Mets Merized Online » MLB http://metsmerizedonline.com Sat, 13 Feb 2016 14:00:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.13 Advertisements Do Not Belong On Uniforms http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/02/advertisements-do-not-belong-on-uniforms.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/02/advertisements-do-not-belong-on-uniforms.html/#comments Fri, 12 Feb 2016 12:00:08 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=206110 kia-emblemThe NBA All Star Game is coming this Sunday, and it will feature something no one has ever seen before in the Big Four Sports.

The All Star Game jerseys will have advertisements. A Kia Motors Corp. logo will be emblazoned on the right chest of the uniforms. It’s the first step in what may eventually be a permanent feature on NBA uniforms.

Now, this is a common occurrence in other professional sports. Manchester United wears Chevrolet jerseys. The WNBA has advertisements on their jerseys. The MLS has a team named after a sponsor in the NY/NJ Red Bulls. Every NASCAR driver is a walking billboard.  Despite all of this, it seems that major league baseball will sooner eliminate the DH than have advertising on their jerseys.

The seminal moment on this issue arose in 2004.  Initially, MLB entered into a deal with Marvel Studios and Columbia Pictures that would place the logo for the movie Spider-Man 2 on the bases around the infield.

The fans lost their minds. The public outcry was so fervent that two days after the announcement MLB and the movie studio killed the deal and announced the advertisement would not appear on the bases.

“We listened to the fans,” said Geoffrey Ammer, president of worldwide marketing for the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group. “We never saw this coming, the reaction the fans had. It became a flash point — the reaction was overwhelming.”

Over a decade later, it appears that MLB is no closer to advertisements on the field or on the uniforms. For what it’s worth, Commissioner Rob Manfred stated that he does not see advertisements on jerseys happening.

It was less than a decade ago the naming rights issue to Citi Field was a hot button issue. The Mets and Citigroup came under increased scrutiny over the naming rights deal because Citigroup had just received a huge taxpayer bailout.

citi patch

There were cries for the Mets to return the money and find a new sponsor. The outcry would most likely have been even worse if the Citigroup logo had gone on the Mets jerseys as was initially planned.

As luck would have it, the Mets couldn’t have a Citi Field patch on their uniforms as it was shot down by MLB. Instead, the Mets had the “Inaugural Season” patch instead of a “Citi Field” patch.

That season the Mets still caught a lot flak for a poorly designed patch that would be referred to as the Domino’s Pizza patch. Long story short, MLB’s policy ultimately had a positive effect and the subject of corporate logos on baseball uniforms essentially went away.

So while the NBA goes forward with their plan to advertise on jerseys, MLB will continue to keep the field and uniforms free from advertising. At the end of the day, I prefer MLB’s line of thinking. I’m loathe to think of a scandal involving an advertiser that became the focus of each and every Mets game. So no, advertisements do not belong on MLB uniforms. and I’m glad it’s going to stay that way.

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Yulieski and Lourdes Gurriel Defect from Cuba to Pursue MLB Deals http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/02/yulieski-and-lourdes-gurriel-defect-from-cuba-to-pursue-mlb-deals.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/02/yulieski-and-lourdes-gurriel-defect-from-cuba-to-pursue-mlb-deals.html/#comments Mon, 08 Feb 2016 19:03:33 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=205969 Two very highly regarded Cuban National stars, Yulieski Gurriel and his brother Lourdes Gurriel, Jr., have defected from Cuba and intend to pursue MLB deals once they’ve established residency and are granted free agency by the commissioner’s office according to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com.

Because each brother has more than five years as Serie Nacional players, they are exempt from International Free Agent signing guidelines, adds Sanchez.

Baseball America profiles them as follows:

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Yulieski Gourriel, 3B, Age 31

“Gourriel has all the attributes to be an above-average offensive player. He has plus bat speed and squares up all types of pitches with good hand-eye coordination and barrel control. He wraps his barrel behind his head, angling the bat toward the pitcher, but he gets the barrel into the hitting zone quickly and has good plate coverage. He stays within the strike zone and uses the whole field, and with plus raw power on the 20-80 scale, he offers a balance of being able to hit for average, get on base and hit for power.”

Primarily a third baseman in his career, he is an above-average defender. BA says he would have similar value to Hanley Ramirez and David Wright in terms of age and offensive performance

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Lourdes Gourriel Jr., SS, Age 22

“Lourdes Jr. is emerging as one of the league’s premier talents. Gourriel is a smart hitter with a chance to get on base at a high clip and drive the ball for power. He has plenty of bat speed to catch up to good fastballs and the plate coverage to make frequent contact. He can have trouble at times against slow breaking balls, but he has good strike-zone discipline and a patient approach, giving him a chance to be a plus hitter with a high OBP. Gourriel flashes above-average raw power with the swing path to generate backspin and leverage the ball for loft in games, making him a 20-homer threat.”

He’s played third base and in left field, but has emerged as a shortstop this season and his athleticism and body control for his size allow him to handle the position. BA adds that he’s an average runner, gets good reads off the bat and has a plus arm.

The Mets haven’t been players in the high-priced Cuban free agent market, but they appear to have turned a corner financially. I do believe they may now have the resources to get in the game provided that it’s the right player and they see a fit.

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Jacob deGrom Just Keeps Getting Better http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/02/jacob-degrom-just-keeps-getting-better.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/02/jacob-degrom-just-keeps-getting-better.html/#comments Sat, 06 Feb 2016 15:00:33 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=205785 jacob deGrom

Despite being omitted from MLB Network’s Top 10 Right Now list, RHP Jacob deGrom‘s stock continues to rise, and for great reason. The 27 year-old has been improving since his debut in 2014, and has the chance to prove that he belongs in the top 5 best pitchers in baseball in 2016.

Start with the fact that nearly all his major stats improved from 2014 to 2015. His ERA in 2014 was 2.69 in 22 games pitched. In 8 more starts in 2015, his ERA dropped to 2.54, which was good for 6th in all of baseball. Other numbers that dropped in his favor were WHIP, BAA, and walks. A closer look at his advanced metrics make his 2015 performance look even more impressive though. To begin deGrom had the 6th best strike percentage in MLB, at 68.1%. That’s better than Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez, Gerrit Cole, and Madison Bumgarner to name a few. He also had the 4th best OPS against him at .574. Again the pitchers he beat out are a who’s who of stars including, Dallas Keuchel, Sonny Gray, David Price, Matt Harvey, and Chris Archer.

An interesting stat I came across was when looking into average fastball speed and average perceived speed. Comparing deGrom to his counterpart Matt Harvey, deGrom’s average pitch speed clocks in at 95.28, compared to Harvey’s at 96.18. However, the average perceived speed of their pitches is higher for deGrom than Harvey. Which probably has to do with how well deGrom hides the ball during his pitching motion, and that his average extension when pitching exceeds Harvey’s as well (6.82 to 6.05). They both are listed at 6’4, but deGrom is a bit lankier than Harvey, which could play a part in the added extension in his motion. He also beats another 6’4 strikeout machine in Clayton Kershaw, in both perceived average speed (96.01 to 93.94) and extension (6.82 to 6.43).

And of course, one would be remiss not to mention his tremendous playoff resume that he accumulated in 2015. His first three outings against the Dodgers and Cubs were absolutely dominant, going 3-0 with 27 strikeouts in 20 innings pitched. Despite the loss in Game 2 of the World Series, he had pitched well up until the 5th inning, and the Mets offense only mustered two hits in that game. Needless to say, I imagine most fans would take deGrom’s impressive post-season cumulative stat line over those like Kershaw (2-6 4.59 ERA), Price (2-7 5.12 ERA), and Greinke (3-3 3.55 ERA).

