Mets Merized Online » Ike Davis Sat, 03 Dec 2016 14:30:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 MMO Game Recap: Mets 3, Braves 2 Thu, 23 Apr 2015 02:43:11 +0000 wilmer flores

The Mets (12-3) won their tenth game in a row on Wednesday night, beating the Braves (8-6) at Citi Field by a score of 3-2.

Dillon Gee pitched for the Mets and tightroped his way through seven innings of two-run ball, working around eight hits and a walk, striking out three.

After the Mets squandered John Mayberry‘s leadoff triple in the bottom of the first against Eric Stults, the Braves scored when AJ Pierzynski slid in just ahead of the tag from his counterpart Kevin Plawecki on Andrelton Simmons‘ RBI single. The Mets got the run back in the bottom of the inning when Flores singled in Eric Campbell, who had doubled.

Dillon Gee helped himself out of a jam with his glove in the top of the fourth, making an athletic play to start a 1-6-3 double-play and escape a jam. But Gee couldn’t work around Eric Young‘s triple in the fifth, as EY scored on a sacrifice fly from Alberto Callaspo to give the Braves a 2-1 lead.

The best #5 starter in baseball got through the next two innings with the help of a double-play and an absolutely ludicrous catch from Juan Lagares, taking his handshakes in the dugout after seven strong frames on the hill. In the bottom of the seventh, the Mets took their pitcher off the hook when Flores lined a solo shot to left-center, making it a 2-2 ballgame.

Sean Gilmartin came in for Gee to pitch the top of the eighth, and got two quick outs. The lefty then got into trouble with two straight walks, one of which came on a VERY questionable (read: bad) call on a 3-2 pitch to Freddie Freeman. Buddy Carlyle came in to face the pinch-hitter Jonny Gomes and got the job done, inducing a pop-up to end the threat.

The Mets took the lead in the bottom of the eighth with some first-place baseball. Curtis Granderson worked a leadoff walk after falling behind 0-2. A hit-and-run with Lagares at the plate paid off for Terry Collins‘ club, as Juan rolled one right to the spot the second baseman had just vacated, giving the Mets runners on the corners. Lucas Duda drove in the go-ahead run with a base-hit, putting the hosts up 3-2.

The Mets were unable to add any insurance despite loading the bases, but Jeurys Familia breezed to his seventh save in the top of the ninth, wrapping up a win for the Amazin’s.

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Yes, we can call them the Amazin’s. We can also call them “The best team in baseball,” now that they have a league-high 12 wins. The Mets won’t go 159-3 (I think, but I also thought the Knicks would go 42-40, so take that with a grain of salt) but they’ve looked very good over the past couple weeks and it has led to results. They need to try to ride this wave as long as possible, because even the best teams will hit some rough patches, and the teams behind us in the standings (every other MLB team, in other words) will go on hot streaks of their own (well, except for the Phillies). We’re up 3.5 on the Braves and, more importantly, 5 on the Nationals. The wider we can make that gap early, the better prepared we can be to take some body punches later in the season. So while it’s too early to “scoreboard watch” in earnest, games played in April count just as much as games played in September when all is said and done.

Gee wasn’t dominant tonight. He was never in control of the game. But he got through seven (and five, for the MLB-high umpteenth time in a row). And the Braves only got two guys across the plate. So what more can you ask for from your #5 guy?

Flores came up big today, tying the game with aa base-hit early and again with a homer late. He also looked OK in the field. And if he stays in the groove he’s settled into at the plate, “OK” is more than enough.

Especially when other guys on the diamond are committing outright robbery. To the Braves fans on Twitter mocking Juan Lagares’ Gold Glove credibility after he “failed” to throw out the fastest runner in the game on a deep fly ball with his momentum going away from the plate… that catch in the seventh was for you. Tejada also made a great leaping snowcone grab earlier in the game, although I got a bit greedy and hoped that he had dropped it to start a cheap double-play.

Buddy Carlyle got the win tonight. I’m willing to bet that at least 30% of people who watched the game didn’t notice Buddy Carlyle was on the mound tonight. Reminder #373: Wins are a stupid stat with which to judge a pitcher. But the MMO community is a smart one, so I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir here.

Duda’s game-winning hit came about 35 seconds after Kevin Hayes scored a game-winner in overtime for the Rangers. As far as minutes ago, 9:53 was a pretty solid one. Meanwhile, Duda’s ex-rival Ike Davis tossed a scoreless inning for Oakland last night, so give it up for Ike, making Sandy look bad again!

There’s nothing better than a ten-game winning streak. Except for an eleven-game winning streak. Let’s hope the Wise One can deliver tomorrow (and not just with the bat!)

Up Next: The Mets will go for a sweep of the Braves and a perfect homestand when they take on Atlanta at 1:10 PM tomorrow. Bartolo Colon (3-0, 2.25 ERA) will face Julio Teheran (2-0, 3.71 ERA) at Citi Field.

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It’s Opening Day, And What Could Be Better? Mon, 06 Apr 2015 12:46:31 +0000 mets fans citi

It’s Opening Day, and what could be better?

There’s a little extra kick in your step this morning and getting out of bed wasn’t the drag it usually is… You woke up smiling as the little voices in your head said, It’s Opening Day, baby!”

The Mets and you are tangled in a deep, long-term love affair… And every year at this time your palms get a little sweaty, your heart is racing, and you find yourself constantly checking the time as we get closer and closer to the first pitch and the sounds of leather popping and the crack of the bat. It has all the feel and excitement of a first date and in many ways it is. For most of us the Mets represent the longest relationship we’ve ever had in our lives. We’re never gonna divorce them, we’re never gonna leave them. Face it, this is true love.

This Opening Day in particular feels extra special compared to years past. I’ve completely bought into the plan and I’m emotionally invested in this team and all the players.

Like any other MLB team, the Mets begin the new season with some questions and are far from perfect, but you just know that this year is going to be different. This year is going to be special. I’m not saying we’re gonna win 108 games and bulldoze through the league and the division. But I believe we have an 86 win team with a chance at 90 wins if things break right, and after the last six seasons I’ll take it!

matt harvey dark knight

I’m excited to see Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom pitch together for the first time ever and form one of the most lethal 1-2 punches in the league. I’m looking forward to seeing Juan Lagares develop into the rising star I always believed he’d be. I’m dying to see Jenrry Mejia do that thing he does after closing out a game, and watching Lucas Duda launching baseballs over the wall and chugging around the bases.

We have a great team! I love the blend of young emerging talent and the proven veterans. Suddenly we went from having one player with post season experience in David Wright, to having Granderson, Cuddyer, Mayberry, Colon, Blevins and Torres, all with postseason experience, and don’t underestimate the importance of that.

matt reynolds steven matz

And what about Steven Matz, Noah Syndergaard, Akeel Morris, Matt Reynolds, Kevin Plawecki and all that other great talent on the way? This team is finally built for success and we have the minor league pipeline to sustain it.

For once I actually agree with manager Terry Collins who said, “We have high expectations. This is the year. It’s time to win. We’ve got a good team. We’ve got a great clubhouse. We’re going to compete.”

Yes, we still have some questions, but who doesn’t? The important thing is we have the elite pitching and once you have that the rest is just small potatoes. Great pitching always beats great hitting. Great pitching wins championships.

It’s Opening Day! So don’t be afraid to Dream a little, and it’s okay to Believe for a day… That’s what it’s all about.

It’s Opening Day, and what could be better.

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Does A Contract Extension for Lucas Duda Make Sense? Mon, 30 Mar 2015 23:00:17 +0000 lucas duda hr

Last Spring, the Mets were debating whether to start Ike Davis, Lucas Duda, or even Josh Satin at first base. One year later, Ike Davis is wearing yellow and green in Oakland, and the team is considering a long-term contract for Duda, who is coming off a breakout season.

What is unique about Duda as an early extension candidate is his age. Most players with his service time (3.1 years), are younger than his 29 years. With two years of team control remaining, Duda would not be a free agent until his age-32 season. A fact that makes it tricky to evaluate his worth on a long-term deal, considering how players deteriorate with age.

mmo feature original footerThe decision to pay a player on a long-term deal before they hit free agency is based on the trade-off between arbitration-eligible seasons and free agent eligibility. Teams are willing to pay a little bit more now, during the arb-eligible seasons, when the player is likely most productive, in return for cost certainty later, by delaying when the player hits the free agent market.

If the Mets signed Duda to a five-year deal today, they would essentially be “buying” two years of Duda’s free agent seasons. The logic goes that by paying for those future seasons now, they can potentially get them for a discount to what the market would demand later, and probably, with shorter term. The Mets rather have Duda signed at a current market rate for 2018 and 2019 service, than a future rate for those two years, plus an extra two or three years in term that it might take to get the deal done.

But do the Mets need to make that trade-off with Duda?

Let’s consider his possible arbitration value, extension worth, and future market value to get an idea.

First, his arbitration value. We already know his 2015 salary of $4.2 million. With two more years of arbitration eligibility, and continued success at the plate, that number is likely to climb. A good comparison may be Daniel Murphy‘s value.

