Mets Merized Online » Morning Grind Sat, 03 Dec 2016 18:57:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 MMO Morning Grind: Lagares Returns… Now What? Thu, 01 May 2014 10:37:34 +0000 USATSI juan lagares

Good morning, Mets fans!

Juan Lagares is expected to return from the DL tonight. This is great news… I’m a huge fan of The Amazing Spider-Juan.

But now, for the first time, the Mets have their 4 key outfielders— Lagares, Chris Young, Eric Young, and Curtis Granderson— all healthy at the same time. Because the Mets play in the National League, only 3 of those guys can play each day. So now, the question “What Outfield?” has evolved into “What do we do with all these outfielders?”

Lagares was the Mets’ best player before he got hurt. If he hits the ground running upon his return, he has to play consistently.

Chris Young, like Lagares, missed a couple weeks with an injury, but has been impressive since returning from the DL. While CY is only hitting .206, he has been hot lately and has shown an impressive ability to drive the ball to go along with solid defensive skills and good speed.

Eric Young got off to a rough start, but has been a major catalyst for our offense recently, thanks in large part to his blazing speed. “Speed Kills.”

And then you have Curtis Granderson. Granderson has been the worst of the four so far, but he was the Mets’ biggest acquisition during the offseason and the Mets simply can’t just bench him a month into the year. And we can’t ignore the fact that Grandy has been looking much better of late.

So what should Terry do? As long as all 4 are healthy, it looks like he plans to rotate the outfielders, allowing for regular rest for CY, EY, Granderson and Lagares.

But it’s frustrating, isn’t it? Those are 4 of our best players, and each day, we have to bench one of them and still trot out Ruben Tejada or Omar Quintanilla

Rotating the outfielders seems like the best way to go, for now. Grandy should be safe for the foreseeable future. If one or more of the other outfielders gets hurt or starts showing some discouraging signs on the field, Terry can make an adjustment. And if everybody is producing, Terry could get creative by giving Murphy the occasional day off and moving EY to 2nd, or by giving Duda a day off and moving Murphy to 1st and EY to 2nd, allowing for all 4 outfielders to play.

Depth is a good “problem” to have. So I guess we shouldn’t be complaining too much about this particular issue. But it will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

Readers, what do you think should / will happen with the outfield situation?

Presented By Diehards

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MMO Morning Grind: Can the Pitchers Start Hitting? Tue, 29 Apr 2014 13:07:48 +0000 Bartolo - Colon

Good morning, Mets fans!

Congratulations! If you are reading this, you have as many hits as the entire Mets pitching staff has in the 2014 MLB season. The Dodgers and Yankees will be entering a bidding war for your services shortly.

Mets pitchers, as Jared Diamond pointed out in his column yesterday, are 0-for-41 on the season, which is the longest hitless streak from a pitching staff to start a season since at least 1974. Because pitchers were much better at hitting back in the day, I would guess that the 2014 Mets actually have the all-time record.

Gonzalez Germen and Carlos Torres are 0-for-1. Zack Wheeler is 0-for-7. Dillon Gee is 0-for-9, Jenrry Mejia is 0-for-12, Jon Niese is 0-for-3, and of course, there’s Bartolo Colon, who is 0-for-8. I’ve always wanted to see Scott Rice bat, but that’s probably a pipe dream unless Terry Collins‘ love for him really gets out of hand.

Anyway, add those all up and you get 0-for-41. Now, it’s not all so bad. Mejia sprints down the line with impressive speed every time he makes contact, which sets an example for the “real” hitters (not that they follow it) and will probably result in an infield hit before too long. Bartolo Colon’s at-bats give the Mets the game’s premier Comedic Reliever. And Jon Niese, who has only had 3 at bats, will probably start cracking a few singles before too long; Jon has always been a fairly decent hitter.

But let’s be serious. So far, It has been painful to watch our pitchers try to hit. The other day, the Mets had runners on 2nd and 3rd with no outs and the #7 hitter Anthony Recker at the plate. Recker struck out, and at that point, I think we all knew that the Mets weren’t going to get a run before the end of the inning: #8 hitter Ruben Tejada is an easy out and our pitchers have been automatic outs so far. So when Recker whiffed, I was ready to give up on the inning. Ironically, Dillon Gee worked a walk to load the bases for Eric Young, but EY grounded out to end the inning… a walk is NOT always as good as a hit, guys.

The Mets don’t their pitchers to start hitting .300, or anywhere remotely close. But the occasional hit out of the 9 hole deepens a lineup and makes opposing pitchers really pitch to everybody who comes to the plate, instead of, as Gary Cohen said when Gee stepped to the plate late in Sunday’s game, throwing a couple pitches down the middle and “getting it over with”.

Have a good day, Mets fans. We play in Citizens Bank Park tonight, so if Jon can hit a pop-up: the hitless steak will end emphatically, with a home run.


Presented By Diehards

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MMO Morning Grind: The Meaning of Bobby Abreu Sun, 27 Apr 2014 12:15:42 +0000 bobby abreu

Good morning, Mets fans!

Rough loss last night. I was there to watch my school sing the National Anthem, but left fairly early in the game with my friends (who aren’t Mets fans, so are they really my friends?), in part due to the freezing cold. But I was definitely there for the first inning, when Bobby Abreu cracked a two-run homer to right field.

I like Bobby Abreu. In my recap of Thursday’s game, I wrote about how the Mets need veteran leadership on the bench, “and guys like Rick Ankiel don’t count”.

I really meant that. When the Mets were a solid team they had veterans on board, from Moises Alou, to Cliff Floyd, to Paul Lo Duca, to Marlon Anderson (I’m still not over that BS interference call in Philadelphia), to Jose Valentin, and even to the ancient Julio Franco.

The Mets need guys on the team who have been around the game and seen both the good and the bad. In recent seasons, our bench “hitters” have been Nick Evans, Mike Baxter, Mike Nickeas, and the like.

