Mets Merized Online » Opening Day http://metsmerizedonline.com Mon, 20 Feb 2017 16:46:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.18 Mets Morning Report: An Opening Day Starter Is Crowned http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/mets-morning-report-an-opening-day-starter-is-crowned.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/mets-morning-report-an-opening-day-starter-is-crowned.html/#comments Fri, 17 Feb 2017 11:00:03 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=231297 noah syndergaard

Good Morning everyone. The New York Mets officially named their opening day starter on Thursday as Noah Syndergaard gets the nod.

The 24-year-old flame thrower spoke with the media on what an accomplishment it is to be given such a task. “It’s just a huge honor. It’s something I’ve been working for ever since I’ve been with the Mets, to be the Opening Day starter at one point,” Syndergaard said. “But certainly I’m thrilled that Terry instills that kind of confidence in me, so I’m just going to go out there and get the job done.”

LATEST METS NEWS

Jay Bruce arrived in Port St. Lucie Thursday and spoke with the media regarding the whirlwind of rumors surrounding himself this offseason. “I’m not surprised by anything at this point,” Bruce said. “I keep a pretty level head about whatever happens. Obviously they traded for me and they feel like they probably gave up some quality prospects. I don’t believe they were going to let five or six weeks or whatever completely determine my fate with the organization.” Read more from columnist Marc Carig in Newsday and Ken Davidoff at the NY Post.

Zack Wheeler participated in morning drills on Thursday, taking pitcher fielding practice as well as making approximately 40 throws. Manager, Terry Collins understands that there is worry surrounding the health of his pitcher. “It was the first time in two years he got on the mound (with the rest of the rotation) and (I) thought he had to start exerting himself a little bit and so his elbow is a little flared up,” Collins said. “He took some anti-inflammatories, felt a lot better today and we’re hoping that tomorrow he can throw off the mound.” Read more from columnist Kristie Ackert in the NY Daily News and Marc Carig in Newsday.

The Mets’ new third base coach and catching instructor, Glenn Sherlock spoke with the media on Thursday regarding his mission of getting Travis d’Arnaud back on track. Sherlock sees a lot of upside in the team’s incumbent catcher. “I see a real good athlete. That’s what excites me the most about him. Usually athletes can do some pretty amazing things,” Sherlock said. “He’s an excellent receiver, really can catch the low pitch. I like how he moves behind the plate. We’re working on a lot of things as with all the catchers.” Read more from columnist Matt Ehalt on NorthJersey.com.

Mets top prospect, Amed Rosario kept a promise to finish high school, something many of his ilk from the Dominican Republic fail to do before going for a career in major league baseball. “My parents were always there, supporting me to finish my studies,” Rosario said. “And for me, too, really, you never know. Baseball can be a short career.” Read more from columnist James Wagner in the NY Times.

NL EAST RUMBLINGS

The Washington Nationals star pitcher, Max Scherzer may not start opening day as reported by Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Nationals manager, Dusty Baker spoke on the possibility of not having Scherzer to start the 2017 season and being extremely cautious with the veteran pitcher going forward. “We have to prepare in the event that he can’t make Opening Day,” said Baker. “We won’t rush it. You hate to rush it and have it lead to something else.”

The Philadelphia Phillies have a new hitting coach in Matt Stairs. The former major league slugger looks to bring his hitting philosophy to the team he played for from 2008-2009. “The biggest thing I’m teaching them right now is [hitting from] left-center to right-center and how to use the top hand when you hit. I think when they start realizing less body, more hands, that’s when the exit velocity jumps.”

The Atlanta Braves will reportedly go without an official closer to start the 2017 season as their General Manager, John Coppolella prefers it this way. “We aren’t locked into anybody as our ‘closer,’” Coppolella said. “I think that Jim Johnson, the way he finished last year, was really good. He showed that he could close. Viz (Vizcaino) has shown that he can close, too. I think it’s great when you have two or three guys that could close games for you. I feel like we’re in that spot.”

RECENTLY ON MMO

John Flanigan remembers “The Kid,” Gary Carter who passed away on February 16, 2012 after he lost his battle with brain cancer.

Chris Gaine looks back to when the Mets almost traded Jose Reyes for Roberto Alomar.

Over at MetsMinors.net, Mets Daddy continues MMN’s top 100 prospects with numbers 46-50 on their list.

TODAY IN METS HISTORY

On this date in Mets history, original Metropolitan, Roger Craig was born in 1930. Craig started and lost the very first game in Mets history. He would pitch just three innings on the day while allowing five runs on eight hits as the Mets fell to the Cardinals by a score of 11-4.

Also born on this day was Juan Padilla, who turns 40.

TWEET OF THE DAY

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Mets To Play Army To Conclude Spring Training http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/mets-to-play-army-to-conclude-spring-training.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/mets-to-play-army-to-conclude-spring-training.html/#comments Wed, 15 Feb 2017 18:45:38 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=229278 army baseball

The Mets officially announced via Twitter that they will play the Army baseball team to conclude spring training. They will play at West Point’s Doubleday Field at Johnson Stadium on Friday March 31st at 3:00pm.

Original Report – Jan 12

On March 31, the New York Mets will play the Army baseball team at West Point in an exhibition game according to Adam Rubin of ESPN.

Pitchers and catchers for the Mets will report on February 12 and their first Grapefruit League game will be on February 24 against the Boston Red Sox.

The game will come three days before the Mets open the 2017 regular season against the Atlanta Braves on April 3 at Citi Field.

Fun Fact: Army has it’s own Shea Stadium which is used for spring football, lacrosse and track and field.

This match-up is another example of the Mets fostering a good relationship with our nation’s military. During the season, the Mets work in conjunction with the Wounded Warrior Project to honor a veteran at each and every home game.

Also, at some point during each season, the Mets visit Walter Reed Hospital to honor our nation’s injured and ailing veterans. Additionally, active and retired military receive discounts at the Mets team store.

Overall, while many fans gripe about the team and its ownership, this is one area where they get things right, and the Mets should be commended for how it treats our nation’s military and veterans.

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SNY To Stream Live Mets Games On SNY.tv And NBC Sports App http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/sny-to-stream-live-mets-games-on-sny-tv-and-nbc-sports-app.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/sny-to-stream-live-mets-games-on-sny-tv-and-nbc-sports-app.html/#comments Wed, 01 Feb 2017 16:03:38 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=230398 gkr gary keith ron sny

Per Andy Graziano on Twitter, SNY will begin streaming live Mets games as well as pre- and post-game shows starting on Opening Day. Per the tweet, the service will be available on SNY.tv and the NBC Sports app at no additional cost to authenticated SNY pay TV subscribers.

