Mets Merized Online » Joe Mauer http://metsmerizedonline.com Thu, 12 Jan 2017 20:51:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.17 Do $100 Million Dollar Players Guarantee Success? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/02/do-100-million-dollar-players-guarantee-success.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/02/do-100-million-dollar-players-guarantee-success.html/#comments Tue, 11 Feb 2014 17:57:33 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=147665 As Mets fans who have had to deal with the angst of the past few years, it wasn’t enough that the clubs play during the season was sub .500 for five straight years, we also have had to deal with the last three offseasons of no money to go out and buy the big ticket free agent that might have helped us get closer to the promised land. In fact, the only $100M+ plus investment we made was in Captain David Wright. There has been a smattering of opinion that suggests we could have done better by trading him for prospects and starting over, but what cannot be denied is that he is easily one of the best third baggers in baseball (apologies to Miguel Cabrera). And lets not forget that the organization was put into shock with previous large contracts that blew up in the teams face. Throw in a good old fashion Ponzi scheme, and then you can start to hear shoes squeak over at Willets Point.

So, with all that as a backdrop, the question I wanted to pose and try to answer in this article is this; Could we have done any better spending big on free agents?

Theo Epstein, Carl Crawford

And by big, I am referring only to those contracts where the total value was over $100 million-plus and added during the Sandy Alderson era. Clearly, one player does not make a team, but when you sink that much dough, not to mention years, into some of the players that have received these deals over the past three years, teams like the Mets cannot afford to have duds, they need All-Star caliber players. As an aside, I follow the European soccer scene very closely and have watched as teams in small English towns spent heavily to try and compete with the powerhouses in London and Manchester, only to find themselves bankrupt, with no trophies to show for their efforts, and fans in despair (sound familiar?).

Since Sandy Alderson and Co. joined the Metropolitans in October 2010, there have been 14 players who have signed deals with a total value of over $100M in his first three years (I have not included anyone who signed this offseason as there is no data to evaluate their performance yet). These players have signed deals that total over $2.1 billion over an average length of seven years. The annual average value of these contracts is approximately $21 million. Now it bears noting that of these 14 deals, five have to be excluded as those deals were actually extensions (Troy Tulowitzki, Joe Mauer, Matt Kemp, Matt Cain, and Cole Hamels). They are included in the statistical analysis.

In order to determine the relative worth of these ballplayers and if they could have helped the Mets to a title, I used WAR values provided by Baseball Reference. One can debate the relative merits of WAR as a statistic but it is really the only way to look at position players and pitchers together and determine worth. Again, I am only focusing on those nine players who signed their deals since Sandy Alderson and his band took over the Mets front office.

Per Baseball Reference, an All-Star is defined as one with a WAR of 5.0 or better. A Major League class starter is one with a WAR of 2.0 or higher. Now, it can be expected that once a team drops over $100M on a player they should expect All-Star caliber play for the majority of that contact. Sadly, the figures do not bear this out. Of the three seasons analyzed (30 total “seasons” for the 14 players who signed mega-deals), only 20% of all those seasons produced a WAR of 5.0 or higher. Of these six seasons, two were in 2011 (Tulowitzki, Lee), one was in 2012 (Pujols), and three were in 2013 (Tulowitzki, Joe Mauer and Lee again!). Of these players, only Cliff Lee has helped his team to at least one playoff appearance.

It gets worse. From the 30 seasons produced by the 14 players signed to mega deals, a whopping 40% of those seasons produced a WAR of 2.0 or less. That means that players signed to play for over $20 million a season could not even produce a WAR capable of an average major league starter, never mind an All-Star. With a failure rate as high as this, teams with little or no flexibility in their budget simply cannot afford to be part of such a crapshoot. I’m surprised that the Angels aren’t taking more heat for their bad spending over the past two years, as Pujols and Hamilton have contributed very little to delivering a .500 season for their team, let alone a championship, for Los Angeles.

Previously I had discussed the high WAR value of players such as Cliff Lee and Troy Tulowitzki. I also found that Joe Mauer had also produced over a fairly high level since signing his mega extension. Lee, specifically, is a phenomenon, over the three years since he signed his 5 year, $120 million contract in the 2010 offseason, the man has produced over 20 WAR! That accounts for one fifth of the total WAR of all the mega free agents signed since 2010. It’s an incredible statistic. Add in the total WAR for just these three players, they accounted for 52% of the total WAR of all players signed to $100M+ deals.

While this may not be a complete apples to apples comparison, it is a fairly compelling piece of information when you consider that even when their average WAR per year is compiled, these three still rank at the top of the list of 14. Only Adrian Gonzalez comes close with 7.5 WAR over two years.