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I also wanted to see how some contemporaries of deGrom’s fared from their rookie year to sophomore season. Take a look at some of the numbers:

Kershaw rookie year: 5-5,  4.26 ERA,  1.495 WHIP
Kershaw sophomore year: 8-8,  2.79 ERA,  1.22 WHIP

Bumgarner rookie year: 7-6,  3.00 ERA,  1.306 WHIP
Bumgarner sophomore year: 13-13,  3.21 ERA,  1.212 WHIP

Greinke rookie year: 8-11,  3.97 ERA,  1.166 WHIP
Greinke sophomore year: 5-17,  5.80 ERA,  1.563 WHIP

Now here’s deGrom’s numbers:

Rookie year: 9-6,  2.69 ERA,  1.14 WHIP
Sophomore year: 14-8,  2.54 ERA,  0.98 WHIP

Of course deGrom debuted at 25, a later age then the three examples listed. The point is to illustrate just how dominant deGrom has been to this point in such a short amount of time in the league. And now without any innings limitations lingering over him he could produce even better. Not bad for a guy who was drafted in the 9th round, 272nd overall.

For my money, deGrom would be one of the first players I address with a contract extension. It also is worth noting that he’s represented by CAA Sports, whose other clients include Buster Posey, Matt Cain, Ryan Howard, and Ryan Zimmerman, all of whom signed long term contracts with their respective teams before testing free agency.

With the numbers he’s produced in his first two years in the bigs, deGrom might be in line to challenge for the NL Cy Young Award this season. While he was snubbed by the MLB Network’s “Shredder”, Mets fans will not snub him or his gaudy numbers. If he continues to pitch like this, there’s no doubt the rest of baseball will soon appreciate and marvel at the job he’s done.

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Mets Unveil New Spring Training Jersey, Cap, Hoodie http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/02/mets-unveil-new-spring-training-jersey-cap-hoodie.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/02/mets-unveil-new-spring-training-jersey-cap-hoodie.html/#comments Mon, 01 Feb 2016 13:00:03 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=205469 jacob degrom

With the reporting date for pitchers and catchers only 16 days away, here’s a preview of the new jerseys, caps and pullover hoodies Mets players will be sporting when they arrive to camp at Port St. Lucie.

Jacob deGrom (above) is looking good in his official Mets Spring Training sweatshirt that features the slogan “Train To Reign” on the front.

syndergaard jersey

The new Spring Training jerseys, designed by Majestic, may look the same as last year, but there are some very cool differences. For one, the sides feature a mesh panel that will keep you cool and add better mobility.

The right sleeve also features this year’s new Spring Training Logo Patch. It looks like a typical Interstate Highway or Route sign with the state initials for Florida and Arizona to represent the Grapefruit League and Cactus League, respectively.

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If you zoom in on Syndergaard’s jersey and take a closer look, you’ll find that all the Uniform Numbers and Letters feature an assortment of different MLB and Spring Training logos. It’s actually a pretty nice touch – even if it’s practically invisible from a distance.

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This year’s spring training caps will still feature Mr. Met on the front, but will also include a side patch of the new Interstate Highway marker, with the designation “FL” for Florida.

I’m not so thrilled with the sweatshirts and hoodies, but to borrow a phrase from Dwight Gooden, the jersey and cap are “Crazy Good.”

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Greed is Good… Except If You’re A Baseball Fan http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/greed-is-good-except-if-youre-a-baseball-fan.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/greed-is-good-except-if-youre-a-baseball-fan.html/#comments Sun, 31 Jan 2016 14:25:47 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=205417 wall-street-douglas

If you’re Gordon Gekko greed is good.

If you’re Bernie Sanders greed is bad.

If you’re a baseball fan you wonder if MLB’s greed has a direct impact on winning the World Series.

Although none of us like to admit it Baseball is a business. But what happens when the desire to make a buck intrudes on the integrity of the game we all cherish? Case in point: The post-season.

I applaud MLB’s effort to prolong fan interest by adding first one wildcard, then a second. Stadiums that would be barren much of September are now filled as spectators cheer their team into a post-season berth. But as a longtime fan I feel October baseball is greatly lacking.

I became a fan in 1973 when making the playoffs meant something. It meant you were good, damn good. But that prestigious honor has lost its luster.

Casey Stengel Holding Drawing for New Baseball Uniform

The addition of the Mets and Colt 45’s in 1962 brought the total of professional teams to 20. Two 10-team leagues. No playoffs. You won your league, became league champion and played in the World Series. 20 teams, just 2 made the post-season.1 out of 10.

Baseball expanded in 1969, adding the Padres, Royals, Expos and Pilots and launched divisional play. Two divisions per league with each division winner meeting in a best-of-5 to determine league champion and earn the right to appear in the Fall Classic. 24 teams, 4 made the playoffs. 1 out of 6.

The addition of the Blue Jays and Mariners in 1977 brought the total to 26 clubs. But the powers-that-be kept the format the same. 26 teams, 4 made the playoffs. 1 out of every 6 ½.

The message was clear and this is what separated Baseball from other sports where seemingly mediocre teams faced off in the playoffs, playoffs that went on and on and on and on. To make Baseball’s post-season, you had to fight for it. Mediocrity wasn’t rewarded.

After the cancellation of the World Series, and in an attempt to return fan interest, it was decided to have three divisions and one wildcard. This was immediately after baseball expanded into Denver and Miami. A few years later, clubs were added in Phoenix and Tampa. 30 teams, 8 made the playoffs. Almost 1 out every 4 were now in the post-season.

When the second wild-card slot came along a few years back that brought the total of teams eligible to 10. 10 out of 30. 1 in every 3 teams now make it.

The 21st worst team in Baseball has now ‘earned the right’ to possibly call themselves World Champions.

Or to look at it differently, in the last 22 years MLB added 4 teams while adding 6 post-season slots.

Granted, fans hand over cash in late September they normally wouldn’t and tune in when they’d usually be watching something different. Everyone makes a buck. Everyone’s happy. But should a team who plays just average baseball for 5 ½ long months be worthy of winning it all if they get hot at the right time?

Play solid baseball for 3 weeks in early May, no one notices. Play solid baseball for 3 weeks in October, you get a trophy.

I believe the question that begs to be asked is this: By adding so many levels to the post-season, does MLB’s greed have a direct bearing on who wins it all?

Baseball’s a streaky game. Superstars like Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera, Buster Posey or Yoenis Cespedes can get hot, put the team on their back and carry them for a couple weeks. Clayton Kershaw can turn into Sandy Koufax for a month and go 5-1 with a 0.85. We’re all familiar with the expression ‘You can’t turn it on and off.’ Yet that’s what MLB now expects. In the post-season, a number 3 starter, for example, can conceivably go 10 days between taking the hill.

In 2010, the Rangers were clicking on all cylinders and defeated the Yankees in the LCS. They then had to sit around 5 days waiting for the NL to finish. Texas lost the World Series in 5.

The 2012 ALCS saw the hot-hitting Tigers crush the Yankees in 4 straight. They now waited 6 long days before facing the NL Champions. It was then Detroit who got swept by the Giants.

daniel murphy hr 3

This past year saw the Mets stun the heavily favored Cubs, sweeping them in 4. The Mets had a 6 day layoff and when the World Series ended, the Mets lost in 5.

In the LDS, Daniel Murphy went 7-21 (.333), 810 slugging percentage with 3 HR’s and 5 RBI’s. In the LCS, Murphy stayed hot, going 9-17 (.529), slugging at 1.294 and hit 4 HR’s and knocked in 6 RBI’s in 4 games.

After almost a week layoff, Murphy went 3-20 in the World Series, (.150), a .150 slugging percentage. 0 HR’s 0 RBI’s.

