Mets Merized Online » Johan Santana Tue, 17 Jan 2017 18:27:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 11 Best Mets Who Didn’t Play in the Postseason Tue, 10 Jan 2017 13:00:20 +0000 bernard-gilkey

Think of any of the Mets’ all-time great players.

Chances are you probably thought of someone like Tom Seaver, Darryl Strawberry, David Wright or maybe one of the team’s current young aces. All of these players– and pretty much anyone typically considered to be in the Mets’ pantheon of greats– played in the postseason.

But for a team that has missed the playoffs 45 times in 54 postseasons, acknowledging only stars for playoff teams while leaving out the Mets who never got to October leaves out a lot of history. The Mets have had a strange existence in that they don’t make the playoffs very often, but they make them often enough that any decent player who’s on the team for a couple of years of time will probably get there at least once. For example, the Mets’ top 19 hit leaders have all played in the postseason for the team, as have their 12 winningest pitchers.

So making a list of top Mets players without postseason experience is kind of a difficult task. With this being the case, this list is going to be defined as players who played a minimum of three seasons with the Mets and how they performed did during their time with the team– no matter how short of a time that was. So here are the 11 best Mets who never played in the postseason:

Honorable mention: Lance Johnson

Johnson only played a year-and-a-half with the Mets, but his 1996 season was one of the best in club history. That year, he set Mets team records for hits (227) and triples (21) in a season while batting .333/.362/.479. He was traded to the Cubs in 1997, and never really replicated that success after that.

11. Dave Kingman

“Kong” was like a worse version of Adam Dunn. He hit 154 homers in 664 games with the team, but batted just .219/.287/.453. He had his most Kingman season ever in 1982, when he led the NL with 37 homers but batted just .204.

10. Steve Henderson

Henderson is probably best remembered for being a part of the “Midnight Massacre” that sent Tom Seaver to the Reds, but he was actually very good for the Mets. He owned a .287/.360/.423 slash and a 120 OPS+ from 1977-1980. Henderson was one of the few bright spots of the worst trade and era in Mets history.

9. Bernard Gilkey

Gilkey’s most memorable moment in a Mets jersey was his cameo in “Men In Black.” But perhaps it should be his 1996 season.

That year, Gilkey batted .317/.393/.562 with a .955 OPS, 155 OPS+, not to mention the fact that he hit 30 homers and drove in 117 runs. He never replicated this success, however, and was traded away in 1998.

8. Ron Hunt

Hunt was the first star in Mets history. He batted .282/.344/.379 from 1963-66, and was the first Met to start in an All-Star game. He did this in 1964, when Shea Stadium hosted its only Midsummer Classic.


7. John Stearns

Stearns set the NL catcher’s single-season steals record in 1978 with 25 stolen bases. He also has more hits than any Met who did not play in the postseason with the team, although he did eventualy appear as the Mets’ bench coach in 2000.

6. Frank Viola

The Mets acquired the 1988 AL Cy Young winner from the Twins at the trade deadline in 1989. He would stay with the Mets until 1991, and made two All-Star teams. Viola had his best season in Flushing in 1990, when he went 20-12 with a 2.67 ERA. No Met would win 20 games for another 22 years after Viola accomplished this feat.

5. Bret Saberhagen

Saberhagen is one of the few guys from “The Worst Team Money Could Buy” who was as good as advertised. The two-time AL Cy Young Award winner with the Royals went 29-21 with a 3.16 ERA with the Mets from 1992-95. His best season came in 1994, when he went 14-4 with a 2.74 ERA and an eye-popping 11.0 strikeout-to-walk ratio. It’s too bad fellow big-ticket acquisitions Bobby Bonilla and Vince Coleman didn’t live up to the hype like Saberhagen did.

4. Craig Swan

Swan did pitch in three games for the Mets at the end of the 1973 season, but did not pitch in the postseason. So he makes the list.

Swan played with the Mets from 1973-1984, and was their best player in the dark ages of Mets history– the late-70s and early-80s. From 1978-82, Swan went 39-37– which is even more impressive considering that the Mets had a .402 winning percentage during that stretch. He also posted a 3.12 ERA, and led the NL in ERA in 1978 with a 2.43 mark. So Swan can take the claim as the best player during the worst period in Mets history.


3. Todd Hundley

A lot of people forget how great Todd Hundley was at his best, especially since the guy who played catcher after him got a little bit more attention.

Hundley was the Mets’ starting catcher from 1992-1998, and kept getting gradually better until he exploded onto the scene in 1996. That year, he set a franchise single-season record with 41 home runs, a record that still stands. He followed that season up with a 30-homer campaign in 1997. He hit for elite power over these two years all while posting a .265/.373/.550 slash line and a 144 OPS+.

But an injury in 1998 made him expendable, which led to the Mike Piazza trade. He was then traded to the Dodgers the following offseason for Roger Cedeno and Charles Johnson, ending one of the more forgotten Mets greats’ time in New York.

2. Johan Santana

Santana was supposed to be the final piece that made the Mets a legitimate World Series contender. He wasn’t, but he provided the Mets with two of their most memorable moments in recent memory: A three-hit shutout of the Marlins on short rest to keep the Mets alive in 2008, and the team’s first no-hitter. That no-hitter alone makes the trade and his contract worth it.

Santana’s time in New York was derailed by injuries and collapsing Mets teams, but he was actually as good as advertised through his first three seasons in New York. He went 40-25 with a 2.85 ERA from 2008-2010, and finished third in Cy Young voting in 2008. Then came the injuries, which forced him out of the 2011 and 2013 seasons and hampered his play in 2012. These injuries also helped keep the Mets out of the playoffs during Santana’s time in the Orange and Blue.

1. R.A. Dickey

Dickey came to the Mets as just another Triple-A pitcher, but left them as one of the most beloved players in team history.

Despite playing just three seasons in Flushing, Dickey’s name makes several entries into the Mets’ record books. R.A. has the fourth-best ERA among qualifying Mets pitchers, the fifth-best WHIP, and the fifth-best strikeout-to-walk ratio.

And his 2012 season is one of the best by a pitcher in Mets history. He went 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA that year, becoming the first Met since Frank Viola in 1990 to win 20 games. Dickey also took home the NL Cy Young Award that year, making him just the third Mets pitcher to win the award. The other two are Tom Seaver and Dwight Gooden, so yeah. That’s pretty good company.

While Dickey shined with the Mets, the team never finished within more than 12 games of a playoff spot. This must not have been fun while he was with the Mets, but it does make him the best Mets player who never played in the postseason.

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Is It Time To Focus On ’17 Regarding Matz & Syndergaard? Fri, 12 Aug 2016 16:00:02 +0000 matz syndergaard

When Johan Santana was a Met, fans got used to the seasonal-Santana-September shutdown.

While fans have to hope it isn’t seasonal, it’s time to stop thinking about how many games back the Mets are in the standings, and to start thinking about shutting down arms like Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz.

Both pitchers have reportedly been dealing with bone spurs for months now, and while they have pitched moderately effective baseball, it is pretty clear that this just isn’t the year for the Mets to win the World Series.

Since June 24

Syndergaard – 43.1 IP, 4.26 ERA, .298 AVG, .798 OPS

Matz – 52.2 IP, 4.78 ERA, .296 AVG, .831 OPS

It seemed like the natural progression; lose the World Series and then bounce back to win one just as the Royals did in front of the Mets’ eyes last October. However, generally it doesn’t work that way.

The tea leaves all season have pointed to this simply not being the Mets’ year.

Between David Wright‘s injury, Lucas Duda‘s ailing back that just never gets better, Juan Lagares‘s thumb, Matt Harvey‘s medical issues, and the bone spurs that have held Thor and Matz back from dominance, it has simply been too much.  It has even gotten to the point where even the reinforcements like Jose Reyes and Justin Ruggiano have also joined the walking wounded.

With Yoenis Cespedes missing time, Asdrubal Cabrera also on the shelf, and having a lineup full of players that are more similar to the 2015 Mets’ of April – June than the ones that nearly shocked the baseball world in October, this has been too much for one team to bear.