Murphy Arb Values
Like Duda, Murphy had a breakout season in his late twenties, followed by another solid campaign in 2014. His pre-arbitration salary rose from $2.9 million in 2013 to $8 million this season.

It is reasonable to expect Duda’s arbitration values to rise in similar fashion, giving us a baseline to compare Duda at arbitration rates versus a possible extension amount.

As for an extension value, it is impossible to say exactly what it would be, but we can take a reasonable guess, looking at recent history. A player who offers a great comparable to Duda is Chris Johnson. The Braves extended him last May, when, like Duda, he was 29, had three plus years of service time, and was coming off a breakout season. He was also earning a similar $4.75 million the season he signed the extension. Johnson signed an extension for $23.5 million over three years. An $8 million per year price tag sounds about right for Duda.

Lastly, having found an arbitration and extension baseline, we now need a future market value for Duda if he was allowed to hit free agency in 2018. This past free agent season gives us two comparables. Both Michael Morse and Kendrys Morales are 1B/DH types, past the age of 30, who don’t offer much defensively, but can hit the ball for power. They both signed two-year deals this offseason for $16 and $17 million, respectively. If we put Duda is in a similar category to Morse and Morales as a free agent in 2018, but with a bit more upside, a two-year $22 million deal based on a 3.2 fWAR projection seems a fair estimate.

Okay, enough of the details, let’s see what all of this means!


If we assume that Duda’s performance will continue to be strong in 2015, and appropriately decline with age in each of the following seasons, we can set a baseline for expected performance in relation to expected salary.

As the table above demonstrates, using the baselines we discovered earlier, a five-year $40 million extension seems to be the right price to closely match what Duda would likely earn going through the arbitration process for the next two seasons and then trying to find a two-year deal in 2018. (Note: both options would be great values assuming the cost of a win to be $7 million in the open market, but the decision comes down to choosing the best of the two options).

Of course, all of this is based on the assumption that Duda will produce roughly 11.6 fWAR over the next five seasons, which, is probably not going to happen. Over the last five seasons, between 2010-2014, only 31 hitters in baseball have produced at least that much fWAR past their age-29 season. In other words, it’s not easy to do.

What the Mets gain in a contract extension for Duda is cost certainty past 2017. I don’t think they need it. Especially when, in exchange, they would be overpaying in the near term.

The arbitration process can be tedious, but what it does is set a market rate based on performance. Lucas Duda has one good season under his belt, but there is no guarantee that he will sustain that performance. By letting him go through the arbitration process each year, the Mets protect themselves from paying him across all years based on his performance this past season, which is likely to be his best, and perhaps, can save some money, if Duda were to regress.

If it is 2018 and beyond they are worried about, we have seen that players of Duda’s make-up and age don’t necessarily demand big contracts. It’s not unreasonable to think that by 2018, Duda is worth a lot less than today, and could be re-signed at a reasonable rate. Only if the Mets believe that his value would increase over the next three years should they be worried about locking in a rate today.

In the end, for me, $40 million over five years is the absolute highest the Mets should pay for Duda. It’s not unreasonable to believe they could get fair value for him at that price relative to his arbitration and re-sign later value. That being said, it comes with a lot of risk. What if Duda isn’t one of the top 30 hitters in baseball over the next five years? Which is why I say, let the arbitration process work it’s magic, and worry about 2018 when we get there.

Statistics courtesy of FanGraphs, Cot’s Baseball Contracts, and Baseball-Reference.Follow me on Twitter @OverWhitestone.


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Oakland A’s Acquire Ike Davis Mon, 24 Nov 2014 00:20:30 +0000 Cincinnati Reds v Pittsburgh Pirates

The saga of Ike Davis lives on.  ESPN’s Adam Rubin has reported that the Oakland A’s acquired the former Met from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for International signing money.  This will be the embattled slugger’s third team in less than a year’s time.

A’s GM Billy Beane jumped right away to pick up the first baseman after he was designated for assignment by the Bucs last week. Perhaps he sees some value in the once promising Davis against RHP, he owns a career .357 OBP, .456 SLG and.813 OPS versus righties.

Former Met Andrew Brown, who Oakland claimed last week, was designated for assignment to make room for Davis.

November 21

The Pittsburgh Pirates designated former Mets first basemen Ike Davis for assignment yesterday.  Pirates GM Neal Huntington told reporters, “As we sit here right now, we’ve essentially committed to Pedro over Ike Davis”.

The organization feels the position must be cleared for resident third basemen Pedro Alvarez, who packs an outstanding power bat, but lacks the defensive prowess to stick at the hot corner.  As of now, Davis is searching for his third team in less than a year’s time.

Ike’s fall from grace has been flat out cataclysmic, no?  Look, I’m fully on board with Lucas Duda, but I still hoped Davis would have a good run at it once he got a fresh start.  It just still baffles me to this day every time I see his name in the papers, it’s another step back for him.  This from a player that flashed so much power that vanished in the blink of a collision. Seriously, that’s what it comes down to.  There’s Ike Davis pre-collision and then there’s Ike Davis post-collision.

Suppose I’ll always have a soft spot for Ike because he made the time when he first came up so special to watch.  He hit home runs and made diving catches over the railing at a time when the team was entering it’s darkest hours.  Now, he’s struggling to stay in the major leagues.

I’m sure someone will pick him up, maybe give him a platoon/DH role somewhere in the American League.  He still managed to compile a .343 OBP during his time in Pittsburgh and he has good skills with the glove.

Sandy Alderson, good call on this one.


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MMO Fan Shot: Was Flores’ Development Strategy Actually a Budgetary Strategy? Fri, 19 Sep 2014 15:17:13 +0000 Wilmer -  Flores

An MMO Fan Shot by Pedro’s Rooster

In Thursday’s New York Post, Sandy Alderson spoke of the organization’s feelings about Wilmer Flores, presumably as part of the team’s future.

“We’re getting a lot more comfortable,” Alderson said. “One of the reasons for giving Flores as much playing time as we have is to build up his number of plate appearances to get him more comfortable to try to establish sort of a baseline.”

After breaking this statement down, I had several questions.

  • Why congratulate yourself for finally getting around to playing your organizations’ top hitting prospect, especially one with such a strong minor-league resume?
  • Why are you in a position in late September to “try” to establish “sort of” a baseline? Couldn’t you have started this evaluation in early May and known for sure by now?

On the surface, this sounds like an obvious mismanagement of a player’s development and the team’s needs. But I don’t believe Sandy Alderson (and the rest of the front office) would botch something this simple and straightforward, especially given that we’re clearly in the middle of a youth movement.

What’s the alternative, you ask? Well, put on your tinfoil hats:

I’m beginning to think Flores was intentionally brought along this way, to hedge against the risk of having to spend on a shortstop this offseason.

You see, if they stayed with Tejada all year, the front office would absolutely be on the hook for upgrading the position this winter—I don’t think anyone internally views him as a full-time option. And while they may have reaped rewards from installing Flores as the everyday SS in May or June, there was obviously a risk that he’d struggle. (And to be fair, he didn’t set the world on fire when he received spotty playing time earlier this season.) And if he struggled, they’d again be on the hook for upgrading.

But (and this is a big conspiracy theory “but”) if they start playing him every day starting in August, they can go into the offseason with a nice, cost-effective question mark. They can claim they don’t have enough information to make a decision on shortstop—they can plausibly say, “we’d like to see more of Wilmer next season, to see what we really have there.” And Mets fans will eat that up.

They’ll forgive a GM who’s willing to give a homegrown prospect a longer leash. Heck, he might be that next great hitting star we’ve been waiting for since Wright came up in 2004.

Nothing Sandy Alderson does is accidental or poorly considered. Wilmer Flores is likely a convenient money-saving device for Alderson and the Wilpons, much like the Ike Davis-Lucas Duda controversy was.

With payroll flat-lining in the $80-90M range, with countless impact free agents ignored by this front office, with approximately $20M in raises due this offseason, with 40% of the payroll tied up in Wright and Granderson, make no mistake: every single decision made by this front office is first and foremost a financial decision, not a baseball decision.

In a perfect world, Flores will deliver on his potential, and make Alderson look like a genius. But even if he doesn’t, his league-minimum salary will quietly save ownership precious millions in their race for financial solvency.

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This Fan Shot was contributed by MMO reader and die-hard Met fan Pedro’s Rooster. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 30,000 Mets fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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Can We Really Trust Lucas Duda? Wed, 17 Sep 2014 12:00:00 +0000 lucas dudaOn August 1st, Lucas Duda was batting .263. He had driven in 61 runs and had 20 home runs under his belt. Since that date, his numbers have slipped drastically. This morning he wakes up to a .248 batting average and has added 7 more home runs. The numbers tell the story of an emerging slugger at first base. The eye test tells a slightly different tale.

Since Duda went on his home run rampage on the west coast, he hasn’t been the same guy. Instead of a feared slugger, he’s been an average hitter in the middle of a very average lineup. Over that stretch, from August 1st through today, Duda is hitting just .211. It seems like he’s coming up time after time in big spots and just isn’t getting it done.

The question is, can we trust Duda heading into the 2015 season?

