ERA. His +13 was higher than Doc, Darling or El Sid.

The MVP of the 86 Series? Ray Knight, who like Clendenon, had been acquired through a trade.

In 2000, Mets fans adored homegrown stars like Edgardo Alfonzo, Timo Perez and Benny Agbayani. But let’s face it; it was primarily Mike Piazza along with Robin Ventura and Todd Zeile who guided us to the NL pennant. They combined for an astounding 84 HR’s and 276 RBIs. Without those three acquisitions, the Mets accomplish nothing in 2000.

In 2006, the Mets returned to the post-season for what we believed would be the first of many. We were on the cusp of recapturing the city from the Yankees thanks to a pair of exciting youngsters named David Wright and Jose Reyes. The Mets collected 97 victories and finished 12 games ahead of the second place Phillies. But it was a pair of Carlos’ who spearheaded the offensive assault all summer long. Carlos Beltran was an offensive juggernaut and led the team in runs score, home runs, slugging, OBP, and he tied Wright for first in RBIs. Carlos Delgado added not only a stellar glove at first, but slammed 38 homers while knocking in 114 RBIs. Without Beltran and Delgado, two key acquisitions, there’s no post-season in 2006.

In just over two months the 2015 Mets, a team largely comprised of homegrown talent and kids, will take the field against Max Scherzer and the Nationals. The goal is to return to the post-season for the first time in almost a decade and hopefully capture our first pennant since 2000 and maybe, just maybe, win a championship for the first time since Ronald Reagan was president. How confident are you?

Can outfielder Curtis Granderson lead the team the way outfielder Rusty Staub did in 1973? Can one-time Red Sox Bartolo Colon replicate the performance of another one time Red Sox named Ojeda? Can catcher Travis d’Arnaud, imported from Canada, lead team the way another catcher from Canada once did?

fred wilpon

Will this team unseat the defending NL East Champions? Have they done enough to jump from a 79 win team to a 90 win team? Everyone from the players on down to the coaches, manager and front office say yes. But that’s expected, nobody goes into Spring Training and tells reporters they’re going to stink.

The Mets are selling. More importantly Mets owner Fred Wilpon is selling. And he’s hoping you’re buying. Last week he said the Mets now have “the horses to win,” but when pressed for details Wilpon refused to comment and would only defer to his GM.

The Mets have put together an exciting bunch, and as far as pitching goes they have what it would take to make a legitimate run. But pitching alone doesn’t win games, do the Mets have the offense and defense to compliment their rotation and bullpen?

During previous championship runs, Mets brass always acted when they knew they had the young core to challenge for a title. They went out and added all star caliber players who were in their prime to support the team and maximize their chances to win it all.

There’s no denying that the Mets are at this point right now. We all can see it in our up and coming stars like Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Lucas Duda, Juan Lagares, Travis d’Arnaud, Zack Wheeler, Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia. We can see it in a farm system loaded with blue-chip prospects that’s ranked among the best in baseball. We have David Wright and Curtis Granderson, and let’s face it, neither one is getting any younger. So if not now then when?

Do the Mets really have the horses as presently constructed to advance to the playoffs as Fred Wilpon says? Or was there more he could have done?

Wilpon says he has never once denied Sandy Alderson any player he wanted to acquire. Are you buying that?  I’m not sure I can. I’m not sure I’d buy a used car from this man, would you?

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Cuddyer Downplays Injury History, Says Mets Will Challenge For NL East Supremacy http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/cuddyer-downplays-injury-history-says-mets-will-challenge-for-nl-east-supremacy.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/cuddyer-downplays-injury-history-says-mets-will-challenge-for-nl-east-supremacy.html/#comments Sat, 24 Jan 2015 00:45:14 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=173680 michael cuddyer cage

Michael Cuddyer told Mike Puma of the NY Post that he doesn’t buy the notion he’s a “disabled list stint waiting to happen” for the Mets.

The Mets’ biggest splash this offseason was limited to 49 games last season with the Rockies, but told Puma the injuries were “freakish in nature.”

“A broken shoulder was a freak injury … which I don’t see that happening here,” Cuddyer said Thursday at Citi Field. “And because I was in a sling for eight weeks and I wanted to get back on the field, my rehab wasn’t great as far as my legs are concerned.

“There were specific reasons for the injuries. It wasn’t anything that I’m concerned with that it’s going to happen again.”

Puma adds that the Mets are betting $21 million over the next two seasons that Cuddyer, who will turn 36 just before Opening Day, can stay on the field, and will be asked to help anchor a lineup that includes two other players, David Wright and Curtis Granderson, who need strong rebound years.

Meanwhile, responding to questions that he basically represents the entire extent of the Mets offseason, and if that adds any pressure to perform, Cuddyer responded that he’s not the only big acquisition the Mets have made, and that a healthy David Wright and Matt Harvey are also big additions.

“That’s the beautiful thing about the Hot Stove League,” Cuddyer said. “A lot of people get caught up in the signings and you tend to forget who’s actually on the team.”

Since Cuddyer’s signing on November 10, the Mets have spent just $1.45 million in the 11 weeks since.

Finally, Cuddyer said the Mets already have what it takes to go toe-to-toe with the Nationals and challenge them for supremacy in the NL East.

(Photo: MLB.com)

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How Many Games Will Mets Win In 2015? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/how-many-games-will-mets-win-in-2015.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/how-many-games-will-mets-win-in-2015.html/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 17:07:41 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=173550 wright mets win d'arnaud

A reader sent me a link to this 2015 NL Preview from FanGraphs who project the Mets to have a 79-83 season. That total seems very low to me, and basically their expecting the Mets to have a season similar to last year. Here’s their glass half full, glass half empty takes:

Reasons for optimism

When Matt Harvey was last healthy, he was as good as any other pitcher in the whole entire world. He’s healthy now, again, and this should be the year that Noah Syndergaard arrives. Throw in an improving Zack Wheeler and a breakout Jacob deGrom and there’s plenty to hang your hat on. On the position-player side, one hopes that rest and recovery will allow David Wright to return to being a force, and Juan Lagares is perhaps baseball’s best example of a guy who contributes star-level performance while leading with his defense.

Reasons for pessimism

The same concerns that apply to Jose Fernandez apply to Matt Harvey, and Wheeler still has issues with his walks. deGrom might get worse just as fast as he got better, and it’s not like Wright is certain to get back to what he was when he was younger and awesome. If Lagares is the most exciting position player, he’s also a position player who projects to be a below-average hitter. It’s a poor man’s boom-or-bust ballclub. Does that still count as a boom-or-bust ballclub?