So while the old “wait ’til next year!”, adage is tiresome and downright annoying, sometimes discretion  is the better part of valor.  Sometimes, you have to lose a battle to win the war.

So if I’m Sandy Alderson, I’m thinking less about who I can add to this roster, and more about what’s best for 2017. And what’s best for 2017 is giving Syndergaard and Matz a chance to get those bone spurs taken care of, have a full offseason to rest and recover, and show up to Spring Training with guns blazing. If that means shutting down these young arms early, then you should at least consider it.

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Who Will the Next Mets Hall of Famer Be? Tue, 26 Jul 2016 14:50:36 +0000 piazza1

When Mike Piazza was inducted into the Hall of Fame yesterday, he became the 14th ex-Met to gain enshrinement into Cooperstown– and only the second player to go in orange and blue.

The Mets have seen an alumnus inducted in each of the last three seasons; first with Tom Glavine in 2014 and then with Pedro Martinez last season. This is by far the most significant for the team, since Piazza is best remembered for his years with the Mets. But these Hall of Fame fortunes will likely diminish over the next couple of years; there is no imminent Met on the ballot for another couple of seasons– and definitely nobody who will be inducted as a Met for a while.

Here’s a rundown of former Mets who could become Hall of Famers. And most of these players are remembered for their times away from New York.

Jeff Kent: A lot of younger fans might not even realize that Kent was a Met; he played with the team from 1992-1996 and lacked the star power he showed in his later career. Kent has 76 more home runs than any other second baseman in baseball history, and deserves a lot more Cooperstown consideration than he has received. He only got 16.6 percent of the vote in his second year on the ballot.

Kent could eventually receive a higher percentage on a less-crowded ballot. It’s definitely possible that he could become a Hall of Famer one day, but it won’t be with a Mets cap on his plaque.

Gary Sheffield: Sheffield played his last MLB season with the Mets in 2009. 500 homers used to mean a guaranteed ticket to Cooperstown– Sheffield can check off that box– but his PED ties have all but nullified that guarantee. He only received 11.6 percent of the vote in his second year of eligibility, which probably has something to do with PED’s.  He probably won’t make the Hall of Fame, and if he does it definitely won’t be as a Met.

Billy Wagner: Wagner surprised some observers by getting double-digit support on his first year of eligibility– on a crowded ballot, no less. He posted an ERA+ below 140 just once in his 16 MLB seasons, and his career mark of 187 isn’t too far behind Mariano Rivera’s record-setting 205. Should he go in, which isn’t all that impossible, Wagner will probably be wearing an Astros (or maybe a Patriots) cap– but he would owe the Mets a nod during his induction speech.

Johan Santana: Santana hasn’t officially retired, but he hasn’t thrown an MLB pitch since 2012, and will be eligible in 2018 in the likely event he never pitches again. He is arguably the best pitcher of the 2000s, and had a five-year stretch where he was without question the best pitcher in baseball. From 2004-2008, he was 86-39 with a 2.82 ERA and 1,189 strikeouts in 1,146.2 innings. He won two Cy Youngs during that stretch, and finished in the top five every year.

His dominance was cut short due to shoulder injuries. Had Santana had another two years in his prime, he would be a lock for the Hall– his career ERA+ of 136 is higher than Randy Johnson, Whitey Ford or Greg Maddux. He will definitely receive consideration, and would presumably go in with the Twins. But who knows? Maybe Santana throwing the Mets’ first and only no-hitter is impressive enough to override that.

Carlos Beltran: If any of these candidates are to be inducted as Mets, it’s Beltran. He played more games with the Mets than he did with any team, and put up some of his best numbers there as well.

Beltran hasn’t received the glitz and glamor a lot of other stars of his day have, but his stats are as good as anyone’s. His career bWAR of 70 is higher than Hall of Famers Gary Carter, Tony Gwynn, Eddie Murray and Carlton Fisk to name a few. He is one of just five players ever to record 500 doubles, 400 homers and 300 steals; the others are Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Eddie Murray and Andre Dawson. Oh, and he also won three Gold Gloves.

Beltran is having one of the best years of his career this season. Although he won’t be eligible for a number of years, it will be hard to deny his credentials once he appears on the ballot.

David Wright: If David Wright’s career is over (which it may very well be), than he is probably not a Hall of Famer. But another two or three seasons of classic David Wright could put him into the conversation. From 2005-2013, Wright’s average season was a .302/.384/.505 slash with 23 home runs, 93 RBI and 20 steals. He’s a longshot for Cooperstown at this point, but Wright is a lock for the Mets’ Hall of Fame.

Francisco Rodriguez: “K-Rod” is sixth on the all-time saves list with 413 saves, and he’s still only 34. “K-Rod” could become baseball’s all-time saves leader by the time he hangs ‘em up. This, along with a 2.70 career ERA, 10.7 strikeouts per nine innings ratio and a 156 ERA+, will guarantee him some consideration. As every Mets fan who watched him pitch knows, he will not be going into Cooperstown as a Met. This distinction will likely come with the Angels, where he set the single-season saves record back in 2008.

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June 1, 2012: Remembering Johan Santana’s No-Hitter Wed, 01 Jun 2016 16:07:22 +0000 St. Louis Cardinals v New York Mets

Johan Santana took the mound against the St. Louis Cardinals four years ago today on June 1, 2012 and tossed one of the most memorable games in New York Mets history.

It was a beautiful Friday night, and as a Mets fan, before every game you always think to yourself: “Maybe tonight will be the night they finally do it.” Because up until that point, no Mets pitcher had ever thrown a no-hitter (as we all know).

So Santana is dealing, and he is setting down these Cardinal hitters and escaping each inning unscathed, despite allowing a few walks.

It didn’t get serious for me until after he finished off the sixth inning. “Johan only has nine more outs to go. There’s a real possibility we might see history tonight.” I said to myself.

Then in the seventh inning, Mike Baxter made that magnificent catch going back on a line drive blast off the bat of Yadier Molina. I watched as Baxter slammed against the left field wall and injured his shoulder with that incredible grab, a sacrifice that would end up sidelining him for two months.

After that game-saving play, I knew… I could feel it… Every no-hitter has that one outstanding defensive play to keep the no-hitter intact. (See Dewayne Wise, Hunter Pence, Steven Souza).

Nail-biting time as Santana gets through the eighth, and goes back out for the ninth, despite his high pitch count. He retired the first two batters with relative ease and now it was just David Freese standing between Johan and history.

St Louis Cardinals v New York Mets

When Freese struck out to end the game, it was euphoric. Nothing else mattered in that moment. After 8,019 regular season games and fifty years into the Mets franchise history, no one had done what Santana had just accomplished for the Amazins. Tom Seaver never did it, Dwight Gooden never did it, but Johan Santana on that June night four years ago, today finally did it.

What made it all the more amazing was Santana did this in first season back from a shoulder surgery that sidelined him for the entire 2011 season. It reminded fans what Santana was capable of, and brought them back to how he had consistently dominated when he first joined the Mets in 2008.

To top it all off, a Mets fan wearing a 1986 Gary Carter jersey ran on to the field after the last out and joined the Mets celebration around Santana. He was subdued by team security, but it seemed to me a sign that Carter was there that night watching over the team. He had passed away a few months prior after losing his prolonged battle with brain cancer.

This would be Johan Santana’s last shining moment as a Met however, and after a few more starts he was placed on the disabled list for the remainder of the season. It also marked the end of his Mets career. He re-injured his shoulder in 2013 and missed the entire year. The Mets cut him loose at the end of that season, and he hasn’t appeared in the majors since.

Terry Collins gets a lot of heat for allowing Johan to throw all those pitches to accomplish that unforgettable feat, but I don’t look at it that way. Santana was dealing all night and later said he was feeling it. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I’m glad Santana was the one to throw it… and I’m sure he is to.

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This Date In Mets History: Qualls Breaks Up Seaver’s Perfect Game Thu, 09 Jul 2015 13:18:35 +0000 tom seaver jimmy qualls

On this date in 1969, Chicago Cubs outfielder Jimmy Qualls  hit a clean sinking single into left-center with one out in the ninth inning to break up a perfect game by Tom Seaver.

