Mets Merized Online » MVP Fri, 09 Oct 2015 16:29:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 MMO Original: Mister Cespedes, MVP Sun, 13 Sep 2015 14:00:14 +0000 yoenis Cespedes

Being decades older than Yoenis Cespedes would ordinarily mean that, if I met him, I would call him by his first name.

But now, now, after I finish dropping to my knees in awe, I could only call him something ordinarily reserved for my elders.

Mister Cespedes.  Think of the indignant Sidney Poitier with that iconic Mister Tibbs utterance from the movie In the Heat of the Night (go to :55 on the video), demanding the respect he deserves.

So allow me to make the case for Mr. Cespedes as MVP – this is a not a prediction that he will win, but rather an argument that he should win – by presenting all the arguments against it.  And then blowing them up.

Yes, Bryce Harper has had an excellent year.  No one can argue with a 1.118 OPS, and I could drown you in other metrics.  But why bother?  We all know Harper has been a numbers guy, an accumulator in the tradition of A-Rod.  I will, however, point to one number: 85 RBI’s.  Hardly extraordinary, especially for a guy with 36 HR’s, and just 18th best in the majors (Cespedes has driven in 102 between NY and Detroit, ranking fifth, though his exploits with the Tigers will of course not be counted in MVP consideration).

But part of what makes an MVP is what effect, if any, he has on the rest of his team (and yes, I will stipulate again that this is not one of the listed criteria for the award, but should it not be implicit in the word “valuable”?).  Does the guy makes those around him better?

Virtually every player around Cespedes has upped their game – in many cases, by a lot – from the moment his name was first written into the lineup card.  Or in the case of a Wright or d’Arnaud, returned from long stints on the DL and excelled in an environment with far less pressure – because of Mr. Cespedes.

You would be hard pressed to make that case for Harper (yes, I know, the Nats had a lot of injuries (as if the Mets didn’t) and I kept hearing that mantra from Nationals fans all year)  But young Bryce has been more like Harper Island - a player standing all by himself – than anything approaching a leader of one of the most disappointing teams in recent memory.  This was perfectly exemplified in Wednesday’s concluding game of the Mets’ unforgettable sweep in DC.  Two solo homers and a double for an otherwise barren offense, scoring all three runs in a third consecutive crushing defeat.

This brings to mind the story Ralph Kiner used to tell about when Branch Rickey, then the General Manager of an awful Pirates team. traded him out of Pittsburgh.  Despite Kiner’s prolific power numbers – 7 straight home run titles – Rickey told Ralphie, “we can finish last without you.”

The Nats could finish second without Harper.

The Mets would not finish first without Cespedes.  Does that not define valuable?

Now, let’s get the “he hasn’t played enough games” argument out of the way.  Just one year ago, Clayton Kershaw won the NL MVP after playing in a grand total of 27 games (less than 20% of his team’s games).  When Justin Verlander won the AL MVP in 2011, he played in 34 games.  And those were pitchers, who many argue should not even be eligible for the MVP because they’ve got their own Cy Young Award.  Assuming he stays healthy, Cespedes will play in more than 55 games.

With fear and trembling, let me also cite the case of 2007, when the reviled Jimmy Rollins won the MVP.  Did he win it because of his .296 average, 30 HR’s and 96 RBI’s?  Or more precisely, would he have won the MVP if the Phillies had not run the table in the last three weeks while the Mets were collapsing?  Of course not.  His numbers were nice, but he won in large part because he went all in by declaring the Phillies as the team to beat, and then went out and backed up his words.

So let’s trash this idea that the MVP is all about, or exclusively about, numbers.

It’s not even necessary to spout Mr. Cespedes’ numbers, gaudy and incredible as they are.  Everyone, and I mean everyone in the baseball world knows what he has meant to this team.  And it goes well beyond what Rollins meant to the ‘07 Phillies.

There is a difference, however it is defined or argued, between an MVP and an MOP, as it is called in the NCAA basketball tournament.  The V in MVP stands for valuable.  The O in MOP means outstanding.  If there was not a distinction between the two, the two institutions would not employ different verbiage.  We can argue endlessly, as perhaps Bill Clinton would, about what the meaning of “valuable” is, but it is clearly a far deeper and richer word than “outstanding.”

Harper has perhaps been the most outstanding because he has done it for his team all year, but Cespedes has been the most valuable, regardless of the games played statistics.  Tell me I’m wrong.

It has been argued that it was only Harper who has prevented the Nats from being even worse, but the same could be said of almost any legitimate MVP candidate.  Where would the Diamondbacks be without Paul Goldschmidt and his 99 RBI’s, .984 OPS and gold glove play at 1B?  Maybe they’d be 73-68 instead of 68-73.  But that is hardly the stuff of MVP’s.  Players are penalized for their team’s failures.  It may not be fair, but this game is all about winning,.

Let me embellish the case by citing a couple of our MMO commenters on a recent piece by my colleague Satish Ram:

somedude718: My case for Cespedes is he is the only player in which you can see the difference he made, BECAUSE he wasn’t here all year.

Hotstreak: My contention is throw everything out except HOW MUCH not HOW LONG a player helped his team. Not only in wins but crucial wins during crunch time.

Those of a religious bent (and even minimally educated non-believers) could perhaps best understand it this way:  The Mets season has had perhaps the clearest point of demarcation anyone can remember: BC (Before Cespedes) and AD (After his arrival).  The Mets offense was so bad BC that it was a trending topic and a major source of embarrassment.  It is now an AD juggernaut.  To say the difference has been night and day is not an exaggeration.

Let me finish by going even further to say that, from here on out – barring a team collapse or an injury to him – Mr. Cespedes needs only to be very good, but not the otherworldly presence he has been since August 1, to be the MVP.

His damage is done.  The rest is icing on the cake.  Mister Cespedes is the MVP…and it’s not even close.

rally parakeet and raccoon

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Niese Is A Solid Choice For Mets MVP In April Thu, 01 May 2014 17:43:09 +0000 jon-niese

It was nice to see Jon Niese get some recognition in the New York Post today, who named him the Mets MVP for the month of April. His only competition as I saw it was Dillon Gee who also turned in a superb first month of the season. Mike Puma writes:

In each of his five April starts, Niese worked into the sixth inning and allowed three runs or less. That included three straight starts to conclude the month in which he allowed only one run. Overall, he is 2-2 with a 2.20 ERA.The Mets couldn’t have asked for a better start to the season by the left-hander, who had his spring training curtailed by arm soreness that twice necessitated an MRI exam.

When I think back to Spring Training and Niese flying to New York once for an MRI on his left shoulder, and then again for an MRI on his left elbow, it’s amazing to see how far Niese has come along since then. I must admit I had my doubts when the Mets lefty began the season on the DL.

“It was tough to work through it but I’m glad I did it,” Niese said. “I took my time. I didn’t try and be a hero and rush to be an Opening Day starter. I took my time and made sure I was ready. And that’s worked out.

“I put my ego to the side. I wanted to get my arm right now. This year I want to go through the whole year and stay healthy.”

Since coming off the disabled list, Niese has pitched better than anyone could have imagined. Both his ERA and 1.04 WHIP are career bests.

Now in his fifth full season season in the rotation, you tend to forget that he’s still only 27-years old.

His name often comes up as a potential trade chip in the Mets blogosphere, but given the lack of any other capable lefthanders in our system – that could replace him in the rotation this season – I’m not so sure that would be a good idea. Especially with the team playing winning baseball for the first time in six seasons and fueled mostly by the strength of their starting pitching.

