Mets Merized Online » from left field Sat, 06 Feb 2016 05:53:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 From Left Field: Mets Should Look To Red Sox As Trade Partners In Offseason Thu, 31 Jul 2014 20:10:37 +0000 Yoenis Cespedes at the 2013 Home Run Derby at Citi Field (Photo by Jim Mancari)

Yoenis Cespedes at the 2013 Home Run Derby at Citi Field (Photo by Jim Mancari)

So another July 31 trade deadline has passed, and while the Mets maybe weren’t so active right now, some of the deals that occurred could actually affect the Amazin’s this offseason.

The Boston Red Sox completely overhauled their pitching staff by trading Jon Lester and John Lackey, as well as Felix Doubront and Andrew Miller.

In exchange, the Sox received two prominent outfielders: Yoenis Cespedes and Allen Craig. In looking at the team’s pitching however, it leaves must to be desired.

That’s where the Mets come into play.

It’s no secret that the Mets need a bat, and now the Red Sox could use a few arms, which the Mets have. So I wonder if these teams will be talking this offseason.

Starting with the Red Sox, let’s take a look at how their outfield would shape up next season. Shane Victorino is still under contract. Jackie Bradley Jr. – though he’s struggled with the bat at times – provides excellent defense in center field. Brock Holt has hit well in a limited sample, and Daniel Nava could be a solid option as a fourth or fifth outfielder. And don’t forget that the team has a big-time outfield prospect in Mookie Betts.

Naturally, one of the corner spots would be filled by either Cespedes or Craig. So let’s hypothetically say that next year’s outfield in Boston will consist of Cespedes or Craig in left, Bradley Jr./Holt in center and Victorino in right.

Since David Ortiz and Mike Napoli will still be around, that limits Craig to solely an outfield role, rather than playing first base or DH – though he could fill in at times in those spots but likely not regularly to warrant keeping him, given the team’s pitching holes.

If I were the Mets, I would inquire this offseason to see if Cespedes or Craig will be available via trade. Certainly, Cespedes would be the huge bat the Mets need for the middle of the order, but a guy like Craig coming off a tough year could be a smart gamble, especially given his versatility.

Cespedes has one year at $10.5 million remaining on his contract after this season. That’s a bargain considering his offensive production, not mention his ability to gun down runners at any base.

Craig meanwhile has three years left on his contract with a $13 million club option for 2018.

I’m not crazy about the idea of giving up a Noah Syndergaard or Jacob deGrom type prospect for A) a guy like Cespedes who only has one year left on his deal or B) a lesser player like Craig who has too many years left.

But if the Mets could negotiate an extension with Cespedes as part of a trade, now we’re talking.

And as far as Craig, a package of lesser prospects along with maybe Dillon Gee or Jon Niese could get a deal done. Even a straight-up deal for one of the veteran pitchers may work.

Cespedes to me is the impact bat the Mets are seeking. Craig I feel is more of a stopgap player, and the team already has too many of those.

So let’s see if Sandy Alderson gives the Red Sox a call this offseason.

Let me post this to the audience: Would you rather see the team try to acquire Cespedes knowing it would take Syndergaard or deGrom (and other prospects potentially too), or would you settle for Craig for a package centered around Gee or Niese, rather than the young electric arms?

Certainly a tough call.

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From Left Field: All-Star Break Came At The Worst Possible Time Fri, 25 Jul 2014 15:11:37 +0000 2014-mlb-all-star-game-logo

Most pro baseball players long to have a few days off at the All-Star break in mid-July each year.

It’s a total grind to play almost every day for three and half months, so the four-day break is well-deserved.

But for the Mets this year, the All-Star break came at the worst possible time. The team was scorching hot, but that hot-streak has since flared out in the seven games after the break.

The Mets were the hottest team in the National League to end the unofficial first half at 8-2 in their last 10 games. They were only five games under .500, and the feelings around the team were very positive for a change.

The team was pitching and hitting well and finding ways to win games late. There were a few come-from-behind wins, and the team rose up to the challenge against some All-Star pitchers including Yu Darvish, Julio Teheran and Henderson Alvarez.

Sometimes, the best method to continue a hot streak is to keep playing continuously. You’re in the zone, and you just keep riding the wave of success.

But the All-Star break really crushed the momentum of this team. Yes, they’re on a difficult road trip, but they have barely touched the ball offensively after clicking on all cylinders right before the break.

They’ve scored only 15 runs in the seven games since the break, which averages to 2.14 runs per game. Even with a strong pitching staff, that amount of runs will rarely be able to sustain a long winning streak.

And on a night like last night where Dillon Gee implodes, there’s virtually no chance of winning.

Maybe this recent stretch is the team returning to normalcy. It could also signify the Mets being sellers at this year’s trade deadline.

But on the other hand, the Mets showed the potential that they have right before the break. Sure, basically everything has to be perfect every night, but if the team showed it could rattle off eight wins in 10 games, what’s to say they can’t do that again?

The All-Star break is usually the deciding factor of which teams are in the race and which are beginning to look ahead to the next season. But with the second Wild Card spot, teams on the fringe are hanging on to every possible hope of playing postseason baseball.

As of today, the Mets are 8.5 games out of the division and 7.0 games out of the Wild Card. There are plenty of divisional matchups left to make up some ground in the division, but earning a Wild Card spot would require jumping over five teams.

Really the next week before the deadline is going to be critical. If this team can find ways to win, maybe they look to acquire some help right now. But if the recent trend of an inept offense continues, it’s time to regroup towards next year, which would include bringing up some of the young arms to see what we’ve got.

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Which Pitching Prospects Go First In A Blockbuster Trade? Thu, 17 Jul 2014 20:40:04 +0000 So we all know by now that the Mets have a stacked farm system when it comes to pitching.

Sure, the big club has been clicking on all cylinders recently, but in order to ensure sustained success, all the talk has been leading to the team needing one more big bat in the middle of the lineup.

The major areas for upgrade at this point are left field and shortstop. Even if a blockbuster trade is held off until the offseason, the Mets would undoubtedly have to tap into their well of strong pitching prospects in order to get the bat they so desperately desire.

So I’ve been thinking: Who would the Mets be willing to part with in a trade for the likes of Giancarlo Stanton (long shot), Troy Tulowitzki (long shot) or Starlin Castro (not as much of a long shot)?

Jacob deGrom

Heading into next year, the following pitchers are all under team control: Matt Harvey, Dillon Gee, Jon Niese, Bartolo Colon, Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler, Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero. Throw in the quickly rising Steven Matz, Darin Gorski, Logan Verrett, Cory Mazzoni, Hansel Robles and Gabriel Ynoa – and not to mention Jeremy Hefner returning from injury – and there are almost too many arms to choose from, though having too much pitching really never is a bad thing.