The scene of the crime was a packed Shea Stadium and a dejected Seaver had to settle for a one-hit, 4-0 shutout. He would walk off the mound to a three minute standing ovation from the 59,088 fans who were there that day.

It was one of 31 hits Qualls had during his career, and for Tom Terrific it was one of five one-hitters he would throw for the Mets.

Eventually, Seaver would get his no-hitter, but it was while pitching for the Cincinnati Reds, much to the chagrin of Mets fans who were still happy for their former star who had been traded during the Midnight Massacre a year earlier.

When asked which meant more to him, the one-hitter or the no-hitter, Seaver said: “The one-hitter. I had better stuff that night and we were making a move on the Cubs.”

“My wife, Nancy, came on the field after that game in 1969 and said: ‘You lost your perfect game,’” Seaver said. “But I said: ‘Hey, I just threw a one-hitter and we won the game 4-0.

The Mets would shock the world later that year, but it would have never happened without “The Franchise.”

Seaver finished 25-7 that season with 2.21 ERA, 208 strikeouts, five shutouts and 18 complete games. He would go onto win his first of three Cy Young Awards and would finish second in the MVP voting.

After Johan Santana pitched his no-hitter, there was a little blurb in the Daily News about Qualls who said he was happy that the Mets finally got their no-no.

But there was also this little nugget regarding his own fateful hit against Tom Seaver:

“Qualls heard about it from New Yorkers — first when he stood at first base at Shea Stadium, then when he got home and opened threatening mail. He recalled tears in the eyes of Seaver’s wife, who was sitting in a boxseat.”

There was also a brief encounter with the Hall of Fame pitcher in a later series, when Seaver yelled, “You little (expletive). You cost me a million bucks!”

I gotta admit, that gave me a good chuckle.

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This Date In Mets History: Johan Santana Tosses A No-Hitter Mon, 01 Jun 2015 16:25:31 +0000 Johan Santana

Johan Santana took the mound against the St. Louis Cardinals three years ago today on June 1, 2012 and tossed one of the most memorable games in New York Mets history.

mmo feature original footerIt was a beautiful Friday night, and as a Mets fan, before every game you always think to yourself: “Maybe tonight will be the night they finally do it.” Because up until that point, no Mets pitcher had ever thrown a no-hitter (as we all know).

So Santana is dealing, and he is setting down these Cardinal hitters and escaping each inning unscathed, despite allowing a few walks.

It didn’t get serious for me until after he finished off the sixth inning. “Johan only has nine more outs to go. There’s a real possibility we might see history tonight.” I said to myself.


Then in the seventh inning, Mike Baxter made that magnificent catch going back on a line drive off the bat of Yadier Molina, and slammed against the left field wall and injuring his shoulder which sidelined him for two months.

But after that, I knew. I could feel it. Every no-hitter has that one outstanding catch to keep the game in tact. (See Dewayne Wise, Hunter Pence, Steven Souza).

Santana gets through the eighth, and goes back on for the ninth, despite his high pitch count. He retired the following two batters, and now it was just David Freese standing between Johan and history.

When Freese struck out to end the game, it was euphoric. Nothing else mattered in that moment. After 8,019 regular season games and fifty years into the Mets franchise, no one had done what Santana had just accomplished for the Amazin’s. Tom Seaver never did it, Dwight Gooden never did it, but Johan Santana on that June night three years ago, finally did it.

johan santana no-hitter

What made it all more amazing was Santana did this in first season back from shoulder surgery which sidelined him the entire 2011 season. It reminded fans what Santana was capable of, and brought them back to how he had consistently pitched when he first joined the Mets in 2008.

To top it all off, a Mets fan wearing a 1986 Gary Carter jersey ran on to the field after the last out and joined the Mets celebration around Santana. He was subdued by team security, but it seemed to me a sign that Carter was there that night watching over the team. He had passed away a few months prior after losing his fight to brain cancer.

This was Santana’s last shining moment as a Met, however, as after a few more starts he was placed on the disabled list for the remainder of the season and also his Mets career.

He re-injured his shoulder in 2013 and missed the entire year. The Mets cut him loose at the end of the season, and he hasn’t appeared in the majors since. However, he is trying to make a comeback, as he is pitching in the Toronto Blue Jays system as we speak.

collins santana

Terry Collins gets a lot of heat for letting Johan throw all those pitches to accomplish the feat, but I don’t look at it that way. Santana was pitching good all night and was feeling it. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I’m glad Santana was the one to throw it, and I’m sure he is to.

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Does Length Matter? MLB Says Yes. Fri, 14 Nov 2014 14:57:21 +0000 crossroads-jpg britney spears

Titanic is one of Hollywood’s most successful films. Winner of an unprecedented 11 Academy Awards, the James Cameron blockbuster ran 3 hours 14 minutes. The Kevin Costner classic Dances With Wolves won 7 Academy Awards and was exactly 3 hours. The most frequently quoted movie of the last 20 years is Pulp Fiction. Tarantino’s masterpiece was nominated for 7 Oscars and ran over 2 ½ hours. And then there’s the unforgettable Crossroads starring Britney Spears. That movie ran 94 minutes.

If Major League Baseball has their way, the future will give us more Britney and fewer Big Kahuna Burgers.

MLB is presently testing new methodologies in the Arizona Fall League to make games quicker. Some of these changes include a pitch clock, limited visits to the mound and merely announcing an intentional walk rather than tossing four wide of the strike zone.

Games are definitely getting longer. When Jerry Koosman induced a fly ball off the bat of Davey Johnson and gave the Mets their first title, the game was completed in 2 hours and 14 minutes. 17 years later when Jesse Orosco fanned Marty Barrett to give the Mets their second title the game took 3 hours and 11 minutes. Same 8 ½ innings of baseball, yet taking one hour longer. One obvious reason are pitching changes.

Back in the day starters were expected to go nine innings. The bullpen was filled with guys who were simply not quite good enough to start. During the 1970’s, the “closer” became an integral part of the game. It was tantamount to creating a new position. Rollie Fingers, Lee Smith and Bruce Sutter became household names. And now starters only needed to go eight innings.

The 80’s saw the advent of the “set-up man.” And with that starters simply had to get through seven. Just get us to the bullpen. There was also the arrival of long relief/middle inning guys so if a starter had nothing, rather than pitching out of tight spots, he could be yanked early. Teams also began maintaining players whose job is simply to face one batter, be it a lefty specialist or a ground ball pitcher whose job it is to generate a double play.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at New York Mets

In 1973 Tom Seaver won the Cy Young Award. He earned $130,000 while tossing 290 innings. By comparison, the Giants’ Javier Lopez, a player who primarily comes in to face one or two batters, earned $4 million this season while tossing all of 37.2 IP. Of course salaries have skyrocketed since 1973, but this shows the premium management is willing to dole out for a seldom used yet important piece of the puzzle.

However, it does work. The KC Royals became AL Champions living by the rule of only getting 5+ from their starters. Twenty years ago that was unheard of. Relievers, once thought of as nothing more than a place to stockpile mediocre pitchers, has now become a key component to winning.

The 1986 World Series between the Mets and Red Sox went seven games and featured 29 pitching changes. The 2014 Series between the Giants and Royals went 7 games but featured 44 pitching changes.

Average game time of the 7-game 1973 World Series was 3:08 but that included two extra inning contests. Five of the seven games were completed in under 2:45. By contrast, the 7-game 2014 World Series, which included no extra innings, had an average time of 3:30. The quickest game was 3:09.

This winter MLB is tinkering with the very essence and beauty of the game by trying to solve a problem they themselves created.

Owners no longer view players as ‘athletes’ but rather as ‘investments.’ And rightfully so. When teams hand over $137 million to Johan Santana, $180 million to Justin Verlander or nearly a quarter of a billion to Clayton Kershaw, managers damn well better treat the investment with care. You don’t buy a Lamborghini and fill it at ARCO.

Can you imagine the bedlam that would erupt if Don Mattingly overused Kershaw and ruined his elbow in the first year of a multi-year deal?