Presented By Diehards

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NL West Preview: Can Anybody Stop The Dodgers? Mon, 24 Mar 2014 15:00:49 +0000 The National League West showcases the team that many believe are the favorites to win the World Series heading into 2014. How often though do we see a team that “everybody” agrees is the team to beat slip to reality when injuries and such come knocking on their door? Are the Dodgers going to fall into that same story line?

In your comments, we’d love to hear your predicted standings, your NL West MVP, NL West Best Pitcher, and NL West Top Sleeper.

5th Place: Colorado Rockies

As many Mets fans know, Dexter Fowler was sent to the Houston Astros this off-season, and while many Rockies fans may not have liked the moved then – I think they will really dislike the move when they see the negative defensive effects of the move.

This is a team to me, that is going to have trouble with their arms. So when you essentially diminish the defense by giving away Fowler, you’re not doing your pitchers any favors.

troy tulowitzki

The addition of Brett Anderson could prove to be a good move for Colorado, but he isn’t a “save the day” type starting pitcher.

Also, adding Justin Morneau to replace the Rockies legend Todd Helton should at least prove to be a somewhat lateral move in terms of production.

This is a team that will have trade rumors swirling about Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez all season long. If you’re paying attention to the Rockies in 2014, it’s because you’re curious where or if they end up being traded.

4th Place: San Francisco Giants

I understand this is likely not going to fly with many of you. But hear me out.

Everybody knows that in the NL, if you have pitching, you’re in good shape. The problem I have with San Francisco is I believe their rotation is relying on two big IF’s.

The first is whether or not Tim Lincecum can return to his winning ways, and if you have seen him this spring, you have your doubts. The second is whether or not Tim Hudson can stay healthy and be the guy this rotation needs on a consistent basis. If Hudson stays healthy, then yeah, I would say this team could fight for 3rd place or maybe even a wildcard.

The offense is still very bland. If there is any positive, it’s that Pablo Sandoval may be motivated by a new contract this year. I’m not a big Mike Morse fan, so I don’t even consider his addition as anything to really think about when predicting their offensive performance.

To me, this is a team that tries to do “just enough” at the plate, and I don’t like that. I think last year they showed that the model they’ve gone with can backfire tremendously. I’m expecting them to finish closer to .500, but not to be in any sort of playoff discussion.

3rd Place: San Diego Padres

I was a bit high on them last year, and I’ll stick with my positive outlook for this franchise. I actually really liked the decision to sign Josh Johnson here – I don’t think Johnson was a good fit for any team, but in San Diego, he may actually work. We’ve all seen what Johnson can do on his best days, so if he can find his winning ways again – he could be dangerous in San Diego.

chase headleyAndrew Cashner to me is a guy who could be a recognizable name by many come All-Star break. He’s got the stuff to be a solid #2 type starter, and if he comes into that role, the Padres could be in real good shape.

Of course, there are negatives. The offense isn’t really too good, and if Chase Headley doesn’t find his way back to 2012 form, they could be in trouble at the plate.

I think this could be one of those “fun” teams to watch all year, but it’s going to take a little bit of luck and a lot of health in order for that to be the case.

2nd place: Arizona Diamondbacks

Without many paying attention to them, Arizona has suddenly become a top wildcard contender for the last two years now.

mark trumbo

They made two significant moves as they head into the 2014 season that could make or break their playoff chances.

The first was adding Mark Trumbo to the mix. Now, they are gambling on Trumbo being able to power his way through the NL West (especially in Arizona), and have his strikeouts be worth his production. It’s a gamble, but it’s one that could pay off for this team.

The second was adding Bronson Arroyo. Arroyo is a guy many Mets fans are familiar with due to some recent desires to add him to the rotation. He’s a pretty consistent starter, and gives the team a 200+ innings guy that they can rely on. However, he is a guy that if you look at advanced metrics, he is sometimes more lucky than good. Will his luck run out?

The recent news that Patrick Corbin is likely out for the entire year doesn’t help this prediction for sure. However, as bad as that news is, I don’t think it kills their year as much as some think. This team has proven to be resilient and has an MVP candidate in Paul Goldschmidt, I think they can overcome the loss of their 24 year old starter and contend for a playoff berth.

1st Place: Los Angeles Dodgers

There is nothing I’d like more than to see my prediction be wrong, but I just cannot see how that might happen without catastrophic injuries.

This team is loaded, there is no other way to put it.

The Dodgers rotation is as nasty as you’ll find in the sport today. When you have the best pitcher in baseball pitching AHEAD of a former Cy Young winner in Greinke, paired with Hyun-jin Ry, Dan Haren and Paul Maholm or Josh Beckett, I’m not sure how your offense goes into any game thinking they have to overachieve for a victory.

yasiel-puig-blogTheir bullpen is also pretty filthy. Brian Wilson, Kenley Jansen and Chris Perez give this team so many late inning options that it’s scary.

The offense is as loaded as the rotation, and everybody is waiting to see how Yasiel Puig does with a full year under his belt, not only in terms of production – but in terms of maturity as well. He is probably the most entertaining player to watch in baseball today, and if he can back up his 2013 campaign with a better 2014, he could be an MVP candidate.

Speaking of MVP candidates, the Dodgers in reality, probably won’t have one because their lineup is filled with guys who could win an MVP.

Matt Kemp may be the key to all of the Dodgers success or failure though. If Kemp can get healthy, and stay healthy, I don’t see how this offense isn’t the best in baseball.

This team is not only good on paper, they are as deep as any team in baseball. They will be able to overcome an injury or two (so long as it’s not Kershaw), and that makes them a no brainer 1st place pick to me.

NL West MVP: Paul Goldschmidt – Mostly because I think if Arizona is in the mix, it’s in large part due to his production and he isn’t surrounded by studs like Dodger hitters are.

NL West Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw – He’s the best there is.

NL West Sleeper: Andrew Cashner – He had a decent 2013 campaign, but it was highly under the radar. I think he breaks out this year to become one of the NL’s best starters.

XtreemIcon’s Picks

Jessep did a great job detailing his picks, so I’m not going to reiterate everything he said, I’ll just point out where I disagree. From last to first, the division shapes up like this for me: Colorado/San Diego/San Francisco/Arizona/LA. The reason I have SD behind SF is not because I think SF will be any good (they spent an insane amount of money simply to bring back the same 76 win team they fielded last year), but because Headley will be traded at some point this season, which will decimate their already weak offense. And with Johnson and Cashner being question marks, they fall to 4th place. Not fifth, though. Colorado is that bad.

What I would like to add is that even though I chose Arizona to finish second, I don’t expect a good year out of them. Jessep think they will contend, and I most certainly do not. The second place finish is more like an indictment on the rest of the division than it is a vote of confidence for Arizona. Corbin hurts bad and Arroyo was a terrible signing. His ERA will likely hover around 4.50 and could be traded at the deadline, probably back to the Red Sox. I think LA will be the only team above .500 and will win the division by 20 games

NL West MVP: Paul Goldschmidt – His numbers will tell their own story.

NL West Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw – Period.

NL West Sleeper: Brandon Belt – He’s going to hit in the middle of the lineup and have the chance to do some real damage. He fixed a mechanical issue with his swing and tore it up in August and September. He’s going to challenge Goldschmidt for the division MVP.


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Yankees Sign Tanaka To Seven Year, $155 Million Contract Wed, 22 Jan 2014 16:06:51 +0000 tanaka

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports is reporting that Masahiro Tanaka is heading to the New York Yankees after agreeing to a whopping seven year, $155 million dollar contract.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that Tanaka will earn $22 million in each season of the contract except the final season, when his salary will jump to $23 million.

