Mets Merized Online » Fernando Nieve Thu, 29 Jan 2015 23:37:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The 2009 Mets: Where Are They Now? Mon, 09 Sep 2013 03:23:30 +0000 Welcome to the second installment of Where Are They Now?, where we take a Mets roster and check in on what the players have done since last playing in Queens. Last week, we looked at the 2010 Mets, so this week we go back a year and look at the 2009 team, the first year the Mets played their home games at Citi Field. That season, Jerry Manuel led his squad to a 70-92 record, good for a fourth place NL East finish. Let’s look at the players.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

fernando martinez

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

billy wagner

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

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

anderson hernandez

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

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

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

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

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

addicted to mets button

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The 2010 Mets: Where Are They Now? Thu, 29 Aug 2013 23:58:53 +0000 jose-reyes-mets-2012

If you are a Mets fan, you know that David Wright is still with team, or that Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran are in Toronto and St. Louis, respectively. But what happened to guys like Nick Evans or Rod Barajas? We have the answers.

11 Players who made it into a game in 2010 with the Mets, are still employed by the team. That would be the aforementioned David Wright, Ike Davis, Ruben Tejada (Although he is currently with Triple-A Las Vegas, he is still on the Mets payroll), Lucas Duda, Justin Turner, Jon Niese, Pedro Feliciano (Although he made another stop in the Bronx, he is with the Mets once again), Bobby Parnell, Dillon Gee, Johan Santana, and Jenrry Mejia.

10 players are employed by another Major League team. That would be Jose Reyes, Angel Pagan, Beltran, Josh Thole, Henry Blanco, Joaquin Arias, Mike Pelfrey, R.A. Dickey, Francisco Rodriguez, and Oliver Perez.

MLB: SEP 22 Mets v Marlins

As you may know, Jose Reyes was traded from the Miami Marlins to the Toronto Blue Jays this past offseason in a blockbuster deal involving Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, and now former Met, John Buck. Reyes now puts on his uniform in the same locker room as R.A. Dickey and Josh Thole, who were traded together this past offseason from the Mets for Travis d’Arnaud, Buck, and Noah Syndergaard (don’t forget Wuilmer Beccera!). Angel Pagan was traded to the San Francisco Giants prior to the 2012 season for outfielder Andres Torres and pitcher Ramon Ramirez who have both since played again for the team they were traded from.

Carlos Beltran was traded at the deadline in 2011 to the Giants for Zack Wheeler, but has since made his home in St. Louis playing for the Cardinals, where he has enjoyed a couple of very nice seasons, including an All Star appearance this summer. Henry Blanco, who served as the Mets backup catcher in 2010, beat out Josh Thole for the same position on this year’s Toronto Blue Jays team, but was released and then signed by the Seattle Mariners who made the corresponding move by releasing 2012 Met alumni, Kelly Shoppach. Blanco played in Arizona for the Diamondbacks in 2011 and 2012.

Joaquin Arias, of whom the Mets received for Jeff Francoeur late in the 2010 season, played for the Kansas City Royals in 2011, and was then given a championship ring after serving as Pablo Sandoval‘s ninth inning defensive replacement in 2012 for the San Francisco Giants. He has been a key hitter off the bench for the Giants in 2013. Mike Pelfrey, after failing to play a month in the 2012 season, was signed by the Minnesota Twins, where his 5-10 record and 5.06 ERA is good enough to keep him in the starting rotation.

Francisco Rodriguez was traded to the Brewers in 2011 for Daniel Herrera (yes the 5-6 guy) and a minor leaguer, but was traded to the Baltimore Orioles at the deadline this year, downgrading from a closer to a setup man. Finally, Oliver Perez signed a two-year deal with the Seattle Mariners in 2012 and is proving to be an effective arm out of their bullpen. You would think that Perez’s ERA of 9.72 with Henry Blanco behind the plate would be the highest among catchers who have caught the Mexican native, but no. That award goes to Josh Thole, who provides Ollie with a sparkling 16.20 ERA.

Eight players are in the minor leagues with another organization. They are Mike Nickeas, Mike Hessman, Luis Hernandez, Mike Jacobs, Nick Evans, Hisanori Takahashi, Fernando Nieve, and Pat Misch.

Mike Nickeas, who was in the same deal that sent R.A. Dickey north of the border, is currently with the Blue Jays Triple-A team, the Buffalo Bisons, a team Nickeas has played for many times when they were the Mets affiliate. Nickeas has failed to make the Majors this season, playing 55 games in Buffalo. Mike Hessman, who is seven home runs shy of 400 for his minor league career and one shy of 15 for his Major League career, is currently a member of the Louisville Bats, the Triple-A team of the Cincinnati Reds, where he is teammates with base stealing extraordinaire, Billy Hamilton. Hessman played in Japan in 2011 for the Orix Buffaloes, and was with the Astros Triple A team in 2012.

Luis Hernandez, who played all of 17 games for the Mets, is with the Indians Triple-A team, after playing in the Texas Rangers organization in 2012. Nick Evans is the only 2010 Met alumni playing in Double-A. Evans, who is a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks affiliated Mobile Baybears, was a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates organization in 2012. Mike Jacobs was the placeholder at first base until Ike Davis came up in 2010 but he is now with the Diamondbacks Triple-A team. Jacobs also stopped in Colorado Springs, Toronto, and Mexico. Hisanori Takahashi, who has 12 games started and 21 games finished as a Met, has played in the Majors with the Angels, Pirates, and Cubs. He is now a member of the Colorado Rockies Triple-A team. Fernando Nieve hasn’t played in the Majors since 2010, but he has played with the Astros, Dodgers, Indians, and currently the Athletics, all in Triple-A. Finally, Pat MIsch has seen time with the Phillies and Tigers Triple-A teams.

Five players are not currently with a Major League organization. The names are Jeff Francoeur, Rod Barajas, Jason Bay, John Maine, and Sean Green.

Francoeur was traded to the Rangers for Joaquin Arias in August of 2010. He spent the rest of the year there. Frenchy played in Kansas City during 2011 and 2012, but was released midway through the 2013 season. The Giants picked him up, where he played 22 games. Francouer was designated for assignment of August 20th, and released two days later. Barajas played with the Pirates in 2011 and 2012, before being signed by the Diamondbacks. He ultimately lost the bid to be Miguel Montero‘s backup, as the DBacks went with Wil Nieves instead.