Ballplayers—particularly pitchers—are coddled, pampered and yes, babied, more than ever. No one paid attention to pitch counts for Nolan Ryan or Steve Carlton. But those guys weren’t long-term investments. So, yes, pitchers are coddled. But in large part fault should be placed at the feet of MLB.

Prior to 1969 the team with the best record in each league met in the World Series. Done. MLB then expanded, first to two divisions, then three. They added the LCS, the LDS, one wildcard and then a second one. In 1698, 2 out of 20 teams (1 out of 10) advanced to the ‘post-season.’ In 2014, 10 out of 30 teams (1 out of 3) advance.

MLB and owners embraced this idea. And why not? More post-season slots means fans will continue paying admission since their team now has a chance. Previously, stadiums would be empty throughout September. But not anymore. Nowadays, to be in a pennant race, you don’t even need to be good, just slightly above mediocre. 82, 83 wins will get you in the fight. The Mets this season finished below 500 winning just 79 games but only missed the playoffs by 9 games. By contrast the 1976 Mets won 86 games, yet missed the playoffs by 15 games.

In 1954 the NY Giants became World Champions. It took 158 games. 60 years later, the SF Giants became World Champions. It took 179 games. That’s a 13% increase in the season.

October 2, 1954, Willie Mays and company were crowned best in the game. On October 2 2014, Hunter Pence and company hadn’t even played the first game of the LDS.


With MLB extending the season—not only to 162 games from 154—but almost one full month of playoffs, investments are put in jeopardy. That’s an extra month of players risking an injury. That’s an extra month of possibly pulling a hamstring or breaking a finger sliding into second. It’s an extra month of superstars like Buster Posey and Salvador Perez getting beat up behind the plate. And since much of the big money is locked up in long term contracts for pitchers, that’s more stress on the arms, elbows and shoulders of Kershaw, Verlander, Strasburg and Shields. Giants ace Madison Bumgarner threw 217 innings this season. Then he threw another 52.2 over 3+ weeks in October.

The powers-that-be have brought this full circle. MLB (and owners) want to make more money so they add more opportunity to advance into October which in turn keeps fans paying admission which makes more money which keeps fans tuning in on TV which makes more money from commercials which leads to a month long stretch of post-season games which keep fans paying admission and keeps the revenue flowing in from advertisers which means managers will be forced to manage differently and make more pitching changes which of course means more commercial breaks which translates into longer games which comes full circle with MLB declaring games are too long. Huh???

The irony is that installing a pitch clock and other ludicrous proposals will accomplish nothing. People who find Baseball “slow moving” and “boring” will not suddenly start watching in droves because of a pitch clock. And those of us who are purists only take offense and find ourselves drifting ever so slowly away from the game we’ve loved since childhood.

If you think the game is too long, turn it off. If it’s the 7th inning and you feel a need to keep up with Kardashians or see who gets eliminated on Dancing with the Stars go right ahead. If you need to leave the ballpark because you have a dinner reservation somewhere, feel free to leave.

Baseball is what it is. Closers, set-up men, long relievers, pitching changes, extra rounds of playoffs and now plays under review aren’t going away any time soon. Are games longer than they used to be? Yes. Are they too long? No.

Since the 18th century, despite world wars, attacks on our soil, presidential assassinations, numerous scandals, steroids, collusion, drugs, games being fixed and mostly incompetent commissioners, the game has remain largely unchanged. Although Baseball is declining in popularity (the 2014 World Series was the second lowest rated ever) let’s hope that deviations to the fabric of the game, the very rules we hold close to our heart, don’t result in the final nail in the coffin.

Next time you have a couple hours to kill and feel like watching a movie, would you rather sit through Crossroads because it’s shorter or see Vincent Vega accidentally shooting Marvin in the face?


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MMO Flashback: Matt Harvey Was Not The Hero We Deserved, But The One We Needed Tue, 04 Nov 2014 14:03:56 +0000 matt harvey

It feels like an eternity since we last saw Matt Harvey standing on a mound and menacing opposing batters with his array of lethal offerings. Every five days when our young ace took his turn in the rotation, it was treated as an event that couldn’t be missed and aptly called “Harvey Day.” As we get ever so closer to his eventual return next Spring and as our exuberance rises, here’s an MMO Flashback that recalls that fateful day when we learned that Gotham had lost its hero.

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Matt Harvey is going to miss a significant amount of time; not much else is known at this moment.

What has been well-documented however, is just how much of an impact the Dark Knight of Gotham has had on the New York Mets organization and their fans alike.

The mood surrounding this franchise has plunged further and further into disappointment, animosity and frustration ever since Adam Wainwright‘s infamous breaking ball struck the black leather of Yadier Molina‘s mitt. After back-to-back September collapses and a pair of sub-par seasons, a change in management brought hope of brighter days. However the immediate years following only became more gut-wrenching. Since Sandy Alderson took over following the 2010 season, fans have had to endure the departures of Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, and R.A. Dickey to name a few; all on the premise of a brighter tomorrow through the procuring of young talent at the expense of the performance at the major league level.

the future

The 2013 season has marked the infusion of those farmhands that have been so long awaited. Zack Wheeler is proving that his 2011 acquisition was certainly worthwhile. The Amazin’s are also enjoying the fruits of their labor from the Dickey deal with Travis d’Arnaud behind the dish.

Following years of development and growth since their mid-teens, Juan Lagares and Wilmer Flores have finally made it to the show. All have been encouraging and enormously exciting to watch, but all pale in comparison to the energy generated by the emergence of Matt Harvey.

In his first full season–sans their ailing, aged ace in Johan Santana–Harvey exploded out of the gate, quickly gaining national attention. By the third week of April, contests in which he started became not just a typical Mets game, but ‘Harvey Day’. Fans amassed in the stands of Citi Field to see the most exciting young pitcher in Queens since 1984, just to get a glimpse of his increasingly legendary “stuff”. By May, the 24-year old flamethrower was plastered on the cover of Sports Illustrated, the first time a player in orange-and-blue had received such an esteemed honor in nearly five years.

From then on it just got better; Harvey could not be stopped. Anytime he went to the mound, a no-hitter was more than possible, three times becoming probable with bids into the seventh inning. Eventually it all came to a pinnacle when Bruce Bochy named the Mets’ ace to the incredibly rare honor of starting the 2013 All-Star Game at his home ballpark, going on to put up two goose eggs for the National League including three strikeouts, including Miguel Cabrera – the reigning Triple-Crown Winner.

harvey wright

Since the mid-summer classic,  the master “plan” of the future has become the present with the organization’s top prospects all converging on Roosevelt Avenue. ESPN has tagged the Mets as the team of the future in New York; baseball media hubs across the country have begun to recognize the Amazin’s as a club on the rise and no longer in the doldrums of mediocrity.

All was going so well until yesterday when a sobering MRI revealed the ulnar collateral ligament of Harvey lying in his right elbow with a partial tear, crushing many with the very real possibility of the Mets being without one of the game’s best hurlers until 2015.

Until Harvey returns, his absence will be felt in the worst of ways; but his effect on this entire franchise will remain. He has turned another year of “punting” into a season of new beginnings. His performance along with his demeanor has single-handedly altered the culture surrounding the Mets from the second fiddle team of New York to the club to watch out for. The fanbase has wholly changed from beleaguered to stimulated; apathetic to optimistic.

The Mets had to have this year. They desperately needed a season that portrayed direction rather than a ship lost at sea. Matt Harvey has given the Mets that; he has granted them a new look and a new hope, and will return.

The Dark Knight will rise once again. When, we don’t know just yet; but whether that is in one month or twelve, the 2013 season will go down as the year that the corner has officially been turned in Gotham, and that is largely in part to Harvey; and nothing can take that away.

For Matt Harvey was not the hero we deserved, but the one we needed.

the dark knight matt-harvey

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This Day In Mets History: Johan Tosses First Mets No-Hitter Sun, 01 Jun 2014 14:44:17 +0000 St Louis Cardinals v New York Mets

After 8,019 regular season games spanning over 50 years, Johan Santana tossed the Mets’ first no-hitter. An 8-0 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on this date in 2012 in front of a scant crowd of 27,069 in Flushing.

