Mets Merized Online » John Buck Tue, 17 Jan 2017 03:21:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 MMO Flashback: Why 19 Is Greater Than 69 Wed, 27 Aug 2014 14:00:13 +0000 This is an article I wrote exactly 365 days ago, when the Mets initially traded John Buck and Marlon Byrd to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for Dilson Herrera and a player to be named later, which turned out to be Vic Black. As you can see, I was a huge fan of the trade at the time, but little did I know that one year later, Herrera would be the Mets’ top hitting prospect, and second baseman of the future.

It was 100% clear then that this was a perfect move, and somehow it’s even more perfect a year later.

And yet, the Sandy-bashing continues.

byrd  hr 2

Today the Mets traded Marlon Byrd and John Buck to the Pittsburgh Pirates for minor league infielder Dilson Herrera and a player to be named later.

This has been quite the polarizing move in the circles of Mets fans that I’ve noticed throughout the day. Judging by the title of this post, and my overall philosophy when it comes to roster construction, it will be pretty easy to figure out what camp I’m in. 

Good riddance, don’t let the door hit you on the way out Or let it, I really don’t care. Both Byrd and Buck would have been out the door as soon as the season was over, faster than you could say Saltalamacchia. Neither of them would have helped the Mets get anywhere next year and certainly not by the time the team will finally be in position to make a playoff run in 2015. 

Marlon Byrd’s 36th birthday is on Friday, and while he’s been decent this year, this success will not last for very long. In the case of 33 year old John Buck, he just has not been good this year. At all. His already paltry .652 OPS decreases to an abysmal .591 when you take away his great first 12 games of the season, when he got off to a blazing start. So yes, since the second half of the Colorado doubleheader on April 16th, the Mets have 85 times started a player who produced a .591 OPS in that time period. The only thing he’s done of note since then is become a father, and console Matt Harvey last night. That was an absolutely great moment, but it doesn’t change the fact that Buck has produced nothing since mid-April.  

Herrera is only 19 years old and he received an invite to the Futures Game during All Star Weekend. So he can’t be completely worthless. Even if he never makes it out of A-ball, the idea behind this move is the important thing. It’s much better to get something out of these two not very valuable assets before they leave for good. 

I like it. 

I won’t even delve into the insulting idea that the Mets could have turned this deal into a blockbuster involving CarGo, Stanton, Profar, Starlin Castro or any other major league player. Please stop, if you seriously believe that. Or at least never attempt to talk about sports again. For the sake of the world. 

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Herrera Coming On Strong, Continues To Impress With Bat Fri, 18 Jul 2014 14:00:48 +0000 dilson-herrera-in-the-cage

Last August the Mets sent catcher John Buck and outfielder Marlon Byrd to the Pittsburgh Pirates for reliever Vic Black and second baseman Dilson Herrera, a trade that benefited both sides with the Pirates getting the best of Byrd in their playoff run and the Mets working Black into their bullpen plans and Herrera into their future infield plans.

Even though Black has made his impact known already on the big club, the biggest part of the deal has to be the amazing talent that Herrera has showcased. He is only 20 years old, but he plays the game like a veteran, poised and under great control. For a young man that is just 5’10″ and 150 lbs, he has consistently shown that he can get on base, hit the ball with power and drive in runs.

After coming over to the Mets in 2013, Herrera was sent to Savannah and helped the Sand Gnats win the SAL Championship. This season he started out with Class A Advanced St. Lucie Mets and in the first half he hit .307/.355/.410, with 16 doubles, three home runs, 23 RBI’s, and 14 stolen bases in 283 at bats.

His great play in St. Lucie earned him a promotion to Double A Binghamton where he has not let up and currently has a five game hitting streak while batting .333 (33 for 99), with three home runs and 21 RBI’s in 24 games. Since the promotion on June 19th, he has hit safely in 20 of 24 games, has eight multi-hit games and an 11-game hit streak mixed in. 

“He’s aggressive. He’s always hunting for that fastball early in the count,” B-Mets manager Pedro Lopez tells Tim Healey of “And if he gets it and he feels like it’s good for him to drive, he goes after that.”

“He’s starting to control the strike zone a little more in Binghamton. He’s shown surprising power for his size and age. … His athleticism, his body type [allows him to hit for power]. He’s aggressive and generates a lot of bat speed,” says Sandy Alderson.

The Colombian native is also versatile as he has played both middle infield positions, and even though he has logged in more time at second base, his range and strong arm has allowed him to play both extremely well. He was signed as a third baseman by the Pirates at the age of 16 and switched over primarily to second base. But with the Mets, shortstop has been a position that he has started to play and has held his own.

“If you play short, you can play anywhere on the infield,” Herrera tells with B-Mets hitting coach Luis Rivera serving as translator. “I like shortstop more, because it’s harder to play. I move my feet more and take charge of more stuff. It’s more responsibility to play short.”

According to Lopez, the decision on where to play Herrera will be determined on his arm, but Alderson has a different take on what could happen with the young prospect. ”Ultimately, from my standpoint, the bat plays. If the guy can hit, let’s find him a position,” said the GM.

Herrera who is ranked #9 in the Mets system on’s 2014 Prospect Watch has seen his stock soar this season and that only makes the Byrd trade that much better on the Mets end.

Thoughts by David C.

I have witnessed first hand his talents and I am very impressed with what he brings to the table. Standing next to him, he looks like he can be my little brother, but when on the field he can play with the best of them. Herrera is a very special player that when finally given the opportunity he will not disappoint. It’s selfish for me to say let’s see him take a stab at Vegas this season, but in due time if the Mets hold off until 2015, Herrera will get his chance and continue to impress. He told me recently that he has one goal and that is to work hard and make the majors and in his mind, it will become a reality and from what I have witnessed, I truly believe him. He is a very determined young man with a whole lot of talent on his side.

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Amazin’ Backup Plan: Mets Improve To 6-0 When Recker Starts Tue, 29 Apr 2014 14:48:34 +0000 anthony recker dillon gee

Once again, backup catcher Anthony Recker found himself on the receiving end of another masterful pitching performance – this time by Dillon Gee – who tossed eight shutout innings in the Mets 4-0 win against the Marlins on Sunday.

With yesterday’s performance, Recker lowered his Catcher’s ERA to 2.54, the eighth-best mark in the majors and nearly two runs better than starting backstop Travis d’Arnaud, who has a 4.34 Catcher’s ERA.

The Mets are now a perfect 6-0 in games that Recker starts as catcher, and 22-14 overall dating back to last season’s starts behind the dish. Check out the baseball lines at Allpro to see the Mets chances of improving to 7-0 when Recker starts again.

Anthony DiComo of spoke to Recker, who told him that what he takes the most pride in is his work with the pitching staff.

“I think I did a pretty good job last year, and I’ve tried to carry it over into this year,” Recker said. “Just knowing the hitters that are coming up, and especially knowing my staff, knowing what their strengths and weaknesses are — this being my second year, I obviously have a much better idea of what their strengths and weaknesses are, and I’m able to use that to the best of my ability.”

DiComo writes:

Offensively, he already has two home runs (both in games he started). Compare that with last season, when he didn’t hit his second homer until June 18, largely because he started only eight times over the first two months.

Defensively, he spent significant time this spring working on his throwing mechanics and footwork. At least partially as a result of that, he has thrown out both runners who have attempted to steal on him this season.

Terry Collins likes what he sees and last week he told reporters that he intends to start Recker more often and certainly more frequently than he did last season.

In his limited play, Recker has two home runs – bested only by Lucas Duda who has four – and is third on the team with a .781 OPS and a 123 OPS+. Additionally, he’s already accumulated a .50 WAR which is also third on the team behind Duda and Juan Lagares.