Bobby Abreu isn’t one of those guys. Bobby Abreu is a former star who adds a meaningful veteran pretense to the club. And here’s the thing: Abreu knows how to hit. You never lose that. He may not have the speed, the reflexes, and the strength he once had, but you never forget how to hit a baseball. Many players with the the raw talent needed to be stars in the league— including a certain first baseman now playing in Pittsburgh— never really learned in the first place.

Abreu has a good eye, the ability to hit to all parts of the field, and he still has a bit of pop as well. He has been making solid contact with the ball, and even if his athleticism has fallen off of a cliff since his days as an All-Star, he can still contribute. The Mets need more guys like Bobby Abreu filling out the edges of their ball club. Sorry, Nick Evans.

Have a great day, Mets fans! Hopefully we can get a win this afternoon and take the series. I’ll be back after the game with the recap!

Presented By Diehards

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

Good morning, Mets fans!

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

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

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

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

Jeurys Familia should be pitching. Somewhere.

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


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MMO Morning Grind: Wild Wind Sparks Wild Win, Things Are Looking Up Thu, 24 Apr 2014 11:31:50 +0000 ytavis d'arnaud home

Good Morning, Mets fans!

Great win last night. The Mets, despite having had one of the league’s toughest schedules so far, are over 500 and are keeping pace with the fastest starters in the National League.

But they haven’t been hitting lately. The Mets rank poorly in nearly every offensive category (except for strikeouts!). So how have they been winning these games against good teams? Simple: their pitching and defense have carried them.

Mostly the pitching. Over the past 9 games, Mets starters have a 1.91 ERA and 8 quality starts. Over the past 4 games, the entire pitching staff (rotation & bullpen) has a 1.76 ERA. While occasional late-game bullpen shenanigans (mostly from Jose Valverde) have cost us a couple wins and made a few others very stressful, the men on the mound have given the Mets a chance to win nearly every night.

The defense has also had its moments. Sure, you’re probably still thinking about Ruben Tejada‘s botched play in the first inning. But from his point of view, in real time, it was probably hard to tell that Daniel Murphy had caught that ball on a bounce, so, if you allow him the fairly reasonable (but false) assumption that Murphy had caught the ball on the fly, his actions from that point on make sense.

Tejada went to step on the 2nd base bag, realized that wasn’t enough to get an out, and then tried to get a guy in a rundown. He should have ran back to the bag after making the first throw in the rundown, but on most plays, Murphy would have gotten there in time, so… I won’t bash Tejada too badly for that play, or the pop-up which he misplayed (nearly every fly ball gave the fielders trouble tonight with the heavy winds).

Looking at the positives: Ruben was a key part of a great play to save the game in the ninth inning for the Mets. Kirk Nieuwenhuis battled a spiraling wind gust that grabbed hold of a deep fly ball and dropped it to the ground. Kirk then fires a solid cut-off throw to Tejada, who turned and fired a strike to Travis d’Arnaud, who made an excellent diving tag to get the out at the plate.

Ruben also made a few highlight plays in his last game, and has been looking a bit better with the leather lately. Daniel Murphy‘s range has improved a good amount recently, as he continues to really get the hang of the 2nd base position. I also think that Travis d’Arnaud is looking more and more comfortable behind the plate with each passing game.

Trading Ike Davis will hurt our infield defense a bit, but Lucas Duda has been improving at first base, which is by far his best position. In the outfield, Duda and the other plodders of the past have been replaced by quality, speedy defenders, and David Wright is a Gold-Glove caliber third baseman, although I have noticed his range seems to have decreased just a tad this season. All in all, our defense looks solid, despite the occasional frustrating lapse.

The Mets will need to hit if they want to make some real noise in this league. But so far, they are off to a decent start even with many players struggling at the plate. If the hitting can start to trend upward and reach an acceptable level—and i think it will— and the pitching and defense keep excelling, the Mets will be poised to achieve Sandy Alderson’s ultimate goal: “Meaningful Games in September”.

Have a good day, Mets fans! I’ll be back this afternoon with the game recap. Let’s take the series!

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MMO Morning Grind: The Insurance Run Epidemic Wed, 23 Apr 2014 11:56:27 +0000 jose valverde

Good morning, Mets fans!

Let me set the scene. The Mets head into an important inning, late in the game. It might even be the 9th. It’s usually the 9th. They’re down by a run, or maybe 2. Whatever the deficit is, it’s usually larger by the time the inning ends.

The Mets hand out so many insurance runs that Mr. Met should probably be replaced by a sassy gecko by the end of the season (No word on whether the sassy gecko has Super-2 status, which would be a game-changer).

Take Opening Day, for example. The Mets allowed the Nationals to take the lead in the 10th, then let Washington tack on a few more runs before getting out of the inning. David Wright hit a 2-run home run in the bottom half of the inning, but thanks to the insurance runs, it didn’t matter.

Or why don’t you take Saturday night’s game, when Jose Valverde ket a 1-run deficit become a 4-run gap, which wasted the impressive rally the Mets would put together against Craig Kimbrel in the bottom of the 9th.

Even last night’s game would have looked a bit different if Valverde hadn’t given up a run in the top of the 9th to make it a 3 run game. In a 2-run game, maybe Curtis Bay Granderson is more aggressive with a runner on base once he gets into a hitters’ count. Maybe David Wright and Daniel Murphy take different approaches at the plate.

Whenever the Mets dig themselves into a hole, they  have to try and see if they can pull out one last rally. But when one of their relievers deepens that hole right before the Mets get set to make their final push, it makes the comeback attempts harder (obviously) and can have a demoralizing effect on the hitters. Imagine running out onto the field for the top of the 9th knowing you’ll just need 1 run in the bottom half, but being down 4 runs by the time you get back in the dugout.

