Mets Merized Online » Major League Sun, 01 Feb 2015 12:00:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Rockies Won’t Move Key Pieces Fri, 03 Oct 2014 09:00:51 +0000 Carlos+Gonzalez+Troy+Tulowitzki+San+Francisco+rUY3TpSfSyelAccording Bill Geivett, the Rockies senior vice president of Major League operations, the team likes what they have and won’t look to make major changes in the offseason. In a report filed by Thomas Harding of, the Rockies will be bringing back the majority of their front office personal and think they have the necessary players to win if everyone is healthy.

“We like the team that we have. When the majority of them are out there, we feel good about our chances. At the same time, we look at next year and we know our pitching staff, we need to improve, and we need to be able to score runs on the road.”

Speaking specifically about Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez, two players the Mets could have targeted in a trade this offseason, the party line seems clear. Geivett said that ”If we’re going to win, they’re going to need to be part of it, too.” Given the talent level of those two players you can understand why.

Tulowitzki finished the season with a slash line of .340/.432/.603 and a 1.035 OPS. He did miss the final two-and-a-half months with a torn labrum. Trips to the DL are par for the course for these two sluggers. Gonzalez didn’t have nearly the season Tulowitzki had. He played in just 70 games, hitting .238/.292/.431 with a .723 OPS. The price tag for Gonzalez could have been quite low if they had decided to shop him around.

A big miss for the Rockies this past season was their starting pitching which ranked dead last in ERA (4.84) and second worst in both batting average against (.276) and strikeouts (1,074). This is obviously an area the Mets are strong in and a trade could have benefited both sides. It doesn’t appear that this will be the case as the Rockies move forward with their pair of sluggers.

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Di-JEST: Mets Float Opt-Out of All-Star Game Plan Tue, 02 Sep 2014 16:57:47 +0000 721_-mlb_all-star_game-primary-2013Let’s face it fellow Mets fans, there was one brief moment this year when the team looked ‘not awful’ and almost promising. And that time came just a week and a half before the mid season classic, the annual Major League Baseball All-Star Game.

As usual the Mets landed one pity player on the team because – well you know – every team HAS to be represented.  And with David Wright being a shell of himself and Matt Harvey making all his headlines off the field there was just about no one else to tab for the honor.

Meanwhile we true blue baseball fans could watch the Home Run Derby on Monday (I for one have stopped bothering to watch that particular commercial-fest), the actual game on Tuesday, and then nothingness for the next couple of days.

The Mets came into the break looking sort of like a baseball team. They came out of it looking like the team they are, the Mets. It’s been a pure nosedive since then. Curtis Granderson has been hitting like Ruben Tejada since the AS Break and I think that says it all.

all star gameSo clearly this All-Star break is just not working out for the Metropolitans.

Willing at this point to try anything, the Mets have submitted a plan to Commissioner-elect Manfred asking permission to opt out of the All-Star game entirely in future years.

The proposal includes other teams opting out as well. The Monday of All-Star week, as well as the Wednesday and Thursday, would have these teams meet in a split 3 game series. Each team will forfeit the opportunity to send a player to the All Star Game, big whoop.

Meanwhile MLB network or ESPN can air any or all of these games so that the nation’s baseball fans will get to see some version of Major League baseball during the break. Given the conservative nature of baseball one would expect that the new commissioner will reject this proposal out of hand. But it’s worth a try.

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Will The Real New York Mets Please Stand Up Mon, 21 Jul 2014 15:00:32 +0000 curtis granderson jacob degrom

Flashback to July 13th, 2014. The Mets have just defeated the Miami Marlins 9-1, with an outstanding pitching performance from Jacob deGrom. This win was important, because it completed the sweep of one of our division rivals, as well as placing us in third place in the National League Eastern division, and only seven games out of first place with a 45-50 record.

Now, that may seem very underwhelming, and many fans would even scoff at the suggestion that the Mets were still in the thick of it, maybe adding something along the lines of “Keep on dreaming, kid.”

From a very young age, my entire life as a Mets fan has consisted of dreaming. Dreaming of what could have been, and dreaming of a future when the Mets would one day dominate the league.

From the very beginning of my Mets journey, the slogan “You gotta believe!” has been so ingrained in my mind.

After a homestand that saw the Mets go 8-2, and taking six out of seven from division rivals leading into the All-Star break, the whole vibe of the team had changed. The Mets were waving their towels, and scoring runs, and playing like a real Major League team for the first time in what seems like an eternity.

The starting pitching has been good all year. The bullpen has worked out its kinks. The hitters were actually hitting… “Hey, maybe this team isn’t so bad after all. You gotta believe!” I thought to myself.

However, I still had this troubling little thought in the back of my head, as Daniel Murphy headed off to Minnesota and the rest of the team returned to their homes for a short four-day break, “Oh no. Not the All-Star break.”

Now if you’re a Mets fan, you very well know that over the last several years, the second half of the season is usually when things go downhill and terribly wrong for the Amazin’s.

For example, after going 48-40 heading into the All-Star break in 2010, the Mets fell apart and ended up finishing the season with a 79-83 record, going 11-43 the rest of the way.

Then 2011 saw the Mets heading into the All-Star break at 46-45. They would go 31-40 in the second half, finishing with a 77-85 record, good for fourth place in the East.

2012 wouldn’t be much different, as the Mets went into the All-Star break with a 46-40 record. They would finish with a 74-88 record.

Could this weekend be the start of another one of those dreaded second-half swoons? Even with the Mets finishing with a bang in the first half and meshing so well together… And even though they were playing  winning baseball, if only for a couple of weeks, and being as fun and exciting to watch as they have been in a long time, are we in store for some all too familiar second half heartbreak?

The Mets got off on the right foot in the first game back, as Travis d’Arnaud picked up right where he left off, hitting the ball hard all game and being the difference maker in the team’s defeat of the Padres. to open the weekend series. A brief sigh of relief.