Okay, maybe WAR shouldn’t be the measurement we use to measure success against a mega contract, maybe its just too sabermetric for you, and doesn’t beat what is really important to Mets and baseball fans everywhere, and that is winning the World Series. And to some extent I heartily agree, a player signed to a huge $100M contract should help his team into the playoffs and World Series. Surely, on this scale, we should see success, right?

Unfortunately, even by this measurement, these players do not provide proof that big spending buys championships. Over the past three years only one player has signed a $100M deal and won a World Series. Bad news again, is that this player signed an extension with his current team and wasn’t even allowed to hit the free agent market (Matt Cain of the 2012 Giants had a 3.9 WAR in the Giants run to the title in 2012, but slipped to an injury plagued 0.5 WAR in 2013). There is only one free agent who signed a mega deal that has at least made a World Series appearance (Prince Fielder with the Tigers in 2012). Seven of the 14 players have at least had the privilege of playing in the playoffs (thanks to three different Dodgers who made it in the last post-season: Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Zack Greinke. Matt Kemp was not counted as he was injured and did not play).

What conclusions can be drawn by this? Well, it seems that signing a player to such a humongous contract over an equally long period of time is a very, very, very risky proposition, as more of these contracts fail then succeed. Mets fans have been close to the bone on this with the Johan Santana and Jason Bay contracts (though the latter was only for $64M). A mixture of free agents on shorter term deals with home grown talent would seem to be the way to success, just ask the Cardinals, Rays, and Pirates. So, whether or not we believe that the plan as stated by our GM is working, he is working to a script that at least has had proven success with other teams.

mmo

]]>
http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/02/do-100-million-dollar-players-guarantee-success.html/feed/ 0
MMO Mailbag: Does D’Arnaud Have Enough Power To Justify A Move To First Base? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/mmo-mailbag-does-darnaud-have-enough-power-to-justify-a-move-to-first-base.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/mmo-mailbag-does-darnaud-have-enough-power-to-justify-a-move-to-first-base.html/#comments Wed, 18 Dec 2013 12:00:19 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=135764 travis-d'arnaud

NickCant12 asks…

Let’s be honest, there is major concern with Travis d’Arnaud‘s ability to stay healthy, and although his defense isn’t necessarily a concern, it’s not a strength either. With high praise from the Mets brain trust for catching prospect Kevin Plawecki, does TDA have enough pop in his bat to justify a switch to 1B in the future?

Kirk Cahill replies…

This is an excellent question. I think it’s also a question that we don’t necessarily have an answer to just yet. D’Arnaud has just 112 major-league plate appearances under his belt, so it’s difficult to know just what type of offensive player he’s going to be. That said, I’m always a little uncomfortable moving catchers off of the position.

Having a catcher who can hit and hit for power is so rare that you’d hate to negate his value by moving him — especially to first base. In some rare cases like those of Buster Posey and Joe Mauer, players who are so offensively gifted that their offense will play above-average no matter where you put them I’m okay with it. Especially later in their careers. I’m just not so sure that Travis is that type of offensive force.

Scouts project TDA to be somewhere in the .270-.280 range with 20+ homers and an above-average walk total. That’s a top catcher, but probably a league average first basemen. I would keep him behind the plate until absolutely necessary and enjoy the spoils of getting that type of production out of my catcher, and enjoy the luxury of filling my first base spot with a prototypical middle of the order masher.

As for d’Arnaud’s injury history, it’s certainly a concern. However not all of his injuries have been directly connected to catching. He suffered a knee injury breaking up a doubleplay in 2012. His most recent injury was due to a foul ball hitting him in the foot, and while that’s obviously directly related to being a catcher it’s a fluky type of injury.

The most worrisome injury would have to be the back problems that popped up in 2010, but with said injury almost four years in the past, perhaps it isn’t something that we can expect to be chronic. The recent ruling to end home plate collisions will certainly help. So when taking all of that into consideration I still maintain that keeping him at catcher until something or someone forces your hand is the best plan of action.

mmo mailbag

]]>
http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/mmo-mailbag-does-darnaud-have-enough-power-to-justify-a-move-to-first-base.html/feed/ 0
2013 Silver Slugger Award Winners http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/2013-silver-slugger-award-winners.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/2013-silver-slugger-award-winners.html/#comments Thu, 07 Nov 2013 06:20:50 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=132376 MLB announced the 2013 Silver Slugger Award winners on Wednesday night. Here they are with multiple career winners in parentheses.

mike-trout

AMERICAN LEAGUE

C – Joe Mauer, Twins (5)
1B – Chris Davis, Orioles (1)
2B – Robinson Cano, Yankees (5)
SS – J.J. Hardy, Orioles (1)
3B – Miguel Cabrera, Tigers (5)
OF – Mike Trout, Angels (2)
OF – Adam Jones, Orioles (1)
OF – Torii Hunter, Tigers (2)
DH – David Ortiz, Red Sox (6)

andrew mccutchen

NATIONAL LEAGUE

C – Yadier Molina, Cardinals (1)
1B – Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks (1)
2B – Matt Carpenter, Carpenter (1)
SS – Ian Desmond, Nationals (2)
3B – Pedro Alvarez, Pirates (1)
OF – Michael Cuddyer, Rockies (1)
OF – Andrew McCutchen, Pirates (2)
OF – Jay Bruce, Reds (2)
P – Zack Greinke, Dodgers (1)

Silver Sluggers, presented by Louisville Slugger, are awarded annually to the best offensive players at each position in each league. Voting was conducted by Major League managers and coaches, using batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage as key statistics. Voters could not include players from their own team on their ballots.