Relievers are most often criticized when they blow leads (you have ONE job!), and they take a good amount of heat when they can’t maintain a tie. But when a reliever enters a game with his team trailing by a run or 2, he has to bear down and keep it that way. Keep your team in the game, give your team a chance to win. That’s what you have to do if you’re a reliever, and our bullpen’s current inability to do so has cost us early in the season.

Let’s hope the bullpen can stop handing out insurance runs. Or better yet, let’s hope we can hand our relievers leads, and render this entire discussion moot. A nice, relaxing, blowout victory today would be nice. Have a good day, Mets fans!

Presented By Diehards

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MMO Morning Grind: Too Much “Free Baseball” Could Prove Costly Mon, 21 Apr 2014 11:59:30 +0000 mets win granderson

Good morning, Mets Fans!

Nice win yesterday, although it took a bit too long, dragging on for 14 innings before Curtis Granderson won it by doing what he does best: making an out. The absurd length of yesterday’s game is actually what brings me to the topic of this edition of the Morning Grind.

The Mets went into extra innings 20 times last year. They were 8-12 in those games, several of which went far beyond the 10th inning. This year, the Mets have already played 4 extra-inning games (winning 2 and losing 2), each one of which has been longer than the previous one. New York is on pace to go into extras 36 times this season.

These contests can either be fun and exciting, or miserable and stressful. It depends on the game. But going past the 9th inning with such alarming frequency could hurt the Mets in the long run.

The Mets went 6-14 in the games after extra-inning games last season. This year, the Mets are 1-2 in the games after extra-inning games, and that record will have another win or loss tacked onto it after tonight’s game against the Cardinals.

Extra inning games, especially the marathon ones, take their toll on teams. The managers are forced to burn through their bullpens, forcing relievers to work for longer than they are accustomed to, even on days where they had been expected to take a rest. Sometimes, even starters are forced to get into the action. Hitters are also prone to the scrambling that occurs in the wee hours of the morning on some occasions. You might see third basemen at shortstop, first basemen in the outfield, or backup catchers serving up bombs on the mound. When teams constantly go into extras, it can lead to ineffectiveness and even injury.

An extra-inning win is still better than a 9-inning loss, so we should be happy that the Mets won yesterday, even if it was a pretty messy win. But if the Mets want to keep their players running fresh and smooth, they have to find a way to stop letting every game turn into a wacky, prolonged adventure.

Have a good day, Mets fans. Let’s hope for a win tonight… a normal one.

Presented By Diehards

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MMO Morning Grind: Coming Home… for Better or Worse Fri, 18 Apr 2014 12:21:52 +0000

citi field fans opening day

Good morning, Mets fans!

We managed to stay over 500 yesterday, in part because we didn’t have a game. Tonight, the Mets will be coming home to begin a nice, long, 10-game homestand. I’m especially excited for tonight’s matchup with the Braves, as I will be attending my first game of the year (although, since I’m going with a Yanks fan and a pair of Braves fans, things might get hostile).

But here’s the thing: The Mets just haven’t been good at home. They were solid at home in their first 2 years at Citi Field, but over the past 3 seasons, their winning percentage in Flushing is a paltry .423, which translates to an average home record of 34-47 each year (103-140 overall).

To make things more frustrating, the Mets actually have had a winning record (122-121) on the road over those three seasons. So even a decent performance at home during that time would have made us a relevant team.

When you lose at home, two things happen. First of all, it hurts your record. That’s the obvious thing. But in addition, when fans who pay good money to come out and see the team are constantly leaving the ballpark with the bitter taste of defeat in their mouths, it can hurt sales and generate disappointment and, in some cases, apathy.

A fan is far more likely to want to come back if he or she sees a thrilling victory rather than a bleak, 5-1 loss in which the team only gets 2 runners past first base. If the Mets are going to charge New York Prices for fans to come out in this New York Weather and see the New York Mets, the team had better perform if they want to be able to generate the interest and revenue that teams in the New York Market are supposed to generate.

The Mets are 2-4 at home and 6-3 on the road this season. They’ll have a chance to pad that home record in the next couple weeks. The Mets are off to a decent start at 8-7, but if they want this season to mean something, they have to perform at home. Good teams don’t lose in their own ballpark.

Citi Field is a fantastic stadium. Let’s hope our Mets can make the most of it.

Have a great day, Mets fans!

Presented By Diehards

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MMO Morning Grind: The Cautionary Tale of John Buck Thu, 17 Apr 2014 12:27:16 +0000 john buck homers

Good morning, Mets fans!

Nice win yesterday! We’re over 500. Can we get to 90? Time will tell.

Anyway, we’ve reached the point in the season where we can start to throw around terms like “good start” and “bad start” for certain players. But stats at this point in the season can still be incredibly deceiving.

Yesterday, I wrote about how amazing Gonzalez Germen has been. His stats are eye-popping, although, as I said, they are not sustainable. Juan Lagares has also been fantastic, but he just landed on the disabled list and only time will tell if he can hit the ground running once he returns. Lucas Duda has been mashing the ball, Kyle Farnsworth is pitching well… there have been some good signs so far.

There have also been some struggling players. David Wright, Curtis Granderson, Ruben Tejada, and Travis d’Arnaud have had their struggles in these first couple weeks.

It is important that we remember not to get too high or too low on any given player so early in the season, because while there have been enough games played for noticeable trends to develop, there are more than enough games remaining for those trends to strengthen, stop, reverse, and reverse again several times over.

Even within the small sample size we have been given, we can see how fickle these trends can be. Jose Valverde was awesome in his first couple outings, but had a disastrous meltdown in Anaheim and then gave up home runs to the first two batters he faced yesterday. Eric Young was dreadful for the first few games, but has been red hot lately and has been a major catalyst at the top of our lineup.