However, we would go on to lose the next two games, score a grand total of one run over the span of eighteen innings, and almost got no-hit along the way. The exciting Mets we were just starting to get used to, were suddenly showing shades of their old ways. Even some of their most optimistic fans were veering back into depression-mode after their dismal offensive and defensive performances on Saturday and Sunday.

Was the lackluster team we saw for the first 80 games of this season the real New York Mets? Or were the real Mets that confident and exciting team we saw during the last homestand?

It begs the question: Will the real New York Mets please stand up?

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Julio Franco Says Playing For Mets Was Worst Decision Of His Life Wed, 16 Jul 2014 18:59:51 +0000 julio dfranco

Julio Franco had some harsh words about his time with the Mets in an exclusive interview with Vice Sports.

“When I think about New York, the biggest mistake in my life was playing for the Mets,” said Franco.

Bobby Cox knew how to use me. I went to New York and sometimes I’d spend a month on the bench without getting an at-bat.”

“At my age, you bring me in the ninth inning and think I’m going to drive in the winning run? And you were sitting me on the bench for 20 days, 15 days, 30 games without an at-bat? It’s not gonna happen.”

Franco struggled with the Mets in 2007, batting just .200 in 50 at-bats. He was eventually released in July after complaining about his lack of playing time.

At age 55, the former Met is attempting a return to baseball with the Fort Worth Cats of the independent United League as a player/manager.

The three-time All Star holds many major league records including being the oldest player (47) ever to hit a grand slam, the oldest position player in MLB history (48), the oldest player in Major League history to hit a home run (48), and he was the last major league player to wear a batting helmet with no ear flaps.

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MMO Game Recap: Cardinals 6, Mets 2 Tue, 17 Jun 2014 03:14:46 +0000 jacob degrom

The New York Mets (31-39) faced the St. Louis Cardinals (38-32) tonight for Monday Night Baseball at Busch Stadium. Mets’ rookie Jacob deGrom (0-4) squared off against Cardinals righty Carlos Martinez (0-3) who was starting in place of St. Louis’ ace Adam Wainwright.

What you should know:

DeGrom, in the worst outing of his short Major League career was lit up, lasting only 4.1 innings, allowing six runs, twelve hits and walking two. The Mets bullpen was good tonight, however, as Dana Eveland, Gonzalez Germen and Josh Edgin combined to pitch 3.2 scoreless innings.

Carlos Martinez would pitch four innings for St. Louis, allowing one run and two hits while walking four. He was replaced to start the fifth by reliever Nick Greenwood, who was impressive, pitching 3.1 innings, walking one and striking out three in his Major League debut.

The Cardinals got off to an early lead in the bottom of the first inning, with Allen Craig singling to score Matt Holliday.

The Mets would answer back in the third to tie the game with Ruben Tejada scoring on a sacrifice fly by Curtis Granderson, but it wouldn’t stay tied for long, because St. Louis would score in the bottom half of the inning, with Matt Adams driving in Jon Jay.

It would remain 2-1 Cardinals until the bottom of the fifth inning, when St. Louis scored four runs, ending deGrom’s day.

The Mets would score in the top of the eighth inning to make it 6-2 St. Louis, with Chris Young driving in Daniel Murphy, however, the rally would be killed with Lucas Duda striking out, and Matt den Dekker grounding out to to short.

Seth Maness would shut the door in the top of the ninth with a 1,2,3 inning.

Additional notes:

> The Mets offense was barren again tonight, only managing five hits off of four Cardinals pitchers.

Eric Young, Jr. would go 1-4 in his return from the DL

> Curtis Granderson walked and drove in one of the two Mets runs, and is looking better and better each game.

> Jacob deGrom had a rough outing, but the Mets’ bullpen was solid again, allowing zero runs.

> The Mets have lost 13 out of their last 17 games. (sigh)

Final score: Cardinals 6, Mets 2
Winning pitcher: Nick Greenwood (1-0)
Losing pitcher: Jacob deGrom (0-4)

On deck: The Mets look to even the series tomorrow night at Busch Stadium with Jonathon Niese (3-3) facing off against Michael Wacha (4-5).

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Mets Select Outfielder Michael Conforto Fri, 06 Jun 2014 00:13:24 +0000 Michael-Conforto

The Mets have selected Oregon State OF Michael Conforto with the 10th overall pick in MLB draft.

That wraps up the evening for the Mets as they forfeited the second round pick to sign Curtis Granderson.

Conforto, a 6’2″ and 217 pound outfielder, is considered a good power prospect with a great approach.

Through 43 games this season the left-handed hitting Conforto is batting .351 with seven home runs, 18 doubles a .557 slugging percentage and a .508 OBP representative of his 55 walks.

During his college career, he hit .341 with a .463 OBP, 43 doubles and 31 home runs in 179 games.

Here’s what Baseball America had to say about the player and the pick:

The Mets feel like they’re about to turn the corner in the big leagues and are well stocked with young pitching, so they would like a college bat who could move through the system quickly. Turner would be tempting if he’s available, but Conforto is the consensus best college hitter and has the polished approach the team is looking for.

The Mets greeted Conforto, a two time Pac-12 Player of the Year, on Twitter:

6:00 PM

MMO’s Clayton Collier has arrived and discovered a surprise guest in Mike Piazza who will join Frank Viola.

5:00 PM

The MLB First Year Player Draft begins tonight at 7:00 PM EST, when the first two rounds of the draft will be conducted.

The New York Mets have the 10th pick in the first round, but forfeited their second round pick when they signed free agent Curtis Granderson to a four-year, $60 million dollar deal during the last offseason.

The draft resumes on Friday at 1:00 PM EST, beginning with the 3rd round and ending with the 10th, and finally concludes on Saturday when they wrap up rounds 11-40 beginning at 1:00 PM EST.

