Mets Merized Online » Mike Baxter Mon, 20 Feb 2017 14:06:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Brewers GM Doug Melvin Sees Mets As Good Trade Partner Mon, 18 Nov 2013 13:40:25 +0000 melvinBrewers GM Doug Melvin acknowledged in an interview this weekend that the Mets and Brewers could fit well together as trading partners.

“They’ve indicated that they have extra first basemen, and we have a need,” Melvin said. “Again, it’s all about keeping your options open. … Nothing imminent, and I don’t anticipate anything imminent. But first base is one of our needs, they have excess first basemen, so you can tie two and two together — and come up with three.”

The Mets have a need in the outfield and tradeable assets at first base, while the Brewers are in the opposite situation. Both Lucas Duda and Ike Davis are young and under affordable team control for the foreseeable future, so the Brewers could have interest in trading for one of the two. In return, the Mets could ask for one of Milwaukee’s solid outfielders. Carlos Gomez would be unrealistic unless the Mets were willing to sweeten the package, but Norichika Aoki could be a fair return in exchange for Davis or Duda.

Aoki is a solid player and is definitely an upgrade over the likes of Mike Baxter in the outfield, but I wouldn’t trade Ike Davis for him. Davis reportedly has a good amount of value on the market this winter, and given that he is only a season removed from a 32 HR campaign and quite solid in the field, the Mets should be in no rush to move him. I’m all for moving Davis if he can be involved in a deal to bring us a game-changing power bat in the outfield or at shortstop, but the Mets have no reason to just give him away unless the right deal presents itself. I would trade Ike (and a bit more) for Gomez, but I wouldn’t consider swapping him for Aoki. Duda is another story. He is worse in the field and has less potential at the plate than Davis, and he has less value on the market. I would be happy to get a solid—not great, but solid— outfielder such as Aoki back in exchange for Duda.

However, if Aoki is our biggest splash of the offseason, or even just our biggest splash in the outfield, I will be quite disappointed. Again, Aoki is a solid player, but the Mets need game-changing bats, and Aoki does not fit under that category. If Alderson can swap Duda for Aoki, it would be a nice first step to rebuilding the outfield and the lineup. But if that trade were to happen, it would only be the first of many measures that must be taken Alderson and the Wilpons to put a competitive team on the field in Flushing.

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Mets Arbitration Predictions and Non-Tender Candidates Thu, 07 Nov 2013 18:02:38 +0000 MLB: New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies

MLB Trade Rumors posted their arbitration predictions today. Daniel Murphy stands to be the biggest winner nearly doubling his 2013 salary to $5.8 million dollars.

Guaranteed Contracts

David Wright – $11.0 million (2013), $20.0 million

Jon Niese – $3.0 million (2013), $5.05 million

Arbitration 1

Dillon Gee – $527,375 (2013) $3.4 million

Ruben Tejada – $514,701 (2013), $1.0 million

Justin Turner – $504,547 (2013), $800,000

Eric Young Jr. – $492,000 (2013), $1.9 million

Lucas Duda – $504,000 (2013), $1.8 million

Arbitration 2

Ike Davis – $3.125M (2013), $3.5 million

Daniel Murphy – $2.925M (2013), $5.8 million

Bobby Parnell – $1.7M (2013), $3.2 million

Omar Quintanilla – $527,375 (2013), $900,000

Arbitration 3

Scott Atchison – $700,000 (2013), $1.3 million

Assuming each player is tendered and these arbitration estimations from MLB Trade Rumors are correct, that’s about $24.5 million in raises without adding any new players.

The total payroll for these 12 players comes to $48.7 million.

If you’re wondering what players could be non-tendered and added to the free agent pool this offseason after the non-tender deadline on December 2, here is a list from MLBTR.

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Terry Collins Is MLB’s Oldest Manager Tue, 22 Oct 2013 15:45:33 +0000 terry collins mets last game in 2014

With the retirement of 68-year-old Jim Leyland, and the departure of Charlie Manuel in recent months, 64-year-old Terry Collins becomes the oldest manager in the majors, writes Adam Rubin of ESPN New York.

Collins has invested almost 43 years into the game in various capacities, and while he’s the elder statesman for now, he;s never had a first place finish as a manager.

 1994  Houston Astros  66-49  .574  2nd
 1995  Houston Astros  76-68  .528  2nd
 1996  Houston Astros  82-80  .506  2nd
 1997  Anaheim Angels  84-78  .519  2nd
 1998  Anaheim Angels  85-77  .525  2nd
 1999  Anaheim Angels  51-82  .383  4th
 2011  New York Mets   77-85  .475  4th
 2012  New York Mets   74-88  .457  4th
 2013  New York Mets   74-88  .457  3rd

Nobody would ever accuse Terry Collins of being a very good in-game strategist and perhaps that’s the biggest knock on him, but not the only one.

Collins is notorious for opting to play under-performing veterans instead of younger players who have more upside. In some cases these younger players even outperform the veterans that Collins allows himself to get too close to.

You’ll hear plenty of veterans like Carlos Beltran and Marlon Byrd rave abut Collins, but you don’t hear as much coming from younger players like Juan Lagares or Zack Wheeler who have been challenged publicly by their manager this season.

The reason the Mets waited so long to act on Ike Davis was because Collins was his biggest proponent. His attachment to veterans sometimes precludes him from doing what’s right.

Collins also has this unexplainable obsession with giving excessive PT to below replacement level players like a Justin Turner or Mike Baxter. He’ll oftentimes go with the more inferior player because he “likes their fire” as he likes to say.

All of that said, Collins is a nice guy. He’s come a long way from his days with the Angels where he suffered a public meltdown after losing control of his clubhouse. He now goes out of his way to get the buy-in from his clubhouse veterans, but almost to a fault. He wants to be liked.

Collins will be here for the next two seasons, but he’ll have to ramp up his game if this team is ever going to have a shot at contending for a post season berth.

In the end his job is predicated on wins and losses and so far it’s been mostly losses.

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Mets Matters: The Beginning of the Purge Fri, 18 Oct 2013 12:28:23 +0000 sandy aldersonA few fringe major leaguers were removed from the Mets 40 man roster on Thursday. Not a single tear was shed onto my iPhone when I read that Mike Baxter, Robert Carson, Sean Henn, and Greg Burke were no longer Mets. No one can argue that the current roster of the New York Mets was the one taking us to the promised land.

These last few lean years were the holdover years. Sandy needed time to rebuild the farm and let some bloated contracts expire. Ownership needed time to free up money to use in free agency. The lean years were painful and miserable. Save a few bright spots like a Cy Young winner, the emergence of a true all star power pitcher, and David Wright doing David Wright things, the lean years have left nothing much to cheer for in the late summer months.

Now the promise of investing in and building the next great Mets team awaits. We have a nice depth of pitching in the system right now. Even with Matt Harvey out until 2015, there are others waiting in the wings and developing their craft in hopes of taking the mound at Citi one day soon. Noah Syndergaard, Rafael Montero are the names you hear most often and the most likely to see big league time soon. While no one should be untouchable, its nice to see a great depth of pitching building in the Mets system again. It has been said time and again that pitching wins championships. Certainly the shock and disappointment over Harvey’s UCL tear showed us that you can never have enough pitching in your system.

As far as the majority of the roster goes, there is now the promise of re-investing the money coming off the books back into the many many holes in our lineup. If this promise turns out to be as empty as the stands on a weeknight in Septmeber, then shame on us for believing their lies yet again. No one can speak for what the front office is actually thinking this offseason, but we are all well aware of their thrifty ideologies. They have had time to evaluate what we have, and I personally am hoping for “The Purge” to continue.

"<strongIke Davis closes eyes” src=”” width=”352″ height=”234″ />Can we afford another season of Ike Davis and Lucas Duda fighting to be the best mediocre first basemen in the league? Perhaps. Can we stomach it? If things don’t change for the better for at least one of them, probably not. International 1B mega-prospect Jose Abreu has signed a nice deal with the White Sox. This deal was no doubt aided by the outstanding debuts of fellow Cubans Yoenis Cespedes and Yasiel Puig.