Curtis Granderson won’t hit 170. Gonzalez Germen won’t have an ERA of 0.89. April stats are tempting, but can be very misleading, and that’s why I have dedicated this edition of the MMO Morning Grind to John Buck, who was Mike Piazza at the plate for one month and then Brian Schneider for the rest of the season.

The season isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon, and that goes for every player on every team in the league. Keep that in mind, and enjoy your day, Mets fans!

Presented By Diehards

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MMO Morning Grind: Appreciating Gonzalez Germen Wed, 16 Apr 2014 11:00:02 +0000 Gonzalez - Germen

Good morning, Mets fans!

Another nice win last night. A stress-free win, for once. The only blemish on our victory was Jenrry Mejia having to leave early with a torn blister, but considering Mejia’s luck with injuries, I’ll settle for a torn blister any day of the week with that guy. Anyway, my post this morning is going to be about the awesomeness of Gonzalez Germen.

Now, let me start by saying that if, before the season, you had told me I’d be writing a positive, serious (or mostly serious) article about Gonzalez Germen, I would have laughed in your face.

Germen was totally going to be my scapegoat when it came to our terrifying (for us, not our opponents) bullpen. He would be called up early in the year, he would be the worst pitcher on the staff, and I would basically dub him the Face Of The Mets’ Bullpen Struggles (assuming he could beat out Eric Sogard in the fan vote). Basically, Germen was going to be our 2014 version of Ollie Perez (who looked good last night for Arizona, by the way).

Sure enough, Germen was called upon for some late innings work in the second game of the season after Bobby Parnell blew out his elbow on Opening Day. And sure enough, Germen gave up doubles to the first two batters he saw, leading to a Washington run. I started laughing– you know, like one of those sad, “I was right but I was also pessimistic so it sucks that I’m right” laughs…

But Germen hasn’t given up a run since that game. In fact, until he gave up a hit in this third inning of work last night, Germen hadn’t given up a single hit since the second of those two doubles. In that time, Germen has struck out 10 hitters. His 2014 ERA is 0.89 and his WHIP is 0.48. The season is young, and those numbers obviously cannot be sustained, but Gonzalez Germen has been absolutely ridiculous this season. He has been lights out.

Kyle Farnsworth and Carlos Torres have also been fantastic and Jose Valverde as well, his meltdown against the Angels this weekend notwithstanding. Our bullpen won’t be this amazing all season, but early on in the year it looks like the bullpen— which was supposed to be one of our biggest weaknesses— should be decent and has the potential to possibly even be a strength.

I may have been wrong about you, Gonzalez Germen. Please accept today’s Morning Grind as a token of my most sincere apologies, and keep up the absolutely mind-boggling work.

In the event that you are a Mets fan reading a blog, and not Mets reliever Gonzalez Germen, have a great day, and let’s hope our guys can finish off a sweep tonight!

addicted to mets button

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MMO Morning Grind: And So It Begins… Tue, 15 Apr 2014 12:23:07 +0000 sib

Good Morning, Mets fans!

Our Mets got a nice win last night. Zack Wheeler looked pretty solid, Lucas Duda was great, and Daniel Murphy turned into a Gold Glover for a night.

But I have something a bit more troubling on my mind this morning, and that is the Injury Bug. Us Mets fans know all about the Injury Bug by now… with this team, it’s not a question of If, but When, How, and Who the Bug will strike. We had our first battle of the year with the Bug on Opening Day when Bobby Parnell tore his UCL. Actually, this season’s bug began last season, when it was announced that Matt Harvey would miss the entirety of the much-awaited, magical year that was to be “2014″. 

But last night was the first night of the season where I think we all thought: “This is why we can’t have nice things”. Juan Lagares, who has been the best story of the season so far, went down with a hamstring injury while running to first in the seventh. We don’t know how bad it is yet, but hamstring injuries usually lead to at least 2 weeks on the disabled list, and setbacks, recurrences, and exacerbations seem to occur quite often when it comes to hammys. You could sense the “here we go again” tone in Keith Hernandez‘s voice last night when replays showed our dynamic young center fielder reaching for the back of his leg.

Oh yeah, our biggest offseason acquisition got hurt too. Curtis Granderson crashed into a wall in the first inning, then had to leave the game 5 innings later with apparent injuries to his arm, ribs, and knee.

According to reports, Lagares is likely to go on the disabled list, and Granderson is day-to-day but “very sore”. I guess we just have to hope that Lagares comes back in 2 weeks and can put all of this behind him and pick right back up where he left off, and that Granderson can get back in the lineup after a day off. But that’s wishful thinking, and our wishes as Mets fans are rarely fulfilled.

We might see Bobby Abreu. We might see Kirk Nieuwenhuis (did I spell that right?). We will see Chris Young within the next few days. Hopefully, these guys can fill in and produce if they are needed as replacements in the outfield. But it’s frustrating to see our biggest offseason acquisition leave a game, and it’s concerning to see a young player who is off to such a hot start go down with an injury that often seems to lead to more problems.

But maybe I’m overreacting. Maybe I just have Post-Reyes Stress Disorder when it comes to hamstrings. Let’s hope for the best, and let’s see if we can get ourselves another win tonight. LGM!

Presented By Diehards

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MMO Morning Grind: What To Do With Q? Sun, 13 Apr 2014 13:11:15 +0000 omar quintanilla

Good morning, Mets fans!

Another crazy game last night. Why do the Mets always do this to us? I know I’m not the only one who actually expected the unthinkable to happen… but once Jose Valverde threw ball 3 to Erick Aybar and the guys in the SNY truck cut to Raul Ibañez looming on deck,  I said “Ibañez will probably hit a home run” out loud… 2 minutes later, well… you all know what happened. But we got the win in the end, so… I think we can let this one slide, Mr. Valverde.

Anyway, Omar Quintanilla is on my mind this morning. Q made his first start of the season at shortstop and had 3 hits while driving in a pair of runs. Omar also made a few very nice plays on defense.