In order to win in 2015, most fans agree that Sandy Alderson must add a left fielder and a shortstop. Neither position has been filled internally and it seems as if the free agent crop is weak at best. This leaves the door open for a trade, likely involving the abundance of pitching talent. Questions surrounding Duda create yet another hole heading into a key season.

lucas duda ike davisIf you trust that Duda will hit 30 home runs in 2015 then you have nothing to worry about. While Ike Davis was slowed down by Valley Fever, it’s easy to draw comparisons between his 2012 season and Duda’s 2014 campaign. Both hit below .250, both will strikeout around 140 times and both challenged the 30 home run mark. Davis ended up smashing 32 while Duda sits at 27. In 2013, Davis slipped off the charts, hitting just 9 home runs in 103 games.

One statistic that works in Duda’s favor is his at bats per home run. Duda ranks 12th in Major League Baseball, sandwiched between Chris Davis and Adam Dunn, in at bats per home run. He hits a home run every 17.6 at bats, an impressive number by any measure.

Another thing that you love about Duda is his on base percentage. Alderson loves guys that can get on base and Duda does it better than any Met. His .349 OBP is 42nd in Major League Baseball, largely because of the incredible plate discipline he has showed this year. He’s walking a ton and by some accounts has become too patient. Keith Hernandez often points this out during Mets telecasts.

So now I turn the question to you. Do you trust Lucas Duda going forward? Is first base a position that Sandy Alderson has to look at heading into 2015, or are you confident handing the job to The Dude?

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Is Lucas Duda The Future At First Base? Thu, 28 Aug 2014 12:00:57 +0000 lucas duda

A simple search of my Twitter feed, or my comment history on this site will reveal a strong dislike for Lucas Duda (as a baseball player, I don’t know the man).

This spring when the Mets were auditioning both Duda and the since traded Ike Davis for the everyday first base spot, I strongly backed Ike Davis. In my opinion, I had seen flashes of brilliance from Ike that I hadn’t seen in Duda. Davis hit 32 homers in 2012. He’d shown a disciplined approach, posting walk rates over 10.0% from 2010-2012. He’d hit .302 in an injury shortened 2011. Ike Davis looked like a guy who was waiting to put it all together. Duda looked like a spare part.

I was dead wrong, and I’m here to admit that.

Lucas Duda has turned himself into more than just an average first basemen, while Ike Davis has continued to struggle — recently losing his job in Pittsburgh’s first base platoon.

Yesterday, Mike Petriello of FanGraphs published an article entitled “Is Lucas Duda a Star Now?”, and it really caught me off-guard. I knew Lucas was having a good season, but I hadn’t really put it in perspective by considering his standing amongst his peers. Petriello broke down some of Duda’s stats, and I highly recommend reading the article, as well as everything they do on FanGraphs.

Here’s some numbers in Duda’s stat-line that really jumped out at me.

(All statistics are accurate as of 8/26)

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Despite being more than a full run lower than stars like Paul Goldschmidt, Anthony Rizzo and Freddie Freeman, Duda ranks an impressive fourth in WAR amongst National League first basemen.

While we all know that Lucas currently sits in third place in the NL in home runs, there’s another metric which really highlights just how much of a power boost he’s provided for this light-hitting Mets team. Check out the NL leaders in ISO:

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This is quite a surprise. Essentially what ISO means is how many extra base hits a player averages per at-bat. As you can see, Lucas trails just the NL home run leader Giancarlo Stanton in this category.

Lastly, we’ll take a look at how Duda stacks up against other first basemen in wOBA, or Weighted On-Base Percentage. wOBA is one of my favorite metrics. While batting average is certainly useful, its flaw is that it weighs all hits equally. Slugging percentage, while weighing hits differently, has proven to be inaccurate over time while leaving certain components out all together. wOBA weighs all hits and ways of reaching base differently in correlation to their actual run value.

Once again Lucas places in the upper echelon.

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So does, that answer the question? Is Lucas the future at first base for this team? In short, I don’t know. While he’s shown improvements in nearly all facets of his game, there’s no telling what next season will bring. What I do know is that Lucas is having a tremendous season and has a lot of us eating crow– but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t taste pretty good.

What do our knowledgeable readers think?

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]]> 0 3 Up, 3 Down: Hollywood Hulk Mon, 25 Aug 2014 16:43:26 +0000 duda unleashed

The Mets continued their West Coast road trip and stopped by Los Angeles for a 3 game set against the N.L. West leading Dodgers. NY dropped 2 of 3, but unlike previous series, there were great individual takeaways for players looking to lock up their positions for 2015 and beyond. Conversely, the veterans were showed up by their younger counterparts. Below is a recap of 3 stocks that went up and 3 that went down over the weekend.

3 Up

1. The Hulk, The Dude, The Big Lebowski. Lucas Duda has a lot of nicknames, but he’s collecting even more home runs this season. The 1st baseman hit .417 in the series with a whopping 1.166 slugging percentage. He reached his career high in single season home run totals with 26 (and counting), as well as having a career best 5 RBI game on Sunday. Duda was also a key part in the Mets triple play from Sunday, gunning down the over aggressive Yasiel Puig at home plate after finishing off a double play ball from second basemen Daniel Murphy. Among all 1st basemen in MLB, Lucas is 3rd in WAR with a score of 3.8. Among all MLB players, he is 2nd in slugging percentage against right handed pitching this season, pounding righties at a .580 clip. Lucas is doing an excellent job and has emerged as one of the premier sluggers in all of baseball.

2. Juan Lagares bounced back from a recent slump to turn in an excellent series. While not as slug happy as Duda, he hit at a .455 clip, including a home run, which helped him generate an OPS of .871. The offensive numbers are very respectable for arguably the top center fielder in the game. Lagares is 1st in MLB in DWAR among all qualified outfielders, by a long shot, with a score of 3.5. The next closest OF is Atlanta’s right fielder Jason Heyward with a DWAR mark of 3.1. At his position alone, Juan is second among all center fielders in the game for overall WAR (4.9- also leads the Mets), tied with Pirates all-star Andrew McCutchen and trailing only Los Angeles Angels superstar Mike Trout (6.0). That’s some great company for a guy who doesn’t even have 400 at bats in the majors this season. Lagares brings enough value with his glove that if he hits .275 for his career, he would be more than productive to lock up long term. There’s more power to come once his plate discipline improves, as he gains more patience and slightly better pitch recognition, he could be expected to put out 10-15 home runs with great gap-to-gap doubles power at Citi Field. Quick thought, if David Wright is injured and out, put Juan in the 2 hole. On the year, Juan has a triple slash line of .333/.385/.968 as the #2 hitter.

3. Travis d’Arnaud had a solid series, hitting .308 with a solo home run, contributing his one and only RBI for the series. His overall performance is important because it reinforces the potential that’s been realized since returning from his demotion to AAA Las Vegas in June. In 47 games since his return on June 24th, Travis has the following numbers: Batting Average (.263), SLG (.486), OPS (.794), 2B (10), HR (9). Over the course of a 162 game season, this projects d’Arnaud at 34 doubles, 31 home runs and 79 RBI’s. Compared to last season’s total among all catchers in MLB, that puts him 5th in doubles, 1st in home runs and 2nd in RBI’s- tied with Yadier Molina. Travis is tied for 1st in MLB for HR’s among catchers in the month of August with 5.

3 Down

1. David Wright finally broke down and left Sunday’s game with what the team described as muscle spasms in the right side of his neck. Terry Collins insisted that The Captain was not injured prior to yesterday’s start, but he needs to be shut down for the remainder of the year if he goes to the disabled list for any reason. The team is keeping him day-to-day at the moment, but his sore left shoulder along with other nagging injuries are undoubtedly contributing to his poor performance dating back to June and it’s not getting better in the short term, nor helping in the long term.’s Anthony DiComo noted that Wright has gone his last 62 plate appearances without an extra base hit, batting 0.95 in his last 6 games. I hope the Mets realize that although he’s not as outspoken as the Matt Harvey types, Wright is also a warrior and will not always do what’s best for his body by playing through injuries. That’s admirable when the playoffs are on the line, but get healthy, we need the old David for 2015.

2. As if Wright’s injury wasn’t enough of a blow to the offense, Daniel Murphy is also listed as day-to-day after leaving the ninth inning with a cramp in his right calf. Within a span of two hours, the Mets lost 2 of their 3 veteran position players and Murphy’s status is even less predictable as this is his first time experiencing an injury of this nature. When asked about his return, he said, “I really can’t tell you how it’s going to feel until we get to Tuesday”.

3. This rubbed me the wrong way, so I’m taking liberties with the 3rd down and calling out Terry Collins for comparing Lucas Duda to Ike Davis after the former churned out a 2 home run performance in a 11-3 victory over the Dodgers. In the post-game interview, Collins stated that he had seen another Mets basemen have the type of second half that Lucas is having in former incumbent Ike Davis. Why make that comparison? Davis is a forgotten topic for most fans, mainly due to Lucas Duda’s incredible performance as the starting first base since June 1st (Terry- that’s more than 1 half) . His production from that date over the course of a full season would put Duda at 42 home runs and 115 RBI. Also, his glove has improved vastly (minus a boneheaded foul ball botch near the 1st base line this series, like Keith Hernandez always says Dude…TWO HANDS!). I thought Bobby Ojeda responded perfectly in his SNY post game recap saying, “The manager would do well to stop using that comparison and just let Lucas Duda shine on his own”. Agreed.