But rather than go into next season with all these arms trying to fill five spots, the team will look to package one or two of them in blockbuster trade for a bat.

So who’s the first to go?

We know Colon might be on the way out before this trade deadline, so don’t worry about him. Harvey’s not going anywhere, and even Wheeler would appear to be safe given his potential.

Having a lefty like Niese is essential, and it seems Gee turns in a solid effort every time out.

So that leaves Syndergaard, deGrom and Montero.

deGrom has dazzled since his call-up to the point where he’s a legitimate consideration for the rotation next year even when Harvey returns.

Montero struggled a bit in a few starts earlier this year, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be effective at the big-league level.

And “Thor” has had an up and down year, but we still have to see what he can do in the bigs.

What a difficult decision for Sandy Alderson?

Porpspects like Noah Syndergaard will ultimately determine how Alderson is remembered by Mets fans.

I’m thinking any team would want at least two pitching prospects in a trade and maybe even a third from the group of lower-level arms.

It’s such a crapshoot here.

Does Alderson hang onto Thor given that he traded Cy Young award winner R.A. Dickey to get him?

Does he keep deGrom given his string of dominant starts this year?

Or does he take the scouts advice in that Montero is a polished pitcher with a high ceiling?

Even if the Mets would be willing to trade Gee, other teams likely wouldn’t want him. It’s not that Gee is not a reliable pitcher – which other than some injuries he’s proven to be.

But the other teams would want the Mets young, electric, talented arms that could evolve into aces of a staff. Gee is stable middle of the rotation pitcher, even though at times he’s pitched like an ace.

At this point, are the Mets so invested in their pitching prospects that maybe they just hang onto all of them and continue to piece together the holes until a few position prospects (Brandon Nimmo, Matt Reynolds, etc.) are ready?

It’s unlikely that all the young arms are going to pan out as expected, but for the ones that do, I sure hope they’re wearing orange and blue.

What I’d hate to see is the two prospects that get traded for an impact bat become dominant starters, even if the hitter contributes for a few years.

It’s your call, Sandy. Much luck to you! You’re going to need it!


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From Left Field: Sloppy Defensive Fundamentals Dooming Amazin’s Thu, 22 May 2014 14:04:02 +0000 Wilmer Flores (Photo by Jim Mancari)

Wilmer Flores (Photo by Jim Mancari)

I was sitting on the edge of my seat at Citi Field last night in the top of the eighth inning with one out and runners on the corners for the Dodgers.

The dangerous Hanley Ramirez was up with the Mets only down by one run. Boy did we need a double play in that spot.

Ramirez likely would have been tough to double up, except maybe if he wound up hitting a sharp comebacker right to Jeurys Familia on the mound.

To my surprise, he did. Right off the bat, I’m thinking, “Wow, what a huge double play in that spot!”

But Familia all of sudden double clutches, and I see two guys – Daniel Murphy and Wilmer Flores – both hovering around second base and in each other’s way.

Naturally, the Mets fail to turn the double play and allow an insurance run to score. As if the script was written prior to the game, the Mets only muster one run in the next two innings – meaning the fielder’s choice off the bat of Ramirez produced what was essentially the game-winning run.

And it’s all because the Mets have trouble with the fundamentals.

In recent memory, the Mets pretty much have been in every game they’ve played. Yet they’ve now lost three in a row and 14 of the last 19 games.

How many times is this team going to shoot itself in the foot by making mental mistakes?

A slow trickler out in front of the plate with two outs, and Anthony Recker and Carlos Torres can’t communicate to get an out at first, allowing a run to score. And that was after a wild pitch that allowed the runner to move from second to third.

Another huge double play situation the next night, and Jacob deGrom induces the dangerous Brian McCann to hit a sharp grounder. Murphy throws to David Wright covering second due to the shift, but Wright makes a weak and wide throw to first. Of course, Alfonso Soriano follows that with the only run-producing hit of the game.

We know this team is not going to score five-plus runs per game. But the starting pitching has been better than the team’s record shows.

I’ve written about it already this season that the Mets can’t rely on playing “perfect games” every single night. But what they have to do is make the plays they are supposed to make – especially in game-changing situations.

On the play last night, there’s two ways to look at it. With a right-handed hitter batting in Ramirez, maybe Murphy and Flores communicated that Murph would cover on a comebacker. But the traditional play is that the shortstop takes the throw, since his momentum is already carrying him towards first base to complete the double play. They were already positioned in double-play depth, so it’s not like Flores had far to go.

Sure, Familia should have just thrown it in the general area, and hopefully one of the middle infielders still would have had enough time to take the throw and complete the play. But still, it should have been clear who was covering the base before the play, and the other middle infielder should have then backed up the play.

“Shoulda, woulda, coulda” at this point – and sadly, this phrase has been used way too often this season.

So after another tough loss, I left Citi Field discouraged. The silver lining: deGrom has looked great through two starts.

But without offense and with routine defensive miscues, his starts – and all the pitchers’ starts – will come to naught.

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From Left Field: Smart Baseball Is Key For Mets Thu, 15 May 2014 13:45:31 +0000 Chris Young (Photo by Jim Mancari)

Chris Young (Photo by Jim Mancari)

We were riding high on Monday and Tuesday. The offense was clicking, especially with the long ball, and the defense made a few key plays to increase the Mets winning streak to six games over the Yankees.

But then last night happened.

Before I get long-winded, Masahiro Tanaka is looking like a bona fide ace. Though games are never over until they are played, it was a tall order to think last night that Rafael Montero in his first big league start could outduel a guy who hasn’t lost a regular season game – albeit the majority in Japan – in nearly two full years.

But here’s the thing as we dissect the game: There were a few boneheaded plays that wound up costing the Mets big time.

Let’s start with the top of the second inning with two outs and Brian Roberts at the dish. He lines one to left, and Eric Young Jr. dives for it and comes up empty, allowing the ball to go to the wall and Yangervis Solarte to score easily.

I will never knock a guy for giving 100 percent effort, and that’s what Young Jr. did in that spot. But you have to know the situation there.

We all learned in Little League that you have to know what you are going to do if the ball is hit to you. You also always have to know who is up next.

In this case, Tanaka was on deck, so a single there really wouldn’t have hurt the Mets that much. Sure, Tanaka got a hit later in the game, but you’d rather take your chances in facing Tanaka with two outs then surrender a cheap run.

Again, it was a great effort by Young Jr., but it’s all about knowing the game situation at hand. That’s a lot easier said than done, especially in the heat of the moment, but he has to play that ball on a hop.

So then we move on to the bottom of the fifth. The Mets were only down 2-0 at that point, and Chris Young led off the frame with a single.

Remember, earlier in the game Daniel Murphy swiped second base as the Yankees were meandering around. That was a great heads-up play but one that happens so rarely that you can’t expect it to happen again.