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Mets Are A Perfect 5-0 When Recker Is Starting Catcher Fri, 25 Apr 2014 06:14:43 +0000 daisuke matsuzaka anthony recker

I wanted to update this post with something ESPN’s Mark Simon pointed out about Mets backup catcher Anthony Recker.

Mets pitchers continue to put up great numbers with Recker catching. Their ERA is 2.78 and opponents’ batting average is .204 when he is behind the dish.

Additionally, the Mets are a perfect 5-0 when Recker is the starting catchier.

When Recker made the Opening Day roster in 2013, I thought to myself: “Who on earth is this guy?” The now 30 year old backstop for the Mets is making a case for staying in Flushing for the near future.

Anthony Recker had played in only 27 games in his major league career, in stints with the Cubs and the Athletics, before signing with the Mets before the 2013 season.

Early on in 2013, he served as the backup to veteran catcher John Buck, but didn’t see much playing time because John Buck was red hot to start the season. He would later spend some time in Las Vegas before being called back up when Buck was traded in August. This time, he was called upon to backup highly touted catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud.

Recker’s final line in 2013 doesn’t do him much justice. He finished the season playing in 50 games, getting up to the plate 135 times and only batting .215 with a .680 OPS. However, Recker always seemed to come through when we really needed it, including a 13th inning home run on the Fourth of July against Heath Bell and the Padres to give the Mets a lead, numerous caught stealings behind the plate, and even a relief appearance against the Washington Nationals.

He again made the Opening Day roster in 2014, serving as the primary backup to Travis d’Arnaud, and thus far, has proven he deserves to stay. From throwing out Billy Hamilton, to another 13th inning home run against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, to his raw power, and even more throw-outs, Anthony Recker has dazzled behind the dish and is making a case to being one of the better backup catcher’s in baseball.

Recker has a knack for big home runs and of his eight longballs as a Met, seven of them have either tied the game or put the Mets in front.

After Recker homered and doubled in the Mets’ 5-2 win against the Arizona Diamondbacks last Wednesday, Terry Collins said he likely would begin giving him more playing time.

A year ago, I didn’t know who Anthony Recker was, and today I’m thankful that he is on the Amazin’s and is providing us with some depth behind the dish and us as fans can be confident when he steps up on d’Arnaud’s off days.

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D’Arnaud Says He’s Ready, Now It’s Time To Prove It Wed, 05 Feb 2014 20:10:33 +0000 travis-d'arnaud

Kristie Ackert of the Daily News says Travis d’Arnaud has quite an impressive resume. He was a first-round pick by the Phillies, and he’s twice been used as a trading chip for a Cy Young winner. He has all the glowing scouting reports and made all the blue-chip prospect lists. However, it’s time for him to go from prospect to productive major leaguer and nobody knows that better than him.

“It’s cool and all to have that prospect label and everything, but I’d really rather just be known as a good player,” d’Arnaud said. “I am ready for that.”

D’Arnaud is one of the key critical elements to this five year rebuild plan that Sandy Alderson initiated as soon as he arrived.

Along with Wheeler, Travis is the poster boy for the Alderson Era and in his interview with Ackert, he understands that it’s time for him to perform and start living up to years of prospect hype. He heads into camp with all of that in mind.

He didn’t exactly hit the ground running offensively and batted  .202/.86/.263 with three doubles, a home run and five RBI in 112 plate appearances, while striking out 21 times.

In three days d’Arnaud turns 25 and yet years of injuries and setbacks still have him at the beginning of his learning curve in the majors.

“I still have a lot to learn, I still have a lot of work to do to get better,” said d’Arnaud, “but I also have a lot of ideas of how I want to go about getting my work done and how I want to handle things. I was lucky last year, I got to spend a lot of time with John Buck and I learned a lot and I’ve kind of structured things from that.”

On the plus side, TDA has gained the trust and respect of his pitchers for his ability to frame pitches and get a strike call on balls that are low in the zone.

Terry Collins told TC Palm that when he came up last season, he worked hard each and every game to make sure that he and the pitchers could work together and have confidence in him.

D’Arnaud is still considered the best catching prospect in the majors, but now I want to see him translate that into becoming a potential top ten catcher in the majors.

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Talkin’ Mets With Patrick Reusse: Ron and Ike Davis, Tom and Matt Seaver? Fri, 24 Jan 2014 15:57:32 +0000 Sometimes things happen, sometimes they happen in such a way you figure you’ll make sense of them later. Sometimes you become a part of a story you just can’t wait to share, waiting for just the right moment. Sometimes you find yourself relegated the status of a drooling dweeb, which is more or less how I felt during my conversation with Patrick Reusse — a local sports-media legend in the Twin Cities who has his own talk show on one of the local TV channels. Somehow, probably because of his outgoing and disarming manner, he was appointed ambassador to my awkward presence (itself a novelty) in the pressbox before a Mets Twins game. I felt like I’d won a behind the scenes tour to the circus with Reusse as the chatty ringmaster.

I couldn’t get into the pre-game “presser” so I was the first Mets person present in the second (visiting) row. Naturally I was grilled about, of course, Matt Harvey … is he for real? Can he pitch or is he just velocity? How is he compared like to a Verlander?

Then, I made the mistake of bringing up how Harvey actually reminded me a little of Tom Seaver without the big leg push, boy did I step in it. As Gil Hodges is my witness there showered a maelstrom of profanity that raised no one’s eyebrows but mine (they’d all heard this rant before apparently) … It was hilarious. Of course Reusse brought up Seaver’s recalcitrance to which my reply was “who cares, he was so great on the field.” A fact that Reusse acknowledged reluctantly, adding that Seaver’s abrasive personality more than likely helped him dominate on the mound … and I thought, yeah, “duh,” (didn’t say that of course).

Anyway, his next question involved how we “Mets fans” liked “our new first baseman?” I thought, what an odd question. There were several other more interesting stories at the time. including Shaun Marcum insisting on John Buck as his personal catcher, but Reusse apparently had a particular interest in Ike. I said “Davis somehow forgot how to go the other way,” but my answer was brushed aside. Patrick was amused, yes folks he was genuinely interested in Ike because he knew his dad.

ron davisRon Davis is of course an ex-major leaguer who had a couple of outstanding seasons as a middle reliever with the Yankees, including an excellent 2.95 era season in 1980.

Same guy who got traded to the Twins where he was asked to close games, which apparently didn’t end well.

Davis torpedoed two consecutive pennant races with a withering assortment of gruesome meltdowns … And after these cataclysmic unravellings?

Davis, the very next day, would jog onto the field singing “Jimmy Cracked Corn” … every … single … time. A fact confirmed by a smattering of nods in the press arena. “Thing is” continued Reusse, “By the time Davis was shipped to the Cubs, the fans and the team were fed up with him. There’s even a story about how after he was traded Kirby Pucket performed a raucous rendition of Jimmy Cracked Corn on the plane ride.” Ouch.

So, naturally the busybody local press would wonder about Ron’s kid. Now Davis Sr. wasn’t all bad as a player. He racked up a bunch of saves with the Twins and would have been regarded differently were it not for his tendency to cough it up in huge spots, still, he was quite the character.

His son? I didn’t know what to say, “What do we think of our new first baseman?” What kind of question is that? He was hitting .165 for crying out loud! I said his power was legit, but Reusse countered by reminding me that the minors are littered with guys like Ike who can’t hit a breaking pitch. Tough to argue with, especially since Ike seemed to be compelled to swing at every kind of curve ball in the dirt ever invented. I felt schooled, but that shouldn’t surprise anyone. The lesson was that the Ike situation was one to keep an eye on.

