Mets Merized Online » Opening Day http://metsmerizedonline.com Sat, 02 Aug 2014 02:52:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 Yankees Acquire Stephen Drew, Martin Prado http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/yankees-acquire-stephen-drew.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/yankees-acquire-stephen-drew.html/#comments Thu, 31 Jul 2014 20:16:18 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=162283 stephen drew

Update 4:16: The Yankees have also acquired Martin Prado from the Diamondbacks, according to Jack Curry of the YES Network. Prado is batting .270/.317/.370 with five homers this season.

Original Post: The Yankees have acquired Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew, according to Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com.

Drew, 31, signed a one-year deal with the Red Sox in late May. He is really struggling, hitting .176/.255/.328 in 39 games this season. Drew had a solid season last year, batting .253/.333/.443.

This is a puzzling deal for the Yankees but a good one for Boston. They get salary relief and will get Kelly Johnson out of it. The Yankees struck out in their search for a big bat today, but they may have a second baseman for the rest of the year.

The Red Sox are tearing down everything right now. They have now dealt 4/5 of their Opening Day rotation, and have shed some more salary. However, they have recovered some other pieces that could be useful in the years to come.

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Cyclones Dominate On Opening Day http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/06/cyclones-dominate-on-opening-day.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/06/cyclones-dominate-on-opening-day.html/#comments Sun, 15 Jun 2014 13:00:05 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=158592 The Cyclones picked up the win on Opening Day. (Photo by Jim Mancari)

The Cyclones picked up the win on Opening Day. (Photo by Jim Mancari)

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – During an afternoon when the parent club New York Mets only managed two hits in a 5-0 loss to the San Diego Padres – the seventh time they’ve been shutout this season – the Brooklyn Cyclones clubbed nine hits in an Opening Day 8-2 victory over the Staten Island Yankees Saturday at MCU Park in Coney Island.

The original Opening Day was rained out Friday night in Staten Island, so the Cyclones were able to treat 8,175 fans – nearly 700 more than the stadium’s 7,501 seating capacity – to a win in the opener. Brooklyn is now 11-3 all-time on Opening Day and 7-1 since 2007.

“I was pleasantly surprised with how good the guys handled it (the atmosphere),” said Cyclones’ manager Tom Gamboa, who is the 10th manager in franchise history.

The Cyclones were all smiles on Opening Day. (Photo by Jim Mancari)

The Cyclones were all smiles on Opening Day. (Photo by Jim Mancari)

The Cyclones wasted very little time before providing some offensive punch. With one out in the bottom of the second inning, right fielder Michael Bernal hit an RBI double over the third base bag, and left fielder Joe Tuschak followed with an RBI double of his own to right field to give Brooklyn a 2-0 lead.

The team scored two more runs in the bottom of the third, when catcher Tomas Nido – who struggled offensively in Brooklyn last year to the tune of a .185 batting average – drove a two-strike, two-RBI triple to right center field.

“The first two pitches I swung at weren’t good pitches, but then he (Yankees’ starting pitcher David Palladino) went with a fastball up in the zone,” said the 20-year-old backstop. “I put a good swing on it, and I helped the team get a couple of runs.”

The theme of two runs per inning continued for the Cyclones in the bottom of the fourth, as 18-year-old shortstop Amed Rosario drove in a run on a groundout prior to a run scoring on a wild pitch.

Leading 6-0, it was almost a given that Cyclones’ starter Octavio Acosta, a righty from Sinola, Mexico, would be able to complete the fifth inning to qualify for the win. The start made Acosta the oldest Opening Day starting pitcher in Cyclones’ history at 24 years, three months and four days. This is his fifth season in the Mets organization and he struck out a career-high 50 batters in 52.2 innings last year split between Gulf Coast and St. Lucie.

Acosta, who finished with seven strikeouts, had very little trouble through the first four innings but labored in the fifth. He recorded two outs in the frame but hit Yankees’ right fielder Austin Aune with the bases loaded to plate a run.

Cyclones’ righty reliever Brandon Welch entered the game in a huge jam with the bases still loaded, but he was able to induce a fly ball out to end the threat – though a routine play was turned into an adventure, as Tuschak was forced to make a diving catch after a miscommunication between him and center fielder Tucker Tharp.

“It was a little scary, but I was just happy he (Tuschak) caught it,” said Welch, who has only appeared in seven games the past two seasons. “It’s fun to pitch in situations like that. It just gives you momentum; it gets your adrenaline pumping more and more.”

Tomas Nido (Photo by Jim Mancari)

Tomas Nido (Photo by Jim Mancari)

Brooklyn was back at it offensively in the bottom of the seventh. Third baseman Jhoan Ureña blooped an RBI double to right, and he later scored on a passed ball.

Welch turned in 2.1 innings of scoreless relief to pick up the victory after allowing no hits and two walks. Lefty Shane Bay came on for the final two innings, and he gave up a run on three hits.

Ureña finished the day 2-for-3 with an RBI and a walk, while Nido was also 2-for-3 with two RBI and a walk on the day.

“All in all, a lot of good things did happen tonight,” Gamboa said. “It’s always nice to open with a win in front of the home crowd. From the fans’ standpoint, I think they got what they came to see tonight.”

The Cyclones will play a doubleheader Sunday in Staten Island. Game 1 of the twin bill starts at 4 p.m., and tall right-hander Casey Meisner will take the mound for Brooklyn.

Click here to view the complete box score from this game.

MarissaAnn from Season 2 of "The Voice: sung the National Anthem. (Photo by Jim Mancari)

MarissaAnn from Season 2 of “The Voice: sung the National Anthem. (Photo by Jim Mancari)

]]> http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/06/cyclones-dominate-on-opening-day.html/feed/ 0 MMO Players of the Week: The Unlikely Heroes http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/mmo-players-of-the-week-the-unlikely-heroes.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/mmo-players-of-the-week-the-unlikely-heroes.html/#comments Mon, 07 Apr 2014 11:00:51 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=152738 Opening week for the New York Mets certainly did not go as planned: bullpen woes, absent offense, game-changing injuries, silly defensive blunders and questionable managerial decisions all contributed to a rather frustrating 2-4 start. As most of the team becomes acclimated to their new teammates, however, some players are taking it upon themselves to rise above expectations early on in the season. To some fans, these early signs of life do not mean much to them, but here at MetsMerized we see differently; we like to call these three players our Players of the Week!

USATSI juan lagares

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: JUAN LAGARES

For a guy who was questionable to even make the major league roster, Juan Lagares is certainly the most surprising (and delightful!) person to see take this title in the first week. During the offseason, it was clear that the biggest question mark surrounding the Mets was Lagares’ ability to be a productive offensive force, but with his extraordinary work ethic and determination, he has made major improvements to his game at the plate. So far this season, he has drawn three walks while only striking out four times. While this is only a small sample size, anybody who has been watching the games can see the huge progress Juan has made with his plate discipline; he has been chasing far less pitches and is consistently working the count each at bat; not to mention he has shown early signs of power as well. If he can keep this up in addition to his established astonishing defense, it is not too far fetched to consider Juan a serious contender for the All-Star Team.

eric young jr

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: ERIC YOUNG JR

With all the drama surrounding whether this guy would be an everyday outfielder, the sudden injury to Chris Young thrust Eric Young Jr. into the leadoff and left field spot. He clearly did not do anything at the plate, but he did make some nice grabs in the field. Considering that there were little overwhelming defensive plays this week, EYJ gets the title due to his leaping grab to rob Brandon Phillips of a home run on April 4th, which was undeniably fantastic. EYJ was a pleasant product in the field last season, but his pitiful start and underwhelming arm really highlights his true nature as nothing more than a fourth outfielder. With Chris Young sitting on the DL, though, it is critical that EY keeps the great defense consistent for a few more weeks.