2014 Draft Schedule

Thursday – Live Draft (Round 1, Comp. A, Round 2, Comp. B) on MLB Network and

Friday – Live Draft (Rounds 3-10) on

Saturday – Live Draft (Rounds 11-40) on

Mets Draft Information

Paul DePodesta has stressed more than a few times, that they don’t go into the draft with a mindset of taking either high school or college players. Each draft is different and their focus is on taking the best players available regardless of their age. They also look at each draft through the prism of a 4-year outlook down the road.

Draft Bonus Spending Pool

The Mets have $5,308,300 to spend which ranks 22nd among all other teams. In other words, 21 other teams will have more to spend than the Mets. If the Mets exceed their spending allotment, penalties come into play.


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MMO Game Recap: Mets 5, Phillies 4 (14 Innings) Sun, 01 Jun 2014 01:27:31 +0000 ruben tejada

The Mets (26-29) beat the Phillies (24-29) by a score of 5-4 in 14 innings at Citizens Bank Park.

Jacob deGrom took the ball for New York and was once again solid, striking out 11 in 6.1 innings, giving up 3 runs on 3 hits and 2 walks (with all of the damage coming on a 3-run homer by Ryan Howard). deGrom, however, failed to pick up his first Major League win.

According to historical sources, the Mets jumped on Kyle Kendrick in the 1st inning, scoring 2 runs. Chris Young led off the game with a single and Daniel Murphy followed him with a hit of his own. David Wright was robbed for the 2nd game in a row by a diving Marlon Byrd, and when Curtis Granderson hit one right at Ben Revere in center, it looked like the Mets were on their way to a few more tallies in the LOB column. However, a Bobby Abreu single and a Lucas Duda double gave New York the 1st 2 runs of the afternoon.

The Mets struck again in the top of the 4th, when Ruben Tejada (yes, THAT Ruben Tejada) hit a home run. Thank you, CBP.

deGrom retired the 1st 11 hitters he faced before Chase Utley knocked a single into right field for Philadelphia’s first hit of the ballgame. deGrom got some help in the bottom of the 5th, when Dom Brown was deemed out at 2nd base to end the inning after video review overturned the original call.

Tejada drove in another run in the top of the 6th, singling to left field to bring home Abreu and make it 4-0 Mets.

The Phillies got back into the ballgame in the bottom of the 7th. Jimmy Rollins singled and Utley walked to lead off the inning, and Ryan Howard made deGrom pay for a hanging slider by taking him deep to cut New York’s lead to 1. deGrom bounced back to strike out Byrd before being pulled for Josh Edgin. Edgin retired Brown before immediately being pulled for Daisuke Matsuzaka, who had to work around a Daniel Murphy error to get out of the inning unscathed.

Matsuzaka ran into trouble in the 8th, when Ben Revere hit a one-out triple to put the tying run on 3rd for Philadelphia. Rollins hit a ball out to second which Murphy knocked down before recovering and looking towards the plate. Revere, for some reason, chose not to get on his horse, and with the tying run holding at third, Murphy threw out Rollins at 1st for a huge 2nd out. Terry Collins brought in Scott Rice to get the final out, and the frequently-used lefty pitched around Chase Utley before striking out Ryan Howard to end the inning.

Jeurys Familia came in to close things out for the Mets in the bottom of the 9th, but after a leadoff double by Byrd, Brown singled through the hole into left field to tie the game and erase deGrom’s shot at his first win. Familia got the Mets out of the inning alive, and the 2 teams headed to extras.

Familia threw himself back into the frying pan in the bottom of the 10th, allowing a leadoff hit and a stolen base to Revere, and then walking Rollins. Familia got Utley to pop out, and then got Howard to hit what seemed to be a tailor-made double-play ball out to Murphy. Murphy, however, decided to try to tag Rollins instead of throwing to 2nd for the force, and as a result, was only able to get 1 out. With the winning run on 3rd and 2 outs, Marlon Byrd stepped to the plate with a chance to win it for Philadelphia, but with 2 strikes, Familia got the former Met to chase a breaking ball in the dirt to retire the side.

Philadelphia’s Jeff Manship and New York’s Buddy Carlyle (who had been called up from Vegas earlier in the day at Rafael Montero‘s expense) got through the next couple innings without much drama before Buddy ran into some trouble in the 13th. Carlyle gave up a leadoff hit to Byrd and walked Howard, before getting Brown to hit into a double-play. With Byrd at 3rd and 2 outs, Manship came to the plate, looking to get the winning hit after 4 perfect innings of relief. Manship hit a chopper to Tejada that looked like it might win the game, but capsized on his way to first, pulling up lame while trying to beat out a bang-bang play and helping the Mets get out of the jam.

Antonio Bastardo came in to replace Manship and issued a leadoff walk to Tejada, who moved to 2nd on a pinch-hit sacrifice bunt from Juan Lagares, who had been scratched from the lineup before the game with a ribcage injury. Bastardo walked Chris Young intentionally for some reason, and after Murphy popped up for the 2nd out, David Wright came up big with a single to drive in Tejada and give the Mets the lead.

Carlos Torres came in to pitch the bottom of the 14th, and immediately ran into trouble, walking Reid Brignac and giving up a single to Carlos Ruiz to start the frame. However, Torres fanned Revere and got Rollins to line out to Curtis Granderson in left, before striking out Chase Utley to end the ballgame and give the Mets a big win.

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We had to win this game, guys. You can’t lose a game in which Ruben Tejada hits a home run.

Speaking of Tejada, he seems to respond well to having his job threatened by Wilmer Flores. The Mets should keep giving Flores some playing time to keep him from rotting on the bench, but also to keep Tejada sharp, apparently…

Every time Chris Young strikes out while Nelson Cruz hits a homer over in Baltimore, I die a little inside.