I’ll tell you what, the players would certainly disagree with this projection and many of them fully expect this team to be playing in the postseason this year.

David Wright recently told Kevin Kernan of the NY Post:

“For me, personally, last year sucked,” said Wright, who struggled all last season with an injured shoulder, before shutting his season down in September. “I want to make sure that never happens again. If I do what I’m capable of doing, we’re a different lineup.”

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

Jacob deGrom is also optimistic about a postseason run for the Mets telling Kernan:

“I think this year is going to be a lot of fun. We should have a really good team,” he said. “I think for sure we should be playing in October. Everybody plays to go to the World Series. Hopefully it all comes together this year.”

We’ve heard similar expectations from many other players this offseason including Curtis Granderson, Lucas Duda, and Matt Harvey who says he would expect nothing less than the playoffs this season.

We’ve heard quotes like this before, but mostly from Terry Collins and Sandy Alderson – who are supposed to talk like that – never from the players, this is new. You get the real sense these guys mean business this year and I for one can’t wait for this season to get underway already.

How many games do you think the Mets will win this season?

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Ranking the National League East Third Basemen http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/ranking-the-national-league-east-third-basemen.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/ranking-the-national-league-east-third-basemen.html/#comments Fri, 16 Jan 2015 11:00:23 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=172580 david wright

Unlike other spots around the diamond, I’m not expecting to see any further change in the East between now and Opening Day. So how do the National League East Third Basemen rank? Let’s take a look and let the debate begin…

1. David Wright (Mets) – This one may very well be a homer call given who’s occupying the number two spot, but I’m still calling David Wright the top dog at third base in the East. David is certainly not the same player he was from 2006-2008 and he’s coming off the worst season of his career in which a bum shoulder limited him to a .269 batting average with only 8 HR and no knocks after the All-Star break. I’m chalking up the season to injury and pointing out pre-All-Star numbers of .284 with 8 HR and 48 RBI with 24 RBI and 101 hits in 88 games. These numbers would have been solid over a full unmarred season. While the Captain isn’t a spring chicken anymore and is entering his age 32 season, I’m not counting him out yet. He has 1,702 career hits and I fully expect him to return to his usual high level of production and collect the remaining 1,298 hits to reach the 3,000 mark and place him in Cooperstown. There, I said it.

2. Anthony Rendon (Nationals) – Rendon was the 6th overall pick in the 2011 draft and had a breakout 2014 season for the Nationals during which he hit .287 with 21 HR, 83 RBI, 39 doubles, and led the league with 111 runs scored. Rendon was 5th in MVP balloting and won his first Silver Slugger. I’m tempted to put Rendon at number one, but I won’t just yet… However another season like 2014 and unless Wright returns to prior form, by the All Star break this exciting young player may very well be the clear top third baseman in the division and perhaps the league.

3. Martin Prado (Marlins) – The Marlins acquired the versatile Prado from the Yankees on December 19th. Currently listed as the top third baseman on the Marlins depth chart, Prado has started 878 games in the majors with 347 starts at the hot corner, more than any other position. Over the last six seasons, Prado has averaged 142 games played while batting .290 with 35 doubles, 12 HR, 64 RBI and 74 runs scored. Nothing wrong with that.

4. Chris Johnson (Braves) – Johnson was acquired from the Diamondbacks prior to the 2013 season to replace the retiring Chipper Jones. He rewarded the Braves with a solid season in which he hit .321 with 34 doubles and 12 HR while making 123 starts at third and another 10 starts at first base. The Braves in turn rewarded Johnson with a three-year contract extention worth $23.5 million with a $10 million team option for 2018. However Johnson regressed in 2014, hitting just .263 with 10 HR and 58 RBI with 27 doubles and 159 strikeouts while making 149 starts at third. Over the last four seasons, the 30 year old has averaged 134 games played while posting a slash line of .280/.318/.412 with 28 doubles, 11 HR, and 61 RBI. He’s not spectacular, but he’s solid and as his 2013 season showed, he has the ability to put up some good numbers in an otherwise offensively challenged lineup in Atlanta.

5. Cody Asche (Phillies) – Asche is entering his second full MLB season and has been the starter at the hot corner in Philadelphia since debuting in July 2013, displacing Michael Young who was later traded to the Dodgers. The 24 year old former 4th rounder started 105 games at third base in 2014 with a slash line of .252/.309/.390 with 10 HR and 46 RBI while striking out 102 times in 397 at bats. He only made 18 of his starts against lefties, but didn’t show a significant drop-off against them, slashing at a .240/.296/.373 clip against southpaws. Asche does have  some upside potential after hitting .324 with 12 HR and 72 RBI in the minors in 2012 and hit .295 with 15 HR and 68 RBI at AAA in 2013 before getting the call to the majors. 2015 is a big year for Asche and he’ll  get ever opportunity to show if he’s a long term solution.

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Go Ahead Sandy, Do It! Trade Syndergaard For A 6-Month Rental… http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/go-ahead-sandy-do-it-trade-syndergaard-for-a-6-month-rental.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/go-ahead-sandy-do-it-trade-syndergaard-for-a-6-month-rental.html/#comments Thu, 15 Jan 2015 05:28:59 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=173246 ian desmond

Matthew Cerrone of MetsBlog has grown tired of waiting for the Mets to become relevant again and now says that it’s time for Sandy Alderson to be bold and make a trade already for a shortstop.

He believes that Alderson should go ahead and trade the team’s number one prospect Noah Syndergaard plus another prospect for Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond.

“If Desmond over Wilmer Flores can inspire fans and players, if he can make the lineup better, if it gives the Mets a legit shot at a playoff spot, they have to do everything they can to bring him to Queens.”

“What if the future isn’t bright and, in hindsight, this year ends up being their best shot?”

I don’t know where to begin as this is kind of a surprise to me, but I’ll give it my best shot.

Most of you know how I felt when the news surfaced last week, that the Tampa Bay Rays wanted Syndergaard plus another prospect like Brandon Nimmo or Dilson Herrera for Desmond. Sandy balked and I applauded him for it. That is an insane price to pay for a six month rental.

That would be worse than when the Giants traded Zack Wheeler to the Mets for Carlos Beltran. Two of our top prospects, or in other words, two consensus MLB Top 100 prospects for Ian Desmond?