While many wanted to see the Mets land Abreu, many say he projects to be no better than Ike Davis at his best. Is that really our biggest deficiency? In my opinion, there are too many others to worry about. Among other things we also need a shortstop, a backup catcher, two outfielders if they end up keeping Juan Lagares in CF, and a starting pitcher to eat the innings that Harvey won’t be able to next year.

As the weeks wear on we will likely see more fringe players that no longer serve a purpose dropped in favor of bringing in mid-level talent. Kirk Niewenhuis and Jordany Valdespin will likely see the door. Should the Mets sign Shin-Soo Choo? Will they target Nelson Cruz and Jhonny Peralta? As long as we continue to drop dead weight and bring in talent that will actually help the team, I and many others are on board.

No one on the current roster should be safe from trade talks except David Wright. Case in point: if Daniel Murphy can bring in something of value, then he should be traded. This team hasn’t given you anything but 5 straight losing seasons. We don’t owe them anything.

This is the most important offseason in years for the Mets. If they fail to act, they will lose what little trust they have left in the fan base. If they begin the process of a roster overhaul, however, there is a chance that something special may begin to happen in Queens. Will the highest paid front office in baseball make the right moves? We can only hope.

One thing is for certain, this is by no means an overnight process. This is going to be a work in progress straight through spring training and right into the season. It will get downright exhausting waiting for the moves that go down this winter. But when April rolls back around, I’ll be watching every game. Hopefully the majority of them will be wins for a change.

Let’s Go Mets.

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An Ode To Whitestone Mike Fri, 18 Oct 2013 02:16:32 +0000 You know when I was just a teenager, I was the drummer in a band we called Andromeda. Yes, I’m aware that some Swedish band has since swiped our name, but that’s okay as I heard they were heavy metal too. I also wrote dozens of songs, mostly on the backs of napkins at 3:00 AM in the morning, while plowing through a plate of pancakes or french toast and a bottomless cup of coffee at the Vegas Diner in Brooklyn. :-)

So here I am watching the ALCS  tonight and feeling kind of bored… I took a look at the site, as I’m currently working on a major rebuild for next month, and I got a little sad when I saw the Mike Baxter post as our top story. As you know he was claimed off waivers by the Los Angeles Dodgers today. I know that Baxter wasn’t long for this team, but you know how it is… We all hate goodbyes…

mike baxter

The Agony and the Ecstasy

I got to thinking about instrumental he was in ending the no-hitter drought for the Mets and preserving it for Johan Santana with a magnificent grab in the seventh inning.

Playing in left field, Baxter sprinted back just in time to snare Yadier Molina’s drive, but the momentum had him crashing full speed into the outfield wall. Though clearly injured and crumpled on the ground, he clutched the ball tightly for the out.

The catch wiped him out with a displaced collarbone as well as a concussion. Poor Mike was never quite the same hitter when he returned from the disabled list eight weeks later. But I thought I’d honor him with a poem…

An Ode To Whitestone Mike

It wasn’t just a common fly,
That Whitestone Mike had caught.
This catch was either do or die,
A drop would be for naught.

With tensions building in the stands,
The faithful held their breaths.
And on the mound he clenched his hands,
As Johan turns and sweats.

A giant wall stood in his path,
But glory would prevail.
As Whitestone Mike had timed the catch,
And every soul exhaled.

And as they helped him to his feet,
The crowed let our a roar.
The No-No Johan would complete,
The drought would be no more.

Be good Mike, you’ll always be Metsmerized around here…

Mike  Baxter

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Baxter Claimed By Dodgers, Carson To Angels, Henn and Burke Ourighted Thu, 17 Oct 2013 21:19:52 +0000 Robert Carson

The Mets 40-Man roster is now at 36 after the Angels claimed lefthander Robert Carson on waivers, the Dodgers grabbed outfielder Mike Baxter, and the team outrighted LHP Sean Henn and RHP Greg Burke.

Expect more purging as the Mets must make room for Ike Davis, Josh Edgin, Matt Harvey, Jeremy Hefner, Jenrry Mejia, Bobby Parnell, Scott Rice and Johan Santana who must all be activated from 60-day disabled list and placed on the 40-man roster.

So technically, the Mets now have 44 players which means four more heads to roll.

With Halloween around the corner, this is perfect timing for some tricks or treats…

Original Post

Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports on the impending 40-man roster crunch the Mets will soon face after the World Series.

The Mets’ 40-man roster actually will be full even before the club adds farmhands eligible for the Rule 5 draft or signs any free agents this winter to major league deals.

That’s because eight players finished the season on the 60-day disabled list, where they did not count against the 40-man roster: Ike DavisJosh EdginMatt HarveyJeremy HefnerJenrry MejiaBobby ParnellScott Rice and Johan Santana.

So the Mets, in essence, finished the season with 48 players on the 40-man roster.

Rubin adds that because the Mets only have eight free agents, the 40-man roster will be full once the players are activated from the 60-day DL no later than five days after the World Series.

David AardsmaTim ByrdakPedro FelicianoFrank FranciscoAaron HarangLaTroy HawkinsDaisuke Matsuzaka and Johan Santana will all become free agents after an exclusive, but short, negotiating window.

Who is the most likely to go?

You can be sure that Robert CarsonSean HennZach Lutz, and Mike Baxter may be the first to go. Guys on the bubble will include position players Kirk NieuwenhuisJordany Valdespin and Andrew Brown. and reliever Scott Atchison.

Prospects the Mets will have to protect from the Rule 5 draft include Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz, Darin Gorski, Jeff Walters and Cory Vaughn among others. They will need to be added to the 40-man by Nov. 20.

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Hits & Misses: Sobering Realities, Kendrys Morales, and Clutch Walks Wed, 09 Oct 2013 11:32:16 +0000 hal-steinbrenner1-540x361

Sometimes, reality can be such a damn bitch… I read Joel Sherman’s interview with Hal Steinbrenner, owner of the Yankees, in which he discusses the decision to get their payroll under $189 million. What really stood out at me was his response to whether this was a soft goal or a mandate.

“It is something to shoot for, but not at the expense of having a championship-caliber team,” Steinbrenner said. “It is not. It never has been and never will be. It has always been my contention you don’t need a $230 million payroll to field a championship-level team. We are going to get to under $189 million at some point. That is the goal: We believe you can win a championship at $189 million payroll because plenty of teams have.”

Sherman deduces that even at $189 million — as long as Alex Rodriguez remains suspended next year — there will be about $80 million for the Yankees to spend this offseason.

That’s enough he says, to keep Robinson Cano and add Japanese phenom Masahiro Tanaka, all-star catcher Brian McCann and a left side of the infield insurance policy such as Jhonny Peralta or Stephen Drew — and maybe even retain Curtis Granderson or Hiroki Kuroda, too.

Meanwhile back at Flushing, we’re quibbling over re-signing Daisuke Matsuzaka or splurging on Bronson Arroyo with our meager $20-25 million. Nauseating, to say the least…


For those of you who had your eye’s set on first baseman Kendrys Morales, forget about it. Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik told reporters that the team will definitely make a qualifying offer to the 30-year old switch-hitter. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports adds that Morales will most certainly reject that approximate $14 million dollar offer in search of a multi-year deal on the free agent market.

Morales hit 23 home runs this season and led the Mariners in hits (167), doubles (34), RBI (80), batting average (.277), extra base hits (57), batting average with runners in scoring position (.312) and game winning RBI (15).

He is represented by Scott Boras.

lucas duda

I got an email yesterday which asked me what my gut feeling was on who will be the Opening Day first baseman for the Mets next season.

Seriously, guys and gals, you need to send me more difficult questions, this one’s way too easy. The Mets first baseman next season will be none other than Lucas Duda – and you can put that one in the books.

He’s a front office darling and they will look past his .233 batting average and point to his .353 on-base. That’s over 100 points worth of walks which reminds me of one of the best Keith-isms of the 2013 season.