Our bullpen is getting pretty good. Sure, they blew a lead in the 9th and were in and out of trouble all day long, but keep in mind that they had been asked to pitch 10 innings on Friday night and were tasked with 8 more frames in this ballgame. Familia could really do himself a favor by throwing more strikes, though…

Speaking of throwing strikes, Jacob deGrom seems to have the right idea. As the league adjusts to him and starts getting a bit more aggressive on the 1st pitch, he might have to start mixing in a few first-pitch breaking balls, but he’s shown that he’s pretty good at getting those over the plate, as well. He seems like a Dillon Gee clone, and since Gee doesn’t seem like he’ll be back and healthy any time soon, we need guys like Jacob to keep stepping up like this.

All these extra innings can be taxing on our players. I hope the guys in our bullpen can somehow stay healthy through all of this, but Terry is having to (and sometimes just choosing to) lean on those guys a lot these days. It might help if he stopped having guys like Rice and Edgin depart after just one batter… the problem is, we don’t have any lefties who aren’t LOOGYs. Remember that Venters guy Atlanta had? He’s a real left-handed reliever. Hopefully Edgin can become a good all-around reliever as well, but Rice is what he is at this point.


The Mets’ record in one-run games isn’t good, and it’s probably going to stick out like a sore thumb when we check the standings at the end of the season. But they got a much-needed win today, and have taken 2 out of the 1st 3 here in Philly. Hopefully they can keep it going. It’s always extra satisfying to beat the Phillies. Even their mascot is annoying.

Up Next: The Mets and Phillies will look to settle the score in a more traditional nine innings tomorrow afternoon at CBP. Jon Niese (3-3, 2.74 ERA) will face off against Cole Hamels (1-3, 4.43 ERA) at 1:35 PM.


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MMO Morning Grind: Where Have You Gone, Jeurys Familia? Fri, 25 Apr 2014 11:00:29 +0000 jeurys familia

Good morning, Mets fans!

Nobody has seen or heard from Jeurys Familia in ages. They say that if you listen hard, on certain nights when the moon is full, you can still hear him howling at the night sky. But I’m not buying it.

But seriously, where is Familia? After taking the loss on Opening Day, and struggling in his next outing as well, Familia seemed to find a bit of a rhythm during his next few innings of work. But Jeurys hasn’t pitched in a week and hasn’t taken the mound in a meaningful scenario in 2 weeks.

Familia was great during Spring Training, so it was a bit of a letdown to see him struggle out of the gate once the games started counting. But it’s clear that he has electric stuff and good potential, so despite his rough start, it’s pretty surprising that we haven’t seen him lately, especially given how often we hear about our older relievers needing rest.

Familia shouldn’t be the closer. But he should be pitching. And if Terry Collins doesn’t think he can be safely used in a Major League game, Jeurys should be sent down to the Minor Leagues so that he can join Vic Black in the “Strike Zone Training Program”. There is no way that a young, talented power arm should be wasting away on the bench.

Jeurys Familia should be pitching. Somewhere.

Have a good day, Mets fans! Maybe Familia gets some serious work in tonight if Zack Wheeler gets tossed in the 2nd inning for attempting hide pine tar on his neck, but that seems unlikely…


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Forbes: Mets Franchise Value Continues To Decline Wed, 26 Mar 2014 20:11:57 +0000 mets dugout helmets USATSI brad barr

Forbes has released their list of franchise values of each Major League Baseball team.

The Mets ranked ninth with a value of $800 million, just behind the St. Louis Cardinals ($820 million).

The Yankees top the chart, coming in at $2.5 billion. This is the 17th year that Forbes has released this list, and the Yankees have risen in value and topped this list each time.

The outlook for the Mets according to Forbes, is not quite as good.

Only three teams fell in value over the past year: the New York Mets, Houston Astros and Miami Marlins. The Mets, down 1% to $800 million, are still going through a period of austerity with an $85 million payroll after the Bernie Madoff debacle. Attendance at Citi Field has fallen for five consecutive years. The team refinanced $250 million of debt and is no longer taking on water under the leadership of GM Sandy Alderson.

Coming in second, with a value of $2 billion dollars, is the Los Angeles Dodgers. Other billion dollar franchises include the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants.

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Is The Qualifying Offer System Fundamentally Flawed Or Working Just Right? Tue, 25 Feb 2014 13:48:56 +0000 stephen drew

Union head Tony Clark told the Associated Press that he is concerned that free agents who would cost a team a draft choice for signing them are still without jobs.

Of the 13 players who would require compensation, three remain unsigned with teams already at spring training — shortstop Stephen Drew, designated hitter Kendrys Morales and right-hander Ervin Santana.

“The way the free agent market has played itself out over the last couple of years suggests that draft pick compensation and the free agent market in general is a concern that we’re paying attention to, obviously,” Clark said Saturday after meeting with Boston Red Sox players.

“We still have guys, very good players, quality players that can help any number of clubs who are still on the market, some with draft-pick compensation, some not.”

Teams that make qualifying offers to their own free agents are entitled to a draft pick as compensation if the player signs elsewhere. Players have the option of accepting their team’s qualifying offer and avoiding free agency. Clark said it’s up to them to decide what to do.

The problem is that some of these players who get qualifying offers are just plain mediocre. In the cases of Drew and Morales, these are two players that you’d normally consider for a one or two year deal at best. That gives teams some pause on whether they should forfeit a draft pick regardless if it’s a first or second or third round selection. We’re not talking about a Cano or Ellsbury here.

Both Drew and Morales come with some tough-to-ignore risk. Nelson Cruz realized that too late and wound up taking an $8 million dollar deal rather than the $14.1 million he had on the table. The decisions by all three to decline their qualifying offers were all shortsighted and they simply overestimated their values – spurred on by their agents, no doubt.

Now, two of those players are threatening to sit out until June to try and circumvent the system. The problem with that is that at the end of the day they are still the same mediocre players they are today. And additionally, now a new team has to worry about how much time they’d need to get back into game shape and whether it increases their already considerable risk of injury.

From the free agent’s point of view, their former teams don’t get the compensation draft pick, but more importantly their new teams don’t have to forfeit their own draft picks either. The thought process being that they suddenly become more attractive and will get the untold riches they believe they deserve. I don’t think so.

