Mets Merized Online » justin upton Tue, 21 Feb 2017 13:00:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Mets Should Just Say No To Justin Upton Sat, 18 Jul 2015 18:59:45 +0000 Stop making eye contact, you guys.  You might make us think something's brewing here.

Stop making eye contact, you guys. You might make us think something’s brewing here.

With less than two weeks to go until the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, the Mets are in sore need of a bat or three.  Well, duh.  That’s all anyone is talking about these days.  And one team that keeps popping up as a potential trade partner for the Mets is the underachieving San Diego Padres.  The Padres supposedly upgraded their entire outfield this past off-season, adding Matt Kemp, Wil Myers and Justin Upton in an attempt to give a quick adrenaline boost to their offense.  The only problem was that the rapid shot of energy faded before the season began.

San Diego ranks 20th in the majors in runs scored and only the Mets (.233) and Seattle Mariners (.235) have a lower team batting average than the Padres (.238).  And no one – not even the Mets – can claim a lower team on-base percentage than the .294 OBP being produced by the Padres.  Because of their putrid offense and middle-of-the-pack pitching (3.91 ERA, 3.85 FIP, 1.30 WHIP), the Padres enter the day with a 42-49 record, just two games ahead of the last-place Colorado Rockies in the NL West and 3½ games in front of the Miami Marlins for the second-worst record in the entire league.

Without question, the Padres will be sellers at the trade deadline, just months after first-year general manager A.J. Preller bought the farm, the cows and both Upton brothers.  One player who might appeal to the Mets is the younger (and better) Upton sibling, Justin, whose 15 homers and 49 RBI are more than any current Met has recorded this season.  And although his .254 batting average is just okay, it would be only be surpassed by Daniel Murphy’s .272 mark out of all the everyday players on the team.

On the surface, this seems like a no-brainer, even though Upton would just be a rental player, as he is in the final year of a six-year contract he originally signed with Arizona back in 2010.  The Mets wouldn’t be committed to paying him beyond this season, just as outfield prospect Michael Conforto inches his way closer and closer to the big league squad.

But there are many reasons why the Mets should just say no to Justin Upton.  Here are a few of them.

Do you remember Richard Hidalgo?  He was traded to the Mets in mid-June 2004 and became an overnight sensation.  New York won its first four games with Hidalgo in the lineup, pushing the team above .500 for the season.  A week later, Hidalgo embarked upon a one-month home run tear.  From June 27 to July 29, Hidalgo batted .308 with 12 HR and 24 RBI.  He hit home runs in five consecutive games to begin the month of July, making him the first and only Met to homer in five straight contests.

Hidalgo sounded like a good buy, but before long, it was the Mets saying goodbye to him.  Take away his hot month and Hidalgo batted .189 with nine homers and 28 RBI during the rest of his short Mets career.  Hidalgo was the epitome of the streaky hitter, much like Justin Upton is today, and Hidalgo’s cold streaks – like Upton’s – tend to last longer than his hot ones.

During his first two months as a Padre, Upton was one of the best hitters in the league, batting .307 with 12 HR and 37 RBI.  Upton also posted a .545 slugging percentage, a .913 OPS and collected hits in 38 of his first 51 games, which included 15 multi-hit games.  But since the calendar turned to June, Justin has hit more like his brother Melvin, batting .179 with three home runs and 12 RBI in 37 games.  In the same time period, Upton (Justin, not Melvin) has nearly twice as many strikeouts (45) as he has hits (24).

This is nothing new for Upton, as he batted .301 with 13 homers in his first 53 games last year with Atlanta, then proceeded to bat .252 with 15 homers over his next 100 games.  The year before that, in his first season as a Brave, Upton tore the cover off the ball in his first 25 games, batting .304 with 12 HR and 19 RBI.  He then faded over the next four months, batting .244 with 12 HR and 45 RBI over his next 109 games.

Upton was a product of his ballpark when he played in Arizona.  From his first full season with the Diamondbacks in 2008 until his final year in the desert in 2012, Upton batted .311 in his home ballpark.  He managed just a .244 batting average on the road in those five seasons.  He also had just 41 homers in nearly 1,300 at-bats on the road from 2008 to 2012, while taking advantage of his home park in Arizona to hit 65 home runs in 63 fewer at-bats.

Ever since he left Chase Field, his strikeout totals have gone through the roof.  In his six seasons as a Diamondback, Upton surpassed 140 strikeouts just once, fanning 152 times in 2010.  Once he left Arizona, Upton became a human whiff machine, striking out 161 times in 2013 and topping that with 171 Ks in 2014.  So far in 2015 with the Padres, Upton has fanned 96 times, putting him on pace to strike out a career-high 173 times this season.  To put that in perspective, half of the Mets’ everyday players are on pace to reach triple digits in strikeouts, but none of those players are whiffing at an Uptonian pace, as Lucas Duda leads the team with 92 punchouts.

Finally, check out this stat provided to us by Michael Baron on Twitter.

One of the reasons the Mets are winless when they trail late in ballgames is the fact that as bad as they’ve been at the plate throughout the entire season, they’re even worse in the late innings.  In the first six innings of games, the Mets are collectively batting .242 with a .391 slugging percentage.  That’s not very good, but it gets progressively worse from innings seven through nine.

In the seventh inning, the Mets have a .215 batting average and a .310 slugging percentage.  That goes down slightly to .214/.307 in the eighth inning.  And in the ninth inning, those numbers go down to .197 and .281, respectively.  We’re not talking about just the ninth innings when the Mets are facing the opposing team’s hard-to-hit closer.  We’re talking about every ninth inning situation – when the Mets have the lead, when they’re tied and not facing the closer, when they’re being blown out.  In every possible situation, the Mets just can’t hit in the late innings of games.  And adding Justin Upton wouldn’t change that very much.

Upton was a very good late-inning hitter in Arizona, batting .282 and posting a .460 slugging percentage in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings from 2008 to 2012.  Since 2013 – his first year away from the desert – Upton has batted .240 in late inning situations and has seen his slugging percentage in those spots drop from .460 in 2013 to .404 in 2014 to just .389 this year.  While it is true that a .240 batting average and .389 slugging percentage are better than what the average Met has done this year in the late innings of games, it’s still not an acceptable mark for a player making over $14 million this year.  (Upton’s .240/.389 marks in innings seven through nine are also slightly lower than what the Mets have produced in innings one through six.)  More importantly, it’s not nearly enough production for a player who would be brought in to recharge the batting order’s batteries, costing the Mets several good minor league prospects to acquire a player of his caliber.

Justin Upton is an above-average major league player.  But he’s just not good enough to give the Mets what they need to overcome the season-long doldrums they’ve had at the plate.  He’s not the same hitter he was in Arizona, he’s too streaky and he’s no longer a good hitter when the game is potentially on the line.

What the Mets need is a player who hits in any park, is consistent at the plate and does not wilt under the late-inning pressure.  The onus to find that player or players will fall on Sandy Alderson’s shoulders.  The player who should not be at the top of his shopping list is Justin Upton.  The team would be better served to shop at a different store as the trade deadline approaches.

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Padres En Fuego This Offseason: Acquire Justin Upton Fri, 19 Dec 2014 15:50:53 +0000 justin-upton

The typical cast of lame-duck offseason characters has morphed this offseason.  The San Diego Padres haven’t won more than 77 games over the last four seasons, but this year, they’ve decided the losing stops.

The Padres have just executed a deal with the Atlanta Braves that will send outfielder Justin Upton to the west coast for the final year of his current contract.

Looks like LHP Max Fried, 2B Jace Peterson, 3B Dustin Peterson and OF Mallex Smith are headed to the Braves, while the Padres will receive a low-level prospect in addition to Upton.

The acquisition of Upton is the latest of several hot moves made by San Diego’s GM A.J. Preller.  The Padres also traded this offseason for Matt Kemp, 2013 AL ROY Wil Myers and All-Star catcher Derek Norris.

The outlook for this team’s 2015 season has changed entirely in what Joe D accurately described as ‘overnight’, or at least it feels that way from the perspective of a Mets fan who is enduring yet another offseason of rumored promises and potential hope.

In fairness to the Mets and GM Sandy Alderson, there haven’t been any clear choices to make this offseason.  In fairness to the fans,(you know- the group of downtrodden optimists who pay good money to see a good team play great baseball in the greatest city in the world) when is there ever a clear choice in this business?

After seeing all that the Padres have done this offseason, yes the Padres, I can understand why so many fans are getting increasingly impatient. Unless pitching becomes the only component of this game that matters going forward, it does appear that Alderson still has a lot of work to do.

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Justin Upton For Noah Syndergaard? Wed, 05 Nov 2014 22:48:26 +0000 justin upton 2

John Harper of The Daily News discussed a potential trade parallel between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves.  The idea is to trade Mets RHP prospect Noah Syndergaard for a return of Atlanta Braves outfielder Justin Upton.  Neither team has publicly entertained the deal, but it has traction.

It certainly makes more sense than signing an underwhelming free agent simply because the spending signals a desire to win, or because it’s all that’s available.  Upton would immediately transform the Mets lineup, so what needs to happen in order for this to be more than a rumor?