So far, the Yankees have spent $438 million this offseason which began with the Steinbrenner brothers both advocating that it would be an offseason of belt-tightening. Wow…

Seriously though, that’s a lot of money for a pitcher who has never thrown a pitch in the major leagues.

The 25-year old right-hander did have a record-breaking season in Japan, going 24-0 with a 1.27 earned run average and copping the Pacific League MVP with the Rakuten Golden Eagles.

MLBTR writes that overall, his career numbers are almost as impressive as his 2013 campaign. Tanaka debuted as an 18-year-old in 2007 but still hurled 186 1/3 innings. Since that time, he’s pitched to a 2.30 ERA with 8.5 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 in 1315 career regular-season innings — all coming with the Golden Eagles.

It’s going to be interesting to watch his season and his career unfold before our very eyes while pitching in the crosstown Bronx.


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Mariners Seal The Deal With 10-Year, $240 Million For Cano Fri, 06 Dec 2013 16:41:28 +0000 Orioles at Yankees

Enrique Rojas of ESPN is reporting that Cano and Mariners agreed to a 10 year deal worth $240 million dollars. That is an ungodly amount of money.

Earlier this morning, it was reported that talks had broken down after Seattle made an offer of nine years and $225 million, according to Mark Feinsand and Bill Madden of the Daily News. Reportedly, Cano’s agent Jay-Z was pushing for a deal closer to $252 million, but the M’s didn’t budge – and rightfully so.

And with that, Cano’s career with the Yankees comes to an abrupt end – at least for now. I can envision the Mariners eating 25% of the contract in a year or two and giving him away to the Bombers. Admit it… You can see that happening too…

By the way… I heard early this morning on WFAN, that if the Yankees get shutout on Cano, they would go hard after Brandon Phillips in a trade with the Reds, according to Mark Malusis.

Photo credit: Paul J. Bereswill


The Miami Marlins have agreed on a one-year deal with free agent Rafael Furcal reports Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports,

The Mets were considering the veteran shortstop according to many reports but were wary of his health. Furcal, 36, last played 121 games with St. Louis in 2012, but missed the 2013 season due to Tommy John surgery. He’s a lifetime .281 hitter in 13 major league seasons.


MLB: Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals

12/5 – Reliever Edward Mujica and the Boston Red Sox have agreed on a two-year, $9.5 million deal, sources told Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. The deal is pending a physical, which Mujica is taking Thursday.

Mujica spent almost all of last season as closer for the St. Louis Cardinals, writes Passan, before losing his job to Trevor Rosenthal in September. The 29-year-old right-hander saved 37 games with a 2.78 ERA for the Cardinals.


12/5 – The Milwaukee Brewers announced that they have traded outfielder Norichika Aoki to Kansas City Royals in return for LHP Will Smith.

The Mets were rumored to have had discussions with the Brewers for Aoki in exchange for Ike Davis, but those talks never went anywhere and it all went out the window anyway once the Mets settled on signing Chris Young instead.

Aoki, 32, batted .286/.356/.370 with eight homers and 20 stolen bases last season.

Jon Heyman says that the Royals like Aoki as a leadoff option and believe he can play center field for them. Also, they are not done dealing and are still very much interested in Carlos Beltran.

MLB: ALDS-Tampa Bay Rays at Boston Red Sox

12/4 – Yahoo’s Jeff Passan reports that the  Mariners, Dodgers, Angels, Pirates, Rangers, Diamondbacks and Blue Jays are among the teams with serious interest in dealing for David Price. He believes that Seattle is in the strongest position to acquire Price, given their impressive core of young and presumably tradeable talent.

The former AL Cy Young winner and three-time All-Star is still just 28 years of age, and he’s not eligible for free agency until after the 2015 season. He’s coming off a 2013 season in which he pitched to a 3.33 ERA (114 ERA+) and a 1.10 WHIP in 186.2 innings.


12/3 – The Rockies have agreed on a two-year deal worth $13 million with Justin Morneau, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

Morneau, a former MVP, batted .259/.323/.411 this season with 36 doubles, 17 homers and 77 RBI while playing for for the Pirates and Twins. He’s no longer the slugger he once was, but the 32-year old should give the Rockies some adequate offense at first base in place of Todd Helton.

And with that, the Mets lose a trading partner for Ike Davis.

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Phillies Re-Sign Carlos Ruiz To Three Year, $26 Million Deal Mon, 18 Nov 2013 17:17:26 +0000 Carlos - Ruiz suspension

According to the Philadelphia Enquirer, free agent catcher Carlos Ruiz will remain with the only team he’s ever played for as the Phillies inked him to a three-year, $26 million deal.

Ruiz will turn 35 in January, batted .268/.320/.368 with five homers and 37 RBI this past season.

In 2012, Ruiz hit .325/.394/.540 with 32 doubles, 16 homers and 68 RBI, making his first All-Star team and garnering some MVP votes.

Wow, the rich keep getting richer the old keep getting older.

centrum silver

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MLB Announces Finalists For Cy Young, MVP, Rookie of the Year Awards Wed, 06 Nov 2013 02:14:28 +0000 The Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) just announced the top three finalists for American League and National League Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, Manager of the Year, and Most Valuable Player awards.

jose fernandez

National League Rookie of the Year

Jose Fernandez, SP, Marlins
Shelby Miller, SP, Cardinals
Yasiel Puig, OF, Dodgers

American League Rookie of the Year

Chris Archer, SP, Rays
Jose Iglesias, SS, Tigers
Wil Myers, OF, Rays

fredi gonzalez

National League Manager of the Year

Fredi Gonzalez, Braves
Clint Hurdle, Pirates
Don Mattingly, Dodgers

American League Manager of the Year

John Farrell, Red Sox
Terry Francona, Indians
Bob Melvin, Athletics


National League Cy Young Award

Jose Fernandez, Marlins
Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
Adam Wainwright, Cardinals

American League Cy Young Award

Yu Darvish, Rangers
Hisashi Iwakuma, Mariners
Max Scherzer, Tigers

andrew mccutchen

National League MVP

Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Diamondbacks
Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pirates
Yadier Molina, C, Cardinals

American League MVP

Miguel Cabrera, 3B, Tigers
Mike Trout, OF, Angels
Chris Davis, 1B, Orioles

No Mets were nominated for awards…

The official winners will be announced next week and rolled out according to the following schedule:

  • Monday, November 11 – Rookie of the Year Awards
  • Tuesday, November 12 – Manager of the Year Awards
  • Wednesday, November 13 – Cy Young Awards
  • Thursday, November 14 – Most Valuable Player Awards
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Vladimir Guerrero, Steve Phillips, And What Could Have Been Sun, 15 Sep 2013 14:02:04 +0000 vladimir guerrero

After a brilliant 16-year career, outfielder Vladimir Guerrero announced his retirement this weekend, according to Hector Gomez of the Dominican Listin Diario.

While he never made it to those almost automatic Hall of Fame thresholds of 3,000 hits or 500 home runs, it will be hard to keep his .318/.379/.553 career slash line out of Cooperstown.

Guerrero was one of the most dominating players of his eras. In his remarkable career, Vlad had eight 30+ home run seasons and thirteen seasons in which he batted .300 or higher. The 2004 American League MVP ends his legacy with 449 home runs, 477 doubles, 181 stolen bases, 1,328 runs scored and 1,496 RBIs. In addition to his MVP he also won eight Silver Slugger awards and was voted into nine All Star Games… And he could have posted the bulk of those numbers as a New York Met.

steve-phillips-close-jpgIt was the way that then general manager Steve Phillips squandered the free agent negotiations with a 28-year old budding superstar, that would eventually lead to his unraveling as a Mets GM and his ultimate demise.

