Mets Merized Online » Original Post Tue, 17 Jan 2017 03:21:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 MMO Feature: Tom Seaver’s 19 Strikeout Classic Turns 45 Wed, 22 Apr 2015 19:06:24 +0000 tom seaver bw

On this day in Mets history, 45 years ago, Hall of Famer Tom Seaver tossed his 19-strikeout gem against the San Diego Padres and set the major league record with 10 straight strikeouts to end the game.

It happened on April 22, 1970 and our own Stephen Hanks was there. Here is an article he wrote back in 2010 to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of one of the greatest moments in Mets history. Please enjoy…

mmo feature original footerThere is a mantle above an unused fireplace in my home office that I’ve turned into a little shrine to my sports idol Tom Seaver. It’s nothing crazy, just a bunch of old action photos, vintage baseball cards, magazine covers, bobble head dolls, figurines depicting that classic Seaver right-knee scraping the mound motion, even an empty bottle of Tom Seaver recent vintage wine. But among all these treasures, there is one that bears special significance today: the scorecard I recorded at Shea Stadium on April 22, 1970, the day the man I consider the greatest right-handed pitcher of all time (Roger Clemens forfeited that title the day he picked up a syringe) struck out 19 San Diego Padres, including the LAST 10 IN A ROW.

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Here are both pages of my original scorecard.
(click to enlarge them)

It’s hard to believe it’s been 40 years since that glorious afternoon, but not hard to believe how I ended up being an eyewitness to baseball history. Tom Seaver had been my baseball hero from the day he started his first game for the Mets in 1967, although I became aware of him during his one season pitching for the Jacksonville Suns in 1966. At that point, I was a 10 1/2-year old Mets fanatic desperate for a young star and baseball role model to cling to.

I attended my first Mets’ game at the Polo Grounds in 1963, watched the entire 10-hour epic double-header, including the 23-inning second game, against the Giants in 1964, and spent my early childhood thinking my favorite team would never get out of last place. By mid-1966, my burgeoning adolescent hormones were contributing to take my Mets obsession to a fever pitch. And like all Mets fans who didn’t think the losing was cute anymore, I was hoping for a savior to finally change our fortunes.

So I started checking The Sporting News, which in those days was considered the “Bible of Baseball” and printed every major league and Triple A box score from the proceeding week, in addition to all the league stats. I started noticing there was a 21-year-old named Tom Seaver on the Jacksonville pitching staff who was actually winning as many games as he lost.

Even more impressively, he was striking out an average of eight per game, wasn’t walking a lot of guys, and had a great hits-to-innings pitched ratio. At that point, very few Mets fans knew about the bizarre circumstances that made Seaver a Met–the voiding of his contract with the Braves while he was still at USC, and the Mets subsequently being selected out of a hat in a lottery staged by Commissioner William Eckert. All I cared about was that we might finally be developing some semblance of a major league pitcher and I followed Seaver’s minor-league starts religiously throughout the summer.

Although it was clear that Seaver was the Mets’ best pitcher going into the 1967 season, he started Game 2 against the Pirates, struck out 8 in 5.1 innings and got a no-decision. By his next start, a 6-1 win over the Cubs, this hard-throwing righthander with the picture-perfect delivery was my favorite player and probably the favorite of every other Mets fan.

For me, Tom cemented his hero status on May 17, 1967. That year and until 1971, the Mets games on radio were carried on WJRZ-AM with a pre- and post-game show hosted by an intelligent and very congenial man named Bob Brown, who staged various fan contests. I sent in a bunch of postcards hoping to get selected for a call and before the game against the Braves that May night, my phone rang. It was Bob Brown offering me a chance to win a baseball glove if I could pick three Mets to get a total of four hits in the game at Fulton County Stadium. So naturally I picked the Mets’ three hottest hitters at that point–Tommy Davis, Ed Kranepool and Jerry Buchek.

Going into the ninth inning, Davis and Kranepool had combined for three hits (Buchek was shutout) but Davis came through for me with a single and I won a Bobby Shantz glove. You may think this whole story has been a digression, but the kicker is this: Tom Seaver went three for three that night, with two RBI, a walk and a stolen base. The best athlete on the team was a rookie pitcher.