Young however thought he could leave early and catch the Yankees napping again. But catcher Brian McCann signaled to Tanaka, who stepped off and threw to Solarte for the easy out.

Young was visibly mad at himself when he got up, and he should have been. There’s no reason to be making the first out in that fashion. That’s giving away an out to an ace pitcher who is already dominating you – which is not exactly the recipe for success.

I can understand a bit where Young is coming from. With Lucas Duda batting, anything on the ground is an easy double play. But in that case, why not just try a straight steal rather than a leave early play? It’s not like McCann is Yadier Molina behind the plate.

This team cannot afford to be making mental mistakes. Physical errors happen, but mental mistakes can be controlled.

If Young Jr. plays that ball on a hop, the Yankees have a much less chance of scoring that inning. And if Young was not caught trying to steal, who knows how that inning would have gone?

It wasn’t a great night to have “Young” as your last name. These plays were crucial, and though they didn’t necessarily cost the Mets the entire game, every play counts in the grand scheme of a baseball game.

Especially at home – where runs for the Mets have come at a premium – playing smart baseball is essential.

Sure it’s fine to take a calculated risk every so often, like Murphy did. But this team cannot afford to give opponents extra bases on defense and gift outs on offense.

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From Left Field: Would You Sign Up For 16-17 At This Point? Thu, 08 May 2014 19:47:08 +0000 juan lagares

Today is a much-needed day off for our Mets, who are now 1-6 in their last seven games.

That skid puts the team at 16-17 overall and fourth place in an NL East division that’s shaping up to be quite competitive.

We knew that the first month’s schedule was going to be tough, including the opening series against the Nationals, the early nine-game West Coast road trip, and tough series against the Braves and Cardinals.

So if you would have told me that the Mets would be 16-17 at this point based on their schedule, would I have signed up for that? I guess I would.

But honestly, with the way they’ve been losing games recently, I am forced to reconsider that answer.

Not too long ago, the Mets were sitting pretty at 15-11. Sure, a tough series at Coors Field was on the horizon, but a split and then taking two out of three from the Marlins would have been a great way to start the second month of the season.

But that’s not how it unfolded.

You have to always pencil at least one blowout loss in Colorado, but to lose a game after being up 6-0 is unacceptable.

Then on to Miami, the starting pitching in the series was great, but the bullpen and offensive woes cost the team a chance at salvaging the road trip.

A few losses this season have been beyond gut-wrenching – from Opening Day, to bullpen blow-ups, to walk-off losses, especially via the hit-by-pitch.

So would I sign up for 16-17? If I did not watch a single pitch this past month, then yes, I would have signed up for that mark at this point, given the question marks surrounding the this team in Spring Training.

But after following closely this year, there’s no way I’m signing for that mark.

It’s nice that the team has been alive in the majority of its games, but they have to be able to close out opponents.

When they have a three-run lead early, the offense can’t just shut down. But if it does, the bullpen has to be able to pick up the slack.

The starting pitching has certainly been a bright spot, but how many Jon Niese or Dillon Gee no-decisions is this organization willing to put up with before a change is made?

What that change will be, I do not know.

It starts with Wilmer Flores getting a look at shortstop. And maybe the next step is promoting some of the young arms to play a role in the bullpen.

Whatever happens, there’s still plenty of season left. Yes, giving away games in April and May is tough to swallow, but blowing what hopefully will be meaningful games in August and September just won’t cut it.

16-17 isn’t the worst thing in the world at this point, but it’s the way they’ve lost the 17 that has been tough so far.

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From Left Field: Mets Have No Luck With Free Agents Wed, 23 Apr 2014 18:16:52 +0000 MLB Opening Day at Citi Field

We’ve played about a month of the season, and already the Mets’ prized free agent of the offseason – Curtis Granderson – has appeared lost at the plate.

As a Met fan, I understand what patience truly is, but Granderson’s struggles are certainly alarming for a player who has not only experienced success but has also done so in New York.

With a $15 million per year price tag, Granderson is going to play every day. If that’s the case, please Terry, get him out of the No. 2 hole. All he does is kill rallies, so I’d say bat him sixth or seventh until he figures it out.

Granderson’s slow start in Flushing got me thinking that this organization really has no luck when it comes to bringing in high-profile free agents.

From Vince Coleman, to Bobby Bonilla, to Kaz Matsui and of course to Jason Bay – arguably the worst of them all – good players sometimes forget how to play when they arrive here.

Some guys, like Roberto Alomar, Mo Vaughn, Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez, were traded to the Mets before flopping completely.

And other guys, like Pedro Martinez, Frankie Rodriguez and Johan Santana, were productive for a time but will always be remembered for their injuries in New York.

Really, the only guys I can think of that played well after a free-agent contract were Mike Piazza and Carlos Beltran.

Piazza of course was acquired via trade and would sign a seven-year, $91 million contract. Sure, he wasn’t the same player the final few years, but his production during the prime of his Mets career lived up to that contract.

As for Beltran, he may have gotten off to a slow start after signing a seven-year, $119 million, but he very quietly put together a solid Mets career. The strikeout against Adam Wainwright may cast a dark cloud over his Mets legacy, but he did have some good years in orange and blue.

It’s an unfortunate trend that the Mets have had so much trouble striking gold on the free-agent market. If things don’t turn around for Granderson, he could be next on the long list of Mets free-agent flops.

But luckily for Curtis, his Mets tenure has just begun. Guys go through slumps to start a season all the time. Keep in mind, he missed most of last year, so he’s still trying to rediscover his stroke.

Frankly, I don’t even care about the low batting average or the strikeouts as long as he’s driving in runs. He’s not all of a sudden going to transform into a .300 hitter.

It’s all about making productive outs and driving in runs when given the opportunity. Striking out with runners on second and third and nobody is unacceptable, especially for a middle of the order type hitter.

Since the other Mets are struggling offensively as well, Granderson’s woes are that much more noticeable, since he was brought in to give some stability to the offense and some protection behind David Wright.

For Granderson, I’ve already been hearing the Jason Bay comparisons. Through the first few weeks, “The Grandyman Can’t,” but he still has some time before a change is necessary.

It’s not like Bobby Abreu is going to be playing right field every day…

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From Left Field: Playing A ‘Perfect Game’ Is Too Much To Ask Thu, 10 Apr 2014 16:52:30 +0000 USATSI bartolo colon

We all know what a perfect game is.

27 up, 27 down.

But a “perfect” game can also be when a team excels in all aspects of the game in the same night: pitching, hitting and defense.

When a team plays a “perfect” game, they usually win. It’s pretty simple, since if all three aspects are perfect – especially pitching and defense – it means the other team didn’t score many runs.

With the way this Mets team is built, the only way for them to consistently win games is for them to play perfect games. The problem is that playing a perfect game is extremely difficult – especially multiple perfect games in a row.