World Series MVP David Freese came to the plate with two outs and the count ran to 3-2 before Santana struck him out to end the game and write himself into the history books.


While battling several unfortunate injuries, Johan Santana appeared in 109 games during his Mets tenure, going 46-34 with a 3.18 ERA and a 1.204 WHIP.

Always a class act from day one, Johan released the following statement after the Mets declined his option and he became a free agent last season.

“I want to thank the Mets organization, my teammates and of course give a big thank you to the Mets fans, who have been behind me from day one and stood by me through all the good and bad.”

“I am not sure what the future holds, as this is all new to me, but I have every intention of pitching in 2014 and beyond and I am certainly keeping all my options open. BELIEVE IT.”

Thanks for the memories, Johan.

magic button mmo

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Johan Santana Nearing Deal With Orioles Mon, 03 Mar 2014 21:01:03 +0000 Santana No Hit

According to multiple sources, Johan Santana is nearing a minor league deal with the Baltimore Orioles.

Santana, who missed the entire 2013 season due to a second surgery in three years to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder, was bought out of his contract by the Mets for the 2014 season.

Though he did draw some interest by the Mets this offseason, those rumors were pretty much put to rest when the Mets signed John Lannan and Daisuke Matsuzaka to compete for the fifth spot in the rotation this Spring.

Santana’s shining moment as a Met came on June 1, 2012, when he pitched the first no-hitter in Mets franchise history.

We wish you all the best in returning to the Majors and having a healthy 2014 campaign, Johan.

Presented By Diehards

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Mets Owners Dodge Huge Debt Payment, New Loan In Place Sat, 22 Feb 2014 15:33:42 +0000 Outside a miraculous recovery by Matt Harvey, the New York Mets have the best possible news today. On the day of their first full squad workout, the Mets finalized their refinancing, reported The New York Post.

So, if Fred and Jeff Wilpon are spotted smiling on one of the fields in Port St. Lucie, you’ll know why.

The Wilpon family, stung in the Ponzi scandal, were five weeks from having to make a $250 million payment on an expiring loan. Had the loan been called, it is questionable whether the Mets could have come up with the money.

wilpon collinsReportedly, the Mets lost $10 million last season, but with their payroll to be under $100 million for a third straight year and Major League Baseball’s new television contract, they could turn a profit this season.

The new loan, which is for five years and headed by Bank of America, is for the Libor average plus 3.25 percent. According to the report, the Mets did not have to pay down their former loan to make this one happen or shell out one shiny nickel.

The Mets, who are currently valued at $1 billion, still need to have Major League Baseball approve the deal, which will be a formality.

Irving Picard, who was assigned to recovering funds for victims in the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scandal, initially sued the Wilpons for $1 billion, which would have necessitated selling the Mets. However, the courts reduced that to $386 million.

The Mets’ financial restraints were loosened this winter with the signings of Curtis Granderson, Bartolo Colon and Chris Young. However, that did not represent any new spending, but merely replacing some of the dollars freed up by expiring contracts on Jason Bay and Johan Santana.

While that was an encouraging sign, as is the re-financing, don’t expect a spending spree next winter and the team to return to the days of a $143 million payroll.

If the Mets are competitive this season with a $90 million payroll, they will likely increase spending in small increments. At least that’s the hope.

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Lessons In Latin America: A Brief Venezuelan History Sun, 02 Feb 2014 14:00:56 +0000 miguel cabrera

While Cuban and Mexican baseball have been the forefront of baseball pioneering between spreading the sport and creating the Leagues, their stance is nothing in present-day Major League Baseball compared to both the Dominican Republic and Venezuela. As of April 1st in 2013, Venezuelans represented the second-highest number of foreign-born players in the Major Leagues other than Dominicans at 63. Venezuela, however, has turned in year in and year out some of the most talented players in the Major Leagues, including the current Most Valuable Player for 2 years in a row, Miguel Cabrera.

There are, once again, arguments about the origins of Venezuelan baseball, with a study from the University of Florida saying that students brought it back from America in 1895 after going to America and learning of the sport, while Milton Jamail (Book, Venezuelan Bust, Baseball Boom) says that it came from a Cuban Cigar company that established itself in 1890. On May 23rd, 1895, El Caracas Base Ball Club played the first Venezuelan baseball game as a team, splitting into two teams and being publicly photographed by the Venezuelan press. Either way, Venezuelans became captured by the sport by the early 1900’s.

In the early 1900’s, baseball in Venezuela began picking up steam, and teams were created throughout the country, and forming its own league by 1927. Those leagues still exist, creating new havens for players to go to such as previously stated Cuban Star, Martin Dihigo to go and play when America had not been as friendly as it should have been to darker-skinned players.

Alex Carrasquel was the first Venezuelan in the Major Leagues. He was a white Venezuelan signed by “Papa” Joe Cambria (Who was mentioned for nearly kidnapping players in the Previous Cuban articles) to play for the Washington Senators. Carrasquel pitched as a reliever and then fled to Mexico for a better wage as a part of Jorge Pasquel’s attempt to create an impressive Mexican league. While players were usually suspended because of Commissioner Happy Chandler created a law to deter players, Carrasquel’s sentence was reduced, and he went on to pitch a couple more years in the Major Leagues.

venezuela baseball

Almost 300 Venezuelans have come up since Alex Carrasquel, such as notable stars, Luis Aparicio, Omar Vizquel, Dave Concepcion, Bobby Abreu, and our own Johan Santana, and more Venezuelan players are added to team’s systems each year.

Now, Venezuela is host, not only to a winter-league haven to Minor and Major stars in the MLB, but to a host of Academies where minor-leaguers are developed. But, while 28 out of 30 Major League teams once held Academies in Venezuela, only 5 different academies remain for players as of now because of the dangers of the country as a whole.

The Academies that once stood affiliated with Major League teams were facilities for players signed as young as 16, (or sometimes even younger if not signed and just training) to come and play baseball, and be trained by coaches placed there by the organization. After these players were deemed ready, they would be sent to America to play in the next phase of the Minor Leagues.

Now they have been sent to the training academies that have sprouted up throughout the Dominican Republic.

Presented By Diehards

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Johan Santana: Any Chance He’ll Return To Mets Is Now Over Mon, 27 Jan 2014 21:59:15 +0000 johan santana no-hitter

The future of Johan Santana returning with the Mets was a question many people had after the 2013 season ended. Two weeks ago, there was still a better-than-none chance of Santana signing a minor league deal with the Mets. However, this past week put a huge dent in the chances of Johan re-signing with the team he spent the past six years with.

A week ago, the Mets signed 29-year old LHP John Lannan to a minor league contract, with an invite to spring training. On Friday of last week, The Mets re-signed 33-year old RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka; also to a minor league contract with an invite to spring training. Lannan and Matsuzaka are both expected to be competing for the final spot in the starting rotation, along with RHP Jenrry Mejia.

The signings of Lannan and Matsuzaka have most likely eliminated any chance of Johan coming back to Flushing.

There are multiple teams interested in signing the two-time Cy-Young Award winner, including the Twins; his former team. Santana is looked at by many people as “finished”. His tenure with the Mets was an inured filled one, having missed two out of the six years with the team. He underwent surgery on his left shoulder twice, which is a big factor to teams interested in him now. There isn’t even a guarantee that he can still pitch, and doing so in the majors is another question.

Even if the Mets signed Santana, he might not even be healthy enough to compete for the last spot in the starting rotation. He has assuredly thrown the last ever pitch of his Mets career, so let’s look back some highlights.

Johan Santana may be remembered by some Mets fans as the oft-injured southpaw who didn’t live up to the full value of his contract. But in fact, Santana will always be remembered for something else, one particular game on June 1st, 2012. That was when Santana pitched the 1st no-hitter in franchise history in the Mets’ 51st season. The score was 8-0, against the Cardinals; who had the best offense in the league at the time.

What was so agonizing before Santana pitched the no-hitter, was that the Mets have had some of the greatest pitchers in the history of the game log time with the team. As SNY Mets in-game announcer Gary Cohen said after the no-hitter, “This has been a franchise known for its pitching… From Seaver, to Koosman, and Darling to Cone. But it has taken to this day, June the 1st, twenty-twelve, for the Mets, to have a pitcher throw a no-hitter.” These words from Gary will be remembered by Mets fans for years to come.