Anyway, you know what happened over the next couple of years. Seaver wins 16 games in both ’67 and ’68 (with 32 complete games combined) and then leads the Mets to the promised land in 1969 with 25 victories, including the near-perfect game against the Cubs. After celebrating my team’s improbable World Championship, which I watched from my home in the South Bronx not far from Yankee Stadium, my family moved that December to the spanking new Co-Op City middle class housing project in the Northeast Bronx. Now 14, I was old enough to get a job delivering the Daily News in my 33-story building and the gig earned me about $30 to $40 a week, a fortune for a kid that age at that time. My plan for spending my new-found wealth? Go to as many games of the defending champs as possible, especially considering you could sit in the upper deck behind home plate for a buck and a half.

But I didn’t want to attend just any games. I wanted to see EVERY game Tom Seaver pitched at Shea Stadium (that wasn’t on a school night, of course) and the Mets’ five-man rotation made it pretty easy to figure out when Tom Terrific was going to be on the hill. Seaver was on a five-day cycle even when there were off days. So I knew that after opening day on April 7, Tom would pitch on the 12th, 17th and 22nd, the latter a Wednesday afternoon game I could attend because it would be the second day of Passover and public schools would be closed. I really splurged for that one and for six bucks got tickets for me and my brother in the first row of the loge (second deck) behind home plate.

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After settling into our seats on a beautiful spring day (I don’t recall it being chilly), Tom proceeded to strike out two in the first inning. The way the sound of the Seaver fastball was reverberating after hitting Jerry Grote‘s mitt only confirmed it was going to a long day for the Padres. Ken Boswell‘s double off some guy named Mike Corkins drove in Bud Harrelson (who had singled), giving the Mets a first-inning lead. But the Pods’ cleanup hitter and leftfielder Al Ferrara led off the second inning with a home run to tie it (I think it scraped the back of the fence on the way down) until we got the lead back in the third on a Bud Harrelson triple that just missed going out. Given the Mets’ offense, which could disappear for innings or days at a time, I figured that run would have to hold up if Tom was to get a W. (I can’t tell you how many times during Seaver’s Mets career I sweated out a game because of lack of run support. My mother once threatened to start giving me sedatives whenever Tom pitched because I’d pace around the TV room and scream at the set imploring the Mets to score a freaking run.)

By the top of the 6th inning, Tom had yielded just one other hit and had nine strikeouts. Of course the score was still 2-1 so the ace would really have to bear down. After a popup and a fly out, Tom struck out Ferrara for his 10th K of the game. I don’t think I was aware of it at the time–and I could be corrected if I’m wrong–but by the top of the 7th, afternoon shadows were starting to creep over home plate while the sun was still shining over the rest of Shea. This would not be good for a Padres lineup that was already flailing at Seaver’s fastball, which that day looked and sounded like it was in the upper 90s–and we didn’t need a radar gun to tell us that.

At this point in the game, I was totally transfixed on the man on the hill, picking up every nuance of that motion on the mound. As a Babe Ruth League pitcher, I was already mimicking Seaver’s delivery, which was never better described than by Roger Angell in The New Yorker after Tom was traded on June 15, 1977 (still one of the worst days of my life):

“One of the images I have before me now is that of Tom Seaver pitching; the motionless assessing pause on the hill while the signal is delivered, the easy, rocking shift of weight onto the back leg, the upraised arms, and then the left shoulder coming forward as the whole body drives forward and drops suddenly downward–down so low that the right knee scrapes the sloping dirt of the mound–in an immense thrusting stride, and the right arm coming over blurrily and still flailing, even as the ball, the famous fastball, flashes across the pate, chest-high on the batter and already past his low, late swing.”

In the top of the 7th, Seaver struck out Nate Colbert, Dave Campbell and Jerry Morales, the latter two looking. While that was impressive, none of the 14,000 of us cheering madly at every strike thought it out of the ordinary for our Tom and when he led off the bottom of the 7th, he got the obligatory polite ovation.

Of course if this game had been played in 2010 instead of 1970, Gary Matthews, Jr. would have been pinch-hitting because, hey, you need to get another run and our ace might be hitting his pitch count to boot. Thankfully, Gil Hodges wouldn’t think of pulling his best arm and when Bob Barton, and pinch hitters Ramon Webster and Ivan Murrell all K’d in the 8th (the latter two swinging), there wasn’t a soul in Shea who thought we weren’t watching history, let alone believe the Padres would actually hit another pitch.