Tuesday night in Atlanta, the Mets basically played a perfect game. They hit in timely situations, fielded well enough – despite two errors, one which could have been costly – to keep them in front and received dominant pitching by Bartolo Colon for seven innings.

Sure, Jose Valverde gave us a scare at the end, but the team hung on for the win and that’s all that mattered.

It’s a lot of pressure for a team to know it has to be perfect to win games. Unfortunately for the Mets, that’s the mindset right now.

They’ve received decent starting pitching so far, but this team’s offense is anemic. If they are only going to score three or four runs a game, it’s imperative that the pitching and defense be perfect.

Last night, Zack Wheeler pitched well for four innings, but he came apart in the fifth. The Mets mounted a nice comeback in the ninth, but did we really expect the team to make up a four-run deficit against Craig Kimbrel?

A one- or two-run deficit? Maybe. But we know this team has its limitations, so we can’t expect to come from behind every night.

If this team’s offense could ever click, then maybe a pitcher giving up four runs over five or six innings wouldn’t be so bad. The whole point of this game is to score more runs than the other team, so even if you give up 10 but score 11, you win.

The most runs the Mets have scored this season was seven, and it came in the Opening Day, 10-inning loss to the Nationals. The only other time they scored more than four was the Ike Davis walk-off grand slam game.

Sadly, we will likely see too many 2-1 or 1-0 losses this season. What that tells me is that even on days when the starting pitching and defense click, the offense falters.

We’ve got plenty of season to go, but the thought of having to play a “perfect” game every night is daunting to think about.

Nights like Monday could happen every once in a while, but the reality is that those nights are too rare for a team to live by.

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From Left Field: Playing With A Short Leash Is A Tough Way To Play Thu, 27 Mar 2014 16:38:19 +0000 lucas duda ike davis

So it’s looks as though the Mets will be carrying both Ike Davis and Lucas Duda on the 25-man roster come Monday’s Opening Day.

The injuries to both this spring precluded the team from being confident in naming a starter. It does look like though that Davis will get the first crack at the position.

If absolutely necessary, Duda could see time in left field, but let’s hope that never happens. He could be a nice lefty power bat off the bench however, along with Andrew Brown from the right side – if he makes the final roster.

So let’s say Davis gets the starting nod.

With Duda on the roster, Terry Collins has the option of playing the hot hand. But the problem with that is when you’re a player, a vote of confidence from the organization is huge to your performance.

I understand that this is a results-driven business. But imagine being in Davis or Duda’s shoes.

You go out there on Opening Day and go 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and four men left on base in key situations (hopefully not!). Not to mention you make an error in the field.

Not only would you hear the boo-birds from the fans the next day, but there may not even be a next day, since there is another first baseman – actually two if you include Josh Satin – on the roster.

If David Wright has that kind of day at the plate, he doesn’t have to worry about potentially losing his job. He forgets about it and moves on to the next day.

But for Davis and Duda, everything they do on the field will be highly scrutinized, and that’s a tough way to play.

Granted, the inconsistent performances of Davis and Duda, not only this spring but also throughout their entire careers, have put them in this situation. But still, when a ballplayer harps on a poor game, it undoubtedly affects him moving forward.

In a perfect world, Davis is given the nod and gets off to a great start. Duda fills in whenever necessary and maybe settles in to a pinch-hitting role. I do like the thought of Duda coming off the bench late in the game with the potential for some fireworks.

If Davis remains hot, trade Duda to an American League team where he could DH.

Now, let’s say Davis struggles out of the gate. I at least want him to be given the full month of April to show if he’s still got it. If after April he’s hitting .150, then make the switch to Duda on a permanent basis – or until he falters as well. Then go with Satin, who actually did a decent job last season.

But flip-flopping back-and-forth and game-to-game won’t do anybody any good.

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From Left Field: What Could Have Been If Mets Signed Jose Reyes Wed, 12 Feb 2014 19:03:35 +0000 Jose Reyes ball

I was listening to WFAN this morning, and Evan Roberts brought up an interesting point.

He said that the Mets two gaping holes right now are shortstop and leadoff hitter.

Hmm, not too long ago, the Mets had arguably the best in the game at both: Jose Reyes.

But of course, we know what happened there.

Granted, based on the Mets financial situation at the time, keeping both Reyes and David Wright would have been a pipe-dream.

But I can’t help but wonder what could’ve been if the Mets were somehow able to re-sign Reyes.

Things may have shaken up a bit differently, but imagine the current Mets roster with Reyes.

The lineup would be something like Reyes leading off at shortstop, Daniel Murphy at second, Wright at third, Curtis Granderson in one corner outfield spot, Chris Young in the other corner spot, Ike Davis/Lucas Duda at first, Juan Lagares in center and Travis d’Arnaud behind the dish.

The bench would be solid with Ruben Tejada as a defensive replacement, the speedster Eric Young Jr., the versatile Josh Satin, maybe the power bat of Andrew Brown and whoever the backup catcher winds up being.

That’s a pretty good team, especially taking into consideration the Mets’ pitching staff as well. Maybe not the Atlanta Braves or the Washington Nationals, but no doubt a contender for a wild card spot.

But now reality is setting back in, and it will become even more evident if I ever watch a Toronto Blue Jays’ game with Reyes penciled into shortstop and the leadoff position.

Reyes was a dynamic player for the Mets, and it’s just unfortunate that his free agency occurred at a time when the Mets had absolutely no money.

Maybe the team brings in Stephen Drew – though he’s not Reyes.

Or maybe Tejada surprises – though he’s not Reyes.

And depending on if the team can find a position for him, Young Jr. could be a leadoff option – though he’s not Reyes.

It just goes to show how difficult it is to find a quality shortstop and leadoff hitter, as the Mets are still searching for both going on three seasons without Reyes.

Presented By Diehards

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Mets Shouldn’t Overpay For Middling Talent Sat, 09 Nov 2013 13:45:45 +0000 The Mets are at a crossroads right now, and we know what the giant elephant in the room is: Matt Harvey is out for the entirety of 2014.

With that being the case, the Mets’ brass really needs to be smart this offseason. It begs the question: Do we go all-in right now or wait until next offseason to really make a big splash?

Look who’s available in free agency. Do any of these names really get you super excited?

We really don't need another Jason Bay-type contract!

We really don’t need another Jason Bay-type contract!

Maybe a name like Robinson Cano, but we know that’s not happening. And now that it seems the Mets won’t commit $100 million to a player, that eliminates the likes of Jacoby Ellsbury and potentially Shin-Soo Choo. (In other news, it’s absolutely crazy to think that Choo is poised to earn a $100 million deal, but that’s a completely different story.)

There are a few intriguing names out there right now, but it seems each has a drawback.