Recalcitrance can be a good thing or a bad thing. Seaver’s stubbornness may have very well been a vestige of his assertiveness on the mound, it was probably a good thing. Ike on the other hand doesn’t have much to show beyond his 32 homer 2012 season. “It’s hard to believe anyone could hit 32 homers in the majors and not be pretty darned good.” I said …

But the Jury is still out on Ike.  There’ve been stories about a tirade that didn’t stay in Vegas after he didn’t get a call-up, whispers about questionable “coachability,” petty rumors about keeping poor hours, and more recently he was the endless subject of trade rumors. In the end Ike’s success with the Mets will largely be contingent on his ability to rediscover a way to punch that outside breaking ball the other way.

I eventually kind of ran out of stuff to say and just started nodding as if I was still part of a conversation that was no longer there … Reusse no doubt got tired of my amateurisms and became engrossed in what appeared to be 4 or 5 conversations at once — a palpable chorus of bubbling commentary under the hum of computer clicks and keyboards. Trying to eavesdrop was all but impossible, and It didn’t help one bit that Jay Horwitz seemed to have an uncanny knack for hitting me with a scoring question every time I missed a play.

So there you have it, that was my Ike Davis conversation with Patrick Reuse. Relevant today not because Ron Davis recently accused the Mets of botching his son’s development (never mind Ike’s incessant proclivity to try and pull everything over the right field wall), but because first base for the N.Y. Mets is, somehow, a year later, still unresolved.

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Mariners Close To A Deal With Catcher John Buck Tue, 14 Jan 2014 12:31:53 +0000 john-buck

The Seattle Mariners are close to a deal with free agent catcher John Buck according to Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. With highly regarded Mike Zunino as the primary catcher, Buck will likely be his back-up,

Buck, 33, batted a combined .219 with 15 homers and 62 RBI between the Mets and the Pirates last season. He had a .285 OBP and .362 slugging percentage.

There had been some interest in bringing him back to mentor Travis d’Arnaud, but the Mets never had any serious negotiations with him.

Sandy Alderson had wanted a veteran backup when the offseason kicked off, but has since backed off on it.

“First of all, we like Anthony Recker as a backup,” Alderson said. “So if we were to get a more veteran guy, it would be in part out of concern that somebody is going to have to play every day if d’Arnaud gets hurt. Part of it might be a desire to have a little bit of mentorship for both d’Arnaud and Recker.”

“The nice thing is we have a guy like [coach] Bob Geren on our staff, who had been very good at that himself. So the backup veteran backup catcher is not really a high priority for us. I mean, it’s nice to have. We’ve got some other need-to-have holes to fill.”

“Ultimately if we have to go with Recker and d’Arnaud, we’re happy with that,” Alderson said. “It would be nice to have somebody else available to us, but it’s not a high priority.”

I’ll always remember Buck for that punch-pie to the face of Jordany Valdespin, nearly knocking the guy out. And also for that red-hot April that made him look like he had a great season for the Mets. He really didn’t. Buck posted an .844 OPS with 9 home runs and 25 RBIs that month, but pretty much sucked offensively the rest of the season. Farewell, Buck Shot…

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Dilson Herrera Finishes With A Bang in Winter Ball Fri, 10 Jan 2014 04:13:55 +0000 herrera

Second base prospect Dilson Herrera finished the Colombian Winter league strong as he now shifts gears and prepares for the minor league spring training and a full season in the Mets organization.

Herrera, originally a Pittsburgh Pirates prospect, came to the Mets in 2013 along with relief pitcher Vic Black in the trade that sent Marlon Byrd and John Buck to Pittsburgh towards the end of August.

Herrera was sent to Savannah (A) and in seven games he batted .316/.417/.316, with six hits in 19 at bats and three stolen bases in 24 plate appearances. He was also on-hand with the Sand Gnats when they captured the SAL Championship.

Playing in his native country of Colombia, Herrera competed in the winter league with the Sincelejo Bulls and batted .283, with 20 runs, nine doubles, two triples, two home runs, 22 RBI, 27 walks, and a .433 SLUG % in 127 at bats. Herrera was also named to the league’s All Star Team for the 2013-2014 season.

This trade is starting to look like a great steal for the Mets.  Yes, Herrera is another infield prospect, and it doesn’t hurt to have talented players at each position in bulk, well at least that is what the Mets are doing anyway; building up for the future. Can’t wait to watch Herrera play a full season.

(Photo Courtesy of: The Colombian Professional Baseball League)

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While Not A Priority, Mets Still Open To Adding Catching Depth Mon, 06 Jan 2014 21:02:26 +0000 mejia d'arnaud

The Mets are still considering acquiring catching depth this winter, according to Mike Puma of the NY Post. However they are not interested in re-signing free agent John Buck.

Buck had a hot April, but really fell off a cliff after that, batting .222/.288/.365 overall between the Mets and the Pirates. The veteran catcher hit 15 home runs and drove in 62, but posted a wOBA of .285 and a 87 wRC+. Buck was immediately replaced when the Mets called up top prospect Travis d’Arnaud while he was on paternity leave.

For the time being, the Mets have not made getting a backup catcher a top priority, and Mets brass seem to be happy with Anthony Recker backing up TDA if that’s what it comes down to.

“Ultimately if we have to go with Recker and d’Arnaud, we’re happy with that,” Alderson said before the Winter Meetings. “It would be nice to have somebody else available to us. [Rookie Juan] Centeno is the only other guy that we have under contract at the Triple-A level, so we’d like to have somebody else. But it’s not a high priority.”

Recker has shown some power potential, but the 30-year old catcher has a .194 batting average and .629 OPS in parts of three seasons.

Juan Centeno, 24, will also be considered for the backup job. His elite defense and his contact skills at the plate are well established. He has no power, but gets good wood on the ball, batting .305/.346/.371 in 67 games for Triple-A Las Vegas last season. He has a gun for an arm.

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Dilson Herrera Continues To Shine For Mets Sun, 22 Dec 2013 05:05:16 +0000 herrera

Second base prospect Dilson Herrera was acquired by the Mets when John Buck and Marlon Byrd were traded to the Pirates. In the trade, the Mets also received promising reliever Vic Black, who could be assuming the Mets closer role if Bobby Parnell isn’t ready to begin the 2014 season.

Herrera, who is listed at 5’10″, has been playing very well in his native country of Colombia for the Sincelejo Bulls. Through 25 games, the 19-year old Herrera is batting .289 (26 for 90) with eight doubles and 17 RBIs while drawing 12 walks and posting a .422 Slugging Percentage.

Prior to coming to the Mets this past summer, he played for three seasons in the Pirates farm system, and in 234 games he has a batting line of .281/.356/.448 with 159 runs, 58 doubles, 13 triples, 21 home runs, 112 RBI, 39 stolen bases and 88 walks. After the trade he was sent to Savannah and played in seven regular season games, batting .316 and also helping the Sand Gnats to win the 2013 South Atlantic League Championship down the stretch.

I also watched him at the Mets Instructional League in October and he showed me a lot of pop as the ball just flew off his bat. He sprayed the ball around all parts of the field.  I really liked what I saw, and I’m excited to have Herrera in the Mets organization.

I can’t wait until spring training rolls around so I can drive down to see him again and watch him continue his development. He’s a great young talent who is playing a prime position and at his current pace, we could see him in the majors in a few seasons.