It’s the bottom of the eighth, two outs and runners on first and third. The Mets are down by one run and Lucas Duda comes up with a chance to break the game open for the Amazins. Instead, he draws a walk to load the bases. But before Mike Baxter pops up to end the inning, Hernandez says, “Another clutch walk by Lucas Duda… Sigh…”

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MLBTR Posts Their Mets Offseason Outlook Mon, 07 Oct 2013 17:41:35 +0000 As part of their Off-Season Outlook Series, MLB Trade Rumors rolled out their review and outlook for the New York Mets today. Here are some portions of their report

On Payroll & Spending

Sandy AldersonThe Mets opened 2011 with a $142.8MM payroll, only to drop into the low-$90MM level over the last two years. The team has the capacity for a big budget (at least in the long run), particularly now that it can finally pay Santana and Bay the last money owed on their ill-fated deals. And with the fallout from owner Fred Wilpon’s involvement in the Bernie Madoff scandal apparently easing — Wilpon said earlier this year that his family’s financial distress was “all in the rearview mirror” — it could be time to rev up the spending. On the other hand, the team’s poor performance of late has driven down revenues, and things could be less rosy than Wilpon has suggested. A recent look by Howard Megdal suggests that the long-promised wallet opening may still be restrained.

All eyes will be on GM Sandy Alderson, who is entering the last year of his contract, to see how aggressively he pursues impact free agents. Alderson has estimated that the club has around $55MM committed next year (including arbitration-eligible and pre-arb players), and says it could add something in the realm of $40MM more, though Megdal has questioned those estimates and the potential impact that much room could have. The Harvey injury — which will have an impact on the team’s shopping list — could either provide reason for a conservative approach or a ready excuse for the same. Either way, Alderson has indicated that the Mets will be even more disinclined to deal from their young pitching and will likely be forced to open the wallet for a free agent starter.

On Starting Pitching

Niese, Gee, and Zack Wheeler are safe bets for the 2014 rotation, but the club’s other options all come with question marks. Internal possibilities range from Jenrry Mejia, who is coming off bone spur surgery, to spot starter Carlos Torres, to minor leaguers Rafael Montero, Jacob deGrom, and (perhaps less likely) Noah Syndergaard. There is enough youth and uncertainty in that group to make a veteran acquisition a likelihood.

The club could look at another incentive-laden, one-year deal for a veteran hoping to re-establish value, as the club did last time around with Shaun Marcum, and hope for better results. Or the Mets could look for more of a sure thing at a higher cost; for instance, rumor has it that a Bronson Arroyo signing could make sense for both club and player. Of course, even a limited-upside pitcher like Arroyo will command a substantial commitment; Dierkes recently pegged his market value at two years and $24MM. In addition to Arroyo, MLBTR has recently profiled several other starters — Scott Feldman, Scott Kazmir, and Paul Maholm – who could make sense for the Mets.

Acquiring Offense

carlos beltranAny dollars spent on starting pitching will eat into the payroll space that the Mets hoped to utilize on an impact bat. After reportedly trying and failing to land Wil Myers and Justin Upton last year, the club is said to covet Shin-Soo Choo.

Though Alderson managed to cobble together a surprisingly effective outfield unit this year, the club already traded its best performer, Marlon Byrd, who was set to hit the open market at age 36. The fielding exploits of 24-year-old Juan Lagares made the Mets especially happy to have missed on Michael Bourn, suggesting that Lagares a solid bet to man center.

New York seems to like the mid-season pickup of Young, but hopes to use him in a reserve role. They could also move him to second base in the event of a Murphy trade. Duda has had success at times at the plate but is a defensive liability in the outfield. Other options, too, lack appeal: Kirk Nieuwenhuis has hit in the minors but not the bigs; Mike Baxter has always been viewed as a reserve; the tumultuous Jordany Valdespin may not even see Spring Training after his PED suspension; and Cesar Puello seemed to be applying his tools in Double-A until he, too, sat out 50 games after the Biogenesis scandal.

A deal for an on-base machine like Choo makes sense, but the Mets don’t wish to exceed four years, which will likely make Choo too pricey. There are other established slugging corner outfielders on the market, of course, including Curtis Granderson and former Met Carlos Beltran. Then, there is the PED-tainted Nelson Cruz, who could be a budget target of multiple teams hunting for pop. But each of these players is 33 or older, has defense or injury concerns, and will benefit to some degree by the market-setting $90MM extension just inked by Hunter Pence. If the Mets do decide to chase after top talent, the team will not have to sacrifice its first-round pick to sign free agents who declined qualifying offers.

Mets Infield

wilmer floresIn the infield, Wright is a certainty at third base. Murphy is likely to man second base again, though the team will reportedly listen to trade offers for him. Despite shaky defense, Murphy doubled his 2012 home run and stolen base output this year. With two years of control remaining, he could be an extension candidate, though his net production has been marginal enough that he probably does not profile as a sure thing beyond 2015. The most interesting potential replacement at the keystone — Wilmer Flores, who only recently turned 22 — may not be suited for the position. And despite mashing in his first go at Triple-A, Flores has struggled mightily in his first taste of big league action.

That leaves shortstop and first base, both of which pose interesting dilemmas. The aforementioned Duda received a late-season chance to stake a claim on first base duties, but early promise gave way to a late-season swoon. If Duda cannot earn a starting gig, his remaining option does leave the team with some space to develop him further before making an all-or-nothing call. Davis’ huge promise faded this year with performance and injury issues. Entering his second year of arbitration eligibility, the 26-year-old isn’t likely to be non-tendered, but he or Duda could be traded this winter.

Josh Satin hit lefties well enough to make him a platoon option for whichever lefty swinger earns the bulk of the playing time at first. It would be somewhat surprising to see the Mets play in the free agent market at first, but the club could always elect to change course if it fell in love with a player like Cuban first bagger Jose Dariel Abreu.

At short, the Mets have two highly questionable in-house options coming off of sub-.600 OPS years. Quintanilla is a non-tender candidate after failing to grasp his chance at a starting role this year. And Tejada will now work back from a broken fibula after an already-poor campaign. Collins says that the job is Tejada’s to lose going into the spring, but Alderson has cast doubt publicly on Tejada’s work ethic, saying that the team “need[s] to see a commitment to improvement.” Turner has provided consistently average offensive production and defensive flexibility at a low cost, but is not an everyday option at short.

This presents a serious void that could be fixed via free agency or trade. Jhonny Peralta and Stephen Drew are probably the most promising options; of course, the former carries the scarlet letter of Biogenesis while the latter should be in a position to get multiple years after a roughly 3-win season at age 30. Alexei Ramirez is an obvious trade candidate, but his bat is declining at age 32, making the $20.5MM left on his deal look risky. Another possibility, Asdrubal Cabrera, has youth on his side and finished strong in 2013, but he has just one year of team control remaining at $10MM. And though it is popular to speculate on the Rangers’ Elvis Andrus and Jurickson Profar, there is no indication that either could be had for less than a major haul, and Andrus is guaranteed $15MM annually for the foreseeable future.

Some Final Thoughts

MLBTR points to the bullpen as the one aspect of the team that “seems to have most of its pieces already under contract.” That and third base are the two true areas of least concern.

Second base should be included, but with all the rumors floating around, I can’t guarantee that Murphy will still be here even though he’s the second best legitimate bat the Mets have.

You would think the Mets would be set with d’Arnaud behind the plate, but even Sandy expressed concerns about his toughness and whether he endure the rigors of an entire season. He said getting a top backup catcher for him was a top priority in case he misses any time.

The Mets theoretically have $40 million to spend, but I’m betting they won’t cross the $25 million threshold. Maybe I’m wrong, and maybe I’ll change my mind as the offseason evolves, but for now that’s my gut feeling.


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Your 2013 Mets MVP: Daniel Murphy Tue, 01 Oct 2013 16:00:49 +0000 MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at New York MetsYep, Matt Harvey was the biggest positive story of 2013 in Metsland – until he became the worst headline of the season. Sure, David Wright had a nice partial season and played a slick third base besides at age 31 in year one of his mega deal. But your Mets MVP is Daniel Murphy. Yes, #imwith28.