Speaking on the subject, President of SNY Steve Raab said, “As we prepare for another season of Mets baseball, it was very important to us at SNY that we have a streaming component ready for our fans in time for Opening Day. With this service now in place, we are excited to expand SNY’s scope and to deliver exclusive Mets coverage to our dedicated fans both at home and on the go.”

MLB.tv has already been streaming live games, however local fans have been frustrated because when they are within a certain distance of the team they want to watch, the game is “blacked out.” This development will allow Mets fans living in the Tri-State Area to watch games.

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Wright Earned The Opportunity To Decide His Future http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/wright-earned-the-opportunity-to-decide-his-future.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/wright-earned-the-opportunity-to-decide-his-future.html/#comments Fri, 16 Dec 2016 15:30:41 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=228127 david wright auto

Last year at this time, Mets GM Sandy Alderson projected 130 games for third baseman David Wright. Prior to the Winter Meetings, Alderson again said Wright was his third baseman, but failed to put a number on the games he thought he might play.

That’s just as well considering Wright played 37 games last year and 38 in 2015. Wright has been seeing his doctor in California and receiving treatment. The Mets are saying he should be ready by Opening Day. Let’s hope so, but there are no guarantees. None. There never is when it comes to health.

Of course, I want him to return full strength, but we must realistically accept that might not happen and simply hope for the best. He deserves the opportunity of testing his back and drawing his own conclusions.

I don’t know what will happen, but believe Wright has been too good a player, and too good an ambassador to the Mets and the sport not to get the chance to call the shots on his future. Of course, he’ll get plenty of advice from his doctors; his wife, Molly; and the Mets from the Wilpons to Alderson and maybe manager Terry Collins. He might even call some of this former and current teammates to find out what they are thinking.

He’ll get plenty of advice from the press but none from me because I’m in the camp believing he accomplished enough to be given the chance to plot out his departure from the game on his own terms.

Wright, who’ll turn 34 next week, has already earned $125 million in his 12-year career, and since he’s not reckless with his behavior, the presumption is he has enough to live on comfortably if not lavishly for the rest of his life. He’s signed through 2020 and will make $67 million through then.

The only thing Wright wants from the game is the game itself. It’s not about money, but determining his future and continuing to compete. I believe when Wright gets to spring training he’ll know enough about how he feels and what he can do. I can’t imagine he’ll force the Mets to put him on the Opening Day roster if he’s not physically able.

Unlike last season, the Mets are hedging their bets by holding onto Wilmer Flores and extending Jose Reyes. It would be terrific to trade for Todd Frazier. No trades are imminent on anything involving the Mets, but maybe something could happen in July. Hopefully, the season progresses to where they are in it by then and the trade deadline is meaningful.

Wright pressed the envelope with his health in the past, but the thinking is he learned and if he can’t play he’ll come to that conclusion gracefully. Numbers never meant anything to him, so I can’t imagine he’ll hang on to pad his stats.

Behind the scenes, I’m sure the Mets are talking to Wright about what he’s thinking and how he’s feeling, but so far there hasn’t been any pushing and that’s a good thing. He deserves to do this without any pressure from them.

The only pressure he’s getting is coming from within himself and that’s more than enough.

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Teams Interested In Bruce, Conforto, and Granderson http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/teams-interested-in-bruce-conforto-and-granderson.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/teams-interested-in-bruce-conforto-and-granderson.html/#comments Thu, 10 Nov 2016 18:57:59 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=226277 michael-conforto

According to Marc Carig of Newsdayteams have called the Mets to inquire about the availability of Jay Bruce, Michael Conforto, and Curtis Granderson. Carig did not indicate which teams approached the Mets, what the Mets asking price on any of these players would be, or even if the Mets are even interested in moving any of the three players. 

Bruce, 29, has one year and $13 million remaining on his contract. After being acquired by the Mets at the trade deadline in exchange for Dilson Herrera and Max Wotell. In his 50 games as a Met, Bruce hit .219/.294/.391 with eight homers, and 19 RBI. In his nine year career, Bruce has hit .248/.318/.467 while averaging 27 homers and 82 RBI.

Conforto, 23, was the Mets 2014 first round draft pick, and he is under team control until 2022. In April, Conforto seemed as if he was going to build off a strong rookie campaign. After April, Conforto’s season was marred by slumps, injury, and multiple demotions. In his brief career, Conforto is hitting .238/.319/.414 with 21 homers and 68 RBI in 165 games. If he remains with the Mets, the team has talked about playing him in any number of positions including all three outfield spots and first base.

Granderson, 35, is in the last year of his four year deal with the Mets, and he is set to make $15 million. In his Mets career, he has hit .241/.342/.436 while averaging 25 homers and 65 RBI. His best year with the Mets was 2015 when he hit leadoff, and he was a finalist for the Gold Glove Award for right field. Given the state of flux of the Mets outfield, Granderson has indicated to the team he would be willing to play center field again next year if need be.

As of this moment, the Mets could very well elect to keep all three outfielders along with Juan Lagares who could once again serve as a platoon and late inning defensive option. Realistically, the Mets will not need to move any of these players unless the team was to re-sign Yoenis Cespedes or sign another outfielder in free agency.

Overall, it is not surprising other teams have interest in the Mets outfielders. Time will tell as to what, if any, moves the Mets will make to improve the 2017 team.

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Silver Linings From Mets’ Opening Night Loss http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/04/silver-linings-from-mets-opening-night-loss.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/04/silver-linings-from-mets-opening-night-loss.html/#comments Tue, 05 Apr 2016 11:00:29 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=209003 asdrubal cabrera

Opening Day 2016 didn’t get off to the start that Met fans were hoping for. That’s probably the biggest understatement I could make. And while the Mets did show some late life in the top of the eighth inning, they couldn’t drive in the tying run, and lost to the Kansas City Royals 4-3.

Fans have no doubt looked at the blemishes this game provided, the Yoenis Cespedes gaffe in the first inning, David Wright’s shortcomings at third and his inability to catch up to the fastball, Matt Harvey not pitching his ‘A’ game after an abbreviated spring and ‘bladdergate’.

However, there were a few silver linings from last nights World Series match-up, a few bright spots that stood out and should help give fans some hope and optimism going forward.

With Terry Collins able to employ the DH, he chose defense over lefty/righty splits and played Juan Lagares in center, shifting Cespedes back to his more comfortable position in left field. Kauffman Stadium plays big, so having Lagares out in center made the most sense to cover as much ground as possible.

The talk early on in Spring Training was how Lagares arrived in terrific shape. His workouts in the off-season paid off as Collins noticed and was enticed by the shape he was in.

“Did you see him? Oh my God. Unbelievable shape,” Collins said at an early press conference. “Tremendous shape.”

Lagares did look a lot leaner than anytime last season, and it showed in Sunday night’s game. His range in the outfield and speed running the bases was impressive, and despite the late jump he had on that sinking line drive in the sixth by Alex Gordon, I’d say he had a strong night in the outfield overall.