The last time a Mets player won a Silver Slugger was in 2008 when David Wright won.

]]>
http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/2013-silver-slugger-award-winners.html/feed/ 105
Sickels Projects d’Arnaud In His Prospect of Day Feature http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/sickels-projects-darnaud-in-his-prospect-of-day-feature.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/sickels-projects-darnaud-in-his-prospect-of-day-feature.html/#comments Mon, 19 Aug 2013 13:57:11 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=127467 mejia d'arnaud

John Sickels on Minor League Ball featured Travis d’Arnaud as his Prospect of the Day and pointed out how steadily his throwing has improved as evidenced by increasing caught-stealing percentages since turning pro. So for those of you worried about those three stolen bases against him this weekend, don’t go jumping to any conclusions, and it was not like the pitcher’s didn’t play a part in it.

Here is what he had to say regarding D’Arnaud’s bat and projectability:

Offensively, his best tool is power. He was rather impatient early in his career but has made progress with the strike zone. He looked dramatically improved in that department for Vegas this spring and summer, when he wasn’t hurt anyway. His power usually comes when he pulls the ball, although he is more willing to take something the opposite way than he was earlier in his career.

I don’t see him as a .300 hitter at the major league level, but he should be good for a solid .250-.270 range, with an adequate OBP and better-than-average power. He could exceed those projections in his peak seasons.

Back in February, I wrote a Prospect Smackdown article comparing d’Arnaud with Mike Zunino of the Seattle Mariners, who is d’Arnaud’s primary competition as the top catching prospect in baseball. I concluded that I preferred Zunino very slightly because he was two years younger. Zunino has had his own set of problems this year. Catchers get hurt a lot and they often don’t have linear development curves.

Although I don’t see him in the Buster Posey or Joe Mauer class of superstar catcher, d’Arnaud produces quality play on both sides of the ball. If he can avoid getting hurt too often, d’Arnaud will be a fixture in the Mets lineup for years to come.

By the way, despite an report yesterday that the Mets will be keeping d’Arnaud once John Buck returns on Tuesday, the team says they haven’t made an official determination about that yet and it’s still up for debate.

]]>
http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/sickels-projects-darnaud-in-his-prospect-of-day-feature.html/feed/ 0
AL Defeats NL 3-0 In Mid-Summer Classic Amid Some Memorable Moments http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/al-defeats-nl-3-0-in-mid-summer-classic-amid-some-memorable-moments.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/al-defeats-nl-3-0-in-mid-summer-classic-amid-some-memorable-moments.html/#comments Wed, 17 Jul 2013 04:29:11 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=124959

Well the 2013 All-Star Game has come to a close as the American League defeated the National League by the score of 3-0. It was the lowest-scoring All-Star Game since 1990, when the AL earned a 2-0 victory.

I loved the Opening Ceremonies and it was great to see Carlos Beltran and Mariano Rivera get some nice ovations, but not nearly as loud and boisterous as the ovations for the Mets All-Stars David Wright and Matt Harvey.

USP-MLB_-All-Star-Game matt harvey

Matt Harvey was greeted by a first pitch double by leadoff hitter Mike Trout, but then went on to pitch two scoreless innings and facing eight batters while striking out three.

Things got a little scary when he hit the Yankees’ Robinson Cano just above the knee and he was removed from the game. Harvey apologized to Cano afterward and it looks like the All Star second baseman will be fine.

“The last thing I wanted to do was go out there and possibly injure somebody,” Harvey said.

david wright

David Wright, who has now made more All-Star Game appearances than any other Met in franchise history (7), went 1-for-3 with a single. This will end a whirlwind three days for Wright who was running around all over the city as the face of the Mets and the face of this All-Star Game, acting as the unofficial ambassador and saying all the right things.

“I’m glad that I could help promote this game,” said Wright. “I’m glad that I could help represent the New York Mets. I look at is as trying to be a good host. I think I’m trying to be a good ambassador for the game and then obviously trying to be an ambassador for the New York Mets. That’s kind of the responsibility that I feel.”