As Tom took the mound for the top of the 9th, the buzz in the park was palpable and my heart was palpitating. Van Kelly led off the ninth and when he struck out swinging for the 8th strikeout in a row, the crowd sounded more like 40,000.

With every strike that whizzed by a Padre hitter I felt as if I was being levitated out of my seat. I don’t have a pitch chart of the game (don’t know if there is one available), but it seemed as if every pitch in those last two innings were strikes and the crowd roared louder with every one. Cito Gaston struck out looking for nine in a row and 18 for the game. One more strikeout and Tom Seaver would set a new record of 10 Ks in a row and match Steve Carlton‘s 19-strikeout game (which he lost thanks to those two Ron Swoboda home runs) against us the year before.

With the entire park on it’s feet and screaming itself hoarse, Tom fittingly blew away Ferrara for the record-breaking K. By this point I was jumping up and down so wildly I almost fell over the loge railing. I carried that emotional high all the way to 7 train and for the entire trip back to the Bronx. It is still the greatest pitching performance I’ve ever seen live (and I saw a couple of Seaver one-hitters and his 300th win at Yankee Stadium). Again, the Terrific One didn’t just strike out 10 in a row, he mowed down the LAST 10 IN A ROW.

As you can see above, I dutifully saved my scorecard of that game (and I wasn’t a kid who kept score much, so I must have had a premonition) and all of my handwritten annotations (including the note about Jerry Grote setting a new putout record-20) were added that day. There is one additional scribbling on the Mets side of the scorecard.

In early 1983 I was about to launch my own magazine called NEW YORK SPORTS and the Mets gave me the best launch present I could imagine by bringing Seaver back from the Cincinnati Reds that winter. Putting my idol on the cover of my magazine’s premiere issue was a no-brainer and before spring training I hiked out to Shea with a camera crew to shoot Tom Terrific. As I was leaving my house that morning, I thought, “Damn, I’ve got to ask Tom to sign the 19K-game scorecard” and found it in a huge pile of Seaver memorabilia I had been collecting for years. After assuming my best professional editor’s air during the photo session (even pressuring my hero to smile once in a while), I reverted to sheepish fan mode and asked Tom to autograph the scorecard. As he turned my prized possession into even more of a collector’s item, he looked down at the card and said, “Hmmm, that was a pretty good outing.” Indeed.

There’s one more postscript. In 1996-97, I was editing a elementary school classroom newspaper and decided to do a feature on the Baseball Hall of Fame. The executives at the Hall took me to lunch at a quaint Cooperstown bistro and we spent a pleasant hour or so talking baseball history. Naturally, Tom Seaver came up in the conversation and I told my story of attending the 1970 pitching masterpiece, mentioning that I still had the scorecard. The Hall curator perked up. “Wow, would you be willing to donate that to the Hall of Fame?” he asked wide-eyed. “Well, what would I get for it,” I responded. “Well, we could give you a lifetime pass to the Hall of Fame.”

I’ve been to the Baseball Hall of Fame a few times since that lunch meeting. The scorecard still resides in my own personal Tom Seaver Museum. Happy Anniversary, Tom!

seaver number 41

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Should The Mets Move Daniel Murphy? Tue, 08 Jul 2014 18:09:52 +0000 daniel murphy

I have been listening to sports radio, reading Mets Twitter, and reading articles for the past couple days as the trade deadline gets closer and closer. I keep hearing the same notion expressed by Mets fans– if the Mets trade Murphy, it indicates an unwillingness to pay good players money to keep them in New York. ‘Cheap’, ‘small-market-team’ and ‘hopeless’ are some of the words and phrases I have heard to describe the Wilpons and their goals as an ownership.

I have thought a lot about what I would want the Mets to do with Murphy. My initial thought correlates to the strong opinion of Mets fans that seems to be that they should re-sign him. Murphy is a great pure hitter. He seems to hit around .300 every year and is a great clubhouse guy. His fielding leaves a bit to be desired, but he has improved some since his earlier days.

The Mets have a couple young players that are possibilities for filling the void at second if the Mets do trade Murphy. Dilson Herrera, a pure second basemen with some pop who came over in the Marlon Byrd trade, was just recently promoted to Double-A Binghamton where he is hitting .313 with two home runs in his brief stint there thus far. Herrera is strong defensively and has some pop at the plate to go along with his ability to hit for a high average so far in his minor league career. It is also important to note that Herrera is producing at such a high level in the Eastern League while being almost five-years younger than the league average. Sure, he has only played 15 games there so far, but it’s definitely worth noting.