The former gold glover also went 1-3 at the plate, and scored the first run for the Mets in the top of the eighth. His single came off right-hander Joakim Soria, who held right-handed batters to a .536 OPS last season.

It was nice to see Jerry Blevins back out on the mound since last April 19th after he broke his left forearm twice last season. Blevins looked sharp in the abbreviated seven games he appeared in last year, issuing no walks or hits. Blevins continued where he left off from 2015, and worked a perfect eighth, retiring the Royals 4-5-6 hitters on eleven pitches, seven of which were strikes.

Blevins is going to be a big piece for the Mets bullpen this year, especially with his great splits against lefties. For his career, Blevins has held lefties to a .577 OPS. Blevins also pitches at a three quarters arm angle, which can be deceptive to tough lefty hitters. At $4 million for 2016, Blevins might turn out to be a great bargain for the Mets, barring health issues or curbs.

Michael , Conforto

Of course, I saved the best for last. Michael Conforto continues to impress and has the presence of a ten-year veteran. I wrote about Conforto back in early February and spoke about how he’s ready to blossom and become quite possibly the Mets best hitter.

The talk during the off-season was about whether Conforto was going to get adequate time against southpaws this year, something the Mets sheltered him from last season, and understandably so. Asking a kid who skipped Triple A to come up and solve all the offensive woes isn’t fair. This year though, I expect Collins to use Conforto against lefties to see how Conforto responds at the plate. In my earlier article I wrote how there weren’t too many left-handed starting pitchers that Conforto will run into, so he should be seeing a bulk of the playing time in left this year.

Transitioning back to last night’s opener, it must have been a thrill for the 23 year-old to make his first Opening Day roster, and he didn’t disappoint. Conforto was on base four times Sunday night, going 2-2 at the plate with a single, double, and two walks. His double was the only extra base hit of the game, a deep shot to center that Lorenzo Cain mistimed at the wall. Conforto did get caught stealing second in the fourth to end the inning. However, I liked the hustle he displayed, and he did get a good jump off of Edinson Volquez. Catcher Salvador Perez made a strong throw from his knees and the ball sailed to second baseman Omar Infante’s right side to tag Conforto as he was sliding in headfirst. I like the aggressiveness on the base paths, and for a big guy, he runs pretty well. Needless to say, Conforto is still looking for his first Major League stolen base.

His poise and baseball acumen will be a testament to how quickly he rises in the Mets batting order. I suspect that by mid-season he’ll be regularly batting no lower than fifth in the order, with many calling for him to be the Mets permanent three hitter. Eventually I do envision him in that role, however we should give him time to adjust and not push that on him so quick. He’s going to be an important piece for the next several years, and with offense at a premium in today’s game, and clubs locking up their young talent to team friendly contracts, it would behoove the Mets to not rush Conforto’s progression. They should be thinking long term with him, and that means not throwing him into the fire to quickly, in fear of stunting his development.

So while we wait for Game 2 on Tuesday, lets appreciate some of the positives the Mets displayed on Sunday night, and just be happy that baseball is finally back for 2016. A few more silver linings from Sunday night’s game, and the Mets could’ve been the victors, so lets hope our other superhero starting pitcher can get us back on track Tuesday afternoon.

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Harvey Had Blood Clot In Bladder, Will Make Opening Day Start http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/harvey-had-blood-clot-in-bladder-will-make-opening-day-start.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/harvey-had-blood-clot-in-bladder-will-make-opening-day-start.html/#comments Tue, 29 Mar 2016 13:50:35 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=208550 matt harvey

Matt Harvey spoke to reporters and said that he will start Opening Day after successfully passing a blood clot from his bladder.

The blood clot was caused by a bladder infection which was the result of retaining his urine too long, doctors told Harvey.

“Anytime there is discoloration in your urine, it’s not a great feeling,” Harvey said. “I’ll be completely fine to start Opening Day.”

Harvey will miss his final spring training and instead he will throw two innings during a side session on Wednesday.

“People didn’t know what was going on, so reading nasty things about what it might be isn’t very nice,” he said regarding the speculation that ran rampant online. “I’m glad we figured it out.”

Harvey started experiencing pain the day after his birthday, but he’s glad that the issue was taken care of and he feels good now.

“Through the night it was pretty painful. I finally passed the blood clot. They went in and checked it out today and everything was fine. Everything feels great. I feel relieved that everything is clear and I’m good to go.”

Original Report

According to Mets GM Sandy Alderson, Matt Harvey will miss the rest of Spring Training, and his Opening Day start is in doubt due to a non-specified, non-orthopedic injury (not related to the elbow or shoulder, etc.).

Alderson also added that Harvey may have to go to New York for further examination, due to a symptom that prompted medical attention.

A person close to the situation said the injury is not major, and will not necessitate a long lay-off. (Mike Puma, NY Post).

Harvey, 27, had a strong comeback season from Tommy John surgery in 2015, pitching to a 13-8 record, with a 2.71 ERA in 29 starts.

So far this Spring, Harvey has appeared in three games, pitching to a 1-1 record with a 6.30 ERA.

The young righty was tabbed to start tomorrow afternoon’s game against the Marlins, but has now been scratched.

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Cabrera Thinks He Will Be Ready for Opening Day http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/cabrera-thinks-he-will-be-ready-for-opening-day.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/cabrera-thinks-he-will-be-ready-for-opening-day.html/#comments Thu, 17 Mar 2016 16:54:42 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=207927 asdrubal cabrera 2

Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News, spoke with Asdrubal Cabrera and Terry Collins on Thursday. The Mets’ shortstop believes that he will be good to go for Opening Day.

“I think so, yes,” Cabrera said of being available on Opening Day. “The knee feels good.”

However, Cabrera does have some work to do in order to be ready for the start of the season. He has started to make his way back to the diamond by beginning to ride a stationary bike.

“He’s riding the bike and hopefully he starts to do some more stuff, maybe play catch and go in the cages and start tracking pitches,” Terry Collins said. “And he kind of gets back to the speed stuff.”

This is good news for the team that does have question marks on the left side of the infield. It will be key to have him remain healthy for most of the season. Look for Wilmer Flores or Matt Reynolds to step in for Cabrera whenever he is not available to play.

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Matt Harvey Named Opening Day Starter http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/matt-harvey-named-opening-day-starter.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/matt-harvey-named-opening-day-starter.html/#comments Thu, 17 Mar 2016 13:51:58 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=207906 matt harvey nlcs roar

Manager Terry Collins announced on Thursday morning that Matt Harvey will start Opening Day for the New York Mets when they take on the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on April 2.

“Deservedly so, in my opinion,” Collins told reporters, citing his dominant performance during the second half and postseason run.