When I was younger I’d make a point to watch every playoff game I could. I knew that not only was I seeing the best of the best, but also there weren’t too many games. The LCS was 3 out of 5, the Series 4 out of 7. At the most I could watch 17, just 10 if all rounds were sweeps.

With today’s format, the post-season will go, at the very least, 26 games. Perhaps as many as 43.

There’s no sense of urgency to watch a playoff game today because you can watch one tomorrow, or two or three or sometimes four tomorrow.

How many of you tuned in to non-Mets games last October? Maybe you watched an inning here and there, but did anyone watch the entire Rangers/Jays series? I’m guessing only a few.

Psychologists refer to Cognitive Dissonance as a disorder where an individual can hold two contradictory beliefs, ideas or values at the exact same moment. I’m starting to wonder if the powers-that-be atop MLB’s food chain should seek out help.

For years now, owners and commissioners have looked into ways to alter the very fabric of the national pastime and speed up the game, to make the game shorter.

Meanwhile, as they look into speeding up pace of play, they continually make the season longer. Longer, and less meaningful.

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On October 16, 1969, Davey Johnson flied out to Cleon Jones and the Mets won their first championship. On October 16, 2015, the Mets were still 24 hours away from the first game of the post-season. When Johnny Podres was the winning pitcher in game 7 for Brooklyn’s one and only title the date was October 4, 1955. Sixty years later, October 4, 2015, the regular season hadn’t even ended.

The 2015 post-season continued for nearly a full month, beginning on October 6 and running through November 1st.

Nothing will change anytime soon. Everyone’s making money and everyone’s happy. But is that what’s best for the game? There’s even been some scuttlebutt that some higher-ups were kicking around the idea of adding yet a third wild-card spot. Or expanding the one game wildcard to a best of 3 series.

The pinnacle of the season is always the World Series. It’s called the Fall Classic for a reason. It’s the mountaintop, the exclamation point on an arduous 162 games. It’s a chance for the 2 best teams to be showcased and battle it out for the world to see.

But has this also become anticlimactic?

The LCS, like the World Series, is 4 out of 7. One could almost argue that the LCS is a National League and American League World Series.

I feel that the wildcard should remain one game, the LDS 2 out of 3, the LCS 3 out of 5 and the World Series – the culmination and high point – remain 4 out of 7.

“Baseball must be a great game to survive the fools who run it.”

Hall of Fame First Baseman Bill Terry

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The Sustainability Doctrine And The 2016 Mets http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/the-sustainability-doctrine-and-the-2016-mets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/the-sustainability-doctrine-and-the-2016-mets.html/#comments Sun, 27 Dec 2015 01:00:30 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=203004 Mets Cubs

Sustainability.

Wikipedia tells us: In ecology, sustainability is the capacity to endure; it is how biological systems remain diverse and productive indefinitely. Long-lived and healthy wetlands and forests are examples of sustainable biological systems. In more general terms, sustainability is the endurance of systems and processes.

It seems like every time a member of the Mets front office is questioned about the possibility of the Mets inking a sizable free agent contract the words “payroll flexibility” come up. It conjures images of a payroll clerk with one of those transparent green hat-visors doing leg stretches … but it’s not that. It’s all about living within one’s means so that your payroll commitments allow for the occasional big splash, provided it falls within a schedule of staggered moderate splashes. What you want to avoid is multiple big splashes at the same time or a really really big splash — that can put you underwater, to coin a phrase … And it’s all about coin, make no mistake.

The Mets of recent years have shed big contracts like a rattlesnake with psoriasis sheds scales. They have been hovering in the bottom third of MLB payroll since 2013 and haven’t made a significant long-term commitment to a player since they signed David Wright in 2012. They seem incapable of going beyond four years in any scenario, and while it was reported they’d go that long for Ben Zobrist, this offer was never a formal paper contract put on a real table in front of the actual Ben Zobrist — it was only an idea, a draft in a cloud, an illusion. Oh sure they ran Zobrist’s price up and yeah maybe they made a token offer over a pay-phone from the hotel parking lot, but the speed with which they went to “plan B” (Neil Walker) made it apparent that Walker may have been plan A all along. Cheaper, shorter term, and younger.

Since then the Mets have signed Bartolo Colon for $7 million, Jerry Blevins for $4 million, Asdrubal Cabrera for $8.25 million, and Alejandro De Aza for $5.75 million, putting current Mets payroll, after the arbitration dust settles, at somewhere around $107 million. Adam Rubin believes the Mets are just about done, needing maybe a bullpen arm and a bench piece with De Aza as the lefty hitting complement to Lagares. It occurred to me that if this is the case, De Aza (a fringe 4th outfielder type) complementing a rotation estimated to be worth a billion dollars in future value is like pouring ketchup over braised rack of lamb. It’s like stuffing a Luis Vuitton handbag with mashed potatoes from the casino buffet. Like using regular gasoline in a Bugatti Veyron … I could go on …

The Mets, in adhering to their sustainability doctrine which stipulates avoiding long-term deals like a box in a laboratory marked “plague rats — deceased,” continue to emphasize the import of staggered commitments, effectively conferring the flexibility to secure viable replacements. Only they aren’t really making even moderate commitments.

There’s a problem with this continued Met frugality. At some point you have to bring back the guy with the hat-visor and the half pencil so you can account for increases in spending across MLB. If players make more now than they did when Curtis Granderson signed, it’s going to cost more to replace him when his contract is up. It’s basically a cost of living (in MLB) adjustment. The Mets have barely budged from their 2002-ish payroll in spite of spending increases across the league and in spite of their trip to the World Series. Is this a function of ownership’s debt, or are the Mets genuinely sticking to their austere principles?

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While the truth probably involves some viscid slurry of both, it is certainly evident that most long term deals end disastrously. There is also no doubt that the “offense on the fly” S.F. Giant approach works like a charm. But lets not kid ourselves, believing that the Mets’ limited payroll has nothing to do with the Wilpons is like believing It’s A Wonderful Life is about a thrifty handicapped entrepreneur who is thwarted in his attempts to revitalize a stifling ho-hum community by a bunch of lazy “garlic eaters.”

The Mets front office has earned some slack. It is, after all, difficult to predict how a season will unfold … The variables and contingencies are legion in the 162 game slog that is baseball’s regular season. Fortifying a roster with versatile and inexpensive players at the outset gives you a better shot at addressing needs as they arise. Hard to tell what the Mets are going to need in July when the calendar says December. Still, the need for a middle of the order bat seems like a given and Cespedes appeared to fit the bill quite nicely. Emptying the farm in June for the annual slugger du-jour isn’t very sustainable either, especially when you consider that the resurgent farm is perhaps the single biggest reason behind the 2015 Mets’ playoff run

For Mets fans there is a wait and see tautness to this off-season with a bit of guarded optimism. The front office has been on something of a roll with player moves and it’s hard to complain coming off a wildly successful 2015 campaign. There’s a very real possibility that the frugal approach may have less to do with the Wilpons’ debt and more to do with a doctrine that emphasizes controllable pitching assets, youth, complementary short-term pieces, and the absolute avoidance of the mega-deal. You can’t deny it worked in 2015. Will the Mets have the capacity to endure? To be productive indefinitely? To reproduce success through their systems and processes? Will this new Met eco-system succeed with beautiful and diverse species thriving within their means, or will it suffocate from a lack of resources like the greasy surface of a murky Flushing bog mottled with belly-up lab rats?

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Jon Niese Just Couldn’t Resist, Takes Shot At Mets Defense http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/jon-niese-just-couldnt-resist-takes-shot-at-mets-defense.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/jon-niese-just-couldnt-resist-takes-shot-at-mets-defense.html/#comments Thu, 10 Dec 2015 12:00:24 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=202216 jon niese travis d'Arnaud

Jon Niese didn’t take his trade to the Pittsburgh Pirates too bad. In fact, you could say he sounded like a guy who was relieved to be putting the /New York Mets behind him.’