Curtis Granderson would be a nice addition, maybe even to play right field if the team is committed to keeping Juan Lagares in center for his defense. Granderson was once a Gold Glove caliber center fielder – and probably still is – but imagine that outfield defense with he Lagares roaming out there.

But Granderson strikes out so much, and we already have guys who strike out a ton. Let’s move on.

Nelson Cruz and Jhonny Peralta have some baggage, but both have proven to be solid offensive performers. Would the fanbase accept these guys? Probably yes, simply based on need.

But do we cant to commit multiple years and millions of dollars to these two aging players coming off suspensions? It’s a good question to consider.

Believe me, I want the Mets to add a few pieces. If they somehow work out the finances to be able to sign Granderson (for right field), Cruz (for left field) and Peralta (for shortstop), as well as a back-end rotation starter and a few bullpen arms, that would be a very good offseason.

But I really don’t want to see them overspend, or even worse bid against themselves, in order to bring these guys in.

Granderson will undoubtedly receive interest elsewhere and likely as a center fielder. So if the Mets are committed to Lagares – which we don’t know right now – then Grandy is out.

All reports indicate that the Mets have money to spend, but they need to spend it wisely.

Think about it, would you rather see the team spend frivolously this offseason just to say they did something by bringing in guys like Granderson and Cruz?

Or do you want the team to be patient, bring in some filler type players like Rafael Furcal and Corey Hart that would only command one-year deals, wait for Harvey to return for 2015, and start with a clean slate then?

It’s such a tough dilemma, because we’ve been waiting for 2014 ever since Sandy Alderson took over. Now it’s here and we have the money to spend, so why not spend it?

Trades for Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki or Giancarlo Stanton really were the key to this team’s improvement, but all those ideas have been quelled. So unless Alderson can pry Andre Ethier or Matt Kemp from the Dodgers, it’s looking like free agency will be the route to add players.

Like we’ve established, the free-agent class right now does not blow anyone away. We really can’t afford to have another Jason Bay-type crippling contract.

With all the pitching talent, this team is eventually going to be good. The old saying goes, “Develop pitching and buy hitting.”

Developing the pitching seems to be going well, and the team finally has the money to buy the hitting, but it’s unfortunate that now that the team finally has money, the available offensive weapons don’t get us too excited.

So the takeaway from all of this: If you can get Granderson to agree to a manageable deal and Cruz and Peralta will take one-year (maybe two-year) contracts, then let’s do it.

But please Sandy, do not overpay for middling talent, as has become synonymous with the Mets for too long.

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Cyclones’ Pitcher Honors Father, Family With Glove Thu, 27 Jun 2013 13:31:01 +0000 Cyclones’ lefty reliever John Mincone is back in Brooklyn this summer, and already he’s off to a similar start as last year’s All-Star campaign.

He maybe was a candidate to start the year at a higher level of the minors, but he suffered a bout of tendinitis that delayed his offseason conditioning.

John Mincone (Photo courtesy Brooklyn Cyclones)

John Mincone (Photo courtesy Brooklyn Cyclones)

He’s settled in as the Cyclones’ closer this year, and he’s been unhittable – striking out seven batters in 3.2 innings of work.

The season is young, but he’s on his way to another All-Star selection.

Below is a piece I wrote last summer about Mincone. The soon-to-be 24-year-old has dealt with several hardships in his young life, but he proudly wears them on his sleeve…and even on his glove.

Here is the story of Mincone’s symbolic glove:


In baseball, it’s common for players to adorn their gloves with personal symbols such as their initials, their autographs, the area code where they grew up or the flag of their country of origin.

Brooklyn Cyclones lefty relief pitcher John Mincone, a Huntington, L.I., native, has followed this trend, however not by using any of the above examples.

A cross is sewn into the palm of Mincone’s glove. The initials of a family member sit at each of the four endpoints. On the pinky of the glove are the letters “PHIL 4:4,” representing the Bible verse Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always! I will say it again: Rejoice!”

Mincone uses his glove as a symbol of remembrance for family members he lost to cancer. “RM” on the top of the cross stands for Raymond Mincone, John’s grandfather on his dad’s side who passed away in February. On the left side, “FT” stands for Florence Tomasello, John’s grandmother on his mom’s side. The right side has the initials “AT” representing Antonio Tomasello, John’s grandfather on his mom’s side.

The cross on John Mincone's glove (Photo by Jim Mancari)

The cross on John Mincone’s glove (Photo by Jim Mancari)

But the bottom endpoint of the cross has the most significance to the Cyclones’ hurler. The letters “JM” stand for Joseph Mincone, John’s father who passed away on Aug. 13, 2011 at age 50 after losing his battle with cancer.

Joseph Mincone had coached his son John since the latter was just two years old. As John progressed in the game, Joseph served as his pitching coach to make sure his mechanics were fluid. The two developed an inseparable bond.

“We did everything together,” John said. “He wasn’t only like that with me but with my four other brothers as well. It was the fact that he was able to put 100 percent of his time into every single one of his kids and my mother.”

When John was in fifth grade, Joseph was diagnosed with cancer in the lymph nodes of his neck. He made a smooth recovery, but in 2005, the cancer came back. After surgery, Joseph was once again cancer free.

John meanwhile was selected by the Chicago Cubs in the 11th round of the June 2009 MLB Draft after pitching at Suffolk County Community College, Brentwood, L.I. Joseph and John spent some quality time together in Arizona at John’s first spring training for the Cubs in 2010.

However, just days after Joseph left, he called his son with terrible news.

“He (Joseph) told me that the cancer had come back behind his ear canal and back behind his cheekbone,” John said. “He didn’t want to ruin the time we were having. That’s just the type of guy he was.”

After his dad passed, John thought of a way to honor his father’s legacy. Joseph’s favorite Bible verse was the aforementioned Philippians 4:4: “Rejoice in the Lord always! I will say it again: Rejoice!”

John said his father would always seek to help others. He often walked the streets of New York City, taking in those who were hungry and buying them food.

“He loved doing the Lord’s work,” John said. “That’s what he did. He rejoiced in the Lord always. He wanted to make sure everybody around him knew it.”

When the Mets signed John in mid-March of 2012, the glove company that sponsors him told him it could do basically anything to personalize his glove. He chose the cross design on the palm and the Bible verse on the pinky in order to keep the memories of his dad and his other family members alive.

“Over in Taiwan where they make these (gloves), they believe the palm is closest to the heart, so that’s why they wanted the cross and the initials on the inside,” John said.

The Bible verse on Mincone's glove (Photo by Jim Mancari)

The Bible verse on Mincone’s glove (Photo by Jim Mancari)

When Joseph was alive, he watched every one of John’s games either in person, on television or online.

“That’s been the toughest adjustment period…not being able to talk to him after the game,” John said. “Having the symbol in the glove…I look at it before I pitch every time. It feels like he’s with me out there.”