The Braves need very little for this deal to manifest.  Upton is an elite talent, but the Braves have a solid farm system and will likely decide to hold on to homegrown right fielder Jason Heyward when he and Upton are available for free agency next season.  Atlanta will spend money when needed, but they’re a well balanced club that does their best to be efficient.  They’re in a transitional stage with their talent and should be considered a logical candidate to shed soon to expire contracts while simultaneously stockpiling elite talent.  Syndergaard would be a welcomed addition on nearly any MLB team and his assets speak for themselves, particularly in a league that covets power pitching.

Upton is the exact type of baseball player the Mets should target, if a bold move like shipping Noah brings him to Queens in 2015, he is one of a short list of players worth doing it for.  Of course there are obstacles, the biggest being team control and finances.

The 27 year old slugger would have to sign an extension prior to putting on a Mets uniform, likely in the neighborhood of 7 years, $120+ million, and this is just a conservative estimate.  This means Mets ownership would have to expand payroll anywhere around $20 million more than 2013 levels. The Wilpons have boldly claimed there’s flexibility, but is there any truth to that?

If this rumor picks up even a little bit of steam and manifests into a real discussion between the clubs, any effort by the Mets to avoid executing the deal would be the first real stress test of this team’s financial health.  If Atlanta showed interest and Upton stated a willingness to strike a long term deal, the onus would be on the Mets to push payroll closer to or over $100 million.

The return would be a game changer for the Mets though.  He’s a toolsy and athletic ball player whose averaged 147 games, 25 home runs, 90 runs scored and 80 RBI over the last six seasons.

Critics will cite his high strikeout totals and his 2014 campaign won’t help counter the argument.  He had 171 strikeouts this year and strikeouts are already a major issue with the Mets. The odd thing is, he still managed to produce a .270 average, and .833 OPS, 34 doubles, 29 home runs and 102 RBI along with those strikeouts. Plus if Kevin Long is every bit as good as they say he is, Upton would only thrive as he enters the prime years of his career.

Joe D recently lamented on the dwindling window to acquire Giancarlo Stanton, who could likely sign a long term contract that would make him a Miami Marlin well past his prime.  A deal for Stanton was always a long shot, but it was certainly more than a fabricated rumor.  A trade for Justin Upton should be more than that too.

Lets! Go! Mets!


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4,000 Wins, Two World Series Championships Wed, 09 Jul 2014 12:54:25 +0000 4000

Congratulations to the New York Mets on their 4,000th win in franchise history. And a nice job by their PR department on the above graphic, although I would have had one player to represent each decade of their history. Perhaps two-time All Star second baseman Ron Hunt to represent the 1960′s or even the original Mr. Met, Ed Kranepool.

4,000 wins is certainly a milestone, but hardly evidence of a legacy of championship caliber baseball, in fact it says the Mets have been mediocre if nothing else, averaging just 76 wins per season – exactly what the team is on pace for right now.

Of the four original expansion teams, the Mets are the last one to reach the 4K win total.

However, you have to give credit where it’s due and tip your hat to the way the Amazins’ won that 4,000th game and that they did it against one of their most bitter rivals. Pounding out eight runs on 18 hits against the Braves while watching Jacob deGrom shut them out for seven innings while striking out 11 of them and walking none, was almost as good as it gets. A dozen more wins like this and the Mets could actually start printing those post season tickets beginning at $200 for the nose-bleeds.

It’s been 28 years since this team last won a World Series and you have to wonder just how much longer will we have to wait until we see another one of those. Especially with the Wilpons running the show now.

The Mets are on one of their current two-week-long spurts where they’ll win 2-3 more games than they lose. After a miserable 1-6 road trip, they’ve now won three in a row and four of their last five. You can always tell when the Mets are doing good because you’ll see Terry Collins beating his chest on the post games.

On a rare night where the Mets got timely hitting and great starting pitching all in the same game, it will be interesting to see if those two roads continue to run in parallel – and for how long. I want to see the Mets come all the way back from 11 games under .500 to end the month with an even record or better. Mostly because I want to see how Sandy Alderson will handle the trade deadline.

For two weeks, Sandy’s been saying he was waiting to see how the Mets play the last three weeks in July before deciding if he’s a buyer or seller. If the Mets continue at this current pace, I’m curious to see what the reality of the situation will bring. Better players or better excuses?

With Curtis Granderson now entrenched in the leadoff spot, does Sandy go after a big bat to patrol left field and hit cleanup? After all, he says he has plenty of money to add a key mid-season acquisition. Really? Prove it.

I’ve seen what Sandy could do when he’s slashing payroll and selling off any major league piece that establishes any value. What I haven’t seen and what I’m most curious about is what he can do when he has a team that’s chasing a playoff spot. I want to see if he’s as willing to add to the major league roster as he is to dismantle one. This will be a good test. So keep on winning Mets, and keep on beating your chest, Terry.

Because inquiring minds want to know.

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MMO Players of the Week: Lagares and Niese Cop Top Honors Mon, 14 Apr 2014 17:43:33 +0000 Mets POTW

This week in Mets baseball was just like any other: stagnant offense, average defense and bi-polar pitching. At the close of week two, it became apparent that more than one player was going to have to hit consistently for this team to experience constant success and reach that seemingly astronomical 90-win goal. However, despite the up and down pattern we have been seeing from this team, there are only a very small group of people who have heard cheers and not boos from the fans– our MMO Players of the Week!

USATSI  juan lagares


There was no need to keep these categories separate: Juan Lagares has once again stolen the show. Before I get into him, I would like to give a hefty nod to the Mets who had huge games: Eric Young Jr for his historical night on Tuesday and Anthony Recker and Omar Quintanilla on Saturday night who basically won the game for the Mets; however I could not give them any honors this week on account of they either did not start for the majority of the week or simply did not perform consistently enough to be considered.

Juan Lagares, however, is a completely different story. While he did not have a humongous week, he still not only recorded at least one hit in every game this week, but he still leads the team in RBIs at 7. When you compare his offense from last season into this season, the change is substantial: he is taking a marginally less amount of pitches and is developing an aggressive recognition of the strike zone and certain pitch types– a fantastic example of this was during Saturday night’s extra inning game when Lagares took a pitch that could not have been any closer to the strike zone without being called a strike. On the next pitch, he stroked a single into center field and would come around to score two batters later. His discipline has improved significantly and while in all seriousness it is not likely that he can keep this streak up, it’s refreshing to see that Lagares’ biggest question going into the season, is being thoroughly addressed. He’s learning and improving.

Now, onto the defensive side: the defense this week was just as it has been the last week: relatively consistent, but nothing overwhelming. David Wright has made a few flashy plays, but at this point that barehanded play is routine for him. Quintanilla had a good night on Saturday, but he has only made one start all season. That leaves one player: Juan Lagares. It may seem repetitive, but he is truly worth the recognition he is getting so far. On Wednesday night in Atlanta, Lagares made a beautiful leaping catch to rob Freddie Freeman of an extra base hit. Lagares’ defense has arguably been the most consistent so far this season. Unsurprisingly, this consistency is exactly why he seems to be the most exciting player to watch thus far. He has not just been having one great game a week, or having a night where he makes an array of good plays, but he has been playing all around solid baseball since Opening Day. Like I said last week, it is not at all far fetched to consider Lagares an early contender for the All Star game if he keeps up this level of play.

 USATSI  jon niese


This honor was 100% about to go to Bartolo Colon… until yesterday’s game. With Colon getting absolutely hammered by the Angels and the rest of the starting pitching being relatively weak this week, the honor goes to Jon Niese. Our lone lefty in the rotation tossed a very respectable 7.1 innings, striking out five and only giving up three earned runs, two of them leaving the ballpark (but let’s be honest, which pitcher DIDN’T let up at least one home run this week?).

Early on, his curveball has looked as good at is has ever been and it is wonderful to see him starting to throw it a bit more. When his fastball was working for him, it was a spectacular weapon that even froze some Angel hitters. While he did make some mistakes that seemed costly at the time, it makes me feel so great to say that for once, the Mets offense actually bailed him out. Of course, I have to give a special mention to Bartolo Colon‘s start against the Braves at the beginning of the week, which was absolutely dominant. Shutting out a team with Jason Heyward, Freddie Freeman and the red hot Justin Upton is not an easy thing to do, but he did it, not allowing any Brave with the exception of Justin Upton to have a multi-hit game.

We all know what the Mets starters are capable of, and we all know what the offense can do as well… now it is just a matter of putting the pieces together and letting the chemistry unfold. We’ve got 85 wins until we hit 90!

bleed orange & blue  button

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Mejia Shows Some Much Needed Sizzle, Energy and Emotion Fri, 11 Apr 2014 18:16:56 +0000 Brad Barr USA TODAY Sports jenrry mejia

Jenrry Mejia showed some guile toughing it out to give the Mets a five inning effort that might have had an entirely different complexion if it weren’t for two dead-red pitches that left fielder Justin Upton rocketed for two home runs. That second homerun reportedly traveled 477 feet before landing in the back of the upper deck.

As soon as the ball was hit, Mejia tossed his glove in frustration and doused himself in what was described as a hearty display of self flagellation.

Here’s what happened:

Not shown in that video is this, courtesy of the Daily Stache:


After the play the SNY booth hit hard on Mejia calling his display of emotion uncalled for and out of place in today’s game. An inning later they were still harping on the young righthander, Gary Cohen was doing most of the roasting.

I didn’t really have a problem with it. I used to love watching Tug McGraw and Al Leiter respond similarly after they were tagged by a big home run. In fact it added to their fiery personality, and fans back then loved the show of emotion.