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Lucas Duda Is Finally Looking Like An Everyday Player Sat, 05 Jul 2014 20:42:59 +0000 Duda may lumber around the bases, but it's his other lumber we care most about.  (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Duda may lumber around the bases, but it’s his other lumber we care most about.

Coming into the season, Lucas Duda found himself in the awkward position of being in a platoon at first base with a player who, like him, batted from the left side of the plate.  Over the first two-plus weeks of the season, Duda and Ike Davis shared starting duties at first base, with Duda penciled into the starting lineup eight times and Davis five.

Davis accomplished little during the first two weeks of the season.  Other than a walk-off grand slam he hit as a pinch-hitter on April 5, Davis managed to go 4-for-23 with no homers and one RBI.  Meanwhile, Duda managed a two-homer game on April 4, driving all four runs scored by the Mets in a one-run victory.  Eleven days later, Duda collected four hits and drove in two runs in another Mets victory.  It was clear that Duda was flourishing as a run producer during the first few weeks of the season, while Davis was not.  Before one-tenth of the season had been completed, Ike Davis was a former Met and Lucas Duda was the team’s everyday first baseman.

Duda is now thriving at the position.  In Friday night’s game, his two-run opposite-field homer off All-Star pitcher Yu Darvish gave the Mets a two-run lead over the Rangers.  It also gave him the team lead in home runs (13) and RBI (43).  Duda also leads the team in slugging percentage (.472) and OPS (.817).  Since taking over the position for himself in mid-April, Duda has not just become one of the Mets’ top offensive threats, he’s also become one of the top run-producing first basemen in the entire National League.

Through Friday’s games, Duda’s 13 homers and 43 RBI rank highly among NL first basemen.  The only players at the position with more home runs and RBI than Duda are Anthony Rizzo (17 HR, 45 RBI), Paul Goldschmidt (15 HR, 55 RBI), Adrian Gonzalez (14 HR, 53 RBI) and Ryan Howard (14 HR, 51 RBI).  Duda’s slugging percentage and OPS (.472/.817) are higher than Gonzalez (.447/.769) and Howard (.398/.708) and he compares favorably to young sluggers Rizzo (.493/.880) and Freddie Freeman (.497/.883).  And in case you were wondering, Duda’s former platoon partner in New York, Ike Davis, falls outside the league’s top ten in home runs, RBI, slugging percentage and OPS for first basemen.

Ike Davis started out well in Pittsburgh, but has fallen off over the past five weeks.  Since June 2, Davis is batting .197 with just four extra-base hits in 27 games (21 starts).  In addition, Davis has put up a pedestrian .276 slugging percentage and .602 OPS since the beginning of June.  Davis has fallen so quickly that he is now part of another first base platoon, this time with the right-handed hitting Gaby Sanchez.  As Davis has struggled in Pittsburgh, Duda has been a bright star in the Mets’ lineup.

Since June 13, Duda has batted .313 with seven doubles, five homers and 12 RBI in 18 games (17 starts).  Duda is also the proud owner of a .656 slugging percentage and a whopping 1.045 OPS over that time period.  In addition, Duda has been one of the team’s best clutch hitters this season, producing a .609 slugging percentage and 1.036 OPS with runners in scoring position, unlike Davis, whose numbers in those situations (.420/.877) aren’t even close to what Duda has produced.

ike davis piratesFinally, of Duda’s 13 HR this year, five have either tied the game or given the Mets the lead.  Why is five so important?  Because that number represents the total number of home runs hit by Ike Davis all season.  In other words, Davis has as many home runs this season as Duda has clutch homers.

There’s a difference between hitting a home run and hitting a key home run.  Since April 21, Ike Davis has hit three homers – all of them have been solo shots and none of them tied the game or gave his team the lead.  Over the same time period, Duda has hit ten home runs, with six of them coming with men on base and three of them tying the game or giving the Mets the lead.

Simply stated, the Mets traded the right player when they dealt Ike Davis to the Pittsburgh Pirates.  In doing so, they finally removed the chains that had shackled Lucas Duda since he arrived at the big league level for the first time in 2010.  This is Duda’s fifth season with the Mets, but it appears that this will be the first year he doesn’t get sent back to the minor leagues for extra seasoning.  (Playing out of position in the outfield had a lot to do with that “extra minor league seasoning” as well.)  Duda has proven he belongs at the big league level and is quietly establishing himself as one of the top run-producing first basemen in the league.  All Ike Davis has done is become part of yet another platoon in Pittsburgh.

It may have taken him a while, but Lucas Duda looks like he’s finally here to stay.  Opposing pitchers in the National League are going to wish he wasn’t.


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Mets Acquire LHP Blake Taylor From Pirates To Complete Ike Davis Trade Mon, 16 Jun 2014 12:41:32 +0000 rsz_blake_taylor_pirates

The Mets have finally completed the Ike Davis trade, acquiring left-handed pitching prospect Blake Taylor from the Pirates.

Taylor, 18, was selected by the Pirates in the second round (51st overall) last year, signing exactly a year from today. Draft picks cannot be traded until a year after they sign, meaning Taylor had to stay with the Pirates until today. The Mets also acquired right-handed pitcher Zack Thornton in the trade.

In 21 innings in the Gulf Coast League last season, Taylor has a 2.57 ERA while walking 9 batters and striking out 13 in his first professional experience. Pirates Prospects ranked Taylor as the system’s 16th best prospect this offseason. Here’s what else they had to say about him:

Overall Taylor has a good fastball with the frame to add velocity and one day sit in the low-to-mid 90s. He has the makings of a plus curveball to pair with that fastball.

He’s going to need work on his fastball command and changeup. Those are two big priorities in the lower levels of the Pirates system, so it’s likely he will spend the next few years focused on improving those two pitches. If he can improve in those two areas, he’s got the upside to at least be a middle of the rotation starter.

Reports indicate Taylor was a raw prospect coming out of high school, as his assignment to the Gulf Coast League would suggest. He will be sent to the Gulf Coast League again this season.

(Photo: Dana Point Times)

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MMO Fan Shot: Zen and the Misery of Being a Met Fan Thu, 05 Jun 2014 12:00:24 +0000 mets-fans

An MMO Fan Shot by Andy Love of Fair and Unbalanced.

Being a Met fan is not a choice.  As a recent study published in the New York Times confirmed, if your team wins a championship when you are between the ages of 8 and 12, you are far more likely to maintain a lifetime loyalty to that team.  In 1969, I was ten years old.  Quod erat demonstrandum.

If my parents had only waited and had me 8 years later, I would be an insufferable Yankees fan instead of a suffering Mets fan.  Alas, there is nothing to be done despite the unrelenting misery over the last six or seven years.  Who am I kidding, with rare exceptions, over the last 45-plus years.

By the time the Mets miraculously won the World Series in 1969, I was already hooked (thanks to my father, who adopted the Mets after being abandoned by the Brooklyn Dodgers) and was inured to their lovable losing ways. But, as David Searles wrote a while back, ”the miracle year of 1969 changed everything.”   Indeed.

jerry koosman 1969

“It was the first year where legitimate excitement surrounded the team,” when they “seemed to perform a new miracle every day down the stretch that season.” And after they won, it was never the same — losing would no longer be lovable.

I will always cherish that 1969 team — Tom Seaver, Tommie Agee, Cleon Jones, Bud Harrelson, Tug McGraw, Jerry Koosman, Jerry Grote and the rest. And, only a few years later, with many of the same players, minus a few (like Agee) and some key additions (like John Milner, Jon Matlack, Rusty Staub, Felix Millan and even Willie Mays), they pulled off another miracle, winning their division after being in fifth place at the end of August, and then beating the mighty Reds in the playoffs before losing in seven games to the A’s in the World Series.

But that was it for a decade. Things got so bad that in 1979, the 10th Anniversary of The Miracle Mets, my friend Michael and I went to Old Timers’ Day at Shea Stadium and after watching our beloved 1969 stalwarts play a couple of ceremonial innings we left prior to the start of the “real” game. We simply couldn’t bear the stark contrast with the then-current team, led by the likes of Willie Montanez, Richie Hebner and the detritus from the catastrophic Tom Seaver trade two years earlier.

Finally, in 1983, despite another last place finish, there were some hopeful signs. Darryl Strawberry, with his great name and incredible talent made his debut, and in mid-season the Mets acquired a star from the Cardinals, Keith Hernandez. Then in 1984, after seven straight losing seasons, the Mets became a fun team to watch. With a full year from Keith, and a youth movement led by Strawberry and phenomenal rookie sensation Dwight Gooden, the Mets won 90 games and finished in second place.  And then, before the 1985 season, the Mets acquired the great Gary Carter, who had succeeded Johnny Bench as the dominant National League catcher.