Never being one to hide his emotions, especially if his defense let him down, Niese told Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: “I didn’t enjoy facing the Pirates; they have a great lineup,” Niese said. “But, I’m sure what I’ll appreciate more than anything is the way the Pirates play defense. I’m looking forward to that.”

Biertempfel said Niese sounded like someone who wanted to get his issues with the Mets defense off his chest. “It would seem that’s been stuck in his craw for awhile now, and it came flying out the first chance he got on Wednesday.”

According to Big League Stew, Niese joins a Pirates team that led MLB in total chances (6,459), putouts (4,469) and assists (1,868) in 2015. But they also made 122 errors, the second most in MLB, the price he says of being aggressive.

Niese, who went 9-10 with a 4.13 ERA in 33 appearances with Mets last season, must have given Pirates GM Neal Huntington an earful as well.

During his press conference, Huntington said that his new left-hander’s numbers should improve because last season Niese was unhappy with how the Mets used him especially when he had to pitch in a six-man rotation.

Methinks thou dost protest too much, Mr. Niese. We’ll see you on June 6 when the Pirates come to Citi Field for a three-game set. June 6… D-Day.

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Top Prospect Jose Miguel Fernandez Defects From Cuba http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/top-prospect-jose-miguel-fernandez-defects-from-cuba.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/top-prospect-jose-miguel-fernandez-defects-from-cuba.html/#comments Thu, 03 Dec 2015 12:30:53 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=201456 Jose Miguel Fernandez

According to Ben Badler of Baseball America, Jose Miguel Fernandez has defected from Cuba in hopes of pursuing a MLB contract. Fernandez was rated as the number three overall Cuban prospect by Badler prior to the season, and he’s expected to be in high demand around the league.

While he’s not a huge homerun threat, Badler says he’s a major league ready infielder with a quick bat and has outstanding plate discipline. Fernandez hit .326/.482/.456  in 2014 with only ten strikeouts and 65 walks during 315 plate appearances.

The 27 year old second baseman did not play during the entire 2015 season due to a suspension for trying to leave the country. However, his upside is clearly there and he always hits whenever he’s on the field. In the World Baseball Classic in 2013, he hit over .500 with a .545 OBP and had no strikeouts in 21 at bats.

Scouts have considered him as a respectable fielder at second base, but Balder says his speed and range have declined as he’s filled out over the years.

Given his skill set, I wonder if he’s a player the Mets will look at closely over the next several months. His tremendous approach at the plate makes him a perfect fit for the team’s hitting philosophy, and he would also give the team some talent and depth in the infield.

It’s going to be interesting to see what type of contract he’ll receive on the open market, but the Mets and the rest of the league will have to wait before finding out. Badler says that it’s unlikely that he’ll be ready to sign prior to opening day since he still needs to establish residence in another country and be declared a free agent before being eligible to sign.

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Hot Stove: Mariners Discussing Marcell Ozuna Trade With Marlins http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/11/hot-stove-mariners-discussing-marcell-ozuna-trade-with-marlins.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/11/hot-stove-mariners-discussing-marcell-ozuna-trade-with-marlins.html/#comments Wed, 25 Nov 2015 13:31:25 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=200985 marcell-ozuna

Marlins center fielder Marcell Ozuna has been a frequent subject of rumors this offseason, and it appears one team has emerged as a potential landing spot.

Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reported Tuesday evening that the Seattle Mariners are discussing a deal to acquire outfielder Marcell Ozuna from the Miami Marlins. Beat reporter Joe Frisaro of MLB.com  added that the Marlins are currently “fielding a lot of calls” on Ozuna but is not sure anything is imminent.

The Mariners, who have the young controllable starting pitching the Marlins are looking for, could move one or more of a group that includes left-handers Roenis Elias and James Paxton, and right-handers Taijuan Walker and Nate Karns.

Ozuna, who turned 25 this month, had an up-and-down year with the Marlins that included a mid-season demotion to the minor leagues. That decision led to a gigantic and public rift between Ozuna’s agent Scott Boras and owner Jeffrey Loria who reportedly wants Ozuna off the team.

Ozuna, who is under team control through the 2019, hit .259/.308/.383 with 10 homers and 44 RBIs for the Marlins in 2015. But the right-handed slugger rebounded nicely after he was recalled from the minors and posted a .789 OPS with 13 doubles, six home runs, 18 RBI and 20 runs scored in his final 162 at-bats of the season.

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Looks Like Jurickson Profar Is Back In The Spotlight http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/11/looks-like-jurickson-profar-is-back-in-the-spotlight.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/11/looks-like-jurickson-profar-is-back-in-the-spotlight.html/#comments Wed, 25 Nov 2015 12:00:32 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=200971 profar jurickson

After missing the past two years due to injuries, former top prospect Jurickson Profar is back on the radar. Profar had a solid showing in the Arizona Fall League this year, and was named to the All-AFL team by Mike Rosenbaum of MLB.com.

“Profar is finally beginning to look like the same player who ranked as baseball’s unanimous top prospect in 2013 before a shoulder injury limited him to just 12 games over the past two seasons. He’s lost a step and has been limited to DH duties, but the 22-year-old’s approach, contact skills and power are all still there.”

“While the switch-hitter’s .267 average in 20 games isn’t particularly impressive, he consistently worked deep counts and made hard contact from line to line, and his 20 RBIs were one off the league lead.”

The Mets have been linked to Profar in the past, but a trade seems unlikely to happen now since he is still working his way back to full strength

A scout told Joel Sherman of the NY Post that the Rangers will ask for full value back, which is something that no team will consider.

“I like Profar, but if you are Texas, you have to ask full value for him, and how could you give up full value for a player who we don’t know yet if he can throw?”

Rangers’ General Manager Jon Daniels also publicly stated that they want Profar to rebuild his value and that they aren’t looking to trade him.

“We are not looking to trade him,” Daniels said. “We held onto him this long. We are pretty optimistic his shoulder is fit. The mindset is to wait and see where he is. We believe he will get back to his value, which was one of the best young players out there.”

However, Daniels may eventually be tempted to deal him as they are set up the middle with Elvis Andrus and Rougned Odor. The market for a shortstop/second baseman like Profar is also very thin, so he could be in high demand around the league.

The Mets should be one of the team’s interested since they are rumored to be shopping for a shortstop. While his stock has dropped considerably in recent years, the 22-year old Profar is still an intriguing target for the Front Office to think about.

Prior to the 2013 season, Profar was considered the best prospect in all of baseball. He was ranked number one overall by Baseball America, MLB.com and Baseball Prospectus.

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Sporting News Names Matt Harvey NL Comeback Player of the Year http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/sporting-news-names-matt-harvey-nl-comeback-player-of-the-year.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/sporting-news-names-matt-harvey-nl-comeback-player-of-the-year.html/#comments Mon, 26 Oct 2015 17:10:23 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=195283 matt harvey

New York Mets right-hander Matt Harvey has been named the Sporting News NL Comeback Player of the Year.

The award was voted on by MLB players, who had Rockies OF Carlos Gonzalez finishing in second place.

1. Matt Harvey, Mets — 72

2. Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies — 66

3. Joey Votto, Reds — 25

4. Michael Wacha, Cardinals — 13

5. Andre Ethier, Dodgers — 3

6. A.J. Burnett, Pirates — 2

7. Others — 17

Harvey missed the 2014 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery and after a lengthy recovery process, he returned this season to make 29 starts for the NL East-winning Mets, going 13-8 with 188 strikeouts and a 4.3 WAR. His 2.71 ERA was good for sixth in the NL.