In this way, Joseph is still watching over his son as he pitches. John said he feels blessed to have had his father and grandparents in his life for the time that he did.

“It’s really hard to take positives out of everything that’s happened, especially the last couple of years, but they (his deceased family members) were such huge supporters of my career,” John said. “Everything they told me clicked in after that. Whether religiously or baseball wise, they taught my brothers and I how to be the people that we are.”

The Mincone family has become even closer since losing Joseph. John’s mother and brothers attend games frequently at MCU Park in Coney Island.

“The support has been incredible from the entire family,” John said. “We’re all here for each other no matter what. It’s unfortunate, but in times like these, you really see what families are made of. I’m really proud of the way my family has handled everything.”

Though relief pitching is often an uncertain role in baseball, John is certain about one thing: The spirit of his father Joseph will be with him as he “rejoices in the Lord” on and off the baseball diamond.


This season, Mincone is using the newer model of this glove. However, the cross and Biblical verse are in the exact same place.

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From Left Field: Plenty Of Brooklyn Cyclones Coverage This Summer Fri, 14 Jun 2013 13:00:09 +0000 So if you Mets fans out there are anything like me, it pains you to see how poorly our favorite team is playing.

Usually at this time, the team is at least still somewhat relevant and playing somewhat exciting baseball.

But not this year.

MCU Park

Sure, there are some good things to look forward to with the big-league club, especially the much-anticipated debut of Zack Wheeler on Tuesday.

However, later on in the day Tuesday, the Mets’ short-season Single-A affiliate, the Brooklyn Cyclones, will open their 13th season in Coney Island.

I have been tabbed the Cyclones’ beat reporter for Mets Merized Online, and I’m excited for this opportunity to get to know the prospects who are way down on the farm.

Many of these guys are right out of high school and college and have a long road ahead of them. But they surely will be showing up each night with enthusiasm as they begin their baseball careers.

Just look at the Mets’ roster right now. Daniel Murphy, Bobby Parnell, Lucas Duda, Dillon Gee, Josh Satin, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Jordany Valdespin and Juan Lagares all were Brooklyn Cyclones. Not to mention some first baseman in the Mets’ farm system named Ike Davis.

I will be covering the majority of the home games this summer and will try to provide brief updates on road games. I will have player insights, and maybe I will try to develop a weekly spot with manager Rich Donnelly – a coach who has seen it all in his experience with baseball.

brooklyn cyclones

I’m always open to suggestions about my coverage. Got a question for a prospect? Got a story idea? I’d love to hear about it. I will be checking the comments section of my stories frequently, so drop me a note and I’ll take care of the rest.

I hope you enjoy the coverage of the future Mets. It’s certainly a luxury to have a minor-league affiliate so close to the parent club.

And MCU Park is truly a great venue to watch a ballgame. After Hurricane Sandy, the Cyclones ripped up the damaged grass field and installed a beautiful FieldTurf surface. It will be interesting to see how this affects the game.

I’ll be bringing you all that and more this summer. Thank you in advance for following the Cyclones!

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From Left Field: Would Santana Accept A Minors Deal For 2014? Thu, 06 Jun 2013 15:56:30 +0000 johan santana no-hitter

On Monday night, I watch the replay of Johan Santana’s no-hitter on SNY and was just as captivated as the night I watched it live on television.

But this time around, I kept thinking to myself what could have been with Santana had his Mets’ tenure not been decimated by injuries.

Then I of course looked to the future hope of the Mets’ starting rotation that almost certainly does not include the veteran lefty.

Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Jon Niese, Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero are an impressive starting five, right? But odds are against the Mets in having all of these players pan out as expected.

That’s where Santana comes back into the picture.

The Mets have a $25 million team option for 2014 on Johan. He will make $25.5 million this season after not throwing a single pitch.

That option would have vested if Santana won a Cy Young with the Mets in any of his years here or pitched 215 innings this season.

The team has a $5.5 million buyout, which it will obviously exercise. Santana at that point becomes a free agent.

So would the Mets be interested in bringing back Johan on an incentives-based minor-league deal?

The answer is likely yes, since there would really be no consequence if his comeback attempt fails. They’ll be paying him $5.5 million anyway, so maybe the team can squeeze out the final ounces of talent left in Johan.

Even if he only regains some of his once dominant form, he can still wins some ballgames. When healthy, he pitched to a 3.18 ERA in New York.

More importantly, he can serve as a mentor to the unproven guys like Wheeler, Syndergaard and Montero. The Mets will almost certainly need some starting pitching insurance, so what better than having a former two-time Cy Young Award winner in house?

But the problem with all this is that Santana may still be able to earn a guaranteed Major League deal with another team. If that’s the case, he’ll likely choose that over a minor-league deal.

There is no sense of loyalty in the game today. Even though the Mets paid Santana $137.5 million for 46 total wins (about $3 million per win), he probably doesn’t feel like he owes the Mets anything.

As a fan, I can easily sit here and say that Santana owes the organization at least one more year in which he accepts minimum salary to account the for the money he’s earned during all the time he’s missed.

But then I put myself in Santana’s shoes. My talent has diminished since coming to New York. I’m coming off major shoulder surgery and have a very uncertain future. I’m attempting a comeback, and I would have much more confidence if a team showed confidence in me by giving me a guaranteed deal.

Maybe the Twins would step in and reunite with Johan for his last go-around so he could finish his career where it started.

Even so though, odds are the Santana won’t receive a guaranteed deal based on his age and recent string of injuries.

It’s a tricky situation to say the least. Many Mets’ fans probably just want the Wilpon’s to sign the $5.5 million buyout check to Johan and be done with him for good.

Yet, I’m sure many of us wouldn’t mind if he’s brought back (on the right deal of course) to try to give it one last shot in the orange and blue.

And if that’s not the case, then at least he’ll always be etched in Mets’ lore as the first pitcher to throw a no-hitter in franchise history.

The unfortunate thing about it all is that the no-hitter was supposed to only be one chapter in a storied Mets’ career. Santana had a handful of other great moments here, but sadly his injuries will cloud his on-field performance.

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Collins Pulling Gee Was A Mistake That Didn’t End Up Hurting The Team Fri, 31 May 2013 16:28:18 +0000 dillon gee

Updated with thoughts by Joe D. on 5/31

When Terry Collins removed Dillon Gee in the eighth inning last night after registering one out, I like everyone else who were interacting on Twitter busted a gasket.

Here was Gee, pitching the game of his life and in the midst of retiring 15 consecutive batters – including the last five via a strikeout – and Collins decided to pull him despite only throwing 88 pitches to that point? Has he gone mad?

We’ve seen this so many times before from Collins and as usual his reasoning was as irrational as ever citing that “he didn’t want Gee to lose the game.”