Of course, in 1986, the Mets won the World Series, with the help of Bill Buckner‘s wobbly legs, after a stunning playoff against Houston. Miracles abounded once again, and so did expectation. The Mets had a fabulous team filled with great young talent. But it was not to be. 1987 started with Dwight Gooden in drug rehab and 1988 ended with an excruciating loss to the Dodgers in the playoffs. After that, the Mets began dismantling the 1986 team, replacing iconic players like Len Dykstra, Strawberry and Mookie Wilson with spectacular underachievers like Juan Samuel, Bobby Bonilla and Vince Coleman (see Mets or Bust), resulting in six losing seasons in a row.

Even after signing Mike Piazza in 1998, the team would consistently cause heartburn and heartbreak. The Mets lost their last five games Piazza’s first year to miss the playoffs by one game, followed in 1999 with a defeat by the Braves in the playoffs after Kenny Rogers walked in the winning run of the deciding game. The 2000s were not much better, starting with the crushing loss to the Yankees in the World Series (Armando Benitez, anyone?) followed by several mediocre seasons.

An exciting 2006 team reached the playoffs but lost a devastating final seventh game to the Cardinals. Two searing images from that game form the perfect Met microcosm: Endy Chavez makes one of the most incredible catches ever in the post season in the 6th inning only to have Carlos Beltran strike out looking with the bases loaded three innings later to end the game.

And since then, historic collapses to miss the playoffs, baffling player moves, an unprecedented number of injuries to star and potential star players, culminating in the entanglement with Bernie Madoff, which has caused ownership to shrink payroll and behave like they own a small-market team.

So, to paraphrase legendary announcer Bob Murphy, here’s the “(un)happy recap”: The Mets were laughably bad until they won in 1969. By the mid-1970s they were awful again, and it wasn’t so cute. They peaked again in 1986, but couldn’t sustain their greatness, and in the 28 years since, if anything could go wrong it invariably did.

After Matt Harvey, the Mets’ dynamic young phenom, went down with an elbow injury last year at the height of his remarkable rookie season, I penned the Seven Stages of Being A Met Fan, which  starts with hope, works its way through anger and despair, and invariably reaches acceptance.

Despite the Mets better play of late, and the excitement surrounding the bevy of young arms in the system, I, along with many Met fans, am currently somewhere between anger and despair.  The owners, general manager and field manager have lost what little trust they had left.  They hire PR men instead of HR men.  They blame the fans for not showing up to support their lousy product.  They make bad choices when they finally ease the tightening of purse strings (e.g., Chris Young), they dither  interminably when it comes to choosing among the players they do have (e.g., the Lucas Duda-Ike Davis drama), they confuse promising youngsters by bringing them up only to bench them in favor of players they previously disparaged (e.g., Wilmer Flores, Ruben Tejada) or play mediocre veterans (e.g., Eric Young, Chris Young) instead of their very few exciting young players (e.g., Juan Lagares).

Confronting yet another season of misery and frustration, I need to somehow move past anger and despair and get to acceptance.  I need to remind myself that while there have been only two miraculous championship years, smaller miracles happen all the time – even now:  a Lagares catch, a Flores grand slam, a Mejia save, an Abreu double, a deGrom anything.  Being a Met fan is about expecting the worst, which will probably happen, although in ways that are unexpected; but it is also about reveling in these spectacular surprises and moments of beauty that make it all worthwhile.  Om shanti.

* * * * * * * *

This Fan Shot was contributed by Andy Love of Fair and Unbalanced. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 30,000 Mets fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to us at Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

mmo fan shot

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Mejia, Familia and Black Are Bringing the Heat Fri, 30 May 2014 18:17:39 +0000 jenry mejia

May 30

Jenrry Mejia struck out the side to earn his fifth save last night and is five-for-five in save chances since being moved to the bullpen on May 12. Mejia has excelled in his new late inning role, sporting a 9.44 strikeout rate and being unscored upon in nine relief appearances spanning 10.1 innings.

The pen in general has flourished this month, and since Mejia has locked down his new role, other pieces like Jeurys Familia and newly promoted Vic Black have slotted in perfectly behind him.

Familia has posted a 1.80 ERA in 15 innings this month and it appears his control problems may now be behind him. Black has only made two appearances, but has looked good and picked up three Ks of his own last night in 1.1 innings pitched.

The three of them form a lethal combination for the Mets pairing some nasty stuff with hard heat. Anthony DiComo pointed out today, that over the last week, Mets relievers lead all MLB bullpens in average fastball velocity (94.0 mph). Black, Familia both averaging over 96.

May 29

Sometimes the most ideal solutions to your problems are standing right in front of you, staring you in the face.

After four unsuccessful attempts trying to revamp an underperforming bullpen and rummaging through dozens of failed relief options including this year’s John Lannan, Kyle Farnsworth and Jose Valverde, general manager Sandy Alderson has finally latched onto a pair of potentially elite shutdown relievers right in his own backyard in Jenrry Mejia and Jeurys Familia.

The two Dominican Natives, both 24, were signed by former GM Omar Minaya in 2007 and were part of an impressive two-year class of International signings that also included righthander Gonzalez Germen, center fielder Juan Lagares and infielder Wilmer Flores.

The back end of the bullpen which has been so problematic for this team over the years, is fast becoming a major strength as Familia and Mejia display some of the best and filthiest array of pitches than anyone else on the Mets.

Among the biggest highlights of the latest two Mets victories, were watching Mejia and Familia record six-out and five-out saves within a 24-hour span. Both young righthanders had their manager Terry Collins smiling from ear to ear after each contest, and remarking that the team has been blessed with two talented young fireballers who each could come into the game in the eight and the ninth and shut opposing teams down.

Familia became the sixth Met to record a save this season on Wednesday, earning his first of the year with Mejia unavailable after throwing 37 pitches in his two-inning save Tuesday night.

“We’ve reached the point that Familia has got to be in the back end,” Collins said. “He’s got to be a late-inning guy.”

“We’ve got some really good young power arms,” third baseman David Wright added. “These guys have the ability to go out and dominate, shut the door on games.”

Familia and Mejia gave the Mets their first set of consecutive saves of five outs or more since Sept. 26-27, 2005, when Roberto Hernandez and Aaron Heilman each threw two innings for saves in Philadelphia, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

Amazing how this game works. We’ve gone from a bullpen with no reliable closer this season to what could emanate into a full blown quarterback controversy for the team’s ninth inning role. But hey, nobody’s complaining, especially given what we’ve been through the last few years with our bullpen.

Lets Go Mets.


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MMO Game Recap: Mets 4, Pirates 2 Wed, 28 May 2014 03:05:27 +0000 jenrry mejia anthony recker

Jon Niese trotted out to the mound on Tuesday night to take on the Pittsburgh Pirates; the first game with newly appointed hitting coach Lamar Johnson in the reins, and the Mets doubled up the Bucs by a score of 4-2.

Niese set down the Pirates in order during the first inning with Juan Lagares making another difficult catch look easy on a ball hit by Andrew McCutchen to the right center field warning track.

The Mets would eventually score first in the bottom of the third inning but not before Andrew McCutchen got his revenge on Juan Lagares. Lagares lined a ball into the right center gap that looked like a guaranteed extra base hit but McCutchen came out of nowhere to lay out and make the extremely impressive catch.

Daniel Murphy followed the webgem with a double down the left field line and was eventually moved to third on a David Wright sacrifice fly. Curtis Granderson drew a walk and Bobby Abreu followed with a two out single through the shift to score Murph.

The Pirates threatened in the top of the fourth inning but Russell Martin popped out with runners on first and third with two outs to allow Niese to escape the jam.

niese recker

The Mets put another run on the board in the bottom of the fourth on doubles from both Ruben Tejada and Juan Lagares. Daniel Murphy walked and Lagares then moved to third on a wild pitch. David Wright eventually grounded out to short to end the two out threat.

Fast forward to the top of the sixth inning where Jon Niese seemed to hit a wall with his control. He walked Josh Harrison to leadoff the inning, got Jose Tabata to fly out and then walked Andrew McCutchen. Gaby Sanchez then flied out with runners on first and second but Niese walked Russell Martin to load the bases with two outs. Starling Marte made him pay with a single up the middle that knocked in Harrison and McCutchen to tie the game.

Vic Black came on to replace Niese and walked Neil Walker but then struck out Ike Davis to end what could have been a deflating inning for the Mets. Niese went 5.2 innings, allowing three hits and two earned runs, but walked four and only struck out two.

The Mets answered back in the bottom of the sixth inning. Ruben Tejada led off with a walk. He eventually made it to third base on two wild pitches with a groundout by Eric Campbell in between. Juan Lagares drove in Tejada with a single up the middle and Daniel Murphy followed with a double down the right field line, scoring Lagares from first. David Wright grounded out and Curtis Granderson struck out to end the inning.

juan lagares scores

Vic Black retired the first two batters in the top of the 7th inning but then walked Jose Tabata to bring up McCutchen with a runner on. McCutchen nearly hit a ball into the gap but Abreu was able to cut it off and hold the runners on first and third. Black caught Gaby Sanchez looking on a gorgeous curve to end the inning.