The next guy who could fill the void is Matt Reynolds, a 2012 draft pick who was recently promoted to Triple-A Las Vegas. The 23-year old batted .355 in Double-A before his promotion, and is off to a .373/.415/.542 clip through 17 games in the PCL. Reynolds is another pure middle infielder who has split time since 2012 between shortstop and second base. Reynolds seems to project as a similar player to Murphy, someone who won’t hit for much power but can hit for a consistent average. I would imagine he is a better defender then Murphy at second base as well. Reynolds will probably earn a call-up this September and is a legitimate contender to be the Mets’ second basemen in 2015 and beyond.

The last guy I will mention is Wilmer Flores because I’m not convinced we’ve seen all that he can do. Flores has produced at every level of the minor leagues, hitting for average and power. He has been in the Mets organization since signing at the age of 16 out of Venezuela. Yeah, yeah I know about Flores’ defensive woes. From what I hear (not seen), Flores is lucky to be as good defensively as Murphy is right now. As I said, I haven’t seen this absolutely horrendous defense yet but people smarter than me have made that hypothesis. I believe that a player cannot develop fully (in most cases) unless they are given a steady role in the starting lineup.

I think everyone knows that Tejada is not the future and I agree. Tejada is what he is and I don’t dislike him at all. He has filled a void since Jose Reyes left for Miami. I believe Flores should have been given a steady and consistent role in the lineup. A player can’t concentrate on his offensive production when he is to busy worrying whether his name will make the lineup card each day. Flores is another candidate for playing second if Murphy is traded.

Although we haven’t seen it yet in the majors, Flores is definitely a talented hitter nonetheless. At just 22-years old, I am not writing him off offensively. Flores would be less of a liability defensively playing second as opposed to shortstop. I think he is a guy to consider handing the reigns to, especially if Murphy is traded this season before Reynolds or Herrera are truly ready for big-league duty.

After considering the homegrown replacements the Mets have for Murphy, I have concluded that I wouldn’t mind if Murphy is traded. I love the guy and everything he has done for the Mets, but I do believe that $11-$13 million a year could be better spent elsewhere and on someone who will plate more runs.

I’m sure there are plenty of people here that disagree with me, but that’s what makes the world turn.

Kirk’s thoughts:

I agree with you, Avery, on many of the points you’ve made. I think we have the internal talent to step in and hold down the fort at second base in what appears to be a lost season anyway. Flores could get the first crack, as I think he’s earned an extended look in the lineup without having to look over his shoulder. Further down the pike are players like Reynolds and Herrera who could prove to be at least solid-average regulars at the keystone spot.

I don’t think trading Murphy would be the organization’s way of indicating that they aren’t willing to spend, I think it would be a smart baseball move for the future. Murphy has arguably been our best offensive player over the past two seasons, and I think we need to capitalize on that by selling him off in the right deal. He’s nearing 30 and is about to command a long term deal. A team like the Orioles could really use his bat, and I think they make a good trading partner. Alderson could obviously shoot for the moon and ask for a Dylan Bundy or Hunter Harvey and see what kind of response he gets. He could also ask about Kevin Gausman– a guy I like who the Orioles don’t seem to value based on the way they’ve yo-yo’ed him between the majors and Triple-A this season. Obviously it has to be the right deal. I’m not looking to give Murph away. I’m simply trying to find a way to continue to stockpile assets that could eventually lead to trading for the big power bat(s) we really need.

(Photo credit: AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

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Ryan Reid Could Join Mets Overworked Bullpen On Monday Mon, 16 Jun 2014 01:42:28 +0000 Ryan Reid

Adam Rubin of ESPN New York speculates that righthanded reliever Ryan Reid could be an option when the Mets look to add a fresh arm to their fatigued bullpen on Monday when they begin a three game series with the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Mets bullpen was leaned on for eight innings of relief on Sunday after starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka was forced to leave the game after one inning with a serious stomach ailment,.

The 29-year old Reid has had a remarkable stretch at Triple-A Las Vegas and improved his scoreless streak to 22.2 innings on Saturday.

If Reid does get the call, the Mets would have to add him to the 40-man roster.