Harvey, 27, had a historically strong season coming off Tommy John Surgery, going 13-8 with a 2.71 ERA and 1.019 WHIP over 29 regular season starts and a career-high 225 innings between the regular season and postseason in 2015.

“it’s all about how we start and come out.” said Harvey when he learned of the decision. “I’m happy about the honor and I’m definitely ready for the battle.”

Collins refrained from announcing the rest of the rotation which hinges on whether Jacob deGrom will be available as he expects his first child around that time. Collins may also opt to piggy-back two starters in that second game in Kansas City,

For Harvey, this will be his first Opening Day start and it will be great to see him return to the scene of his Game 5 loss during the 2015 World Series. The Mets’ right-hander is having a very strong Spring, and is already in midseason form, working in the 97-99 mph range in his last outing and unveiling a wicked slider – a pitch he abandoned last season.

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Ruben Tejada Could Be Traded Or Released Before Opening Day (Updated) http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/ruben-tejada-could-be-traded-or-released-before-opening-day-updated.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/ruben-tejada-could-be-traded-or-released-before-opening-day-updated.html/#comments Tue, 01 Mar 2016 20:32:20 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=206985 ruben tejada

According to what a team official told Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, there is a possibility Ruben Tejada could be traded or released before Opening Day.

The team official indicated that Matt Reynolds or Dilson Herrera would “really have to distinguish themselves during spring training and force their way onto the roster before the Mets would consider cutting Tejada.

Tejada is due to earn $3 million in 2016 and then becomes a free agent next offseason. However, if the Mets release Tejada prior to 15 days before the season opener, they would only be responsible for one-sixth of his salary or $500,000, and one-quarter or $750,000 if he’s cut before Opening Day.

Original Report

After falling out of contention with both the Mets brass and fans alike after poor seasons in both 2013 and 2014, Ruben Tejada asserted himself as a fan favorite after Chase Utley‘s infamous slide in the NLDS this past postseason that broke the shortstop’s leg.

Tejada is now forever part of history with MLB putting a new rule into place that subjects the “neighborhood play,” and plays similar to what happened between Utley and Tejada in October to be video reviewed.

Tejada reported to camp this past Friday for team workouts completely recovered from injury, but now faces adversity without a definite spot on the team.

With Asdrubal Cabrera set to get most of the reps at shortstop this season, and Wilmer Flores as a versatile backup option, Tejada’s future remains uncertain.

According to a team source in regards to Tejada, “A lot depends on how spring training goes,” the source said. “We’ll have to see.”

“I don’t make the decisions here so that’s why I try to stay positive all the time. Last year, I didn’t start early in season, but later I played more and things went different for me,” Tejada said. “They know what I have to do here and I try to play hard every day and do my work every day.” (The Record)

The Mets can choose to cut Tejada 15 days prior to Opening Day and be only responsible for 30 days pay, or 45 days pay if it is less than 15 days prior to Opening Day due to the fact that Tejada has a non-guaranteed contract.

However, if Tejada is on the Opening Day roster, the Mets are responsible for the entirety of his contract

“That’s only 10 days of games to make a decision on a guy.” a team source said in regards to the first deadline. “Some guys, though, if you know them, it’s not really tough.”

Tejada is keeping a positive mindset, however. At camp Friday, the veteran shortstop was quoted as saying: ““I just want to help the team win. I am ready.”

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Should Mets Sell High on Granderson and Re-Sign Cespedes http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/should-mets-sell-high-on-granderson-and-re-sign-cespedes.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/should-mets-sell-high-on-granderson-and-re-sign-cespedes.html/#comments Wed, 20 Jan 2016 16:35:24 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=204581 curtis granderson hr

Right now, there are two people who are realistically standing in the way of Yoenis Cespedes returning to the Mets. No, it’s not Fred and Jeff Wilpon. It’s Michael Conforto and Curtis Granderson.

Like it or not, Sandy Alderson was right when he said Cespedes isn’t a center fielder. While Cespedes grades out as an elite left fielder, he’s just not good in center. Last year, he had a -3.2 UZR and -4 DRS while playing center. For his career, his UZR in center is -12.6, and his DRS there is -17. While the Mets were willing to move him in and out of center to take advantage of platoon splits for Juan Lagares while not forcing Conforto to face lefties, it was rough at times, though it did seem to work.

However, that was over the course of three months. Cespedes’ defensive numbers in center are unsustainable over a full season. I don’t buy the argument he only needs to play there two years. He’s already established he shouldn’t be playing there now. No, if the Mets want to re-sign him, he needs to play either left or right. That begs the question, why haven’t the Mets made room for him?

Specifically, I’m asking why the Mets haven’t explored trading Granderson.  Last year, Granderson hit .259/.364/.457 with 26 homers and 70 RBI from the leadoff spot. He was a finalist for the Gold Glove in right field. On a team where everyone was dropping like flies, he played 157 games, and really, he was the only credible major league bat in the lineup for far too many stretches of time. His 5.1 WAR ranked him as a top five right fielder in all of baseball last year. He has a reasonable two years $31 million remaining on his contract. One way of looking at this is saying he’s too valuable to be traded.

Another is to say he’s at his peak value, which is the precise time you want to trade players. Granderson is a year removed from a .237/.326/.338 campaign. The year before that he hit .229/.317/.407.  He had pronounced splits last year hitting .183/.273/.286 against lefties and .280/.388/.504 against righties. His 5.1 WAR last year was the highest it had been since 2011. He’s going to be 35 on Opening Day next year.

Right now, the Mets still project to have Eric Campbell make the Opening Day roster until they sign another 1B/OF. The Mets still talk about adding another reliever. Their farm system took a big hit last year. Couldn’t trading Granderson address one, two, or all three of these needs?  Isn’t that what smart front offices do?  Don’t they trade away a player a year too early rather than a year too late?

Also keep in mind,this is a heavy left-handed hitting team. Trading Granderson and re-signing Cespedes would balance that out a bit. Isn’t this something worth exploring?

Personally, I’d like to see the Mets keep Granderson. I’m a big fan of his on and off the field. With that said, trading Granderson now may be the right thing to do. His value won’t be any higher, and the Mets have some needs to address. The Mets do not want to be paying for Granderson during his possible decline. He’ll turn 35 this spring, it might be time to trade him.

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Mets Opening Day Payroll Projects To $113 Million http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/mets-opening-day-payroll-projects-to-113-million.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/mets-opening-day-payroll-projects-to-113-million.html/#comments Sun, 27 Dec 2015 15:33:37 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=203178 mets dugout helmets USATSI brad barr

With the signing of Alejandro De Aza to a one year deal worth $5.75 million dollars, here is the latest Opening Day payroll projection for 2016.