Desmond is on record as saying he has no interest in agreeing to an exclusive negotiating window if he’s traded, and has zero interest in signing an extension with any team because he’s committed to testing free agency after the 2015 season.

Desmond has already turned down a seven year, $110 million offer from the Nationals. He is also owed $11 million for 2015, which really isn’t that big of a deal for most teams, but we’re talking about the Mets here.

According to Ken Rosenthal, Desmond likely will command $150 million as a free agent next off-season.

My main concern is this, if you’re going to blow up your minor league system after spending the last five years rebuilding it, is six months of Ian Desmond the player you do this for?

Can you imagine Syndergaard joining what’s already one of the best starting rotations in baseball and seeing him become their ace for the next seven years?

Can you imagine Brandon Nimmo joining Bryce Harper in their outfield and blossoming into the hitter most scouts believe he will be?

Then consider the aftermath when Desmond files for free agency after the season and signs a mega deal with the New York Yankees. Think about that we still may need a shortstop again and we have nothing to show for Syndergaard and Nimmo.

I’m sorry, but I think that would set us back for three or more years.

I can see going all in on a shortstop like Troy Tulowitzki. At least you could make a great argument for that. But Ian Desmond? Really?

Desmond has hit 20-plus home runs and stolen 20 or more bases each of the last three seasons. In 2014, he hit .255/.313/.430 with 24 homers and 24 stolen bases. But how would those numbers translate in Citi Field?

He’s not a high-batting average, high-on-base percentage, high-contact hitter, so he won’t bat leadoff. And to go with his .313 OBP he also struck out a league-leading 183 times. Can you imagine adding all those strikeouts to the ones we have already?

Hey I’m all for making a Mike Piazza or Gary Carter type splash. But my God, Desmond is not that. He’s an upgrade, but certainly not a difference maker. I’m sorry, but I can’t sign off on trading two top prospects for six months of Desmond.

I want this team to spend, but spend wisely. I want this team to make good trades, but not bad trades that are borne out of desperation or because of impatient fans. Or bloggers. We didn’t come all this way to blow it all up.

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Projecting The Mets Opening Day Roster http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/12/projecting-the-mets-opening-day-roster.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/12/projecting-the-mets-opening-day-roster.html/#comments Thu, 25 Dec 2014 17:00:44 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=172044 juan lagares eric campbell

With the Mets offseason essentially over, here’s my first stab at our projected Opening Day Roster.

Starting Rotation

Matt Harvey – The Mets ace will start the home opener.

Jacob deGrom – Look for Act II to be just as special.

Jon Niese – No way Mets go with five righties in rotation.

Zack Wheeler – Must reduce pitch counts, but young and improving.

Bartolo Colon – An innings eater the Mets can ill-afford to lose.

Bullpen

Bobby Parnell * – He’s Terry Collins‘ official closer when he returns.

Jenrry Mejia – I love Mejia, he’s exciting to watch.

Jeurys Familia – Last January I said he’d be the Mets’ most lethal reliever.

Vic Black – Call him Wild Thing, but with better control he could be special.

Josh Edgin – Ready or not, he’s the key lefty in pen.

Carlos Torres – This underrated long man has impressed.

Sean Gilmartin – Either he makes the Opening Day roster or he’s a goner.

Rafael Montero * – He’ll relieve until Parnell is ready to return.

Catchers

Travis d’Arnaud – Has to put it all together with Plawecki breathing down his neck.

Anthony Recker – His dashing looks and .199 bat assures him a bench spot?

Infielders

Lucas Duda – Minaya was right about his future 30 homer bat.

Daniel Murphy – He’ll be gone by trade deadline if Dilson rakes in Vegas.

Wilmer Flores – I never had any doubt.

David Wright – It all hinges on No. 5.

Ruben Tejada – Collins will look to get him going. Again.

Eric Campbell – Soup is good food.

Outfielders

Curtis Granderson – Moves to LF, Mets pulling all the stops to get him going.

Juan Lagares – You’re looking at your leadoff hitter, and expect 25 SB.

Michael Cuddyer – This “was” the Mets offseason. A lot riding on him.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis – With Kirk out of options, it’s his job to lose.

John Mayberry Jr. – He can mash lefty pitching, but you know Terry.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know what you think.

Have a great weekend everybody…

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Wright Reaches Out To Children Of Slain NYPD Officer http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/12/wright-reaches-out-to-children-of-slain-nypd-officer.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/12/wright-reaches-out-to-children-of-slain-nypd-officer.html/#comments Wed, 24 Dec 2014 22:14:33 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=172299 david wright

The two children of recently slain NYPD officer Rafael Ramos received a special surprise when Mets third baseman David Wright reached out to them via phone call to share some encouragement and hope during what must be a trying time for them.

Justin, 19, and Jayden, 13, are both Mets fans, so you could imagine their excitement when Wright extended them an invitation to join the club in Port St. Lucie for a visit to Spring Training.

Wright’s father is a retired police officer himself, and formerly served as the chief of the Norfolk, Virginia, Police Department.

The New York Yankees also made a nice gesture, agreeing to pay the cost of their education through college.

The loss of those officers was such a tragedy. It’s heartwarming to see Wright personally reach out like this.

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David Wright Is Now The Active Leader In Games Played With One Team http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/12/david-wright-is-now-the-active-leader-in-games-played-with-one-team.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/12/david-wright-is-now-the-active-leader-in-games-played-with-one-team.html/#comments Sat, 20 Dec 2014 16:25:17 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=172088 derek jeter david wright

When the Phillies officially shipped mainstay Jimmy Rollins to the Dodgers on Friday, they ended his hold on MLB’s longest active streak of games played with a single team.

In his 15 years with Philadelphia, Rollins played 2,090 games for the Phils, a figure that led all active players for roughly ten weeks following the retirement of Derek Jeter.

Now that both shortstops have moved on from their respective franchises, —in one way or another—a new king of the baseball lifers emerges; Mets captain David Wright.

Wright now leads all active players with 1,508 games played with one team; all as a Met, and only a Met.

Chase Utley is a close second; having racked up 1,478 games with the Phillies in 12 seasons compared to Wright’s 11.

wright spring

Let’s also take this time to wish David Wright a very Happy Birthday as he turns 32 today.

When Wright celebrated the 10 year anniversary of his MLB debut on July 21, 2014, the franchise leader in hits, doubles, runs, walks and RBI reflected fondly on his time with.

“I’ve had some great memories here and hopefully there’s a lot more to come,” Wright said. “Hopefully one day I’ll be able to sit back and reminisce and go through videos or whatever and be able to pat myself on the back and have some fond memories.”