USATSI jenrry mejia Credit Brad Bar

PITCHER OF THE WEEK: JENRRY MEJIA

There is no question now that Jenrry Mejia belongs in this rotation! I had the pleasure of experiencing Mejia’s start in person Friday night and I can sincerely say that a great amount of his off-speed stuff made the Reds hitters look absolutely silly. His slider was a fierce killer and his rising fastball in the misty rain was a harsh combination for any man at the plate. He went six innings strong, letting up a mere 4 hits and 1 run in a lineup featuring a 2-3-4 of Brandon Phillips, Joey Votto and Jay Bruce. Although his 5 walks were a blemish that he will continue to hone, his 8 strikeouts were the most he has ever recorded in his young career. With pitchers like Wheeler, who has had exposure to the major league atmosphere, and Syndergaard and Montero not too far from Flushing, Mejia will have some fantastic company in a starting rotation that displays much promise for the Mets’ future.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Anthony Recker is a great guy to have as a backup to d’Arnaud, but nothing says this more than throwing out guys who are really, really fast. Recker is deserving for an honorable mention solely for his on-the-money throw to nail the overhyped rookie Billy Hamilton at second base during Friday’s game. This proved to be a huge moment in the game, as Hamilton being safe would have put the fastest runner in the league in scoring position with only one out.

Dillon Gee also gets a very worthy mention in this category for his very positive starts on Opening Day and Saturday’s come from behind win. Gee seems to be susceptible to the long ball early on, but his pitch count has stayed relatively low in conjunction to the innings he has pitched (averaging more than six so far). The interesting trend of Gee’s ERA climbing as the game goes on has been prominent in enough of his starts to render it logical to remove him after six innings and still considering his day a success. I do not doubt that Gee can work to close out his starts strong, but for now it may be safe to pull him if the strings start to fray late in the game. Otherwise, we can all enjoy watching him pitch gems for the first half of the game– if only the bullpen could hold down the lead for him!

Presented By Diehards

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A Long Crawl to Opening Day http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/a-long-crawl-to-opening-day.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/a-long-crawl-to-opening-day.html/#comments Tue, 01 Apr 2014 19:00:42 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=152334 opening-day-baseball

In Frank Darabont’s The Shawshank Redemption, the main character, Andy Dufresne, played by Tim Robbins, uses a rock hammer and two decades of time to dig a tunnel from prison to freedom.

After six long, winter months without Mets baseball, my Dad and I traveled five hours and ten minutes through a snowstorm, traffic, lost parking, and a final sprint to the ballpark, to find our own freedom. Mets baseball and 54 degree sunshine! Andy Dufresne famously crawled through a river of sh*t and came out clean on the other side. After our ordeal to get to the ballpark, we felt the same exact way.

Opening Day is a tradition between many fathers (and don’t forget mothers) and sons (and don’t forget daughters). My Dad and I are no different. We have been going to Opening Day every year since I was five years old and the Mets played at what my Dad always liked to call, The Big Shea. I remember one year, when I was in fifth grade, my Mom was hesitant to let me skip school to go to the game. I left the house, wearing my blue Mets windbreaker, and started walking as if I was going to school. My Dad had the car waiting just around the corner where it was out of sight from the house. We snuck to the game (later feeling guilty so telling my Mom).

Things have changed a bit since I was that little kid in a blue windbreaker with the orange interlocking NY on the chest. I am a father, myself, now. My daughter just turned one year old. So for Opening Day 2014, the routine felt a little different. I put my daughter in a David Wright onesie, and dropped her off at daycare for the day, before driving to my Dad’s house, making sure to be on time, so we could leave at 8:00am sharp.

We live about 110 miles away from Citi Field, making it a two hour drive to the stadium. By leaving at 8:00am, we knew we would have plenty of time to get to the park, relax, and enjoy all of the pre-game festivities.

Or so we thought…

snow storm

8:00, 110 miles from Citi, 5 hours 10 minutes until first pitch.

As we began our journey, it began to snow. We brushed it off at first, both with our windshield wipers and minds, since it didn’t appear to be anything significant. But as we kept driving, the snow got more heavy. Suddenly, it was literally blizzard conditions. It wasn’t ever going to accumulate to a foot of snow, we were still confident of that, but the visibility and pace of the snowfall had reached blizzard-like intensity.

The thing about going to the game with my Dad is that he likes to have control. He is a year away from retirement, and despite his advanced age, he still likes to be the driver. The problem with that is despite the fact that I am clearly able to take the stress of driving away from him, I can’t. And that means, just like I would as a kid, as the snow got heavier, I got more worried about how he would react to it. Every time he asked me what I thought about the weather or our chances of making it through the snow, I made sure to give the most positive answer that I could. Nothing was stopping us from getting to that game.

10:00, 80 miles from Citi, 3 hours 10 minutes until first pitch.

After driving for two hours, we had made it 30 miles. Now, we were looking at 11:30 as the earliest we would get to the ballpark. Our extra relax time was lost. My Dad began to worry about the traffic once we got to the Citi Field exit. I kept reassuring him that everything would be okay.

11:45, 1 mile from Citi, 1 hour 25 minutes until first pitch.

We made it to the famous “Citi Field Marina” exit. It is a one lane exit off a major highway, so never fun to navigate into the stadium. But we had done it 1000 times before. I figured we would have the car parked by 12:15, the latest, and then we would have just enough time to get to our seats before the pre-game ceremonies began.

12:15, 1 mile from Citi, 55 minutes until first pitch.

At this point, the clock on the car’s dashboard was starting to become our enemy.

We had made absolutely no ground trying to get off the main exit, so we decided to try an alternate entrance. At that point, looking over the highway, we could see that just like last year on Opening Day, Cirque du Soleil had a gigantic tent taking up a huge swath of parking spots. When we got off the alternate exit, we were met by police pointing us in the opposite direction of the main lot we were trying to enter. We were forced to follow orange cones and a long line of cars to a lot somewhere on the perimeter of the stadium.

12:35, 1 mile from Citi, 35 minutes until first pitch.

Twenty minutes had passed and we still hadn’t reached the alternate lot that the Mets parking attendants promised to be sending us. There was an endless line of cars, filled with fans undoubtedly asking the same question. Why was there so much confusion about the parking?

12:45, 1.5 miles from Citi, 25 minutes until first pitch.

Now I am about to lose it. We have somehow driven to the wrong side of the 7 line subway tracks, bordering the World’s Fair grounds, and it is sinking in that we are going to miss first pitch. Even if we abandoned our car in the street, and walked from there, we would have trouble getting to our seat by 1:10.

12:50, 1.7 miles from Citi, 20 minutes until first pitch.

After four hours and fifty minutes, driving through snow, traffic, and endless confusion around Citi Field in search of parking, we needed to act quickly and desperately. We needed to park the car anywhere that wasn’t in the middle of the street, in order to have a chance of making it inside the stadium in time for first pitch. It is Opening Day! We can’t miss first pitch!

We pulled onto a side road away from the line of cars circling the stadium, and found an isolated area of parking spots underneath a bridge. There were a few other cars sparsely parked, or enough to make us feel at least somewhat comfortable we could leave our car there, so we parked and began a mad dash to the stadium.

A few minutes after 1:10, behind home plate, first pitch!

Once we cut through Flushing Meadows Park, we got a better idea of where we had parked our car. After years of coming to Shea, and now Citi, we had never found a reason to venture for parking this far from the stadium.

It took five hours, ten minutes, and every last second of the few minutes the game was delayed due to Ike Davis arriving late to the field, to see first pitch. We had dug our own tunnel from winter in Connecticut to sunshine at Citi Field. Opening Day!