Jason Bay, who was released after the 2012 season much to the delight of Mets fans, was signed by the Mariners for the 2013 season. He hit a home run in his first spring training at bat, but after a disapointing season, was released of August 6th to make room for Mike Morse. John Maine spent 2011 in the Colorado Rockies minor league system, and pitched for the Scranton/Wilkes-Bare Yankees for all of 2012. He played for the Miami Marlins in April of this year, but was released on April 22. The sidearmer, Sean Green pitched with the Brewers in 2011, before playing with the Texas Rangers’ Triple A team in 2012. He also pitched with the Somerset Patriots in 2012 of the Independent Leagues but has not found a team since.

Six players have officially retired. They are Luis Castillo, Alex Cora, Fernando Tatis, Gary Matthews Jr., Frank Catalanotto, and Tobi Stoner.

Luis Castillo was released by the Mets at the same time they released Oliver Perez. Castillo signed a minor league contract with the Philadelphia Phillies, but after a disappointing spring training, he was released, at which time he retired. Alex Cora was released by the Mets in August of 2010, and he played the rest of the year with the Rangers. He played with the Washington Nationals in 2011, and was signed by the Cardinals in the spring of 2012, which didn’t work out. He is now a baseball analyst for ESPN (his brother Joey does the same work for MLB Network). Fernando Tatis was injured of July 4th of 2010. He was placed on the DL the next day and was transferred to the 60-day DL 10 days later. That turned out to be his last major league game as he retired after the season.

The “Son of the Sarge”, Gary Matthews Jr., was released by the Mets on June 15th, 2010. He signed with the Reds on June 24th and played the rest of the year with their Triple-A team, before retiring. Frank Catalanotto was designated for assignment of May 10th, when the Mets brought up Chris Carter. After failing to sign with another team, he retired in March of 2011. Finally, the German-born Tobi Stoner was released by the Mets in March of 2012. During that season, he played in the Independent Leagues with the Bridgeport Blue Fish and the Somerset Patriots. He retired before the 2013 season.

manny acosta

Four players are currently playing in foreign countries. Chris Carter, Manny Acosta, and Ryota Igarashi are playing in Japan, and Jesus Feliciano is playing in Mexico.

Carter (no not the former A’s prospect) played in the Tampa Bay Rays and Atlanta Braves Minor League system in 2011 before moving to Japan to play with the Seibu Lions in 2012 and 2013. Carter is 3-26 (.115) with three RBI in nine games this year. He is teammates with Kazuhisa Ishii. Manny Acosta pitched for the Mets through 2012 but signed with the Yomuri Giants in 2013 after being released. In 14 games he has an ERA of 5.54. His teammates include former major leaguers Scott Mathieson and John Bowker.

Ryota Igarashi played with the Mets until 2011. He then played in the minor leagues with the Yankees and the Blue Jays in 2012 though he pitched in the majors with both teams. He is now pitching with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks where he sports a 2.15 ERA in 36 games. He is teammates with with Vicente Padilla and former Mets minor leaguer Wily Mo Pena. Jesus Feliciano, who has signed with the Mets four different times in his career, played in all of his 54 career games with the Mets in 2010. He played with the Buffalo Bisons in 2011, the Durham Bulls in 2012, and he is now playing in Mexico with the Rojos del Aguila de Veracruz. He has only played in three games with one hit.

One player is currently a coach. Elmer Dessens is the assistant pitching coach for the AZL Reds in the Arizona League (The Arizona equivalent to Florida’s Gulf Coast League). And here’s a fun piece of information. The manager of that AZL Reds team is former Met, Eli Marrero who the Mets received in 2006 when they traded Kazuo Matsui to the Rockies.

Well, now you know what happened to the 2010 Mets. Next week we’ll look at the players from Citi Field’s inaugural year, 2009.


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Despite Ike’s Two Homers Mets Fall To Giants 8-4 Sun, 18 Jul 2010 07:44:01 +0000 Mets fall short of a comeback as they lose their third straight game to the Giants, 8-4. Hisanori Takahashi had a poor start for the Mets, while Ike Davis hit two long home runs, however, the Mets came up short in a ninth inning rally. With the loss, the Mets fall behind the Phillies in the NL East race to third place.

Game Summary

Hisanori Takahashi probably needs to be back in the bullpen where he has shown that he is a reliable seventh and even eighth inning man. Since his start against the Yankees, he hasn’t shown that he can keep the Mets in the game. He gave up six runs on seven hits including two home runs in just 2.2 innings pitched. He walked one and struck out two batters. Takahashi is a bullpen guy and the Mets need a replacement starting pitcher. Possibly a trade, possibly bringing up Pat Misch, maybe bringing up Oliver Perez?! It’s a possibility.

Fernando Nieve came in to aid the ailing Takahashi and pitched 1.1 scoreless innings, and stuck out two. Haven’t seen Nieve pitch much lately, maybe Manuel is giving him all of the rest he didn’t get in April.

Raul Valdes pitched 2.1 innings in relief. Less emphasis on the relief, however. He gave up two runs on three hits, walked one and struck out three. Francisco Rodriguez pitched his first game in three days. “He needs the work.” He pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning, striking out two batters.

Carlos Beltran and Ike Davis provided most of the offense in the game. Beltran went 2-4 with his first triple and a run scored. Ike Davis also had a two hit night, belting a pair of long homeruns. He picked up three RBIs and scored two runs. When he hits homeruns, he really hits ‘em. The first one went into McCovey Cove, while the second one went to straight center. This is Ike’s second two homer game of the season. His first time was also against the Giants.

David Wright, Josh Thole, and Chris Carter each had a hit. Wright went 1-3 with an RBI, while Thole and Carter both had pinch hit singles.

Ruben Tejada continues to be a target for pitchers as he got plunked in the shoulders during the ninth inning. That is his sixth hit-by-pitch this season.

Interesting note: At one point Matt Cain was standing on third. I wonder if Wright and Cain had a conversation about Cain plunking him in the head last year that sent him to the hospital.

Turning Point

The Buster Posey solo home run in the third inning was the big blow that pushed the Giants too far for the Mets to comeback.

Game Ball

Ike Davis hit two huge homeruns and knocked in three of the Mets runs tonight.

Up Next

Johan Santana looks to avoid the sweep as he will be going up against Jonathon Sanchez. Both pitchers are looking for their eighth win of the season. Should be a good lefty vs. lefty match up. Game time is 4:05 PM.

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This Gangsta Is Not Armed And Dangerous Mon, 05 Jul 2010 15:13:01 +0000 In today’s New York Post, Mike Puma reports that Jerry Manuel is desperate for another arm in his bullpen and that he plans to address the matter with GM Omar Minaya.