Time and time again he’s done this and in fact it had the inverse effect resulting in losses for Jeremy Hefner, Shaun Marcum and Jon Niese. Despite his illogical attempts to secure a win for his pitchers, in most cases it led to a loss or no-decision.

Also, what does it say to his pitchers that Collins doesn’t trust them enough to win their own games?

Last night worked out okay for Gee, but that still doesn’t make what Collins did rational or right.

It was a terrible call, and to compound it by going to Scott Rice who desperately needs a day off, only made the decision even more foolish.

Rice leads the league in appearances and has played in 31 of the Mets’ first 51 games. That’s a recipe for disaster for the rookie who is on pace for 100 appearances – smashing every franchise record in the books.

Original Post 5/30

So picture yourself as Dillon Gee.

You’ve had a rough start to this season after coming off surgery.

Questions about your role have been brought up with the impending arrival of super prospect Zack Wheeler.
You take the ball in the Subway Series against the Yankees – trying to lead your team to incredibly rare four-game sweep.

And you deliver the game of your life.

But after a career-high 12 strikeouts and retiring 15 batters in row, you see your manager Terry Collins trotting out from the dugout. You’ve only thrown 88 pitches though and have looked great!

Pitching coach Dan Warthen didn’t pay a visit to check on you. You didn’t allow a hit or walk to signal for the pitching change. You simply dominated but wound up being pulled after 7.1 innings.

Now looking back on all this, Scott Rice came in and did another great job retiring the two lefties. Collins looks like a genius for pushing the right button at the right time, but was that button pushed a bit prematurely?

Once Ichiro was announced as the pinch hitter and with Brett Gardner on deck, the decision to bring in Rice to face the lefties made sense at the time.

But here’s the thing: Gee didn’t seem to have much trouble with the bevy of Yankee hitters thrown his way all night, except for a meaningless solo homer he allowed to Robinson Cano.

This could be considered a case of over-managing by Collins, but the result was favorable for the Mets.

Gee showed little emotion after being pulled, but he had to have been perturbed. He easily could have gone the distance if he kept up his pace.

At least give him a chance to get through eight innings. Now that the Mets have a somewhat established closer in Bobby Parnell, the ninth inning was his based on the save situation.

But Gee would have had even more of a confidence boost if he’d been given the chance to put up eight frames of one run ball.

In the end, this really isn’t that big of a deal. The most important thing is that the Mets won the ballgame and pulled off the four-game sweep.

Gee now needs to focus on building upon this effort to erase the rough start to his season. This is the type of effort that can really get him going.

And with Wheeler not too far away, each start for Gee – and Jeremy Hefner for that matter – will be highly scrutinized.

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From Left Field: Big Innings Have Been A Killer Thu, 23 May 2013 16:32:44 +0000 terry collinsNothing seems to be going right for the Mets.

The team is 10 games under .500, the first baseman is batting .147 and virtually no one is showing up to Citi Field.

It seems that every time the Mets fall behind, the game is over. Sure, the team has had a few exciting late-game wins, but there is very little fight right now.

One issue that has hindered the team is giving up three or more runs in a single inning. The Mets have done this 31 times this year, which leads the bigs.

On the flip side, the team has scored three or more runs offensively in an inning just 19 times.

Even if this team can get on some sort of hot streak (unlikely), it won’t be by overpowering its opponents. It would be by playing sound baseball and scratching out enough runs to win a close ballgame.

But if the team plans on changing its ways, limiting the big inning from a defensive standpoint is a good way to start.

Rallies happen; they are part of the game. Minimizing the damage though is key to winning – or at least staying competitive – in ballgames.

Other than Matt Harvey and Bobby Parnell, the Mets’ pitching staff has been very inconsistent. Scott Rice has been good lately, but collectively the unit has struggled.

The pieces for future success are on the farm, so we’ll just have to be patient until they are ready. But for the time being, the team is still responsible for at least providing somewhat of a decent product for its fanbase.

Because if they don’t, that fanbase will dwindle even further than it already has.

Every day we hear the same thing from Terry Collins, and who could blame him?

There have been times this year when the team has shown it can play exciting baseball, and now they just have to try to do that more consistently. Obviously as they’ve shown, that’s easier said than done.

Limiting big innings is a good start. This team is not going to score many runs, so the runs it does score are sacred.

There is still time, and there’s no better time than the present to turn things around.

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Matt Harvey’s Similarities To Tom Seaver Uncanny Fri, 10 May 2013 16:32:13 +0000 One of my greatest wishes as a relatively young Mets fan is wanting to have seen Tom Seaver pitch.

Sure, I’ve seen the highlight videos and World Series tapes that portrayed his dominance, but it’s still not the same as seeing the best pitcher in Mets’ history actually toe the rubber.

However, albeit still very early, we younger Mets fans are seeing firsthand what it was like when Seaver took the mound in the form of Matt Harvey – just throwing it out there that I was also too young to remember Doc Gooden as well.

Harvey has been dominant this year, and his body of work is very similar to that of Seaver.

Harvey has a slightly bigger build than Seaver when he pitched, but Seaver still fit the mold of a powerful right-hander.

Both have explosive fastballs and aren’t afraid to challenge hitters up in the zone – again going back to at least what I’ve seen from Seaver on the tapes.

Both have at least one good secondary pitch: Seaver mostly a slider and Harvey a curveball, slider and change-up. Harvey already has shown great command of each of these pitches, just like Seaver demonstrated with his slider.

Certainly, the mental approach by each pitcher resembles one another. That “bulldog” mentality if always wanting to win allowed each to experience success very early in their careers – and we naturally hope Harvey’s success continues for plenty more years.

But of all the similarities between the two, the fact that each came up with an inept offensive team is just uncanny.

The Mets really have never been known as an offensive team, but to not somehow scratch together a run when your pitcher is working on a perfect game really is embarrassing. Yes, Hector Santiago threw a very good game Tuesday night for the White Sox, but that’s where you have to dig deep and dent the plate at least once.

I looked at Seaver’s rookie year in 1967 and compared it with the first few months of Harvey’s career. Seaver made 34 starts during his Rookie of the Year campaign and finished with a 16-13 record.

However, he had just a 2.76 ERA, and in those 34 starts, he only gave up four or more runs eight times. He also threw 18 complete games, but we’ll overlook that for now since today’s game is much different than back then – especially when dealing with pitch counts and innings limits.

As for Harvey in 17 career starts, he’s given up four or more runs in a start just once and has a collective 2.07 ERA. Yet his career mark is only 7-5.

Tom  Seaver 1

Now I don’t want to only point the finger at the offense for a lack of production. There likely were times – albeit few – that the Mets actually scored a comfortable amount of runs for Seaver, and the same will be true for Harvey eventually.