The 28-year-old hit .286 with a .311 .319 on base percentage – not much to put on the Cooperstown plaque. But he played in 161 games and was the only regular to play the whole year. He finished second in the National League in hits with 188, seventh in doubles with 38, and eighth in runs with 82 92. He led the league in stolen base percentage, swiping 23 in 26 attempts. He was eighth in total bases and second in at bats.

And he played a decent, if not sparkling, second based – a position the Mets somehow don’t consider properly filled (as Shannon Shark at MetsPolice, originator of the #imwith28 Twitter tag, reminded us all season long, Murphy is the Amazins’ Rodney Dangerfield).


In short, in the season plagued by injuries and a lack of general talent in Flushing, Murphy was a compiler, a veteran and somewhat gritty presence in the lineup day in, and day out. He was the lone everyday New York Met.

Wright got hurt. Ike flopped. Duda got sent down. Tejada failed. Byrd and Buck were dealt. D’Arnaud finally came up and was not up to the hype. Quintanilla was a fine back up playing too many innings. Eric Young came on to swipe some bases. Lagares came up to field like Joe DiMaggio and hit like Mike Baxter, who also got some innings. Turner has red hair. Recker is big. Satin rocks the unibrow. Flores could barely walk but Terry played him. There were others who came and went.

Yet day in and day out, there was Murphy – clearly a major leaguer when so many weren’t. He had 55 extra base hits and was second in the league in double plays turned (also 3rd most errors by a 2B, but hey, no quibbling). He was the Mets’ best everyday player, and based on their shorter stints, no Mets pitcher deserves the nod over Murph (though the first-half Harvey fest was exciting while it lasted).

But of course, the Mets say they will “listen to offers” for Murphy this off-season. As Joe D. said, “whenever the Mets say they aren’t trading anyone and only listening to offers, that player may as well pack their bags.” In part it’s because Murphy is indeed valuable – teams will ask about him, particularly those who are clearly contenders. He helps many lineups, and he made himself a decent defender. He’s a value too, even at his arbitration number.

He’s the ultimate lunchpail Met. The advanced stats don’t favor him. And he turns up in every off-season trade discussion. But Daniel Murphy was the Mets MVP in 2013. Maybe that says something about the depth and quality of the roster fielded by Sandy Alderson, but it doesn’t change the fact that Murph was the best contributor on team.

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No End In Sight, Even As 2013 Comes To A Close Sun, 29 Sep 2013 13:30:31 +0000 whats the planWith Saturday’s loss, the Mets have clinched themselves a protected draft pick. However, it is starting to seem like this will be irrelevant. Reports on Friday indicated that the Mets do not plan on pursuing any of the top free agents, with the possible exception of Shin-Soo Choo, who will likely cost more than what the Mets seem ready to offer.

The Mets were horrible this season, so you don’t need anything but common sense to see that unless things improve significantly, they will be horrible next season as well. But does the Mets’ Front Office have the common sense or wherewithal to stand and deliver? If they do, I would like to see it.

Year after year I have watched this team put up with increasingly unbearable won-loss records while misleading their fans through the media to create an artificial sense of hope, asking us to ignore the crippling nature of their financial problems, and expecting improved results from a “plan” that I don’t believe exists. This was apparent yesterday, when news broke that the Mets plan on giving Terry Collins a contract extension despite the fact that the team’s record has gotten worse during each year of his tenure. It was apparent Friday, when news broke that the Mets do not plan to sign any free agents who would cost them a draft pick— even if their draft pick is protected. It has been apparent since 2009, when the Mets began a string of five straight seasons with fewer than 80 wins— a streak that will carry into and ever-more-possibly through 2014.

There is a reason why a team that won without spending money got a best-selling book and a movie starring Brad Pitt made about them: because it was such a rare occurrence. There is a reason why nobody bats an eye when the Yankees win one of their 27 championships, but everybody goes nuts when the Marlins make big offseason splashes and then finish last: because the teams that spend usually win. Big payrolls do not guarantee wins. Small payrolls do not guarantee losses. But I’d much rather take my chances with Prince Fielder than Brandon Nimmo, and if the Wilpons don’t figure out that most of the other passionate fans who have begun to stay away from Citi Field feel the same way, their revenue will continue to shrink.

In short, the Mets need a change. Bringing in guys like Collin Cowgill and then talking about their “advanced stats” does not constitute change. When you are losing, the only thing that constitutes “change” is winning. To win, you need a good rotation, reliable relievers, tight defense, a lights-out closer, and a mix of consistent contact hitters and dangerous power hitters. You also need health and depth.

If the Mets plan on 2014 being “the year”, they need to make major moves. The team needs to be open to overpay for certain players if that’s what it takes. They also need to be willing to be flexible enough to do what it takes to land star hitters on the trade market. Good players will not fall into their lap. The Mets have to go and get them, or else they can watch the team continue to lose games, attendance and relevancy year after year.

David Wright will be on the team next year. So will Matt Harvey, although he might not throw a pitch all season. Bobby Bonilla will also be on the payroll, and Terry Collins will again be in the dugout, for better or worse. Everybody else is a candidate to be traded or heading to free agency, so take a good long look at everyone you see on the field Sunday, because, if the front office is finally being sincere when they talk about “change”, it might be— it better be— the last time you ever see players like Omar Quintanilla in a Mets uniform.

But I won’t throw out my Mike Baxter jersey just yet, because the team has yet to give me a reason to believe more players like Baxter won’t be in the starting lineup next April.

pinky and brain

Hopefully, underperforming players who don’t belong will be shown the door, and players who do (such as Murphy, Wheeler, d’Arnaud, Niese, and a few others) will be retained. But Alderson & Co. should consider nearly anybody as trade bait if a team with a star caliber performer comes calling. If the Mets want to let Robinson Cano steal $300 million from another team, that’s fine, but they had better invest in several mid-tier free agents to make up for it. We need to have power in the lineup, we need to have guys ready to step in when injuries occur, and we need to have enough depth. The market isn’t ideal, but the answers are there if the Mets are willing to look for them.

The Mets’ season ends today. I have enjoyed writing game recaps for you guys since I joined MMO during the second half, and I look forward to writing articles during the offseason. No matter how frustrating this team can be, I will never desert the Mets and I appreciate all of you who feel the same way. Hopefully we will be seeing more guys like Carlos Gonzalez and fewer guys like Rick Ankiel wearing the Orange & Blue soon. Very soon. But for the meantime, at least we don’t have to worry about bandwagoners.

Let’s Go Mets!

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Brewers vs Mets: Tovar, Centeno, Lagares Headline Final Lineup Of The Season Sun, 29 Sep 2013 04:01:39 +0000 mike piazza

Brewers (74-87) at Mets (73-88) • 1:10 PM

RHP Marco Estrada (7-4, 4.02) vs. LHP Jon Niese (8-8, 3.74)

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Starting Lineup

  1. Eric Young, Jr. – LF
  2. Lucas Duda – 1B
  3. David Wright – 3B
  4. Daniel Murphy – 2B
  5. Mike Baxter – RF
  6. Juan Lagares – CF
  7. Juan Centeno – C
  8. Wilfredo Tovar – SS
  9. Jon Niese – LHP

Wow, this is it… The final Mets lineup of the season. I’m surprised that Travis d’Arnaud isn’t playing after getting the day off yesterday, we’ll ask Terry about that later on during his pre-game.

Lucas Duda batting second and Daniel Murphy batting cleanup for the second day in a row. Sorry, but I just can’t wrap my head around Duda batting second – I don’t care what his OBP is.

Mike Baxter has been enjoying a week full of starts while one of Juan Lagares or Matt den Dekker rides the pine. Why you ask? I haven’t a clue…

With Centeno, Tovar and Lagares up the middle, this might be the best defensive alignment we’ve seen all season long. All three have dazzled on defense and one player told me that Centeno and Lagares may be the best at their positions in baseball. Quite a rave.

After going 4-4 with a 5.32 ERA in 12 starts before going on the disabled list on June 3, Marco Estrada has rebounded to post a 3-0 record and a 2.26 ERA over his final eight outings since coming off the DL on Aug. 7.