“Manager Jerry Manuel planned to speak with team brass last night about the possibility of adding a seventh reliever, after the Mets emptied their bullpen yesterday in a 9-5 victory over the Nationals.”

Whether you think Jerry Manuel has done a poor job of handling the bullpen or not, the bottom line should always be winning and doing what is best for the team.

It’s kind of hard to distribute work evenly when the game is on the line and there are few options that you really trust.

There’s been several complaints of late about how Manuel may have burned out guys like Fernando Nieve, Raul Valdes, etc. But we’re talking about a couple of waiver wire rejects who could have been simply been pitching over their heads for three weeks. I don’t see any star quality relievers that have been physically overused to their ultimate demise.

Puma suggest that Manny Acosta could be an option to be called up from Triple-A Buffalo, and of course they recently signed former Yankees reliever Brian Bruney before the weekend.

I don’t know why Pat Misch isn’t ever brought up in the conversation as he is having a solid season at Buffalo and he could replace Hisanori Takahashi in the rotation and Tak would give Manuel a reliable, quality innings eater in the back of the bullpen.

Misch is currently 8-3 with a 3.40 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in 103 innings pitched, and has a 58/18 K/BB ratio.

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Big Problem: The Mets Bullpen Still Stinks! Thu, 17 Jun 2010 12:35:06 +0000 The only good thing about the Mets bullpen is that it has not been needed over the last two weeks.  The starting pitching and the offense have been strong enough to carry the team.  But here’s my advice to Omar Minaya:  Do something quickly about the Mets pathetic bullpen.  Otherwise it could very well turn out to be the downfall as the pennant races heat up this summer.

Elmer Dessens of all people has inherited, by default, the 7th/8th inning setup role.  Pedro Feliciano is still not trusted to get righties out consistently.  K-Rod has been very good, but certainly is not the lights out closer that he was expected to be.  If this back end of the bullpen is mediocre, what can you say about the rest of it comprised of Jenrry Mejia, Ryota Igarashi, Raul Valdez, and Fernando Nieve.  All four should currently be pitching for AAA Buffalo at best.

Jenrry Mejia’s development is being totally mismanaged.  He should be in AA Binghamton.  I don’t care if it is as a starter or reliever but he needs more than mop up work.  In Wednesday night’s game, he walked the first two batters in the 8th inning.  Manuel, correctly pulled him.  But if in the minors he would have had the opportunity to work his way out of the self inflicted jam.  Ryota Igarashi needs work and he is not getting it sitting on a chair far out in the bullpen.  With nightly minor league work, he could regain his form and possibly help the Mets during the summer months.  The same could be said of Fernando Nieve.  Raul Valdez?  I think it’s time to send him packing  back to his team in Mexico.

The biggest problem facing Omar Minaya is that there is no one in the minors that could be called up with confidence.  The leading candidates are Bobby Parnell and Manny Acosta.  Both have pitched inconsistently and I would not trust either in a crucial 6th or 7th inning situation.  John Maine’s return to the rotation could allow Hisanori Takahashi to pitch in relief.  That would be great, but the caveat is whether Maine can pitch effectively.

I don’t know who’s out there on the trade market, but Omar needs to do something right away. The starters can not be expected to pitch seven plus innings on a consistent basis.  Omar needs to take action now, before focusing on a trade for a starting pitcher.

The Mets are sizzling hot right now.  But we all know and have seen how momentum shifts suddenly and without warning.  Our good fortunes will change; it’s just a matter of when and for how long.

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Takahashi Might Be Pitching Well, But… Fri, 28 May 2010 12:47:55 +0000 Hisanori Takahashi stepped into the Mets rotation and has been spectacular in his two starts, shutting down two explosive offenses in the Yankees and Phillies.  With six scoreless innings against the Yankees last Friday and six more against the Phillies on Wednesday, Takahashi lowered his ERA to 2.13, while upping his record to 4-1.

The Japanese southpaw has been a Lefty Luthor to the Supermen wearing the jerseys of last year’s pennant winners.  More importantly, he has made Jerry Manuel a believer in his ability to give the Mets quality starts, something that could not be said for the man he replaced in the rotation, Oliver Perez.

I have been quite impressed with Takahashi’s recent performances and would like to think that his stretch of outstanding starts will continue past his last outing against the Phillies.  However, before giving him the keys to the castle, let’s remember that just last year, we were also singing the praises of a starter that was tearing it up in his first few starts.  Just like Takahashi, this pitcher was moved from the bullpen to the starting rotation and was asked to shut down the powerful Yankee lineup.  Then, he continued to face teams with potent offenses and pitched beyond expectations.  Unfortunately, his streak of good fortune ended almost as quickly as started and now he’s back in the Mets bullpen.  Who am I talking about?  Fernando Nieve.

After pitching two scoreless innings of relief against the Washington Nationals last year on June 6, Fernando Nieve was called upon to make an emergency start against the Yankees on June 13.  The game was played less than 24 hours after Luis Castillo gift-wrapped a Yankee victory with his infamous dropped pop-up.  With all the momentum shifting over to the Yankees, Nieve was given the ball and was asked to stop the bleeding  He ended up pitching 6.2 innings, holding the Yankees to two runs on four hits.  That was the only win picked up by the Mets against the Yankees all year.

Given another start against a high-quality team, this time the Tampa Bay Rays, Nieve followed up his victory against the Yankees with an even better performance against the Rays, giving up one run and three hits in a 5-3 Mets victory.

In his third start, he faced the National League Central division-leading St. Louis Cardinals and pitched six shutout innings, again allowing only three hits in an 11-0 blowout of the Cards.  That gave Nieve three wins in three starts against upper-echelon teams.  In those three games, his ERA was a microscopic 1.45 and he held opposing hitters to a .154 batting average.

For all intents and purposes, it appeared as if the Mets had found themselves a starting pitcher from out of nowhere that they could depend upon to pitch effectively and deep into ballgames.  Even I was sold on Fernando Nieve, as I wrote a number of blogs for this site on The Three Fernandos (Nieve, Tatis and Martinez).  Alas, Nieve could not continue his success past those three starts.

Over his next three starts, Nieve came crashing back down to Earth, losing to the Brewers, Phillies and Reds.  In those games, Fernando’s ERA was 5.40 and opposing batters hit an alarming .403 against him.  Despite the fact that he was clearly not the same pitcher he was over his first three starts, Jerry Manuel gave him another start against the Atlanta Braves.  That was the last time Nieve would pitch for the Mets in 2009, as he injured himself while running to first base in the second inning.