However it seems that in today’s game such shtick is looked down upon. Rather the perfect player would not so much as grimace in the same circumstance and return stoically to the mound.

I for one enjoyed watching Mejia emote on the mound… The only thing that was missing from Mejia’s seven strikeout performance was some chin music the next time Upton dug in against him. That’s another thing that Tug and Leiter would do. But even that too is frowned upon these days.

The game continues to evolve…

Anyway, I love this kid… He’s entertaining to watch, has some sizzle, and hates to get beat… Nothing wrong with that…


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MMO Game Recap: Mets 6, Braves 4 Fri, 11 Apr 2014 03:39:05 +0000 USATSI jose valverde travid d'arnaud

The Mets (4-5) took the rubber game of the series in Atlanta, beating the Braves (5-4) by a score of 6-4 on Thursday night.

Jenrry Mejia took the ball for New York in his second start of the season, while David Hale got the call for Atlanta.

The Mets drew first blood when Eric Young singled, stole second, took third on a bad throw, and came in to score on Daniel Murphy‘s groundout. But the Braves quickly answered, tying the game at 1-1 in the 2nd inning when Justin Upton lined Mejia’s pitch into the right-field stands.

The Mets would score again in the next inning, and again it was Young getting things started. Eric laid down a great drag bunt, stole second again, and scored on an RBI single from David Wright. After Curtis Granderson struck out,  Murphy (who had reached base on a walk) scored on a groundout from Ike Davis to give New York a 2-run lead.

The Braves tilted the see-saw back in their favor in the bottom of the 3rd. After BJ Upton “tripled” on a ball Curtis Granderson seemed to lose in the lights (or lack thereof), Chipper Jones Freddie Freeman grounded one past Mejia and into center field to make it a 1-run ballgame. After Mejia struck out Chris Johnson (who whiffed 4 times in this game), Justin Upton walked up to the plate. As Gary Cohen and Ron Darling talked about how Mejia needed to be careful with the Braves slugger, the Talented Upton Brother rudely interrupted our stellar broadcasting squad by crushing Jenrry’s 1-1 cutter out to left to give the Braves a 4-3 lead.

USATSI eric young jr

The two teams finally traded zeroes in the fourth, before Eric Young led off the 5th with a “triple” of his own– a deep drive that BJ Upton got his glove on but couldn’t reel in. Murphy tied the game with an RBI single, but the Mets then squandered a big chance to take the lead. After Granderson reached on a fielder’s choice and stole second, Ike Davis drew a walk to load the bases for Juan Lagares. The Braves brought in Anthony Varvaro to replace Hale, and Varvaro quickly fanned Juan and got Travis d’Arnaud to ground out, limiting the Mets to 1 run.

Mejia worked his way in and out out of trouble in the bottom of the inning, and finished his night with 4 runs allowed on 6 hits and 4 walks in five decent frames, in which he struck out 7 Atlanta hitters. Carlos Torres came in after Mejia and was fantastic, pulling off some fancy shenanigans to get a double play on a popped-up bunt and then making a nice play to retire Jason Heyward in the 6th, before striking out all 3 Braves he faced in the bottom of the 7th.

Torres would end up as the winning pitcher, thanks in large part to what Juan Lagares did in the top of the 7th. After Daniel Murphy singled, took second on a wild pitch by Luis Avilan, and then stole third on a pitch that put Granderson on first with a walk, Lagares redeemed himself by hitting a single to right to give the Mets the lead.

Eric Young and Daniel Murphy combined for yet another run in the 8th. EY reached on a fielder’s choice and stole his third base of the game, then came in with an important insurance run on Murph’s RBI double.

Kyle Farnsworth pitched a perfect 8th to get the ball to Jose Valverde, whose outing went a lot smoother than his previous one. Papa Grande induced a pop-up from Ramiro Pena, did the same with Evan Gattis, and then struck out Jason Heyward to end the game for the Mets and give New York their second consecutive series win.

MLB: New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies

The Mets gave us a very solid performance in this game. Mejia struggled at times, but gave the team a chance to win, and the bullpen was once again phenomenal. The Mets’ relief corps has now gone 5 straight games without allowing a run. Torres, Farnsworth, and Valverde all looked fantastic, so let’s hope for some health and continued success going forward from those 3.

I’d like to see Mejia be a bit more efficient on the mound. He seems to chase strikeouts, which can lead to a lot of walks. He struggled to get through six innings in his last start and could only finish 5 tonight. Still, he has great stuff on the mound, and if he can stay healthy, I think he’ll be able to figure it out.

Granderson has done very little to win me over after I spent a few years hating him as a member of the Yankees. It’s nice to have a power threat in the lineup, but he strikes out quite often. I’m not too concerned though, he’s been hitting the ball hard when he makes contact and for a guy who can hit it out of the park at any time, he also brings a nice amount of speed. I won’t blame him for the fly ball he botched tonight… Atlanta needs to stop Chopping and start fixing their lighting.

Eric Young got off to a rough start this season, but he has been very good these past couple games. Young had 3 hits and 3 steals, and he was definitely the catalyst for our offense in this one. David Wright also had a big hit after getting a pair of base knocks last night, so hopefully he’s gotten over his bout with the flu and can get back to being the Captain we all know and love.

Daniel Murphy was also very good tonight, getting 3 hits and driving in 3 runs. He also had a pretty good night in the field, although I’m pretty sure he almost tripped over the 2nd base bag at one point…

I really hope Travis d’Arnaud can start stringing some hits together. He got a few hits in this series, but went 0-for-4 tonight. I’m not going to give up on TDA yet or any time soon, because he is still so inexperienced, but I’d really like to see some of that potential we’ve heard about show up on the field. Travis did make a very good throw to 2nd base that would have nailed Jason Heyward had Murphy correctly applied the tag. (Now that I think about it, maybe Murph wasn’t so great in the field…)

Juan Lagares has done something— with the bat, the glove, or both— to give the Mets a better chance to win day in and day out this season. Eric Young has picked it up these past couple games, and Curtis Granderson is an All-Star the biggest power threat in the lineup. It will be interesting to see what happens when— if — Chris Young returns.

It’s always good to get the series win, and it’s extra special when we can do it at Turner Field, where the Mets have always struggled. The Mets have now won two consecutive series, and they will look to make it three when they head to Los Angeles to visit the Angels.

Up Next: The Mets will fly out to LA to begin a 3 game series with the Angels on Friday night. Dillon Gee (0-0, 4.50 ERA) will face Tyler Skaggs (1-0, 0.00 ERA).

Let’s Go Mets!

Presented By Diehards

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The Clock Is Ticking On Sandy Alderson’s Plan For The Mets Fri, 29 Nov 2013 21:07:03 +0000 mets fans thanks

We keep hearing the word “plan” tossed around this winter. Nobody knows what the plan is, as it seems to change from day-to-day and week-to-week. As legendary hockey coach Herb Brooks would say, this Mets off-season has looked a lot like “two monkeys trying to hump a football.”

The only “plan,” as I see it, is to keep the Mets fans thinking there is a plan so that they continue to buy tickets and merchandise. However, there are no plans to build a winning team with bottom of the barrel players. Telling the fan base they are using “moneyball” tactics to find undervalued players has been nothing but a well-developed con.

What the Mets call undervalued players, everyone else calls crap. There is a reason why these players are still available in January and February. Are we to believe that every other team ignored these players, with all the advanced statistics out there today? Give me a break already.

The truth is, moneyball doesn’t exist anymore. We are seeing the players and agents getting wiser and demanding more money for their “undervalued” skills. If you can tell me what is undervalued about a career .235 hitter, then please do. I would love to hear all about it.

The funny thing is, the portion of the fan base that loves the Chris Young signing for his power and defense are the same fans that spoke against the Mets pursuing Justin Upton by marginalizing his power numbers as a result of hitting in Arizona last year. Yet all of Young’s big power years came when he played in Arizona.

So the Mets sign Chris Young and his career averages are a about 18 homeruns per year and a batting average of .235, to go along with solid defense. I’m pretty sure Matt den Dekker could put up similar offensive numbers, play better defense, and do it for about $7 million less…moneyball, huh?

Undervalued players are becoming more and more overvalued due to supply and demand, yet they continue to toss around sensationalized words like “moneyball” to keep the fan base at ease with them signing crappy players because they refuse to spend money.

Why do they do it? To keep us buying tickets and merchandise, that’s why.

Can you win without spending boat loads of money?

Sure you can. But that’s if your core of players is solid, and everything still has to come together. Let’s not forget, we were told this was supposed to be the winter of the big free agency shopping spree.

At this point, the only way the Mets can become competitive would be for them to mortgage the future by trading away the majority of their top tier prospects for impact players. The problem is that is a risky proposition—very risky.

What if they do that, and still don’t win? Then they are worse off than when they started, so I doubt the Mets are going to do that.

justin maxwell royals

Is there a difference between the Kansas City Royals and the New York Mets at this point?

There is, actually.

The Royals organization doesn’t mess around with the fan-bases’ heads and get them to believe that spending is in the future…or winning is on the way. They set clear expectations, so the fan base has no reason to be outraged.

People question why Mets’ fans feel entitled to something? As if we are crazy to think the way we do.