Omar Quintanilla is 32. Ruben Tejada is 24. Neither player is very good, but since he is the older one, many people view Q as the more boring option. If Tejada were a serious prospect with a high ceiling, I wouldn’t even consider letting Quintanilla take the starting job (this is why I don’t think Anthony Recker should be given a chance to take Travis d’Arnaud‘s job, but that might be a post for another day). But Tejada is not a prospect. He is a weak hitter, he doesn’t run particularly well, his baseball instincts aren’t too great, and his fielding has seemingly gotten worse over the past couple years. He also has had trouble staying healthy.

So why not give Q a shot to win the job? At first base, the Mets are trying to take a look at both Ike Davis and Lucas Duda and hoping one of them sticks. In my opinion, they should do the same at shortstop. Neither player is a star, and I’m not sure either player can even perform at an MLB-Average level, but if one shortstop can establish himself as better than the other, he should get to play. Neither player is the shortstop of the future (we hope…), so, unlike at catcher, “development” shouldn’t be a factor here.

Obviously, Q has only started one game, but even last season, we saw that he is pretty decent in the field, he can drive the ball more than Tejada, and he always plays hard. I think the Mets should take a good look at all of their options, and this includes Omar.

And hey, once we get to June and it would no longer cost us a draft pick to sign Stephen Drew, we can always go for that…

Have a great day, Mets fans! Let’s try to take the series this afternoon with Big Bart on the mound.

addicted to mets button

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MMO Morning Grind: Understanding Strengths and Weaknesses Sat, 12 Apr 2014 12:22:37 +0000 dillon gee

Good morning, Mets fans!

Crazy game last night. Or this morning. I’m not even sure anymore. Anyway, as far as losses go, it wasn’t that bad. The Angels have a pretty imposing roster and we fought with them in a back-and-forth battle for 11 innings. What I think cost the Mets in this game, and what is definitely on my mind this morning, is New York’s inability to understand its strengths and weaknesses.

I’ve been watching the Knicks, the team with the lowest Basketball IQ I’ve ever seen, for the past 6 months. So seeing the Mets make several foolish decisions in the first couple weeks of the season hasn’t really been too much of a shock. But there was a lot of foolishness from our Mets last night, coming from both the coaching staff and the players.

First of all, Dillon Gee just isn’t a 100-pitch pitcher. He really starts to lose steam after the 5th or 6th inning, once he gets around 85, 90, maybe 95 pitches. The 3rd time around the order is usually worse than the first 2, and by the 4th time he sees a hitter, he usually has a lot of trouble getting the guy out. The Mets simply have to accept this and start pulling the plug on Gee earlier, instead of leaving him in to ruin what usually starts as a solid outing.

Second of all, Jeurys Familia is here because of his “stuff”. So when he comes in and waits until his 3rd inning of work to throw something other than a fastball, that’s a problem. When that first slider, his 36th pitch, bounces in the dirt and moves the winning run into scoring position, that’s an even bigger problem. Familia was basically throwing 100% fastballs, but even the heater was impossible for Jeurys to control tonight.

So with a wild pitcher on the mound, what did the Mets do? They intentionally loaded the bases, putting their young, erratic reliever in a situation where he could not walk a batter. To Familia’s credit, he did not walk Hank Conger. He hit him with the pitch. Game over.

So yeah, there were some frustrating decisions made on our side in this one. Why leave Gee in? Why would Familia stick with one pitch, when it wasn’t even working? Why would we force a young pitcher who can’t throw a strike to be in a situation where he has no safety net for his wild arm?

I get that we want to have Gee try to eat some innings and save the bullpen, and I get that walking the bases loaded sets up a force at the plate. But the bullpen, if managed correctly, should be able to last long enough to replace a tiring starter after 5 innings. And having runners on the corners isn’t that much different than loading the bases… you can still turn the double play and you just need 1 extra split-second to tag a runner if the play goes to the plate.

Anyway, like I said, while it was a frustrating loss, it wasn’t too bad in the end. There were definitely some positive signs. Travis d’Arnaud hit his first homer of the year and the bullpen was solid from innings 6 to 10. We’ll get ‘em next time.

Infuriating fact of the day: The Mets forfeited the 24th pick in the 2009 MLB draft as compensation for signing Francisco Rodriguez. Mike Trout was the 25th pick in the 2009 MLB draft. If it makes you feel any better, the Yankees sent the 25th pick to Anaheim when they signed Mark Teixeira.

Have a good day, Mets fans. Let’s get some revenge on the Angels tonight. Game time is nine or midnight, or something like that.

Presented By Diehards

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MMO Morning Grind: Juan!!! Fri, 11 Apr 2014 11:05:35 +0000 USATSI  juan lagares

Good morning, Mets fans!

Great win last night. Juan Lagares is on my mind after getting the game-winning hit to help us beat the Braves, so let’s talk about him, and see if I can get through this entire article without making Juan single pun. Wait, never mind.

During the offseason and throughout spring training, the entire Mets community was abuzz with a raging debate in the outfield: Eric Young or Juan Lagares?

Juan Lagares has shown us from the start that he is one of the best defensive players in all of baseball. He has a cannon, good speed, a knack for reading the ball, and the ability to make incredibly acrobatic catches look easy (see my artistic rendering below of his amazing play from Wednesday night’s game).

New York Mets v Atlanta Braves

However, Lagares wasn’t too good with the bat in his rookie campaign. For that reason, a lot of people in the organization were leaning towards giving Eric Young the 3rd spot in the outfield.

To me, the debate, “Young vs. Lagares, Bat vs. Glove”, was always based on a false premise. Why? Because in 2013, Eric Young wasn’t a very good hitter either. The second-baseman-turned-outfielder hit .251 after being traded to the Mets in June. As for speed? Yes, Eric is very fast, but Lagares is no slouch on the bases himself.