Do I expect Hisanori Takahashi to fade as quickly as Fernando Nieve did last year?  I don’t think he will.  For one thing, Takahashi has an impeccable ability to throw strikes.  In his starts against the Yankees and Phillies, Takahashi has pitched 12 innings and has only walked one batter.  In those two games, he has thrown a total of 195 pitches, of which 138 were strikes.  That’s better than 70% of his pitches going for strikes.

In Nieve’s first three starts last year, as great as they were, he still walked nine batters in 18.2 innings.  Over those three starts, he threw 318 pitches, of which 188 were strikes.  That’s only 59% of his pitches going for strikes.  Nieve was effective over those starts because he gave up few hits.  Once he started giving up hits, combined with the walks, that led to his three-game losing streak.

Hisanori Takahashi has the potential to be an effective #3 starter in the Mets rotation.  Since he’s constantly throwing strikes, he stands less of a chance to suffer a meltdown such as the one Fernando Nieve went through last year after his third start.  However, just because Takahashi has been shutting down potent offenses now doesn’t guarantee long-term success.  Be happy that he’s giving us great pitching at a time when the Mets need it the most, but be wary because as wonderful as Takahashi has been, it can all come crashing down.  Just ask Fernando Nieve.

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Fernando Nieve Will Get The Start On Saturday Thu, 27 May 2010 11:02:38 +0000 Last night, after the Mets shutout the Phillies 5-0, Jerry Manuel told reporters during his post game that Fernando Nieve will get the start on Saturday against the Brewers.

According to Manuel, Nieve earned the nod and said that he deserves his shot because of how well he has performed this season and also because he performed well as a starter last season.

Raul Valdes was the other possibility, but in my opinion, Manuel is making the right choice, and Valdes should stay in the pen where he can be more useful.

There was talk of promoting someone from the minors, like a Dillon Gee or Tobi Stoner, but that would have made little sense when it was only going to be for one start anyway.

Jon Niese is expected to be activated on June 1st when he is eligible, and should be ready to join the rotation to make his next start after that.

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Bullpen Burnouts: Fernando Nieve and Jenrry Mejia Thu, 20 May 2010 15:28:13 +0000 Only a month ago, the Mets bullpen was being looked at as a big strength for the team as they led the league in ERA, Batting Average Against, WHIP and even strikeouts. They have quickly sunk to the bottom in many of those categories as the season wore on due mostly to some bad bullpen management, pitch counts, and an ineffective starting rotation.

Jenrry Mejia, the youngest player in the Majors when the season started, came out of the gate in impressive fashion and finished his first month of the season with a pristine 1.64 ERA and all the previous banter that he was prematurely promoted began to fade away. Then May came.

Initially, Mejia was only allowed to pitch in non-pressurized situations, but now he is being used more often with the game on the line and the results so far have not been good.

This month he has appeared in eight games, and in 6.1 innings pitched, Mejia has allowed 14 baserunners either by a walk or hit. His ERA for the month has been 4.25 which is not exactly terrible until you spot his unsightly 2.20 WHIP. You could see he clearly doesn’t exude any confidence with runners on base and it brings out his wild side.

There is now talk of sending him to the minors and having him resume his career as a starter. Sounds like a good idea.

Before Jerry Manuel completely burned Fernando Nieve out, there was talk of him taking over the setup role for the Mets, but that talk is completely dead now. After getting off to a solid month in April, when he led the NL in appearances, Nieve started to go down hill in May and has completely crashed and burned now.

Nieve is sporting an 8.31 ERA this month and has just one strikeout in his last eight appearances spanning 7.2 innings in which he allowed 8 hits, 4 walks and 3 home runs.

He is a ticking time bomb, and would probably benefit from some down time in Buffalo where he won’t be abused by his manager. Incidentally, in looking at Nieve’s splits he would have been a poor choice for setup job anyway as lefthanded batters have scorched him for a 11.26 ERA. As long as he remains in the bullpen, he shouldn’t be allowed to face the likes of Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Robinson Cano during the next homestand.

You could make the case that Jerry Manuel had a strong hand in burning these two pitchers out, but then again you could also point to John Maine and Oliver Perez as the culprits too. Both have averaged less than five innings pitched per start causing undo stress on an already heavily taxed bullpen.

Hisanori Takahashi has been priceless out of the pen, but now he is being yanked and added to the rotation leaving Oliver Perez as the team’s potential longman. Last night against the Nationals, Perez came in and faced two batters, predictably walking one of them almost as if on cue.

There is a ray of hope however. Ryota Igarashi is rehabbing in Buffalo and could be activated from the disabled list in time for the Subway Series which begins tomorrow. Iggy was having a fine season before he got hurt, and should provide the bullpen with a nice boost upon his return.

That said, unless the Mets can get their rotation to go deeper into games, it wont be long until Iggy suffers the same fate as his bullpen mates. Until Jerry Manuel learns to manage his bullpen more efficiently, it can get even more uglier and more heartache could be coming our way late in games.

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Nieve Struggles Again, Mets Lose 5-3 Thu, 20 May 2010 02:58:34 +0000 R.A. Dickey made his first start as a Mets filling in for the recently DL’d Jon Niese and delivered a quality start, but the bullpen faltered and the Mets lost 5-3 to the Nationals

Game Notes

R.A. Dickey went out for his first Mets start, going a solid 6 innings giving up 2 runs on 6 hits with 4 walks and two strikeouts. His knuckleball was dancing around the plate, and getting some swings-and-misses. He seemed to be in control minus the 4th inning, but a great effort none the less. Could R.A. hold a spot in the rotation? It really depends on the Mets ability to score runs – knuckleballers will get hit around.

The bullpen seemed out of it today, with 4 pitchers needed to finish off the last 2 innings. Raul Valdes began the 7th inning and gave off a double to the new Met killer Roger Bernadina. Fernando Nieve came out, and just looked awful, giving up the inherited runner from Valdes and two runs of his own. Oliver Perez, in his first relief appearance since Sept. 2002 (When he had talent?) walked Adam Dunn and then convinced Josh Willingham to line-out to Luis Castillo. Manny Acosta worked a 7-pitch perfect 8th inning. This bullpen is beginning to look tired, especially Nieve.

David Wright received the day off, and Fernando Tatis started in his place and went 1-3 with a possible rally-igniting home run off of Nationals close Matt Capps in the 9th. Angel Pagan, showing off his wheels hit his 3rd home run of the season the hard way – by running the bases hard and scoring. The only other player to account for an RBI was Jeff Francoeur with a sacrifice fly in the 6th inning. No Met player had more then one hit today.