Jenrry Mejia came on in the top of the 8th inning to attempt the six out save. He started off by punching out Russell Martin looking. He then walked Starling Marte and allowed a single to Neil Walker that advanced Marte to third. Pedro Alvarez then bounced a tailor made double play to Tejada to end the inning.

Ruben Tejada led off the bottom of the eighth inning with a single, reaching base for the fourth time of the game. However, Grilli struck out Campbell, Lagares and Murphy to send the game to the top of the ninth inning.

Mejia began the top of the ninth by inducing a ground ball to Campbell, which he could not handle, allowing Travis Snider to reach. Josh Harrison sent a frozen rope to left, which Chris Young was able to snag. Curtis Granderson then made a beautiful catch in the right field corner to retire Jose Tabata. Mejia walked McCutchen to bring up Gaby Sanchez. With runners on first and second base, Sanchez bounced a ball to the whole where Tejada was able to grab it and get the force out at third to end the game.

It was Mejia’s fourth save since being promoted to closer and Vic Black’s first win in as many appearances. Bartolo Colon takes on Charlie Morton on Wednesday afternoon with the first pitch scheduled for 1:10 pm.


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More Mets Static Tue, 27 May 2014 18:28:11 +0000 jose valverde

It was almost miraculous. I turned on WOR coming home from watching Darin Gorski throw a masterful two-hit, complete game in Binghamton and the reception was crystal clear. Learning Jacob deGrom had left the game with a 2-0 lead I was elated. First Rafael Montero‘s 10 strikeout performance and now deGrom, both pitching like the frontline starters we hope they will be in back-to-back days.

Then came the bullpen. When Terry Collins went with Jose Valverde I almost drove off the road. Not again. Use anybody else, heck, “I’ll pitch” I pleaded to deaf ears. As the meltdown started Ike Davis was due to bat in the eighth. The Mets announcers went on to explain that over the last three weeks in major league baseball only Yasiel Puig has batted better than Davis. Then I wanted to scream, cry and pull my hair out.

Several times this winter I wrote posts about the folly of the Mets selecting Lucas Duda to play first base over Ike Davis. If the Mets were not going out of the organization to get a first baseman, it was only logical the decision about who should man the duties around the first base bag needed to be based on which guy had the best long-term POTENTIAL Which player in the best of situations had the greatest possibilities of more positive outcomes. The answer to that question was all too clear to me. Forget what either had done as of late (neither did particularly well in 2013,) but to my way of thinking Davis had far greater potential than Duda both offensively and defensively. The Mets sliced away a piece of my baseball soul when they moved Ike. Can anyone tell me if we even know the Player to be Named Later in that trade. If the answer is no, how long is later?

Earlier in the holiday weekend on Saturday I was also in the car, trying to catch patches of the game though the static when Lucas Duda came to the plate with the bases loaded. Everything that is wrong with Duda was exemplified in his at bat. Bases loaded and two outs with a power hitting left-handed batter coming to the plate. What pitch would you be looking for?

During an SNY broadcast this year, I heard Keith Hernandez explaining the basic hitting philosophy he used over his major league career. It was simplistically eloquent. Hernandez said he went to the batter’s box looking for and prepared to hit only one pitch – the fastball. With less than two strikes, Hernandez was ready to drive the FIRST fastball he saw. That’s because it might be the only fastball he saw in that at bat. With two strikes, he still looked fastball and tried to fight off other pitches knowing that in almost every at bat at least one fastball would come.

So, Lucas digs in, and I’m literally praying out loud, “Think fastball.” The first pitch as the Met announcer explained it, “A fastball, knee high down the center of the plate.” Of course, likely looking for a walk, our power hitting first baseman takes the pitch. ARGGHHHHHHHH, I nearly drove out of my lane. Listening to Met broadcasts when driving a car can get dangerous. “Think fastball,” I begged out loud. The second pitch, a fastball on the outside part of the plate.

AAAAAAAARRRRRRRGGHHHH! He watched it go by again.

It was over. Case closed. Opportunity wasted. At 0-2 Duda had entered the statistical graveyard of batting, the spot that generates the lowest batting average and on-base-percentage of any other count. And, Duda watched two fastballs travel through the strike zone without moving his bat off his shoulder to get to 0-2.

Without ever seeing or hearing the game, you know the results as well as I. The mighty Lucas Duda struck out.

I’m not diametrically opposed to the patient, plate discipline approach currently in vogue in baseball. But, like most things in life there is no set rule, it’s a guide line to be situationally applied throughout a baseball contest, not to be used as a bible in every at-bat. That’s especially the case if your a power hitter who steps into the batter’s box with the bases loaded.

When I’m driving in the car and switch on WOR I’m beginning to think maybe I should be rooting for the static.


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Lucas Duda and Chris Young Have Been Clogging Up The Works Mon, 26 May 2014 15:38:44 +0000 lucas duda eric young

The middle of the lineup, the part that is most responsible for driving in runs, has become the team’s “soft underbelly” and a “weakness” that is too often exposed, writes Kevin Kernan of the New York Post.

“This all comes down to talent evaluation and the willingness to spend money,” he writes.

The Mets chose Chris Young over Nelson Cruz, Lucas Duda over Ike Davis, who returns to Citi Field Monday with the Pirates, and picked Curtis Granderson to be their big free-agent acquisition, because Sandy Alderson thought that configuration would help the Mets attain 90 wins.

“When we approached spring training the one thing that we thought that we had really improved on was that we got some guys in the middle of the lineup that could certainly help produce some runs,’’ manager Terry Collins said after Sunday’s doubleheader split. “We just have not situationally done what we thought we could do.’’

Since taking over as the everyday first baseman after Ike Davis was traded, Lucas Duda has seen his OPS dip from .850 to .680 for the season which now ranks second to last among all first basemen. The Mets chose him over Davis because of his adherence to the team’s philosophy, Alderson citing that his approach was one of things that made the decision to go with him easier. Duda is mired in an 0-for-13 slump and has stranded 15 runners on base in his last three games.

As for Chris Young, despite four straight seasons of decline and Billy Beane determining he had regressed to a platoon player, Young’s ability to get on base appealed to Alderson, even though his OBP has hovered below .300 in the last two years. The Mets GM believed that giving him more playing time would turn his career around but that hasn’t been the case so far although Sandy remains hopeful.

“We’ve got to give Chris an opportunity to get back on track,” said Alderson on Sunday. “That doesn’t mean that anything is guaranteed, but if he’s going to have value to us going through the rest of the season, we’ve got to try to get him back on track.”

CY came to bat three times with runners in scoring position in Game 1 and fouled to the catcher and hit into two double plays.

“We have got to start scoring some runs,’’ said a frustrated Collins. “We’re beating a dead horse here. It’s the same stuff every day.’’

“Once in a while they have to look in the mirror and take it upon themselves. This isn’t football where you get to play once a week. Every day they have to get themselves ready. They certainly know what’s expected, that’s been said.’’

The Mets, who seem to be matching or setting new records for futility with every passing week, achieved some more unwanted notoriety on Sunday.

The Mets had 16 men reach base in that first game and scored just once, only the fifth time in franchise history that has happened in a nine-inning game, and the first time in 37 years.


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Time To Pull Plug On Chris Young Experiment Thu, 22 May 2014 13:00:52 +0000 chris young

Guaranteed playing time or not, the Mets commitment to Chris Young should not last too much longer given his recent struggles. At some point the Mets will have to pull the plug on Young and start giving his playing time to more worthy and productive players.

For some odd reason manager Terry Collins decided to put the slumping CY in the cleanup spot during Wednesday’s 5-4 loss to the Dodgers. Young went 0-for-3 with a rally killing double-play in one of those at-bats and a runner stranded in scoring position in another.

Many people, including myself, were unhappy with the Chris Young signing and would of preferred the Mets go after a more proven power bat, such as a Nelson Cruz, who ended up signing a nearly identical contract with the Orioles very late in free agency. Or the money could have been better utilized to fill another need like shortstop.

The Mets came into the season with a logjam of four starting outfielders in CY, Eric Young Jr., Curtis Granderson and Juan Lagares, three of whom could play center field. It appeared that the organization had no trust in the up-and-coming Lagares despite his breakthrough defensive season in 2013 and a phenomenal offensive showing in Winter Ball.

However, an early stint on the disabled list for Chris Young changed everything. Lagares stepped in, got a chance to play everyday, and wowed everyone with an electrifying start to the season both in the field and more importantly at the plate as well.

By the time Chris Young returned from the DL, Terry Collins was unwilling to keep Lagares as the everyday center fielder and announced a 4-man outfield rotation that would give everyone equal playing time. However that almost led to a revolt when at one point Collins benched Lagares for three straight games and four of five, prompting outrage from the ticket-buying fans and harsh criticism from writers and analysts.

The situation is still unresolved to this day and Collins is under the microscope before each game as to which three outfielders gets to be in the starting lineup. It’s a tenuous situation.