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Matt and what he has accomplished this year, and coming back from that surgery, pitching as much as he has, as well as he has, and his determination to pitch in the postseason,” Mets GM Sandy Alderson told Sporting News.

Awesome… Congratulations to the Dark Knight…

October 2 – Harvey Deserves Comeback Player of the Year Award

Matt Harvey has been nominated for the comeback player of the year award in the National League along with Carlos Gonzalez of the Rockies and Joey Votto of the Reds. (CBS New York)

Harvey, who missed all of 2014 after undergoing Tommy John surgery, has been excellent in his first year back from injury.

His record stands at 13-7, and he has an impressive 2.80 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in 183 innings pitched. He’s undoubtedly been one of the best pitchers in baseball this year as his numbers rank towards the top of the charts in most categories. Harvey is 10th in the MLB in ERA, 8th in WHIP and has the 11th best strikeout to walk rate at 4.78.

However, Harvey will face some tough competition to win the award as Gonzalez and Votto have both had strong bounce back seasons. Gonzalez has crushed 40 home runs and 96 RBI for Colorado and has been almost unstoppable after the all-star break with a .643 slugging percentage and  .978 OPS.

Meanwhile, Votto has returned to his MVP from with a .317 average, 27 home runs and 79 RBI. He also leads the MLB in walks with 142 and has a tremendous 1.012 OPS.

Still, I think Harvey comes out on top. He’s faced so much more adversity than the other two candidates as he worked his way back from surgery and even had to deal with the intense media spotlight of New York. He overcame all of these issues and still pitched like an ace.

Gonzalez and Votto have certainly been great, but Harvey is more deserving of the award.

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The Massive Monetary Implications Of A Winning Mets Team http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/the-massive-monetary-implications-of-a-winning-mets-team.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/the-massive-monetary-implications-of-a-winning-mets-team.html/#comments Mon, 26 Oct 2015 14:23:54 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=197736 alg-wilpon-selig-jpg

Regardless of what your thoughts are concerning former MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, as a Mets fan you have to consider the fact that he may have had more of an impact on your team’s fortunes than you realize. The Mets in 2010 were a mess with two sub .500 seasons coming on the heels of two gut wrenching late season collapses, all while the Wilpons continued to reel financially from their affiliation with Bernie Madoff and his ponzi scheme. They were probably as close as they’ve ever been to a forced sale at that point, resorting to an emergency 25 million dollar bridge loan from MLB.

Selig was catching heat from both the press and Mets fans over his purported double standard in taking a hard line ousting embattled Dodger’s owner Frank McCourt while he coddled and propped up the Wilpons. His position at the time was that the two situations were fundamentally different and he had the utmost confidence in Mets ownership. All the while the team was searching for a new GM and the name Sandy Alderson came up.

There has been a lot of speculation over just how integral a role Selig played in the Mets hiring of Sandy Alderson, but there are a couple of things that can’t be disputed — Alderson was in Selig’s employ at the time, and Selig did “recommend” Alderson for the job. Steve Kettman in his book Maverick, (and his subsequent interview here on MMO), downplayed Selig’s influence in the hiring, maintaining that the Wilpons insist they were in control of the process the whole time, but you have to wonder. Selig wasn’t exactly known as someone whose recommendation you’d take lightly and Alderson was a high ranking MLB insider with a reputation as a “fix-it” guy. In fact, just prior to the hire, Alderson was in the Dominican Republic as Selig’s point man in MLB’s efforts to correct a host of problems with young developing players — namely predatory agents, PED abuse, and identity  manipulation.

Alderson was a guy who’d already served as a GM, Chief Executive of a Major League Baseball team, and as Executive Vice President of MLB. As David Waldstein of the NY Times noted, he was in some respects over-qualified for the Mets job. The Wilpons’ financial outlook would soon go from bad to worse with a significant “clawback” lawsuit brought against them by the trustee representing the victims of Bernie Madoff’s ponzi scheme. MLB ownership, with all it’s new-fangled national media and profit sharing deals, was watching one of it’s premier big-market franchises idle in squalor. That wasn’t good for anyone, so it was definitely in MLB’s best interest to “fix the Mets,” and really, Alderson was tremendously qualified for the job on several levels.

collins alderson

Perhaps most importantly, Alderson had something a lot of other candidates for the Mets job did not. He had some serious clout in MLB circles, and he had a reputation as a guy who placed the cold calculating execution of stated initiatives above whatever inherited rancor, emotional or otherwise, may preside over given challenges.

So regardless of how Mets ownership viewed Alderson, it’s not far fetched to regard him as a de-facto MLB operative similar to Tom Scheiffer’s official role overseeing the Dodgers. The fact that this level of influence was strenuously denied by sources close to Mets ownership, in my mind only reinforces the notion that there’s something to it.

In 2010, perhaps the most coined and damaging criticism of the Mets as an organization was that their ownership was meddlesome to a crippling degree. Alderson effectively negated this interference through sheer organizational prowess — quite possibly the single biggest reason why Paul DePodesta and the rest of the Mets baseball operations people were able to operate unencumbered. It speaks volumes, for instance, that in the Cespedes proceedings Alderson was effectively able to confine Jeff Wilpon’s influence to a single board room vote. There is something to be said for an administrator who knows how to administrate.

But no matter what aspect you choose to view this situation from, there is no disputing that fixing the Mets was a big priority not only for Mets ownership and for the fans, but for MLB.

Selig watched as the Dodgers were packaged and sold for a whopping $2 billion dollars to Magic Johnson and his Guggenheim partnership group. The Dodgers promptly blasted old payroll figures out of the water, becoming the first team to eclipse the Yankees in total payroll since Baltimore in 1998. Now Bud Selig is known for his ability to squeeze money from stones and bramble, so the notion that he did not see the Mets’ situation as a sort of counter-weight to the Dodgers is naive.

Selig has a long history of collusion accusations and crying poverty where there is none (and when it’s convenient) to go along with his personal background as a small market owner. I’m not implying that Selig actively sought to create a small market version of the Mets in New York, I’m saying I don’t see why he’d stand in the way of this happening, perhaps even nudging it along.

The Mets didn’t look like they’d be spending anyhow, why not further whatever corrective actions might be necessary, namely a bridge loan, a vote of confidence, and the installation of a shrewd MLB insider with a reputation as a consummate hatchet man, to ensure that the Mets benefited from their unavoidable austerity?

There’d be no possible way to accuse Selig of conspiring to lower payrolls (as was his wont) because it was clearly established that the Mets were broke. Selig simply facilitated, to the extent his influence allowed, a successful small-market makeover in New York, with the Wilpons’ Madoff debacle providing the perfect cover.

scott-boras-sandy-alderson

For four years the Mets wallowed in mediocrity and everyone with an interest in spending was unperturbed. 2015 rolls around and just as the Mets appear to be heading towards a playoff berth Scott Boras begins dropping bombs around the issue of Matt Harvey’s arm … Sandy Alderson, MLB, and Scott Boras were never more clearly on opposite ends in terms of their interests.

Was Boras really concerned about his client’s valuable arm, or was he worried about his own bottom line as a player agent whose salary is largely contingent on big free agent contracts? It’s a rhetorical question — the Mets model lays out a virtual blueprint on how to succeed without relying on the very contracts that Boras depends on.

The Dodgers payroll currently sits atop MLB at just under $273 million. The Mets, who just beat LA in the NLDS, come in 21st at $101 million. That’s a difference of $172 million dollars. No matter who makes it to the World Series to op$pose the Mets, the combined payrolls of both teams will be less than what The Dodgers spent.

Say you own a factory in Los Angeles that makes widgets. It costs you $50.00 to make a dozen widgets and you sell your widgets for $100.00 a dozen. Your competitor, Mr. Alderson, also sells them for $100.00 a dozen, but suddenly he develops a means whereby he can produce widgets for a measly $10.00 a dozen. You think you wouldn’t be interested in finding out about what those means are? Your business model would depend on it.