Another factor that made the no-hitter special was that Santana had just undergone shoulder surgery only a year prior.

Many would say that the no-hitter caused Santana’s career to fall apart, and the stats back it up. Before his date with destiny, Santana had an ERA close to 2.75. After the no-no, Santana’s ERA was around 12. That is around a difference of 9 points, which would be unexplainable if he hadn’t pitched a career high 134 pitches during the no-hitter; Terry Collins set the bar at around 105 before the game.

All In all Johan Santana has had one-heck-of a career. Whether he signs with a team, or calls it quits, Johan Santana will be remembered as a legend by Mets fans.


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The Folly In Comparing General Managers Wed, 22 Jan 2014 23:33:35 +0000 Earlier today, our friend Matthew Cerrone at MetsBlog responded to a mailbag question from a reader who basically wanted to know why Omar Minaya gets so little credit for a team and farm system that is still essentially comprised of a majority of his players.

omar minayaIt actually led to a few emails steered in my direction asking me what my thoughts were on the subject and who was better between Sandy and Omar.

On the surface, it’s difficult to just look at historical results and then use them to compare Minaya’s six-year tenure with Sandy Alderson’s first three years. Just as it is difficult to compare baseball players from different eras, the same can be said about comparing general managers, even when they are only separated by three years.

For one thing, the circumstances and dynamics were incredibly different and you can arguably say they were diametrically opposed to each other. It is nearly impossible to draw similarities between a team that is rebuilding and one that considers itself to be one or two players away from the post season, and that’s essentially what you are doing by comparing our current and former GMs.

The hope is that Sandy will soon be in the same exact position that Omar was, and only then can we begin to draw comparisons.

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at New York MetsYou’ve seen me write on many occasions that I have yet to see Sandy trade for an All Star caliber player, and it’s true, he hasn’t done that yet. We’ve only seen Sandy trade away talented players for top prospects and he’s been remarkably good at it, netting such big names as Zack Wheeler, Travis d’Arnaud and more recently, Dilson Herrera and Vic Black.

On the flip-side, we’ve seen Omar go out and make trades for All Star caliber players like Johan Santana and Carlos Delgado, two players who were considered the best available at their positions at the time. But what we never got to see, was Omar trading a star player for a top prospect or prospects. You see the two dynamics, windows and short-term goals were completely different.

When Omar was the GM, the Wilpons had a brand new ballpark coming that they thought was going to sell-out everyday for the next 5-6 years. They demanded star attractions no matter what the cost, and Minaya was the perfect man for the job. The fans wanted stars too, and he was there to provide them. Within one year of the Phillips/Duquette era – a rock-bottom era with a farm system in shambles that had just traded away their only top ranked prospect in Scott Kazmir – the Mets were back in business. The winning business.

madoffOf course that ballpark never became the cash cow the Wilpons thought, and then soon after, all hell broke loose when the images of Bernie Madoff being led away in handcuffs were splattered on front pages everywhere. Now we had a win-now team that had no money and no way out. What happened next was inevitable.

Enter Sandy Alderson who was brought here to help free up some money by trading away his best assets, and lets give him credit for getting top value for what we traded. I’m not so sure any other GM could have gotten more. But Sandy was here to slash payroll, and slash he did.

Because of all the financial turmoil and an impending one-billion dollar lawsuit, Sandy had no flexibility for three of his first four offseasons. But he stayed true to his vision and his patient approach and rode out the storm. As fans, we rode out that storm with him.

It has now brought us to this point where we are today, and we’re now seeing Sandy try his hand at spending in free agency for the first time since he arrived. He’s spent close to $100 million already with his biggest acquisitions; Curtis Granderson, Bartolo Colon and Chris Young, all brought here to supplement a young core that this front office believes will contend for a wild card in 2014. We all hope they’re right.

confused bruceBut getting back to the point of this post – which was comparing Sandy to Omar – I hope you are intelligent enough to see the futility of such an endeavor.

I hope you can understand that just like you can’t compare hitters from the Deadball Era to those of the Steroids Era, the same holds true when comparing general managers. It’s a fruitless task that in the end only proves to be a considerable waste of time.

Instead, understand that every GM, good or bad, had nothing but the best interests of their teams at heart. Everything they did was because they truly believed it was best for their teams. And all of them desperately wanted to win – regardless if their teams ultimately did win or not.

Omar Minaya and Sandy Alderson were the perfect GM’s for the tasks that were given to them. Both GMs were good tonics for the team at the time and for the fan base as well.

Anyway, that’s the way I see it.


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Daniel Murphy, Superhero: Chapter 1 – The Gum Caper Sun, 12 Jan 2014 15:12:18 +0000 Daniel-Murphy-point copy

All was quiet in Port St. Lucie until, all of a sudden and without warning, Daniel Murphy heard a cry for help. He rushed from his locker, where he was oiling his glove and daydreaming of hitting .300 and an All-Star appearance in front of the home crowd, to find his teammates in stunned surprise, every single one with their mouths wide open.

“What happened?” asked Daniel.

“The bubblegum! It’s gone!” said David Wright.

“A gnome in pinstripes took it and ran out!” said Ike Davis.

“What are we going to do?” said Terry Collins.

“Esto es terrible!” said Johan Santana.

“A gnome in pinstripes?” Daniel Murphy thought. “That sounds like a minion of the Evil Empire!”

Daniel rushed back to his locker and pulled out his gym bag. At the bottom – hidden underneath his workout gear, socks, and other necessary items a Major League Doubles Hitting Machine brings with him to the ballpark – was what he was looking for.

“It’s time,” Daniel said to himself as he pulled out his orange and blue crime fighting suit. “My team needs me.”

Bazooka. (1)In less time than it takes for him to turn on an inside fastball, Daniel Murphy donned his duds and was running through the clubhouse – his cape with the big number 28 flapping behind him in hot pursuit of the bubble gum bandit.

His astonished teammates looked on in amazement.

“Who was that masked man?” said Ruben Tejada.

Daniel quickly spotted the gnome running down the tunnel, carrying a big barrel of bubble gum. “Stop!” he yelled.

The gnome let out a little shriek, the sight of the super hero sent him scurrying faster, scattering pieces of bubblegum all over the floor.

But the gnome didn’t stop. He burst through an exit door and onto a side field, where rookies and prospects were stretching. Daniel Murphy was in hot pursuit.

“Have to get him before he gets to the bullpen. Have to get to him before he gets to the bullpen,” he told himself.

Daniel knew that if the gnome made it to the bullpen, the chase would be over and the bubblegum would be lost forever. Tomato plants were growing in the bullpen, and as we all know, once a gnome gets into a garden, he’s as good as gone.

The gnome knew this too, and was making a beeline down the foul line.

Daniel channeled the teachings of his little league coach. “Run hard to first,” he told himself. And so he did.

The gnome was almost within his reach. “Just… a… few… more… steps…” The gnome could hear Daniel fast approaching and was just a few yards from freedom when he risked a quick glance over his shoulder to see where the masked man was and… CRASH!!!

The gnome ran right into Zack Wheeler, who was doing laps on the warning track. Daniel Murphy pounced on him and picked him up by the scruff of his pinstriped collar.

By now, the rest of the team was beginning to make its way out to the practice field.

“Thank you. Thank you,” David Wright said. “I don’t know how we can repay you.”

“No need for thanks,” Daniel said. “Glad to be of service.”

Before his teammates could get a good look at him, Daniel was gone.

“I don’t know who that was,” said a player with a jersey number in the 80s, “but I’m glad he was here.”

“Me, too,” said another player without a name on the back of his jersey. “Thank you, mister, whoever you are. We can sleep well tonight knowing you are here to protect us.”

Editors Note: A fictional tale about the secret life of Daniel Murphy the Superhero. Read about his many exploits and perils as we reveal a new chapter everyday in this MMO Exclusive.