The Mets batting order 1-4 (Reyes, Castillo, Bay, Davis) went 1-15 with a run, a walk and 2 strikeouts both courtesy of Ike Davis.

Livan Hernandez and his junkballing ways just seem to perplex the Mets hitters, making this his 2nd quality outing against the mets this season, allowing 2 runs over 13.2 innings. The Mets need to kill these soft-tossing pitchers if they want to utilize their speed.

Game Ball

R.A. Dickey, hands down. Could Jerry Manuel have asked for anything more? He delivered the definition of a Quality Start.

Special Moment

Angel Pagan making the shoe-string catch and initiating the triple-play in the 5th that got the Mets out of trouble.

Up Next

The Mets will send John Maine to the mound with the hope he will not repeat his last performance, and he will square off against Luis Atilano of the Nationals. Game Time is 7:10 PM

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Who Is Nelson Figueroa? Tue, 04 May 2010 16:44:11 +0000 There was a point in time, eons ago (actually, about a month ago) when everyone in the world of Mets fans, mostly the blogosphere was going ballistic at the Mets handling of the Nelson Figueroa situation. It was seen as a slap in the face to the man, but statistically as well as from the standpoint of improving the team I will analyze it in 3 points, and address his “successor”.

It Was POORLY Handled.

The Mets had been throwing him around for years, telling him he was the long reliever, then the 7th inning man, then a starter, then demoted. Certain players will always have a certain kind of makeup, and what was one of the more amazing things was Nelson Figueroa was a pitcher, who use his intelligence and pitched to contact when he knew it would help the team. Without generalizing opinions, more people were probably upset at the fact that they released a guy who had some success as a Met and felt the rotation lacked any depth, which it still doesn’t really.

He Isn’t THAT Good

As a starter, Figueroa can do all of the things he needs to do – adequately. His projection, at 35 is no upside and only decline. If he was the Mets 5th starter, the world would be on fire as to “Why isn’t Dillon Gee up? What about Hisanori Takahashi starting?” Adequate players do find homes in other organizations, but on this Mets team that is built for winning hopefully NOW, the 5th starter will either have to be homegrown or…uhm…worth $12 Million…*cough*Ollie*cough*. For the record, on the year Nelson Figueroa has a 4.30 ERA, 8 strikeouts, 7 walks and 14 hits in 14 2/3 innings including 1 start.

He Wouldn’t Have Gone To AAA

Well documented, if Figgy was designated for assignment, he would not accept it. He would’ve much rather signed in Japan or elsewhere. Being locked into a player who must stay on our roster or he would leave is more a detriment to the team. With all the injuries the Mets had last year, having roster mobility (the ability to move people between AAA and MLB) is essential. The Mets only have one reliever on the roster not named K.Rod, Manny Acosta or Feliciano without minor league options (see: Parnell, Bobby – Green, Sean). This flexibility allows the Mets to make moves based on need, not requirement.

The New Nelson Figueroa…

On this one, I wanted to say it was a clear cut guy – but from a different aspect we gained two pitchers who both can do what Nelson Figueroa does and they are…

Fernando Nieve

The man with the rubber arm, Fernando Nieve. He has struck out 14 in 16 innings. he’s appeared in roughly half of the Mets games this season in different innings, different situations and whenever Jerry Manuel has called him. Nieve was in the competition, and if we would’ve kept Figueroa we would’ve lost a good reason why our bullpen has been one of the best in the NL. Fernando has a 2.81 ERA, over nearly the same span as Nelson and his peripherals across the board lean towards Nieve being substantially better

Hisanori Takahashi

Hisanori Takahashi faced demotion if Figueroa made the team. What he has provided the Mets with is beyond admirable, as he has essentially piggybacked the Mets starters when they were unable to gut it out through outing. Despite his 4.02 ERA and 10 walks, which were a surprise since he was touted as a control pitcher – the man has struck out 22 batters in 15 2/3 innings. Takahashi has struck out 3 or more in 4 of his 9 outings. He’s essentially the long man for the Mets, and his upside is high-k’s and hopefully his walk rate returns to earth


Although Nelson Figueroa is a great story and a great guy overall, the Mets don’t need adequacy if they want to win. They need good starts, and a solid bullpen. Plus, of all the loyalty and such that was spoken of Figueroa – at the end of the day, he became a Philadelphia Phillie – this is a job, not a fraternity. When work opens up, you take it. The Mets found better employees to handle a job they haven’t handled well since 2007.

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The pressure is kind of off Wed, 07 Apr 2010 16:54:09 +0000 Sure, we’re all thrilled that the Mets continued their Opening Day dominance on Monday with a win over the Marlins to start the 2010 season.  It was a very complete performance with Johan Santana, Fernando Nieve and K-Rod holding the Marlins to one run; and our hitters, starting with David Wright belting a first-inning two-run homer against our nemesis Josh Johnson, delivering enough runs to make it a rout.  Newcomers Jason Bay, Gary Matthews Jr. and Rod Barajas each had two hits as well.

Now the other shoe or four will start to drop, as we’ll see if John Maine, Mike Pelfrey and Oliver Perez can keep the Mets in games this season.  It also remains to be seen if the lineup can consistently drive in runs like they did on Monday.

But I will say this.  With all of the pundits (myself included) picking the Mets to finish third or fourth in the division and having absolutely no chance to make the postseason, there seems to be an air of “whatever” about this team.  It’s not that they don’t care or don’t want to play hard, but that the expectations have been lowered to the point that they really can only exceed them.  And sometimes you never know if players will have career years or at least play to their capabilities.  So if they all do that, it’s not exactly a pipe dream to think that this team CAN succeed and reach the postseason in 2010.  It’ll be a big surprise to us all, and maybe even to them, but surely, stranger things have happened.

So will tonight be the start of reality setting in, or will it be continued good fortune as well as good baseball that began earlier this week?  Let’s Go Maine, and Let’s Go Mets!

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Does Anybody Want The Fifth Spot Besides Figueroa? Thu, 11 Mar 2010 21:34:36 +0000 With all the talk about #2 through #4 of the rotation for the Amazins, the 5th spot is as up in the air as an Ike Davis homerun. There are arguably about three or four pitchers contending for the spot. After a tenuous 2009, a clear message is being sent to everyone not named Santana or Rodriguez on the pitching staff: The best pitchers get the spots. Pure and simple. Let’s take a look at the prospective back-enders. We need solidification in the rotation and the #5 spot is no exception. here are the top three contenders along with their updated spring stats.