Some of the in-game entertainment included was Candice Glover singing the National Anthem, Marc Anthony singing God Bless America, and Neil Diamond singing Sweet Caroline. When I first heard Diamond would be appearing I thought it was silly, but then I learned it was to honor the bombings in Boston. Both Diamond and Anthony absolutely energized the crowd.

mariano rivera

Then Mariano Rivera came out to pitch the eighth inning and it was the highlight of the evening for me. That’s what I will remember most about this All-Star Game. Citi Field blasted Metallica’s Enter Sandman while players and coaches in both dugouts came out and applauded him while the crowd gave him a 4-minute standing ovation. It was quite a moment and everyone was on their feet.

Rivera was named the All-Star Game MVP for his 1-2-3 inning. Afterward, he was to emotional to speak, but eventually got out a few choice humble comments. Classy as always.

All in all it was a great Mid-Summer Classic and the largest crowd in Citi Field history nearing close to 42,000 fans including standing room only.

harvey wright

Original Post 3:30 PM

The starting lineups for tonight are…

American League

  1. CF: Mike Trout, Angels
  2. 2B: Robinson Cano, Yankees
  3. 3B: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
  4. 1B: Chris Davis, Orioles
  5. LF: Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
  6. DH: David Ortiz, Red Sox
  7. RF: Adam Jones, Orioles
  8. C: Joe Mauer, Twins
  9. SS: J.J. Hardy, Orioles

Starting pitcher: Max Scherzer, Tigers

National League:

  1. 2B Brandon Phillips, Reds
  2. RF: Carlos Beltran, Cardinals
  3. 1B: Joey Votto, Reds
  4. 3B: David Wright, Mets
  5. LF: Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies
  6. C Yadier Molina, Cardinals
  7. SS: Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies
  8. DH: Michael Cuddyer, Rockies
  9. CF: Bryce Harper, Nationals

Starting pitcher: Matt Harvey, Mets

]]>
http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/al-defeats-nl-3-0-in-mid-summer-classic-amid-some-memorable-moments.html/feed/ 0
Enjoy The Spectacle of Captain America, But Don’t Forget Reality Sets In On April 1 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/enjoy-the-spectacle-of-captain-america-but-dont-forget-reality-sets-in-on-april-1.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/enjoy-the-spectacle-of-captain-america-but-dont-forget-reality-sets-in-on-april-1.html/#comments Thu, 14 Mar 2013 17:01:59 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=110912 david wright roars and scores wbc

Isn’t it amazing what kind of a player David Wright can be when he’s actually surrounded by some legitimate major league talent?

Currently, Wright is enjoying some of the most spectacular baseball he’s ever played in his career, and why not? We’ve all seen what the Mets All Star third baseman could do before when he had great protection in the lineup.

It was no coincidence that Wright had his best two seasons as a Met when both Carlos Delgado and Carlos Beltran were lethal weapons for the Mets, before each of them got hurt and became less effective.

Back then, we saw what “Captain America” was capable of, and things haven’t been the same since Dos Carlos were last seen together in a Mets lineup with David Wright.

It’s been a grind for Wright since the 2009 season. Sure, he’s had his moments and even a couple of tremendous halves on two occasions. But not nearly the kind of consistent seasons we saw from Wright during the three year stretch spanning 2006-2008.

I believe that on Omar Minaya’s part, he understood that Wright needed that protection and while Jason Bay ended up being a complete and colossal bust, nobody could have predicted the AL’s leading home run and RBI man would collapse the way that he did once he joined the New York Mets. Then the money ran out.

Wright now enters the 2013 season with way too many question marks in the lineup. Lucas Duda is 27 and is still a project just as he was two years ago. Ike Davis has yet to put together two good halves and form one solid season. And it looks like Collin Cowgill and Marlon Byrd may log a lot of playing time this season if we are to believe the daily reports from the Mets’ beat writers and some of the things Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins have said.

That’s a far cry from the likes of Eric Hosmer, Ryan Braun, Joe Mauer and Giancarlo Stanton, who are some of the players that are sandwiching Wright on Team USA’s power-packed, star-studded lineup.

So while some of us look upon what Wright is doing with astonishment and excitement, lets understand what we are really seeing here. These amazing moments are most likely not a portent of things to come during the Mets 2013 regular season. I urge and caution all of my fellow Met fans to reign in any gaudy expectations your mind may have already conjured up and dial it back a few notches.

Go ahead and savor what David Wright is currently doing in the World Baseball Classic and relish every moment. Be proud of what Wright accomplishes with every mighty swing of his bat. But don’t forget that it’s only March 14, and that the real baseball season begins on April 1. That is when reality will sink in for most of us, but mostly for David Wright as well. He returns to a lineup devoid of the type of talent he surrounds himself with now.

So enjoy the spectacle we have before us while it lasts, and Go Team USA!

* * * * * * * *

This Fan Shot was contributed by MMO reader, KMaxx.

Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 15 thousand Mets fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to GetMetsmerized@aol.com. Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

]]>
http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/enjoy-the-spectacle-of-captain-america-but-dont-forget-reality-sets-in-on-april-1.html/feed/ 0
From Left Field: Should The Mets Have Made A Run At Mauer? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/08/from-left-field-should-the-mets-have-made-a-run-at-mauer.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/08/from-left-field-should-the-mets-have-made-a-run-at-mauer.html/#comments Fri, 31 Aug 2012 14:21:53 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=94818 Joe Mauer at Fenway Park (Photo by Jim Mancari)

Joe Mauer at Fenway Park (Photo by Jim Mancari)

The Minnesota Twins places All-Star catcher Joe Mauer on revocable trade waivers earlier this week, and, not too surprisingly, no team put a claim in for him.

The 29-year-old is due $23 million per season through 2018, so team’s likely balked at that salary.

I heard some reports that the Mets should have gone after Mauer if the Twins were willing to work out a deal. I know it’s slightly after the fact (at least until the offseason), but let’s dissect this trade possibility.

Yes, Mauer isn’t exactly his former self and projects more as a first baseman than a catcher, but the guy is producing this year at a .312 clip with eight home runs and 68 RBI, which earned him his fifth All-Star selection.

The Mets are desperately seeking offensive production from the catcher’s spot, and Mauer would be an instant upgrade. Kelly Shoppach has looked OK offensively, but Shoppach is not Mauer, end of story.

The problem here is that in order to keep Mauer healthy, he needs to either play first base or DH. Obviously DH is not an option in the NL, so it would have to be first base.

Ike Davis is currently the Mets first baseman. He struggled out of the gate early, but his power numbers have been just as expected. Are we already willing to give up on Ike in favor of a catcher who is more of a first baseman?

Let’s say though the Mets can trade Ike for some outfield help. In fact, let’s say that Ike is included in a deal for Mauer that also nets the Mets Josh Willingham. The “Hammer” is signed for $14 million over the next two seasons, but he’ll also be 34 to begin next season.

However, the whole purpose in trading for Mauer would be to add him to a lineup that includes Ike Davis. So instead the Mets would have to dig into their prospects for a deal.

Think back to winter 2008 when the Mets and Twins made a trade for Johan Santana. The Twins acquired four prospects: Phil Humber, Carlos Gomez, Kevin Mulvey and Deolis Guerra. Humber pitched a perfect game but for the White Sox, Gomez is now on the Brewers, Mulvey is gone from the Twins system and Guerra may have a shot to be a decent pitcher for the Twins.

If the Mets start throwing around names like Wilmer Flores, Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia and Collin McHugh (obviously Zack Wheeler is untouchable), the Twins may get skeptical based on the results of the other trade. But that’s the whole point of rolling the dice on prospects; some don’t pan out.

I’m not a general manger (maybe just an arm-chair GM), but if somehow the Mets could have worked out a deal for Mauer and Willingham, the team would be in good shape maybe just for next year, but beyond that it would be a gamble. Here’s what a lineup would look like, assuming no other big moves were made:

Tejada SS, Murphy 2B, Mauer C, Wright 3B, Davis 1B, Willingham LF, Duda RF, CF (either Hairston, Nieuwenhuis, den Dekker, B.J. Upton perhaps).

This would be a pretty good team, but I just don’t see it happening. Actually to answer the title question, I don’t want it to happen. If the Twins were going to ask for mid-level prospects just to get something back for Mauer, then maybe. But Mauer is locked up for six more years, so the Twins would have to be blown away by an offer for this to work. They aren’t going to trade their only superstar just for the sake of making a deal.

So instead, expect something a little more like this for next season:

Tejads SS, Murphy 2B, Wright 3B, Davis 1B, Hairston/Baxter RF, Duda/Bay LF, Shoppach/Thole C, CF (Nieuwenhuis or den Dekker).

GM Sandy Alderson said the team would be creative in the trade market perhaps. The free agent market will be weak this offseason (except for Josh Hamilton, fat chance Mets fans!), so trades will be the only way to improve this team.

Again, if the Mets and Twins can work out a trade for Mauer and even throw in Willingham in which the Mets assume the contracts (another big if) rather than mortgaging the farm system, I guess it could work. But that’s living in a fantasy world.

The safe bet: Stay away from Mauer and explore other options.