Since the current system was implemented in 2012, not a single player has accepted the qualifying offer. However, I bet that changes next offseason, especially for fringe players.

The Players Union didn’t say anything about the system when it was working in their favor, but now they are squawking too loud and too often, saying it is fundamentally flawed. Although I would argue that it’s working exactly as intended.

The system was put into place to not to suppress the escalation of all player salaries. Free agents like Robinson Cano are always going to get their paydays. This system was intended to keep players like Cruz, Drew and Morales – who are mediocre talents that come with flaws – from getting 4-5 year deals worth $60-80 million dollars.

And it seems to be working.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Mets Could Still Sign Veteran Reliever To Low Base Salary Fri, 31 Jan 2014 16:43:05 +0000 sandy alderson winter meetings

The Mets are not close to adding any veteran help to the bullpen, writes Anthony DiComo of

However, a source told Adam Rubin that the team could acquire a veteran relief pitcher, although it will likely be for a low-base salary, according to a source.

In a phone interview with Sandy Alderson on Wednesday, the Mets GM confirmed that he extended a two-year, $12 million deal to Grant Balfour, but sounded like there would be no other such offers coming for any remaining free agent options. Those options include Fernando Rodney, Mitchell Boggs, Kevin Gregg, and Michael Gonzalez.

Rather than sign one to a big league contract, Alderson indicated that he may rely more extensively on Vic BlackJeurys Familia and the organization’s other young relievers, and round out the Spring Training competition by signing a veteran or two to “non-guaranteed Minor League deals.”

“We’ve got a lot of good young arms that we like — they just don’t have much experience,” Alderson said.

“Acquiring someone with some experience would give us some comfort going into Spring Training, but we don’t want to preclude some of our younger pitchers from getting a solid opportunity either. So if there’s somebody there that we like, we’ll pursue them. Otherwise, one of the ways we’ve approached starting pitching, for example, is to bring in a couple of guys on Minor League contracts [John Lannan and Daisuke Matsuzaka], and have them compete with some of our own internal candidates. We may do the same thing with the bullpen.”

If that’s the case, writes DiComo, then it’s conceivable the Mets’ offseason will end having added only three players on guaranteed contracts – outfielders Curtis Granderson and Chris Young, and starting pitcher Bartolo Colon.

“At some point, the available options diminish,” Alderson said in explanation of his approach. “It’s not a change in strategy so much as it’s a recognition, a reality.”

Honestly, I would prefer leaving the two remaining bullpen spots to be decided this Spring between younger internal options like Familia, Edgin and even Jeff Walters or Cory Mazzoni if the impress.

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As Early As Spring Training, Padded Caps Approved By MLB For Pitchers Wed, 29 Jan 2014 18:12:26 +0000 Paul Hagen shared on, that Major League Baseball has approved padded caps for pitchers. This will be optional for pitchers but will give them an opportunity to decide if wearing the cap will be enough protection from dangerous line drives to the head. The new caps will be manufactured by isoBLOX.

Photo: AP


The company explains on their website the science behind their product:

When impacting forces strike us, the ensuing energy must go somewhere, preferably not to our bodies. isoBLOX® uniquely formulated protective plates utilize a COMBINATION of energy dispersion AND energy absorption to diffuse impact.

Hard plates deflect initial impact and then subtly flex, via strong micro hinges, to absorb residual force. Only isoBLOX® proprietary, patent pending, hinged plates can offer this dual protection.

If the science behind the product actually works, then why wouldn’t a pitcher want the added protection. Over the past several years, there have been a number of pitchers getting hit by line drives to the head and like A’s pitcher Brandon McCarthy, who needed brain surgery and the Blue Jays pitcher J.A. Happ, who suffered a cracked skull, the added protection should be taken seriously.

Brandon McCarthy, Derek Norris

MLB’s executive vice president for labor relations Dan Halem told ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” on Tuesday, ”We’re excited to have a product that meets our safety criteria.”

Hagen shares that according to ESPN, Halem and MLB senior counsel for labor relations Patrick Houlihan said the threshold for approval was that the cap had to provide protection at 83 mph, and an MLB-commissioned study determined that 83 mph is the average speed of a line drive when it reaches the area of the pitching mound.

The last thing that a pitcher wants to worry about on the mound is getting hit anywhere on the body especially the head, but it has become part of the game and the easiest way to put it out of the minds of many people, is to provide something that pitchers can use. The cap looks just like a normal baseball cap, so a ball colliding to the face will not be deflected, but at least the head could avoid major impact.

One Major League pitcher feels that maybe it just may work, Dodgers Clayton Kershaw tells MLB Network, ”I’ve actually tried one of those on. I’ve thrown with it. You don’t look very cool. I’ll be honest. You don’t look very cool out there. But technology is unbelievable and it really doesn’t feel that much different once you get used to it. Obviously it would be a change. We wouldn’t look the same as everybody else, but if you’re that one guy who gets hit what seems like every year, there’s that chance out there. I’m definitely not opposed to it. I think it’d take a lot of getting used to. I think it’s a great thing and a step in the right direction, for sure.”

I am all for the protection, and it will determine how comfortable the company can make it for each individual pitcher and if it fits like a normal baseball cap, then at the end of the day, it may just be worth it.

I actually tweeted a year ago, that I felt it was time to make a change:

I applaud how quickly MLB responded to the many requests for change and just in time for the new season.

(Photo Credit: AP and Ben Margot)

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Old Time Mets: John Stephenson Sun, 26 Jan 2014 16:58:30 +0000 john-stephenson-296x300If John Stephenson is remembered at all by fans of the early Mets, it’s as the last out of Jim Bunning‘s perfect game. He was so overmatched in striking out, the Mets might as well have plucked a fan out of the stands at random and asked him to get a hit off Bunning.