Phillips had become gun-shy because of Mo Vaughn, much like today’s Mets are afraid to pull the trigger on an elite player because of Jason Bay.

When that happens it almost always spells The End for a general manager, especially when you play in the biggest sports market in the world – New York City.

In this town, star studded rosters are the norm and it’s what fills the seats as Phillips would soon find out.

Guerrero was the top free agent on the market in the offseason of 2003. The New York Mets desperately needed someone to build around and Vladimir fit the bill as the core player they could use to supplant aging Mike Piazza as the face of the franchise.

But it wasn’t meant to be and after a series of lowball offers and squandered negotiations, Phillips would finally retreat and told fans that Guerrero had a back problems and was a poor risk, a charge both Guerrero and his agent vehemently denied, was the reason he decided to pass.

Guerrero, who wanted to play in New York, would instead sign a 5 year/$70 million contract to play for the California Angels. Vlad would go on to win the MVP that season and Steve Phillips would go on to be fired.

Ed Leyro from Studious Metsimus, has a wonderful piece that examines the big question…  Is Vladimir Guerrero a Hall of Famer?

vladimir guerrero texas


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Braun Calls Season Ticket Holders To Apologize Fri, 06 Sep 2013 15:23:34 +0000 braun

I thought you might find this interesting.

According to CBS 58, suspended Milwaukee Brewers Outfielder Ryan Braun is calling Brewers season ticket holders to apologize.

“Hey there’s a guy on the phone claiming to be Ryan Braun, it’s probably one of your buddies messing with you.”

That’s exactly what Kelly’s Bleachers owner Pat Guenther thought Thursday afternoon.

He picked up the phone thinking it’d be a joke.

“Hey Pat this is Ryan Braun,” Guenther recalls.  “Right then and there I knew it was his voice based on interviews I’ve seen on TV. I knew damn well it was his voice.”

So he did what anyone in the service industry would do.

“I said what can I do for you? He said, I messed up, in a nutshell, I messed up. I just want to reach out and say I’m sorry. I cut him off right there. I said you know Ryan, I think you’re an amazing athlete and this speaks volumes to your character to reach out to a small business owner like myself and let us know that you are going to do better.”

Guenther’s bar  is a popular hangout for Brewers fans.  He’s also  been a season ticket holder for more than 20 years.

“Who hasn’t made a mistake? People move forward. I think that’s what Ryan is trying to do. He’s moving forward. He has no other option. Be better, help his ballclub win games and win the hearts of Brewers fans like he has for many, many years.”

The Brewers confirmed the team provided Braun with contact information for some season ticket holders at his request.

Surprising move by Braun and the Brewers, though I wonder what kind of an impact it will make on season ticket sales.

Braun was suspended 65 games by Major League Baseball earlier this year for using performance enhancing drugs.

The former MVP issued a written public apology a few weeks later, but CBS says he has yet to step back in front of cameras to answer questions from the media.

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Featured Post: Should Mets Aggressively Pursue Cuban Sensation Jose Abreu? Fri, 16 Aug 2013 02:38:44 +0000 JoseAbreuWBC

As Baseball America first reported, Jose Abreu, the premier offensive player in Cuba, has defected with the goal of trying to sign a contract to play baseball with a major league team.

Abreu, 26, would hit the market as a free agent and according to Baseball America, will be able to sign as a free agent “exempt from the international signing bonus pools.”

In other words, this power-hitting first baseman has a very lucrative longterm deal coming his way that may eclipse other Cuban defectors before him and greatly so. The bidding for Abreu will not be for the faint of heart.

For now, he’ll be busy establishing legal residency somewhere. He’s reportedly in Haiti for now, but some have speculated the Dominican Republic is where he’ll take up residency. It’s a process that could take 2-3 months which will likely make him the crown jewel of the Hot Stove season. But never mind all that, lets get to the meat and potatoes.

Here is some background from him straight from Baseball America:

At 6-foot-3, 250 pounds, Abreu is a physically imposing righthanded hitter with tremendous raw power to all fields, with astounding numbers in Cuba the last several years. He also ranked as the No. 4 prospect among players in the 2013 World Baseball Classic not already signed by an MLB organization.

This year in a Serie Nacional season interrupted by the World Baseball Classic, Abreu hit .382/.535/.735 with 13 home runs, 37 walks and 21 strikeouts in 42 games playing for Cienfuegos. Abreu led Cuba in home runs, on-base percentage, slugging and OPS while ranking second in batting average to earn all-star honors.

During the 2011-12 season, Abreu hit .394/.542/.837 with 35 home runs, 75 walks and 40 strikeouts in 71 games. Abreu led Serie Nacional in batting, OBP (by 63 points over Alfredo Despaigne), slugging (by 142 points over Despaigne) and OPS. Abreu was an all-star and ranked second in homers—only one behind Despaigne despite having 63 fewer plate appearances—although Despaigne still captured the MVP.

In 2010-11, Abreu won the MVP award after having one of the greatest seasons in Cuban history, despite missing 23 games due to bursitis in his shoulder. Abreu batted .453/.597/.986 in 293 plate appearances, blasting 33 home runs with 58 walks and 32 strikeouts. He led Cuba in batting average, OBP, slugging and OPS. He tied Yoenis Cespedes, now with the Athletics, for the league lead in home runs despite stepping to the plate 122 fewer times.

Abreu’s MVP season came one year after he finished third in MVP voting behind Despaigne and third baseman Yulieski Gourriel. Abreu batted .399/.555/.822 with 30 home runs, 74 walks and 49 strikeouts in 82 games that season to lead Cuba in OBP, slugging and OPS while ranking second in batting average and finishing one home run shy of Despaigne for the league lead in homers.

While posting some of the most prodigious offensive numbers in Cuba over the last four years, even more impressive than Yasiel Puig, Abreu is just now about to enter his prime production years. His potent righthanded bat would be in the middle of any major league lineup and nobody questions that. His impact on the game will be immediate and immense.

He loves to dig in at the plate and while he has an excellent approach, he pairs it nicely with his aggressiveness, which makes up for his average bat speed. Despite that he makes consistently great contact and is dialed in during every at-bat. His quick and instinctive skills as a hitter make up for and concerns with his bat speed as most scouts will tell you.


So where do the Mets fit in here?

I’m afraid that history has never shown Sandy Alderson to be the type of GM who will go all out and beat out all bidders to fetch a prize like this. This is not one of those “we’re gonna wait out the market” types of situations which is more akin to Sandy’s style. Which ever team lands this incredible talent will be the one that is the most aggressive in their pursuit and will offer up the richest possible bounty.

So far, we’ve yet to learn which agent will represent this new Cuban sensation, but once that happens this won’t be a long and drawn out process, rather it should be a rather quick winner take all bonanza.

One thing that will certainly affect Abreu’s final decision is that he immediately hits the ground running in the majors with no minor league stopovers to get acquainted with the American style of the game.

The teams that will likely be heavily engaged in the bidding war will no doubt feature the usual suspects like the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels and I bet the St. Louis Cardinals will have more than a passing interest. But one insider expects as many as 12 teams to dip into the pool.

The Mets, well they have their first baseman of the future Ike Davis who is walking up a storm… Sorry bad joke… I’m just still so amazed at those who still envision Davis as an everyday all-star caliber power-hitting first baseman despite the fact his advanced metrics say otherwise.