Jon Niese - 7.71 ERA, 4.2 IP, 6 H, 4 BB, 4 ER, 5 K  

Considered by many including Jerry Manuel to be the #5 starter and will have to pitch himself out of the job to lose it to anyone else on this list. It may take a big collapse to push him out of this spot. His big league experience is slim, but he did pitch admirably for the big league team when called up. He pitched 6 games in 2 years. He’s healthy and has shown no ill effects from the leg injury that derailed his season. All he needs to do now is pitch his tail off. The consensus pick.

Fernando Nieve – 6.00 ERA, 6 IP, 7 H, 4 BB, 4 ER, 2 K

The dark horse in the race for the 5th spot. He sported a 3-3 record in 7 games (2.95 ERA) last year at a time when the team really needed him desperately due to pitching woes. Now that he’s over the leg injury that put him down last year, he could very well upend Niese for the final spot. The only true difference between them is that one is a lefty and the other is a righty. Sounds trivial? That may make a huge difference as the Mets could use competent lefties in their rotations to offset the lefty heavy lineup in Philly, for one. Plus, Nieve is out of options and Niese is not.

Nelson Figueroa – 0.00 ERA, 8 IP, 4 H, 3 BB, 0 ER, 9 K

What’s to say? Figgy has been up and down and all around and rumor has it that the Buffalo to La Guardia Shuttle will be named after him, Figgy helps his cause this spring by pitching eight scoreless innings in his three appearances this spring. Figgy (and the Mets) know that if he is sent down once more, he may have seen his last opportunity in a Mets uniform. He clearly has been verbal about playing in Flushing and wants to remain with the team. He’s pitching, not only like he wants to stay as a Met, but like someone who intends to make it really hard for the powers-that-be to choose anyone else for the 5th spot.

Who do you like for the 5th spot? I’m going to say Figgy should be given the spot, allow Nieve to be the long man, and bring Niese along slowly. This gives the Mets room to move if Niese has to be sent back down since he has options left. Figgy and Nieve can be interchanged at the 5th and the long relief spot but I think Figgy deserves one last chance to make an impact. That’s my perspective. What’s yours?

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Competition Is In The Air Sun, 28 Feb 2010 03:59:55 +0000

Competition is a good thing, and in Mets camp there is a lot of it. Many players have entered Mets camp this year hopeful they can win a job with the big league club. Let’s break down this completion position by position and name the favorites.

Center Field - Carlos Beltran’s injury leaves a void in center field. The Mets acquired Gary Mathews Jr. to compete with Angel Pagan for the opening day center field gig. Pagan did a nice job filling in last year for Beltran when he batted .306 in 88 games. Pagan has his flaws though, many question his decision making and his intelligence on the base paths and in the field as well as his ability to stay healthy. Pagan is very talented and Matthews is going to have a hard time trying to pry the starting job away from him.

Favorite - Angel Pagan

Dark Horse – Fernando Martinez

Fifth Starter - The Mets did not acquire a big name starting pitcher this winter, leaving an open competition for the fifth starter’s job. Jon Niese, Fernando Nieve, Nelson Figueroa, Hisanori Takahashi, and R.A. Dickey are all names that should be considered for that final rotation spot. The Mets doubted that Niese would be healed from off-season surgery, but he has proven his health. Nelson Figueroa and Fernando Nieve proved useful to the Mets last season, and are hoping to break camp as the fifth starter.

Favorite - Jon Niese

Dark Horse - Hisanori Takahashi

Set-up Man – The Mets acquired Japanese import, Ryota Igarashi to compete for the eighth inning role with former Angel, Kelvim Escobar. Escobar pitched in only one game last year after missing all of 2008. Escobar is most known as a starter for the Angels, but was an effective reliever in the past for the Blue Jays. Early word is that Igarashi has impressed Mets’ coaches. Bobby Parnell is also an interesting name in consideration for this role.

Favorite – Ryota Igarashi

Dark Horse – Bobby Parnell

Final Bench Spot – With Alex Cora, Henry Blanco, Fernando Tatis, and Matthews/Pagan guaranteed to make the bench, that leaves one spot open assuming the Mets go with a five man bench. Mike Jacobs, Frank Catalanotto, Chris Carter, and Anderson Hernandez are likely to compete for this spot. It’s believed the Mets want this bench spot to be occupied by someone who can potentially enter a platoon with Daniel Murphy at first base, so that knocks Hernandez out of consideration. Jacobs is a power hitter, who just two years ago hit 32 homeruns for the Marlins. Catalanotto is known for being a clubhouse leader. Catalanotto has a slight edge over Jacobs because of his ability to play first base as well as outfield.

Favorite – Frank Catalanotto

Dark Horse – Chris Carter

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Mets Camp Promises To Have Plenty Of Exciting Battles Sat, 13 Feb 2010 03:27:55 +0000

As the Mets get ready for their 48th Spring Training camp in franchise history, Mets beat writer Adam Rubin gives us the complete list of everyone who will be making the trip. In addition to all the players on the 40 Man Roster, here are the non-roster invitees:

Pitchers (10)
Blackley, Travis (L)
Dickey, R.A.
Dessens, Elmer
Egbert, Jack
Takahashi, Hisanori, (L)
Fogg, Josh
Livingston, Robert (L)
Mejia, Jenrry
Muniz, Carlos
Niesen, Eric (L)

Catchers (2)
Riggans, Shawn
Pena, Francisco

Infielders (8)
Adams, Russ
Cervenak, Mike
Davis, Ike
Hernandez, Luis
Hessman, Mike
Jacobs, Mike
Green, Andy
Tejada, Ruben

Outfielders (4)
Cabrera, Jolbert
Catalanotto, Frank
Feliciano, Jesus
Nieuwenhuis, Kirk

The Mets will have plenty of jobs up for grabs and the competition should make for a very interesting spring training.

In the coming days, we’ll take a good long look at all the battles and provide you with regular updates throughout the spring as the Mets try to figure out which 25 players will be making the final cut. By my count, there are about seven roster spots that have yet to be decided.

One thing that might make an impact and weigh heavy in the decision making process are those players who have no remaining minor league options. The Mets have four such players and they are:

Fernando Nieve, Nelson Figueroa, Pat Misch and Anderson Hernandez.

If any of those players are demoted, they must pass through waivers first and they could be claimed by another team.