At the time, if I remember correctly, Stephenson was hitting a feeble .149 and it didn’t get much better for him.

Yet, almost amazingly Stephenson spent parts of ten years in the major leagues and was regarded as a decent lefty bat off the bench who could also fill in at a few positions by the time the Angels picked him up in the early ’70′s.

Johnny Stephenson came to the major leagues in 1964 solely because of the rule in effect at the time which required a big league team to carry second-year pros on their 25-man roster all season or risk losing them on waivers. To say that Stephenson was not ready is an understatement. He had a terrible “sweep” swing, the kind that’s usually corrected in Little League, and although he was considered primarily a catcher, the Mets didn’t play him there at all in the 1964 season.

If Stephenson ever had a big hit for the Mets, I don’t remember it. If ever there was a player I thought would never return to the majors after his one-year “trial”, Stephenson was the one. But somehow after getting to the Cubs, his swing was reconstructed and he actually became kind of a threat as a lefthanded pinch-hitter.

When you look at his lifetime numbers, a .216 average in nearly 1,000 at-bats with little speed, and below average defense, you marvel at how he managed to have such a lengthy career. When anyone says it’s a lot easier to get to the big leagues these days with more Major League teams and fewer farm teams, I point to the improbable career of John Stephenson, a player of minimal talent who managed to hang around for parts of ten years with four different teams.

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Juan Lagares Named MLB’s Top Dominican Rookie Thu, 23 Jan 2014 18:22:45 +0000 future stars lagares

Mets center fielder Juan Lagares was named Major League Baseball’s top Dominican Rookie by a panel of Dominican sports writers.

Lagares, 25, is coming off a solid campaign in Winter Ball that saw him bat .342/.379/.412 with 16 RBIs and five stolen bases in 114 regular-season at-bats.

During the 2013 regular season, Lagares finished with a .242/.281/.352 batting line, four home runs, 21 doubles, six stolen bases and 34 RBIs.

It’s exciting to see Lagares get so many accolades this offseason. While speaking about whether Lagares can improve at the plate in 2014, Sandy Alderson had this to say about him…

“Juan is trying to adapt. It’s very important to look at things below the surface. A lot can be predicted about a hitter based on when he hits in the count, early in the count or late in the count. You probably remember from last year, he was behind in the count all the time. He’s trying to make adjustments, mentally. It’s not about drawing walks, it’s about getting into hitter’s counts.”

“Another thing is that Lagares has a knack for making contact, even behind in the count. There’s not a lot of power there right now, but he definitely made an improvement as the season went on.”

I believe Lagares is going to break out in a big way this season offensively. It should be fun to watch.

(Edited at 1:20 PM)

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Mets Opening Day Starters Who Had The Briefest MLB Careers Wed, 22 Jan 2014 15:20:30 +0000 Collin Cowgill

Since 1980, The following ten position players had the briefest Major League careers and started for the Mets on Opening Day.

10 – Ryan Thompson – Thompson was the Opening Day Center Fielder in 1994 and appeared in 416 Major League games. He played in 9 Major League seasons (1992-1996, 1999-2002) with the Mets, Indians, Astros, Yankees, Marlins, and Brewers. He was a career .243 hitter with 52 HR and 176 RBI. He played 283 games with the Mets over 4 seasons (1992-1995) and in 1994, he hit .225 with 18 HR and 59 RBI in 98 games.

9 – Benny Agbayani – Benny was the 2001 OD Left Fielder and played in 383 MLB games (322 as a Met) over 5 seasons (1998-2002) with the Mets, Rockies, and Red Sox. He was a career .274 hitter with 39 HR and 156 RBI. In 2001, he played in 91 games, batting .277 with 6 HR and 27 RBI.

8 – Tim Spehr – Was the 1998 Opening Day Catcher and appeared in 363 games over 8 MLB seasons (1991, 1993-1999) with the Royals, Expos, Rangers, Braves, and Mets. Tim was a career .198 hitter with 19 HR and 72 RBI and appeared in 21 games with the Mets in 1998, his only season with the team, batting .137 with 0 HR and 3 RBI.

7 – Brian Giles – Brian was the Opening Day Second Baseman in 1983 and played in 287 major league games (199 with the Mets) over 6 Major League seasons (1981-1983, 1985-1986, 1990) with the Mets, Brewers, White Sox, and Mariners. Brian was a career .228 hitter with 10 HR and 50 RBI. In 1983, Brian played in 145 games batting .245 with 2 HR and 27 RBI.

6 – Ron Gardenhire – The future manager of the Minnesota Twins was the Mets Opening Day Shortstop in 1982. Ron played in 285 MLB games, all with the Mets from 1981-1985 and was a career .232 hitter with 4 HR and 49 RBI. In 1982, Ron played in 141 games, batting .240 with 3 HR and 33 RBI.

5 – Barry Lyons – Was the 1990 Opening Day Catcher. He appeared in 253 MLB games over 7 seasons (1986-1991, 1996) with the Mets, Dodgers, Angels, and White Sox. He was a career .239 hitter with 15 HR and 89 RBI. He played 212 games with the Mets and in 1990, he played in 24 games and hit .235 with 3 HR and 9 RBI.

4 – Eric Valent – Valent the Mets OD Right Fielder in 2005 and played in 205 Major League games over 5 seasons (2001-2005) with the Phillies, Reds, and Mets. He was a career .234 hitter with 13 HR and 37 RBI. In 2005, he played in 28 games, batting .186 with 0 HR and 1 RBI.

3 – Collin Cowgill – Was the 2013 Mets Opening Day Center Fielder and the only player on our list that is still active. As of the end of the 2013 MLB season, Collin has played in 147 MLB games over 3 seasons (2011-2013) with the Diamondbacks, A’s, Mets, and Angels. He is a career .236 hitter with 6 HR and 34 RBI. In 23 games with the Mets in 2013, he hit .180 with 2 HR and 8 RBI.