Additionally, Sandy and his purported millions he now has to spend, will likely be looking more at outfielders and perhaps a shortstop as long as he has Davis as well as Wilmer Flores, Josh Satin and Allan Dykstra in tow.

I’ll say one thing, whoever does get Abreu, will no doubt be adding a 30+ home run bat into their lineup who has a great eye at the plate and has always produced a high average and on-base percentage. His strikeouts are low which is surprising for a player with such power, but that’s just another reason why scouts deem him to be such a unique and special talent.

One more thing that will make Abreu such a prime target is something else Baseball America pointed out and that is one of the weakest free agent markets we’ve ever seen for first basemen – with Mike Napoli being the top dog.

By the way, if only people would just warm up to my idea of putting Ike Davis on the block because of the upcoming demand for first basemen. We could probably get more than we would in a normal offseason if we were to strike now while the iron’s hot. You see what I did there?

Anyway, as much as Abreu would fill a huge power void in the Mets lineup and finally solve the question of who is our first baseman of the future, I just don’t see the Mets having the stomach to shell out the millions it’s going to take to land this 26-year old phenom who will likely be the most exciting new player of 2014 and beyond. This one is going to be big.

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MMO Interview: Josh Satin, The Hitting Machine Thu, 04 Jul 2013 13:56:05 +0000 The following is an interview we did with Josh Satin back on July 4th, 2011. Here we are two years later and who could have predicted that he’d be playing first base regularly and thriving as he has in the major leagues? Well actually, I did predict it, but it’s early yet so I’ll take a wait and see approach. :-) But needless to say, I am very pleased with the results so far.

Last night I heard that in the span since Josh Satin has been promoted until now, no other major leaguer has more hits than he does. Wow…

Enjoy this MMO Flashback from Josh Satin…


1st Inning – As a Cal alum, how proud were you to see the team advance to the College World Series after nearly being forced to fold?

As a cal alum I was very proud of the team and their accomplishments this season. I’m still very close with the head coach there so I’m so happy that we were finally able to get over the hump and get to the college world series. Hopefully this recent run can help spark the program for some more consistent future success.

2nd Inning – You were drafted as a second baseman, but the Mets have used you all around the diamond. If you had to pick one position to play which would it be?

Although drafted as a second baseman I have played all over the diamond my whole career. I spent a year in college playing third, all of high school playing shortstop, and two Summer Ball seasons in the cape playing first base… If I had to choose it would be which ever position gives me the best opportunity to make the big leagues.

3rd Inning – You recently hit for the cycle. Was that the first one you’ve hit and how good did it feel to slide into third base to complete it?

It was the first cycle of my entire career at any level so it was definitely a great feeling. Sliding into third was a thrill I might not ever feel again so it’s something I’ll remember for he rest of my life.

josh satin

4th Inning – Briefly describe what it has been like to play under Wally Backman, who is known for having a colorful personality to say the least.

Wally has been great to play for. Before he season I had heard only great things about him as a manager so I had high hopes and he has exceeded them all. He brings so much energy everyday so it’s easy to play hard for him. He is dedicated to helping each of us get to the big leagues and has worked tirelessly with me at each of my positions. And although he is firey with umpires on the field, behind the scenes he always picks his players up even when they are struggling or cost the team a game.

5th Inning – Who has been the most difficult pitcher you have faced this year and which pitcher on the B-Mets would you least like to face?

Most difficult pitcher to face in the Eastern League is Brad Peacock and pitcher I would least like to face on the B-Mets is probably Rhiner Cruz. Rightly throwing sidearm at 98 not my ideal pitcher to face

6th Inning – If a scout was to watch you play over the course of a week what do you think his report would look like, or how would you hope it looked?

I would hope the scout says he plays the game hard first and foremost. Offensively I would hope they’d say I work counts and don’t swing at bad pitches. When I get my pitch I usually barrel it up. Hopefully they say I have good gap power with occasional home run power. Defensively I would hope they say I’m solid. Catch everything I get to and play as hard as I can.

7th Inning – Since your promotion to Binghamton last year, over what projects to be a full season (151 games), you have hit .310/.401/.492 with 46 doubles, 3 triples, 16 home runs, driven in 88, and scored 90 runs. Those are some pretty remarkable numbers. You have clearly earned a promotion to Buffalo. Have the Mets made any indications to you when one will happen?

Thank you. They have not given me any indication. I just have to play hard everyday.

7th Inning Stretch – This is the off topic question. If you could have four tickets to any music concert, you have to take one family member, one teammate, one male celebrity, and one female celebrity, what concert do you go to and who do you take?

If I were to go to a concert, I would go to Kanye West. Male celebrity would be Justin Timberlake, female would be Blake Lively, teammate would be Eric Campbell, family member would be my brother Dylan.

I want to send a big thank you out to Josh and mention that he was one of three B-Mets recently named to the Eastern League All-Star Game. Last year in the Florida State League All-Star Game he won the MVP with a game tying homerun and the game winning hit in extra innings.

We see rookies come up and have a great one or two weeks all the time in this game… Many of them take advantage of the fact that they are an unknown quantity to the opposing team which gives them a bit of an advantage at times. Eventually, their skill set catches up to them and they become who they’ve always been.

One of the reasons I’ve been pushing Satin as long as I have is because to see him once, is to know he’s a legitimate hitter. I’m not talking about now, I’m talking about seeing him in 2010 and 2011. Considering Satin’s versatility and his ability to play second base, I was always surprised that the Mets never seriously considered him as an option. All he’s ever done was get on base and produce runs and he’s been selected as an All Star three times as a second baseman and once after he became a regular first baseman last season.

The good news is that he’s here now, and I believe he’s here to stay. It took a long time, but Satin never gave up or ever complained about his plight. He’d just put on his uniform day in and day out and and play his heart out with a smile. You have to admire that in a ballplayer.

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Did Yankees and A-Rod Illegally Obtain and Destroy Evidence From Ongoing Biogenesis Investigation? Mon, 15 Apr 2013 17:08:09 +0000 alex rodriguez


On Friday afternoon, Michael Schmidt of the New York Times broke the story and identified Alex Rodriguez as the player who allegedly purchased documents from a former employee of Biogenesis of America in an attempt to destroy evidence linking him to the anti-aging clinic’s distribution of performance-enhancing drugs.

When the Miami New Times broke the story in January, I remember saying “this is the White Whale. This is the one that will blow the lid completely off the entire steroid and PED scandal.”

Since that day more than a dozen players have been implicated and tied to Biogensis including Rodriguez, Melky Cabrera, Gio GonzalezBartolo Colon, Nelson Cruz and Yasmani Grandal and 2012 MVP Ryan Braun.

While they all continue denying everything and scrambling for and convenient excuse they can find, the plot keeps thickening and the sordid details are piling up by the hundreds. Real details and real documents that even MLB themselves are trying to illegally buy at any price to get to the bottom of this and protect what little integrity the game has left.

The person charged with the role of Super Spy is none other than Bud Selig himself who has been authorizing and signing off on huge sums of cash that is being used to secure whatever documents they can get their hands on from former employees of the lab who are now all seeking to pay off their significant mounting legal fees.

And while Alex Rodriguez is no less guilty of doing the same thing, there is a huge difference.

MLB wants those documents so they can go after every player that is implicated and try to clean up the game.

A-Rod on the other hand, was seeking to get those documents and destroy them before the FBI or MLB got a hold of them.