When you consider the success Fernando Nieve and Nelson Figueroa have had in Winter Ball, you get the feeling that they may have an inside track on a couple of those roster spots. Then again, the Mets have risked losing Figueroa last season, and still managed to retain him due to lack of interest from other teams.

Some of the key battles this spring include:

Starting Catcher – Omir Santos, Henry Blanco, Shawn Riggans, Chris Coste, Josh Thole

First Base – Daniel Murphy, Mike Jacobs, Ike Davis

Number 5 Starter – Fernando Nieve, Nelson Figueroa, Josh Fogg, Hisanori Takahashi, Jon Niese, Jenrry Mejia

Plenty of bullpen spots have yet to be decided as well. Keep your dial tuned to MMO and we’ll keep you up to date and in the know. Lets Go Mets!

]]> 0 Fernando Nieve Could Be A Sleeper Sat, 30 Jan 2010 17:31:51 +0000 Adam Rubin of the Daily News, recently reported that the Mets will not have Bobby Parnell audition for a spot in the starting rotation, but that Fernando Nieve will figure into the battle for the fifth spot in the rotation behind Santana, Maine, Perez and Pelfrey.

Jerry Manuel is very high on Nieve as is GM Omar Minaya, both of them have mentioned him as a pitcher we shouldn’t count out this season.

We have profiled Fernando Nieve extensively here on MMO, and I clearly envision Nieve as a major sleeper for the 2010 season.

Here’s a scouting report on Nieve in 2006 as one of their top pitching prospects:

Fernando Nieve RHP, HOU

Strengths: 89-94 MPH four-seam fastball, 85-87 MPH cut-fastball, and 81-83 MPH slider. Command, arm action, aggressiveness.

Weaknesses: Deception of 81-84 MPH straight-change, setting-up pitches, effort to ¾ delivery

Comments: Strong/stocky hurler lights-up strike zone with above average fastball and nails RH batters with cutter and slider. Improved command within strike zone and proved durable, despite effort to delivery. Gets into mindset where he wants to overpower hitters and will need to change speeds to combat LH batters.

Also check out what we posted on Nieve back on June 14th, 2009.

The Astros brought him up in 2006 – where he made 11 starts for them – pitching pretty well for a rookie – with a 4.20 ERA and striking out hitters at a rate of 6.5 per 9 innings. However in August of 2006 he experienced some elbow issues that eventually shut him down for the season – and lingered into 2007.  Apparently it was misdiagnosed by Astro trainers as elbow tendinitis (sound familiar Met fans?) – and it was revealed later in 2007 that he had a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow – and would require Tommy John surgery.

He attempted to come back early from TJ surgery in 2008 and the Astros obliged moving him to the bullpen in order to preserve his arm.  Unfortunately he was spotty at best – and spent most of 2008 moving between AAA and the MLB club (which caused the Astros to run out of options on him).

The Astros waived Nieve early this year as he wasn’t making the big club – and the Mets swooped in and claimed him.  (good scouting by someone in our organization)  Although they knew Nieve wasn’t going to make the Opening Day roster the Mets optioned him right before Opening Day – thus allowing him to clear waivers and go to AAA Buffalo (another smart move).

He pitched reasonably well in the Mets minors in 2009 – re-establishing his dominance – averaging a strikeout per inning along with reasonable control 3.0 BB/9 – and a 3.75 ERA.

Finally – John Maine’s injury opened up a spot in the Mets rotation and with the organization either having given up on Jon Niese or thinking he needs additional “seasoning” – Nieve got the call.

The rest you know.  A great outing in a pressure situation against one of the better teams in baseball.  And certainly the opportunity to carve out a place in the Mets rotation if he can follow it up.

In eight appearances for the Mets in 2009, the 27 year old Nieve went 3-3 with a superb 2.95 ERA, while striking out 23 in 36 2/3 innings. He was well on his way to establishing himself before sustaining his season ending hamstring injury.

In one dominating performance against the Yankees last season, Carlos Beltran was impressed with his new changeup. It’s worth noting because one thing most scouts agreed on regarding Nieve, was that he had the plus fastball and effective curve, but lacked the changeup to pull it all together. 

“His change-up was extremely effective as well as a pitch that he’s recently added to his arsenal. I like the way he pitches, I like his velocity,” Carlos Beltran said. “He pitched a great game, he challenged players.”

Beltran was not just impressed with his velocity. Nieve consistently threw 93 mph, and peaked at 96 mph, according to Beltran, and had an effective changeup.

“He never had that pitch before in his career, so he looked pretty good out there now,” Beltran said.

Nieve went 45-34 with a 3.63 ERA in an eight year minor league career. He is now fully recovered from TJ surgery and looks like a new and improved version who has transformed himself from a hard thrower to a smart pitcher who can deceive hitters.

While playing in the Venezuelan Winter League, Nieve went 1-2 with a 2.42 ERA in five starts, walking just three batters while striking out 26 in 26 innings. He drew raves from his manager, coaches and teammates.

Although I’m just as disappointed as most Mets fans that we didn’t acquire a starter to bolster the rotation for the 2010 season, Fernando Nieve can certainly turn those frowns upside down if he can deliver some solid performances to start the season and fulfill his expectations. He has electric stuff, and is loaded with so much promise and upside, maybe this is the year he finally delivers his breakthrough performance. LGM

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We Need To Be Prepared Wed, 20 Jan 2010 20:01:42 +0000 I know there are rumors flying around like crazy about pending free agent signings, and that the Mets are interested in the likes of Ben Sheets, Joel Pineiro and John Smoltz.  And while any of those guys are capable of stepping in and being, at the very least, our #4 starter, we should be prepared for the worst.  And that “worst” is the depth chart in our starting rotation as it stands today—Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey, John Maine, Oliver Perez, and either Jon Niese or Fernando Nieve.

All six of those guys have battled injury recently, and Maine is on the DL once or twice every season.  Santana is coming back from elbow surgery, Pelfrey had a very inconsistent season as his role on the team became more prominent, and Perez absolutely flamed out once he signed that huge 3-year deal.  He came back stronger later in the season, but the guy has clearly lost something, either physically or mentally.  Niese and Nieve showed promise but that’s about it.

So here we are less than a month away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Florida, and we have basically the same starting staff as in 2009, the one that was a big reason for one of the worst seasons in quite some time—and one that can be considered a disaster based on the fact that this team went into 2009 as a playoff contender.  And based on this team’s injury history of late, adding a re-tread or two wouldn’t give me that much more hope.