June 12

Ryan Reid has emerged in Las Vegas as a potential major league ready reliever. Adam Rubin noted on Twitter that Reid has thrown 17.1 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run and has pitched to a 3.64 ERA over 29.2 innings during his 2014 campaign.

Reid’s only appearances in the majors came in 2013 with Pittsburgh, where he posted a 1.64 ERA over 11 innings, with seven strikeouts against three walks. On December 23, 2013, he was selected off waivers by the Mets from the Pirates.

The Mets bullpen has been solid recently. It seems that Jenrry Mejia and Jeurys Familia have solidified the 8th and 9th innings, helping to give members of the bullpen an identity which was lacking during the early weeks of the season. Gonzalez Germen, the Mets most consistent arm out of the pen earlier in the year, was activated from DL the Tuesday.

Playoff caliber teams have strong bullpens and don’t blow games for their starting pitchers, simple as that. I believe the Mets could be on their way to having a very solid bullpen and strong arms in Triple-A give them some wiggle room in case of injuries.

mmo presented

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Time To Pull Plug On Chris Young Experiment Thu, 22 May 2014 13:00:52 +0000 chris young

Guaranteed playing time or not, the Mets commitment to Chris Young should not last too much longer given his recent struggles. At some point the Mets will have to pull the plug on Young and start giving his playing time to more worthy and productive players.

For some odd reason manager Terry Collins decided to put the slumping CY in the cleanup spot during Wednesday’s 5-4 loss to the Dodgers. Young went 0-for-3 with a rally killing double-play in one of those at-bats and a runner stranded in scoring position in another.

Many people, including myself, were unhappy with the Chris Young signing and would of preferred the Mets go after a more proven power bat, such as a Nelson Cruz, who ended up signing a nearly identical contract with the Orioles very late in free agency. Or the money could have been better utilized to fill another need like shortstop.

The Mets came into the season with a logjam of four starting outfielders in CY, Eric Young Jr., Curtis Granderson and Juan Lagares, three of whom could play center field. It appeared that the organization had no trust in the up-and-coming Lagares despite his breakthrough defensive season in 2013 and a phenomenal offensive showing in Winter Ball.

However, an early stint on the disabled list for Chris Young changed everything. Lagares stepped in, got a chance to play everyday, and wowed everyone with an electrifying start to the season both in the field and more importantly at the plate as well.

By the time Chris Young returned from the DL, Terry Collins was unwilling to keep Lagares as the everyday center fielder and announced a 4-man outfield rotation that would give everyone equal playing time. However that almost led to a revolt when at one point Collins benched Lagares for three straight games and four of five, prompting outrage from the ticket-buying fans and harsh criticism from writers and analysts.

The situation is still unresolved to this day and Collins is under the microscope before each game as to which three outfielders gets to be in the starting lineup. It’s a tenuous situation.

Granderson is almost a given to be starting everyday because of the Mets’ $60 million dollar commitment to him for the next four years. Lagares continues be the team’s best hitter and with three more hits on Tuesday is now slashing at a .315/.361/.472 for the season. Obviously, his glove has shined and only adds to his value as an everyday centerfielder. Terry Collins has taken a liking to Eric Young Jr., who he says gives the Mets a pure leadoff hitter who can wreak havoc on the base paths. EY has a low .202 batting average and his .311 on-base is hardly leadoff-worthy, however his ability to reach base in the first inning makes him additionally attractive to Collins. EY has a .394 OBP in the first inning of games this year has it proved helpful to get the Mets on the scoreboard early.

Chris Young should be the odd man out at this point. He is producing at a .206/.272/.360 clip this season with only three home runs and 11 RBI.

Sandy Alderson brought in Young this winter in the hopes of him revitalizing his career and bringing some power to Citi Field. Sandy believed that Young’s struggles were attributed to being platooned while in Oakland where he batted .200/.280/.379.

So he gambled $7.5 million that with regular playing time Young would flourish. Sandy was wrong. Perhaps he should have looked at Young’s career righthanded splits, then he would have seen why Billy Beane eventually placed him in a platoon role.

Alderson knew this was a risky signing this winter. If he produced, Alderson looks like a genius but this hasn’t been the case. The Mets preach that they want to win now, and if that’s true Chris Young should be heading to the bench no matter how much playing time he was promised.

The Mets need to stop this four-way outfielder rotation. For now, Granderson and Lagares need to play everyday. If Collins wants to maintain his fixation on EY, then it should be at the expense of Chris Young and not the other two.