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The 2014 Mets Roster Is No Better Than In 2013 Sat, 21 Dec 2013 14:28:56 +0000 sandy alderson

The dust is starting to settle on what has been one of the busiest off-seasons the New York Mets have had in a few years. However, as the dust settles, it’s becoming more and more evident that this Mets roster is no better than the roster of 2013.

The signings that have been made this winter have done nothing to improve the team from the start of 2013. What the signings did was improve the team from where they were at when the 2013 season ended. Had the roster gone unchanged, the 2014 Mets were on pace to win a dismal amount of games—probably in the 65 win range.

After the Winter Meetings ended, many baseball analysts labeled the Mets “winners,” but the roster is in the same exact place it was at the start of 2013. In fact, it may not even be as good as in 2013 with the loss of Matt Harvey.

How can this be, you ask? Take a look at this breakdown and tell me where the Mets have improved significantly from the start of the 2013 season…

Catcher: According to Zack Wheeler, Travis d’Arnaud is due to have a breakout year in 2014. We all hope that is the case, but John Buck hit 15 homeruns and drove in 60 runs during his time with the Mets. Do we expect d’Arnaud to perform significantly better offensively than Buck did? I understand that Buck’s numbers were driven by one great month, but at the end of the day he hit 15 homeruns and drove in 60. I feel d’Arnaud is an upgrade at catcher, but hopefully he can stay healthy because Anthony Recker is not much more than a younger version of John Buck.

First Base: The Mets are a convoluted mess at first base heading into 2014. They are no better at this position.

Second Base: The Mets should get similar performance as they did in 2013 from second base as long as Daniel Murphy is at the helm.

Shortstop: No improvement here unless Ruben Tejada regains his 2012 form.

Third Base: No improvement needed as David Wright is a perennial All-Star and one of the best in the game at his position.

byrd catchRight Field: The Mets made a big splash signing free agent outfielder Curtis Granderson a couple of weeks ago. But was it an upgrade from what the Mets had in 2013? Don’t get me wrong, I believe that Granderson is a better player than Marlon Byrd, but do we expect Granderson to out-produce Byrd in 2014? Byrd spent two-thirds of the MLB season in a Mets uniform where he put up a .285 batting average to go along with 21 homers and 71 RBI. I like the Granderson signing, but I’m not convinced anyone can pass the straight face test while saying they can guarantee that Granderson puts up numbers like Byrd did in 2013.

Center Field: You would have to believe that Juan Lagares is going to improve going into his second season in the bigs. The Mets also went out and signed Chris Young to bring a little added pop from the outfield. Who is standing in centerfield on opening day is still anyone’s guess.

Left Field: Is it Eric Young Jr or Chris Young in left? One brings power and the other is a significant speed threat—too bad we can’t combine them into one player.

Pitching: The Mets lost one of the most dominant pitchers in 2013 for the 2014 season in Matt Harvey. They went out and tried to replace him with Bartolo Colon. While Colon probably won’t be featured in the body issue of ESPN, he should be a solid stop-gap in the rotation. The fifth spot in the rotation is also still up for grabs. Even with the Colon signing the rotation has taken a step in the wrong direction.

Bullpen: The Mets bullpen in 2014 is one that should improve, but it’s still anyone’s guess as bullpen pitching is very hard to predict from year to year.

So now that the dust has settled, where have the Mets improved? The Mets offseason signings have simply gotten them back to square one, right where they were in 2013. In 2013, they were a 74 win team.

reyes delgadoThe Mets haven’t won more than 80 games since 2008. The 2008 Mets featured three hitters that popped more than 25 homeruns in Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, and David Wright. The lineup also featured a slick fielding and dynamic leadoff hitter in Jose Reyes. This roster is a far cry from the 2008 Mets that managed to win 89 games even with a lackluster pitching staff that only featured two pitchers with a sub-4.00 ERA (Johan Santana and Mike Pelfrey).

Can anything happen in 2014?

Sure it can. But the Mets have not done anything to significantly improve this team for 2014 to have us believe something special will happen. While there is still time this winter for Sandy Alderson to continue improving the team, I don’t see where they can pick up the 10-15 additional wins that would put them in a playoff race in 2014.

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Parnell Expected To Be Ready For Spring Training Tue, 17 Dec 2013 19:43:04 +0000 During a brief media session at Citi Field today, Sandy Alderson updated us on Bobby Parnell who is recovering from surgery last September to repair a herniated disk in his neck .

Speaking about the 30 pound weight loss that was reported in October, Sandy said, ”he’s regained the weight and is about to start throwing again.”

Alderson told us that he doesn’t anticipate any problems and that he has no reason to believe Parnell won’t be ready for a full spring training.

He also confirmed a report on MMO that he was flying to New York to be examined, but said it was routine and not a post surgery follow-up.

“It’s  just an overall review. But right now we don’t have any reason to believe he won’t be ready.”

Original Post

The New York Mets don’t know whether closer Bobby Parnell will be ready for spring training as he continues his rehab following neck surgery on a bulging disc.

Parnell is to be re-examined next week.

“Hopefully he will be able to start resuming some baseball activities,’’ manager Terry Collins said.  “But I don’t know where he is at the moment.  He’s feeling better.’’

bobby parnell

Parnell lost 30 pounds since surgery, which sapped his strength. He has to regain the weight and stamina. Collins said he hasn’t spoken with Parnell, which, honestly, comes as a surprise. You’d think he’d check in.

“We’ve got to wait to see how he shows up, where he’s at in a month,’’ Collins said.

“He hasn’t done much yet, so he’s got to get himself in shape.  I think get his legs underneath him and start throwing.  We’ll just have to wait to see.  Bobby has always been a guy that’s down there in January anyways.’’

Maybe so, but Parnell hasn’t reported before following neck surgery.

After several so-so seasons bouncing around the bullpen, Parnell seized the closer role last year when Frank Francisco went down with an elbow injury.

Parnell saved 22 games in 49 appearances, and produced a 2.16 ERA over 50 innings. Always a power pitcher with a high strikeout ratio, Parnell learned to pitch last season, and drastically improved his control evidenced by a 44-12 strikeouts-to-walks ratio.

Parnell gave up only one homer and had a 1.00 WHIP.

If Parnell isn’t ready for spring training, and at this time no assumptions should be made that he will be, Vic Black, whom the Mets acquired from Pittsburgh in the Marlon Byrd-John Buck trade, is presumably first in line to replace Parnell.

Black throws a wicked fastball, and like Parnell is a strikeout pitcher.

The Mets are looking for bullpen help and might consider released Indians closer Chris Perez, who will come with baggage.

Last year, Perez and his wife were busted for marijuana possession after he was mailed the dope to his house … addressed to the dog. Reminds me of the episode of “Married With Children” when Al Bundy applies for and gets a credit card in his dog Buck’s name.

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My Mock Interview With Sandy Alderson Thu, 05 Dec 2013 12:19:19 +0000 sandy aldersonRW: Hi Sandy. I want to thank you for taking time from your very busy schedule to speak with me.

SA: No problem. Glad to do it.

RW: Let’s get right to it, okay?

SA: You have fifteen minutes. How you use those fifteen minutes is entirely up to you.

RW: How’s the off season going so far?

SA: Fine. Its developing. We’re laying the groundwork.

RW: In June of this year, to a group of season ticket holders, you said, presumably to get them to re-up for 2014, the following: “I do believe that over the next six months or so we will be in position to make some significant acquisitions, whether it’s through free agency or trade. We’re certainly looking forward to that possibility.” It’s already December, which is six months later. In light of that, what exactly does it mean … you’re laying the groundwork?

SA: Suffice it is to say, we are actively trying to improve the club. You or anyone else wouldn’t understand the process, so lets not waste valuable time.

RW: Try me.