Presented By Diehards

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MMO Fan Shot: Replacing What Was Lost, Will $29.25 Million Suffice? Thu, 09 Jan 2014 17:30:53 +0000 fred wilpon

An MMO Fan Shot by Ryan Flanagan

Recent off-seasons for the Metropolitans have been full of angst, speculation and in the end, money unspent and fans restless. As the Mets were a top three spender of all MLB franchises just a few years ago, the team’s off-the-field financial decisions, most notably the participation in the ill-famed Ponzi scheme run by Bernie Madoff, have limited the club’s ability to take on payroll in recent years.

The team has strayed from handing big money contracts to top-tier free agents and has instead taken a course of building through the draft, grooming prospects to field a perennial contender similar to that baseball team a borough away did in the late 1990s.

The 2013 offseason was, as promised the past couple seasons by the front office, supposed to be the fruitful acquisition of talent to make the Mets a legit contender entering the 2014 season. An injury to Matt Harvey had derailed much of the hope that this team could in fact contend this year, but it still should have had no impact on who the team was set to acquire towards the future. As we stand at the turn of the calendar year, have the Mets offseason moves warranted any excitement? Moreover, have the Mets offseason moves even replaced what was lost? For that, we analyze:

The 2013 season was certainly a career year for Marlon Byrd. Signed to be a backup’s backup, the Mets had no intention of Byrd, coming off suspension for using estrogen to mask PEDs, to produce anywhere near what he accomplished last year. In a split season for the Mets and Pirates, Byrd hit .291 with 24 home runs and 88 RBIs. That, at a payroll cost of only $700,000. (Even less to the Mets, who shipped him to Pittsburgh for a quarter of the season and with a pro-rated share of the remaining owed salary. His replacement will be making $12,300,000 more than Byrd did in 2013.

Last season was a also monumental year for young ace Matt Harvey. His first full rookie season provided the most buzz around the Mets since 2006 notching 178.1 IP with 191 SOs and a dazzling 2.27 ERA. To the dismay of Met fans everywhere and any true fan of the game, Harvey’s season was tragically cut short with a need for Tommy John surgery, shelving Matt for the entire 2014 season.

Both these players, the team’s most productive pitcher and arguably the team’s most productive hitter in 2013, are not on the roster for 2014. So, what have the Mets done to replace that production? Enter Bartolo Colon and Curtis Granderson.


Pressured to make a move, the Mets quietly acquired Granderson coming off his worst and most injury-plagued season notching just 7 HRs and 15 RBIs over 60 games. The prior year, Granderson smashed 43 home runs and netted 106 RBIs in the friendly and borderline laughable confines of Yankee Stadium’s “Little League” dimensions. Pull-happy home runs don’t occur with frequency at Citi Field, and Granderson stands a much better chance to hit doubles and triples than the long ball.

Playing the opposite corner outfield position, Chris Young was signed on a one year, 7.25 million dollar deal coming off his worst offensive season to date batting just .200 with 12 home runs and 40 RBIs. The Mets are hoping to rekindle Young’s 2010 All-Star caliber season in which he hit 27 home runs and 91 RBIs in Arizona.

Lastly, in an attempt to replace Harvey’s loss in the rotation, the Mets signed 40+ year old Bartolo Colon to a two-year, $20 million dollar contract coming off a season that was arguably better than his 2005 Cy Young performance, notching a 2.65 ERA over 190.1 innings. The “Big 3” offseason moves equate to a tune of $29.25 million in payroll acquisitions for 2014 with Granderson making $13 million, Colon making $9 million and Young making $7.25 million in 2014.

2013 was also the year of addition-by-subtraction in that the Mets freed themselves from Johan Santana, Jason Bay and Frank Francisco’s contracts to a tune of roughly $50 million dollars. That’s $50 million dollars that came off the books towards 2014 of which only $29.25 million has been replaced to-date. That’s a difference of $18.75 million dollars.

The Mets have failed to replace the payroll that was freed this offseason, even though on the surface it appears the Mets have certainly spent. Does this mean that the Mets will surely fail? Absolutely not.

It is, however, rather disturbing that the Mets, whom play in the largest market in the nation and have a fanbase that ranks in the Top 5 in spending power and strength in numbers, fail to maintain a payroll in the top half of MLB franchises.

The fact that this was the “big offseason” where they had all that money coming off the books to spend, and so far in early January have failed to even replace what was lost, is disturbing.

* * * * * * * *

This Fan Shot was contributed by MMO reader Ryan Flanagan. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 25,000 Mets fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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With Pitchers And Catchers Creeping Up, Who Is The Mets’ Ace? Sun, 05 Jan 2014 03:42:46 +0000 MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at New York MetsFlashback to November, 2012.

The Mets were coming fresh off their first season featuring a 20-game winner since the 1990, and the rumors were heating up that their Cy Young award winning pitcher, R.A. Dickey, would be on the move. The next logical discussion involved who would step up and be the ace of the staff in 2013.

Many had already penciled Johan Santana into the role, while others had Jon Niese pegged as the future ace.

Dickey played Santa Claus later that year at the Mets’ annual Christmas party, and well, the rest is history.

Here is an excerpt from an article I wrote here on MMO back on November 30, 2012:

Now the question becomes if they trade Dickey, who becomes the ace of the staff in his absence?

The Mets really only have one option. And no, it’s not Johan Santana.

The ace of the staff immediately becomes Matt Harvey.

Santana just does not have what it takes to be the ace of the staff anymore. He pitched admirably in 2012, but he’s probably a number two or three starter at this point in his career. On the other hand, Harvey has electric stuff, and has shown to have the potential to be the ace of the staff. Based on what he displayed during his 2012 call-up, you would have to believe this kid would rise to the occasion.

Sure, everyone would like to give Harvey two or three years to develop into the ace of the staff, but if this kid is going to be remembered as one of the great Mets pitchers, he should have no problem adjusting and striving in his new role with the team.


Oddly enough, the Mets find themselves in a similar situation as they did before the 2013 season. After losing Matt Harvey to Tommy John surgery for the entire 2014 season, the Mets are looking for an ace of the staff once again. With previous history of predicting future aces correctly, I decided to take a stab at who will be the ace of the Mets’ staff in 2014.

While Zack Wheeler has the stuff of a budding ace, he lacks the polish and command to take on the role heading into spring training. Wheeler’s fastball has the type of movement that will be sending a ton of bats to the wood chipper, his curve ball could strike out Jesus Christ, and he also throws a slider and change. With a four pitch arsenal as wicked as Wheeler’s, I could see see him evolving into the ace role as the season progresses.

Dillon Gee just doesn’t have what it takes to lead the staff. The ace of the staff is supposed to be that go-to guy that gives you the confidence that you can go out and win any game while they’re out on the hill or will put an end to a losing streak (if the team is on one). Gee is a nice pitcher, but he is a back of the rotation guy.

Ajon nieses Joe D. pointed out just a couple of days ago: Niese regressed. You may not be able to tell that from his 3.71 ERA alone, but his 1.44 WHIP was a career worst as was his 6.6 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9. His entire season was trending downward, but in the plus column, the Mets’ southpaw did post a much better second half. In four August starts he won three games and posted a 1.94 ERA and 0.96 WHIP, while striking out 28 in 28.0 innings pitched. However, he followed that up with an uneven September, making six starts and posting a 3.79 ERA with 1.45 WHIP. Niese continues to be very inconsistent, but still effective overall.

That leaves one logical choice for the ace headed into 2014—Bartolo Colon. He is coming off the best season of any starter on the staff, has been an ace in the past, and can be the guy the Mets turn to every time he’s on the hill and confidently expect having a good chance of winning the ball game.

While Anthony Dicomo, of, recently questioned that by naming Colon the starter, “might it irk the homegrown candidates to see an outsider come in and steal their thunder?” I ask, what thunder? What have any of these guys done that would have them think they earned the right to be the ace of the staff? If anything, naming Colon the ace shouldn’t irk them, it should motivate them to play and pitch better after being passed up by a 40 year-old for the job.