In this frenzied age of free agency, and with all the insane amount of money being tossed around in huge mega deals, it’s becoming increasingly rare to see one player spend his entire MLB career with the team that drafted and developed him.

There is something special to be said about Wright’s more than 1,500 games played in blue-and-orange, especially given a frustrating past several years for the organization.

Contracted to another six seasons in Flushing, the seven-time all-star could very well hold onto this achievement for some time.

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David Wright Back In The Swing Of Things http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/12/david-wright-back-in-the-swing-of-things.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/12/david-wright-back-in-the-swing-of-things.html/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 11:26:00 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=171987 david wright

David Wright told ESPN New York he has “started to swing a little and the volume should increase soon.” in regards to activity at the plate.  The NY Mets captain and former All-Star third baseman struggled mightily last year due to “stretched out” ligaments in his non-throwing shoulder which ultimately affected his ability to swing a bat.

Wright, who will turn 32 on Saturday, plans to spend time working on his swing with new Mets hitting coach Kevin Long in Phoenix, AZ.  The hope for now certainly has to be that rehab was the correct choice for Wright, who opted to avoid surgery with the belief that the damage was bad enough to stagger his performance, but not severe enough to keep from healing naturally.

“Sure, everybody could use another bat, but the bat we need is No. 5,’’ Terry Collins said of Wright yesterday. “Believe me, when David gets healthy, that’s the difference. If he has a bounce-back year and does what he has done in the past, our lineup is completely different. That takes a lot of heat off the other guys.’’

The Captain will be a huge factor in the success the Mets this year, let’s hope all efforts during the offseason gets David back to the all star caliber player he has been for the majority of his career.

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Collins Still Talking Playoffs In ’15, Shares A Mets Lineup Preview http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/12/collins-still-talking-playoffs-in-15-shares-a-mets-lineup-preview.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/12/collins-still-talking-playoffs-in-15-shares-a-mets-lineup-preview.html/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 12:53:00 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=171962 terry collins

Kevin Kernan of the New York Post spoke to Mets manager Terry Collins who continues to say the Mets are heading for the playoffs in 2015.

“I really like our team. I am so excited. There were always big missing pieces in the past. Now there’s not. We’re not going to put a number on it, but we’re going to win. I don’t think that there is any question that we should be playing in October next year.’’

Collins told Kernan that he will likely go with this lineup to begin the season:

  1. Juan Lagares
  2. Curtis Granderson
  3. David Wright
  4. Lucas Duda
  5. Michael Cuddyer
  6. Daniel Murphy
  7. Travis d’Arnaud
  8. Wilmer Flores

Look for Cuddyer to play right, where he is most comfortable, and Granderson to move to left. Against certain lefties, Cuddyer will shift to first, with John Mayberry Jr. in right.

He also went onto say that all of this needs David Wright to really work, whom he looks at as the difference maker.

“Sure, everybody could use another bat, but the bat we need is No. 5,’’ Collins said of Wright, who is returning from a shoulder injury and will start hitting next month. “Cuddyer is a great signing, but believe me, when David gets healthy, that’s the difference. If he has a bounce-back year and does what he has done in the past, our lineup is completely different. That takes a lot of heat off the other guys.’’

Starting pitching is still the key and the return of Matt Harvey, and the rebuilt young bullpen, have Collins most excited.

“Every night, we’ve got somebody who can compete on that mound,’’ Collins said. “When you’ve got guys who night after night compete, you don’t go into big losing streaks. It’s tough to beat those kind of guys every night.”

“I can see Zack watching deGrom and Harvey, saying, ‘I can do that. Matter of fact I might be able to do better than they do.’ So now he steps up. This kid has grown up.’’

Kernan points out that or the first time in his five years as Mets manager, Collins is finally thinking big.

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Featured Post: Can Mets Win With Wright As Their Top Hitter? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/12/featured-post-can-mets-win-with-wright-as-their-top-hitter.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/12/featured-post-can-mets-win-with-wright-as-their-top-hitter.html/#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 19:17:47 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=171550 david wright

I’ve been having this internal debate with myself over the past few months. With so much riding on 2015, the Mets have put a huge burden on several players. While a lot will be expected of the returning Matt Harvey and the elite stable of pitchers that follow him in the rotation, so much more rides on the bats of Curtis Granderson and David Wright.

Granderson has morphed into a veteran presence in the lineup. As we saw last year and as Yankees fans saw for a few years, Granderson has pop and is going to strikeout a ton. He’s not a high average hitter and while he’s extremely important in the Mets lineup, there’s no question about who the best hitter is. The team captain, #5 David Wright will have the weight of the world on his shoulders in 2015 and I’m just not sure he can handle it.

In 2008, the last year the Mets finished above .500, Wright did lead the team in batting average, but he was bracketed on all sides. He had Jose Reyes slashing .297/.358/.475/.833 ahead of him while the middle of the lineup featured 38 home runs from Carlos Delgado and 27 from Carlos Beltran. That year, Wright hit .302/.390/.534/.924 with 33 home runs. It remains his career best year for home runs and RBIs.

mlb_g_reyes_wright1x_600

2015 has a very different tone. In 2008 Wright was surrounded by All-Star caliber talent. In 2015 he will be the guy with a lot of really good support. Granderson and Michael Cuddyer will provide some sparks in the middle of the lineup while the burden of pure power lies with Lucas Duda. None of those three, Duda, Granderson or Cuddyer compare in any way to the talents of Beltran, Delgado and Reyes. Currently Wright is the best hitter on the team and I’m not sure that’s a recipe for success.

For months, I’ve been pushing for a strong pursuit of Troy Tulowitzki. It’s clear now that the Mets will not be obtaining the All-Star shortstop but my reasons for wanting him aren’t all about his immense talent. Wright is a great player by today’s standards and heading into 2015 there won’t be more than 20 to 30 hitters projected above him. It’s difficult to find a complimentary piece for Wright that is actually a better hitter than him. Unfortunately, I believe that’s what the Mets needed and what they won’t find now.

Sandy Alderson did everything in his power to enforce Wright’s spot in the lineup. Bringing in Cuddyer might not produce a ton more runs but having a childhood friend of Wright’s there can only help him mentally. He’ll be able to lean on him when things are going bad and celebrate with him when things turn around. It’s odd to sign a player to help another but I think the Cuddyer signing was more about Wright than filling the void in left field.