Finally settled into our seats, sitting next to my Dad, and taking in the atmosphere of the ballpark, I realized something.

After our crazy journey to the ballpark, all of the hassle and frustration, it didn’t matter. We were there. The day wasn’t about a terrible commute to the stadium. It wasn’t about the parking fiasco. It wasn’t even about Bobby Parnell blowing another game to the Nationals. It was about me, my Dad, and Opening Day. Here we were again. Another adventure. Another memory together. Another day that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world

It is easy to build a routine around attending baseball games, even Opening Day. We go every year. We are fortunate enough to attend several games per year. What I thought about as we drove, this time, three hours through traffic to get home after the game, was how lucky I am. I got to see Opening Day with my Dad. How many more times will I get to say that in life? Whatever the number, not enough. And for that, a long day of traveling through snow, traffic, frustration, and a Mets loss, somehow felt clean on the other side.

Presented By Diehards

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MMO Opening Day Recap: Nationals 9, Mets 7 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/mmo-opening-day-recap-nationals-9-mets-7.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/mmo-opening-day-recap-nationals-9-mets-7.html/#comments Mon, 31 Mar 2014 21:23:12 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=152273 juan lagares Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets fell to the Washington Nationals in extra-innings by the score of 9-7 this afternoon at Citi Field in their season opener.

The excitement of Opening Day makes me feel like a giddy little kid every single year. The beginning of nice weather, and most importantly, the beginning of the baseball season never ceases to make me extremely happy.

The Mets roster was announced in typical Opening Day fashion, followed by a heartfelt tribute to the life of Ralph Kiner and the unveiling of the Ralph Kiner sign in left field. Eric Young, Jr. started in place of Daniel Murphy today, as Daniel’s wife had gone into labor. Andrew Brown, who made the Opening Day roster due to Jonathon Niese starting the season on the disabled list, got the start in left field, as Chris Young stayed out of the lineup with a quadriceps strain.

What you should know:

The Mets got off to an early start in the bottom of the 1st inning, as Juan Lagares and David Wright both singled, and were promptly driven in by a three-run bomb off the bat of none other than Andrew Brown.

The Nationals answered back in the top of the 2nd inning, with a two-run home run off the bat of Adam LaRoche.

The Mets tacked on another run in the bottom of the 2nd, with a sacrifice fly delivered by Eric Young, Jr.

After LaRoche’s home run, Dillon Gee locked in and retired fifteen batters in a row and struck out four, however, he ultimately ended up with a no decision.

Gee went out for the 7th, but surrendered two runs to tie the game. Carlos Torres and Scott Rice each came in to face one batter, and walked both of them to allow the tying run to score.

Jose Valverde stopped the bleeding to end the 7th by striking out Ryan Zimmerman. Valverde would pitch 1 and 1/3 innings, striking out three.

Stephen Strasburg got off to a shaky start for Washington, but buckled down, pitching six innings and striking out 10 Mets batters.

Juan Lagares hit a go-ahead solo home run off of Tyler Clippard in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Bobby Parnell came in to shut the door in the top of the 9th, but surrendered an RBI double to Denard Span with two outs to tie the game.

The Nationals proceeded to break the game open in the top of the 10th with a passed ball, that led to a sacrifice fly by Ian Desmond off of Jeurys Familia and a three-run home run off the bat of Anthony Rendon, surrendered by John Lannan.

The first challenge in Mets history was used in the top of the 10th inning with two outs. After a close call at first, Nationals manager Matt Williams challenged that Lucas Duda did not tag baserunner Danny Espinosa, however the play was not reversed.

Jerry Blevins came on for Washington in the bottom of the 10th, and surrendered a two-run home run to David Wright, but then struck out Curtis Granderson to end the game.

Additional Notes:

Curtis Granderson went 0-5 in his Mets debut, striking out three times.

David Wright went 3-5 with a two-run home run.

Jose Valverde was impressive in his Mets debut, however, the rest of the bullpen was atrocious.

Juan Lagares was also impressive, not just defensively, but offensively as well.

The Mets have now gone to extra innings seven times in Opening Day history.

The Mets struck out 18 times including four whiffs by Eric Young.

Their record on Opening Day now stands at 32-21.

Player of the Game:

Opening Day’s player of the game goes to Mets center fielder Juan Lagares, who went 2-4 with a walk, three runs scored and a home run.

Final score:

Nationals 9, Mets 7

Wining pitcher: Aaron Barrett (1-0)

Losing pitcher: Jeurys Familia (0-1)

On Deck:

The Mets look to even the series against Washington on Wednesday night, with Bartolo Colon making his Mets debut squaring off against Gio Gonzalez.

Presented By Diehards

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MMO Game Thread: Nationals vs Mets, 1:05 PM http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/mmo-game-thread-nationals-vs-mets-105-pm.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/mmo-game-thread-nationals-vs-mets-105-pm.html/#comments Mon, 31 Mar 2014 15:51:56 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=152123 citi field opening day

Welcome to Opening Day 2014! It’s time to start another New York Mets marathon as they begin their road to 90 wins. (Whatever, today’s an optimistic day).

Starting Lineup

  1. Eric Young Jr (2B)
  2. Juan Lagares (CF)
  3. David Wright (3B)
  4. Curtis Granderson (RF)
  5. Andrew Brown (LF)
  6. Ike Davis (1B)
  7. Travis d’Arnaud (C)
  8. Ruben Tejada (SS)
  9. Dillon Gee (P)

Mets Notes

Daniel Murphy is in Florida and not in today’s lineup so he could be with his wife who is in labor and will have the couples first child.

Chris Young has a right quad strain and is out of the lineup. He will be replaced by Andrew Brown. Terry Collins said Lucas Duda would have started in LF today had he not had a hamstring strain. About 4-5 Mets are battling the flu today according to the manager.

Collins also said that Ike Davis will play today, but expect Josh Satin on Wednesday and Duda on Thursday.

Collins on his bullpen: Carlos Torres, Scott Rice and Jose Valverde will all be the bridge to Bobby Parnell.

Finally, Collins said Jenrry Mejia both threw and saw team doctor yesterday in NYC and is good for Friday’s start vs. Reds.

Game Preview

Mets homegrown talent Dillon Gee gets the nod for Opening Day after an injury to Jon Niese. But with the way Dillon has pitched this Spring, it’s an honor he earned and deserves! He will match up against the Washington’s ace Stephen Strasburg.

Gee is coming off of a full 2013 campaign, starting 32 games and tossing 199.0 innings with a 12-11 record and a 3.62 ERA. Gee set career marks in BB/9 and SO/9. He pitched against the Nationals a whopping 6 times last year with a 4-2 record and a 2.72 ERA over 39.2 innings, with 27 strikeouts and 8 walks. The Nationals have the following numbers against Gee:

  • Werth 11-34, 3 2B, HR, .324 BA
  • Desmond 7-32, 3 HR, .219 BA
  • Zimmerman 6-29, 2B, .207 BA
  • LaRoche 4-23, 2B, HR, .174 BA
  • Espinosa 1-13, 3 K

The Mets bats will get another crack at a familiar foe in Strasburg who is coming off of a mostly full season with 30 starts and 183.0 innings of work with a 3.00 ERA and a 8-9 record. Surprisingly he only faced the Mets once last year picking up the loss after allowing 2 earned runs, four total over 6 innings of work. The Mets have the following numbers against Stephen:

  • Davis 4-11, 2 HR, 4 K
  • Tejada 1-11, 4 K
  • Wright 1-9, 4 K
  • Duda 1-4, HR
  • Chris Young 1-3

Let’s Go Mets! Open the Season Strong!