Well, had the organization not set such high expectations, I don’t think there would be as much of a buzz as there is right now. For three long and agonizing years, the organization said that 2014 would be the year that everything gets turned around. And now, it seems like that is not going to happen.

Ike Davis

To be honest, I think there was a plan. I think this team believed that Ike Davis and Lucas Duda were going to turn into legit core players on the team, and then they were only going to have to add a couple of small pieces this winter in order to get competitive again.

Unfortunately, the plan backfired. Davis and Duda can be packaged together and probably only gain a couple of marginal prospects in return, and Matt Harvey’s injury was the proverbial cherry on the top of their plan backfiring.

Rather than the organization step to the plate and let us know that things are not working out as planned, they continue to spoon feed us manure.

Even though fans will look at this plan as a failure, Sandy Alderson will ultimately get his contract extended, as he is the perfect GM for the Wilpon’s new strategy. Alderson will not swayed by public opinion or what fans think. He was brought in to save the Wilpon’s money, not build a winning team. They wanted a guy that would not cave to the fans’ outcries of spending money.

Before Alderson, Omar Minaya brought us wins, but the Wilpon’s thought he spent foolishly and burdened the organization with bad contracts. Now they have switched to the opposite direction and have a GM in place that seems perfectly happy spending little money. We probably need to be somewhere in-between.

Enter 2015.

The past few years Mets fans have been able to joke and say things like “we’re thankful we aren’t Pirates fans.” It’s sure getting harder and harder to find things to be thankful for as Mets fans these days, isn’t it?


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Featured Post: Are We Giving Up Too Quickly On Ike Davis? Mon, 11 Nov 2013 16:44:28 +0000 babe ruth

Everybody loves a home run slugger. There’s nothing quite like the excitement of watching batters with pop in their bats blast the ball out of the park whenever they step to the plate. Yet, in the post steroid baseball era, consistent home run sluggers, guys that can be counted on to hit thirty or more home runs year after year, is diminishing.

Soaring individual home run totals were a rarity in 2013. Only two major league sluggers, Chris Davis and Miguel Cabrera went yard 40 or more times with Davis leading the major leagues with 53 four-baggers and Cabrera finishing second with a healthy 44.

Only 12 other big leaguers hit 30 or more homers in 2013, and just three from the National League. In fact, since 2010, National League sluggers pounding 40 or more HR’s have become nearly extinct. Ryan Braun did it in 2012, but no other NL batter has reached that magic total over the last four years.

Take a look at baseball’s four year home run totals.


The 2013 season was an especially disastrous one for longball hitters in the National League. Only three NL batters went yard 30 or more times this summer. That’s stunning.

Let’s hope it’s not a trend. With so many Met fans clamoring to add a HR slugging bat to our roster during this off-season, it does make you wonder just where that bat would be coming from.

In yesteryear, many sluggers showed uncanny consistency stringing together seasons with 30 or more home runs. Mickey Mantle did it 8 straight times. Willie Mays had a run of 11 of 13 years missing each of his off-years by a single home run. Met great Mike Piazza had a run of 11 of 12 seasons, Mike Schmidt 14 of 15, and Willie Stargell 15 of 17.

Unlike the old days, consistency of this sort in recent years is hard to find. Since 2010, Miguel Cabrera is the only player to total 30 + home runs every year. Five players; Prince Fielder, Adam Dunn, Albert Pujols, Adrian Beltre and Jay Bruce have reached that mark in three of the last four years.

Examining the home run totals unearthed some real surprises. David Ortiz never hit more than 20 home runs until he was 27 years old. Rafael Palmeiro never climbed to 30+ HR’s until he was 28. Justin Upton has only reached 30 dingers once in seven big league seasons. Adrian Beltre, consistent since 2010, had his first 30+ home run season in his 13th big league year. Matt Kemp has only had one 30+ home run total in eight seasons, Joey Votto one in seven campaigns, and Robinson Cano has reached 30 or more HR’s once in his nine years in the big leagues.

And, even the great home run sluggers many times had a disastrous campaign, at least on their standards, somewhere along the line. For example at 26 years old, Willie McCovey hit .220 with 18 HR’s and only 54 RBI’s. When he was 27 years old, Mark McGwire hit 21 HR’s with 75 RBI’s, batted .201 with a .383 slugging percentage. It happens.

All these home runs numbers leave me wondering about Ike Davis. It’s not like Ike Davis doesn’t have the power potential to hit the ball out of the park. Just one season removed, Davis put himself on the 30+ leader board slamming the ball out of the yard 32 times, with all but 5 of those home runs coming in his final 100 games.

The beginning of the 2013 season was a train wreck for Davis. After he was demoted to Las Vegas, he returned to Flushing and was showing improved offensive output when an oblique injury put him on the shelf for the remainder of the season.

Every indication leads Met fans to believe the front office has run out of patience with Davis. The fear of the demoralizing effect a third straight ice cold spring would have on the team has trumped the longball potential Davis brings to the team.

With so few baseball sluggers slamming the ball consistently our of the park (only 3 – 30+ HR hitters in the NL in 2013) and with no other internal promising options at first base at the moment, I can’t help but wonder if this direction is unwise or premature.

Every time I think I have run out of patience with Davis, I consider the alternative, Lucas Duda, and I find a little extra patience in my tank. There is very little difference in their stat line, although, Duda’s defensive WAR totals, whether as an outfielder or a first baseman are scary.

              AB     R   2B  HR  RBI   BA    OBP   SLG   OWar  DWar
Lucas  Duda   1,104  134  58  44  153  .246  .342  .424   3.6   -6.3
Ike  Davis    1,488  196  81  67  219  .242  .334  .434   4.2   -1.5

On paper, the differences seem pretty insignificant. In my gut, there’s a much wider gap that tips in favor of Davis. When I consider both Davis and Duda in terms of positive potential at someday regularly posting 30+ HR numbers, I come down on the side of Davis again. And, when I consider which guy I want patrolling the bag at first base, especially with an infield of questionable defensive acumen, it’s Davis by a long shot.

If the Mets don’t go outside the organization to fill their first base needs, I think they need to think long and hard about who they tab as next year’s starting first baseman. The cost of now is sometimes a loss for the future. Patience never guarantees longterm success, but it dramatically increases the odds.

not typical metsmerized

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Red Sox Unlikely To Make Stephen Drew A Qualifying Offer, Mets Could Zero In Fri, 13 Sep 2013 17:24:55 +0000 stephen drew

Last week, Andy Martino of New York Daily News, reported that the Mets could pursue a free agent shortstop this offseason and added that this upcoming offseason could be the the most important one for the Mets in several years.

In talking with a Mets front office person, he learned that the Mets are very open to spending on a free agent shortstop this offseason.

It had been my assumption that the Mets would either name Ruben Tejada the shortstop next year, or fill the position via trade, as they nearly did last winter in trying to swap Tejada for Cliff Pennington as part of a Justin Upton trade with Arizona (Daniel Murphy also would have become a Diamondback in that deal).

But when when I ran that formulation by a front office source, I was surprised to hear an openness to signing a free agent (I thought they’d only look to sign outfielders and starting pitchers). Stephen Drew will be available, and Yunel Escobar could be, if Tampa Bay declines his $5 million option. It is premature to speculate too heavily on specific names, but when I mentioned those ones to the source, he didn’t shoot them down.

Drew is batting .247/.330/.431 this season with a very respectable .760 OPS for a shortstop. At 26.1% his strikeout rate is kind of high, but at least he offsets with a 11.1% walk rate. Defensively he should be fine and his 4.4 UZR/150 and 3.0 UZR this season are near to his career averages.

Dave Cameron at FanGraphs, believes Drew will probably not receive a Qualifying Offer from the Red Sox. That would make him even more desirable to the Mets front office as they would not have to sacrifice a draft pick to sign him.

“Drew has turned out to be one of the best signings of the winter,” Cameron writes.

“He’s provided quality production from a position where it isn’t so easy to find anymore. There’s a good chance Drew’s going to end the year with +3 WAR, and despite the fact that it seems like he’s been around forever, he’s only headed into his age-31 season.”

“He’s earned a raise over what he got as a free agent last winter, but is there really a mutli-year deal out there for Drew that is more attractive than $14 million for 2014? I doubt it, especially once you factor in the draft pick compensation.”


Plus with top prospect Xander Bogaerts already arrived there’s little chance that the Red Sox would want to get stuck paying $14 million for Drew to be a backup or part-time DH.

I like Drew, but he’s somewhat overrated. Will he be an upgrade over Tejada or Quintanilla?

Absolutely, but not that big of an upgrade considering the switch in ballparks.

I doubt he’ll produce +3 WAR going forward, but if he can touch 2.0 and the price is right, I’ll bite.

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Stephen Drew and Yunel Escobar Among Shortstops Mets Will Consider This Offseason Mon, 09 Sep 2013 04:03:33 +0000 stephen drew

The Mets could pursue a free agent shortstop this offseason, according to Andy Martino of New York Daily News. Martino, who has spent the last three days schmoozing with the Mets and covering for Kevin Burkhardt, says the upcoming Winter could be the the most important for the Mets in several years.

In talking with a Mets front office person, he learned that the Mets are very open to spending on a free agent shortstop this offseason.

It had been my assumption that the Mets would either name Ruben Tejada the shortstop next year, or fill the position via trade, as they nearly did last winter in trying to swap Tejada for Cliff Pennington as part of a Justin Upton trade with Arizona (Daniel Murphy also would have become a Diamondback in that deal).