In order for the Mets to win, I’m not sure Wright can be the centerpiece. I believe he needs to be the second best hitter on the team and the options for that number one spot have all but dried up. I hope I’m wrong. I hope Wright has a magical season and turns his career and the direction of the Mets around. I’m just not sure he’s up for the task right now.

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Alderson Shifts Gears, Now Looks To Free Agency For Shortstop http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/12/alderson-shifts-gears-now-looks-to-free-agency-for-shortstop.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/12/alderson-shifts-gears-now-looks-to-free-agency-for-shortstop.html/#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 00:44:24 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=171433

Speaking with reporters at the Winter Meetings, Sandy Alderson shifted gears again and now says it’s more likely the Mets acquire a shortstop upgrade via free agency, rather than the original plan which was to execute a trade using the Mets’ pitching depth.

This certainly changes a lot for the team, who had several high end, team friendly options to build a trade around. But the issue was always the asking price for the Mets. The Cubs wanted more than one front end starter for Starlin Castro, who was an All-Star three out of his first four full seasons in the league, but lacked the complete set of tools worth the caliber of a pitcher like Zack Wheeler or Jacob deGrom.

In a different age and time, both of those pitchers would have been a reasonable asking price for a high end offensive minded shortstop like Castro. Today, the game is evolving quickly from power hitting to power pitching and Alderson wisely held on to his most valuable assets.

The Mets have drafted, traded for and groomed some incredible prospects, and so far many of them have panned out and met the hype surrounding them. Again, it’s the timing that makes it so special too.  Just take a look at the Atlanta Braves as they scramble to restructure their organization. They’re assembling a team that resembles that of the Mets, Marlins and Nationals; power pitching complimented by offense, not the other way around.

The shortstop situation now likely includes names like Jed Lowrie, Asdrubal Cabrera and Stephen Drew although Lowrie and Drew would be strictly for defensive purposes with Cabrera being the complete opposite.  Truthfully, a strong defensive minded shortstop to couple with Juan Lagares up the middle could give the Mets a combination of pitching and defense that could vault them into contention.  A healthy and productive David WrightCurtis Granderson and Michael Cuddyer would also do wonders to support this pitching and defense for an overall balanced attack.

Sandy Alderson also shot down statements made by Terry Collins suggesting that Ruben Tejada would be competing with Wilmer Flores for the starting shortstop job this Spring. “I guess conceptually it’s a possibility.  They’ll both be there.”

Honestly, I get the impression from Sandy that he’s hard at work while those around him are hard at work making his work harder.  In those moments, he’s had a sense of humor and if you sit back and think of how frustrating it must be for him to manage and change the perception of this team, you have to give the man some credit.

Anyway, it will be interesting to see how all of this ultimately plays out for the Amazins.

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Mets Notes: Wright’s Shoulder Feels Good, Collins Predicts Playoffs http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/11/mets-notes-wrights-shoulder-feels-good-collins-predicts-playoffs.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/11/mets-notes-wrights-shoulder-feels-good-collins-predicts-playoffs.html/#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 15:39:40 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=170091 david wright

David Wright told MLB Network Radio that his shoulder feels good and said that last week’s MRI results showed significant improvement compared to previous MRIs. “I’m starting to see some good results,” Wright said regarding his rehab progress. He estimated that he’s about a month away from conducting baseball activities.

“I think everything we know about David’s shoulder is positive,” Sandy Alderson told reporters on Thursday. “I couldn’t tell you that he’s 100 percent today but he’s substantially there. Anytime anybody is coming back from an injury that required him to be shut down the year before there’s some uncertainty.”

Mets manager Terry Collins is hoping that Wright doesn’t start swinging for the fences next season now that Citi Field’s walls are closer.

“I just hope guys don’t get caught up in trying to change too much,” Collins said. “I don’t want to give David Wright a chance to hit home runs. I want David Wright to be a good hitter. As I told him, when he’s swinging a bat good, he’s dangerous. I’ll take some balls off the wall.”

Welcome Back

The Mets made it official and Josh Lewin will indeed return to WOR and team up with Howie Rose for Mets radio broadcasts.

“I’m beyond thrilled to be continuing on with what is truly my dream job,” Lewin said. “I am very thankful to my bosses at WOR, the Mets, and my partner/big brother Howie Rose for making my time in New York such a pleasure.”

Welcome Back 2

The Mets signed first baseman Brandon Allen to a minor league deal with a spring training invite on Thursday. Allen, 28, played mostly for Triple-A Las Vegas last season where he batted .266/.368/.434 with 13 home runs, 64 runs scored and 52 RBI in 375 plate appearances. As a left-handed batter, there’s little chance he breaks camp with the Mets unless Lucas Duda was unable to start the season. Speaking of Duda, he received one vote in the National League MVP balloting  from a writer in Ohio.

The Team, The Time

Last night on SNY’s Mets Hot Stove, Terry Collins said that there is absolutely no question that the Mets are going to the postseason in 2015. He cites the return of Matt Harvey, the addition of Michael Cuddyer and new hitting coach Kevin Long as the reason for his optimism. He also asserted that more improvements are on the way this offseason.

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Wright Will Likely Avoid Shoulder Surgery http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/11/wright-will-likely-avoid-shoulder-surgery.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/11/wright-will-likely-avoid-shoulder-surgery.html/#comments Fri, 07 Nov 2014 17:50:08 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168673 MLB: Washington Nationals at New York Mets

Mike Puma of the New York Post is hearing that David Wright has made “significant progress” in his shoulder rehab.

And the good news is that it now appears that Wright will not need surgery according to a statement from the team.

He visited David Altchek, the team’s doctor, today at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. An examination revealed that his bruised left rotator cuff contusion has made “marked improvement,” according to the club. (NJ.com)

Wright will continue his rehab and is building up to baseball activities next month.

October 30

Mike Vorkunov of NJ Advanced Media spoke to Mets third baseman David Wright who told him that everything is going well as he continues to rehab his injured left shoulder.

“No setbacks, we’re moving forward,” Wright said. “That’s all you can ask.”

Wright was shut down for the season on September 9 with inflammation in his left shoulder. However, an MRI taken after the season ended revealed more significant ligament and rotator cuff damage than team doctors first thought. The Mets placed him on a six week strengthening program to try and avoid shoulder surgery.

“It’s doing good,” Wright told Vorkunov. “I’m hopefully finishing up some rehab stuff. I’m going to get checked out by the doctors in the next couple of weeks. And we’ll see how that goes and that will kind of determine what’s next as far as the plan moving forward for next year.”