This is why the sudden overwhelming success of the small-marketization experiment in N.Y. is kind of a big deal.

Forget about Kansas City and Oakland, big market success on a small market payroll means a staggering, unprecedented, profit margin. With the player’s pool projected to be as high as $81 million this year, Mets ownership stands to reap anywhere from $50 to $60 million for their share of the post season in the event the Mets win the series. Consider that this figure represents more than half of their current payroll and that there is something like $37 million coming off the books, and you sort of get the picture … that’s not even factoring the $12-13 additional million in 2015 regular season gate proceeds. Money ball, with money, and lots of it.

The take-away is simple. The Mets are in a remarkably fortuitous position moving forward. Even in the event the Mets decide to keep their payroll close to what it is now they’ll have quite a bit of wiggle room. The Mets are also in perhaps the most lucrative market when it comes to making money off of a winning product. There are more than just gate proceeds to factor in, concessions, merchandise sales, ratings, all stand to see big increases.

And as if that weren’t enough, word broke earlier this week that Jeffrey Picower’s widow (Picower was considered to be one of Madoff’s primary co-conspirators) agreed to release $7.2 billion to the trustee representing Madoff victims. Its been a pretty damned good month for the Wilpons.

From A Mets fan’s perspective the big question is whether this means the Mets will start spending again. The Mets will have arbitration increases and free agent vacancies to consider this winter, but should they decide to add even a conservative 10% to their current payroll, that would increase their spending money to something around $47 million. For the short term, that gives them ridiculous flexibility both in terms of adding a big contract as well as filling holes and maybe even offering extensions to some of their young starters. In practice it is precisely the sustainable “cyclical” spending plan that Alderson has been promoting for years. 

So, as hard as it may be to fathom at the moment, and as absurd as it may sound, there is more going on here than a trip to the World Series. As fans we can argue until we’re blue in the face over who gets credit for on-field success, but there’s no disputing Sandy Alderson’s impact on the franchise’s finances. He has rebuilt a system which may end up registering record profits over the next few seasons given it’s diminutive payroll, its competitive make up, its rich farm system, and its prime location. 

Wait, no, there really isn’t more going on than a trip to the World Series — ultimately that sublime seismic blast is still scattering blue and orange debris in a consciousness where it hasn’t quite registered yet — but you get the idea, a winning NL franchise on a limited payroll in NY, is, financially, kind of a big deal. 

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Will Mets Face Punishment For Excessive Champagne Celebrations? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/will-mets-face-punishment-for-excessive-champagne-celebrations.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/will-mets-face-punishment-for-excessive-champagne-celebrations.html/#comments Fri, 23 Oct 2015 13:45:21 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=197635 curtis granderson

While this is one of the last things I want to discuss on the verge of what has just happened, it might be something to keep in the back of our minds.

Arash Markazi of ESPN wrote a nice piece about the evolution of celebrations in baseball, detailing the progression from beer to the champagne that we commonly see used today.

Markazi discusses some points that might bring joy to some baseball historians, such as the progression from beer to champagne and how teams are limited to solely Budweiser as a choice of celebratory beer choice due to contractual obligations. All in all, it was an informative piece that gave me a little insight into the history behind the celebrations.

So why am I so disappointed to bring it up, considering the Mets just successfully doused themselves in champagne for the third time this season? Markazi points out that, apparently, MLB sent out a one-page memo to all teams on the verge of clinching playoff berths.

“It stated that teams must have non-alcoholic beverages for players and limit the amount of alcoholic champagne to two bottles per player; champagne should be used primarily for spraying; beer is the only other alcohol permitted in postgame celebrations; clubs should remind their players and staff to celebrate responsibly; and clubs should make sure transportation is available following celebrations to get players and staff home or back to the team hotel…

Teams have also been told not to take any alcoholic beverages onto the field and spray fans, some of whom may be minors.

“Our policy explicitly states that no alcohol is permitted outside of the clubhouse or at any time on the field of play, and that all celebrations involving the use of alcohol must take place within the clubhouse,” Courtney said.

“We have MLB security on-site to enforce our rules. The commissioner determines the appropriate steps if any individuals violate our rules.”noah syndergaard

Ignoring the fact that teams are supposed to be limited to two bottles of champagne per player, anyone enjoying this recent Mets postseason run and watching the post-game video and interviews has been well aware of the fact that these celebrations have consistently gotten to the field and the crowd. Markazi states that guilty parties have already been contacted by the league and given warnings that continued behavior will result in discipline.

During the celebration at Wrigley Field, Jon Niese was stopped from leaving the clubhouse with champagne, but Terry Collins somehow slipped past guards and went on the field to spray fans with champagne before being told to return to the clubhouse.

Rules are rules, sure, but this seems a little overboard to me. Many joke about the NFL turning into the “No-Fun League” due to their overbearing restrictions on celebrations and energetic displays that slowly became a natural part of the game.

It would disappoint me to see a similar situation make its way into the world of baseball, where the champagne celebrations have been an absolute tradition among successful teams.

Although there have been alterations made for situations — such as the Rangers celebrating their AL West title by using ginger ale and water — I cannot imagine the storm of controversy that would follow if MLB would be quicker to discipline players and coaches for celebration rather than dropping punishment on someone like Chase Utley.

That being said, as long as no concrete punishments are made public in the next few days or so, I cannot imagine this being too much of an issue. So we can just bask in our victory for a little longer… :D

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Mets Add Matt Reynolds To NLDS Roster, Ruben Tejada Won’t Require Surgery http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/mets-add-matt-reynolds-to-nlds-roster-ruben-tejada-wont-require-surgery.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/mets-add-matt-reynolds-to-nlds-roster-ruben-tejada-wont-require-surgery.html/#comments Mon, 12 Oct 2015 18:12:49 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=196252 matt reynolds

The New York Mets officially announced they have added infielder Matt Reynolds to their National League Division Series roster after the unfortunate injury to Ruben Tejada in Game 2 of the series. The Mets also announced that Tejada will not require surgery. So great to hear that, Tim Stauffer was designated for assignment to make room for Reynolds on the 40.

Wilmer Flores is expected to get the majority of playing time during the post season with Reynolds serving as a back-up. Reynolds though could also provide some good punch off the bench and give Terry Collins a capable pinch runner as well.

After a strong spring training this year, some had expected Reynolds to make the Mets’ Opening Day roster. But instead Reynolds was assigned to Triple-A and had a strong season for Wally Backman‘s 51′s in Las Vegas.

Reynolds hit .267 (119-445) with 70 runs scored, 32 doubles, five triples, six home runs, 65 RBI and 13 stolen bases in 115 games with Las Vegas. He was named to the mid-season PCL All-Star team.

The Mets’ second-round pick in 2012 from the University of Arkansas, Reynolds has mainly played shortstop for the Mets in the minors. But he was also asked to play some second base as well this year to make himself a more useful player to the team.

Reynolds, more known for his bat, still was able to put up decent fielding numbers in the minors this past season. In 466 chances while playing the field this year, Reynolds committed 12 errors. 412 of those chances came at short, while 54 came from playing second base.

Terry Collins explained why Dilson Herrera or Eric Young weren’t tapped to replace Tejada.

“We just thought it was going to be important if Matt’s going to be the guy, we are protected at shortstop with a guy who has played a lot at shortstop,” Collins said.

It’s worth noting as well that Reynolds would be only the second player in Major League history to make his debut in the post season. The other would be Mark Kiger, who in 2006 made his major league debut for the Oakland A’s as a pinch runner.

The Mets don’t expect to rely too much on Reynolds in the series, but he really could come in handy and maybe impress team officials in the playoffs.