]]>
http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/08/from-left-field-should-the-mets-have-made-a-run-at-mauer.html/feed/ 0
MMO Exclusive Interview: Mets Prospect Joe Bonfe http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/01/mmo-exclusive-interview-mets-prospect-joe-bonfe.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/01/mmo-exclusive-interview-mets-prospect-joe-bonfe.html/#comments Thu, 26 Jan 2012 20:05:44 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=70560

I was able to do a Q&A with NY Mets minor league prospect Joe Bonfe the other day. Entering his 4th season with the Mets, the 24-year-old Bonfe looks to shed the label of super-utility guy, and take on the role of starting player for an entire season. Joe did a great job in the interview and his questions are very interesting. Keep reading to find out how Joe continues to improve his game, and what he sees himself accomplishing this year:

Petey:  Today we are chatting with Joe Bonfe, Mets minor league jack-of-all-trades, who played at Savannah last year. Joe plays first-base, third-base, and the corner outfield spots for the Mets, and if everything goes according to plan, he should open up 2012 in the Florida State League as a member of the St. Lucie Mets. Hi Joe, thanks for taking a little time out to answer some questions for all of us at MetsMerizedOnline.com. You are from Minnesota, is that where you’ve spent this off-season? Did you guys even have any snow this winter?

Joe:  I am spending my off-season in Minnesota and it’s been a warm winter thus far, we didn’t even have snow on Christmas.

Petey:  When the Mets drafted you in the 21st round of the 2009 MLB Player Draft, out of Sierra College, how did you first hear about it, and what was that feeling like? Did you know the Mets were interested in drafting you? What round(s) were you thinking you might be taken in the draft?

Joe:  I first heard I was drafted when I was listening to the Draft Tracker the second day of the draft, I was super excited because it has always been a dream of mine to play in the Major Leagues and hearing my name brought me one step closer to that dream. The Mets followed me through fall and spring ball the year I was at Sierra College so I knew I had the possibility of getting drafted by them. I didn’t have any rounds in mind I just wanted to let scouts know I wanted to play at the next level and be given the opportunity.

Petey:  Is there one person, a coach, a friend or family member, or even another player, who you learned the most from, or who inspired you to chase your dream of becoming a major league baseball player?

Joe:  My parents have been my biggest support through my baseball career and they have always been there for me and helped fine tune me into the player I am today. They taught me to be a hard worker, play hard from start to finish, and play the game the right way.

Petey:  You were log-jammed at the infield corners when the 2011 season began, but spent some time working in the outfield corner spots and held up pretty well. Was it your idea to seek more playing time by working in the outfield, or one of your coaches? Although a natural third baseman, after playing both LF and RF for the Gnats, did you become as comfortable in the outfield as you are in the infield? There has been speculation about the Mets perhaps moving both Aderlin Rodriguez, and Jefry Marte from 3B. That could leave a big hole at the position at St. Lucie going into this season. Have the Mets indicated whether they see you filling that role for them heading into next year, or is it a matter of seeing where the cards fall in ST?

Joe:  I have always wanted to be a versatile player my whole career because I know in this game the more positions you play the more opportunities will come your way, I really wanted to be able to help the team and be an everyday player so the coaches and I decided it would benefit me more to play more positions and it worked out great. My first game I played outfield I was a little nervous/excited but I knew that with the hard work and practice I put in, everything would take care of itself. When I caught the first fly ball I felt instant comfort and knew I could help the team in the outfield. I am heading into spring training trying to prove myself that I can be an everyday player at any of the corner positions and would be willing to play other positions as well.

Petey:  Between you and me Joe, I’d hold off on telling them you’d be willing to catch, if you know what I mean. How about a scouting report on Joe Bonfe as a hitter? What are your strengths and what do you need to work on? You are a big guy, 6’4″, 220 lbs., and swing right-handed, do you see yourself developing into a HR hitter some day? I noticed you hit about .50 points higher with runners in scoring position last year, then with the bases empty, and then you hit very well in the post-season. Do you think of yourself as a ‘big game’ guy, and a clutch performer?

Joe:  I am always tuning up my game, but I would have to say I am working on my bat speed, defense, loading earlier and driving the ball with backspin to all parts of the field, with that said I believe I can become a HR hitter. As always I just try and help my team in any way possible to win the game and I like getting the opportunity to be in those situations. I know in those situations the pitcher is the one who is in trouble so I don’t put any pressure on myself, I just treat it like every other at bat and let the pitcher make the mistake.

Petey:  Tell us a little about your speed and base-running. You are fast enough to hold down a corner outfield spot, which opens many opportunities for playing time moving forward. Plus you have interesting stolen base totals from the last two seasons. In 2010 while at Brooklyn, you stole 8 bases while getting caught twice, then last year in Savannah, you stole 8 more bases and didn’t get caught at all. Very good Joseph! It seems like you have pretty good instincts on the base-paths, something Mets fans appreciate, do you work hard on your base-running?

Joe:  A lot of it is instincts and preparation before the pitch, because every base counts and the closer to home plate the better situation for the team, I am always looking for that extra base and I try to take advantage of a lazy player. I want to keep the other team on their toes and put the pressure on them. All of my coaches from little league on up have always stressed to run hard and always look for the extra base and I always stress being an aggressive, smart runner.

Petey:  Coming from Minnesota, you must be used to playing in cold weather. What was it like growing up there as a baseball player? Did you play other sports? When did you decide it was baseball that you would pursue?