Wright is expected to be reexamined on or around November 1, when the team will learn if the strengthening program worked. “Hopefully I get some good news when I go to the doctors,” Wright said.

The injured shoulder most likely contributed to Wright’s disappointing season that ended with a .267 average and a career low eight home runs and .698 OPS.

With $107 million dollars remaining on his current deal which runs through 2020, Wright and the Mets will be hoping for some good news next week as they put this season behind them and look for some significant improvement in 2015 and beyond.

(Photo: USATSI)

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Bring In The Fences, Bring On The Controversy… http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/bring-in-the-fences-bring-on-the-controversy.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/bring-in-the-fences-bring-on-the-controversy.html/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 11:00:56 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=167869 curtis granderson

As was reported on Tuesday by Kristie Ackert of the Daily News, the Mets are poised to renovate the dimensions of Citi Field for the second time in four years. Once again the team plans to bring in the fences, this time concentrating their efforts on the right-center and right field walls.

Why do this, you may ask. Citi Field ranked 7th in home runs surrendered in 2014 and it was tied for 8th in 2013. So over the past few seasons, Citi has been neither hitter nor pitcher friendly. So what’s to be gained?

The easy answer is that despite Sandy Alderson’s assertion that these changes aren’t designed to tailor the ballpark to any particular players, it is. Both David Wright and Curtis Granderson stand to benefit the most. Is that the right thing to do? Reaction, as is always the case with the Mets’ fan base, has been mixed. There are two prevailing arguments against moving the fences in again.

The most popular opinion is that doing so will adversely impact the Mets young pitching staff. This one has it’s merits. Of course, if the new Citi Field dimensions would promote more home runs for the home team, it’s reasonable to assume the same for the visitors. However, isn’t it also reasonable to think that the better pitching staff will prevail regardless of the dimensions?

Johnny Cueto didn’t seem to struggle in posting a 2.25 ERA despite half his starts coming in the band box that is Great American Ball Park. The same can be said for Cole Hamels and his 2.46 ERA playing in the small confines of Citizens Bank Park. Does this mean that Mets pitchers won’t be negatively impacted? Of course not. But it does illustrate that very good pitchers are just as capable of putting up excellent numbers even in stadiums that are regarded as hitter friendly.

The second and most frustrating argument by those against the changes is simply this…Get better players! That view is often partnered with the oh so popular, “opposing teams didn’t struggle to hit home runs at Citi Field.”

Although that may be true (71 vs. 59), getting better players isn’t nearly as easy as it sounds. Power is in steep demand. Only eleven players mustered 30 or more home runs in 2014. Given the current Mets ownership and front office combination, such players aren’t as likely to find their way to Queens as they once were. So why not take steps to assist those players who are already here?

david wright

There’s also another added benefit to bringing in the walls. The Mets are still trying to overcome the mental stigma attached to Citi Field since its construction.The park is still in their heads and many players openly admit to how difficult Citi Field is for hitters. And don’t think for one second that those notions wouldn’t play into a free agent’s decision making process in the future. So while it may not be this Winter, should the Mets ever re-enter the big-ticket free agent market again, it would be beneficial if their ballpark wasn’t working against them.

If it’s a more immediate impact you prefer, think about what a shorter porch would mean to the outfield defense. Juan Lagares could play a few more steps in, thus allowing him to steal even more hits in shallow center field. An aging Curtis Granderson – or some other acquisition in the not so distant future – would have that much less room to cover in right making limited range a lesser concern. Assuming tour pitchers can continue to keep the ball in the building, it’s very likely many of those balls that dropped in will now be tracked down. I realize that this too works both ways, however, with outfield defense being one of our strengths, the Mets may benefit more than the visiting teams in this scenario.

As is the case with most things baseball, winning cures all ills. Will a smaller Citi Field lead to more wins? I can’t predict the future, but I’m confident that it’s more likely to help the franchise than hurt it in the long run.

The Mets have yet to make a playoff appearance, or even post a winning season since Citi Field opened. The ballpark is gorgeous, but it has been a burden to many of the team’s best players. If making these alterations helps their performance or even their psyche, it’s something the team brass had to consider and it now appears they’ll move forward with the plan. Citi Field is changing again. Hopefully, it’s not the biggest change we see this winter, but on its own it was the right call.

Like what you read? Hit me up on Twitter at @RobPatterson83.

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MMO Trade Target: Starlin Castro, SS http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/mmo-trade-target-starlin-castro-ss.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/mmo-trade-target-starlin-castro-ss.html/#comments Sun, 05 Oct 2014 03:00:21 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=167295 Chicago Cubs v San Diego Padres

The Mets have a solid foundation of pitching to go with a young core of position players, many of whom emerged as stars in 2014.  The team is no longer looking to rebuild, their disenchanted fan base has high expectations and a New York based franchise stocked with farm talent should have no trouble making a high impact acquisition in the offseason. In all reality, the winter spending is questionable, although team COO Jeff Wilpon did state that payroll flexibility is available going into 2015.  Regardless, the Mets minor league system is so rich in power pitching that almost any team should be open to making the right deal.  It makes more sense to seek out the best talent in the league first before signing someone out of a weak free agent class.

If the Mets are going to part ways with blue chip prospects, it should net a return that will hurdle the team into contention.  The player should be young, approaching the peak of their power range and under a team friendly contract for multiple years. The “Red Sox Model” of investing in mid-premium talent works when your home ballpark turns routine fly-outs into doubles and doubles into home runs, but Citi Field’s dimensions don’t offer that luxury. Enter Starlin Castro.

The Cubs’ 24 year old shortstop is a flat out stud at his position and his 2014 performance was certainly worthy of his third All-Star selection. Among all qualified major league shortstops, Starlin was 1st in batting average (.292), 2nd in OBP (.339), 3rd in SLG (.438), OPS (.777) and wOBA (.341). If you look at the list of qualified shortstops under the age of 30, Castro is number one in all those categories.  

In 134 games (season shortened by a sprained ankle), he posted 14 home runs (5th) and 65 RBI’s (7th). He played 161 games in 2013 and 162 in 2012, so it’s reasonable to expect an uptick in those figures if he’d played a full season.

MLB: Spring Training-Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Dodgers

The Mets struggled to hit the ball with men on base this season and it was undoubtedly the difference in a long list of close games that resulted in missing the playoffs for an 8th straight season. Castro’s bat has the stats to qualify him as a difference maker in this category. For his career (2010-2014), he has a (.297) batting average and a (.342) OBP when men are on base.