2 – Mike Howard – Was the 1983 Opening Day Right Fielder and played 48 MLB games over 3 seasons (1981-1983) all with the Mets. He was a career .182 hitter with 1 HR and 7 RBI. Opening Day was his only and last appearance in 1983, going 1 for 3 with 1 RBI, scoring his final MLB hit off future Hall of Famer Steve Carlton.

1 – Brad Emaus – One of Sandy’s very first acquisitions, Rule 5 Pick Brad Emaus was the Mets Opening Day Second Baseman in 2011 and his brief MLB career lasted 14 games, all with the Mets. He hit .162 with 0 HR and 1 RBI.

(Photo: Online Sports 500)

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Mets Newcomers Sport Unusually High Strikeout Percentages Wed, 22 Jan 2014 14:00:12 +0000 Coming off a 2013 season that saw the Mets strikeout as much as any other team in the National League, Sandy Alderson and the front office has done little to ensure that they won’t accomplish the same feat. In fact, they may surpass it in 2014.

The two major offensive acquisitions made this season by the Mets include men with astronomical strikeout percentages, Chris Young and Curtis Granderson.

Sandy Alderson acknowledges their weakness and is willing to embrace it. In a Q&A with fellow Metsmerized contributor Clayton Collier, Alderson suggested that “Having a high number of strikeouts doesn’t preclude a team from being pretty good offensively”. While this may be true, the two new Met outfielders will have to do quite a bit to compensate for their tendencies to go down on three strikes.


In Young’s 2013 season with the Athletics, he struck out 24.8% of the time, nearly once every four at-bats. If we were to round this percentage up to 25%, Fangraphs would categorize it as “poor”. High strikeout totals are commonplace for power hitters and Young is no exception. Young has struck out at least 20% of the time in each of his seven full Major League seasons. Pending a huge outlier of a season, we are likely to see the same from Young in 2014.

Granderson’s propensity for the K is not pretty either. In 2012, Granderson played 160 games for the Yankees, during which time he struck out at a staggering 28.5% percent clip. Fangraphs would regard the frequency by which Granderson struck out as “awful”. Granderson however, blasted 43 home runs that season, if he can do that with the Mets, I’ll never mention his strikeout percentage again.

It is entirely likely that both Young and Granderson will have similar seasons, strikeout wise, as they have had in years past. Lee Panas’s book Beyond Batting Average found that K% is the statistic that is most predictive of future performance. Panas conducted a study in which he tracked the statistics of 428 players from year to year. K% had the highest correlation (0.83), year to year, of any statistic.

Alderson may be considering last year’s high strikeout total and going all-in, sacrificing a large amount of strikeouts for the sake of added power. It could also be that the only significant power threats available on the free agent market happened to boast unusually high strikeout percentages. Either way, Young and Granderson will not contribute to the lowering of the Mets league-leading strikeout total. The hope is, as I’m sure every Met fan is aware, that they will provide the pop the Mets so desperately need, even if it takes a few strikeouts to do it.

All statistics were accessed via Fangraphs 

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A Little Advice for A-Rod Wed, 15 Jan 2014 11:00:55 +0000 alex rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez Plans To Appeal Arbitrator’s Decision

A-Rod, I have a little bit of unsolicited advice.

Just say, “My bad.”

You see, the American public is very forgiving. Fess up, take your medicine, and we’ll eventually come back around. Those that do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it – so what have we learned from history?

Jason Giambi said “My bad.” He took his boos and eventually, we stopped caring he was tied up in the BALCO scandal and he was even being considered for the Rockies manager position last year before he decided to keep on playing.

Barry Bonds did not say “My bad.” Look at him.

Andy Pettitte said, “My bad.” He was given a hero’s welcome.

Roger Clemens did not say “My bad.” He’s getting the Bonds treatment.

Mark McGwire did not say “My bad,” at first. He didn’t want to talk about the past. Then he fessed up, said “My bad,” and now he’s been welcomed back into baseball and is coaching in a Major League dugout. He won’t get into the Hall of Fame, but he’s not being run up a flagpole, either.

Rafael Palmeiro wagged his finger in front of Congress, then he got caught. He never said, “My bad.” We still don’t like him.

Ryan Braun stood at a podium, said he didn’t do it, threw a poor guy under a bus, stomped on him a little bit and smiled for the cameras. Then he got caught again, said “My bad,” a bunch of times and he’ll get booed for a while, but eventually even what he did will all be water under the bridge for him, too.

You see, Alex – we’re not naive. We know that players are taking banned substances. Players have been cheating in some way, shape, or form since the game was first played. We know there are guys on all of our favorite teams that are taking stuff that haven’t been caught yet. Heck, two Mets were caught in the same scandal you were. We just signed another one this offseason. Bartolo Colon said “My bad,” and he got a two year contract. Jhonny Peralta said “My bad” and he got $53 million this offseason.

We know guys are cheating. That doesn’t make it right. It still makes it wrong. I don’t like that it’s in the game, but if you’re going to get caught, just fess up to it, take your punishment, and move on with life.

What we really, really, really don’t like is being lied to and treated like we’re stupid. That’s what we don’t like about Barry. That’s what we don’t like about Roger. That’s what we don’t like about Rafael. That’s what we don’t like about you.

So do yourself a favor. Stop acting indignant and making a federal case out of it. Just take your lumps, take your suspension, collect the millions more you’re still going to make, and stop paying the lawyers. Take out a full page ad in the Daily News with your picture that just says, “My bad.”


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MLB: Drug Dealers Welcome Mon, 13 Jan 2014 18:06:19 +0000 bosch 60 minutes

Last night, 60 Minutes aired an interview with Anthony Bosch, founder of former South Florida anti-aging clinic Biogenesis.

During the interview (which I admittedly chose not to watch), I have read that Bosch admitted to injecting Rodriguez with PED, an allegation that conveniently came to fruition after Major League Baseball apparently took over paying for Bosch’s legal fees.

Now, I want to stop right there.