But when when I ran that formulation by a front office source, I was surprised to hear an openness to signing a free agent (I thought they’d only look to sign outfielders and starting pitchers). Stephen Drew will be available, and Yunel Escobar could be, if Tampa Bay declines his $5 million option. It is premature to speculate too heavily on specific names, but when I mentioned those ones to the source, he didn’t shoot them down.

Drew, 30, is batting .263/.328/.423 for the Boston Red Sox and in 385 at-bats has 24 doubles, 12 home runs, 51 runs scored and 59 RBIs.

Escobar, 30, is batting .260/.329/.371 for the Tampa Bay Rays and in 453 at-bats he has 23 doubles, nine home runs, 54 runs scored and 53 RBIs.

Either one would be an upgrade over Omar Quintanilla and Tejada, but not that big of an upgrade especially in Citi Field. Neither player has much speed and both have lost a step defensively.

Incidentally, the same Mets executive referred to Tejada as ”a very disappointing kid with a poor work ethic,” but another team official said they haven’t given up on him yet.

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Marlon Byrd vs Justin Upton Fri, 28 Jun 2013 16:46:43 +0000 Michael G. Baron of SNY posted this info-graphic on Twitter after the game last night.

Seeing his numbers jump out like that next to Justin Upton is mind boggling to say the least…

Upton is owed $9.75M for 2013 by the Braves, and will earn an additional $14.25M next season and $14.5M in 2015. Meanwhile, Byrd is being paid $700K for this season by the Mets.

Coming off that 50 game suspension after testing positive for performance enhancing drugs, I doubt there was anyone jumping for joy when Sandy Alderson signed Marlon Byrd to a minor league deal last February. I know I sure as hell wasn’t thrilled…

Back then, Sandy said that Byrd would compete with Andrew Brown for a fifth outfielder spot on the bench. Try again… Obviously even the front office must be amazed by his performance thus far.

Last season, Byrd earned $6.5 million in 153 plate appearances with the Cubs and Red Sox, he posted a combined .210/.243/.245 slash line.

marlon byrd homers

The 35-year-old has exceeded all expectations and earned the right to an everyday spot in right field where in addition to his offensive prowess, he has also shined brightly on defense.

You gotta love this game…

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Would Andre Ethier Be A Good Fit For Mets? Thu, 06 Jun 2013 17:33:05 +0000 Andre_EthierIt’s become very apparent that the Mets have made little progress in fixing a glaring need in the outfield that prompted GM Sandy Alderson to famously say, “Outfield? What outfield” last November.

Wile there was a halfhearted attempt made in trading for Justin Upton or signing free agent Michael Bourn, readers here will remember my warnings that neither situation was to be taken very seriously and was simply intended to provide a fan base that is losing interest with some faint hope.

Incidentally, tonight we’ll find out the name of that 11th overall pick that was deemed untouchable during their pursuit of the bonafide leadoff hitter and gold glove center fielder they so desperately needed. While Bourn is batting .301 with a .346 on-base for the Indians this season, while Mets leadoff hitters are batting a combined .219 this season. Leadoff hitter? What leadoff hitter?

Two weeks ago,’s Buster Olney listed the Mets among seven teams that would be a potential suitor for Andre Ethier, if the Dodgers choose to move him this summer.

“If the Dodgers decide to simply bite down and eat a whole bunch of Ethier’s deal,” he writes. “Then the list of potential suitors will grow and the New York Mets should be in the market for major league outfielders.”

Easier said than done. Money isn’t the only thing that has been holding back the Mets, as they’ve yet to show any willingness to use their surplus of your right-handed pitching prospects to shore up a huge organizational need.

According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, rival executives say the Dodgers will need to absorb at least half of Ethier’s contract, or take back an equally bad contract, if they want to find a trade for their outfielder.

As of today, Ethier is owed about $80 million on the five-year deal he signed less than a year ago — mid-June of last year.

2013: $13.5 million
2014: $15.5 million
2015: $18 million
2016: $18 million
2017: $17.5 million
2018: A $2.5 million buyout on a $17.5 million vesting option.

Ethier sounds enticing, but that’s a boatload of money to commit to a player who’s not exactly having a good season and could be in decline.

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Timeline To Contention: What Exactly Is The Strategy? Wed, 15 May 2013 16:50:10 +0000 david wright

Six weeks into a season that stretches over six months may be a tad early to make pronouncements on expected outcomes for this year’s Mets squad, but the indicators of relative strengths and weaknesses have at least given a reasonable hint of what can be looked for going forward. A sub-.500 record with a propensity for generosity by the bullpen and parsimony on the part of the offense hasn’t inspired a great deal of optimism in fans at this point. Not that there were many of us ready to try to make a convincing case for a division crown going into this season, but as always we remain hopeful and ready to be pleasantly surprised.  The unexpected run toward respectability that occurred during the first part of the 2012 campaign might yet re-surface this year as a second half surge, something that would actually be a more hopeful sign of things to come. As we await the inevitable arrival of Zack Wheeler, Travis D’Arnaud, et al later this summer, it seems worthwhile to evaluate yet again how the overall roster might best be shaped.

The twin issues of a porous bullpen and an impotent lineup seem to be continual matters of concern. Of course, were the rotation more consistent at providing quality outings, the bullpen wouldn’t be as overtaxed as it seems to be and perhaps more able to provide adequate support. On the other hand, a bounty of run production would compensate greatly for less than shutdown outings from the relief corps, but lacking even middle-of-the-pack scoring ability since an uncharacteristic eruption to begin the season, we are left to look for the domination of a Harvey start and cross our fingers in-between.

So, unwilling to write the season off entirely at this point, what strategy best serves management’s multiple goals of major league player development, minor league nurturing, and fielding a product respectable enough to generate sufficient revenue from an increasingly impatient fan base?  Do they continue along the current path, waiting for the team as presently comprised to round into shape and begin playing close to what more bullish expectations had envisioned? If so, where does one finally draw the line if that level of performance isn’t forthcoming before a certain time period has elapsed (let’s say, hmmmm…, the All-Star Break)? Or, if more drastic action is deemed appropriate, who is most directly affected by that action?

So many questions, but not that many readily apparent answers. As the roster is made up largely of relative youngsters with potential  and varying track records of success (Ike, Murphy, Tejada, Duda, Niese, Parnell, Gee, Harvey, Valdespin, Turner, Lagares, Carson, Familia), with an added sprinkling of seasoned veterans (Wright, Buck, Hawkins, Atchison, Byrd, Marcum, Lyon), and role players (Baxter, Brown, Rice, Recker, Hefner), the Mets are in a position that seemingly requires that we all bite the bullet and wait out the unavoidable growing pains of a franchise in the middle stages of a rebuild. Sandy Alderson’s statements in regard to the possible fate of Terry Collins indicate that his expectations are more closely focused on development of young talent than on the team’s won/lost record this year, although one would expect an improvement in the latter as an outgrowth of the former.  From an historic viewpoint then, could we conceive of the 2013 season as being analogous to 1983 as a harbinger of good things to come? One of the keys to the transition of that team from bottom dweller to contender and eventual champion was not only the establishment of later rotation stalwarts Ron Darling and Walt Terrell, but the mid-season acquisition of Keith Hernandez as a consistent veteran presence in the lineup and in the clubhouse. These moves were instrumental in the remarkable year-over-year gain of 22 wins for the 1984 squad, though adding in a couple of pitchers by the names of Gooden and Fernandez didn’t hurt, either.

If there is to be a similar advancement over the next season or so for the Citi-dwellers of 2013, we will need to see results with the ostensible rotation strategy in the form of the debut and successful development of at least two starters from the vaunted arsenal of Met hurlers-to-be. Zack Wheeler’s debut now seems fairly imminent, but it would be a stretch to expect the likes of a Montero or Syndergaard much in advance of late 2014. In the meantime, I would expect more in the form of placeholders like Collin McHugh until the more dominant arms are ready. Ultimately, to make the move from mediocrity to the upper echelon of the league will require contributions from the starting staff in the form of multiple 200+ inning seasons from the majority of the rotation. Such was the case in ’84 when Messrs. Gooden, Darling, and Terrell all achieved the feat. As to the questions of if and when the Mets could expect to receive production of that magnitude from the current crop of arms making their way to Flushing, your guess is as good as mine.

It is worth noting that the 1984 squad received significant production from its outfield corps, getting 60 HR’s and 75 SB’s from the starting trio of Foster, Wilson and Strawberry, and topped that off with solid contributions from Hernandez and Hubie Brooks at the infield corners. The deficiencies of the current Mets outfield have been covered ad nauseum at this point so I won’t rehash them, but suffice it to say that an acquisition or two would appear to be absolutely vital going forward for the balance of the strategy to be effective.  The timing of this aspect of roster construction can be highly variable and opportunistic. The key move for the 1983 team was clearly the Hernandez trade, something that came about largely as a result of a personality clash between Keith and Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog. The acquisition of Ray Knight, a major component in the 1986 championship drive, came about as a near-deadline pickup in late August for the 1984 team as they prepared for that season’s stretch run. The off-season blockbuster that brought Gary Carter into the fold ahead of the 1985 campaign was a more “traditional” type of swap, undertaken by GM Frank Cashen as a means putting the final major piece of the puzzle into place.