Equally important is the fact that his production doesn’t dip at Citi Field. It’s rare for any player not wearing a Nationals uniform to maintain their home field production in Flushing, so how does Castro stack up?  Starlin played his first game at Citi Field in 2011 and has posted encouraging numbers there since. His career (.304) batting average and (.429) slugging percentage at Citi deviates in an upward direction from his overall career numbers, but only slightly, and certainly not enough to be considered skewed.  His ability to hit for average with plus power in Queens should be the most relevant stat line of them all.

The cost is where the debate lies. The asking price in assets is going to be steep and it should be, Castro is a top young talent at a premium position for a relatively cheap price. The five years and $43 million left on his very team friendly contract comes with a one-year option for 2020, when he’ll only be 30.

The Cubs aren’t going to settle for a straight up one-for-one trade because that would be a clear signal that GM Theo Epstein is unfit for his job. Realistically, they’ll want some combination of a highly touted front end starter (Zack Wheeler/Jacob deGrom/Noah Syndergaard) and a not quite elite, but still top prospect (Rafael Montero/Steven Matz). The Mets might be able to work a Kevin Plawecki into the conversation in order to take one of the top end starters off the table, but the Cubs aren’t totally devoid at catcher and they’re deep at every other position on the field, so it’ll likely come down to strictly pitching.

The Cubs’ bullpen ranked 15th in ERA and gave up the 8th most earned runs in the majors this season, so a top end reliever could be a piece, with a front of the rotation starter, to push a deal  over the top. But that depends on the value Chicago will get initially. For instance, any deal that includes Matz as the second piece instead of Montero is probably where the Mets will end their offer.

My Take

It’s not just the production Castro would bring, but the attention he would take off of David Wright, who desperately needs to revitalize his output after an injury riddled season that included a number of career lows. Having Starlin in the #2 hole with Lucas Duda cleaning up behind him would create a lot of opportunities for David, who has carried this offense plenty of times before. There’s lots of time left to evaluate all the options the Mets have, but if Sandy Alderson is going to acquire a proven top talent at shortstop, Castro is where the conversation should start.

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Everything Hinges On Wright Returning To All Star Form http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/everything-hinges-on-wright-returning-to-all-star-form.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/everything-hinges-on-wright-returning-to-all-star-form.html/#comments Sat, 27 Sep 2014 15:07:56 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=166745 MLB: Washington Nationals at New York Mets

Kevin Kernan of the New York Post conveys that David Wright is stoked about the direction the Mets are heading and knows the front office must acquire a couple of key pieces this offseason to avoid a seventh straight losing season.

Ironically, Kernan argues, the biggest piece the Mets have to acquire is one David Wright. And even Terry Collins admitted as much to the Post on Friday.

“I don’t mean to put the onus on David,’’ manager Collins said. “But when you have a star, your team will go the way the star goes. You look at the teams that are having success, and I’ll go to the Pirates.

“In the middle of their lineup is a kid who has the chance to be the MVP again, Andrew McCutchen. Without him, they’re not the same team. Without David being David, we’re not the same team. We need him back, we need him healthy. He changes our entire team when he is hitting in that three-hole.

“We have to get David to be David. He’s our guy.’’

Collins is right and in an attempt to get Wright going again, the front office is reversing their previous stance and are in fact moving in the fences to facilitate Wright’s power to right and right-center.

Compounding matters is the uncertainty regarding Wright’s injured shoulder. An MRI taken earlier this week revealed some damaged and stretched out ligaments and an unstable socket and rotator cuff that could require surgery if the six weeks of rehab fails to remedy the situation.

“Surgery is only a resort if the rehab doesn’t work,’’ Wright said. “I got to get healthy, that is the most important thing right now. I’ll hopefully get good news in about a month.”

With six years and $110 million remaining on his contract, Wright is coming off the worst season of his career, with just eight home runs and a .698 OPS.

Wright turns 32 in December and is not getting any younger. He’s the one carrying the load and he’s the player Sandy Alderson’s plan is counting on to provide the most thump.

“He knows how important he is to the team,” Collins added. “But because he’s set the bar so high that’s what you look for and when it’s not there, you have to find someone to rise up and give you that and that’s hard to do.’’

As Kernan concludes, the Mets need Wright not only to be healthy, but also to perform at an All-Star level again in 2015 and beyond.

“I plan on playing a full season next year and production wise,’’ Wright said, “we’ll get back to where we need to be next year.’’

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3 Up, 3 Down: Mr. September and the Keystone Kid http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/3-up-3-down-mr-september-and-the-keystone-kid.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/3-up-3-down-mr-september-and-the-keystone-kid.html/#comments Fri, 26 Sep 2014 17:06:12 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=166626 Curtis - Granderson

As our beloved New York Mets played their final series in the capital this season, the Nationals continued to work towards locking up the best record in the National League.  The Mets only took 1 of 3 from their division rivals, but there were positive takeaways despite losing the series.  Below is a breakdown in this edition of 3 & 3.

3 Up

1. Back in late August, it was easy to speculate that Curtis Granderson would be the next free agent bust to hit Flushing, but the veteran outfielder maintained a positive attitude and strong work ethic, which has helped transform him into a doubles hitting, RBI machine.  Since the first of the month, Curtis is hitting (.329) with a (.980) OPS that’s being heavily bolstered by his (.566) slugging percentage.  He’s adapting to the needs of his current team and abandoning the high strikeout/high home run player he was across town.  If Granderson’s current month was stretched over a 150 game season (conservative figure), he’d have 50 doubles, 7 triples, 21 home runs and 114 RBI.  That’s exactly the type of player the Mets should pay $16 million for next season.  Whether he maintains a pace like this next season is highly debatable, but his mid-summer and fall statistics offer enough fuel to counter the negative predictions.  Overall, Curtis slashed out a series line of (.455/.500/1.045), with 3 RBI’s to go with a run scored.

2. Wilmer Flores is an entirely different player as a second baseman.  His range improves drastically in comparison to his reps at shortstop and his plus arm is a tool that finally has the Mets rounding out routine double plays.  In 15 games (54 at bats), Wilmer is batting (.296) while boasting a monstrous (.593) slugging percentage.  Wilmer’s (.321) OBP sits barely above his batting average, so he isn’t walking much when his glove is played at the keystone.  Instead, he’s opted for the conventional route of putting some wood on the ball, giving him 10 runs scored and 8 RBI’s in those 15 games.  Flores continued his playing time at second this series and actually turned in the exact same results as Granderson, posting a line of (.455/.500/1.045).