Hello everyone! For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Elliot and I’ve been writing the Game Preview posts at MMO since 2008! I’ve come out of a long winter hibernation and am excited to be back sharing thoughts with you. When I’m not watching the Mets, I’m a Physics Teacher in Newark, NJ and writing about the Mets at 213 Miles From Shea. LGM!

homer the dog

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What Being A Mets Fan Really Means http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/what-being-a-mets-fan-really-means.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/what-being-a-mets-fan-really-means.html/#comments Mon, 31 Mar 2014 12:00:02 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=152210 Brad Barr USA TODAY Sports mets bench dugout

It’s like clockwork you know, hell I could even set my watch to it. Every year and almost exactly around this time, nostalgia rushes over me in a wave of mixed emotions. I feel the cold rattle my aching bones yet I know somewhere warm and far away, my team is getting ready for a new beginning. Unless you’re a fan of this team, it’s hard to describe the passion we share for it, at least not without sounding as if we’re completely insane.

As much as it is a time of rebirth it’s a time where my memories pull me in equally powerful yet opposite directions. It’s hard to let go of those I’ve lost, my father and grandfather especially. I long for the days when we would travel to Kissimmee to see the Mets play the Astros during Spring Training. It was the closest we could get to opening day at Shea, listening to Ralph Kiner – now also a part of our collective memories – and soaking it all in. Full of hope; high on expectations and yet cognizant of reality, that’s the life of a Mets fan.

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the combative and sometimes negative banter, especially when you’re a part of such a diverse and passionate fan base. Most of the time it’s exhilarating, as defending your opinion should be. On rare occasions it brings out the worst in us, but like I said, that’s rare. But there should be no doubt that hope, really does spring eternal every year around this time.

It’s going to be exciting to see how the future is going to play out with regards to the Mets pitching. It’s difficult to not compare the arms of Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Noah Syndergaard to the icons of the past whether they be, Seaver, Koosman and Ryan or Gooden, Darling and Cone. We’ve been teased before with Generation K, so we’re battle tested and always prepared to be disappointed. But perhaps that pendulum has finally begun to swing our way.

Questions remain, as they always do. Who’s playing first? What about shortstop? Does Alderson have money to spend? If he does, do you believe him? Do you believe the Wilpons? Does that matter? We always seem to be skeptical no matter who’s running the show, and that’s not entirely a bad thing. We have to admit that progress has been made. Granted in a perfect world, it would have happened sooner then again in a perfect world Carlos Beltran would have swung at that curveball and Bernie Madoff would have never existed.

“[Baseball] breaks your heart. It’s designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, you rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it the most, it stops.”

~ A. Bartlett Giamatti, Take Time For Paradise: Americans And Their Games

Even though a part of me would give anything to relive the past, I’m beginning to realize the true gift of what the past has given me. What good is it to wish for days long gone with those we cared for sharing our love of this game and this team if it simply ends there? Every thread of this game becomes a tapestry when passed down to those we love. The whole point is to continue our tradition.

Just recently the mother of a good friend and co-worker of mine passed away. As true a fan of this team I have ever known. Adrienne would call to speak to her daughter and I knew when they were done speaking – it was time for us to talk shop. She was 80 years old and sharp as a tack and she knew everything that was going on with this team from who was playing to who was hurt, down to her “boyfriend” Keith Hernandez’ personal life. She made it a point to mention that he was “available” now and that he lived not too far from her. I think the Mex would’ve met his match though.

This is what matters most about our love for this team. I may not write with the aplomb of a Greg Prince or with the uncanny wit of Metstradamus or with the statistical dexterity of Eric Simon. But like Forrest Gump, I too know what love is and my greatest hope for anyone who reads this is to find that someone in your life and pass this love down. I know, you might think it’s a curse but deep down, beyond the issues, beyond the controversies, we’re all one big family and I’ve been lucky to know and learn from a few of them.

R.I.P. Adrienne Djaha        1933 - 2014

R.I.P. Adrienne Djaha
1933 – 2014

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Gee Joins Impressive Group Of Mets Opening Day Starters http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/gee-joins-impressive-group-of-mets-opening-day-starters.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/gee-joins-impressive-group-of-mets-opening-day-starters.html/#comments Sun, 30 Mar 2014 14:46:41 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=152139 dillon gee sp

Over the years, we’ve seen Tom Seaver (11), Dwight Gooden (8), Tom Glavine (4), and Johan Santana (4) each make at least four Opening Day starts for the Mets.

In 52 seasons, we’ve have had 13 different pitchers with just one Opening Day start on their Mets resumes. On Monday, Dillon Gee joins that group which includes some pretty impressive names.

Here are those one-time Opening Day Wonders for the Mets:

1966 Jack Fisher • Jack was the Opening Day starter just one year after leading the National League with 24 losses in 1965. Jack went 11-14 that year with an ERA of 3.68 in 38 games (33 starts) in 230 innings. In an 11 year MLB career (1959-1969) with the Orioles, Giants, Mets, White Sox, and Reds, he had a career record of 86-139 with an ERA of 4.06 and 9 saves in 400 career games (265 starts) and threw 1975 2/3 innings. Fisher pitched for the Mets from 1964-1967.

1967 Don Cardwell • Cardwell was the Opening Day starter in the first of his 4 seasons with the Mets (1967-1970) and went 5-9 with a 3.57 ERA in 26 games (16 starts) and 118 innings. In a 14 year MLB career (1957-1970), he pitched in 410 games (301 starts) with a record of 102-138 and an ERA of 3.92 and 7 saves in 2123 innings.

1978 Jerry Koosman • With Tom Seaver getting the OD nod from 1968-1977, Jerry started his only Opening Day with the Mets in 1978, his last season with the team. Kooz had a record of 3-15 and an ERA of 3.75 and 2 saves in 235 1/3 innings (38 games – 32 starts). In his 19 year MLB career (1976-1985) Koosman pitched for the Mets, Twins, White Sox, and Phillies with a record of 222-209 and an ERA of 3.36. Koosman spent 12 years with the Mets (1967-1978) and is in the all-time Mets Top 10 in the following categories: 3rd in Wins (140); 5th in ERA (3.09); 4th in appearances (376); 2nd in games started (346); 2nd in innings pitched (2,544.2); 3rd in strikeouts (1,799); 2nd in complete games (108); 2nd in shutouts (26).

1981 Pat Zachry • Spent 6 seasons with the Mets (1977-1982) and in 1981 he went 7-14 with an ERA of 4.14. Zachry made 24 starts and pitched 139 innings, leading the National League with his 14 losses in a strike-shortened season. In a 10 year MLB career (1976-1985) with the Reds, Mets, Dodgers, and Phillies, Pat had a career record of 69-67 with an ERA of 3.52 and 3 saves. He pitched in 293 games (154 starts) and 1177 1/3 MLB innings.

1982 Randy Jones • Jones pitched 2 seasons with the Mets (1981-1982), the last of his 10 year MLB career. In 1982, he went 7-10 with a 4.60 ERA in 28 games (20 starts) in 107 2/3 innings. He had a career record of 100-123 with a 3.42 ERA and 2 saves in 305 games (285 starts) and 1,933 innings.

1984 Mike Torrez • Pitched 2 seasons with the Mets (1983-1984) and got the ball on Opening Day the year after leading the National League in Losses with 17 in 1983. In 1984, he pitched in 9 games for the Mets (8 starts) with a record of 1-5 and an ERA of 5.02 in 37 2/3 innings. In 18 MLB seasons (1967-1984) with the Cardinals, Expos, Orioles, A’s, Yankees, Red Sox, and Mets, he pitched in 494 games (458 starts) with a record of 185-160 and an ERA of 3.96 in 3043 2/3 innings.