SA: Listen, would it do any good? Obviously you have your mind already made up. We’re not even out of December yet, for crying out loud, and already everyone is giving up and acting like spoiled little brats.

RW: Here’s the issue. You told us you had $30 million to spend this off season, and so far all we get is another Moneyball reclamation project, a rather expensive one at that, and a lot of excuses.

SA: Sometimes the medicine doesn’t taste good going down. I can’t help that.

RW: You were recently quoted as saying … “We have to be realistic about the market and not sort of deny the inevitable.” By inevitable, do you mean endure another lousy season of baseball?

SA: We plan on being a competitive team in 2014.

RW: For the record, you said that in 2011, 2012, & 2013, too. Here’s a quote by you from a recent ESPN interview, “If the market is as robust as it seems to be, then we have to acknowledge that. It may not be manifest yet to the average fan, the average person, but I think we are more active than we were last year.”

SA: Yes, I said that. I think it speaks for itself. Am I on the stand?

RW: You’re the lawyer, tell me. You did nothing last year except waste $5 million on a pitcher who won one game, and a reliever who couldn’t get anybody out. So the bar couldn’t be any lower on ‘being more active than last year’. Is this more of the semantic shell game you seem to get such a diabolical kick out of?

SA: I’m not going to answer that nonsense.

RW: Would you be surprised if I told you that there is, in fact, a direct statistical correlation to the amount of money spent on payroll, and winning, or not winning, championships?

SA: Really? Fascinating. Can’t wait to hear this. Fire away.

RW: According to a February, 2013 Washington Times article entitled Does money really buy World Series titles?, teams in the top five of payroll have won the World Series eight times in the last 18 years, while twelve times teams ranked in the top 10 have been the winners of the World Series over the same 18 years. Seventeen of the last 18 World Series winners have had a payroll in the top 15. Of the losing teams in the World Series, six teams were ranked in the top five. Eleven of the last 18 losers have been ranked in the top 10 for player payroll. Fifteen of the losing teams were ranked in the top 15 in baseball. Only three teams ranked outside of the top 15 in player salary have managed to make it to the World Series, only to lose. To sum up, out of the 36 teams that played in the last 18 World Series, only one team won with a payroll lower than the top 15. If you add in the Red Sox World Series win in 2013, that’s 38 teams, 19 years, and only one team winning the World Series that did not have a payroll in the top 15.

SA: You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

RW: You’re the one that says the math never lies, and these metrics seem to indicate that Moneyball has become an extinct dinosaur, that its time and place have long passed, and that how much a team commits to payroll certainly has a huge statistical impact on the potential success of that team. The Mets payroll this year, which you now tell us will not be lower than $87 million, will put the Mets roughly at about 20th lowest in all of baseball, and certainly not in the top 15, based on last year’s payrolls. As you put so much stock into numbers, do you think you will somehow outsmart the statistical probability established over 19 seasons?

SA: Let me get this straight. You think merely by spending $100 million on payroll this year gives us a statistically better chance at getting to the World Series?

RW: Don’t take my word for it. The data is indisputable that the probability of success increases dramatically above a top 15 threshold, which right now would be approximately $100 million in payroll or higher.

SA: Besides, any fan who thinks the goal of the plan is to compete to win the World Series this year is, well, not paying attention.

RW: I get the feeling that you don’t have much respect for the average Mets fan. Why is that?

SA: (laughs) I love fans. They pay the bills. But they don’t run baseball teams. Not my baseball teams. None of this surprises me. The fact of the matter is, you can’t fully appreciate the subtle intricacies of my plan, and you never will.

RW: What I can appreciate, however, is you’re statistically one of the worst GM’s record-wise in baseball history.

SA: You know what, smart ass, I don’t listen to fans. If I listened to fans whine and cry it wouldn’t get us anywhere.

RW: You are entering year 4 of your regime with the Mets. Most GM’s get 5 years to figure it out, if that. Players from the last three drafts are already arriving into the majors, and yet no one is even close from the Mets. While you have some Mets fans believing that you have 5-7 future Hall of Fame pitchers in the minors, and all Mets fans need to do is wait for your grand plan to unfold, it is instructive to know that in the past 30 years, 97% of the pitchers the Mets have drafted have never pitched a game in the major leagues, and only one has been an All-star, and we all know his name. Here’s an excerpt from a recent SI article by Tom Verducci: Matt Harvey has won seven games in his young Mets career. This should tell you how bad New York has been at drafting and developing pitchers: Harvey already ranks 12th in wins for the Mets among the 766 pitchers they drafted in the past 30 years. Since the Mets hit on Dwight Gooden in 1982 … New York ranks with Kansas City and Baltimore among the teams that have been consistently lousy at drafting and developing starting pitchers over more than a quarter of a century. Verducci also went on to say that of the 766 pitchers drafted by the Mets since 1982, only one pitcher has made the All-Star team as a Met. So while I share the optimism towards the young pitching being developed in the Mets farm system, it also might be cautionary to point out that none of them are impervious to injuries, and that your grand plan is much too heavily reliant on yet another statistical anomaly.

SA: I missed the question.

RW: You’re smiling. Rather smugly.

SA: I have a plan to put this franchise on the right path. That’s all you really need to know.

RW: You were quoted this way when you took over the Mets: “Am I going to recommend that we sit here in New York City and function like the Oakland Athletics for the next 10 years? No I’m not. … I’m not asking you to believe me until you see some manifestation of that, which I hope is sooner rather than later.” Well, frankly, I’ve seen no manifestation of that yet, and, you’re right, I don’t believe you.

SA: You really are starting to get on my nerves.

RW: Here’s another quote of yours, from an ESPN interview. “No fan is probably ever going to be satisfied with what his or her team is spending on players. It’s kind of too bad that the measure of commitment, the measure of loyalty to the fan base, is measured in dollar signs. That be as it may, we’re going to spend more money this year than we’ve spent in recent years, just in terms of what we have to spend. You know, last year we only spent about $5 million on free agents. So this is going to be a new day. We have it to spend. We have to spend it wisely. That’s what we’re trying to do.”

SA: What’s the question?

RW: Those same fans will boycott Citi Field if the losing continues, unless something tangible isn’t done this off season to improve the team. Does that worry you at all?

SA: Boycott, is that what they are doing?

RW: Well, they’re certainly not coming to the stadium. Attendance is down each year you’ve been here, and it will go under 2 million this season. Sooner or later the house of cards will collapse.

SA: Typical fantasy league logic. Clock’s ticking.

RW: You also said this on ESPN. “Nobody can guarantee anything. I start with the premise that during the last 100 games of last season we were pretty good. We were .500. That’s not great, but it’s not real bad. It was a nice starting point. We haven’t really lost much from the group that went .500 the last 100 games. We get some players back. So the starting point isn’t as dire as some people like to imagine, I don’t believe.”

SA: Yes. I still feel that we didn’t play so bad last year. Part of my job is realistically managing expectations.

RW: “Success of big-market teams is not just money, but a successful farm system. We have a renewed effort in the draft.” When you said this, you must have known that most teams historically do very poorly in the draft. That’s one of the reasons why lousy teams stay lousy for so long even though they get top picks. It takes being actively involved in fee agency at the top levels, like the Yankees model, the extreme example, admittedly.

SA: I’ve let you make a number of statements that are ludicrous, but enough is enough. Don’t compare us to the Yankees. They spend and spend and spend like drunken sailors and where does it get them in the long run? They spent a billion dollars on one single World Championship. You’ve made my argument for me.