3. Jeurys Familia was outstanding in the first game of yesterday’s doubleheader, pitching a perfect 8th inning and striking out the side. Familia owns a 2.27 ERA to go with 71 strikeouts in 75.1 innings this season.  The other setup relievers have been excellent this season too, including Vic Black, Carlos Torres and Josh Edgin. It’s not yet known if Bobby Parnell will return as closer in 2015, but Jenrry Mejia has handled the role admirably and he has been ferocious against left-handed batters.  Whatever happens, the Mets will have one of the youngest and brightest bullpens in all of baseball next season and that’s a huge relief.

3 Down

1.  Injuries absolutely kill this team year in and year out.  It’s reasonable to expect some unscheduled absences during the season, but ask yourself this question, how many players have put in a full season?  For the starting pitchers, only Zack Wheeler and Bartolo Colon have remained healthy since Opening Day.  For position players, only four Mets have a qualified number of at-bats and only two have played more than 150 games (Lucas Duda has 150 and Curtis Granderson has 152).  We learned during this series that David Wright suffered structural damage in his left shoulder which he played through for the most of the season, and it could be more serious than the Mets originally thought. Catcher Travis d’Arnaud has been no stranger to the disabled list as well and now he’s undergoing tests with team doctors in New York for an unknown elbow injury.

2.  There are numerous ways to frame statistics and come up with hypothetical scenarios, but consider this “what if”.  What if the Mets went .500 against the Nationals this year?  Actually, they played an odd number of games this season, 19 in total, so let’s say they went one game over .500 and posted a seasonal W-L of 10-9.  In that case, the Mets 2014 record would stand at 83-76 and they would still be in the hunt for the last wild card spot.  Instead, NY finished the season 4-15 against their division rivals.

3.  Let the Matt Harvey media circus resume.  During the nightcap of yesterday’s doubleheader, news broke that recovering ace Matt Harvey was at Yankee Stadium for Derek Jeter’s final home game.  It’s true that these kinds of actions raise more questions than most Mets fans want answered, but it’s going to be a bigger story than needs to be.  He’s proven that he’s a competitor no matter what uniform he puts on and Matt’s locked into the Orange and Blue for the next four seasons.  Derek Jeter’s last home game is an iconic moment for Yankee fans and Harvey has openly admitted that Jeter is his idol growing up and favorite player.  It could very well signal where he intends to go in the future, or it could just be a 25-year old guy, living in New York City, going to the only baseball game in town.  Sandy Alderson made the rules, which included staying behind when the team traveled for road games, and to the best of my knowledge that didn’t change when the Mets shut down Harvey for the season.  He knew exactly what he was doing and did it anyways.  That’s the beast the Mets have to live with, incredibly talented, but lacks the foresight to cater to a sensitive organization.  Hopefully, Harvey leads the Mets to a World Series title in the next four years, but the bottom line is that I could care less where he goes and what he does on his free time.

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3 Up 3 Down: Braves Get The Broom http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/3-up-3-down-braves-get-the-broom.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/3-up-3-down-braves-get-the-broom.html/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 17:41:11 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=166297 wilmer flores dilson herrera

The Mets are finishing up on a strong note and played a great series down in Atlanta this weekend. Below are the usual takeaways in this edition of 3 & 3.

3 Up

jacob degrom1. The starting pitching was excellent in this series, particularly the guys making the league minimum, Zack Wheeler and Jacob deGrom. Wheeler went 6.0 innings, allowed 5 hits, struck out 7 batters and held the opposition scoreless. It was Zack’s 21st quality start on the year, the most among Mets starters in 2014. It was also his 11th win, pushing his record over the .500 mark with only one start left on the year. deGrom was stellar as well, going 6.0 innings, allowing 3 hits and one earned run while striking out 10. What else can be said about deGrom at this point? He’s a stud and along with Wheeler and Matt Harvey, the Mets will have one of the best rotations in all of baseball next year.

2. Curtis Granderson is finishing up the year strong. The veteran went 5 for 10 in the series (.500) and posted a 1.615 OPS. In the month of September, Curtis is batting .308, slugging .569 and getting on base at a .400 clip. He also has 13 RBI’s to go along with 12 runs scored during that time frame.

curtis granderson3. Lucas Duda hit his 28th home run of the year in yet another crucial situation to put the Mets ahead 2-0 in the sixth inning of Friday’s game. While it’s easy to admire Duda’s raw power, he still doesn’t get enough credit for how talented an offensive player he is outside the home run department. A perfect example was Saturday’s game, where Lucas went 0 for 3 at the plate, but still contributed an RBI on a sacrifice fly and drew a walk to get on base. Overall, Duda posted a .333/.357/1.024 triple slash line for the series.

3 Down

1. Dilson Herrera was having a great series before straining his right quad in the 6th inning of Saturday’s 4-2 win. His two run blast down the left field line was the difference in that game, but unfortunately, it looks as though the prized prospect might not return for the remainder of the year. There’s a lot of logical reasons why injuries like this happen, but every year I find myself questioning this training staff. Again, I’m not saying injuries, particularly in the leg, don’t happen, but it seems nearly impossible for players on this team to muster a full season without hurting themselves. I wish Herrera a quick and speedy recovery and if this was the end of his 2014 campaign, it was certainly a success for the 20 year old.

travis d'arnaud2. Travis d’Arnaud has to make immediate changes to how he positions himself behind the plate. I touched on mechanical improvements that he needs to make in the offseason in the last 3&3, but this needs to happen now. In this series, d’Arnaud once again got hit on the head with a back swing and was shaken up for a quick second. Luckily he was able to move on without a hitch. This is a major concern though, he already has a history of concussions that stem from this and it doesn’t seem to be improving. There are only so many times he can have his bell rung before it impacts his career. The Mets need to prioritize this and protect one of their top young stars.

3. This is a bit of a reach because it’s hard to gripe about anything, in particular when the team sweeps a division rival and all but ends their playoff hopes in the progress, but it’s a shame Matt Reynolds didn’t get a call-up to finish out the season. With Herrera and David Wright out, now would have been the perfect time to see Reynolds at shortstop and Wilmer Flores at second. The current lineup obviously is clicking, but giving at bats to Ruben Tejada doesn’t help the organization assess its internal assets heading into 2015.

Lets.Go.Mets.

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