Congratulations to Matt!

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Bad Umpiring And Big Payouts Make For a Dangerous Mix On the Field http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/bad-umpiring-and-big-payouts-make-for-a-dangerous-mix-on-the-field.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/bad-umpiring-and-big-payouts-make-for-a-dangerous-mix-on-the-field.html/#comments Mon, 12 Oct 2015 15:41:41 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=196213 Buster-Posey-Injury

It took MLB years of wrangling to institute a policy for home plate collisions after Buster Posey was sidelined by a particularly brutal one in May of 2011. The rule states:

A runner may not run out of a direct line to the plate in order to initiate contact with the catcher, or any player, covering the plate. If he does, the umpire can call him out even if the player taking the throw loses possession of the ball. 

In addition, Umpires retain the right to eject a player from a game if the rule is violated blatantly and the runner would be called out.

It occurred to me as I was watching Game 2 of the Mets vs Dodgers NLDS that if Ruben Tejada had been standing at home plate Utley would have probably gotten ejected and (more importantly) he’d have been called out for his slide. The Umpires essentially took the route of deciding this was a clean “hard nosed” play … playoff baseball. But the Mets lost their shortstop to a broken leg following an extremely late slide that wasn’t really a slide at all (more of a leg tackle) … Perpetrated by a player who has done this sort of thing since the day he first broke into the league.

After the fact, Joe Torre, MLB’s Chief Baseball Officer, ruled that Utley’s slide was in violation of Official Baseball Rule 5.09 (a)(13), designed to protect fielders from precisely the kind of rolling away from the bag block that Utley hit Tejada with.

Wonderful. As soon as this came out Twitter and every major Mets outlet lit up with the collective outrage inherent in the following premise: If the play violated an MLB rule, why was Utley safe? The inning should have been over.

You’ve got to wonder what was going on with this umpiring crew. I understand the play was perhaps a throwback to a time when this was more commonplace, but here in 2015 it sure seems like there’s been a rash of old school knockdowns and bench clearing fracases this fall. You have to wonder whether MLB is sitting idly by while ratings balloon and venues fill to the rafters. It’s like Hockey fights — if the NHL really wanted to be rid of them they would have, a while ago. For a Mets team that has seen these sort of cheap shots before … from the Phillies oddly enough, it can be frustrating.

The average take-home payout for a player on this year’s World Series winner may swell to as much as $400,000 dollars. For a guy like Michael Conforto that’s almost a year’s salary. When you consider that players earn this over a period of a month, that’s an awful lot of pocket money.

ruben tejada pain

Wendy Thurman at FanGraphs estimates that the 2015 players’ pool could be as high as $81.4 million dollars. The hefty payout itself inflames the already ultra-competitive dynamic of MLB’s playoffs, increasing the likelihood that players will try some dangerous and desperate crap — precisely the kind of crap that gets people hurt. It’s a problem in the NFL playoffs as well. But when Umpires fail to enforce flagrant violations that result in injuries, you’ve got to wonder what is going on.

It’s like having a traffic cop who will every so often, for no apparent reason, wave a speeding truck by into oncoming traffic because “it was a playoff truck.” If a supervisor in a factory fails to enforce violations in safety protocol he gets fired right?

You know it’s bad when Chipper Jones tweets: “That was not a slide and that is NOT how you go in hard!”

It doesn’t help sooth any Met Fan’s lingering disgust when you put the 7th inning play in the context of some head-scratching, one-sided umpiring in the first two games of this series. I mean I get the home team bias thing and I understand Chavez Ravine has a reputation for social injustice, but damn.

Still, I keep finding myself circling back to the Umpires who made it infinitely worse by not ruling against the slide. By neglecting to do so they create a dangerous precedent because, ultimately, who cares if MLB suspends Utley a couple of games? The Dodgers sure don’t. What matters is they won a game that had they lost, would have put them in a precarious 0-2 hole going into N.Y. to face Matt Harvey, a very angry Matt Harvey.

Perhaps it has more to do with money than we realize. The player pool and MLB’s slice of the proceeds get bigger as series go deep. Specifically, in the Division Series, gate proceeds from the first four games count toward the player pool — this was instituted to discourage interested parties from taking steps to lengthen a given series for monetary gain, so clearly there’s some precedent here. Sweeps are bad for business and the Mets definitely had a sweep in play until the infamous 7th inning.

In retrospect Utley would probably do precisely the same thing again if he had the chance, and that is really the issue here. In other sports you get a game misconduct for crap like that. He wasn’t anywhere near the bag, he didn’t even try to slide! So the Umpires continue to encourage, by their own wonton negligence, an act that violates MLB’s rules? I guess my next question is, why aren’t the Umpires being reprimanded?

win for ruben tejada

No matter how you look at this it’s bad for MLB. Joe Torre may come out a day late (literally) and assure us he is working with the Player’s Association on rule changes but in the end you have to question whether MLB really wants to put this sort of vicious play in its past, or is it a harbinger to a more brutal time, kept around because it happens to sell tickets and it raises interest — in a Roman Coliseum sort of way — everybody loves a good brawl right?  But the combination of the increasing amounts reflected in playoff shares and the failure on the part of the Umpires to enforce the rules is making for some decidedly vicious and dangerous developments on the field.

Too bad Tejada won’t get any of the added proceeds from the additional ratings Monday night’s game is sure to garner. There’s only one real way to restore justice to these playoff proceedings, by beating the Dodgers … for Ruben if you will. It appears that’s the only real way to make sure this sort of thing backfires on the Dodgers.

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Mattingly Says Slide Wouldn’t Have Been Big Deal If It Were Wright http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/mattingly-says-slide-wouldnt-have-been-big-deal-if-it-were-wright.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/mattingly-says-slide-wouldnt-have-been-big-deal-if-it-were-wright.html/#comments Mon, 12 Oct 2015 11:00:35 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=196199 Don , Mattingly

Dodger’s manager Don Mattingly defended Chase Utley‘s slide which broke Ruben Tejada‘s leg and ended his season. Mattingly argued that it was a good baseball play, and said that Mets’ fans would not have an issue with it if David Wright made a similar slide.

“If it would have been their guy, they would be saying, ‘David Wright, hey, he’s a gamer; he went after him. That’s the way you’ve got to play.’ But it’s our guy; it’s different.”

“So I know how the kind of the New York media gets a little bit going, and it gets dramatic, but for me you can’t have it both ways. If David would have done it, it wouldn’t have been any problem here in New York.” (Mark Feinsand, NY Daily News)

He also said that it’s only a big story because Tejada wound up getting hurt.

“If their captain, David Wright comes into Corey Seager and slides like that, the exact same slide, and let’s say he didn’t get hurt, there would be rumblings, but it goes away.”

“Guys talk and chat, but if nobody got hurt, it wouldn’t even be talked about hardly today. It would have just been a hard slide, and there would have been controversy back and forth if it was hard; but since someone got hurt, now it’s a story.”

However, the Dodgers still insist it was a clean play. They released a statement last night supporting him and his decision to appeal.

“The Dodgers stand behind Chase Utley and his decision to appeal the suspension issued tonight by Major League Baseball. The club will have no further comment at this time.”

The Dodgers will play with a 24 man roster the next two games if Utley loses the appeal.

It’s really a ridiculous argument from Mattingly as Utley was definitely in violation of the rules. Thankfully,  MLB finally made the right call last night by suspending Utley two games for his brutal take out slide. It should have been a longer suspension. And to bring David Wright into this? Pathetic.

Hopefully the suspension will be upheld tomorrow, and Major League Baseball learns from this terrible situation. They have to do a better job of protecting middle infielders from plays like this going forward.