Guaranteed Contracts ($63.75 Million)

David Wright – $20.0 Million

Curtis Granderson – $16.0 Million

Asdrubal Cabrera – $8.25 Million

Bartolo Colon – $7.25 Million

Alejandro De Aza – $5.75 Million

Jerry Blevins – $4.0 Million

Juan Lagares – $2.5 Million

Arbitration Projections ($38.0 Million)

Neil Walker – $10.8 Million

Lucas Duda – $6.8 Million

Addison Reed – $5.7 Million

Matt Harvey – $4.7 Million

Jeurys Familia – $3.5 Million

Jenrry Mejia – $2.6 Million

Ruben Tejada – $2.5 Million

Carlos Torres – $800 K

Josh Edgin – $600 K

That amounts to $101.75 million for 15 roster spots, not including Jenrry Mejia who is suspended. If we use the major league minimum of $550 K to fill the other 10 spots, it puts the current payroll at $107.25 million dollars or roughly $4 million more than Opening Day in 2015.

Of course, the Mets are reportedly still in pursuit of a right-handed outfielder/first baseman type for the bench and a setup type reliever for the bullpen. They have been connected to free agent Ryan Raburn.

When the dust settles,  2016 Opening Day payroll could ultimately end up at around $113 Million or thereabouts. That’s $10 million more than last Opening Day.

Next year however, should pose quite a challenge for the Mets. Not only will Matt Harvey, Lucas Duda and Jeurys Familia be in store for huge raises, but Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler, Travis d’Arnaud and Wilmer Flores all become eligible for arbitration.

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Josh Edgin Progressing, Could Return Around Opening Day http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/edgin-progressing-from-tommy-john-could-return-around-opening-day.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/edgin-progressing-from-tommy-john-could-return-around-opening-day.html/#comments Tue, 08 Dec 2015 12:00:47 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=201900 josh edgin

According to Assistant General Manager John Ricco, left handed reliever Josh Edgin is making progress from Tommy John surgery and could be ready around opening day. Edgin has not had any setbacks in his recovery, and could be an effective weapon out of the bullpen next season if he returns to full health.

“It’ll be about a year out right around Opening Day, and he’s progressing, hasn’t had any setbacks to this point,” Ricco said. “So you got to remember Billy Wagner was ready right around a year — in maybe even less than a year — but Bobby Parnell last year took a little bit longer.”

“It’s too early for me to give you a timeframe other than it’ll be a year right around Opening Day. I think he’s throwing off the slope here shortly or he might have already started that.” (Maria Guardado, NJ.com)

Edgin, 28, had an excellent 1.32 ERA during 27.1 innings pitched in 2014. He also struck out 28 batters, had a 0,91 WHIP, 4.67 K/BB and  266 ERA+ in 47 appearances.  For his career, he’s dominated left handed hitters as he’s held them to a .198 average and .627 OPS.

However, Ricco cautions that the Mets can’t rely on him too much since he’s still working his way back from a serious injury.

“I just think because of the nature of the injury, you can’t put all your eggs in one basket with a guy who’s coming off Tommy John,” Ricco said, “That being said, we think he’s going to contribute to us and be a part of 2016.”

This means that free agent lefties Tony Sipp and Antonio Bastardo are still potential targets for New York. Sipp posted a 1.99 ERA in 54 innings for the Astros last season with 62 strikeouts. Meanwhile, Bastardo had a 2.98 ERA and held lefties to a .138 average.

Reuniting with Jerry Blevins is another possibility. Blevins appeared in only seven games last year because of injury, but made a strong impression as he did not allow a single baserunner in five innings.

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The Story of My First Mets Opening Day http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/04/the-story-of-my-first-mets-opening-day.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/04/the-story-of-my-first-mets-opening-day.html/#comments Mon, 13 Apr 2015 13:34:55 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=178846 I love my wife.  And I met her at a Mets game.  True story.  She was a blogger, as was I, and we were both going to “Build-A-Bear Night” at Citi Field on August 1, 2009.  So we decided to meet up on the Promenade Level before the game.  Of course, we had our new bears in tow, and I had a few other bears with me.  We talked about bears and the Mets, then saw the game separately from our regular seats.

Later that month, we went to our first game together.  Naturally, the bears were our chaperones.  We met up a few more times during the season’s final month.  Then I asked her what she was doing during the off-season.  Notice I didn’t say “during the winter”, because to a Mets fan, there are only two seasons – baseball season and the off-season.  Well, that phrasing struck a chord with her.  Needless to say, what we did during the off-season was spend more time together and fall in love.  The following May, we got married, then waited two months to go on our honeymoon in San Francisco.  Why the wait?  Because the Mets weren’t due to play the Giants on the road until July.  Yup, I gave her a diamond AFTER we got married.

I never said we were a conventional couple.

Almost 20 years before I met the love of my life, I went on my first-ever date.  The day was April 8, 1991, and my date’s name was K.V.  (I’m using her initials in case she’s reading this and doesn’t want to be associated with a bear-carrying Mets fanatic.)  Most people go to the movies or dinner or a combination of the two on a first date.  Not me.  Where did I take K.V. on our date?  Like you need to ask…

It was Opening Day.  So we went to Shea Stadium.

The temperature that day was an unseasonably hot 90º.  At the time, it was the earliest date on the calendar that New York had ever registered a 90º reading.  We were both undergraduates at St. John’s University, finishing up our sophomore years.  Her mother worked in the school library, so I had already gotten that first meeting with her out of the way.  We actually went to visit K.V.’s mother prior to leaving for Shea, at which time she told us to have a good time and stay out of the sun, if at all possible.

The Mets were fielding a brand-new team in 1991 as they embarked on what the club hoped would be its eighth consecutive winning season.  But this would also be the first time since 1983 that Davey Johnson wouldn’t come out of the dugout during the Opening Day introductions, as Buddy Harrelson had taken over for the former skipper during the previous season.

K.V. confessed to me that it was her first baseball game as we proceeded to sit in our Upper Deck seats on the first base side.  I confessed to her that it was my first-ever date with anyone, to which she said “Awww, and you chose me.  I’m so honored.”

As the game began, I noticed that four of the starting nine players on the Mets had not been with the team at the beginning of the previous campaign.  Charlie O’Brien was calling the game behind the plate, while former Cardinal nemeses Tommy Herr and Vince Coleman were the Mets’ new second baseman and center fielder, respectively.  Right field used to be where Darryl Strawberry had his patch, but he had left for Los Angeles as a free agent.  In his stead was a player who was very special to long-time Mets fans, including myself, but had not worn a Mets uniform since 1984.  And this was how he was re-introduced.

“Playing right field, No. 7.  Welcome back, Huuuubie Brooooks.”

I'd have bought one of these, but I chose to save the money for my date.

I’d have bought one of these, but I chose to save the money for my date.