The lesson here is that opportunities must be taken when they present themselves, lest similar ones fail to present themselves in a timely manner. Many questions have surrounded the Mets’ apparent refusal to include Zack Wheeler in a deal that would have netted stud outfielder Justin Upton, the type of offensive force that the lineup so desperately needs. If Wheeler becomes another Ace alongside Matt Harvey for years to come, the decision to keep him will seem wise or at least reasonable, depending on how the rest of Upton’s career turns out. If he is spun off in a deal that brings Giancarlo Stanton into the fold, most would consider that a fair alternative, to say the least.

In any event, if the strategy of the current Mets’ regime is to bear fruit in the commonly accepted timeline to contention (2015 by the reckoning of most), we should expect to see some important additions to the roster in the relatively near future. Building a winner takes time, but it also needs the right kind of material. Right now, much of that material would seem to be lacking.

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Series Preview: Atlanta Braves Fri, 03 May 2013 21:57:53 +0000

The Braves acquired both Upton brothers this offseason.

The Braves made headlines this offseason with their acquisition of B.J. Upton in November, signing him to a five year deal worth about $75 million. However, just when the offseason was winding down and it appeared the Braves were done, they surprised everyone and acquired B.J.’s brother Justin from the Diamondbacks. The tandem added a boost to the Atlanta offense that they so badly needed, and had some experts picking them to challenge the Nationals for the NL crown.

Thus far, it appears the Braves made the right move, at least with Justin Upton. If the season ended today, he would be the unanimous MVP. Upton is leading the majors with 12 home runs, three more than anyone else. That, to go along with a not-too-shabby .287/.387/.693 has carried the otherwise mediocre Braves offense.

In reality, it has been the pitching that has carried the Atlanta Braves this season. Despite trading Tommy Hanson this winter, the Braves lead baseball in team ERA with an outstanding 3.10 mark coming into today’s action. More specifically, it has been their bullpen, which has been even stronger than last year’s. Craig Kimbrel has continued his dominance, striking out 15 batters in 10.2 innings. Kimbrel and Jordan Walden, who the Braves received in the Tommy Hanson trade, are among five relievers with at least ten innings pitched and an ERA under two. Compare that to the Mets, who have two such pitchers.

This Braves team is good (yes, even better than the Marlins if you can believe it) and will put up a very tough fight, especially in close games. The key for the Mets will be scoring runs off their starting pitching, because  if they trail in the late innings, the odds are stacked against them.

Pitching Matchups

Game 1: Shaun Marcum (5.2 IP, 50 ERA+, 1.33 K/BB) vs. Mike Minor (31.2 IP, 125 ERA+, 5.40 K/BB)

Minor, 25, was selected seventh overall in the 2009 draft by the Braves and quickly rose to stardom in their minor league system. Once he reached the big leagues, he never pitched like the ace some thought he could become. Minor came into the season with a career ERA of 4.37 in 302.2 career innings. This year, however, has been much better for him, at least so far. Over five starts, he has a 3.13 ERA and career-best 1.4 BB/9 rate. He was roughed up for six runs in 6.2 innings against the juggernaut Detroit offense, but had a 1.80 ERA in four starts coming into that outing.

Game 2: Jonathon Niese (32.2 IP, 112 ERA+, 1.31 K/BB) vs. Julio Teheran (28.1 IP, 77 ERA+, 2.50 K/BB)

Teheran has been a highly-regarded prospect since his breakout year in the minors in 2009. He worked his way through the minors fairly quickly, until stalling at Triple-A last season. Coming off a dominant season in Triple-A in 2011, Teheran failed to earn a job out of spring training, and was sent back. Once he was back in the minors, Teheran wasn’t the same pitcher. His 3.0 walks per nine wasn’t terrible, but his 6.7 strikeouts was a career-low. What was most concerning was the 18 home runs he gave up, doubling his previous career-worst of nine. Teheran has a 5.08 ERA in five starts, striking out 20 and walking eight in 28.1 innings.

Game 3: Matt Harvey (40.1 IP, 237 ERA+, 3.83 K/BB) vs. Tim Hudson (35 IP, 101 ERA+, 2.18 K/BB)

Even at age 37, Hudson continues to be the rock of the Atlanta rotation. In 11 of his past 12 seasons, Hudson has posted an ERA below four. This year, he has a 3.86 ERA in 35 innings over six starts. In his last outing, Hudson shut down the Nationals, holding them to one run on three hits in seven innings on only 96 pitches.

Series News & Notes

  • The Mets sent down a struggling Collin Cowgill today in favor of the red-hot Andrew Brown, who has been tearing it up with the Las Vegas 51s. Brown was hitting .367 with a .440 On-Base Percentage and two home runs in 25 games.
  • Jordany Valdespin slugged a three-run pinch-hit home run on Wednesday to give the Mets a 5-4 lead…It was the Mets first pinch-hit home run of the year and the sixth pinch-hit of Valdespin’s brief career…He is tied for second all-time on the club’s pinch-hit home run list.
  • New York has scored three or fewer runs in eight of itslast 12 games and is hitting .202 (89-441) over that span…Overall, the Mets are seventh in the majors scoring 4.85 runs per game.
  • Craig Kimbrel recorded his 98th career save Monday in Atlanta’s 3-2 win over Washington…Kimbrel’s career save percentage of 89.1 (98/110) ranks fi fth all-time among pitchers with at least 100 save opportunities (see chart at right)…According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the quickest anyone has ever reached 100 career saves was Eric Gagne, who did in his 104th opportunity, followed by John Smoltz (107th) and Joakim Soria (112th)…Kimbrel could tie Soria for third all time if he can convert each of his next two opportunities.
  • The Atlanta bullpen’s homerless streak was snapped at 21 games last Friday (April 26) at Detroit when reliever Anthony Varvaro surrendered a three-run shot in the fourth inning…Since the franchise moved to Atlanta (1966), that was the furthest into a season (21 games) that a Braves team has gone without the bullpen allowing a home run.
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Mets vs Braves Game Preview, Lineup: Byrd In CF, Brown In RF, Turner At 1B Fri, 03 May 2013 20:22:23 +0000

Mets Starting Lineup

1. SS: Ruben Tejada
2. 2B: Daniel Murphy
3. 3B: David Wright
4. C: John Buck
5. 1B: Justin Turner
6. LF: Lucas Duda
7. CF: Marlon Byrd
8. RF: Andrew Brown
9. SP: Shaun Marcum

Game Notes

Collin Cowgill was demoted to Triple-A Las Vegas to clear the roster spot for the promotion of fellow outfielder Andrew Brown. Cowgill, 26, hit .157 (8-for-51) with two homers and eight RBIs with the Mets and was hitless in his final 13 at-bats.

Andrew Brown, 28, is now with the team after a solid month in Las vegas where he hit .367 (36-for-98) with two homers and 27 RBIs in 25 games with the 51s. Brown had an 11-game hitting streak and was leading the Pacific Coast League with 13 doubles.

Pedro Feliciano is nearing a return to the Mets bullpen. Last night in Ft. Myers, he allowed a walk and a hit in a scoreless inning of relief in St. Lucie’s 3-2 loss to the Miracle. Feliciano has allowed three hits and two walks, with four strikeouts, in four innings of work over four games with Advanced-A St. Lucie.

Game Preview

It’s May and the Mets will finally meet the Braves for the first time in 2013. The Mets are fresh off of a win in Miami where they snapped a 6 game losing streak thanks to some offense and a bullpen that didn’t completely implode. The Mets will also be joined up with Andrew Brown who is hitting well in Vegas and could fill in at the OF and occasionally at first base. Anyway, tonight’s game features Shaun Marcum pitted against Mike Minor.

Marcum had a rocky start in his 2013 debut allowing 3 ER in 4.0 innings of work (right before the bullpen just fell apart). Then, the baseball gods decided to turn on Shaun as 1.2 innings against the Marlins and would give up the winning run in the 15th inning. And just like that, 5.2 innings into the season, he is 0-2. He pitched one game against Atlanta last year and he allowed only 3 hits and 2 runs over 7 innings of work. He will be facing a much different Atlanta lineup that now boasts BJ Upton (although currently struggling) and Justin Upton (who is hitting the ball way out of the park). The Braves have the following numbers on Marcum:

BJ Upton 6-21, 2 2B
Johnson 1-12
Schafer 3-9, 2B
Uggla 1-8
Justin Upton 2-8
Freeman 1-5

The Mets bats hope to replicate their last game and not their previous 6 before that tonight against Mike Minor who is 2-2 on the season over 31.2 innings and 5 starts with a 3.13 ERA. He has went from spectacular, allowing 2 runs over his first 19 innings to not so good allowing 9 ER over 12.2 innings (with his last start being the real dagger at 6.2 IP, 6 ER). In two starts against the Mets last year he allowed 9 hits and 6 ER over 11.0 innings. The Mets have the following numbers against him:

Wright 2-11, 2 2B
Tejada 4-13, 2B
Buck 0-8, 3 BB
Turner 3-7
Byrd 4-8, 2B
Duda 3-8, 2B
Davis 0-4, 3 K
Murphy 2-5, 2 2B
Gee 2-2 (I know he’s a starter and he’s not starting tonight but whatever sorry not sorry)

Let’s Go Mets!

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NL East Report: Stanton Hurt, Maholm’s Scoreless Streak, Halladay Rebounds Wed, 17 Apr 2013 14:00:03 +0000 KEEP YOUR ENEMIES CLOSER!