Granderson is almost a given to be starting everyday because of the Mets’ $60 million dollar commitment to him for the next four years. Lagares continues be the team’s best hitter and with three more hits on Tuesday is now slashing at a .315/.361/.472 for the season. Obviously, his glove has shined and only adds to his value as an everyday centerfielder. Terry Collins has taken a liking to Eric Young Jr., who he says gives the Mets a pure leadoff hitter who can wreak havoc on the base paths. EY has a low .202 batting average and his .311 on-base is hardly leadoff-worthy, however his ability to reach base in the first inning makes him additionally attractive to Collins. EY has a .394 OBP in the first inning of games this year has it proved helpful to get the Mets on the scoreboard early.

Chris Young should be the odd man out at this point. He is producing at a .206/.272/.360 clip this season with only three home runs and 11 RBI.

Sandy Alderson brought in Young this winter in the hopes of him revitalizing his career and bringing some power to Citi Field. Sandy believed that Young’s struggles were attributed to being platooned while in Oakland where he batted .200/.280/.379.

So he gambled $7.5 million that with regular playing time Young would flourish. Sandy was wrong. Perhaps he should have looked at Young’s career righthanded splits, then he would have seen why Billy Beane eventually placed him in a platoon role.

Alderson knew this was a risky signing this winter. If he produced, Alderson looks like a genius but this hasn’t been the case. The Mets preach that they want to win now, and if that’s true Chris Young should be heading to the bench no matter how much playing time he was promised.

The Mets need to stop this four-way outfielder rotation. For now, Granderson and Lagares need to play everyday. If Collins wants to maintain his fixation on EY, then it should be at the expense of Chris Young and not the other two.


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Featured Post: The Trials and Blooperations of Terry Collins Sat, 17 May 2014 22:06:21 +0000 terry-collins1

I should preface this by saying I was not a fan of the Mets decision to hire Terry Collins to take over as manager prior to the 2011 season.  A change needed to be made, no doubt, but it was a clear signal at that point that the Mets were going to rebuild.

Collins has compiled a 244-281 record with the Mets in his 3+ years at the helm, and now has a career record of 688-715 as a major league manager.  Needless to say, his record doesn’t exactly strike fear in the hearts of his opponents.

Its really not so much the record that bothers me about Collins as much as the in game decisions, and day-to-day way he manages his ballclub. TC apologists will point to the fact that he just hasn’t had any talent.  Let’s visit this for a moment.  TC has managed the Astros (1994-1996), Angels (1997-1999), and Mets (2011-present).  He had an 11 year layoff as head coach before the Mets offered him the position.  Teams weren’t exactly knocking down his door to offer him a job.  I looked back at the rosters that Terry Collins has coached during his tenure, in which he has never won his division.  Check this out.

Jeff Bagwell (Gold Glove & MVP-’94), Craig Biggio (GG, Silver Slugger 94-96), Ken Caminiti (GG,SS, MVP 96), Luis Gonzalez, Steve Finley (GG), Bobby Abreu, Doug Drabek, Darryl Kile, Shane Reynolds, Mike Hampton, Todd Jones, Billy Wagner etc.

Darin Erstad, Garret Anderson, Jim Edmonds (GG), Tim Salmon, Cecil Fielder, Mo Vaughn (MVP), Troy Glaus, Chuck Finley, Troy Percival etc.

Jose Reyes (2011 Batting Champ), R.A. Dickey (2012 CY Young), EY Jr (2013 SB Champ), David Wright, Daniel Murphy, Ike Davis, Carlos Beltran, Angel Pagan, Jason Bay, Johan Santana, Matt Harvey, K-Rod,

The guy’s had multiple MVP players at his disposal, countless Gold Glove & Silver Slugger winners, the Batting Champions, Cy Young Award Winners, and Stolen Base champs.


The year after he left the Astros they won the division three years in a row, made a World Series appearance, and won 102 games in 1998 with what most people would say was a less talented roster. It took the Angels two years to win the World Series once Collins was fired amidst a season that he compiled a 51-82 record. Joe Maddon finished the season off for TC with a 19-10 record with the same guys.  Mike Scioscia won the World Series with pretty much the same group minus Jim Edmonds & Mo Vaughn, who were in their prime years under TC.  In fact, even when he took over the Mets job we had a rotation of Johan Santana, RA Dickey, Mike Pelfrey, Jon Niese & Dillon Gee, with Jenrry Mejia and Matt Harvey on the horizon, and Jeurys Familia was probably a better SP prospect than both of them at the time.  The lineup was filled with stars like, Jose Reyes, David Wright, Carlos Beltran, Jason Bay, Angel Pagan, Daniel Murphy, Ike Davis, and we had a great bullpen, with Parnell setting up K-Rod, and somehow he won 77 games, and it seems to me that he has made every single player worse the longer he’s coached them.  I guarantee there are a number of readers here at MMO that could’ve won more games that season. My guess is that we will be a far better team as soon as he is gone just like every other club he has managed.

Look I wasn’t expecting the Mets to win the world series the last couple of seasons, but Collins was brought on because he was supposed to good a developing young talent.  What young talent has improved?  Our sure fire future MVP 1B in Ike Davis is a shell of his former self, at best, Murphy is just now getting back to being the hitter he was when Collins arrived, Tejada has become the worst regular in the game, David Wright sure isn’t any better than he was before TC came to town.  What about baseball’s top offensive catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud, buried in the bottom of the order from the word go. Why have promising bats like Lucas Duda, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Jordany Valdespin, Matt den Dekker, and Zach Lutz either regressed or faded out of the organization altogether?  It looks like he even made Chris Young, Curtis Granderson and Josh Satin regress in just one years time.  Where is the improvement?  What is he doing to motivate or mentor these players?  Who has he developed into established everyday players?  You could say Juan Lagares, but he has subsequently buried him like he has all of our other top young talent over the past three years.

Unfortunately, these are not Collins worst areas.  His bullpen management, and organization of the pitching staff is the worst ant scatter I’ve ever seen in my life.  Pure Chaos.  Like Ike Davis’ bat was supposed to be.  Who’s closing?  Terry doesn’t know.  How in the world are the players supposed to know?  How can they prepare to be successful when they have no idea what role they are preparing for?  I wonder if you ask each member of the bullpen, what their role is with the team, how many of them would have no answer at all.  That’s some uplifting stuff Terry.  Lets crush everyone’s confidence.  Lets make sure they we will not set a single one of those guys up for success.  “Let him work through it”, right Terry?

If he isn’t going to define any roles, he could at least stop making such amateur in-game blunders to further hinder his team.  Does anyone remember in Atlanta a couple of years ago when he brought in his RP before Atlanta made the lineup switch for the PH, and I think he ended up with Scott Rice facing Justin Upton, or it may have been a RH facing Freeman.  Either way, the commentators pointed it out right before the ball sailed 100 ft over the fence.

mets vs nats 6-4 bullpen implosion

What about the Nationals game last year in which Harvey was dominating, until TC reared his ugly in-game strategy again.  4-1 Mets, runner on first, two outs in the 8th, Denard Span at the plate, and TC replaces reliever David Aardsma, who had just faced consecutive lefties, Roger Bernadina & Chad Tracy for the second out of the inning, and had pitched lights out since joining the Mets, with a struggling and apparently injured Josh Edgin.  He ended up using four relievers that inning and actually created three worse matchups than he originally had with Aardsma facing Span.  Did he think Span was gonna hit a 3-run HR with only one man on base? To make matters worse, in his bullpen dismantlement, he forgot the pitchers spot was due up second in the bottom half of the inning, and had to pinch-hit for Scott Rice, the second lefty TC used that third of an inning after Brandon Lyon got blasted. He ended up having to pitch Parnell for a 5th consecutive game after he was told he would have the day off, in a tie game in the top of the 9th.  He gave up three runs and got the loss.  We lost that game 6-4 and I just know Harvey wanted to punch TC right in the face.  It’s things like this, that not only destroy a team for that day, but for a season.  The bullpen was dead for the next few days.  Aardsma lost all his confidence, and was hit hard from then on out.  Brandon Lyon was released in short order.  Those things indirectly, and directly effect teams for the rest of the season.

There are countless other instances like this that he does on a nightly basis.  He almost always double switches his bench bats into the game to give the other manager an advantage of knowing the matchup beforehand.  I bet his RH bench bat has seen more ABs vs RHP, and vice versa for his LH bench bat.  Its just another example of him not giving his players the best chance to succeed.

I’m not even going to mention how poor his media communication can be with the constant declarations of who is, and who isn’t an everyday player to subsequently burying them on the bench for weeks at a time.  I swear he cools off our momentum more than the opponents pitching staff.

It wears on a team after a while when the manager constantly snatches defeat out of the jaws of victory.  It’s hard enough to succeed as it is.  It’s almost impossible to do it in spite of your manager.  It’s time for a change.  We’ll be better off in no time.  If history repeats itself, we should be perennial contenders within two years time with a bunch of post seasons and even a World Series sprinkled in. Just like the Angels and Astros.


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The Mets’ Mistake with Josh Satin Sat, 10 May 2014 14:15:03 +0000 josh satin

Ike Davis or Lucas Duda.

Lucas Duda or Ike Davis.

It took until mid-April for Sandy Alderson to finally make a decision that he was going with Lucas Duda at first base, and therefore, trading away Ike Davis. Since then, a day on Twitter can’t pass without some Mets fan tweeting the comparison numbers between Ike and Duda. It never stops.