But wait, there’s more…

Of course, Rodriguez flatly denied the accusation through a spokesman, but then he dropped another bombshell alleging that it was the New York Yankees that were paying for and buying those documents from the rogue former employee. Wow…

Oh and one more thing… Let’s stop calling them documents and lets start referring to them instead as illegally obtained evidence to hinder an ongoing federal, state and MLB investigation.

These are all allegations at this time, but when this is all over, I think more than a few people, including players, will be looking at life from a different perspective…

Prisoner Holding Cigarette Between Bars

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MMO’s 2013 Top Spring Performer Is Collin Cowgill Mon, 01 Apr 2013 13:45:52 +0000 cowgill

Collin Cowgill is MMO’s 2013 Top Spring Performer

Spring training is a time for veterans to get their work in as they prepare for the 162 game grind they are about to embark on. While the veterans are gearing up, there are usually a few roster spots that are up for grabs. These spots are usually a battle between some aging veterans looking to catch on as a reserve, or a young upstart looking to get his first taste of the majors. This spring, the Mets came into camp with seemingly more questions about their roster then they have had in the previous five seasons combined.

What we saw, was a group of young players come in with fire in their belly. They were hungry for a spot on the Mets roster, and with all the openings, there was plenty of spots to be had. Some players surprised, some disappointed, and then some just blew our socks off.

Collin Cowgill wowed Mets fans, coaches, and team brass alike from the beginning of spring training. The youngster is gritty, and showed off his skills ending the spring with a .303/.378/.591 slash line in 66 at-bats. He flexed his muscles cranking five homers, drove in ten RBI, while also hitting four doubles and stealing four bases.

“He reminds me of the way Dude played,” Cowgill’s former manager and one-time Met Rico Brogna said, referring to Dykstra, who was nicknamed Nails. “He’s got the run-through-the wall mentality to make a play 24/7. He just does whatever it takes to get the job done. The entire game matters to him, all aspects, from the moment he arrives at the ballpark.”

The 26-year-old started hitting from day one, and continued to show he belonged up until the final day of spring. He is a right-handed bat, which the Mets need; he has some speed, and showed home run and gap power. He may not have all-world skills across the board, but he is a gamer, and he is just the type of player the Mets need.

Cowgill earned the starting center field job by playing better than the rest of his competition. He saw the opportunity and he went after it. Congratulations Collin, and welcome to the New York Mets!

Honorable Mentions

1. Matt Harvey: The power righty dominated to the tune of a 2.96 ERA.

2. Jon Niese: The Opening Day starter continued to build on a strong 2012 campaign.

3. Jordany Valdespin: Spin has plenty of talent, but Collins did not trust him in the outfield defensively.

Tune in every Monday as I will take on the task of announcing MMO’s Player of the Week!

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

NL West At A Glance

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

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

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

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

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

Projected Standings

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

Top Sleeper

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

Top Rookie

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

Top Pitcher

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

Top Hitter

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

Next up will be the NL Central.


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Matt Harvey and Fred Lewis Earn MVP Honors Wed, 29 Aug 2012 12:00:56 +0000 The Buffalo Bisons honored their 2012 Season Award Winners as part of Fan Appreciation Night on Tuesday evening at Coca Cola Field. Players received their awards in a special pre-game ceremony in what has become an annual tradition for the Herd on their final home game of the season.

OF Fred Lewis

Most Valuable Player

Lewis has been a force at the top of the Bisons lineup after being signed as a free agent on April 25. In 104 games, the outfielder has hit a team-best .290 (117-403) with 11 home runs and 39RBI. He also leads the Bisons with 75 runs scored, 25 doubles, 7 triples, 43 extra-base hits, a .469 slugging percentage, a .843 OPS and 24 stolen bases. Lewis is second on the club with his .374 on-base percentage and 117 base hits.

Lewis ranks the International League’s Top 10 in triples (T3rd), runs scored (T3rd) stolen bases (5th), on-base percentage (T6th), OPS (7th) and slugging percentage (10th).

Lewis was the sparkplug that got the Bisons’ offense going all season. The veteran hit .384 (53-138) with 18 extra-base hits and a .448 on-base percentage when leading off an inning. He homered to lead off the game on August 26(2) against Rochester. He also homered in back-to-back games on three separate occasions, May 25-26, July 12-13 (3 total home runs) and August 7-8. He homered twice on June 24 at Durham and July 13 at Pawtucket and was named International League Batter-of-the-Week for the period of July 12-16. With his great speed, Lewis stole 24 bases in 32 attempts. He swiped three bags on June 4 in Toledo.

RHP Matt Harvey

Most Valuable Pitcher

Matt Harvey had an All-Star campaign before moving on to New York in late July for his major league debut. In 20 starts with the Bisons, the 23-year old righty was 7-5 with a 3.68ERA and 112 strikeouts in only 110.0 innings of work. Despite not pitching with the Bisons in a month, he still ranks second on the Bisons and 10th in the IL with his 112 strikeouts.

Harvey struck out 10 batters on three different occasions, including a season-high 11 punchouts in six innings of work in a victory on May 18 vs. Gwinnett. In 13 of his 20 starts with the Bisons, the Mets’ #2 prospect by Baseball America fanned at least five batters.

Harvey’s season took off starting on April 20 when he struck out 10 in a victory in Syracuse. He then went 5-0 with a 3.12ERA in a seven-game stretch, April 20 – May 24. On the season, the righty allowed more than four runs in just two of his 20 starts. The Bisons were 12-8 in games he started.

Harvey also hit .267 (4-15) with a home run and four RBI at the plate. He hit a two-run home run on April 25 in a victory at Lehigh Valley.

Harvey represented the Bisons at the 2012 Triple-A All-Star Game at Coca-Cola Field on July 11. He tossed two shutout innings and was named the IL’s Top Star of the game.

* * * * * * * *

Other award winners included Comeback Player of the Year Elvin Ramirez, with Inspirational and Community Awards going to Jeff Stevens, Garrett Olson, Matt Tuiasosopo and Justin Hampson.

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Angels To Sign Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson Thu, 08 Dec 2011 16:06:46 +0000 Wow, hang onto your checkbooks, the Los Angeles Angels have just agreed to a deal with Albert Pujols that is worth a reported ten years and $250-260MM according to Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports. The deal includes a full no-trade clause.

Pujols, 32, was drafted by the Cardinals in 1999 and it’s been the only team he’s known during his tremendous 11 year career which includes a Rookie of the Year award and three MVP awards. According to MLBTR, Pujols ranked no worse than ninth in the MVP voting in every season of his career and has averaged 155 games per season.

Pujols led the St. Louis Cardinals to a World Series title this fall — his second with the team.

That’s not all…

According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Angels have also completed a deal with free agent starting pitcher C.J. Wilson.

It’s a five-year, $77.5MM contract, according to ESPN’s Karl Ravech.

* * * * * * *

Albert Pujols will probably get more than the Mets payroll combined for the next four years.

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We Don’t See Pitchers Winning 25 Games Very Often… Tue, 20 Sep 2011 11:09:16 +0000 I want to push all the Mets stuff aside for at least one small post, to mention something going on in the world of Major League Baseball that i think we should look at (and NO it doesn’t involve “hat-gate”).

We’ve seen Sandy Koufax win 25 games and go onto win the MVP and Cy Young that season.

We now have the opportunity to witness a pitcher reaching the 25 win plateau again, joining the likes of Koufax and Seaver.

Justin Verlander has been nothing short of dominant in 2011.  It kind of surprised me to see him perform this well and this dominant.

With Verlander very close to earning his 25th win this season, he could become the next pitcher to win both the Cy Young and MVP award in the American League.