1987 Bob Ojeda • The year after the Mets won the World Series, Bob Ojeda had his only Mets OD start. Bobby-O pitched 5 seasons with the Mets (1986-1990) and in 15 MLB seasons (1980-1994) with the Red Sox, Mets, Dodgers, Indians, and Yankees, he pitched in 351 games (291 starts) with a record of 115-98 and an ERA of 3.65 and 1 save. In 1987, he had a record of 3-5 and an ERA of 3.88 in 10 games (7 starts) in 46 1/3 innings.

david cone

1992 David Cone • Pitched 7 seasons with the Mets (1987-1992, 2003). In 1992, he had a record with the Mets of 13-7 and an ERA of 2.88 in 27 starts and 196 2/3 innings before being traded on August 27 to the Blue Jays for Jeff Kent and Ryan Thompson. In 17 MLB seasons (1986-2001, 2003) with the Royals, Mets, Blue Jays, Yankees, and Red Sox, Cone pitched in 450 games (419 starts) with a record of 194-126 and an ERA of 3.46 and 1 save in 2,989 2/3 innings. He was a Cy Young award winner in 1994 with the Royals.

1997 Pete Harnisch • Pitched 3 seasons with the Mets (1995-1997) and in 1997, he appeared in only 6 games for us (5 starts) with a record of 0-1 and an ERA of 8.06 in 25 2/3 innings. In 14 MLB seasons (1988-2001) with the Orioles, Astros, Mets, Brewers, and Reds, Harnisch pitched in 321 games (318 starts) with a record of 111-103 and an ERA of 3.89 in 1959 innings.

2000 Mike Hampton • Mike got the nod in his only season with the Mets after being acquired in an offseason trade from the Houston Astros. In 2000, he had a record of 15-10 with an ERA of 3.14 in 33 starts and 217 2/3 innings. He pitched 16 years in the Majors (1993-2005, 2008-2010) with the Mariners, Astros, Mets, Rockies, Braves, and Diamondbacks. He appeared in 419 games (355 starts) with a record of 148-115 and an ERA of 4.06 and 1 save, pitching 2268 1/3 innings.

2005 Pedro Martinez • The 3 time Cy Young award winner pitched 4 years for the Mets (2005-2008) and played 18 years in the Major Leagues (1992-2009) for the Dodgers, Expos, Red Sox, Mets, and Phillies. In 2005, Pedro made 31 starts with a record of 15-8 and an ERA of 2.82 in 217 innings. In his career, this future Hall of Famer had a record of 219-100 and an ERA of 2.93 and 3 saves in 476 games (409 starts). He pitched 2827 innings in his career and his 3154 strikeouts is 13th on the all-time MLB list. Pedro’s career WHIP of 1.05 is 4th best in history and the lowest among all pitchers who’s careers ended after 1917.

2011 Mike Pelfrey • Mike pitched 7 seasons with the Mets (2006-2012) and in 2011, he had a record of 7-13 with an ERA of 4.74 in 34 games (33 starts) and 193 2/3 innings. In 8 MLB seasons (2006-2013) with the Mets and Twins, Mike has a career record of 55-67 with an ERA of 4.48 and 1 save in 1049 innings.

2013 Jon Niese • Last year’s opening day starter has spent his entire 6 year MLB career with the Mets (2008-2013) and in 2013 he went 8-8 with an ERA of 3.71 in 24 starts, throwing 143 innings. He has a career record of 43-40 and an ERA of 3.99 in 119 games (118 starts) with 704 innings pitched.

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Opening Day Festivities At Citi Field http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/opening-day-festivities-at-citi-field.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/opening-day-festivities-at-citi-field.html/#comments Sun, 30 Mar 2014 13:56:50 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=152025 citi field opening day 2014 kiner

The New York Mets will celebrate the life and legacy of legendary broadcaster Ralph Kiner during an on-field, pre-game ceremony on Opening Day at Citi Field Monday, March 31 prior to the game versus the National League East rival Washington Nationals at 1:10 p.m.

The ceremony will include a video tribute and the unveiling of the Kiner commemorative logo above the left field wall. Kiner’s children Michael, K.C., Tracee and Kimberlee, will attend and participate in the ceremony.  The Kiner logo will also be painted on the grass behind home plate.

dillon gee kari ann hudson

Righthander Dillon Gee will take the mound for the Mets and start opposite Stephen Strasburg for the Nationals. Among those attending Gee’s first career Opening Day start on Monday at Citi Field will be his 4-month-old son Hudson and Ray Corbett, the scout who signed him according to Adam Rubin.

“His first game will be my first Opening Day,” Gee said Saturday at Olympic Stadium, as the Mets completed their exhibition schedule and prepared to head to New York to begin the regular season.

citi field opening day 2014 MLB logo

Other Opening Day Events and Happenings include:

  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.  He will be accompanied by six children from the East Harlem Tutorial Program who were affected by the recent building collapse in that community. Founded in 1958, the program runs public charter schools and after school programs serving children in East Harlem.
  • The National Anthem will be performed by the Whiptones, a doo-wop a cappella group from Hanover Township, New Jersey, who were the Mets Anthem Search winners in the off-season.
  • God Bless America will be sung by Terence Archie, who stars as Apollo Creed in the Broadway production ofRocky, before the seventh inning stretch
  • The annual Mets Welcome Home Dinner will take place after the game. The event is a fundraiser for the Mets Foundation, which donates net proceeds to the the Katz Institute for Women’s Health and Katz Women’s Hospital of the North Shore-LIJ Health System, and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. General Manager Sandy Alderson, Manager Terry Collins and the entire Mets roster and coaching staff will be attending.
  • The Empire State Building will be lit orange and blue for the night in honor of Opening Day and the Welcome Home Dinner

Standing Room Only tickets are still available for Opening Day and can be purchased at Mets.com or by calling (718) 507-TIXX.

opening day

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Follow The Money… Or Lack Of It… http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/follow-the-money-or-lack-of-it.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/follow-the-money-or-lack-of-it.html/#comments Fri, 28 Mar 2014 19:37:09 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=151943 new-york-mets braintrust collins, katz, wilpon alderson

The last 48 hours have been brimming with reports from various media outlets on the state of the Mets – not on the field – but fiscally.

The Mets want to convey a sense that they are now financially fit. However, the folks who are considered experts on the matter of team valuation, those who speak to the lenders, and those analyzing all the available data, still portray a financial picture of the Mets that doesn’t quite measure up with what is being reported.

There was an extensive analysis of the situation this morning in the New York Times.

The payroll modesty continues even as the Mets — and the 29 other major league teams — will receive equal portions of new television contracts whose annual average payments are doubling this season to $1.5 billion from $750 million, and despite the recent refinancing of a $250 million loan, at a lower rate, that removes the pressure the Mets were under to repay it in full later this year. But even as money is looser and banks are no longer huffing and puffing at the door of the Mets co-owner Fred Wilpon, the Mets seem to be staying cautious about spending.

Regarding that publicized refinancing that prevented a back-breaking $250 million dollar debt payment that was due in June, the Times article articulated that the banks did not impose a salary cap on the Mets as a condition of the refinancing, but, as a practical matter, they did not have to.

Raising payroll sharply to lure expensive free agents before attendance recovers is a formula to generate the sort of steep losses that peaked at $70 million for the Mets in 2011. Meanwhile, the drop in average attendance at Citi Field to 26,366 last season — it has fallen by 32.5 percent since the stadium opened in 2009 — has created a predictable downward spiral of ticket, parking and concession revenue.

Documents are available that show revenue from the stadium’s 10,635 most expensive seats has fallen 58 percent, to $41.8 million from $99.3 million in 2009. In that period, concession sales have decreased 29 percent and parking revenue has dropped 20 percent.