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Oakland A’s Could Emerge as Potential Trade Partner for Mets Sat, 03 May 2014 20:58:02 +0000 jed lowrie

Update (5/3/2014):

MLB Trade Rumors reports that the Athletics are likely to either deal for starting pitching or move Drew Pomeranz to the rotation. With both Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, the Athletics have had to rely on youngster Sonny Gray and veteran Scott Kazmir to lead the rotation. So far those two, along with Jesse Chavez, have delivered but Dan Straily, Tommy Milone and Josh Lindblom have all struggled.

The Athletics are currently leading the American League West with an 18-11 record; good enough for two games in front of the Texas Rangers. The fact that the Athletics appear interested in dealing for starting pitching tells you that they believe they can compete in that division.

Top prospect Addison Russell is currently down with a hamstring tear, which might make the A’s hesitant to deal current shortstop Jed Lowrie. Regardless, the Athletics appear to want starting pitching and the Mets have it so it will be interesting to see if they engage in any kind of trade talks.

Original Post:

With ulnar collateral ligament tears occurring at higher rates than the common cold, it seems like every team is holding their breath, hoping their projected rotation stays intact as opening day approaches. The Oakland Athletics’ Jarrod Parker is the most recent pitcher to eventually have to succumb to the knife of Dr. James Andrews.

With Jarrod Parker down for at least the 2014 regular season and A.J. Griffin slated to begin the season on the disabled list, the A’s seem to be in a bit of a pickle. Scott Kazmir is also shelved, albeit only for a few days, with tricep stiffness but you just never know with arm maladies anymore.

If you include Kazmir, the A’s are expected to go into the season with a starting rotation that could include names such as Sonny GrayDan StrailyTommy MiloneJesse ChavezDrew Pomeranz, as well as Kazmir himself. Although Sonny Gray is a promising youngster with a seemingly bright future and the A’s can somewhat rely on Kazmir and Milone to put up respectable numbers, it seems they lack a go-to pitcher that can round out the rotation; a necessary asset for a borderline playoff caliber team to have.

With the Oakland Athletics only coming in at number 26 on Keith Law’s organizational farm system rankings, it does not seem like they have the ability to address that need within the organization. This is where the Mets come in. With Jon Niese recently receiving the good news that his elbow is [apparently] fine and Ruben Tejada being Ruben Tejada, the Mets still seem to be in a position to deal some pitching to address the ever so obvious shortstop dilemma.

The news of Parker’s second Tommy John surgery may have added another potential trade partner to the mix. The A’s currently have Jed Lowrie as their opening day shortstop on the big club and Addison Russell polishing up his extraordinary tools in AAA, supposedly waiting to take over the reigns.

While it would be incredibly sweet for the Mets to swing a deal for’s number 12 ranked prospect, Addison Russell, the A’s would most likely demand a hefty package for their future All Star and shortstop heir. It would undoubtedly take at least Noah Syndergaard or Zack Wheeler to acquire him and, although I think Russell is worth it for an even swap of either of those two, it might take even more.

Lowrie is probably a more realistic option as he is in his last year of arbitration and set to hit free agency in 2015. With the A’s increased need for pitching, it may cause them to attempt to deal Lowrie earlier than they planned and rush Russell to the majors. If that is the case, the Mets should certainly be in contact with Billy Beane for a potential deal. The plethora of young, inexpensive arms the mets boast as well as a proven pitcher like Dillon Gee could appear very attractive to him at the moment.

I profiled Lowrie way back in December in a post that addressed potential trade routes the Mets could take to address their need at shortstop. He’s nothing spectacular on defense and he’s had significant trouble staying healthy in the past but he put up very impressive numbers last season, slashing .290/.344/.446 with 15 home runs in 154 games, which would automatically be an upgrade over anything the Mets would put out there this season. He’s also relatively inexpensive, if only for this season as he’s only making $5.25 million. If the Mets should make a deal,  they could try to extend him for a few seasons until they feel prospects such as Gavin Cecchini or Amed Rosario are ready.

Addison Russell is certainly the more attractive option here and I think the Mets should go all in for him if the opportunity arises and his price isn’t outrageous. However, in all likelihood, it will be  - due to his status as a potential All Star at a premium position. If Lowrie does become a realistic target before opening day or shortly after the season begins, the Mets have one more option to alleviate not only the shortstop dilemma, but answer the leadoff question as well. Regardless, it will certainly be interesting to see if the Athletics do, in fact, look to the trade market for a starting pitcher to replace Jarrod Parker.