Hubie Brooks made a quick impression on me during his first stint in New York.  It was Brooks who hit the first home run I ever saw in person.  On June 15, 1983, I was at Shea Stadium with my Little League teammates when Brooks took future Hall of Famer Ferguson Jenkins deep in the fourth inning.  It was the only home run Brooks would ever hit off Jenkins in 18 career plate appearances, and one of only two hits he would muster off the pitching legend.

Eight years after I cheered Brooks as he touched home plate following his homer, I would cheer him again as he scored, although this time he touched the plate in a completely different way.

The Mets were leading the Phillies, 1-0, as the game headed into the bottom of the fourth.  Hubie Brooks led off the inning by roping a double to right field – his first hit as a Met in seven years.  Brooks then advanced to third on a fly ball by Howard Johnson.  Left fielder Kevin McReynolds failed to bring him home when he grounded out weakly to third base.  With two outs, Tommy Herr drew a walk to put runners on the corners.  That brought up Charlie O’Brien, whose .209 career batting average entering the game was six points lower than Mario Mendoza’s .215 lifetime mark.

You read that right.  The namesake of the “Mendoza Line” was a better hitter than Charlie O’Brien.

Clearly, if the Mets were going to extend their lead, manager Buddy Harrelson was going to have to try something different.  So he did.  On an 0-1 pitch, Harrelson had Herr steal second.  When Phillies catcher Darren Daulton threw the ball to second in an attempt to nail Herr, Brooks darted for the plate, sliding home safely to give the Mets a 2-0 lead.

The unexpected play caused K.V. and I to simultaneously jump out of seats and embrace.  Yup, it was our first hug, and Hubie Brooks made it happen.  With the Mets now holding a two-run lead, we decided to get some refreshing ice cream to cool down on the sweltering day.  By the time we got to the concession stand, John Kruk had homered off Dwight Gooden to cut the Mets’ lead back to a single run.

Needless to say, we went back to our seats and didn’t leave our section again until the final out was recorded.

In the seventh inning, as we were singing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame”, K.V. accidentally bumped into my leg.  So I bumped her back.  We ended up doing what appeared to be a strange leg-bump dance for the duration of the song.  It was then that I realized that I could do something other than calculate players’ batting averages in my head.  I could also flirt.  Score one for me.

Speaking of scoring, there were no more runs scored after Kruk’s fifth-inning homer.  The Mets held on for a 2-1 victory, making my first date (and my first-ever Opening Day game; I hadn’t mentioned that before, had I?) a complete success.

After the game, K.V. and I walked back to Main St. in Flushing, where we had two additional ice cream cones (mint chocolate chip for both of us), then we took the bus back to her house.  I was a gentleman, and didn’t ask to go in, but she insisted.  I didn’t spend much time inside, but when I left, I did get a kiss goodbye.

I scored more that day than the Phillies did.

build_a_bear_metsK.V. and I continued to hang out during our remaining college years, but we never went to another Mets game.  We also didn’t really date much more after that scorching hot April afternoon.  Perhaps that’s a good thing.  After all, had something happened between us, I might never have met my wife on “Build-A-Bear Night” nearly two decades later.

Hubie Brooks and I go way back.  He was responsible for the first home run I ever witnessed at a ballgame, and he was responsible for the first (and to this date, only) double steal I’ve ever had the privilege to see in person.  He may also have helped me get that special kiss at the end of my first date.

Since that day, I haven’t missed a single Mets home opener.  In fact, today will mark the 25th consecutive home opener I attend.  Back then, I took my first-ever date to Shea Stadium.  This afternoon, I’ll be taking my wife to Citi Field.  Both times, the Mets were playing the Phillies.  Is a victory by the Mets in the cards today as it was back on April 8, 1991?  As long as the day ends in a kiss like it did almost a quarter century ago, I know it’ll be a winning day for me.

LET’S GO METS!!

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Mets New Lineup Would Result In One Additional Win http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/04/mets-new-lineup-would-result-in-one-additional-win.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/04/mets-new-lineup-would-result-in-one-additional-win.html/#comments Wed, 08 Apr 2015 16:20:44 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=178484 curtis granderson

The Mets’ unorthodox starting lineup on Opening Day had many in a tizzy and it was the big story on Tuesday while the team enjoyed a day off.

Whose idea was it? Terry? Sandy? Mr. Met? All of the above?

In a report by Marc Carig of Newsday, team sources insisted that the adjusted lineup stemmed from conversations within the coaching staff, which only later brought the idea to the front office.

“The front office gave their input, but this lineup was strictly Terry and his coaching staff.”

Those same sources said the Mets intend to stick with roughly the same lineup Wednesday night against the Nationals. And the plan is to keep it for the foreseeable future, even against lefthanded pitching.

Baseball+Board+NEW+(Darker)(1)Meanwhile, Strat-O-Matic, the industry leader in sports simulation games for the past 50-plus years, simulated the run production and win-loss total for the Mets using Monday’s Opening Day lineup versus the team’s perceived traditional lineup.

Their simulations found that the Opening Day lineup would yield approximately 13 more runs over the course of a full 162-game season, which would equate to one more win in the standings.

The simulation yielded 4.25 runs per game leading to a 90-72 record with the new and unique lineup. While the traditional lineup resulted in 4.17 runs per game and a 89-73 record.

You can read more on Strat-O-Matic’s site and follow them on Twitter @StratOMatic.

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Some Things Colon Did Different on Opening Day http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/04/some-things-colon-did-different-on-opening-day.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/04/some-things-colon-did-different-on-opening-day.html/#comments Wed, 08 Apr 2015 14:05:45 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=178460 bartolo colon

Besides being a surprise choice for Opening Day starter (and we have beaten that story to death), Bartolo Colon offered a few other surprises, in the way he pitched, on Monday. The 41-year-old hurler was impressive, matching $210 million man Max Scherzer, frame-by-frame, over six innings of three-hit ball.

How he did that is what is really interesting.

mmo feature original footerOf course, one game is, well, one game. We don’t want to draw any conclusions from one game, but that doesn’t mean we can’t let some of the details help us in showing how Colon was able to find success on a sun-splashed day in DC.

The first thing that sticks out about Monday’s performance is that Colon didn’t throw one change-up. He never throws a lot of offspeed pitches, obviously, known for his heavy usage of the fastball, but this was the first game since June 2012 that he didn’t at least throw one change-up.

The change is usually something that Colon saves for left-handed hitters, mixing between that and the slider to keep batters off balance. On Monday, Colon saved his slider to use exclusively for righties, another interesting difference, and as mentioned, he didn’t throw any change-ups at all. He relied heavily on his sinker, throwing it each of the three times a left-handed hitter was ahead in the count.