He currently has 24 wins, and has several more opportunities No. 25 this season.

In this day and age, we rarely see guys get as many innings, and as many starts as the Tigers ace.

In 33 starts this season Verlander has thrown 244 innings struck out 244 batters. K’s. Did i forget to mention he threw a no-hitter this season too?

Who knows when we’ll ever witness something like this again.

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TRON: Legacy – How I Came To Admire Carlos Beltran Mon, 01 Aug 2011 18:44:37 +0000

How cool is that Tron graphic from Kelly? I asked her if she would make me a cool graphic to go with my post and in a matter of nano seconds she emails me this. All Mets sites feature great posts to read, but to have artwork like Kelly’s mixed in with all of our rants and raves really adds a different character and flair to MMO. Thanks Kelly.

After many great posts from my fellow bloggers here, I thought it was time to give you my take on the Carlos Beltran trade and what he meant to me as player and person, and close out what has been a phenomenal Carlos Beltran Appreciation week at MMO.

Like Ed and Kelly, Beltran was by far my favorite Mets player on the team. It’s been that way since 2005 when he joined the team. He replaced the void that once belonged to Mike Piazza who had been my favorite current Met until he moved on.

It was easy for me to root for Beltran because as a Met fan, I’ve learned to love rooting for the underdogs. After the rude welcome to the New York Mets by gasbags like Joe Beningo and Mike Lupica, and the ensuing mass-negativity that would follow, I knew Beltran was going to be my guy. With the deck stacked against him from jump street, plus a new big contract, and then the weight of a fanbase starving for another post season on his shoulders, it was easy for me to view Beltran as the underdog and thus began my personal journey between me and Tron.

I still remember the day when Omar Minaya was introduced by Fred Wilpon, and Minaya laid out his vision for bringing the Mets back to the post season. He said it would take five years to get back there, but he obviously didn’t know at the time that he would be the winner of that offseason’s Carlos Beltran sweepstakes. Apologies to Yankees and Astros fans.

Things got off to a shaky start for No. 15. as unrealistic fan expectations, several injuries including a devastating outfield collision with Mike Cameron, and a never-ending bashing in the media, all contributed to a less than stellar 2005 season. During the last game of that season, one look at Beltran’s face and you could see he had just been put through an emotional wringer – he looked like he had aged ten years. The smile on his face was gone. Welcome to the Big Apple, Carlos.

What a difference a year can make… By the time Opening Day in 2006 rolled around, Beltran-Bashing had reached a fever-pitch in New York. Radio and cable-TV sportstalk blasted Beltran daily - calling him out for being soft, for being overrated, and even for being Latino, and fans were buying into it in droves. It was an ugly time for being a Mets fan, especially a Met fan like me who had just got his brand new Carlos Beltran jersey that Christmas. I couldn’t believe he was being treated and portrayed so poorly.

It didn’t take long before some of those haters were jumping back on the Mets bandwagon as after a slow April start (4 HR, 11 RBI), Beltran delivered a huge month in May (10 HR, 26 RBI) and was now in the top five in about a dozen different offensive categories in the NL, and well on his way to an MVP caliber season. Together with Carlos Delgado, they formed a powerful tandem and after one year of rebuilding, the New York Mets were now in the thick of a post season run and were the top team in the NL East. Beltran would hit a franchise best 41 home runs with 116 RBIs, 127 runs, 38 doubles and 18 steals in one of the best all around seasons in Mets history. He would also win his first Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards and finish 4th in the MVP voting that season.

Beltran led the Mets to their first post season since 2000 that year, and for all the grief Mets fans have given him for that called third strike in game seven of the NLCS, the fact of the matter is that Beltran outplayed everyone in that series. The Mets won Game 1 of the NLCS 2-0 as Tom Glavine and Jeff Weaver locked horns in a pitchers duel. All the scoring came courtesy of 2-run blast by Carlos Beltran, who also made a tremendous play in the outfield – doubling off Albert Pujols at first base with a laser to Delgado.

In Game 4, with the Mets down 2-1 in the series, Carlos Beltran powered the Mets to a 12-5 thrashing of the Cardinals to even the series. Beltran was on base all five times going 3-3 with two walks, four runs scored and jolting another 2-run homer, his second in the series.

Then there’s Game 7 – that’s the game the Mets lost 3-1 with the only run from the Mets coming from Carlos Beltran who doubled and scored in the first inning. Despite a record breaking season, and an NLCS in which he posted a 1.054 OPS in 27 at-bats, Beltran was singled out for simply making the last out in a hard fought series. Never mind his 8 runs scored, his 3 home runs, and his being on base 12 times in seven games, blame Beltran.

In the next two seasons, Beltran would go on to rack up 73 doubles and 60 home runs while driving in 224 runs and scoring 209 in 2007-2008. He also stoled 48 bases and earned two more Gold Gloves and a Silver Slugger. But the stigma of that Adam Wainwright curveball was simply too much to overcome for most Mets fans, and sadly his heroics were always met with a subdued calm instead of an exuberant celebration. Sadly, that said more about many Mets fans than it did Carlos Beltran.

In 2009, a misdiagnosed knee injury led to what might have been Beltran’s best season as a Met. When the Mets finally shut Beltran down toward the end of the first half, he was leading the National League with a .338 batting average and a .423 on-base as well as doubles and extra-base hits. Unfortunately, what the Mets diagnosed as simple knee sprain and treated with a cortisone shot, ended up being a serious bone bruise. He would eventually miss more than half the season and although he tried to come back at the end after the Mets treated him with just rest, he would sit out the last remaining games and was prescribed more rest as treatment during the offseason. Bad idea.

The 2010 season couldn’t have started any worse for Carlos Beltran as the Mets organization unfairly attacked him for seeking a second opinion on his knee that had now swollen to twice it’s size and was a constant source of pain. The Mets went ballistic when Beltran proceeded with surgery to repair it even when it was proven that their own medical doctor gave the approval, and that GM Omar Minaya admitting he knew about it and wished his centerfield luck the night before. The Mets would spend the rest of that season portraying Beltran in a bad light at every chance they got. He now not only had a fanbase and a belligerent New York media railing against him, but the Mets owners and front office too, and they used their network SNY to do a daily hatchet job on Beltran all through the end of the season. It didn’t really matter to Beltran, and while it must have hurt him deeply, he never uttered a bad word about his team, the fans or the media, and he continued to pursue every opportunity to help the community here in New York or abroad in his hometown of Puerto Rico with many different charitable events, many of which MMO was honored to cover.

When the 2010 season finally ended, so did the tenures of Omar Minaya and manager Jerry Manuel. Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins were tabbed to replace them. but the biggest story of the offseason wasn’t them, it was Carlos Beltran and his knee and whether or not he would move to right field to help the team. For months this debate fueled sportstalk shows on radio and cable TV until Spring Training arrived and Carlos Beltran would shut all the pundits and talking heads up. Beltran walked into the new managers office and said he would voluntarily play right field much to the shock and ultimate adoration of Terry Collins who lauded him for selfless act.

Of course than the conversation shifted to how many games will Beltran play a week, and how many days can he play until his knee would give out again – just the usual trash journalism. But as has always been the case, Carlos Beltran would once again shut up the always ignorant media and go on to post an MVP caliber season and actually lead the team in games played. Yes, you read that right. Carlos Beltran had become the Mets’ Iron Man.. So lets get rid of him.

The writing was on the wall and Beltran was now a marked man. With every swing of his mighty bat, his value continued to soar, and this under-appreciated Mets all-star was writing his own ticket out of town.