RW: 27 World Championships, with essentially the same philosophy for a hundred years – do whatever it takes to win. The promise from management that they will do anything, spend any sum of money, to win the next championship. 4 million attendance. A model of club building that seems to work quite well.

SA: Don’t be a wiseguy.

RW: Conceding that I don’t have any idea what I am talking about, you do realize that Matt Harvey will be missing from your ‘we didn’t do so bad last 100 game’ equation in 2014?

SA: Of course I do.

RW: You would also agree that’s a pretty big piece of the puzzle, and that he might have almost been single-handedly responsible for the Mets resurgence last year? How can you possibly make the statement that this is virtually the same team that went .500 for the last 100 games last season? Marlon Byrd is gone, John Buck is gone. Ike Davis might shortly be gone. The Mets might lose 90 games even if Chris Young hits 100 home runs, after which he gets signed by the Yankees in 2015.

SA: Wa, wa, wa. Pass the tissues. Harvey’s not here, and neither are the other two. We move on.

RW: Quid pro quo, have you been promised the commissioners job?

SA: Of course not.

RW: Are you saying you won’t be the commissioner when your buddy Selig retires?

SA: I didn’t say that; you did.

RW: If you googled the prospective free agents last year, you would have seen for yourself that the market was thin. Now you tell us the free agent market spooked you, whatever the hell that means.

SA: Whine like babies all you want, but Robinson Cano is not coming here.

RW: Did you bring your three sidekicks with you to the dinner with Cano’s agents?

SA: How is that relevant?

RW: Cano is a once in a lifetime free agent opportunity, going into his prime. The price of other lessor free agents might be inflated, but not Cano. There is nothing thin about Cano, and certainly everyone who can spell baseball knows he will get a very substantial contract. Most of the big spending teams seem to be out of it, the Yankees are playing chicken, and there appears to be a very real circumstantial opportunity to get him on the Mets. Do you, or do you not, have $30 million to spend on Cano?

SA: Not after Young.

RW: You can figure that out. Trade Davis and Duda, now you have $30 million back.

SA: You know, I can’t win either way with you people. Cano, really? Have you been paying attention? Have I ever signed a player like Cano?

RW: No, you haven’t, and that’s what really scares Mets fans. You seem intrinsically incapable of signing players that oppose your tired philosophy. Were you given a budget by the Wilpons? And did that budget include $30 million to sign free agents?

SA: See, this is what I’m talking about. I said we “need to get better, and not incrementally”, and I stand by that.

RW: We apparently also disagree on what incrementally means. For instance, your drafts in the past three years are mediocre at best, according to all the polls.

SA: Better than what I inherited. I certainly don’t give a rat’s ass about polls.

RW: Harvey was down there, in that barren farm system that Minaya turned over to you. Harvey may go down as one of the greatest draft picks ever in the history of baseball. Hardly barren, as you like to spin it. Any team you put together will have him as the anchor for a decade. Not for nothing, it took him only 3 years to get to the majors. I guarantee you that Harvey, unlike Wright, escapes from this madhouse first opportunity he gets if things don’t change. He’ll be pitching for the Yankees.

SA: You keep forgetting about Wheeler and Syndergaard.

RW: Excellent trades but, in truth, the jewels of other farm systems. You didn’t draft either player, and both were recognized as top tier minor leagues before you traded for them, nor have either of them had success yet in the majors.

SA: Is that a lefthanded compliment?

RW: Nobody wants you to succeed more than Mets fans do, because if you don’t succeed, we have to watch another lousy team for 162 games next year.

SA: Signing Cano would be reckless.

RW: Why did you have dinner with him, then, in the first place?

SA: Who?

RW: Cano.

SA: They asked. And Cano wasn’t there. Do your homework.

RW: Was it a dog and pony show, and nothing more? Perhaps for all parties, for different reasons?

SA: Draw your own conclusions. But you are sounding just a tad paranoid.

RW: Otherwise it might appear to the average fan that your only intention was to artificially pump up the Mets fan base, and for them to artificially pump up the market for their guy.

SA: Asked and answered.

RW: Not really. Asked and deflected. Trying to get Mets fans excited about the possibilities of having Robinson Cano hitting behind Wright for the next 6 years so you can sell more tickets when you had absolutely no intention of ever signing him could be considered a kind of fraud. Its certainly manipulative and dishonest. You have said many times before that the Wilpon’s finances have nothing to do with how you run the team. Are they broke?

SA: Let me put it this way. How insolvent could they be if they’re easily getting financing for the $3 billion Willet Point project surrounding Citi Field?

RW: Then its just you and your antiquated, intractable Moneyball philosophy that’s running this team into the ground? Is that what you’re telling me?

SA: My advice to you — get a life. This interview is over.

RW: When it doesn’t work, and you leave the Mets in an organizational shambles as you did San Diego, who still hasn’t recovered from the damage you did to them, will you do so to become the commissioner of baseball? Sandy?


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When Did Dumpster Diving Become Inspired Genius? Sun, 01 Dec 2013 18:10:54 +0000 I had an interesting conversation with a someone whose profile tabbed him as a baseball expert. The guy was also a die-hard Met fan. I found him to be representative of most of the Met fans I know from Mets Twitter. I thought I’d kill some time late last night and chatted with many of my now 8,000+ followers.

It all started with “I thought you said the Arroyo meeting with the Mets rumor was false? Not according to Adam Rubin.” I merely responded with “we’ll see.” About 20 minutes later the news came out that the Mets had no intentions of meeting with Arroyo and that the rumor was untrue. “As you were saying?” I asked. No reply.

“You’re crazy, no way Arroyo will get three years”, as I just posted the breaking news that Phil Hughes had signed with the Twins for three years. “Yes, you’re probably right, what was I thinking,” as I chuckled at home.

But let me get back to our baseball expert.

It’s amazing what great lengths some people will go to just to be right. You can hit them in the face with a John Buck style punch pie filled with whipped cream and facts, but damn it, there’s no way they are wrong. It’s impossible. It kind of reminds me of a few people right here in our MMO community.

It all began with this tweet from me:

Joe D. - Remember when Sandy Alderson said he had 25 pitchers on his wish list last month? It must be down to 13-14 pitchers by now and shrinking fast.

Die-Hard Mets Fan – Worst thing you could do is spend big money on average players. We should spend wisely not just spend.

Joe D. - Give me some smart buys for this offseason?

Die-Hard Mets Fan - Honestly, not many out there, but I’d rather not have more Jason Bay contracts. This is not a win now team, patience.

Joe D. – Champions cant be gun shy and afraid to take risks because of one or two bad decisions. Fear is a bad strategy.

Die-Hard Mets Fan – I’d like to see Nelson Cruz, to me he’s a big bat and worth the money.

Joe D. – I’d like to see Cruz too, but likely 4/$60 or more on a PED user. You in? That’s “Jason Bay” money.

Die-Hard Mets Fan – Jason Bay was never a power hitter like Cruz, he’s also produced off PED’s. I’d take the shot on him.

Joe D. – Bay was not a power hitter like Cruz???

Joe D. - He led the American League in SLG%, HR, second in RBI before Mets signed him.. Four 30+ HR seasons. What do you mean he wasn’t a power hitter?

Die-Hard Mets Fan – You do realize he played in Fenway right? #bandbox

Joe D. – Last season, Ballpark at Arlington – HR Rate .903 Rank #19, Fenway Park – HR Rate .845 Rank #23. In 2009 Fenway ranked 26th in HR, Arlington ranked 4th in MLB.

Die-Hard Mets Fan - Go deeper bud, you need to take into account right hand hitters only.