Team News and Notes

Atlanta Braves (12-1)

The Braves continue to plow over any team in their way, as they are thoroughly dominating their opponents and remain in first place in the NL East. The Braves tomahawked the reigning NL East champs in Washington this past weekend, with a clean sweep of their three game series, while outscoring them to the tune of 18-4. Justin Upton continues to lead the club in many of the major offensive categories, batting .340/.404/.900 with eight homers, 12 RBI, and 13 runs scored. On the mound, Paul Maholm has surprised everyone with his incredible start to the season, as he now has run his scoreless streak to 20.1 innings with a record of 3-0. Atlanta was 7-0 this past week, and is currently riding a 10-game winning streak. .

Washington Nationals (8-6)

With a team of budding young stars, such as Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmerman usually flies under the radar. So far Zimmerman has been the Nats best pitcher, with a record of 3-0, a 2.45 ERA, and one complete game. Rafael Soriano may be a lock for 40 saves this year, as he already has nailed down five just two weeks into the season. Jayson Werth is hot to start the year batting .309/.333/.491 with three home runs and eight RBI. Harper holds the team lead in home runs with five.

Philadelphia Phillies (6-7)

Roy Halladay rebounded from two awful outings to start the year, and tossed eight innings of one-run ball in Sunday’s 2-1 win over the Marlins. It was a step in the right direction, but it was still the Marlins, and they did not have Giancarlo Stanton in the lineup. Cliff Lee stayed hot to start to the year holding a current ERA of 1.52 through three starts. Cole Hamels fared much better in his third start, going six innings and giving up just one earned run. On offense, Chase Utley is batting .294/.339/.588 as he continues his resurgence. He leads the Phillies in home runs with three and RBI with 12.

Miami Marlins (3-11)

Marlins young prodigy Jose Fernandez remains the lone bright spot in an otherwise dismal start the 2013 season. Fernandez followed up his five inning nine strikeout debut with a six scoreless innings in his second outing, and currently owns a 0.82 ERA. The Marlins offense has sputtered to begin the season, and to date, only have two home runs as a team. The injury to Giancarlo Stanton‘s left shoulder has kept him out of the lineup since last Wednesday, although batting .167/.342/.233 before the injury wasn’t helping matters much.

Injury Report

Nationals: Wilson Ramos landed on the DL on April 14 due to a let hamstring strain. He is expected to return when he is eligible to come off at the end of the month. Reliever Christian Garcia is on the DL with partial tear in his forearm tendon.

Braves: Brian McCann (offseason shoulder surgery) was supposed to begin catching in extended spring training games on Wednesday or Thursday, and possibly start a rehab stint next week. However, the veteran backstop felt some tenderness in his wrist and will now be having an MRI instead. Jonny Venters (elbow) remains shut down for four weeks as of April 2, and may be out for the first two months. Brandon Beachy (Tommy John surgery) is still recovering and could return by midseason. Freddie Freeman who was placed on the DL with a strained oblique on April 7, recently took pain free 30 swings and could possibly be due back when he is eligible.

Phillies: Delmon Young (ankle) is progressing nicely and may be able to start a rehab stint as early as next week. His May return remains on target.

Marlins: Giancarlo Stanton has been out since last Wednesday because of a left shoulder contusion. An MRI showed no structural damage, but he is still feeling discomfort, and remains day-to-day and will test his shoulder on Tuesday. Casey Kotchman was placed on the DL, retroactive to April 4, with a strained hamstring. Logan Morrison is currently on the 60-day DL, as he recovers from a torn patella tendon that required surgery last September. Henderson Alvarez and Nathan Eovaldi are both on the DL with right shoulder inflammation. Alvarez threw a 15-pitch bullpen session on April 13, and could return by early May, while Eovaldi remains out indefinitely.

Upcoming Schedules (4/8-4/14) 

Nationals: (@MIA, 4/6-4/17), (@NYM, 4/19-4/21)

Braves: (KC, 4/16-4/117), (@PIT, 4/18-4/21)

Phillies: (@CIN, 4/15-4/17), (STL, 4/18-4/21)

Marlins: (WSH, 4/16-4-17) (@CIN, 4/18-4/21)


Carlos Ruiz: The Phillies backstop has 12 games remaining to serve his 25-game suspension.

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2013 MLB Preview: National League West Wed, 27 Mar 2013 21:26:10 +0000 buster - posey

NL West At A Glance

Arizona Diamondbacks: The D’Backs made tough decisions this off-season  They decided to build their roster based on their team concept, and not based on just overall talent. Some think Justin Upton was the move that proved their concept, but I think it was sending Trevor Bauer to Cleveland. Kevin Towers and Kirk Gibson have an idea of what they want this team to look and act like, and they apparently did not fit that mold. Miguel Montero is one of the best and most underrated players in the sport, and he’s surrounded by a lot more underrated talents. Martin Prado, Aaron Hill and Paul Goldschmidt are all players you never talk about but should. One thing that hurts though, rookie Adam Eaton who excelled in twenty games last year was supposed to be their starting CF this year is now out for about 8 weeks with a strained UCL. Their rotation is young but talented. They are lead by Ian Kennedy and Wade Miley but also have Brandon McCarthy and Randall Delgado whom they acquired in the Upton deal. I am really curious to see what Heath Bell does for this team. If he can revive his career then he and J.J. Putz could be a lights out combination.

San Francisco Giants: The Giants are your defending champions, and just like in 2011, I’m predicting they will finish second in the NL West following their title. The Giants didn’t really improve on anything, and sure the reply “they won it all,” is valid, it can still be argued they needed to improve. Offensively they are very weak, and unless Tim Lincecum returns to Cy Young form, this team cannot boast a dominating staff that will offset the lack of run support. I will believe the 2012 Angel Pagan was the real thing, when and if I see it in 2013. Buster Posey, and Pablo Sandoval provide the run support for the champs, and while I’d love to have them both on most teams, I don’t think they can carry an offense. The Giants chose to not offer Lincecum a longterm deal for a reason, and I think we started to see why last year. Madison Bumgarner and Cain are the real deal, but if Vogelsong, Lincecum and Zito struggle as I expect – there will be a repeat for San Francisco, just not the one they were hoping for.

San Diego Padres: The Pads were one of the best second half teams in 2012. Manager Bud Black seems to be getting the most out of his young roster, and I expect it to get a little better in 2013. First baseman Yonder Alonso needs to turn the corner though and become the complimentary corner player to Chase Headley. Speaking of Headley, is he the real deal after an MVP caliber season or was it a fluke? The Padres are just joining the masses who decided their park is “too” pitching friendly. So how will that help or hurt this team? Only time will tell, but I like their under the radar roster and I think they can squeak by in the NL West to get to third place.

Los Angeles Dodgers: The Dodgers are the sexy pick in this division, which is exactly why I’m predicting them 4th. They went out and grabbed Zack Greinke and Korean free agent Hyun-Jin Ryu to solidify their rotation. During the 2012 season, they also added Hanley Ramirez (now out for 8 weeks), Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett. A-Gone is a superstar, and if he can take the reins and keep players like Beckett and Ramirez in check, things might be better than I expect. To take it a step further, if Matt Kemp and Adrian Gonzalez stay healthy and they along with Clayton Kershaw can be the faces of this franchise and overshadow any issues – this team will be dangerous. I think the talent is there and I’d be a fool to deny it. However, I can just picture this blowing up in their faces like we’ve seen so many times. The end result will be Don Mattingly without a job. Regardless, there are not many better things in sports than turning on a Dodgers game and listening to the poetic methods of Vin Scully.

Colorado Rockies: The Rockies are starting to look more and more like the mid 2000’s Rockies that couldn’t put together a team and had a terrible rotation year after year. This year’s biggest question marks will be based on what they get in a trade for Carlos Gonzalez and whether or not Troy Tulowitzki can return as an MVP candidate. Their best pitcher is coming off Tommy John Surgery (De La Rosa), and I can’t pencil him in as a guarantee just yet. Coors Field effect is less of a big deal than it used to be, but they can’t compete in the NL West with this pitching staff.

Projected Standings

XtreemIcon: Giants, Dodgers, D-Backs, Padres, Rockies
Jessep: D-Backs, Giants, Padres, Dodgers, Rockies
Joe D: Giants, Dodgers, D-Backs, Padres, Rockies

Top Sleeper

XtreemIcon: Josh Rutledge, Colorado
Jessep: Gerrardo Parra, Arizona
Joe D: Tyler Colvin, Colorado

Top Rookie

XtreemIcon: Tyler Skaggs, Arizona
Jessep: Adam Eaton, Arizona
Joe D: Tyler Skaggs, Arizona

Top Pitcher

XtreemIcon: Matt Cain, San Francisco
Jessep: Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles
Joe D: Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco

Top Hitter

XtreemIcon: Matt Kemp, Los Angeles
Jessep: Chase Headley, San Diego
Joe D: Matt Kemp, Los Angeles

Next up will be the NL Central.