Jon Niese also missed a large chunk of time between June and August, spending nearly two months on the DL with a partial tear in his rotator cuff. He has been stellar since returning on Aug. 11, going 5-2 with a 3.00 ERA in his last nine starts.

Brewers shortstop Jean Segura and Mets left fielder Eric Young Jr. are locked in a battle for the stolen base crown in the National League. Entering Sunday’s game, they are for the National League lead in stolen bases, with 44.

Game Preview

The season is finally coming to an end and despite how difficult it has been at times, I’ll still wake up tomorrow being disappointed there is no Mets baseball to follow, no on the field optimism about play in a future year, etc. At least the Mets are ending the year on a high note as they induct Mike Piazza into the New York Mets Hall of Fame today. The last game of the year will feature Jon Niese squaring off against Marco Estrada.

Jon Niese will be making his 24th start of the year. So far he has pitched 137.0 innings with a 3.74 ERA and an 8-8 record. In his last three starts he has pitched 20.1 innings with a 3.10 ERA. Niese has started against the Brewers four times pitching 19.0 innings and allowing 14 earned runs, which brings his ERA to 6.52. The Brewers have the following numbers on Niese:

Ramirez 4-14, 2B, HR
Lucroy 3-8
Gomez 1-5
Aoki 1-3
Bentancourt 0-3

The Mets bats try to break out the lumber for a final show against Marco Estrada who is 7-4 over 120.0 innings of work this year with a 4.02 ERA. In the month of September, he has pitched three games totaling 19.0 innings with a 1.74 ERA. In his career he has pitched in 5 games against the Mets totaling 4.1 innings where he has allowed 7 earned runs. However, very few of these Mets have seen him:

Murphy 0-1
Tejada 1-1
Wright 0-1
Turner 0-1

Lets Go Mets!

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Hey Terry, Please Play The Future Difference Makers… Thu, 26 Sep 2013 15:08:15 +0000 terry_collins--300x300

Any franchise, any team, any general manager, any manager plays the game to win. That’s as it should be. Every day the Mets put on the uniform and take the field, I’m pulling for them to win. That’s the case in the first week of the season and the last.

There is no escaping the altered dynamics during the final month of a baseball season when your team has no realistic chance of post season play. Two kinds of baseball players round off the rosters of under performing teams at the close of the season. These teams are willing to sign on ‘second chancers,’ guys who once excelled on major league diamonds, fell from grace, and are looking for at least one more go around. They also seek to elevate youngsters from the minor leagues on an upward climb hoping to get a jump on seeing if they belong in the big leagues.

Managing a team going nowhere in September has to be a tricky proposition. How do you fit everybody in? You can’t totally ignore the everyday players, guys hoping to use their stats to squeeze out a better deal the next time they sign a contract. And, a lost September seems like a perfect opportunity to evaluate young prospects or ‘second chancers’ who could figure into future improvement plans. What’s a manager to do?

Perplexing is the only word I can use when trying to determine why the Mets have started Mike Baxter in the last two games against right hand starting pitchers in Cincinnati. Like all Met fans, Mike Baxter holds a special status as the guy who saved our one-and-only no-hitter with his courageous catch in left field. But, like him or not, Mike Baxter has no real place as a day-to-day option in the future plans of the Mets. In fact, down the stretch, if the Mets wanted to utilize Baxter realistically, it would be in an off the bench role, a possible role he could play in Flushing next year.

matt den dekker

That’s not the case for Matt den Dekker. Unlike Baxter, MDD is brimming with potential. Athleticism equates to speed on the base paths, pop in his bat, and defensive theatrics in the outfield. In addition, his professional baseball pattern is to struggle in his first stop at every level of professional play, then excel during his second stay at the same level. It makes sense in a lost September for the Mets to maximize every opportunity to see what the young outfielder can do.

Placing den Dekker in the lineup is also playing to win. In his limited time with the big squad, he has batted at least as well as Baxter and his outfield play is decidedly better. Try as I might, I’m struggling coming up with a rationale to justify
omitting him from the lineup.

The same could be said today during the ninth inning when Terry Collins called on LaTroy Hawkins to save the game. Hawkins has been brilliant pinch-hitting as a closer for the Mets after Bobby Parnell went down. The Hawkins story is inspirational, a 40-year old pitcher finding his groove and still throwing his fastball at 95 and 96 mph. It made sense that Hawkins gave the Mets their best chance to win Wednesday’s game.

Vic - Black

Yet, nursing a one run lead in the bottom of the ninth inning, I was excited to think the Mets might hand the ball to young Vic Black. Black had earned his first major league save the night before in an impressive ninth inning of the Mets 4-2 win. The kid was bold, confident, and attacking on the mound. When Collins had him up and warming in the eighth, I was genuinely excited thinking we might get a chance to see if Black could make it two in a row.

What a boost that would have been for the young flame thrower. Imagine earning two saves against a team headed into post season play, your first two saves in your first two tries in the big leagues. From an organizational perspective, with Parnell recovering from surgery and Collins openly worried about his health in his post game press conference the night before, why not use a 1-0 ninth inning lead as a chance to see what you might have in Black. No matter how brilliantly Hawkins has filled in as a closer this season, no one expects a 40-year old seventh or eighth inning reliever to take the
closer role into St. Lucie next spring. That’s not necessarily the case for Vic Black.

wilfredo tovar slides

With that said, kudos to Terry for staring Wilfredo Tovar two games in a row. We have seen enough of Omar Quintanilla this year to adequately evaluate his potential future role on the Mets. Not so with Wilfredo Tovar. In a minuscule playing sample, Tovar continues to exhibit that same gritty playing style he showed in Binghamton all summer long. You have to love his double play transfers, his gritty at bats, and his always dirty uniform.

With four games to go, I’m pulling for a four game sweep over the Brewers. Play to win, that’s how it should always be. But, the jury is out, there are many questions about who might be a part of a future Met roster. Play to win but use our final games to sneak a peak at some kids who might someday be difference makers.

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Mets vs Reds: Niese On The Mound As Mets Look To Even Series Tue, 24 Sep 2013 13:58:10 +0000 nieselit

Mets (71-85) at Reds (90-67) • 7:10 p.m.

LHP Jon Niese (7-8, 3.81) vs. RHP Mike Leake (14-6, 3.21)

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Starting Lineup

  1. Eric Young Jr., LF
  2. Daniel Murphy, 2B
  3. David Wright, 3B
  4. Lucas Duda, 1B
  5. Juan Lagares CF
  6. Mike Baxter RF
  7. Travis d’Arnaud C
  8. Wilfredo Tovar SS
  9. Jon Niese P

The Mets lost the game in extras last night as possible future Met Choo had the walk-off hit. Jon Niese gets the nod for the Amazin’s tonight. He is 7-8 over 22 games and a 3.81 ERA this season. In four games and 25.0 innings in September he has logged a 4.32 ERA with 20 strikeouts. Earlier this season he faced the Reds allowing 5 hits and 3 runs, none earned, over 6 innings of work. The Reds have the following numbers against Niese:

Phillips 6-16, 2B, 2 HR
Votto 2-12, HR
Bruce 2-10, HR
Cozart 2-7
Choo 0-3

Mike Leake is 14-6 over 30 starts this season with a 3.21 ERA over 190.2 innings. He has a streak right now of two starts in a row of shutout baseball totaling 13.2 innings. He also had a strong game against the Mets earlier this season holding them to 3 hits and no runs over 7.0 innings of work. The Mets have the following numbers against Leake:

Wright 1-13
Murphy 2-13, 2B
Baxter 3-10
Turner 3-7
Duda 4-5, 2B

Lets Go Mets!

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Mets Announce Aaron Harang Will Start Thursday Against The Nationals Mon, 09 Sep 2013 20:37:24 +0000 harang

The Mets announced that Aaron Harang will get the start on Thursday against the Washington Nationals.

Harang, 35, had his contract selected today from Las Vegas (AAA) of the Pacific Coast League and will wear uniform No. 44.