Put your anger toward Alex Rodriguez to the side. He’s a baseball player, a very unlikable baseball player who also happens to play for a team many people reading this despise.

But Anthony Bosch is a drug dealer. This is an undisputed fact. He didn’t just deal drugs to Alex Rodriguez or the other few names who were suspended last season. According to the same whistle blower Porter Fischer – Bosch was working with athletes from the NBA, NCAA, Tennis, MMA, boxing, soccer to name a few. He wasn’t MLB’s problem – he was a problem for every major athletic organization in this country – and Major League Baseball is now supporting him.

Let that sink in for just a second. This isn’t the first time Bosch’s name came up with regards to PED. In 2009, his father, Pedro Bosch was named as a supplier to the then recently suspended Manny Ramirez.

So Major League Baseball’s idea to clean up the sport and stop their players from taking banned substances is NOT to help authorities go after those SUPPLYING the drugs to their players – it’s to go after the players using the drugs in an attempt to scare everybody else from ever trying it.

You know who you aren’t scaring?

Drug dealers.


Because you’re paying their legal fees.

The next drug dealer that gets caught isn’t going to go down, they are going to turn over. They are the problem in real life, outside the scope of Major League Baseball.

When you’re trying to clean up a drug problem, explain to me how it makes sense to go after the user and not the dealer?

In what warped universe am I supposed to listen to a drug dealer, a slimy slithering (you like that?) drug dealer and think “he must be telling the truth!”

Now let’s get back to Rodriguez.

To our knowledge, he has failed one test for banned PED substances and that was during the 2003 survey test.

So this leads me to my next point. If Major League Baseball wants me the avid baseball fan to believe they are cleaning up the game with their great drug testing program – then you cannot at the same time be going after a guy who DIDN’T FAIL A TEST!


Because if you’re telling me Rodriguez was taking a banned substance, then you’re simultaneously telling me your testing program DOES NOT WORK!

This entire case to me, sums up what is wrong with the sport of baseball as far up as Bud Selig and as far down as the writers who vote on the Hall of Fame candidacy.

If Major League Baseball has the right to ASSUME a player is guilty and go to great lengths (somewhat illegal lengths) to prove it, then how can we hold even the writers accountable for ASSUMING a player like say Mike Piazza took PED when there is no actual evidence to support it?

The last point I will make it to the MLB Players Union. You know, for years I have heard that they have the strongest union in the country if not the world. Where are they right now? If you want players like Piazza, Biggio, Bagwell for example to get the respect they deserve – then where is the union to stand up and tell the public and the writers who vote that assuming guilt with no evidence is not how we fix this problem?

Where is the union while one of their members is being subject to a witch hunt? Where is the union to stand up and point to the owners and the Commissioner for funding a drug dealer in an effort to rid the game of 1 baseball player?

This isn’t about whether Rodriguez is innocent or not – it’s about the great lengths Major League Baseball is taking in an effort to rid the game of a player, not rid the world of a drug dealer. If Rodriguez is guilty, the correct process should be in place to ensure he is found guilty. The word of a drug dealer is not or should not be the “correct process.”

Baseball wants us to assume players like Biggio, Piazza, Bagwell and now Rodriguez are guilty. If we assume former players were guilty with no evidence – it makes the entire PED problem of the past fall squarely on their shoulders – rather than sharing it between them, the league, the writers and yes, even us fans.

If we assume Rodriguez is currently guilty without credible evidence, it assumes that a person’s rights as a citizen of this country do not exist while in the confines of being a baseball player.

And you know what happens when you assume…don’t you Bud?


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Lessons In Latin America: A Brief Mexican History Sun, 12 Jan 2014 15:18:56 +0000 adrian-gonzales

Mexican Baseball has been dwindling as of late due to the factor of Soccer being the more popular sport. As of April 1st, 2013, 14 different players from Mexico were on Major League Rosters. However, while Soccer is the national pastime of Mexico, they have a deep history in baseball as well. Some claim that Mexico’s baseball history started in Mazatlan in 1847, while others claim it was in other towns in 1887 or 1889.

The argument for 1847, which to me is believable, is that the Americans were trying to take control of Mexico, during the Mexican-American war. Like other histories, it makes sense that American armies shared baseball with the population they came to conquer, (Panama and Nicaragua are two other examples of Americans bringing in Baseball through military conquest).

The laying of the Monterrey-Tampico Railway played a large part in spreading the sport. As the railroad was being developed, so was the sport in Mexico during the 1800’s. While the sport spread, the professional leagues started much later, in 1925, when Alejandro Aguilar Reyes, a sportswriter, and Ernesto Carmona founded the Mexican Professional Baseball Leagues. During that time, they had six teams, and to bring in other talent, they started hiring Cuban players too dark for the majors to come into play in the league.

In the 1940s, Jorge Pasquel attempted to transform the Mexican major leagues into a larger arena. He started to hire prominent players from all over the place, including many Negro League stars, Cubans as before, and even brought in Major Leaguers into the mix to play. Orestes “Minnie” Minoso recalled, that he was offered $35,000 at 17 to play in the Mexican Leagues.

American ballplayers such as Max Linnear played in the Mexican Leagues as well while Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams refused. But, the American Major League administration was not as keen on sharing their players with Mexico, because of the lucrative deals that were luring them away. The apparent hi-jacking of the sport away from the Americans displeased even Branch Rickey, and Happy Chandler, the commissioner, decided to start banning the players that were signed from Major league teams for 5 years from baseball. This new rule made the Mexican League crumble, and Jorge Pasquel died in 1955.

With the league crumbling, Mexico’s new manager, Anuar Canavati worked out deals later with Major League Baseball as a minor-league option for teams, and also an option as a place to play in the winter for their Major League and Minor League stars going forward. It also became a place for scouts to look for up-and-coming Mexican players, and later recruit them to their teams. Canavati saved the league from completely falling apart at the hands of Major League Baseball.

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