I’ve always thought Lagares was the better player. Fortunately, Juan was given the starting job in center field and hasn’t looked back. Lagares a clutch home run on Opening Day, and in our first 9 games, the 25 year-old Dominican outfielder is hitting .303 and has knocked in 6 runs. The glove has been great, but that was to be expected. It is the bat of Juan Lagares that has been the most pleasant surprise of the season’s opening stretch.

However, Eric Young definitely has a few things to bring to the table as well. Due to the injury to Chris Young, the Mets have been able to use both Eric and Juan for the first couple weeks of the season. If Chris returns soon, and stays healthy, the Mets will be faced with a choice. Curtis Granderson will not be heading to the bench, and Juan Lagares has been too good so far for Terry Collins to remove him from the lineup. Chris Young will probably be given a chance to take the job from Eric, and if he can hit like he did in the spring, the job should be his.

The Mets have a young, gold-glove caliber player in the outfield who has shown that he might be able to do some damage with his bat. After months of debate, Juan Lagares looks like the J— the one who belongs in center.

Enjoy your day, Mets fans. Get ready to stay up late to watch us play the Angels on the West Coast tonight. I hear they have a pretty good center fielder, too…

Presented By Diehards

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MMO Morning Grind: The Bullpen?!?! Thu, 10 Apr 2014 11:04:12 +0000 jeurys familia mmo

Good morning, Mets fans!

I was originally going to write about how it was nice to see our bullpen finally do a decent job last night, despite the loss. Then, I started digging through the box scores from the past few games and I realized something…

The Mets’ bullpen has not given up a run in the past 4 games.

That’s right, we’re 8 games into a season in which many horrible things have been said about our bullpen, and yet, in half of those games (the most recent half), the pen has been spotless.

Scott Rice replaced Dillon Gee with 1 out in the 8th on April 5th and retired 2 batters before Carlos Torres came in and pitched a scoreless ninth.

The next day, Gonzalez Germen entered in the 6th to help clean up Jon Niese‘s mess, after which Germen, Kyle Farnsworth, and Jose Valverde each pitched full, scoreless innings.

On Tuesday, Farnsworth and Valverde each tossed scoreless frames after Bartolo Colon pitched 7 strong innings.

And last night, Jeurys Familia and Gonzalez Germen helped the Mets keep the Braves off the board after Zack Wheeler gave up 4 runs in 5 innings.

The jury is definitely still out on the bullpen, but it’s been nice to see some competence from that unit in these past few games. The starting pitching has been pretty good as well, although our starters have generally had poor final innings in their outings this year.

However, the bats, after exploding for 7 runs on Opening Day, have been pretty disappointing. Wheeler wasn’t great last night, but he and the bullpen kept the team in the game and gave us a chance to win. The Mets rallied in the ninth and eventually got the tying run to third base, but you can only string so many hits together against Craig Kimbrel (who hadn’t started the inning, mind you), and the Mets, after struggling at the plate for the first 8 innings, predictably fell short.

The Mets have been lousy in innings 2-8 all season. That’s not a tendency that you see from winning teams. We can worry about the bullpen all we want, but at the end of the day, if the bullpen is being asked to control deficits rather than preserve leads… the come-from-behind, walk-off grand slams won’t always be there to save the day.

So, while our bullpen hurt us a bit in the first few games, it has been on the upswing lately and is not to blame for our more recent losses.  What do YOU guys think about the pen so far this year? Who has impressed you? Who has fallen short of your expectations? Which internal options would you like to see the Mets add to the relief corps, and who would you like to see the Mets bring in from the outside?

Enjoy your day, Mets fans! Let’s take the rubber game tonight; I’ll be back after the game with the recap.

bleed orange & blue  button

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MMO Morning Grind: The Grind Is Back! Wed, 09 Apr 2014 12:00:16 +0000 USATSI ruben tejada

Good morning, Mets fans… I’m excited to announce that I have been tasked with bringing the “MMO Morning Grind”— which Joe D used to run a couple years ago— back from the dead.

The Morning Grind is a daily feature where I’ll talk about something that stood out to me in the previous night’s game, the latest hot-button issue in the Mets community, or whatever pressing Mets thought is on my mind that morning. Then it’s up to you, the readers, to get the day started off right with some lively, heated debate! Just remember the one, very important ground rule.

So anyway, our Mets got the win last night, beating the Braves 4-0 behind a great game from Bartolo Colon. One thing that stood out to me is that the Mets got nearly all of their offensive production from the bottom of their order (and from slumping leadoff man Eric Young).

For the second game in a row, the Mets got nothing from Daniel Murphy, David Wright,  and Curtis Granderson (Grandy did walk twice, which is nice, but he’s not here to walk). But the Mets still managed 4 runs behind the offensive heroics of Ruben Tejada (not a typo), Travis d’Arnaud (who broke out of his 0-for-2014 with a pair of hits), and Eric Young (who had only beaten Travis to the hit column by a couple of days).

Lineup balance has been a big issue for the Mets in recent years. In the past few seasons, we all became familiar with the sinking, “there goes our only chance to score” feeling that came whenever David Wright failed to reach base. The Mets don’t have the budget or the absurd Designated Hitter rule needed to stuff a lineup from top to bottom with dangerous hitters like the Yankees have always been able to do. But in the past, we have sent out lineups with 5 or 6 easy outs slotted in there game after game after game. If d’Arnaud can start hitting, Tejada can hit at an acceptable level (I’m thinking .250, .260…), and Bartolo Colon can learn how to get a damn bunt down (he actually managed to finally move a runner over last night, but that was probably just to spite Gary Cohen, who had just said the big guy would never figure out how to bunt), the Mets could finally have what all good teams have: a reasonable chance to score in any given inning.