That brings us to the next interesting note from Colon’s first start, and that is, he garnered an unusually high number of ground ball outs. Over 437 career starts, his 64.3% ground ball rate on Monday was the 13th highest he has ever recorded. By using less of his change-up, which has been inconsistent in his career in producing ground balls, he kept the ball on the ground with his sinker and slider.

The Mets should be ecstatic with Colon’s performance on Monday. The ageless right-hander keeps getting the job done. And as his age rightfully worries some, another promising sign from his first start was his velocity – both his four-seam and two-seam averaging a tick up from 2013.

Whether Colon continues to shy away from his change-up and find ground balls with his sinker and slider remains to be seen, and after one game, we can’t draw too many conclusion, but it is something to keep an eye on.

Statistics courtesy of FanGraphs and Brooks Baseball.
Follow me on Twitter @OverWhitestone.

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Bartolo Colon Got It Done Opening Day, Proved Doubters Wrong http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/04/bartolo-colon-got-it-done-opening-day-proved-doubters-wrong.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/04/bartolo-colon-got-it-done-opening-day-proved-doubters-wrong.html/#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2015 10:33:39 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=178366 bartolo colon

It looked like Bartolo Colon was indeed the right choice for Opening day with his gem on Monday. And Matt Harvey was confident too.

Bartolo’s got that covered,” Harvey said.

Harvey actually predicted months ago that the Mets would win on Opening Day. And Colon made him look smart today.

Colon was phenomenal. Going against $210 million man, Max Scherzer, Colon went 6 strong innings, allowing only 1 run, 1 walk and racking up 8 Ks. His only mistake was the Bryce Harper solo homer he gave up.

The veteran right-hander also made his manager Terry Collins look smart as well. Collins was ripped for his decision to go with Colon by many fans as well as mainstream media like WFAN and SNY.

“The guy who pitches Opening Day earned that start,” Collins told Kevin Kernan of the New York Post.

“We like our pitching staff. Max Scherzer earned Opening Day for Washington, and they have a great pitching staff. But Bartolo earned the right.”

“It came down to two guys, deGrom or Bartolo, and I said, ‘You know what, let’s go with Bart — 200 innings, 15 wins. Cripes, he deserves it.’ He was the right man for the job.”

Colon is now 5-1 with a 2.62 ERA in 7 Opening Day starts for his career.

“Every game is the same,” Colon said through an interpreter. “But it was great to get off to a good start.”

“It’s always an honor to start on opening day. I think we’ve got a chance to have a great season and I want to do my part.”

Colon was loose three hours before the game joking around with his teammates. His goal is to win and show the young pitchers how to compete day in and day out.

“Bartolo is amazing,” said catcher Travis d’Arnaud, who helped Colon’s cause with 2 hits including an RBI triple.

“He’s a great teammate, keeps the clubhouse loose, but most of all he knows how to pitch, and he’s a great influence for all the younger guys, including myself. He stays calm. That is so important for us to see.”

With Colon getting the Opening Day win for the Mets, it puts the Mets in good position to take the series with top arms Jacob deGrom going Wednesday followed by Matt Harvey in the finale against the Nats, who will counter with Jordan Zimmermann and Stephen Strasburg.

But the big story on the first day of a new season was that Bartolo Colon got it done, just like Harvey predicted.

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Experience and Respect Got Bartolo Colon Opening Day Nod http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/04/experience-and-respect-got-bartolo-colon-opening-day-nod.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/04/experience-and-respect-got-bartolo-colon-opening-day-nod.html/#comments Mon, 06 Apr 2015 10:00:27 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=178286 bartolo colon

Despite the Mets having ace, Matt Harvey coming back and throwing lights out in spring training and 2014 Rookie of the Year, Jacob deGrom, the Mets will send 41 year Bartolo Colon to the mound on Opening Day in D.C.

“I feel really proud and really thankful to the Mets and the staff to put the honor on me to start,” Colon said through an interpreter. “At my age, I’m really looking forward to doing it.”

mmo feature original footerA matter of circumstances brought Colon to this point. The Mets first considered Zack Wheeler to start Opening Day but Wheeler tore the ulnar collateral ligament on his right elbow and he is done for the season with Tommy John.

Despite pitching like an ace again in spring training, the Mets never considered Matt Harvey for the Opening Day nod, not wanting too much on him after not pitching for more than a year. Jacob deGrom  was a candidate too with his strong rookie showing, but the Mets valued experience above all in Game 1.

That’s where Colon comes in. At age 41, he will be the oldest Opening Day starter since Randy Johnson and Jamie Moyer. And he will officially be the Mets oldest Opening Day starter passing Tom Glavine who did it in 2007.

He may be the butt of a few jokes especially when he bats and his helmet falls off sometimes and his weight. But the Mets view him as one of the best athletes with his work in the weight room. And last season at ages 40 and 41, Colon was above average in some defensive metrics and had a pretty solid year pitching wise.

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It doesn’t seem like in many cases that a player with his weight and appearance can stay fit and remain a good athlete. Yet Colon is the exception and that is what allowed him to still pitch and still pitch effectively at times when most of his peers would hang up their cleats by now. Last season only six pitchers at 40 or above threw a major league pitch and only 3 of them threw 200 innings. Colon accomplished both and he was the only one at age 40 or above to win 15 games and that is despite the Mets having another losing record last year.

“When you have a guy like that with so many years in the Major Leagues, you have to have something,” Mets reliever Jeurys Familia said. ” He’s got everything. He’s got experience. It doesn’t matter if you’re 43, 44. You can pitch.”

Colon actually mentioned that he feels it’s easier to  prepare for games now than when he was younger cause he now knows exactly what he needs to do and what he doesn’t need. He also spends his free time helping others around the clubhouse, taking his fellow Dominican hurlers, Familia and Jenrry Mejia under his wings.

“He works extremely hard.” Mejia said. “He’s the guy who comes here early, goes to the weight room, does some bicycle work, does some stuff to be ready. I think this guy works harder than people half his age. Players who are 42, 41 years old like Bartolo, I don’t see many of them. I think the reason that he’s still here is because he’s working hard.”

So the experience factor and the respect he gets especially from his teammates earned Colon the Opening day nod.

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Buddy Carlyle Decision On Out-Clause Looms http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/04/buddy-carlyle-decision-on-out-clause-looms.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/04/buddy-carlyle-decision-on-out-clause-looms.html/#comments Sat, 04 Apr 2015 10:35:07 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=178093 buddy carlyle

On the eve of the season opener, Mets reliever, Buddy Carlyle has an out-clause on his contract that he can exercise, assuming he is not on the Opening Day roster.

The Mets are deciding whether to carry an extra bullpen pitcher in substitution of a bench player, which would reduce the bench to four players. They currently have seven relievers who all appear safe for Opening Day in Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia, Jerry Blevins, Alex Torres, Carlos Torres, Rafael Montero and Sean Gilmartin..