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MMO Mailbag: Twins Willing To Trade? Fri, 21 Dec 2012 16:00:25 +0000 With the Mets still on the hunt for an outfield, we received the following e-mail from Phil:

I can’t believe the Mets haven’t traded for Josh Willingham yet. After some injury issues he averaged .253/.350/.501 with 64 HRs the last two years. At worst, he’s slightly better defensively than Duda. I kept hearing the Twins would be looking for a #4 or 5 pitcher in return. Isn’t two years of Willingham worth a Dillon Gee? Or Familia + a mid-level arm? The Twins won 66 games last year so I doubt they’re too attached to a 33-year-old LF earning $14 mil through 2014. In Queens he’d ALMOST legitimize the Mets lineup. Should the Mets be as interested as I am?

First, I really like Willingham from the days he played in Florida. He’s not a spectacular player, just solid and consistent. Back in July, I even suggested that the Mets check in on Willingham. The problem there was they still had Jason Bay under contract.josh2

Willingham turns 34 this February, and will be making $7m in 2013 and 2014. Despite his age concerns, he had a pretty solid 2012 season. Target Field isn’t exactly known for being homerun friendly, yet he managed to hit 21 HR at home (35 in total).

The problem as I see it is you’re still stuck with figuring out what to do with Lucas Duda. I think we saw enough to know that Duda is not a right fielder, the problem is, neither is Willingham. Willingham is a below average fielder and came up as a 3B with Florida. He was moved to LF for a few reasons, none of them were because he’d be a good outfielder. Including the minor leagues, Willingham has played RF 39 times.

Now, I want to be clear. I think he’s a better hitter than Duda. However, I am not sure how much of a drastic difference he can bring the Mets in 2013 and 2014 compared to Duda. I say this because I don’t think you can put Duda and Willingham in the same outfield.

When the Phillies acquired Revere from Minnesota’s Jim Salisbury reported that the Phillies also tried to get Willingham in the deal but Minnesota wouldn’t make the move. So if a team desperate to win a championship in 2013 couldn’t get the right price for Willingham, what does that say about the Mets chances? That tells me that Minnesota isn’t looking to deal him right now.

The problem for the Mets with regards to the outfield is that next year’s free agent class is not too attractive. I like Hunter Pence, but is he the answer? I like Ellsbury, but he doesn’t solve the power needs in the lineup.

I’m not excited at all about the thought of possibly signing Scott Hairston to be an every day player. I think his numbers from last year prove he performed much better when he was not a starter. So if a free agent like Cody Ross is not brought to Citi Field, then I think the Mets need to look at 3 right fielders in the trade market.

Alex Rios – The right handed hitting White Sox outfielder is making $12.5m for the next two seasons with a 2015 team option. In 2012 he hit .304 with 25 HR, 91 RBI, and a .850 OPS. The problem with Rios is that he seems to go to the school of Mike Pelfrey when it comes to consistency. What I mean by that is, he has one very good year, followed by a stinker. 2012 good, 2011 stinker, 2010 good, 2009 stinker. He doesn’t play an amazing RF, but he plays an average RF.

Michael Cuddyer – Another right handed bat, Cuddyer is signed for $10.5m in 2013 and 2014. Cuddyer brings a little bit of versatility in the field. He’s by no means a good fielder, I’d say slightly below average. What he does do though is give the Mets an opportunity to play him at 1B on occasion or even at 2B or 3B if necessary. Cuddyer battled through injuries in the 2nd half of 2012. Most of his trouble stemmed from a strained oblique.

Justin Upton – I’ve been on the record more than a few time saying I am concerned that Upton’s offensive production is more a product of his friendly park than his own talent. His numbers since 2011 back me up. Or do they? 2011 was the first year that Upton’s name was seriously thrown out on the public trade market. 2011 was also the year the Arizona fans began to boo their starting RF. There have been claims that at times those boos turned into racial taunts – very inexcusable  However, I doubt every night he got booed there was racial overtones involved. So his reaction by saying he “doesn’t care” what the fans think really concerns me when you talk about playing for the Mets.

For my money though, Upton is the best bet based on the market and availability of corner OFs. I think you’d pay a similar price for somebody like Rios based on Chicago’s season expectations, so why not bump the offer up a bit and go for the bigger reward? Perhaps a change of scenery and playing with a childhood friend can help Upton reach his potential? Offering something like Flores, Havens, Familia and even Den Dekker perhaps? I’m not sure if that gets it done? I will say one thing, if this were to happen (and I don’t think it will) you’ll see a drastic change of tone from a lot of Mets fans when talking about the future of this ball club.

Moving Forward – The Mets are stuck in the outfield right now. This is why you’re going to see stories about the Mets kicking the tires on somebody like Grady Sizemore. The corner OF spots were once thought to be an easy find, but if you look around both the Mets, Phillies and even the Yankees are stuck with little to no power in the corner. Figuring this out will be a truly big task for the Mets over the next year.

I’m not sure what the answer is right now, but I am pretty sure it’s not trading for Willingham which would give the Mets two poor fielding left fielders – with one of them forced to play RF.

Thanks for the e-mail Phil, and keep em coming!

mmo mailbag

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Do The Mets Have What It Takes To Get Justin Upton? Thu, 15 Nov 2012 18:00:55 +0000

How would Upton look as a Met?

In the wake of Tuesday’s blockbuster deal between the Miami Marlins and Toronto Blue Jays, I think it is only fair that the Mets make a blockbuster trade of their own. Justin Upton is still available, and despite the lack of rumors linking the Mets and D’backs in trade discussions, my hope is that GM Sandy Alderson has at least inquired about the young right fielder. A talent like Upton NEVER becomes available at such a young age, 25. Making him even more attractive is that he’s under team control through the 2015 season. Upton will make just a shade under $10 million in 2013, and just under $15 million in both 2014 and 2015.

D’Backs GM Kevin Towers is in search of an infielder for the left side. I know this has been debated and discussed at nauseam, but do the Mets have what it takes?

Why couldn’t we give them a call and offer a package that started with Ruben Tejada and Jon Niese? Some people feel as though offering Niese and Tejada might be too much. Tejada is on his way to becoming and good Major League player, same for Niese. But Upton is a star on the verge of becoming a superstar. There is a big difference.

I would also consider offering Wilmer Flores and Daniel Murphy. They have both played third and second base, and could help out on the left side of the infield, as well as give Arizona some added offensive productivity. The Mets are not yet able to offer Gavin Cecchini, but he might be able to be added as a player to be named later.

Murphy can play first, second and third. Flores has played second and third, and Niese would give them a very young and solid middle of the rotation starter, and a lefty at that. Tejada seems to be the one guy fans don’t really want to part with. It’s hard to find a quality shortstop, but it’s even harder to find a supreme talent who is available at such a young age. Sandy should not let Tejada be the reason why we miss out on a potential superstar like Upton.

Signing Dickey to an extension should not be the the number two priority this offseason, behind locking up David Wright. The number two priority should be finding a way to have Justin Upton starting in right field on Opening Day in 2013.

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The Armchair GM: Is Justin Upton Worth A Look? Mon, 13 Aug 2012 21:43:00 +0000

How would Upton look as a Met?

The trade deadline came and went without Arizona moving their best player who is still a couple of weeks shy of 25 years old. That shouldn’t surprise anyone. But the real surprise is that a player like Justin Upton was actually available. Upton went number one overall back in the unreal 2005 draft, ahead of Ryan Zimmerman, MVP Ryan Braun, Troy Tulowitzki, likely MVP Andrew McCutchen, Jay Bruce and Jacoby Ellsbury. By the way, those last three players were taken after the Mets drafted Mike Pelfrey. But at least the Mets have a shot to make up for that now.

Upton came up at 19 and took a couple years to start producing. Trout and Harper didn’t set the world on fire in their first seasons either. But once he did he became a top asset in baseball. Starting from his breakout 2009 to this season Upton’s OPS has been: .899 , .799, .898, .765. Obviously this is a special talent, but he’s also still putting it together. However he’s also signed until 2015, so he has time to work with coaches and figure it out before he cashes in on a big free agency pay day. For his career he hasn’t hit as well away as he has at home, but his OBP is always high. So yeah he will hit better in Chase Field, who doesn’t? I’ll still take a guy who hits .275 if he can still produce a .850+ OPS. And he’s a power/speed guy. Guys like that are perfect in CitiField. Upton also has the power to clear the Citi fences. If you look at this chart here, you’ll see Upton’s homers clear Citi’s dimensions.

What’s another great selling point is that Justin, and his brother B.J., are friends with David Wright. They grew up playing AAU ball together. Imagine a 2013 lineup that features both Upton brothers and Wright. A group of friends playing ball every day, keeping each other in check, and providing the Mets with some star power. B.J. is a free agent and always has had untapped potential, the lights of Broadway could bring the best out of him. And even if it’s only Justin the Mets go for, Wright finally gets some protection behind him again.

The best part is the Diamondbacks reportedly aren’t looking for prospects, they want players that can contribute now. So the Mets can hold onto Wheeler/Harvey and be able to make a deal for Upton. Justin isn’t having that great of a year, but he’s been hot lately going .283/.391/.435 the last 30 days. Sometimes you just have a bad start or a bad year.

Verdict: Players of Upton’s caliber don’t come around too many trade blocks. Make a deal for Upton that allows you to hold onto Wheeler/Harvey, send along Duda/Flores plus other pieces that are ready to help Arizona compete. Work with him and watch Upton blossom into that stud player everyone expected him to be. By not surrendering tons of key prospects you can take a shot here and not set your franchise back. And by taking this shot here you have a chance to land a 20/20 threat and a positive future for the franchise.

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