So, on the positive side, last night we got some production from places where we haven’t been getting it, and it led us to a victory. However, Ruben Tejada won’t be racking up RBIs every night, and we can’t fall in love with unsustainable production. Having a decently productive bottom of the order, and getting the occasional hit from your speed-and-defense guys, is important. But to have any consistency, the Mets need to get production and health from Juan Lagares, Daniel Murphy, David Wright, Curtis Granderson, Chris Young, and whoever our first baseman is by the time you read this article (my money is on Josh Satin. Terry probably wants to keep us on our toes).

Let’s enjoy the unexpected sources of offense that helped us to victory last night. We need lineup balance. But let’s not forget that, in the long term, the Mets will only go as far as their bigger hitters take them.

Enjoy your day, Mets fans. It’s Wheeler Day!

Presented By Diehards

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Morning Grind: What’s On Tap, Mets vs Venezuela, Good To Be Back Wed, 06 Mar 2013 13:49:16 +0000 tradition field springGood morning from Port St. Lucie, where there’s a chill in the air and the sun is just coming up.

Had dinner last night with a friend on the Mets’ beat and like most people I speak with in the media he’s not enthusiastic about them having a good season.

Drove around a little last night and this place has changed over the past few years. Really built up. New hotels and restaurants, including a sushi place not far from where I am staying.

Walked into the lobby and three hotel staffers remembered me by name. Felt like Norm for Cheers. Was a good feeling.

Heading to camp in a few minutes. David Wright is at the WBC and Johan Santana is still here from when I traveled with the team on a regular basis.

Will make a run at Santana for obvious reasons, including a new one – the president of Venezuela died yesterday. Need to get a reaction from him. Ironically, the Mets are playing the Venezuelan team today.

Also Ike Davis to see what he knows about being added to the WBC now that Mark Teixeira is injured. Yankees can’t be too happy about that. I never have, and never will, be a fan of the Classic. It means so much more to players from other countries, especially Latin America than it does to players from the US. But, Felix Hernandez isn’t pitching (could it be that new contract?) and the Japanese players in the majors aren’t all participating.

Wright is on board, but many big name players are not. Have to wonder why.

No, there are no plans to ask Sandy Alderson whether he plans to jump out of any airplanes. Insert your reaction here.

Lot of Mets fans in the lobby. One lady I remember is a regular. She holds court every morning at breakfast. Had cards promoting the blog made up to pass around. Have to think differently now.

Have a great day folks and I’ll be posting regularly here now while covering the Mets beat.

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Morning Grind: “There’s Not A Lot Left On The Shelf” Mon, 28 Jan 2013 13:45:20 +0000 Yesterday on Sirius XM’s MLB Network Radio, the ever-frugal Mets GM Sandy Alderson had this to say regarding the current outfield market and the 2013 Mets outfield:

“We continue to look, but I think, realistically at this point, there’s not a lot left on the shelf,” said GM Sandy Alderson. “So at some point we have to realize that, well, perhaps the outfield is not the strength of our team. But at least going into spring training we may be looking at what we have and not being able to make an addition.”

Well Sandy, when you decide to start to window shopping in late January, and spent two months watching 29 other clubs fall over each other to grab up all the significant available outfielders; there isn’t going to be much left on the proverbial shelf. Don’t blame the market for being weak. If you are looking for a scapegoat, try a mirror on for size.

A week ago there was a solid little fit that had been sitting on the shelf for quite some time. His name was Scott Hairston, and he was very interested in returning to Flushing. The lefty killing platoon hitter signed with the Chicago Cubs for a measly two years and $4 million in guaranteed money, yet even that didn’t seem to pique Sandy’s interest. Hairston would have been –and in 2012 was–  the best and most consistent outfielder they had in 2013, however he appeared to be too rich for the Mets blood it seems; their Plan B took an alternate route of it’s own.


I will give Alderson his due. He got what is projected to be an excellent return for R.A. Dickey and filled the long-standing hole at the catching position very well assuming Travis d’Arnaud meets his lofty expectations. Sandy also locked up franchise third baseman David Wright through his age 37 season. He made two solid under-the-radar moves in inking Pedro Feliciano and most recently Shaun Marcum. But when it has come to the outfield — what was supposed to be priority number one this offseason and one of his promised “significant changes” — Sandy Alderson has dropped the ball big time; unless of course Collin Cowgill or Andrew Brown emerge into the next Johnny Damon.

It appears Alderson has once again left the team with one of the worst outfields in the game – even worse than last year’s motley crew. We can all just chalk it up to the waiting game which left us nothing on the shelf two weeks before pitchers and catchers report. Rotten luck right? Give me a break…

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Sunday Morning Grind: The Future Has Arrived Sun, 18 Nov 2012 15:32:02 +0000

The Mets are on a mission to upgrade their catching position and somehow figure out their outfield configuration before the ump cries “Play Ball” on Opening Day. Offensively, the Mets ranked the worst in MLB at both positions. Defensively, I’m not sure, but suffice it to say it was pretty awful. On that note, scratch Torii Hunter and Melky Cabrera off the available outfielders list, and Gerald Laird and David Ross off your catchers list. Those were a few of the less expensive options some saw the Mets targeting, but the market is developing faster than the Mets are.

From the “Outfielders The Mets Will Never Sign” department, Angel Pagan could sign a new deal before the start of the Winter Meetings on December 3, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The Phillies, Braves and Nationals are all very interested in the former Met and are talking. Rosenthal adds that the Giants are not totally out of the picture yet on Pagan. All three teams are also talking to free agent B.J. Upton. The former Rays center fielder has already been wined and dined by the Braves and Phillies, and he could be meeting with the Nats before the holiday weekend.

Sandy Alderson talks a lot about building the Mets brand. I guess the goal is to ensure we don’t wind up like Wonder Bread and Twinkies.  He said the following on Friday night to a group of aspiring lawyers at the Ivy Sports Symposium at Columbia University.