Joe:  Like you said cold weather for me is freezing for most people. I like the cool games and almost prefer them over a hot day. Our season for baseball didn’t start till April, so you can imagine our season was half as long in the spring. I played hockey and football in high school and was a State Champion in hockey; I played on the same line as Ryan McDonagh of the New York Rangers. I chose baseball because of the love for the game and I have always had fun no matter if it was practice or a game. I enjoy being around the sport.

Petey:  What was your favorite baseball team growing up? Your favorite player? Is there a major league player, past or present, that you think you are similar to in style? Or someone that you can see yourself playing like someday in the majors?

Joe:  My favorite team growing up was the Minnesota Twins. Kirby Pucket and Joe Mauer have been my favorite players and I think I have similar hitting style as Joe Mauer. He was four years ahead of me at my high school and I have watched his career develop and since he had so much success I tried to imitate his style of play.

Petey:  A good guy to emulate for sure. What are your goals for next season? And how do you prepare over the winter, can you describe your workout regimen? What do you like to do for recreation?

Joe:  My goals this year is to be in Binghamton by the end of the year. Over the winter I work out to improve my strength, speed quickness, and then work on my hitting and fielding as well. I really want to put my name on the board this year by showing them I can play at any level.

Petey:  Pick one teammate, position player or pitcher, that really impressed you with his play this year at Savannah, and tell us what it was that made you take notice.

Joe:  Taylor Whitenton, he was one of our many solid pitchers we had on the team, his work ethic and preparation for each game he pitched showed why he was one of the best in the league. When he was pitching we knew he was going to give our team a great chance to win.

Petey:  To finish up Joe, just a little personal info, not pertaining to baseball. What is your favorite movie? Favorite musician or band? Favorite food?

Joe:  One of my favorite movies would have to be The Count of Monte Cristo. Don’t have a favorite musician/band but I like all varieties. My favorite food by far is a Chipotle Burrito

Petey:  Hmmmm……I think I’m in the mood for Mexican food tonite….anyway thanks Joe! It was really fun doing this interview with you. Good luck with the 2012 season! Remember, Binghamton is lovely in August! We’ll see you at ST.

Joe has that competitive drive you love to see in your players. He may not do anything fantastic, but he does a lot of things well. A good start at St. Lucie and he could very well get his wish, a mid-season call-up to AA Bingo. That would put Bonfe on-track for a possible big-league debut sometime in 2013. Bonfe is doing a good job of rounding out his game, playing smart, and making himself valuable to his team. All traits that will serve him well as he follows the Dream.

For more of my player interviews, and some other cool stuff, click here.

]]>
http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/01/mmo-exclusive-interview-mets-prospect-joe-bonfe.html/feed/ 0
Mauer and Halladay Issue Their Own Deadlines On Deadline Day http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/12/mauer-and-halladay-issue-their-own-deadlines-on-deadline-day.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/12/mauer-and-halladay-issue-their-own-deadlines-on-deadline-day.html/#comments Tue, 01 Dec 2009 15:01:30 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=16644 Can you guess what the magic word is for this chilly December 1st day?

To begin, Toronto starting pitcher Roy Halladay has given the Blue Jays a deadline for trading him or he will invoke his no trade clause according to Buster Olney of ESPN.

Roy Halladay, the All-Star pitcher who has been the subject of much trade talk since before the July deadline, will not approve any proposed deal after he reports to spring training, according to his representatives.

This means that the Toronto Blue Jays either will have to work out a trade of Halladay by the end of the offseason, or be prepared to receive only draft-pick compensation when the pitcher becomes eligible for free agency in the fall of 2010.

Olney also adds that currently, Halladay would only accept a deal to the Red Sox, Yankees, Phillies, or Angels. If the Mets want Halladay, they better get busy signing a Matt Holliday or Jason Bay first, because it looks like he only wants to play for a team that is a lock for the playoffs, and not one that has merely a chance to contend.

According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, 2009 American League MVP Joe Mauer will end contract negotiations if he doesn’t have a deal with the Twins by a deadline of Opening Day.

Mauer plans on ending contract negotiations if a deal isn’t struck by the end of spring training, a source close to the American League Most Valuable Player told Yahoo! Sports on Monday. Mauer would play out the season, then enter free agency primed to land perhaps the second-biggest bonanza in baseball history.

It looks like Mauer just wants to light a fire under the Twins brass, but they have already said they plan on getting a deal done by Christmas. I wonder what kind of a hometown discount Mauer will give the Twins if any?

Finally, today is the deadline for teams to offer their players arbitration. The Mets are not expected to offer arby to Carlos Delgado, J.J. Putz and Fernando Tatis, but they have a few players on the bubble such as John Maine, Jeremy Reed, Tim Redding and Cory Sullivan.