Another reason to have Colon as the ace of the staff would be to build his trade value in case Sandy Alderson decides the team is selling before the trade deadline. By that point, hopefully one of the “irked” pitchers on the staff would have performed at a level that would allow them to be slotted in as the new ace of the staff. When, and if that happens, my money is on Wheeler.

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Ike Davis Update: O’s Would Have To Be Blown Away To Deal Eduardo Rodriguez Sat, 28 Dec 2013 15:59:34 +0000 ike davis

Updated 12/28

I wanted to update Pete’s post with news from Orioles beat writer Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun, who writes that the O’s would have to be “blown away” to deal Eduardo Rodriguez.

Original Post 12/27

The Ike Davis saga continues.  I don’t know if any of the readers here at MMO have seen the entirety of AMC’s Breaking Bad series, but this whole ordeal is starting to become equally suspenseful.

This afternoon Mike Puma tweeted that the Mets attempted to pry Eduardo Rodriguez from the Orioles in exchange for Ike Davis and were unsuccessful.  Rodriguez is listed as the number 3 prospect in the Orioles organization on behind Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy.  He is their best lefty pitching prospect, however.

It’s pretty clear that the Mets are looking for a young pitcher for Ike.  They asked for Tyler Thornburg from the Brewers and there was speculation that they wanted Nick Kingham from the Pirates.  At first glance, one might wonder why the Mets are asking for young arms instead of young bats.  After all, if the MLB farm systems were ranked just according to pitching, the Mets would probably be in the top 5.  The answer to that question, of course, is that a team can never have enough pitching.  We saw that last season with Johan Santana and we’re going to see that this season with Matt Harvey.  I’m sure there will be more instances in the future as well (knock on wood).

Another ulterior motivation for acquiring a highly regarded pitcher, however, is that the addition might make some of their existing pitching more expendable in a trade to upgrade shortstop.  I wrote an entire article on possible trade options for the position so I won’t get into any names in this one but if the Mets are hoping to make a significant upgrade, they’ll most likely need to part with either established talents such as Jon Niese and Dillon Gee or near major league ready names such as Rafael Montero and Jacob DeGrom.  Exchanging Ike for another young pitcher not only gives them more depth they could use in a trade, it gives them payroll relief to make room for the more expensive options.

Whatever trick Sandy has up his sleeve, if any, will be interesting to see.  He has three teams interested in Ike, although I’m not sure any of them are overwhelmingly serious about him.  However, this is Sandy Alderson we’re talking about.  He is one of the most stubborn GM’s in all of baseball and if he can’t get anybody useful in return, it is possible Ike ends up in Port St. Lucie with the Mets when spring training rolls around, in which case his destination will be unknown.

Presented By Diehards

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Mark Mulder: Mets Could Catch Lightning In A Bottle Sun, 15 Dec 2013 15:21:44 +0000 AP Photo/Tom Gannam

AP Photo/Tom Gannam

Despite the addition of Bartolo Colon, the Mets reportedly continue to monitor the free-agent market to find another starting pitcher to meet their needs.  Unfortunately, with every passing day, the list of reliable options continues to dwindle.

While the Mets have reported interest in Johan SantanaFreddy Garcia, and others out there, this begs the question; why not give a guy like Mark Mulder a shot?

Mulder, who had some great seasons with the A’s and Cardinals, is reportedly making a comeback. The lefthander, who has been out of the game since 2008, is working as an analyst for ESPN since 2011. Three mystery teams have already watched Mulder pitch and one scout reported that his fastball is clocking in at 89-90 MPH.

The Mets may be able to catch lightning in a bottle here. We don’t know if they were one of the teams who watched Mulder’s showcase, but given his connection to Sandy Alderson and many others in the Mets’ front office, it wouldn’t be surprising.

Mulder is simply looking for an opportunity to make a comeback and says he would sign a minor league deal with an invite to spring training. The Mets would really have nothing to lose here and the payoff could be nice.

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Mets Have Inquired About Johan Santana Sun, 08 Dec 2013 19:07:57 +0000 johan santana spring

Jorge Castillo of the Star Ledger reported that the Mets, along with a few other teams, have inquired about Johan Santana. Last week, Santana’s agent Chris Leible tweeted out that Johan is throwing from 150 feet out without any pain right now. Remember, he missed the entire 2013 season and has not pitched since August of 2012.

Santana’s career stats with the Mets were pretty solid, with a 3.18 ERA over 717.0 innings pitched. He compiled a 46-34 record over that span of four years in Flushing.

I do not particularly mind the Mets going after a guy like Santana or Roy Halladay at this point to fill out the rotation. If the gamble works out, the Mets get the low-cost style player that they’re looking for anyway, and if not, they won’t have to pitch too long before being overtaken by a young arm like Rafael Montero or Noah Syndergaard.

The Met’s rotation currently involves Jon Niese, Zack Wheeler, and Dillon Gee while Jenrry Mejia could sneak his way in as well.


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Are the Mets Snakebit? Tue, 05 Nov 2013 13:13:36 +0000 sad mets benchIt has been no surprise that after five straight losing seasons, any optimism that coincided with the arrival of Sandy Alderson and team Moneyball has now subsided into a cynicism and even a resentment of the current power brokers at the helm.

Second and Third guessing any decisions made by the current front office reflect the dismay which the current fandom, including many of us in the blogosphere, who are sick to death of the losing, the lack of spending, and the seeming lack of concern by the team charged with fixing it.

Of course, this is all understandable, fans have the right to complain when their teams lose. But sometimes, the odds just seem as though they have been stacked against this franchise for the past five years. Changes in the Collective Bargaining Agreement in 2011, and the surplus of media revenue available this year are two factors that have either already contributed to the Mets current milieu or will continue to affect their attempts to build a competitive team in 2014.

Lets take a closer look at how each of these external factors have affected the rebuilding of the farm and team via free agency.

The new front office took charge in November 2010, with a vow to bring the same principles employed (with some success) when they were in charge in Oakland and San Diego. That meant using money more effectively in the draft, and possibly go “overslot” on some high draft picks, something the previous regime (often thought to be at the request of ownership) were criticized for not doing. Then, in 2011, a new CBA agreement between the owners and players put an end to teams who used the largest percentage of their revenues on their youth. The Mets new front office had only one year under the old rules. Additionally, the fixed money pool also applied to international amateur players, although with the caveat that this money could be “traded.” From the 2011 draft on, teams were “forced” into a cap on their draft spending, with severe penalties for any team that went overslot.

Although the new draft rules, which one report alleged that the players; “threw the youngsters under the bus,” were impediments to the speed of the Mets rebuilding process, the changes in the amount of money teams have to spend this year in the free agent market could have the biggest affect on the Mets attempt to build a contender.

jason bayWe’ve all heard the story many times over now, the $40M that was taking up space in the form of Johan Santana and Jason Bay has now been freed and the Mets can spend, spend, spend, and when they’re done, spend some more. It seems it will be as easy as just splashing some green, and watch the instant playoff team take roots and show shoots of hope (too corny? Nah). Easy? Hmmm, not so fast. First, consider that the Mets payroll last year was approximately $90M; and (it is estimated) that the franchise lost $10M last year. If you can do math, and read tea leaves, one can come up with the theory that the Mets payroll in 2014 will be somewhere around $85M.

Ok, so thats not so bad, it means that the team can add $30M to the payroll this year. They can add a premier free agent, perhaps a Shin-Soo Choo at an affordable $70M over 5 years. Perfect, right?

This is where the new media money comes into play, all teams now have an increased revenue stream, and all indications are that they are willing to spend to improve this year. Now whether they are going into debt to supply this spending, is not known. But early reports, and the extensions that have already been done, point to a wild free agent signing period, and you can guarantee that some of these players will be overpaid. The San Francisco Giants just doled out $120M on Hunter Pence and Tim Lincecum, who would’ve thought that a few months ago? No one, that’s who. There are also reports that the Astros, who’s entire team payroll was a notch above Johan’s, will be big players for Choo this year.

For a front office that has made all indications that 2014 was the year they were going to start competing and spending again, fate has stepped in to temper the Mets fan expectations. I am optimistic and believe that Alderson and co. will use a combination of trades and free agent signings to build a contender in 2014, or at least a team that plays meaningful games in September.

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