“You have to divorce the interest of the institution from your personal interest, and sometimes it’s difficult to do that,” Alderson said. “It can be extraordinarily difficult sometimes. From my standpoint, it’s about the long-term interest of the franchise. That doesn’t mean that everything is decided in terms of the longer view. What may be in the best long-term interest of the franchise is to go out today and do something dramatic and make every attempt to win today, to build the brand, to re-establish the brand, to sort of re-establish the legitimacy of a franchise.”

When Alderson says “sometimes you have to do something dramatic and make every attempt to win today”, is he talking about the Mets? Because it certainly doesn’t look like he’s doing or has done anything dramatic with the Mets to win today. That’s something only the other 29 teams are trying to do. Oh well, lawyers talking to lawyers, who can believe anything that comes out of that… :-)

For all of you believe we are moving in the right direction, good news… Single game tickets go on sale tomorrow at 10:00 AM. Do your duty and support the tremendous effort it has taken to get this team where it is today. Keep your hopes alive for a bright future and make sure to support the cause and let Sandy know you’re proud of him. Put your money where your mouth is my friends and go enjoy some exciting Mets baseball in the process. And on that positive note, I wish you all a wonderful Sunday. Only 12 weeks until pitchers and catchers report. :-)


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Morning Grind: What Should Happen With Pelfrey This Winter? Wed, 08 Aug 2012 11:20:44 +0000 In all the drama, the peaks and valleys throughout this season, most of us have forgotten about Mike Pelfrey, and the fact that he is entering his final year of arbitration coming off Tommy John Surgery. We’ve seen the roller coaster career of Pelfrey, and now it has reached the point where his time with the Mets is in severe jeopardy, and rightfully so.

Pelfrey is making $5.68 million for a season in which he made three starts. Now this winter, the Amazin’s have to decide whether to commit to Big Pelf for one more season, or non-tender him and let the 2005 first-round draft pick walk as a free agent.

Frankly, it is time the Mets bite the bullet and chose the latter. He has yet to become a successful MLB pitcher for the Mets like he was supposed to be when they drafted him out of college now seven years ago, and paying him like a major league starter is not wise. Now with not only questions about his performance prior to the surgery, but his health and abilities post-op, a six million dollar gamble is not something that this team can afford to do, especially with all the holes on this roster as is.

Plus, there isn’t a need for Pelfrey on this ballclub anymore. Next year, Johan Santana and R.A. Dickey will head a rotation with young talent like Jon NIese, Matt Harvey, and Dillon Gee, not to mention the fact that Zack Wheeler is on his way. Yes, you can never have enough pitching, but that $6 million –assuming it would be re-invested, and that’ a big if– could be used for a right handed bat in the outfield not named Jason Bay, or some bullpen help, or an upgrade at catching.

This team has so many more immediate needs than to negotiate with Scott Boras and Mike Pelfrey, especially with him coming off a major procedure like Tommy John surgery. We always knew that Pelfrey was not long for this club based on his performance. Eventually, we knew there was going to be a time in which he and the Mets were going to have to part ways, and it appears that that time is this winter come the arbitration deadline.

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Morning Grind: Who’s Our Outfield?! Fri, 03 Aug 2012 11:20:43 +0000

We need an angel in the outfield, in the worst way!

In what has been quite the roller coaster year for the 2012 New York Mets; one thing has been consistent, and not in a good way. With some exception to a select few, this outfield has been just awful. The Amazin’s lost two starting outfielders from 2011 in Beltran and Pagan, and merely replaced them with Andres Torres, and we are now seeing the effects of that. Not only has this season’s outfield been an eye sore on both sides of the diamond, but 2013 is shaping up to have an even more ugly trio patrolling the grasses of Citi Field.

Who can come in and make an impact next year that’s in the system right now? Obviously you will see Lucas Duda and Kirk Nieuwenhuis in the mix, hell even throw Matt den Dekker in there. Duda and Captain Kirk had up and down years in the show, as did MDD in Buffalo. They all have the talent and the drive to get there, but the fact of the matter is that they strike out at a higher rate than my friend Kevin does with girls at parties! All three of them are arguably the organization’s best chances long term in the outfield, but they need to learn to make consistent contact, they need to hit major league –and in den Dekker’s case, AAA– pitching. Oh, and Duda needs to learn to play the outfield.

Bay is just pitiful, and it will be even more disgraceful to see him on the 2013 roster. I understand the guy is trying hard and all, but the way he is going, he’ll be lucky to hit Eddie Gaedel’s weight come season’s end. They did it with Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo, I presume that cutting him will be heavily discussed, but what if it isn’t? Are we going to have to deal with this lunacy for a fourth straight year?

Jordany Valdespin? There is no question he’s been impressive both at the plate and in the outfield considering he was a “natural” (I use that term lightly) middle-infielder. However, ‘Spin has got to get his attitude in check. His reputation that once proceeded him is now here. Barking at Kirk and then kicking a helmet and hurting his toe, now upset with the veterans for ruining his white t-shirt which he wore to the park against team rules? If this is what he is like as a rookie, I shudder at the thought of what his attitude would be like should it go unattended.

Scott Hairston has had himself a career year. When guys such as Ike Davis and Duda regressed, he has picked up a lot of the slack. Hairston now goes into the winter without a contract, and there is a good chance he does not return to Flushing in 2013 because he is “too expensive”. Don’t even get me started on the idea that Scott Hairston is out of the Mets’ price range, but frankly he has been the lone outfielder to consistently produce all season long. Even if he were to return, the odds he hits at this level next year are not likely.

We tried to give you Mike Trout, but you signed K-Rod instead!

Then after that who do you have? Mike Baxter has been solid, but he is by no means an everyday player. Great off the bench and spot starting, but if we are looking at Baxter as a starting outfielder next season, that is a problem. Andres Torres? He’ll be non-tendered for sure. Don’t expect much from the free-agent wire, I’d expect a similar offseason to last winter (i.e. bench players and a few relievers).

Who is our outfield? Beats me. Anyone got any ideas?

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