Recently, he pitched 6.0 innings, allowed six hits, three runs, earned, issued two walks and struck out six vs. Salt Lake in Game Four of the PCL semi-finals on September 7.

The veteran righthander was 5-11 with a 5.76 ERA in 22 starts this year for the Seattle Mariners. He was released last month and signed by the Mets to a minor-league deal last week.

Original Post

The Mets announced that they have called up outfielder Mike Baxter, starting pitcher Aaron Harang, and catcher Juan Centeno, following Sunday’s 2-1 win against the Indians. All three had been assigned to Triple-A Las Vegas before they were eliminated from the postseason play on Saturday night.

All three will be on hand for the start of a four game series against the Washington Nationals, tonight at Citi Field.

Baxter, has seen some time this season with the Mets and has a .208/.325/.277 in 120 plate appearances with the big league team.

Harang, signed a minor league deal with the Mets last week after he was released by the Seattle Mariners. In 22 starts, the 35-year-old posted a 5.76 ERA. He’s expected to make one or two September starts for the Mets.

Centeno, 23, is a highly regarded defensive catcher who batted .305 with a .345 on-base with Las Vegas.

No word on 23-year-old Ruben Tejada, but he is expected to join the team Tuesday or Wednesday.

Yesterday, the Mets also called up relievers Greg Burke and Frank Francisco.

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Has Eric Young Jr. Done Enough To Warrant The Left Field Job In 2014? Mon, 09 Sep 2013 17:31:46 +0000 Eric Young Jr. has helped solidify this outfield and provided a spark offensively

Ever since we acquired Eric Young Jr. from Colorado after they placed him on waivers, I never looked at him as anything more than a utility outfielder. I saw a player who was taking advantage of his increased playing time which came as a result of flops by Collin Cowgill, Lucas Duda, Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Mike Baxter.

Young took hold of his new opportunity and has exceeded everyone’s expectations. Mark Simon of ESPN New York summarizes his recent performance:

Eric Young Jr. continued a recent hot streak with the game-winning hit in the Mets’ lone victory in the series on Sunday. It was his second career go-ahead hit in the ninth inning or later, both of which have come with the Mets. Young is 15-for-40 (.375 batting average) with nine runs scored, six RBIs and five steals in his last 10 games. He’s in the midst of a stretch in which he’s been safe on 16 of his last 17 steal attempts.

The Mets are 36-34 in Young’s 70 games played (28-43 without him). Estimates on his value to the team using advanced stats vary from 0.9 Wins Above Replacement (via to 2.0 Wins Above Replacement (via, though both are big fans of his baserunning. In fact, for the season Young rates third in the majors in Fangraphs’ baserunning metric (Ultimate Baserunning Rating or UBR), contributing 8.6 runs, 8.2 of which have come with the Mets. He has the highest UBR in the game (3.8) over the last 30 days.

Has Young’s recent play given you pause to give him a second look and ask yourself if he should be considered an everyday player for the 2014 season?

I’m still leaning toward no. What he’s doing now is playing his ass off for a job next season. Terry Collins himself challenged his team right after the All Star break and told them they were all playing for the right to an everyday job next season for the team. Is it possible that this extra motivation is playing a part in what we’re seeing from Young now?

Also, let’s not act as though we are seeing elite or even above average numbers from Young. He’s still has a negative WAR for the season – a metric that considers all things offensively and defensively.

Before his current hot streak, Young was mired in a horrendous five week slump that saw him post a .236/.288/.300 batting line in August. And let’s not ignore that for all the hoopla, he’s still only batting .266 as a Met.

Young is up for arbitration this season and should get a nice raise from his $550K salary and possibly as much as $2 million. He’s under team control so no matter what, he’s ours to keep or to trade. But my question is, does this recent spurt change your opinion of him?

For those of you who already thought of him as our 2014 left fielder, has he validated your opinion?

For those of you who didn’t see him as an everyday player, has his recent performance changed your mind?

And for those of you who were sitting on the fence, where do you sit now as this season comes to an end?

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MMO Mailbag: Do You Believe The Mets Will Spend This Offseason? Mon, 09 Sep 2013 15:07:09 +0000 sandy alderson

John B. asks…

Do you really believe the Mets will spend this offseason or that they will contend in 2014?

Joe D. replies…

In a word, yes. I do believe they will spend as they do have many areas they need to address, and they are fresh out of All Star caliber players to trade as well as top performing players like a Marlon Byrd. They will add many players through free agency.

However, I don’t believe they will spend what it will take to land some of the names that are being bandied about like Shin-Soo Choo, Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury and others.

Alderson insisted he has money to spend in free agency during a radio interview this weekend with ESPN. He said he will seek improvements in that market throughout the winter. He also said he is intent on adding a veteran starter regardless of the news on Matt Harvey. In fact, he said he was already planning on pursuing a veteran starter before Harvey was injured and that the only thing that will change now is whether if it’s a number five type starter or a number one or two type.

Despite, what’s been said or reported, I’m not convinced that the Mets will go into next season with a payroll that exceeds $90 million dollars. I just don’t see it.

For three straight offseasons, none of the payroll that was cleared has been reinvested into the team and that’s largely why we’ve seen declining win totals during that span on the major league level. With the Johan Santana and Jason Bay contracts coming off the books, a great deal of that money will go toward raises for current players.

David Wright‘s salary nearly doubles going from $11 million to $ 20 million. Jon Niese also gets a nice boost to $5.5 million. There are also some significant increases expected by players who are due arbitration and chief among them are Dillon Gee, Bobby Parnell, Eric Young Jr. and Daniel Murphy, to name a few. Many of them are coming off solid seasons and will get hefty awards or settlements.

The last time he was asked, Sandy Alderson said he had not been given a payroll budget for the 2014 season so even he doesn’t know at this point what his limitations are and how much he has to spend.

One reader brought up an excellent point this weekend and in the comment threads. Although we haven’t heard anything official yet, it’s presumed that the Mets will likely announce that the team had estimated losses of nearly $20 million dollars this season. It’s not bad after two straight seasons of $50 million losses, but it’s still an indication that the hemorrhaging hasn’t stopped. So why would the banks and lenders whom the Mets owners owe so much to, allow the team to take that approximate $45 million dollar windfall from the Bay/Santana contracts and reinvest it back into the team?

Why do you think the money from Beltran, Rodriguez, Reyes, Castillo and Perez was never invested?

When you’re in debt up to your knees like the Wilpons are, those lenders don’t care about the product on the field only that the team stops losing money which puts their loans and investments in great jeopardy. You also have all those investors and owners they brought on when they sold all those shares in the team. They haven’t seen a dime yet on their huge outlays and they too will have a say.

So… do I think they will spend?

Yes, but only as much as it would take to field a somewhat respectable 25-man roster. And much of that money, which I suspect will be between $15-$20 million in total, wont be nearly enough to go after any of the top names in free agency.

As to whether or not they will contend, consider that they probably lost their ace in Matt Harvey, they have questions at first base, shortstop, and two outfield positions. Questions also remain in the bullpen and the bottom of the rotation, and David Wright is another year older. Plus it looks like Travis d’Arnaud, who the team is committed to, may take at least 400-500 at-bats until he’s where this team expects him to be offensively. That was the number being suggested back when he was still injured, and so far it looks like they were right. There’s a great deal to overcome for this team, but there’s no accounting for luck which always comes into play.

As a die-hard Met fan I go into every Spring Training believing we will contend for a postseason spot regardless of how good or bad the team looks on paper.

It oftentimes leads to disappointment, but I love the team and I’ve always taken Tug’s mantra (Ya Gotta Believe) to heart. There’s still a lot that needs fixing on this team – more now than three years ago – so while my brain says no, they won’t contend, my heart says otherwise.

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51s Lose Via Walk-Off Homer Off Carson, Drop Game One 4-3 Thu, 05 Sep 2013 09:37:12 +0000 94lv

Salt Lake 4, Las Vegas 3

Oh, come on! Binghamton already went down via walk-off tonight…and the Las Vegas 51s suffered the same unfortunate fate. This is just too much to take in for one night. Robert Carson surrendered a home run with two outs to Matt Long in the ninth that ended the ballgame.