Presented By Diehards

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Rated MLB’s No. 85 Prospect, Rafael Montero Is Still Underrated Tue, 28 Jan 2014 00:00:09 +0000 montero

Back in November, I wrote a piece here on MMO entitled Montero is Better Than People Think. You can read that post in its entirety below, but it’s nice to see that Montero is starting to get the kind of recognition he deserves.

Montero was recently ranked on MLB’s Top 100 prospect list at No. 85. This ranking is still too low according to’s Sam Dykstra. Dykstra states on his blog, MILB Perspective, that Montero was his most underrated prospect in the top 100 list:

Rafael Montero, RHP, Mets – The 23-year-old right-hander moved up from No. 98 to 85 with the new rankings, but I think he could have gone higher. Any talk about Montero, who owns a plus fastball with an improving breaking ball and changeup, starts with his control after he allowed just two walks per nine innings between Double-A Binghamton (66 2/3 innings) and Triple-A Las Vegas (88 2/3 innings) in 2013 to go with an 8.7 K/9. His FIPs (1.88 and 2.87) were equally  impressive, especially considering his work in the Vegas and the PCL which are notoriously tough on pitchers.

I’m not saying Montero deserves a top-50 spot, but I’d take him over Nelson and Trevor Bauer (73) at this point. He could very well be a part of a Mets rotation by year’s end that already features hopeful youths Zack Wheeler and Jenrry Mejia as well as the Tommy-John’d Matt Harvey.

I would have to agree with Dykstra. Players like Montero sometimes get lost in the shuffle of these top prospect lists due to things like projecatbility, body types, and tools. While all of these things are important when evaluating players, good old-fashioned baseball playing ability sometimes takes a back seat to the flashy tools—especially on these lists.

Montero may not be able to throw a 99 mph fastball, and while things like Montero’s size and his velocity keep him buried towards the bottom half of the top 100 list, his pitching ability ranks him among some of the top pitching prospects in the game (see below).

Original Post 11/24 – Montero Is Better than People Think

Rafael Montero is good. This isn’t breaking news. But with how quickly his name comes up in trade talks makes me wonder if people truly understand how good he really is.

Let’s be honest—unless you subscribe to MilbTv, or live in one of the areas where Montero has played the past couple of years, it’s safe to say that most people have never seen him pitch. What they know about Montero comes from the limited footage that can be found on YouTube, or from reading their favorite baseball sites.

I’m here to tell everyone that Montero should not be looked at as a trade chip (unless it’s an offer that the Mets can’t refuse). He’s a keeper.

I’m not going to give an in-depth breakdown of why Montero is so good. Mets fans know what he brings to the table. But what I will do is add some reasons for you to take into consideration that will make you realize that Montero is, in fact, better than we think.

Not wasting any time, let’s look at what Montero did for Las Vegas, last season. As you probably already know, Las Vegas plays their games in the Pacific Coast League (PCL), which is generally known as a “hitter’s league.” When pitchers are assigned to the PCL, they know in advance that their sexy stat lines won’t be so sexy anymore.

Pitching in the PCL can alter the way pitchers pitch. Knowing that it’s a hitter’s paradise, pitchers try to stay away from pitching over the fat parts of the plate. By doing this, they tend to walk more batters. As they walk more batters, they are forced to keep their pitches in the hitter’s red zones, and hitters begin to tee-off. It’s sort of a lose-lose situation. This is something to keep in mind when looking at Zack Wheeler‘s roller coaster performance in Vegas last season.

Speaking of Wheeler, let’s look at what he did last season in Las Vegas. He pitched 68.2 innings, compiling a 9.57 K/9, 3.54 BB/9, 1.18 HR/9, 71.1% LOB, 2.89 BABIP, and 4.04 FIP. The average FIP for a pitcher in Triple-A was 4.31 back in 2012 (2013 number was not available). This average takes into account the International League and the PCL. While the average FIP changes every season, you can see that Wheeler is pretty close to average with regards to his FIP.