Sure, we may be pleasantly surprised, but we certainly need to be prepared for the alternative.

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Angel Pagan Is Still Flying Sky High Tue, 01 Sep 2009 13:20:41 +0000 In the words of the legendary 1990′s grunge band, Soundgarden’s lead singer Chris Cornell, the Mets have “fell on black days”.

This season has been one filled with injuries, heart break and disappointment. There haven’t been many bright spots as we head into the final full month of the regular season. Even the younger unproven intriguing players players, who were called up, such as Jon Niese and Fernando Nieve, have been stricken by injuries that will sideline them for the rest of the season.

Other players, who the Mets thought would be mainstays on their roster have yet to pan out, such as Daniel Murphy, who had to change positions mid-year due to horrendous defense in the outfield.

However, in my eyes one player has really stood out and embraced his role as a starter quite well. That player is Angel Pagan.

Pagan, who spent many years in the Mets farm system before having a cup of coffee with the Cubs, was not projected to have a role with the team beyond a possible fifth outfielder spot. As a matter of fact, he didn’t even begin the season at the Major League level.

However, after the rash of injuries that brought down star center fielder, Carlos Beltran, Pagan got his big break.

As my colleague here at Mets Merized Online, Ed Leyro pointed out back at the end of July, Pagan had just begun his fine season. One that I think few people would have thought would continue. Well here we are in September and Pagan is still looking strong.

Since July 10th, Pagan has appeared in 44 games. Over the course of the season, he has amassed 221 at-bats, which is by far more than he has had in any of the prior three seasons in his career.

He has also surpassed his previous career totals in hits, doubles, triples and home runs. The most significant increase in these categories falls in the triples category.

Prior to this season, Pagan hit a total of six triples throughout his entire Major League career. On September 1st, with still over a month of baseball to be played, Pagan already has seven triples in this season alone.

It should be noted that Pagan did not start off as well as he would have liked. He suffered some injury setbacks, and as I had reported back in May, spent some time in police custody for not paying numerous traffic violations. Like many of his teammates, he also spent sometime on the disabled list.

Those struggles make his accomplishments this season even more impressive.

I would, however like to issue a disclaimer of sorts on Angel Pagan. While he has certainly, exceeded expectations this year there is no reason to believe that he is capable of being an everyday outfielder in the 2010 Mets lineup.

In his almost four year career, Pagan has only had 630 at-bats. That may sound like a lot, but consider this last season Mets shortstop Jose Reyes had 638 at-bats. What troubles me more so is that in every season that Pagan has played at the Major League level (including this one), he has spent at least fifteen days on the disabled list.

While I look forward to seeing him next season, his role would the team should be as a solid bench player, who plays the outfield every once and a while, and not someone who is an everday player.

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For Sale: Vintage Hot Rod With Custom Paint Sat, 29 Aug 2009 02:39:30 +0000

For Sale: This vintage 1962 classic has a great paint job, but like any other used vehicle it needs a little work. You’ll want to get a new transmission (Johan Santana), V6 engine (Carlos Beltran), power steering (Carlos Delgado), a starter (John Maine), new brakes (J.J. Putz), shock absorbers (Jon Niese and Fernando Nieve), coil springs (Alex Cora, Ramon Martinez) and a catalytic converter (Jose Reyes). We installed a new Bose Stereo CD Player (Oliver Perez) six months ago, but we can’t get it to work. You will probably need a new head gasket (Omar Minaya) down the road too. Will throw in a new air freshener (Fernando Martinez). Make offer. For more information, I can be reached at the Hospital for Special Surgery. Ask for Coup-ons. Please, no collect calls.

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Who Are These Doctors Anyway? Wed, 19 Aug 2009 19:45:41 +0000 You know, I can accept the fact that the injury bug has bitten our Mets hard this season, and that freak accidents have hurt, as has being beaned in the head by opposing pitchers.  We’ve learned to accept that we have average to below-average replacements and that the season was basically over before the all-star break.  Now we’re biding our time and waiting until next year, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t bored out of my mind by these guys (not including last night’s barrage on the Braves). 

But here’s something I just can’t get past.  The disabled list itself, and the fact that our core that have landed on there (Beltran, Reyes, Delgado, Putz, Maine) and are probably all done for the season.  Here is the list of who went on the DL when, and why…

 David Wright 3B Aug 16 15-day Post-concussion symptoms
 Álex Cora SS/2B Aug 13 15-day Thumb ligament surgery – out for season
 Jonathon Niese SP Aug 6 60-day Torn right hamstring – out for season
 Fernando Nieve SP Jul 20 15-day Torn right quadriceps – out 6-8 weeks
 Fernando Martinez LF/CF Jul 9 15-day Right knee inflammation
 Carlos Beltrán CF Jun 22 15-day Bone bruise, right knee
 John Maine SP Jun 7 15-day Right shoulder fatigue
 J.J. Putz RP Jun 5 60-day Right elbow surgery – out 8-10 weeks
 Ramón Martínez SS/2B Jun 3 60-day Fractured left pinkie finger
 José Reyes SS May 21 15-day Right calf tendinitis
 Carlos Delgado 1B May 11 60-day Right hip impingement
 Billy Wagner RP Mar 27 60-day Left elbow surgery – out for season 

The 60-day DL sometimes means longer, but how is it that Reyes, Maine and Beltran are all on the 15-day DL?  So far, Reyes has been on there for 90 days, Maine 73 days, and Beltran 58 days.  We’re not talking broken bones here.  We’re talking tendonitis, shoulder fatigue and a bone bruise, respectively.  I’m not a doctor, but apparently neither are the guys in charge of the Mets’ infirmary either.  I think there is a real problem in this organization, whether that’s on the diagnosis end or in the weight room or something.  But there is a problem here for sure.

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Mets DL Fernando Nieve, Call Up Cory Sullivan Mon, 20 Jul 2009 20:33:28 +0000 The Mets have placed starting pitcher Fernando Nieve on the disabled list with a strained right quadricep muscle. Nieve hurt himself while running to first base in Sunday’s game against the Braves, and he pulled up lame. He had to be carted off the field. 

I’m a little surprised that the Mets opted to replace him with outfielder Cory Sullivan who was promored from AAA-Buffalo.

Sullivan was batting .290 with 2 homers and 24 RBIs.

To say I’m a little puzzled by the move would be an understatement.

I think most of us expected either Jon Niese of Nelson Figueroa to get the call.

Maybe Sullivan is just a temporary move until Nieve’s turn in the rotation comes up again on Friday?

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