It may not even out fully, but there will be times when Harvey doesn’t have his best stuff and the Mets score enough runs to get him the win.

But just imagine if Seaver and Harvey had any sort of consistent run support. Is it so much for a pitcher to ask his team to score four runs per game? If that was the case for Harvey, he could potentially be 11-1, not to even mention the no-decisions.

Ok, it’s definitely not as cut and dry as that, but what I’m saying here is that it’s just the typical Mets way to have an ace-type pitcher yet not be able to score a single run.

Let’s hope that changes as Harvey continues to progress. Based on what we saw Tuesday night, he may only need one run per game.

Luckily, he’s a decent hitter too, so he should be able to help himself at the plate. Like a typical Little League superstar game, Harvey could pitch a complete game shutout and hit a home run to win the game.

That might be his only chance to consistently pick up wins.

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This Mets Team Can’t Afford Mental Mistakes Thu, 11 Apr 2013 16:29:03 +0000 Daniel MurphyI cringed as Domonic Brown’s three-run home run in the bottom of the first inning disappeared deep into the stands at Citizens Bank Park last night.

Phillies 5, Mets 0 before we even blinked.

But then I realized that Citizens Bank Park is band box, and one or two big swings would get the Mets right back in the game.

Sure enough, homers from the red-hot John Buck and Lucas Duda made it a 5-2 game heading into the fifth.

With one out and runners on second and third in the fifth, Ike Davis lifted a ball to shallow center that it looked like Ben Revere might not get to. Revere made the catch on the run, but there was no way he’d be able to set himself and throw out Jordany Valdespin trying to tag up from third.

OK, we got ourselves a 5-3 game. We’re right back in this.

Hold on just a second.

I again cringed as I saw Daniel Murphy had been doubled off second base on a play that was right in front of him. That’s inexcusable.

Unfortunately, the Mets are not a talented enough team to have mental mistakes. Physical errors of course are part of the game, but the mental mistakes are the ones that can cost games.

Now, even if that run counted and the game was 5-3, that does not automatically mean the Mets would have come all the way back to tie the game or even take the lead. But again, in that type of ballpark, anything can happen.

It’s impossible to think that any team – even the best teams in the league – will play perfect all-around baseball. It just doesn’t happen. But the teams that limit the mental mistakes always put themselves in a better position to win games.

Had the Mets lost the game on a Murphy error at second base in the bottom of the ninth inning, it would still leave Mets fans with a bad feeling, but at least we could say that errors happen and it was just terrible timing.

But the mental mistake in the fifth inning was a huge rally killer for a team that struggled putting together any sort of rally in the final two games of the Philadelphia series.

If the Mets goes out there each night and makes a bunch of errors and loses, so be it. But the losses will sting even more if the team beats itself by making mental mistakes.

Murphy at least seems like the type of player that will learn from that mistake to ensure it never happens again.

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From Left Field: A Power Surge At Citi Field Thu, 04 Apr 2013 13:20:39 +0000 john buckI arrived at Citi Field last night as any eager Met fan after an impressive Opening Day win. But there was one problem: It was absolutely freezing!

That hasn’t stopped me before, but based on the wind, I had a feeling I was in store for a low-scoring game.

I even turned to my buddy before the game and told him to look at how quickly the flags on the top of the stadium were blowing in from the outfield. “We’re not going to see any homers tonight,” I said.

I sometimes like when I’m wrong.

Lucas Duda and Ike Davis crushed pure bombs deep into right field, while John Buck hit an impressive opposite-field two-run shot to right as well.

lucas dudaDuda’s ball was actually still rising as it cleared the yard and landed halfway up the Pepsi Porch. Davis’ blast was a moonshot that reached Shea Bridge. So much for the wind blowing in!

These home runs were an excellent sign for both players.

Duda struggled to open the spring but seemed to gain his stroke over the final few weeks. The contact he made on his homer last night was so solid, and he even added a booming double to right center as well.

For Davis – who had a good spring – that home run washed away any lingering thoughts about his Opening Day “Golden Sombrero.” Davis is going to strike out; it’s a fact. But if he’s dropping bombs like last night, the strikeouts won’t be too much of a concern.

ike davisEven more impressive is that these two lefties hit their homers off lefty Clayton Richard, who is no slouch on the mound after a 14-14 campaign last year for a mostly poor team. Davis and Duda don’t necessarily struggle against lefties, but it’s a great sign to see them display power against a southpaw.

Davis and Duda’s offense is one of the keys to this Mets’ season if the team stays relevant. The power they can provide in the middle of the order if they’re hitting can really go a long way.

Throw in right-handed hitters David Wright, Marlon Byrd and the hot-hitting Buck, and all of a sudden you have the makings of a balanced offensive lineup. And just imagine if Travis d’Arnaud pans out like expected!

It’s just two games, I know, but there is some potential here, which is exciting from a fan’s perspective. For a team that’s not supposed to set any home run records, Davis and Duda can at least provide a little bit of thump for the Amazins.

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From Left Field: Please, No K-Rod Reunion! Thu, 07 Mar 2013 14:50:43 +0000 Francisco Rodriguez spoke with reporters during yesterday’s contest in Port St. Lucie between the Mets and Team Venezuela, which is gearing up to compete in the World Baseball Classic.

K-Rod said he would welcome a reunion with the Mets and would be extra motivated if given a second chance to redeem himself.

second_half_begins_with_a_trade_mets_send_krod_to_brewersRodriguez is currently a free agent, and the Mets showed minimal interest earlier in the offseason.

But please, please, please Sandy Alderson: Don’t bring this guy back!

The Mets have moved on from K-Rod and his antics, and there’s really no point in reverting. Why watch a washed up reliever struggle when we have some young guys capable of getting the job the done?

And if those younger guys struggle, give them the chance to work through their mistakes rather than keep giving the same guy numerous chances.

He has already been given a second chance with the Mets. After the whole incident with his girlfriend’s father in 2010, he returned to the Mets in 2011 – after many rumors of a potential release – and actually pitched pretty well.

In fact, he pitched so well that the Milwaukee Brewers traded for him for their stretch run, and he resurrected himself as a setup man.

That was his second chance. The Brewers re-signed him for the 2012 season, and he tanked to 2-7 record with a 4.38 ERA.

So basically he’s now seeking a third chance. Well, he’s come to wrong the place.

With the game on the line in the seventh and eighth inning, I’d much rather see the ball handed off to Bobby Parnell (if he’s not closing), Jeurys Familia, Josh Edgin or Robert Carson.

Give these guys a chance. We know that K-Rod is more of a headache than what his production will be on the field. He was actually charged with domestic abuse in September, 2012, so it doesn’t seem he’s changed too much.

It’s great that K-Rod wants to redeem himself to Mets fans for a three-year period of craziness. But hopefully, the Mets stay far away from this guy.

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