Jodi Hecht, an analyst for Standard & Poor’s, said she had projected a drop in the 2014 cash flow earmarked to make the annual debt payments of about $43 million. The rating agency reaffirmed its BB rating — two levels below junk — of Citi Field bonds last December. But the agency lifted its formerly negative outlook on the bonds, based on the belief that cash flow will eventually stabilize.

As I’ve written previously, for the much ballyhooed spending the Mets were going to do this offseason, the fact is that the Opening Day payroll will be down for the third year in a row.

Additionally, the current Mets payroll which stands at $87.5 million ranks as the seventh lowest in major league baseball. That figure includes deferred payments from Jason Bay as well as the option buyout on Johan Santana. Effectively, the on-the-field payroll is ranked even lower. I predicted the opening day payroll to come in lower than 2013 all along and as far back as last August when the “we are going to spend” chants started to get louder.

The Mets are reporting that Opening Day should be a sell-out, yet plenty of tickets remain available on the team’s website this morning and the secondary market is flush with plenty of available ticket inventory in 2-6 seat lots. Ticket giveaways are being promoted quite heavily and I’d also argue that if 1,000 or more tickets were handed out freely, does that still technically qualify as a “sold” out affair?

I think the forecast is less stormy today than it was a year ago. But there are still too many signs of fat-trimming and payroll cutting for me to declare that the Mets are back to a position where they could add missing pieces at market value if they were to find themselves in the thick of a wild card chase this summer.

However, it is my fervent hope that they can prove me wrong on that.

mmo

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Opening Day Will Be A Sell-Out, But What About The Other 80 Games? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/opening-day-will-be-a-sell-out-but-what-about-the-other-80-games.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/opening-day-will-be-a-sell-out-but-what-about-the-other-80-games.html/#comments Fri, 28 Mar 2014 13:13:09 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=151935 opening day ceremonies

2013 Opening Day Was A Sell-Out

The Mets expect to make it 16 straight sold-out home openers when they start the 2014 season against the Nationals on Monday at Citi Field, the Mets told Newsday.

“The game will definitely sell out,” said Lou DePaoli, the Mets’ executive vice president and chief revenue officer. “We are pacing significantly ahead of last year. As of right now, there are roughly less than a thousand seats available. We’re going to be opening standing room only.

“Overall, our Opening Day sales are way ahead of what they were last year. You’ve got to think the fact that maybe people have been cooped up a little bit and want to get out, they’re excited to get back outside.”

The Mets announced a sellout of 41,053 last season when the Yankees opened at home on the same day. Selling out on Opening Day does not portend record crowds all season. However, the park was peppered with many pockets of empty seats

The Mets had their fifth consecutive losing season in 2013, finishing with a 74-88 record. Their attendance came in at 2,135,657 which was the team’s lowest home attendance since 1997 at Shea Stadium.

According to Baseball-Reference.com, the team’s average attendance last season was 26,366, ranking 13th out of 15 in the National League.

“We’re expecting attendance to go up slightly versus last year,” DePaoli said. “We are on pace to get to those numbers.”

The Mets are forever adding new promotions and employing several different marketing strategies all in an attempt to turn these attendance numbers around.

I sometimes wonder if they even understand that the only tried and true marketing strategy geared at increasing attendance still is, and always will be, winning.

Bringing 50 Cent or Air Supply to the park to sing a set of ten songs after you get your brains bashed in by the Braves or Marlins isn’t the answer.

A true 90 win season is.

Until that happens, an increasing number of fans will continue to watch from home.

I don’t mean to be harsh, but that’s just the reality of the situation.

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Spring Training Recap: Astros 9, Mets 6 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/spring-training-recap-astros-9-mets-6.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/spring-training-recap-astros-9-mets-6.html/#comments Thu, 27 Mar 2014 01:35:14 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=151779 dillon gee

The Mets traveled to Kissimmee tonight to take on the Astros under the lights at Osceola County Stadium. Newly anointed Opening Day starter Dillon Gee squared off against veteran right-hander Scott Feldman.

The game started as a pitchers duel, with both teams locked in a scoreless battle heading into the fifth inning. The Mets would jump out to a 3-0 lead after scoring twice in the fifth inning and once in the sixth. The bullpen would implode to the tune of seven runs in an ugly bottom of the seventh. The Mets would mount a late comeback, but the bullpen would again blow it as the Mets fell to the Astros 9-6.

Dillon Gee was brilliant, tossing six no-hit innings before being removed from the game. The Texas native struck out seven Astros, including All-Star catcher Jason Castro twice. He walked just one batter and left the game with a 3-0 lead. Gee has had a great spring and appears to be in midseason form heading into his Opening Day start.

Catcher Anthony Recker got the scoring started with a two-out, two-run homer in the top of the fifth inning. He would finish the game 2 for 4 with three RBI’s to go along with the longball.

John Lannan struggled mightily in relief, walking the only two batters he faced before being pulled. Both runners would later score.

Relievers Gonzalez German and Carlos Torres combined to surrender five runs on six hits in the disaster that was the 7th inning.

Juan Lagares continued his push for the centerfield job, going 3 for 4 with a triple, a stolen base, an RBI and a run scored. He’s hitting .302 this spring.

In the battle for first base, neither candidate appeared to separate themself once again. Ike Davis, getting the start at DH went 0 for 4 with an RBI groundout to go along with two punchouts. Lucas Duda managed just a single in four chances and struck out once.

Jose Valverde, who may get the save opportunities if Bobby Parnell can’t start the season with the team, struggled in his one inning of work. The 11-year vet allowed two runs, one of which was unearned.

What’s Next

The Mets head back to St. Lucie tomorrow to take on their Opening Day opponents, the Washington Nationals. The game will take place at noon and will feature former second round pick Cory Mazzoni. He’ll face off against Nationals stud right hander Jordan Zimmermann.

 

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Mets Not Expected To Make Moves Prior To Opening Day http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/mets-not-expected-to-make-moves-prior-to-opening-day.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/mets-not-expected-to-make-moves-prior-to-opening-day.html/#comments Wed, 26 Mar 2014 20:25:29 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=151772 ike davis 2 mmo

Adam Rubin of ESPN NY reports that a team insider indicated that the Mets are not expected to make any external additions before Opening Day, big or small.

Rubin adds that the source said something not currently foreseeable would have to develop quickly for a trade to materialize.

Well that will just mean is the Mets are happy with what they have now, so far with Ike Davis at first, Ruben Tejada at short and soon enough we will all find out which other guys will either be added to final 25-man roster and heading North with the team or released to the minors.

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How Much Does Lagares Have To Hit To Keep Starting Job? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/how-much-does-lagares-have-to-hit-to-keep-starting-job.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/how-much-does-lagares-have-to-hit-to-keep-starting-job.html/#comments Wed, 26 Mar 2014 17:50:16 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=151725 USATSI juan lagares brad barr

It looks like Sandy Alderson may have inadvertently hinted that Juan Lagares will get a chance to be the everyday center fielder to begin the season when talking to reporters on Tuesday.

“I think everybody would probably agree he’s our best outfielder, he’s our best center fielder,” Alderson said about Lagares.

“But he’s going to have to hit a little bit, too. So if he were to start in center field on Opening Day, we’d have to see over a period of time — how long, how short I don’t know — that he can carry the offensive side of the game as well. And if that’s not the case, then typically a guy like that would be better off playing every day somewhere else. But that’s premature.”

I would assume that by “somewhere else” Sandy was alluding to Triple-A Las Vegas, but he certainly sounded as if Lagares would get every opportunity to prove himself as the starting center fielder to start the season.

However, I’m not so sure Terry Collins feels the same way. When asked yesterday if Lagares had done enough to be the starting center fielder, Collins replied, “Tough to answer that right now. We know how good he is defensively.”