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All The Pressure Is On Los Angeles http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/all-the-pressure-is-on-los-angeles.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/all-the-pressure-is-on-los-angeles.html/#comments Tue, 06 Oct 2015 15:45:35 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=195598 mets thank fans 162

According to the so-called baseball experts and talking heads, before this season started, the Mets weren’t supposed to be here. They had no business even sniffing an NL East crown let alone winning it. Here we are though, mere days away from the first Metropolitan playoff game in nine years. The Mets are playing with house money.

We look across the coast to the opponent, the Los Angeles Dodgers. The team in blue from California comes in with a payroll north of $280 million dollars compared to the New York payroll of $110 million.

Each of the past two seasons the Dodgers have met a roadblock in the postseason known as the St. Louis Cardinals. The Mets, especially the 2006 team is no stranger to the NL Central powerhouse. Los Angeles has not reached a World Series since 1988, compared to the Mets who reached in 2000. The pressure is on.

“Plain and simple, we have to get over the hump.” Carl Crawford was quoted after game 162 this past Sunday.

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Clayton Kershaw has lost his last four postseason starts. All of those starts did come against the Cardinals as well. In the 2014 MLB playoffs, Kershaw’s final numbers were 0-2 with a 7.82 ERA. The Dodgers ace has something to prove this postseason as he has not been the dominant pitcher we’ve seen in the regular season when he’s been baseball’s best.

Dodgers manager, Don Mattingly though believes things are different this time around for his team stating, “We’re a little different, mentality wise. We’re more professional, not much sense of craziness around us.”

The Mets send three postseason virgins to the mound in Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Matt Harvey. Sure, the pressure is there for these guys to perform, but not in the same gravity as the Dodgers. The Mets have nothing to lose in this series and everything to gain.

This organization is in a great spot right now. The Mets have every reason to be the “loose” team in this series. The pressure is all on Los Angeles. The Mets, if they execute as they should can really use that to their advantage in this series. It’s going to be a lot of fun to watch.

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Hansel Robles Will Appeal Suspension http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/hansel-robles-will-appeal-suspension.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/hansel-robles-will-appeal-suspension.html/#comments Sat, 03 Oct 2015 10:00:06 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=195351 hansel robles

Mets right-handed reliever Hansel Robles will appeal the three-game suspension handed down by MLB on Thursday. That should still keep him available for the remainder of the Mets regular season.

Robles’ suspension came as a result of throwing a baseball toward the head of Phillies catcher Cameron Rupp on Wednesday. MLB ruled that Robles’s pitch was “intentional.”

Before that incident, warnings were issued to both sides after Yoenis Cespedes and Kirk Nieuwenhuis were hit by pitches and the Mets responded when Logan Verrett plunked Odubel Herrera,

Manager Terry Collins praised Robles’ decision to appeal and didn’t think that he intentionally threw at Rupp.

“Obviously, after a warning, and then they eject somebody, I knew somebody was going to get suspended,” Collins said. “I figured that might come down. Do I think he threw at him? Absolutely not. First of all, there was absolutely no reason to — or was there anybody involved in the last time this happened when Robles quick-pitched Darin Ruf in August.”

“Now, I will tell you, if there was a reason we needed to retaliate for something, I get it. We already did that. That was already done. So I didn’t think anything else should have been necessary. So I don’t blame Robles.”

As far as the appeal process goes, when it’s complete, no part of the suspension will happen during the playoffs. Instead it would carry over to the 2016 season.

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The Final Push For Home-Field Advantage http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/the-final-push-for-home-field-advantage.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/the-final-push-for-home-field-advantage.html/#comments Fri, 02 Oct 2015 17:26:54 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=195274 fans crowd shot Citi Field

Here we are… 159 games down, three to go. The New York Mets and the Los Angeles Dodgers are in a dead tie for home-field advantage, with each team boasting the same 89-70 record.

“We’re going to play to win as many games as we can and to try to get home-field advantage in the first round,” Mets manager Terry Collins told reporters in Philadelphia. “I think it’s very, very important to have that. I think it’s something to shoot for. I think when you’re still playing for something, it prepares you better.”

The Metropolitans open up a three-game set tonight, weather permitting, against everyone’s favorite adversary the Washington Nationals.

The Mets will throw their three big horses to the mound led by Noah Syndergaard tonight and followed up with Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom on Saturday and Sunday. Steven Matz is also expected to pitch five innings during one of the weekend games, most likely Saturday.

The Nationals will be opposing with Gio Gonzalez, Max Scherzer and Tanner Roark. It will be no easy task with Washington looking to play somewhat of a spoiler role, but the Mets have handled the Nats quite dominantly during their last two meetings, sweeping both three game series.

On the other side of the coast, the Dodgers open up a three-game set against the San Diego Padres. LA will look to send their big guns to the mound as well in this series led by Alex Wood and followed up by Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw as they position their starters for the NLDS.

Neither team has been playing exceptionally well as of late. In the Mets last 10 games they are 5-5 while the Dodgers are 4-6. With both teams knowing that home-field advantage is at stake this weekend, it will be interesting to see both teams ramp up the energy and quality of play as each look to pick up some momentum heading into the NLDS.

“What would mean the most would be for us to get home-field advantage in the NLDS,” says red-hot Lucas Duda. “That’s the key I think because we play well at home. We are amazing at home, so I think that would be a big help for us.”

It is worth noting  that the Mets do hold the tie-breaker if the two teams play to the same record after this weekend. The Mets won the season series this year 4-3 thus giving them a valuable leg up on home-field.

“It’s easy to say, let’s just gear up for the playoffs,” David Wright said on the eve of the final series of the year. “But home-field advantage would be nice, so I think that that’s something that we really need to bear down these last three games and try to obtain.”

“Strategically, it would help us,” Wright said. “You want to get home-field for the fans, too. They’re as involved as any fan base giving us that home-field advantage. Also, it would be nice to get into the playoffs with some momentum, help us springboard into the playoffs.”

This oughta be fun! Meaningful games in October… :-)

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Mets To Celebrate Fan Appreciation Weekend At Citi Field http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/09/mets-to-celebrate-fan-appreciation-weekend-at-citi-field.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/09/mets-to-celebrate-fan-appreciation-weekend-at-citi-field.html/#comments Wed, 30 Sep 2015 17:17:01 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=195100 2015 NL East Champions Fans

The New York Mets, 2015 NL East Division Champions, will celebrate their Amazin’ fans throughout Fan Appreciation Weekend in the final three regular season games this weekend when the Mets host the Washington Nationals.

The weekend begins with Free Shirt Friday at 7:10 p.m. followed by Super Saturday at 7:10 p.m. and concluding with Family Sunday at 3:10 p.m. on October 4.

In addition to Free Shirt Friday and a Mets fleece blanket to the first 15,000 on Saturday, the weekend will include in-game giveaways featuring player-signed hats, balls and helmets as well as tweet your seat prizes – tweet back at us with the hashtag #CitiFood and you might win ice cream, courtesy of Good Humor, delivered to your seat. Sunday’s finale will include complimentary face painters and balloon artists located in Fan Fest (behind center field on the Field Level) from 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.

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The Mets are offering additional promotions at Citi Field available exclusively on Twitter and within the free MLB.com At the Ballpark app. Simply download MLB.com At the Ballpark®, and check-in at Mets games for exclusive offers.

Fans are encouraged to take mass transit and get to the ballpark early to take advantage of the festivities and expected large crowds. For more information and a complete list of giveaways, visit Mets.com/FanAppreciation.

Friday, October 2, 7:10 p.m. – Free Shirt Friday - “Know Your Roots” tee.

Saturday, October 3, 7:10 p.m. – Super Saturday -  Mets fleece blanket.

Sunday, October 4, 3:10 p.m. – Family Sunday - Mets 2016 magnet schedule.

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