Well, you get the picture…

Fact is, every ballplayer is overpaid and it’s been that way for over five years, open your eyes and your minds for crying out loud. There are no upfront bargains.

garbageRolling the dice on some fish bones you pulled out of the trash in January that ends up having a solid season is not a mark of genius, nor is it uncommon. All 30 teams have stories to tell like that.

When a homeless person grabs a brown bag out of the dumpster and inside he finds an unopened, still wrapped Twinkie that’s as fresh as the day it was made, that’s not genius, it’s luck.

I wish some fans would stop harping on who they like, then do a complete 180 after they sign elsewhere. It’s so transparent and it impresses nobody aside from possibly your own inflated ego.

Either learn how to work and deal in this new free agent market that is here to stay, or do everybody a favor and go the hell home. Nobody wants to see beggars at a banquet.

I’m sick and tired of these damned Metsian pity-parties and half-assed attempts to make paint this Mets apocalypse as some sort of inspired genius when it’s only a joint effort by the front office and ownership to dupe your gullible selves into thinking this is a strategy when the word for it is simple – poverty.

For all of you who believe that Chris Young was some sort of piece for the future, and I know there’s thousands of you out there, I’d bet anything that if he has lets say 15 homers and 40 ribbies by middle of July – who the hell believes that – he’ll be traded for some minor leaguers.

Then the high-kicking chorus lines spouting genius will be on full display again, even though the Mets are not one step closer to a championship or even relevancy at this point.

Lather, Rinse, Repeat…


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MMO Mailbag: How Can The Mets Get To 84 Wins? Mon, 18 Nov 2013 16:10:36 +0000 sad mets bench

Nester asks…

Last season the Mets combined for a 29.1 fWAR which ranked 22nd among all MLB teams. If they are going to trade Daniel Murphy, combined with the losses of Marlon Byrd, John Buck and LaTroy Hawkins they would be losing almost a third of their entire team’s production for 2013. When you consider the loss of Matt Harvey and potentially Bobby Parnell that represents a total 14.2 of fWAR the Mets need to replace this offseason just to keep pace with 74 wins. How can the Mets replace all that production this offseason, let alone improve on last season?

Joe D. replies…

You just pointed out why David Wright is so valuable to this team, but to your point, it’s nearly impossible. One of my knocks on Sandy Alderson is that in three seasons he couldn’t add one MLB piece that would be already on board when the team was ready to contend again. He is essentially three years in and still building the MLB roster from scratch. Hopefully, Murphy and his 3.0 fWAR will still be here and that we’ll sign a bat who could replace Byrd’s 3.5 fWAR. After that, the Mets will be counting on players like Travis d’Arnaud and Juan Lagares to step up considerably offensively.

There is no way we can replace an ace like Matt Harvey, but if we get modest improvement from Niese, Gee, and Wheeler, and bring in a couple of solid pitchers – and not just inning eaters incapable of tossing quality innings – we may come close to matching the 6.1 WAR that Harvey brought to the team.

This isn’t going to be easy to do and the Mets are going to need one heck of an offseason to see this team jump from 74 wins to 84 wins. It’s not impossible, but it does appear to be very unlikely… Especially if you equate WAR to wins.

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MMO Fair or Foul: Mets Need Fewer Sourpusses And More Players Who Buy Into Offensive Philosophy Sat, 16 Nov 2013 16:42:15 +0000 fairorfoul

I came across this on MLBTR this morning:

The Mets are looking for players to buy into their offensive philosophy, and that means finding guys with discipline at the plate, writes Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.  That might help to explain why the free-swinging Daniel Murphy has found himself on the pages of MLBTR over the last week or so.

I headed over to Martino’s post after reading that, and immediately knew I was in store for something strange when I saw the title “The Mets Need Fewer Sourpusses.”

Sure enough, Martino makes his maiden voyage into MMO Fair or Foul

In Sandy Alderson’s previous three offseasons, the GM was shackled by budget constraints, and forced to choose from an undesirable pile of free agents.  In many cases, he did not choose well, signing guys who brought a sour vibe into the clubhouse, in some cases creating more trouble than was justified by their limited contributions.

marlon byrdIt began with catcher Ronny Paulino and reliever D.J. Carrasco in 2011; the former was uninterested in following game plans, and the latter drove the coaching staff crazy with frequent whining about his usage.  Subsequent years brought Jon Rauch’s unrelenting surliness and Frank Francisco’s unwillingness to pitch, along with attempts to dissuade youngsters from doing so.

Shaun Marcum was, well, not charming, and while Marlon Byrd arrived with a questionable reputation, he was generally a pleasant surprise in the clubhouse — save for what many Mets people saw as his overcoaching of teammates.

It is that latter point that the Mets want to address, in addition to bringing in more pleasant people. On every level of the organization up to major league hitting coach Dave Hudgens, Alderson’s staff has spent three years working to instill a hitting philosophy that stresses plate discipline and on-base percentage.  Agree or disagree with that view — many baseball folks criticize it for making hitters less aggressive, a characterization that proponents dispute — it is one that the GM insists on.

Players like Byrd and Daniel Murphy are good hitters, but operate in a mode that is far from Aldersonian.  Byrd is an aggressive swinger, unwilling or unable to draw many walks (his walk rate last year was a lowly 5.4 percent), and more than willing to encourage teammates to follow his own ideas while they worked pregame in the batting cage. That is one of the reasons the Mets did not pursue a reunion with the outfielder, who signed a two-year, $16 million deal with Philadelphia on Tuesday.

The Mets are open to trading Murphy for similar reasons.  Murphy has earned the respect of the front office by working to turn himself into a passable second baseman, but he is another aggressive hitter, whose style does not fit what the general manager, hitting coach, and organizational instructors teach.  This is one of the reasons that the team might be ready to move him.

Read the rest of this article here.

Well that was quite the mixed bag… Who knew that backstory on Marlon Byrd as well as all those other free agents that have come and gone. I thought Byrd’s coaching of the younger players was kind of a good thing, but I guess it didn’t sit well with the higher-ups.

But what bugs me most is the thought that Murphy could be shipped simply because he doesn’t comply with the program. As much as they say it’s not a one-size fits all approach, you read something like this and it makes you wonder just how much truth there is to that.

The way I see it, the Mets already have their hands full trying to replace the 40 homers they got from Byrd and also John Buck. That should be difficult enough to do. But then to also have to replace Murphy as well makes me wonder how they intend to replace all three and then begin to upgrade the offense on top of all that. Maybe Sandy has a few tricks up his sleeve…

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Alderson Expressed Concern With D’Arnaud’s Hitting Approach Sat, 16 Nov 2013 15:12:47 +0000 travis d'arnaud

It seems to me that the team is not as high or as confident in Travis d’Arnaud as they once were when they first acquired the catcher as the signature piece in the deal that sent R.A. Dickey to Toronto.

On at least two occasions, Sandy Alderson expressed concern with D’Arnaud’s bat and his brief 99 at-bat debut. The Mets GM expanded on that a little during his interview with Mike Francesa on Friday, and had this to say about his catcher when asked if he was disappointed with what he saw offensively:

“A little bit, we saw flashes. I thought the approach was inconsistent, Alderson said. “I think anytime you get below the Mendoza Line, especially in a young guy, you panic a little bit. But, I think given what we saw in spring training, what we saw in Vegas, and what we saw in his minor league career, we have to assume that’s going to improve.”

Alderson was pleased with TDA’s work behind the plate, citing that on defense D’Arnaud was better than he expected and MLB caliber.

I agree with Sandy on both counts. I did expect D’Arnaud to hit the ground running like we saw Josh Satin do. One of my concerns is that D’Arnaud displayed a very long swing during his brief trial. I haven’t seen enough of him in the minors to say this was normal for him or something he adopted after he was promoted.