The truth is, Beltran needed to go. Not for all the reasons that have been regurgitated countless times on blogs, radio and TV, but because it really was time for Beltran to shake the dust of this town off of him and go someplace where his talents and his good nature will be more appreciated.

New York took a great player, chewed him up and spit him out, and yet they never dulled his shine. The experience never affected his ability to give back. Even in leaving, he did so with class. He thanked the Wilpons, for what I do not know. He thanked the front office who was bent on getting rid of him from day one. He thanked the manager who I know will sincerely miss his right fielder. And of course he thanked all his teammates who were all saddened and shocked to see him go. His final words?

“The Mets did the right thing. I don’t blame them. They tried to do what they felt was best for the team. I’m happy for them”

Yes, the Mets were being selfish. Not Beltran… He was being what he always was. A class act whose mark was left in the Mets record books, and whose spirit touched everyone that was privileged enough to play with him. You don’t believe me? Just ask the players.

Farewell No. 15.

This concludes our week-long tribute to Carlos Beltran. I want to thank everyone on MMO who contributed, and of course I want to thank all of you for reading and interacting with us.

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Former Met, NL MVP Mitchell Facing Possible Jail Time Fri, 17 Sep 2010 06:50:23 +0000 Ex-Met and Game 6 hero Kevin Mitchell is in trouble with the law once again. And this time he may be spending up to 4 years in jail.

On Thursday, a judge in Chula Vista, CA ordered the 48 year old Mitchell to stand trial from an incident at the Bonita Golf Course. In July, Mitchell allegedly punched another golfer in the head repeatedly, nearly causing the man to suffer a concussion. The individual, whose name has not been released, was confronted by Mitchell for supposedly making ‘disparaging remarks’ about him.

The former NL MVP is no stranger to the legal system. Growing up in San Diego the one time gang member had been shot 3 times in his youth. In 1991, he was arrested for rape but the charges were dropped. In 99, he was arrested for assault after beating up his father. While managing the Sonoma County Crushers in 01, Mitchell was involved in a bench clearing brawl in which he punched the owner of the opposing team in the head. As a result he was suspended 9 games. The following year he was suspended 7 games after beating up his own 3rd base coach. He currently owes the state of California almost $5.2 million in unpaid taxes. Former teammate Doc Gooden claimed that during the 1986 season an ‘enraged’ Mitchell physically held him hostage and forced him to watch as he decapitated his girlfriend’s cat. Mitchell adamantly denied these accusations.

Mitchell only appeared in 115 games for the Mets, mainly as a utility player. Gary Carter nicknamed him ‘World’ cause he could play everywhere. In 328 AB’s he hit 275 with 12 HR’s and knocked in 44 RBI’s. But he is best remembered for his role in Game 6.

As the Mets trailed 5-3 going to the bottom of the 10th Mitchell returned to the clubhouse and began changing out of his uniform. When he was advised that Davey Johnson wanted him to pinch-hit in case Carter was able to get something going with 2 outs, he was already in his street clothes and on the phone making plane reservations to go home for the winter. Urban legend has it that he did not dress completely for his At-Bat, not having time to put on his cup. It was Mitchell who ultimately scored the tying run on Bob Stanley’s wild pitch.

He caused a huge dilemma for GM Frank Cashen. There was no doubt that Mitchell had the talent to be a great player. But with that talent came the fact that he was known to be hot-headed, volatile and short-tempered. Two months after getting that big hit, Mitchell was traded to San Diego along with Stan Jefferson and Shawn Abner for Kevin McReynolds, Gene Walter and Adam Ging.

Halfway through the 87 season Mitchell was traded to the Giants. In 1989, Mitchell helped lead San Francisco to the Pennant. He hit 291 with 47 HR’s and 125 RBI’s and became the first Giant to win the MVP since Willie McCovey 2 decades earlier.

However, 89 was the peak of his career. He was a 2-time All-Star but his indifferent attitude on the field combined with off-field distractions and numerous problems in his personal life caused friction with teammates and team owners. He frequently arrived in Spring Training 30-35 pounds overweight. In 1995, he played in Japan, becoming the highest paid ballplayer in that nation’s history. But he quickly wore out his welcome there as well. When he needed to have knee surgery, he refused to let the Japanese doctors operate and chose to fly back to the US, a move that was seen as a huge slap in the face to the proud Japanese people.

Mitchell left the game in 1998, a career 284 hitter with 234 HR’s, 760 RBI’s and 630 Runs. In his brief but memorable 13 year career, he played for 8 different teams.

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David Wright MVP… Maybe? Mon, 19 Jul 2010 18:50:55 +0000

I am single handedly prepared to be bashed worse then a horrible 90′s actor at a roast with Jeffery Ross. Regardless of his skyrocketing K totals, his declining walk rate and his inability to hit in the clutch sometimes, statistically David Wright has a good chance to win the MVP – especially if the Mets reach the playoffs.

David Wright is currently sitting on a 53/15/65/15 line (RS/HR/RBI/SB) and hitting .310. In most cases, this would be a very average line for certain players – but there is some evidence that if David could put together a line near 30/30 with a .300 average and helping his team to the playoffs that he could receive the award… and the name will immediately infuriate most Met fans – Jimmy Rollins.

Mr. Rollins, upon winning his 2007 MVP Award, hit .296 and hit 30 HR and stole 45 bases. Now, the 30 HR are really an anomaly, since Rollins HR totals have fluctuated throughout his career, going as high as 30, and as low as 8. Rollins may have won the award because he was hitting lead off for his team. But could a similar line prove to push David over the edge?

Another name to mention – Dustin Pedroia who won and was a bit of a surprise winner. His line of 118/17/83/20/.326 in 2008 doesn’t truly fit amongst MVP numbers, but there it is proof that a player who can help his team win and be their team’s anchor, is capable of winning the MVP over the power hitter who bats .270 and hits 40 bombs.

Looking at where David Wright is located in the overall pack in most of the major category – he is in the top-5 in RBI behind former MVP Ryan Howard and Corey Hart, top-10 in average, top-10 in doubles, top-10 in hits, top-20 in steals and top-10 in OBP. Just being in the top’s of these lists put him in very good company.

The only factor that statistics as well as the human eye can see is from the Murderers May 2009 (injuries to Delgado, Beltran, Reyes) until about…June 20th, or the last game of the Yankees series. Since that date, David has only struck out 18 times in 25 games, with nearly 1/6 of that coming in one game versus the Nationals. In all of May, David struck out 39 times…in 28 games. In May, David had 4 games with zero strikeouts. In the 25 games since June 20th, David has had zero strikeouts in TEN games and only struck out more then once in a game 3 times. If this doesn’t show turning a corner, and give evidence that David is finding his groove and is returning to the form of old, that had him in the MVP race annually then something must’ve changed in baseball.

A final line for David looking something like 100/30/130/30/.305 would give him one of the best all-around seasons for a 3rd baseman, and in a down year for Albert Pujols, could possibly win him the MVP award. The sad thing is – because of Jason Bay’s futility David’s numbers could be better (RBI, R) and also he wouldn’t look so in control of the lineup, operating as the anchor, hitting where the best hitter on the team should hit – the three hole.

Hate Dave or love him – he puts up the numbers to be one of the best 3rd baseman in the game, bar-none. If his numbers can lead to the Mets getting into the playoffs and getting over the hump, then I, Sean Kenny personally believe he should be awarded the MVP award.

Now, I’ll escape before the lynch mob comes to call me a Wright-Jockey.

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