Dustin Lawley put the 51s on the board first with a two-out, two-run base knock in the first inning. Eric Campbell added an RBI in the third to make it a 3-0 game at the time. Matt Fox, who was relatively effective, surrendered both his runs in the bottom of the fourth. Leading into the eighth, however, the score stood at 3-2.

Robert Carson entered in the eighth to two men on base and permitted one to score — charged to John Church — and well…you know the story in the ninth.

Tough game, tough loss. We’ll try to get ‘em in the next game.

Key Stats

Mike Baxter: 2-for-4, 1 3B, 1 R

Dustin Lawley: 1-for-4, 2 RBI

Eric Campbell: 1-for-3, 1 BB, 1 RBI, 1 R

Matt Fox: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 3 BB, 2 ER, 2 K

Justin Hampson: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 ER

Robert Carson: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 HR, 1 ER

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Familia Tosses A Scoreless Inning For St. Lucie Sun, 01 Sep 2013 18:11:46 +0000 jeurys familia

Updated by Joe D.

Jeurys Familia made his first rehab appearance for Advanced-A St. Lucie this morning, marking the right-hander’s first game action since undergoing surgery on June 5 to clean out his right elbow.

According to Adam Rubin, Familia tossed one scoreless inning of relief, allowing a single a walk and striking out one.

With the St. Lucie Mets now completing their regular season, it will be interesting to see if the Mets opt to let Familia move onto Double-A Binghamton who still have another week of regular season play and then the postseason.

The 23-year old power righty is officially slated to be reliever and should be ready to compete for a bullpen spot next Spring.

Sandy Alderson will have plenty of solid in-house options to build his bullpen for the ’14 season after three straight Winters of overhauls and revamps.

I love all the potential and upside the Mets’ pen will have next season, packed with plenty of hard-throwers and effective specialists.

Original Post

Jeurys Familia underwent a surgery to clean up loose bodies in his right elbow on June 5th — and yet finds himself close to game action and a rehab assignment right now. Familia tossed a 30-pitch bullpen session yesterday, and the team is looking to get him in some game action on Monday. There are two problems with that, however — the first of them being that the GCL and St. Lucie minor league teams will both have their seasons ended by Monday. Secondly, Rehab Coordinator Jon Debus has a serious artery blockage and requires medical attention. We at MMO wish Jon a safe and speedy recovery.

Anyway, according to Adam Rubin, the Mets plan to patch-work together a game at their complex in Port St. Lucie for Familia, who is expected to return to MLB game action later this month. I like this news, because I want to see if Familia is still popping the glove with his fastball and demonstrating that closer potential I always saw in him.

On the topic of the bullpen, Vic Black will be added to the team tomorrow as a September call-up, but the Mets organization will wait till their teams finish the Minor League playoffs before calling anybody up (also via Adam Rubin). Since both the Las Vegas 51s and the Binghamton Mets are playoff bound, it could be a little while before we see some new faces. Ruben Tejada, Mike Baxter, Francisco Pena, Juan Centeno, and Jeff Walters are all potential names.

The idea is also being floated around that the Mets are going to cut Frank Francisco when he returns from his rehab assigment. Good riddance, eh? He pitched last night for Binghamton, but it feels like he’s been rehabbing his injury forever at this point.

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Martino: Germen May Get Opportunities To Close Fri, 30 Aug 2013 19:20:54 +0000 Gonzalez Germen

According to Andy Martino, The Mets could use Gonzalez Germen in save situations on the road in order to get him used to high pressure situations. The goal is not to make him a future closer, Martino explains, but to better acclimate him to a seventh or eighth inning role by throwing him into the fire. That’s an interesting concept to say the least, and Germen has enough potential that he might pan out to be a useful piece in the ‘pen next year. Germen is 1-1 with a 3.52 ERA through 23.0 innings with 20 strikeouts.

Germen’s got one hell of a nasty change-up that I’ve really come to appreciate, and I’ve warmed up to him since we first called him up. There are a lot of legit names in the mix for the pen next year, including new acquisition Victor Black, who I hope gets a chance to close or at least pitch late in games for the Mets.

He also names potential September call-ups:

With a roster already populated with players fresh from the minors, the Mets do not plan on recalling many players when the rosters expand, but will summon Ruben Tejada, Mike Baxter, one of the Las Vegas catchers, a starting pitcher and another reliever or two. Double-A Binghamton righty Jeff Walters also has a chance to be called up.

That last statement struck me as weird, because I didn’t foresee the Mets calling up Jeff Walters. He would be a useful piece for the back end of the bullpen, without question, but the MLB Mets aren’t going anywhere while the B-Mets could be ticketed to win it all in the Eastern League. This 2013 B-Mets team is one of the best I’ve ever seen and it’s stacked both offensively and defensively — it makes more sense for Walters to at least finish the playoffs with the team before anything close to a call-up.

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Harvey Speaks To Halladay, Doctor Says Surgery Can Be Avoided Thu, 29 Aug 2013 13:30:14 +0000 matt harvey

Matt Harvey was in no mood to talk to reporters yesterday, telling a group of them, “I’m good” after they approached him wanting to know more about his tweet heard ’round the world. The injured ace, who is hoping to avoid Tommy John surgery, was diagnosed with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament, but tweeted Tuesday that he’ll be back on the mound next April.

I can’t say that I blame him for shunning the press after SNY and other media outlets decided to mock him for his optimism and poke fun at him all day… “Maybe he’s delusional”, Matt Cerrone of MetsBlog quipped.

Mets manager Terry Collins told reporters that Harvey is in good spirits after talking to other pitchers who had similar injuries and decided against surgery. That includes former Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay of the Phillies.

“It just sounded similar to what I had,” said Halladay. “I was talking to Terry Collins, and he asked if I’d talk to Matt. We just talked a little bit about some of the strengthening stuff I did. It sounded to me that it’s very similar to what I had.”

“I shared that with him and what I went through. Dr. James Andrews had told me that they felt like at some point they would have to go in and repair it. That was eight years ago, and I’ve never had an issue since.”

Halladay has won 16 or more games six times since he opted against surgery and finished in the top five in Cy Young voting for six straight seasons, actually winning the second Cy Young of his career in 2010.

Collins or Harvey didn’t reveal which other pitchers they spoke to who also successfully let the UCL tear heal on its own and went on with their careers.

The reaction to Harvey’s tweet was addressed by Sandy Alderson as well yesterday, ”There is some possibility that surgery can be avoided,” Alderson said. “There is still some possibility that surgery will not occur and Matt will decide to do something else. We’re going to wait three weeks and test it, to see if he’s hurting.”

Scott Boras, who represents Matt Harvey, also agreed saying that is depends on how big or small the tear is and for now it’s too early to tell.

“When you’re talking about the term ‘partial tear,’ you’re talking about 5 percent to 95 percent. You have to get in and get the specifics and get more information medically before we can really make a determination as to what we’re dealing with. There’s a lot of swelling in there now. … I’ve had situations with no surgery.”

The one thing the drama queens, pessimists, and shock-bloggers won’t tell you, is what one sports surgeon told me yesterday after I reached out to get some outside opinions.

“The fact that there is no shooting pain and no mention of soreness or pain in the elbow itself, would indicate a very small tear. When your UCL ligament goes or ‘pops’ you know it… you feel it.”

“So far, based on what you’re telling me, all they know is that this player has a sore forearm which could be a precursor and indication of something worse or more significant like a UCL tear. But the fact his soreness is limited to just the forearm and not the elbow, bodes well for a small tear that can heal on its own with appropriate rest, rehab and strengthening exercises for the surrounding area in that elbow.”

“From what you’ve told me, the diagnosis itself sounds very preliminary and mostly inconclusive. It’s certainly not enough to say surgery is a slam dunk. Better imaging will give the doctors a clearer indication as to the extent of the tear and if it’s small enough, there’s no reason why he cannot avoid surgery and pitch to the same level as he was pre-injury.”

The Mets said no decision will be made until Harvey is re-examined in a few weeks after the swelling subsides.