Carlyle would in effect become the Mets No. 8 reliever if they do decide to carry an extra arm.

According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, it is unclear whether Carlyle would exercise his out or accept going to Triple-A Las Vegas, but that is part of the calculus the Mets must weigh. Carlyle has declined to address the topic this week.

According to Mets skipper, Terry Collins, the reasons  for considering eight relievers is not related to Carlyle and his out clause, but instead it’s result of the starting pitchers not being able to throw 110 or 115 pitches. They haven’t been stretched enough just yet, Collins said. He declined to elaborate or discuss why his starters haven’t been stretched enough so far after a full spring training.

Collins acknowledged that having four bench players could create some risks offensively especially if Daniel Murphy‘s pulled right hamstring is not fully recovered and he might need some days off in early going.

Should the Mets be short of bats during the latter part of games, they will consider bringing Jacob deGrom to pinch hit if necessary. The loser in this scenario would be Eric Campbell who will head to Las Vegas until he’s needed..

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Overcrowded Bullpen Has Caused Quite a Conundrum http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/04/overcrowded-bullpen-has-caused-quite-a-conundrum.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/04/overcrowded-bullpen-has-caused-quite-a-conundrum.html/#comments Wed, 01 Apr 2015 10:00:07 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=177679 terry collins

It’s hard to believe that just two days ago, even Terry Collins was unsure who would get the regular season call to face opposing lefty sluggers in the late innings. With Josh Edgin out for the season with a torn UCL and no proven options in camp, the Mets bullpen, an expected strength to begin the season, was in dire straits.

Enter new acquisitions Alex Torres and Jerry Blevins, two left handed relief pitchers with successful career track records, and the problem is solved. Right?

Unfortunately, the answer is not that simple. Either Rafael Montero or Dillon Gee is slated to open the season in the bullpen, joining Carlos Torres, Jeurys Familia, and Jenrry Mejia.  That leaves three open spots in the bullpen as it stands today, with. Blevins and Torres assured of grabbing two of those spots.

The question now is whether we’re going to carry three lefties and if the Mets like Sean Gilmartin enough to give him that final slot, otherwise he goes back to the Minnesota Twins. Both Collins and Alderson have strongly hinted that keeping the Rule 5 pick is exactly what they will do.

jenrry mejia

With three lefties in tow, the Opening Day bullpen would now look something like this:

Lefty Specialist: Jerry Blevins, Sean Gilmartin
Middle Relief: Carlos Torres, Alex Torres
Setup (7th): Rafael Montero or Dillon Gee (TBD)
Setup (8th): Jeurys Familia
Closer: Jenrry Mejia

This bullpen projection omits Bobby Parnell and Vic Black, both of whom are expected to be back around mid-April. It’s also worth noting that Parnell and Black have both controlled lefties exceptionally well in their careers, holding them to .251/.343/.696 and .208/.344/.665 slash lines respectively. Their success against lefties could make carrying three left handed relievers unnecessary.

Perhaps more feasibly, an overcrowded bullpen clears the way for the long-anticipated Dillon Gee trade. Consistent with the Mets’ preference for youth would favor Montero’s upside over Gee’s track record. If Gee is traded, Montero slots into the 5th starter role (at least until Syndergaard and Matz are ready, yet another looming dilemma), and one of Black or Parnell becomes the 7th inning guy.

To fully resolve the bullpen dilemma, the Mets could carry an 8th reliever, a practice notoriously employed by the 2014 AL Champion Royals, who’s bullpen combined for a 3.30 ERA and a .235 opposing batting average, not to mention a lights out postseason performance.

If the Mets decide to carry an 8th reliever, which is not such a bad idea considering frequent arm injuries, that would force somebody off the five man bench. Ruben Tejada (backup infielder), John Mayberry (lefty killer), Eric Campbell (super utility), Anthony Recker (defensive catcher), and Kirk Nieuwenhuis (out of options) have all played their hearts out this spring, and all provide tangible value to the team. However, one of them would be the odd man out to accommodate an eighth reliever.

It’s clearly going to require some creativity and maybe even a little bit of heartlessness on the part of the Mets brass to contain Bobby Parnell and Vic Black in a crowded bullpen with three lefty relievers.  However, it’s worth mentioning that an overcrowded bullpen is a great problem to have, and regardless of how the relief corps shakes out, it will be chock full of talented arms that could take the Mets to the next level.

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Despite Reduced Velocity, Parnell Effective In Second Rehab Appearance http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/despite-reduced-velocity-parnell-effective-in-second-rehab-appearance.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/despite-reduced-velocity-parnell-effective-in-second-rehab-appearance.html/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 14:02:58 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=177262 bobby parnell

Bobby Parnell continues to make progress in his recovery from Tommy John surgery. In his second rehab appearance yesterday behind Tradition Field in Port St, Lucie, Parnell pitched one inning, and did not allow a run.

Dave Lennon of Newsday analyzed Parnell’s fastball velocity from his appearance using PITCHf/x data. He also included some good quotes from Parnell.

“At his peak, before snapping the ulnar collateral ligament on Opening Day last April, Parnell’s fastball averaged 95.2 and maxed out at 99.1 during the 2013 season — down a few ticks from 95.8 and 100.4 the previous year, according to PITCHf/x. As for Wednesday’s performance, when his velocity ranged from 88 to 91, Parnell explained that was partly due to using more two-seam fastballs, a slightly slower pitch than the four-seam.”

“I went in to this outing trying not to overthrow, so I knew the gun wasn’t going to be anything outstanding,” Parnell said. “I backed off and wanted to work on my two-seamer because it wasn’t there last game. It’s more of a ‘go out there and knock the rust off’ kind of thing more than overthrow.”

“The last time out, it was the first time seeing batters in a long time,” Parnell said. “The intensity went up when the batters stepped in, and everything kind of moved a little fast. I was able to slow it down this game and work on a little bit more stuff to go in the right direction.”

Lennon also said that Parnell has a chance to take over as the Mets closer when he returns.

“Parnell was 22-for-26 in save attempts with a 2.16 ERA during his last full season in 2013. He struck out 44 and allowed one homer in 50 innings. With the Mets committed for now to Jenrry Mejia as their Opening Day closer, the team has been vague about its plans for when Parnell does return, which could be as soon as early May. That probably will have a lot to do with how Mejia is pitching — and Parnell’s timetable.”

“I want my body to tell me when to go,” Parnell said. “I don’t want to look at the calendar to tell me when. I want to be 100 percent. I want to help the team more than just being there.”

Thoughts:

Regardless of who ends up pitching the 9th, the Mets back end of the bullpen is considerably stronger than it has been in recent years. Parnell, Mejia and even Jeurys Familia give the Mets three solid options for the late innings, which is a luxury the Mets have not had in a very long time.

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