His desire all offseason and Spring has always been to bat Eric Young Jr. leadoff, which would essentially move Chris Young to center and Lagares to the bench. To Collins, Young is the best leadoff candidate on the team, which doesn’t necessarily mean he’s any good at it.

However, I would argue that after watching Chris Young have a stellar spring, he may actually be the best candidate to bat leadoff for the Mets – a role he’s succeeded at before in his career.

Here is how all three are performing in Grapefruit League play:

  • Chris Young has a .347/.407/.551 slash in 49 at-bats.
  • Eric Young has a .256/.347/.349 slash in 43 at-bats.
  • Juan Lagares has a .265/.333/.306 slash in 49 at-bats.

Sure these are all small sample sizes, but even if you were to simply go with the hot hand, wouldn’t you still start the season with Chris Young as your leadoff hitter on Opening Day?

There’s no telling how short of a leash Collins will give Lagares, but I’m wondering what would he have to do offensively to keep the starting job? What’s the tipping point?

Would batting .260 with a .335 on-base do the trick?

It’s difficult to come up with any base level of performance without also considering Lagares’ unparalleled defensive contributions.

In other words, if Juan Lagares compiled 26 defensive runs saved compared to 3 DRS for Eric Young, shouldn’t Young have to produce much more offensively than Lagares to achieve an equivalent overall value?

So if  a .335 on base would be an acceptable minimum for Lagares, wouldn’t we want a minimum of a .380 on-base from Young to even equal Lagares’ overall value to the team?

Please note that I just pulled those numbers out of thin air, and just wanted to illustrate a point. But you see where I’m going with this, right?

Also, I don’t want to come across as someone who doesn’t appreciate what Eric Young brings to the team. I thought he brought a much needed energy to the lineup during his first month with the team, and I love the speed element that he gives us.

I’m only suggesting that his best value to the team is as a fourth outfielder who will get plenty of playing time if we use him wisely. Having his speed as a weapon off the bench gives us an option that will come in handy late in a game. Additionally, he can get some time at second base as well if Daniel Murphy is facing a particularly tough lefthander.

But getting back to my initial point, shouldn’t Lagares and Eric Young both be held to different offensive standards for determining who should start and who shouldn’t?

Clearly, Lagares must improve on his .242/.281/.352 batting line from last season. My question is by how much?

mmo

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Wilmer Flores Optioned, Will Begin Season At Triple-A http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/wilmer-flores-optioned-will-begin-season-at-triple-a.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/wilmer-flores-optioned-will-begin-season-at-triple-a.html/#comments Mon, 24 Mar 2014 17:28:49 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=151407 USATSI wilmer flores Photo by Brad Barr

Wilmer Flores has been optioned to minor league camp and will begin the season with Triple-A Las Vegas along with Matt den DekkerKirk Nieuwenhuis and Zach Lutz.

The Mets will use Flores at shortstop and second base with Las Vegas to continue to gauge his worthiness, writes Adam Rubin.

“I feel good,” Flores said after receiving the news. “I did a great job. I’ll just wait for the opportunity to come again.”

Ruben Tejada is your starting shortstop. 

6:00 AM

I’ve said all I have to say on whether I think Wilmer Flores can handle shortstop. I don’t think it will be a problem, and one scout I spoke to said concerns about his range are overstated and he’d take Flores on his team any day. It was an NL East scout.

Range limitation? What range limitation?

I came across this post at Amazin Avenue where they created a GIF of Flores ranging to his right to make an incredible play last week against the Detroit Tigers.

Wilmer_Flores_nice_play_at_shortstop

Anybody have a problem with that?

What do your eyes tell you?

Teddy Klein, who worked with former Mets International scouting director Ismael Cruz, developed scouting videos for the Mets, and is the closest thing we have on MMO to a real scout, went completely out of his comfort zone and emailed me something that is so not him. 

Hey Joe, Wilmer Flores is hitting well as a Shortstop… 

With all the frustration over our shortstop situation that have many screaming “Drew!”, others screaming“Franklin!”, and the Front Office screaming “Tejada!”, I’m starting to warm up to the slow-footed, but offensively gifted, Wilmer Flores at shortstop.

I noticed he’d been batting .360 over his last 7 games and decided to see how his numbers broke out by position this Spring. I think you’ll like what you see.

STATS

Flores is succeeding considerably well since he began playing as a shortstop. It’s a terribly small sample size, but sometimes we have to make decisions on even smaller sample sizes, and the key is also observing a variety of other things that help to complete the picture.

Honestly, it could be a coincidence, or he could simply be much more comfortable as a hitter at shortstop, where he’s played the majority of his time both as a pro and an amateur. Again, this is a terribly small sample size.

Thanks, Teddy, certainly something else to consider…

On Saturday, when Flores had three hits, homered and drove in four, I was reminded of how he led the organization with 99 RBI in 2013 and when Wally Backman first told MMO, “His eyes light up when there’s runners on base. That guy thrives in those RBI opportunities.”

Most of you remember what we saw as soon as Flores was promoted to the majors before an ankle injury ruined his debut and wiped out his season. The kid completely energized the Mets lineup and was a literal RBI Machine.

Mark Simon chronicled it on August 12 and wrote:

  • Wilmer Flores became the first player in Mets history to have at least one RBI in five of his first six major-league games.
  • He also became the second player this season to have a pair of three-RBI games within his first five career games, joining Dodgers rookie sensation Yasiel Puig.
  • Flores is one of eight players in MLB history to have a streak of five straight games with an RBI within the first six games of his career.
  • Flores is the third player in Mets history to collect nine or more RBIs in his first six games with the club.

The next day, Flores twisted his ankle as he stepped on second base while running from first to third, limped off the field, and was never the same.

Over the last four seasons, Flores has averaged about a .760 OPS, and in the last two seasons that average was.850. Can you imagine what a bat like that could do in a lineup that already has the likes of David Wright, Curtis Granderson and Daniel Murphy? It’s a game-changer.

(Photo: Brad Barr, USATSI)

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Dillon Gee Is Mets’ Likely Opening Day Starter http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/dillon-gee-is-mets-likely-opening-day-starter.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/dillon-gee-is-mets-likely-opening-day-starter.html/#comments Thu, 20 Mar 2014 15:27:02 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=151230 USATSI dillon gee

With Jon Niese likely to begin the season on the disabled list and not an option to pitch until April 6 at the earliest, a source has told ESPN New York that Dillon Gee may be named the team’s Opening Day starter although that has not been cemented yet.

Gee says he has not been told he will be OD starter yet. Terry Collins said that it could still be Bartolo Colon, and that a final decision could be made this weekend.

Gee is due to face the Minnesota Twins on Friday in Fort Myers, writes Adam Rubin. That’s exactly ten days before the season opener on March 31 against Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals.  Rubin adds that Gee went 4-2 with a 2.72 ERA against the Nats last season.

The righthander is coming off a season in which he led the team in wins and innings pitched while setting career highs in strikeouts (142) and ERA (3.62).

If I had my druthers I would prefer Zack Wheeler, mostly because he has outshined everyone in camp and arrived to Port St. Lucie with the goal of being named the Opening Day starter.

But I don’t have a problem with Gee who did enough last season to earn the nod.

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Mets Considering Montero and Mejia for Bullpen Roles http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/mets-considering-montero-and-mejia-for-bullpen-roles.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/mets-considering-montero-and-mejia-for-bullpen-roles.html/#comments Mon, 17 Mar 2014 01:20:12 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=150755 Jenrry_Mejia

With opening day only nine days away, the Mets have yet to decide on their fifth starter, and according to Marc Carig of Newsday, the battle between Daisuke Matsuzaka and Jenrry Mejia is expected to come down to the final days.