But what has been lost in the ongoing debate about who the future first baseman of the Mets should be is the handling of Josh Satin.

The Mets have a player in Satin who presents a perfect platoon opportunity. He hits lefties and hits them well. His career OPS numbers vs. LHP relative to the league’s split of right-handed hitters against lefties is 33% above average. The only thing preventing him from hitting lefties is playing time.

If we leave Ike Davis out of the conversation, since he only had a few at bats vs. southpaws while he was still on the Mets this season, and compare Lucas Duda to Josh Satin, we notice a disturbing pattern.

Satin vs Duda LHP

Satin has more plate appearances vs. LHP than Duda this season, but not by a wide margin. This is because the Mets see Duda as an everyday first baseman now that they have traded Davis. It doesn’t seem to matter that Satin is clearly the better option against southpaws considering his career statistics. And this is where the Mets are missing the point.

The debate to start the season, when the Mets inexplicably came up with the idea of playing three different first baseman in three straight games, should have been a simple one. The Mets had two left-handed hitters who can’t hit lefties, and one right-handed batter who can. They should have made an early decision on trading Ike, thus keeping Duda, but from the start, playing him in a pure platoon role with Josh Satin.

Instead, there was mass confusion surrounding the first base position, it took too long to make a decision on Ike, and Satin is 3-28 so far this season. He is not receiving enough regular at-bats, both because it isn’t often the Mets face a lefty to begin with and, for some reason, he is not guaranteed a start when they do. It makes it hard for a player like Satin to get into a groove.

Statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference.

Presented By Diehards

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The Mysterious PTBNL in the Ike Davis Deal Sat, 26 Apr 2014 13:30:10 +0000 USATSI_ ike davis  by brad barr

As most, if not all of you know, Ike Davis was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates on the evening of April 19th. Some of you may also know that the Mets acquired soon to be 26-year old Zach Thornton; a somewhat underwhelming reliever in the Pirates system. Now, what I am certain that none of us know is the name of the second player involved in the deal; the mysterious player-to-be-named-later (PTBNL).

So if we don’t know the name of the PTBNL, what do we know?

In a series of tweets by CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, he speculates that the PTBNL will be “pretty significant” and is “expected to be a 2013 draft piece.”

This makes sense due to the fact that players who were drafted in 2013 are not eligible to be traded until one year after they sign with their respective teams.

Also, according to John Harper of the New York Daily News, Sandy Alderson insists that the value of the PTBNL has not changed from the type of return they could have received in the offseason when they were reportedly offered lefty Zach Britton of the Baltimore Orioles for Davis.

This likely eliminates the possibility that either 2013 first round picks Austin Meadows (#9 overall)  or Reese McGuire (#14 overall) are the PTBNL because if Sandy could have gotten that kind of return in the offseason, it’s safe to say Ike Davis would have been on a different team to begin the season.

There has been considerable buzz around four players, specifically, that are rumored to be the PTBNL. Let’s take a look, shall we?

Blake Taylor

Standing at 6’3” and weighing in at 195 pounds, 18-year-old Blake Taylor is a lefty that has the potential to start in the big leagues. His fastball already sits in the low-90’s but his frame suggests he may be able to add a bit more ticks to his fastball as he matures. His repertoire also boasts a solid average to above average curve and his control is decent. For Taylor to stick as a starter, though, he’ll need to develop a third pitch, likely a changeup.

JaCoby Jones

Former LSU tiger JaCoby Jones was drafted in the third round (#87 overall) of the 2013 draft purely based on his raw potential. Jones has always had the athleticism and tools to be a five-tool player, he just never put it together in his college career. With speed that has been described as plus to plus-plus, the Pirates decided to take a leap on him early in the draft with the hopes he could reach his potential. He saw time at both shortstop and centerfield during his pro debut but was eventually sidelined with a knee injury.

Cody Dickson

Dickson has a similar skillset to left handed pitcher Blake Taylor but he was drafted two rounds later and is a few years older. He sits in the low 90’s with his fastball and occasionally touches the mid-90’s; something he could probably do regularly once he matures. Dickson also has a killer curve in his arsenal that he uses to get strikeouts. With an improved changeup and better control, Dickson profiles in the middle of a rotation. If he can’t improve much on his current stuff, he profiles in the bullpen.

Neil Kozikowski

John Harper speculates that the PTBNL could possibly be 18-year-old Neil Kozikowski, whom the Pirates drafted in the eighth round of the 2013 draft. Kozikowski only throws in the high 80’s right now but is very projectable, standing at 6’4” and weighing 180 pounds. His arsenal reportedly consists of a fastball, slider, changeup and cutter and he apparently throws with a ¾ arm slot. Harper mentions that a Mets scout saw him before the draft last spring and really liked him.


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Collins Needs to Stop Babying Duda and Bat Him Cleanup Mon, 21 Apr 2014 13:05:33 +0000 When Terry Collins made the decision to get Curtis Granderson out of the cleanup spot, I wasn’t really too surprised. It was something that clearly needed to be done. Hopefully, this will get Granderson’s bat going again and he can become the run producer this team thought they were getting when they signed him to that four-year, $60 million dollar deal over the Winter.

Despite an 0-for-6 showing at the plate on Sunday, his game-winning sacrifice fly was still a sight for sore eyes and maybe it was just the first of many more big moments for Granderson going forward. 

lucas duda USATSIBatting cleanup yesterday was second baseman Daniel Murphy, which seemed like a real head-scratcher to me.

I thought for sure that Lucas Duda would get the first opportunity to bat behind David Wright, especially given the fact that he leads the team in home runs, slugging percentage and OPS.

After the game, Terry Collins explained his decision to leave Duda in the sixth spot of the lineup.

“It’s huge, and that’s exactly why I’m not ready to move Lucas there right now. With what’s happened here in the past week, he’s got enough on his plate, and I didn’t want to stir the pot by throwing him in the four-hole right away.”

I thought David Lennon of Newsday hit the nail on the head in his column this morning:

The Mets can’t play the sensitive card with him any longer. They chose Duda over Ike Davis — who, by the way, batted cleanup Sunday for the Pirates — and that means trusting him to do the job.

And while we’re on the subject of numbers, Duda’s best offensive stats have come in the No. 4 spot. In 110 games there, Duda has a slash line of .276/.373/.453 with a home run every 25 plate appearances. So don’t tell us Duda can’t handle the pressure.

As long as Granderson is slumping, Collins is going to have to scrape up offense from somewhere. And in this thin lineup, Duda has to become the hitter the Mets say he can be — not look for shelter.

Sooner or later the Mets are going to have to stop babying Duda and start requiring some accountability from him.

How are these players ever going to reach their full potential if we’re going to keep playing nursemaid with them like this?

Duda is 28 years old and given the fact that the Mets are banking on him as their starting first baseman, it’s time for him to live up to that expectation and rise to the occasion. Collins shouldn’t be the one keeping that from happening. Get Duda in that cleanup spot and lets turn the guy loose.

Presented By Diehards

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Nieuwenhuis Could Go Down When Mets Activate Chris Young Today Fri, 18 Apr 2014 18:47:36 +0000 kitk nieuwenhuis

April 18

Chris Young Is expected to be activated prior to tonight’s game. Young hit .667 (8-12) with two home runs, seven runs scored and five RBI in his three rehabilitation games with Las Vegas (AAA) of the Pacific Coast League.

He was placed on the DL on April 3 with a tight right groin.

A corresponding roster move will be announced prior to the game.

it will come down to lefty-hitting Kirk Nieuwenhuis and righty-hitting Andrew Brown.

But keep in mind that Nieuwenhuis will not burn any options if gets demoted because he would have been active less than 4 games. Nieuwenhuis has made his time with the team count, going 3-10 a home run and four RBI.

April 17

GM Sandy Alderson wouldn’t say which player is likely to depart when the team activates outfielder Chris Young from the disabled list on Friday, but we did learn that the Mets first base situation will be unaffected.

Alderson offered no indication the Mets would use the opportunity to demote a first baseman and alleviate crowding there.

“I wouldn’t say that’s a primary consideration,” Alderson said.

Since Terry Collins named Lucas Duda the everyday first baseman and adding that he wouldn’t be platooned, Ike Davis has started there once each series, and Josh Satin has started all three games against left-handed pitchers.

“There’s one first baseman and two guys off the bench,” Alderson insisted. “So I don’t really look at them as all first basemen. If you’re referring to Josh Satin, he can play a number of positions, and as a right-handed hitter off the bench. And, right now, Ike fills a role as a left-handed hitter off the bench.”

Although Duda is hitting .364 (8-for-22) with a homer and four RBIs in his past five starts, a report on ESPN New York indicated that Terry Collins started Davis on Wednesday for two reasons: Davis has four career homers in 36 at-bats at Chase Field, and the manager felt it appropriate to give Davis one start in his hometown.

As for who does go on Friday, it will come down to lefty-hitting Kirk Nieuwenhuis and righty-hitting Andrew Brown. But keep in mind that Nieuwenhuis will not burn any options if gets demoted because he would have been active less than 4 games.


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