He also didn’t pull or drive the ball the way I expected him too. When he did hit the ball he seemed to just hit them where they were pitched and mostly up the middle or to the opposite field. He rarely turned on anything.

However, on the plus side, D’Arnaud exhibited excellent patience and a willingness not to chase balls out of the strike zone. His 10.7 walk percentage will likely score lots of points with the front office.

Regardless, D’Arnaud will be the Mets starting catcher in 2014 and everyone will be eager to see him improve on last season’s numbers and most importantly – avoid any injuries.

While Sandy initially said that acquiring a solid veteran backup catcher was a top priority this offseason, he backed off on that during the GM Meetings in Orlando, and spoke highly of Anthony Recker who I think has some surprising power in his bat.

D’Arnaud and Recker will likely do the majority of the catching next season. But Kevin Plawecki could make things interesting if he continues to produce in the minors as he has in his last two seasons. Plawecki has quickly climbed up the ranks to become one of the Mets’ top prospects.

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Collins Is Lobbying Hard For A Cleanup Hitter To Protect Wright Fri, 15 Nov 2013 05:30:46 +0000 terry collinsAccording to a report from Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, Mets manager Terry Collins said the top priority for Sandy Alderson is to find a bat to protect David Wright.

“No. 1, we’ve got to find a bat in the middle of the lineup that produces runs,” Collins said at Joe Torre‘s annual charity event in Manhattan.

“We certainly hoped Ike [Davis] could do it. He had a rough year. He’s certainly not done by any means. He’s still a young guy. But for us to compete, we’ve got to make sure we have a guy who we know is going to produce. We’ve got to protect David. I know that’s probably our No. 1 priority right now. ”

The key words in that statement by Collins is making sure we get a slugger “we know is going to produce.”

Collins has been lobbying for some thump in the lineup ever since the Mets announced his two year extension after the season ended.

He told the Midland Daily News that Wright was the centerpiece of the offense, but he needed a cleanup hitter to help him at the plate.

“We’ve got to find us somebody who can keep the opposing pitchers from pitching around David,” Collins said. “That’s one of the things we will be looking for in the offseason.”

Some would say that the Mets are already behind the eight-ball as they need to replace almost 40 home runs from the losses of Marlon Byrd and John Buck.

We’re all praying that Travis d’Arnaud can provide some of that thump behind the plate, but he would need to stay healthy and not look as overwhelmed as he did at times last season. The Mets need to see some punch from the one-time top catching prospect in the game who soon turns 25.

Currently, the Mets have nobody on the roster who could bat cleanup. Lucas Duda comes the closest, but there’s not a pitcher in the game that fears pitching to him, and that’s what the Mets need to protect Wright.

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Alderson Backs Off Acquiring A Veteran Backup Catcher, Happy With Recker Tue, 12 Nov 2013 23:09:01 +0000 MLB: Chicago Cubs at Arizona Diamondbacks

A month after saying that acquiring a veteran backup catcher would be a top priority, Sandy Alderson downplayed the entire idea and told reporters that he would be prepared to pair Anthony Recker with Travis d’Arnaud if that’s how things work out.

Adam Rubin with the quotes:

“First of all, we like Anthony Recker as a backup,” Alderson said. “So if we were to get a more veteran guy, it would be in part out of concern that somebody is going to have to play every day if d’Arnaud gets hurt. Part of it might be a desire to have a little bit of mentorship for both d’Arnaud and Recker.”

“The nice thing is we have a guy like [coach] Bob Geren on our staff, who had been very good at that himself. So the backup veteran backup catcher is not really a high priority for us. I mean, it’s nice to have. We’ve got some other need-to-have holes to fill.”

You might infer then that a reunion with John Buck would not seem overly likely.

“Ultimately if we have to go with Recker and d’Arnaud, we’re happy with that,” Alderson said. “It would be nice to have somebody else available to us. [Rookie Juan] Centeno is the only other guy that we have under contract at the Triple-A level, so we’d like to have somebody else. But it’s not a high priority.”

My guess is that Sandy is suffering from sticker shock. I think it’s safe to say that as much as they wanted you to believe everything is now hunky-dory, it’s obviously not…

Lot’s of back-pedaling going on early in the hot stove season for the front office… Lot’s of back-pedaling…

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Expect Some Wild Spending This Hot Stove Season Fri, 08 Nov 2013 15:04:41 +0000 matt kemp

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes that all three Dodger outfielders – Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford – are available, but a rival GM told him that none were desirable.

For comparison’s sake, the three Dodgers outfielders on the trade market combined for a 5.4 WAR (Crawford 2.9, Ethier 2.9, Kemp -0.4) while earning a combined $53.5 million. Kemp, who appeared in only 73 games, recently underwent surgery on his left ankle. His value obviously is down. But some rival officials say the Dodgers are more eager to move him than Ethier or Crawford.

Not that any of it will be easy. Kemp is owed $128 million over the next six years, Crawford $81.5 million over the next four, Ethier $69 million over the next four.

“None of those contracts can be moved without (the Dodgers) taking on salary,” one rival exec announced.

Which player is the most desirable?

“None,” the exec said.

The thing of it is that the Dodgers are swimming in money so this won’t prevent them from doing whatever they want to get back to the postseason in 2014.

By the way, Rosenthal also reports that RHP Ervin Santana is seeking $100 million and RHP Ricky Nolasco is looking for $80 million on the free-agent market.

That’s pure insanity…

This is all pointing to something I wrote about last month…

All MLB teams are getting an infusion of $30-40 million in new National TV money and many teams will look to spend it and invest it in their team’s roster, including the lowly Houston Astros.

I read a report that in 2014 almost two-thirds of all baseball teams will have payrolls that eclipse $100 million.

Think about that for a minute Met fans…

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Former GM Skeptical Mets Will Make A Significant Move This Offseason Sat, 26 Oct 2013 16:01:58 +0000 Former Indians and Rangers general John Hart, an analyst for “MLB Tonight” during the World Series, spoke with Justin Terranova of the New York Post about the World Series, but also asked Hart the following:

Do you think the Mets will make a significant move this offseason?

If they had a healthy Matt Harvey to go along with Zack Wheeler it might be different, but I think they are a year away. There are some pretty significant holes among the position players. That doesn’t mean they aren’t going to jump out, if they target the right guy, who they think can help next year and down the line.

The thing of it is, who is the right guy?

The right guys is a player that will cost you either top prospects or top dollar, neither of which the front office has the stomach for.

USATSI_7361016_154511658_lowresOn Thursday, Mets manager Terry Collins said that the front office needs to “find us somebody who can keep the opposing pitchers from pitching around David Wright. That’s one of the things we will be looking for in the offseason.”

In other words, Collins is pining for a true cleanup hitter and yes, having one would surely change the complexion of the lineup.

But the reality is that there are no true cleanup hitters available in the free agent market that can fill one of the Mets needs at shortstop, right field or first base.

You could say Carlos Beltran would fit the bill, but who really believes the Mets would even consider that option? Beltran will get as much interest from the Mets as Jose Dariel Abreu did.

The Mets are already at negative-40 in the home run department. They’ll need to add 40 home runs just to get back to the point they were before they traded Marlon Byrd and John Buck. Quantum physics…

If the Mets want a legit cleanup hitter it will have to come via a trade and most likely that would put Noah Syndergaard on the table.

After all why would any team trade a bonafide cleanup hitter for Rafael Montero after J.P. Ricciardi appeared on ESPN and projected Montero as a No. 4 starter in the majors?

You think that didn’t get around to every front office in baseball?

Think again.

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