While Dice-K is the clear front runner, a person with knowledge of the situation told Carig on Friday that Mejia has an equal chance of seizing the job and that the competition remains wide open.

The veteran Matsuzaka brings plenty of experience and enjoyed a resurgence at the end of last season, which prompted the Mets to bring him back on a minor-league deal. But Mejia has better stuff and impressed Mets during his short stint last season, before elbow surgery ended his year.

The Mets have some flexibility in their decision since they can keep Matsuzaka in the minor leagues for about a month, even if he doesn’t make the Opening Day roster.

Under that scenario, Matsuzaka would be owed a $100,000 retention bonus, a fee that the Mets would be willing to pay to retain control of the righthander. Matsuzaka doesn’t have an out clause in his contract until sometime in May.

Meanwhile, the source said the Mets remain unlikely to carry Mejia on the major league roster as a reliever.

Andy Martino of the Daily News spoke with two Mets insiders who told him that the Mets are strongly considering a plan that would have Jenrry Mejia begin the season in the major league bullpen, remain with the team through the year, and eventually become a starter.

Previously, the assumption had been that Mejia, 24, was competing for the fifth spot in the Mets’ starting rotation, but was more likely to begin as starter for Triple-A Las Vegas.  But the team has lately been seriously discussing a different plan, one that would allow Mejia to help the Mets all season.

Now this is a plan I could live with…

Martino adds that the Mets have not yet chosen their fifth starter, but insiders say that Daisuke Matsuzaka is the clear frontrunner, with the team also impressed by John Lannan (Lannan could also be in the bullpen).  Mejia has not been technically eliminated from that competition, but a different assignment now seems more likely for him.

Mejia has lost any value he’s had, so rebuilding him by starting in the bullpen wouldn’t be a bad idea. It will also allow him to pitch the whole season and not be shutdown due to an innings limit.

With using Montero in the bullpen the problem is threefold. First and foremost you’d lose a year of control, secondly he becomes arbitration eligible one year sooner, lastly I don’t trust Terry Collins one bit.

8:00 PM

Anthony DiComo of MLB.com reports that the Mets are considering carrying Rafael Montero on their Opening Day roster, but not as a replacement for Jon Niese. Instead he’ll pitch out of the bullpen.

What a way to kill a prospect’s value… You would think they learned their lesson with Jenrry Mejia.

Could you imagine ignoring Montero’s Super 2 and also losing a year of control just so he could pitch a few innings of relief in the back of a bullpen managed by Terry Collins?

The Mets are likely concerned with Vic Black‘s spring as well as Niese’s injury and they just might be having a bit of temporary insanity. Hopefully calmer minds will prevail in the morning.

DiComo says that Jenrry Mejia and John Lannan are also in the mix, but heck we already knew that.

If Niese isn’t ready to begin the season by Opening Day, they should have Mejia in the rotation and stick with their plan to go with Lannan as the second lefty in the bullpen.

If Black starts the season in the minors, then bring back Jeff Walters from minor league camp and lets get a longer look at him before the season starts.

mmo

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Ike Davis To Wear Walking Boot On Right Leg http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/ike-davis-to-wear-walking-boot-on-right-leg.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/ike-davis-to-wear-walking-boot-on-right-leg.html/#comments Mon, 10 Mar 2014 17:04:07 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=150032 MLB: New York Mets-Workout

Adam Rubin of ESPN New York writes that Ike Davis sported a new accessory in the clubhouse on Monday morning, a walking boot on his right foot.

Rubin adds that Davis said the boot will keep the lower leg immobilized and hopefully speed up the healing and that the extent of the injury has caught Davis off guard since he merely has felt “tightness.”

The Mets haven’t gotten an MRI on his leg yet but Davis may be preparing for it, I’m sure we’ll do that at some point,” he says.

With three weeks until Opening Day, and the Mets first base situation yet to be resolved, the team may have to plan on breaking camp without Davis, especially if the injury lingers.

But Davis isn’t worried about it, ”It’s just a walking boot,” Davis said. “Nothing crazy happened… Hopefully I’ll get two weeks of games in before the season starts. I can still get a lot of ABs.”

Even if Davis has to start the season on the DL, the Mets don’t have to make any drastic moves at this point, since they have Josh Satin and Lucas Duda who can fill that role for now.

Still, he has just six at-bats this Spring and the plan was to give him 80-100 at-bats according to Collins.

Interesting to see how this plays out in a few weeks.

(Photo Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports)

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Collins Says Davis and Tejada Out Until Friday, Duda “Really Sore” http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/collins-says-davis-and-tejada-out-until-friday-duda-really-sore.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/collins-says-davis-and-tejada-out-until-friday-duda-really-sore.html/#comments Tue, 04 Mar 2014 22:05:15 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=149641 duda davis

Marc Carig of Newsday reports that Ike Davis and Ruben Tejada will not play until Friday at the earliest, according to manager Terry Collins. Lucas Duda may need some time as well since he’s battling soreness.

Davis is dealing with a tight calf, Tejada has a tight hamstring and Duda has sore legs.

Also, Zack Wheeler could get the Opening Day start, although it depends largely on if Jon Niese will be ready to go.

“With our situation right now, hell, he may be the Opening Day starter,” Collins said.

Niese threw a bullpen session and remains on track to pitch in a “B” game against the Astros on Thursday after battling muscle fatigue in his left shoulder.

(Photo Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa)

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MLBPA Union Chief Tony Clark is Watching Mets Payroll http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/mlbpa-union-chief-tony-clark-is-watching-mets-payroll.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/mlbpa-union-chief-tony-clark-is-watching-mets-payroll.html/#comments Tue, 04 Mar 2014 17:59:28 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=149356 tony clark

March 4

MLBPA union chief Tony Clark said the player’s union is aware of the decrease in spending by the Mets and they are watching closely, according to a report by Adam Rubin of ESPN New York.

“Let me offer you this: If there are concerns, what often ends up happening is we have an opportunity, along with Major League Baseball, to sit down and discuss perhaps what the game plan might be or could be going forward,” said Clark, who played for the Mets in 2003.

“Is New York one of the marquee franchises? Yes. Will they always be? Yes. Are we paying attention in general? Yes.”

The Mets head into Opening Day with a projected 24th rank payroll.

Original Post – March 2

Wendy Thurm of FanGraphs, charted where each team’s projected payroll currently ranks in MLB. The Mets are ranked at 24th with a projected payroll of $82 million.

mets payroll

She also ranked where each teams highest paid player ranked in terms of payroll concentration – that is the percentage of the entire team’s payroll. The Mets ranked 27th with 24.4% being allocated to one player.

Screenshot_1

Thurm does acknowledge that these rankings can still change somewhat between now and Opening Day, especially where the Mets are concerned and if they are able to sign Stephen Drew which would bring them closer to $92 million which would still place them in the bottom half of baseball. They could also spike lower if they were to trade Ike Davis and not sign anyone else. That could drop the Mets to $79 million or the 3rd lowest payroll in the game.

Performance bonuses are not included for the Mets or any other team for that matter. But where the Mets are concerned, over the last three seasons, more than half of their free agents with performance bonuses were either traded or released before the bonuses kicked in.

You could point to the Pirates (#28 Payroll), A’s (#26 Payroll) and Rays (#27 Payroll) as evidence that you don’t need large payrolls to make the post season. But none of the three were able to advance to the League Championship Series.

On the flip side, the Dodgers (#1 Payroll), Cardinals (#11 Payroll), Red Sox (#5 Payroll) and Tigers (#4 Payroll) all made it to the LCS and World Series, with Boston winning it all. In fact, over the last 8 seasons, only teams in the top ten in payroll have won the World Series.

Anyway, like it or not, this is where the Mets currently stand. That’s the “New York” Mets.

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