Original Post 8/28

I’m officially in 2014 mode, what about you? Actually, I have been for some time now, but the Matt Harvey news and the purge that followed clinched it for me.

Speaking of Harvey, God bless that poor kid. After the news broke about his torn UCL, my heart went out to him and I tweeted him the following:

Matt Harvey responded to the overwhelming outpouring of prayers and hope with the following:

I responded back to him with yet more optimism and also a warning:

Then 30 minutes later, this from MetsBlog:

Matt Harvey will be ready April 1?

Umm, what’s that? April 1? So, does this mean he isn’t having surgery? Or, maybe it means he thinks he isn’t having surgery? Or, maybe he’s delusional? I can’t wait to find out more…

Wow, delusional?

What is there to find out?

This is about a kid whose entire world was turned upside down after spending the last 18 months sitting on top of it…

He’s thanking his fans while showing some optimism, likely more for his own good than for ours…

What kind of reporting is this? Better yet what kind of show of support is this for our team’s most valuable asset and player who has thrilled like no other from the first day he burst onto the scene?

I hope to High Heaven that Matt Harvey never saw that post on MetsBlog calling him out for showing a little optimism… Calling him delusional…

This post is to commend Matt for his message of hope and wish him well as he faces one of the toughest decisions of his life…

Matt, do whatever your heart tells you to do… It’s gotten you this far already… Don’t stop now…

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Phillies vs Mets: As Harvey News Hits Home, Wheeler Takes The Mound Tonight Mon, 26 Aug 2013 15:51:01 +0000 wheeler sf

Philadelphia Phillies at New York Mets

Citi Field • 7:10 PM

Cliff Lee (10-6, 3.16) vs Zack Wheeler (6-2, 3.49)

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I’m so devastated in a baseball sense by today’s news on Matt Harvey… He was supposed to be the poster boy for the new Mets renaissance… Now I don’t know what to think or how to feel…. That said, there is a game today…

Starting Lineup

  1. Juan Lagares, cf
  2. Daniel Murphy, 2b
  3. Josh Satin, 1b
  4. Marlon Byrd, rf
  5. Andrew Brown, lf
  6. Wilmer Flores, 3b
  7. Travis d’Arnaud, c
  8. Justin Turner, ss
  9. Zack Wheeler, rhp

Game Notes

  • Mets right-hander Matt Harvey learned Monday that he has a partially torn UCL in his right elbow. He is expected to be placed on the disabled list and will likely miss the remainder of the season. Harvey will not undergo Tommy John reconstructive surgery at this time, but it has not been ruled out. Harvey, who had been experiencing forearm tenderness, underwent an MRI at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York on Monday morning. ”This was a surprise to all of us, especially Matt himself,” Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said at a news conference at Citi Field. “He has not had any elbow pain. Forearm pain can foretell problems with the elbow, but in this particular circumstance there had been no indications of that. Alderson said that there was inflammation in Harvey’s forearm, and possibly in the elbow as well. He said more might be able to be determined once the inflammation subsides. Both Harvey and Alderson said there was no timetable to make a decision regarding surgery.
  • Travis d’Arnaud hit his first major league home run—and collected his first two RBIs—when he hit a two-run shot to left-center field in the fourth inning of the Mets’ 11-3 loss on Sunday afternoon. d’Arnaud was 1-for-16 prior to the homer, which just cleared the fence and gave the Mets a 3-2 lead. The Citi Field crowd of 32,084 roared until d’Arnaud stepped out of the dugout and doffed his cap. d’Arnaud finished 1-for-3 in the game.
  • Zack Wheeler will look to continue his recent run of strong pitching when he takes the mound for the Mets on Monday night in the opener of a four-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field. In his most recent start last Tuesday, Wheeler earned the win by allowing three runs on six hits and three walks while striking out five over 6 2/3 innings in the Mets’ 5-3 victory over the Braves. Wheeler was one out away from throwing seven scoreless innings and all three runs scored after he left the game. Wheeler is 2-0 with a 2.37 ERA in his last three starts, a stretch in which he’s struck out 21 and walked just four in 19 innings. In his first nine starts as a big leaguer, Wheeler was 4-2 with a 3.91 ERA and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 41/28 in 50 2/3 innings. Wheeler will be making his second career start against the Phillies. He didn’t factor into the decision on July 20, when he allowed two runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out five over 4 2/3 innings in the Mets’ 5-4 win.
  • Wilmer Flores (sprained right ankle) got the day off Sunday. Flores was injured Aug. 12 and missed three of the Mets’ next four games but had played in seven straight games prior to Sunday. Justin Turner started in his place Sunday. Flores, who was recalled by the Mets on Aug. 6 and is starting at third base with David Wright on the disabled list, is hitting .283 with one homer and 11 RBI in his first 15 major league games. Meanwhile, Wright will travel to Port St. Lucie on Thursday to continue his rehabilitation from his hamstring strain.
  • Dillon Gee labored Sunday, when he took the loss after allowing four runs on 10 hits and two walks while striking out two over six innings in the Mets’ 11-3 loss to the Tigers. While Gee allowed all four runs and seven hits in a pair of innings—the Tigers scored two runs on two hits in the first inning and two runs on five hits in the sixth inning—he didn’t have a single 1-2-3 inning. The 10 hits tied a season high for Gee, who also surrendered 10 hits over three innings against the Phillies on April 9. He allowed at least four runs for just the third time in his last 16 starts.
  • LaTroy Hawkins endured his worst outing of the season Sunday, when he allowed five runs on four hits and one walk in just one-third of an inning in the Mets’ 11-3 loss to the Tigers. Hawkins came on to pitch the ninth with the Mets down 4-3 but allowed four straight singles and a walk after retiring leadoff batter Austin Jackson. Hawkins’ ERA rose from 2.88 to 3.65, the highest it has been since June 18. The five runs allowed were the most surrendered by Hawkins since Aug. 8, 2012, when he gave up five runs in two-thirds of an inning for the Angels. Hawkins became the Mets’ closer when Bobby Parnell went on the disabled list Aug. 6 and had recorded five saves in six chances while compiling a 1.86 ERA over his first 9 2/3 innings of the month.
  • Mike Baxter was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas on Saturday. He was batting .208 with four RBIs in 101 at-bats for the Mets.
  • Lucas Duda was recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas on Saturday. Duda hit .235 with 11 home runs, 23 RBIs and a .353 on-base percentage for the Mets earlier this year. He was batting .306 with no homers and eight RBIs in 18 games at Las Vegas.

Game Preview

The battle for third place is on! Before the weekend the Mets were in the driver seat for third place but the Tigers did what the Tigers do. Yesterday the Tigers jumped out to an early lead against the Mets but the Mets came back to take the lead 3-2. The Tigers then nudged forward making it 4-3 and the score stayed like that for a while until the top of the ninth where the game ballooned into a 11-3 score. Tonight Zack Wheeler gets the nod as he goes up against Cliff Lee.

Zack Wheeler is 6-2 over 12 starts with a 3.49 ERA over 69.2 innings with 62 strikeouts. He’s 2-0 over his last three starts pitching 19.0 innings with a 2.37 ERA, 4 BB and 21 strikeouts. In his one start against the Phillies this year he allowed 2 ER over 4.2 innings. The Phillies have the following numbers against Wheeler:

Brown 0-3
Rollins 2-3, HR
Ruf 0-2
Utley 1-2
Young 0-1
Bernadina 0-2
Mayberry 1-2

Cliff Lee is 10-6 over 24 starts this season pitching 170.2 innings with a 3.16 ERA. He has made 4 starts in the month of August going 0-2 and 26.0 innings with a 3.81 ERA and 26 strikeouts. Lee has had two very different starts against the Mets this season. Back in April he allowed only 2 ER over 8.2 innings of work. In July, he allowed 5 ER over 6.0 innings. The Mets have the following numbers against Lee:

Buck 16-55, 3 2B, 4 HR
Byrd 10-28, 3 2B, HR
Murphy 8-26, 4 2B
Duda 6-18, 2B, HR
Lagares 2-3, HR

Lets Go Mets!

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