Once the deadline passes, it should add a few dozen more players to the free agent class. There may be some good opportunities to pick up a solid player or two. Many of the non-tenders are very useful players who were non-tendered because they would have been grossly overpaid thanks to the current system which has many flaws.

]]>
http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/12/mauer-and-halladay-issue-their-own-deadlines-on-deadline-day.html/feed/ 0
Where’s The Justice? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/11/wheres-the-justice.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/11/wheres-the-justice.html/#comments Mon, 23 Nov 2009 22:44:28 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=16343 Not much going on today as far as Mets news goes. If you want to relive the horror of the 2009 season, you can always tune into MLB Network’s Hot Stove Tonight for a retrospective of the Mets season. There’s also some rumblings from Fox Sports that figures Jermaine Dye could be a good fit for the Mets at first base, a position he has played once in the last decade. Thanks, but no thanks.

The big MLB news today is that Minnesota catcher Joe Mauer has won the American League MVP award. (Yeay!) He beats out both Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter of the Yankees who finished second and third. Mauer’s election was nearly unanimous except for one voter, Keizo Konishi of Kyodo News, who gave his first place vote to Miguel Cabrera. Hopeful he will have his voting rights revoked before he really screws something up in the future.

Mauer gets a $100 K bonus for his feat, but Cabrera who finished in fourth place thanks to Konishi, will get a $200 K bonus, twice as much as Joe Mauer. I wonder how much Miguel gave him for the solid?

The worst part of the news for me was reading the comments on the MLB Boards. One of them remarked, “this is perfect, once the Yankees sign him in 2011, we will have three MVP’s in our lineup.”

I was going to respond, but the more I thought about it the more I figured he was probably right. I know the Twins are desperately trying to sign him long term, but isn’t that what all the teams say just before talks break down, free agency finally comes, and the Yankees sign them before that Christmas?

Just ask the Brewers who lost Sabathia, the Blue Jays who lost Burnett, and the Angels who lost Teixeira last off season. And we may just be seeing it again this season if the Yankees do get Roy Halladay or John Lackey as rumored.

I recently read that the Florida Marlins may be forced to move their ace starting pitcher Josh Johnson acording to two sources. Guess who both sources thought had the best chance of trading for him?

Sometimes, there is no justice in the world.

]]>
http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/11/wheres-the-justice.html/feed/ 0
The Twins Are Everything I Wanted The Mets To Be http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/10/the-twins-are-everything-i-wanted-the-mets-to-be.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/10/the-twins-are-everything-i-wanted-the-mets-to-be.html/#comments Wed, 07 Oct 2009 11:08:59 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=14070 I had no intentions of watching the one game playoff between the Minnesota Twins and the Detroit Tigers last night. Somehow, almost as if it was fate, I came upon the game while channel surfing and paused only because I heard Ron Darlings voice. “Wow’, I thought to myself, “at least one 2009 Met made it to the post season.”

It was the seventh inning and I figured, what the heck, I’ll just watch and see who gets the honor of being mauled by the Yankees later this week.

The high definition drama that would then unfold before my very eyes swallowed me whole. The game sunk its claws into me and it didn’t let go.

By the time everything was said and done, I found myself cheering for the Twins and rooting for guys like Joe Mauer, Orlando Cabrera and of course our old friend Carlos Gomez who scored the dramatic winning run in the bottom of the 12 inning. From the time I tuned in until the end, I watched the lead change hands five times. What a battle…

“This is the most unbelievable game I’ve ever played or seen,” Twins shortstop Orlando Cabrera said.

Their thrilling victory stirred me inside, and I was so happy and grateful that fate led me to watch one of the most exciting finishes to a game that I had seen all year.

Immediately after the game, I quickly went online while the festivities ensued on TBS. I was curious about the makeup of their roster. Surprisingly, I hardly recognized most of the names. Who are these guys I thought, and why are they going to the Divisional Series while my Mets wallow in self pity?

The Twins are mostly comprised of one huge mega-star in catcher Joe Mauer, who is then surrounded by a host of quality complimentary players like Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel, Orlando Cabrera, Carlos Gomez and Delmon Young. Cabrera and his .312 OBP is the spiritual heart of the team, and yes grit and leadership does trump statistical nirvana.

Who could believe that the Mets would swindle the Twins out of their ace Johan Santana, and that they would be the ones to go to the post season first?

Last night I filed for temporary custody of the Twins as my new adoptive team… at least for the duration of their joyride. A ride that I hope leads them to the pinnacle of baseball.

They are everything I wanted the Mets to be.

Join us for a LIVE CHAT tomorrow at 8:00 PM, as we will field questions about the current state of the Mets, and what the Hot Stove Season may have in store for the Amazins. It will be part of a regular feature all off season long as we track and discuss all of the Mets off season moves. Mets baseball never ends on Mets Merized Online.

]]>
http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/10/the-twins-are-everything-i-wanted-the-mets-to-be.html/feed/ 0