Now let’s look at Montero’s numbers from Las Vegas. He pitched in 88.2 innings, compiling a 7.92 K/9, 2.54 BB/9, 0.41 HR/9, 71.8% LOB, .316 BABIP, and 2.87 FIP. According to Fangraphs, 2.9 is an excellent FIP—Montero is slightly below that.  That’s probably based on the major leagues, and Montero put up an excellent FIP in a hitter-happy league. In fact, among pitchers who pitched a minimum of 80 innings in the PCL last season, Montero had the third-best FIP in the league. His FIP was better than prominent pitching prospects Tyler Skaggs, Michael Wacha, and of course, Zack Wheeler.

Here is a look at how Montero stacked up statistically against the other prominent pitching prospects mentioned in the previous paragraph:

Screen Shot 2013-11-24 at 3.49.23 PM

Table created on

After looking at these numbers, why would you want to trade Montero? Among the top prospects listed above (all in the PCL in 2013), he has the best FIP, second-best ERA, second-lowest BB/9, the lowest HR/9, second-best BB%, and his LOB% was second-best as well.

While other pitchers’ numbers tend to hit a downward trajectory in the PCL, Montero didn’t skip a beat. While other pitchers try to pitch around hitters in the PCL, Montero kept coming at them, and won the majority of the battles. Heck, his numbers stack up against some of the top pitching prospects in the game.

The results can only mean one thing: Montero is better than we all think.

You can make a strong case that the Mets should save their money with regard to pitching this off-season, and give Montero a spot in the rotation in 2014. The team can then use that money they would have spent on a stop-gap pitcher, and focus on attaining bats, which they so desperately need.

Unfortunately that won’t happen. I would hope a trade involving Montero is unlikely as well.

The team will probably start Montero in Las Vegas once again in 2014. But one thing is for sure, Mets fans will see Montero at Citi Field this coming season.

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Mets Officials Call Fernando Rodney A Long Shot Sat, 25 Jan 2014 16:16:08 +0000 fernando rodney

Disputing what Jon Heyman reported on Friday, the Mets are talking to free agent closer Fernando Rodney according to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York.

However, Dan Martin of the NY Post says that one team official called the chances of landing him a long shot.

“I’m not sure there’s a fit there,” the official said.

Another team official echoed that.

“We’ve talked about him, but I don’t think we’re ready to take any action on it yet,” the source said. “He’s been on our radar as someone we’re interested in.”

So the search for a veteran reliever pushes on for Sandy and the Mets…

I wonder if they are second guessing the move to pass on LaTroy Hawkins for $2.5 million? You have to admit, that looks like a steal right now…

Original Post 1/24

While the Mets reportedly made a run at Grant Balfour only to be turned down because the former A’s closer wanted to stay near his home in Florida, it doesn’t necessarily mean that reliever Fernando Rodney is next on their list.

According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the early word is that the Mets front office is not likely to pursue Rodney. Of course, with Sandy, that’s code for “we’re gonna get that guy.”

Rodney, who Balfour replaces for the Rays, has saved 85 games over the past two seasons and has had phenomenal success as a closer, especially in 2012 when he saved 48 games with a dazzling 0.60 ERA.

Last season saw Rodney post a 3.38 ERA while racking up 37 saves. He features a high 90s fastball with great late movement that misses a lot of bats and has led to an impressive 10.1 strikeout rate over the last two years in Tampa.

One reliever who has been connected to the Mets is right-hander Mitchell Boggs. He’s had moderate success as a middle reliever but has always been plagued by command and control issues. After walking an appalling 7.7 batters per nine innings last season, which saw his ERA skyrocket to 8.10 for the Cardinals and Rockies, Boggs was non-tendered this offseason.

However, the real storyline from yesterday’s near miss on nabbing Balfour was whether it signaled that something was amiss with current closer Bobby Parnell. So far mum’s the word on him and the last we heard was that he was feeling great and throwing in St. Lucie with no apparent setbacks in his rehab from neck surgery. Hopefully, that is still the case, but these are the New York Mets and you, my friend, are in the Twilight Zone.

Presented By Diehards

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Balfour Turns Down Mets Offer, Signs For $12 Million With Rays Fri, 24 Jan 2014 01:43:38 +0000 Balfour

3:45 PM Update:

Adam Rubin writes on Twitter, “I’m told point blank from ultra-reliable Mets source: Mets had same offer to Balfour as Rays, but he preferred living in Florida.”

3:00 PM Original Post:

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, reports that the Mets offered RHP  Grant Balfour a larger deal than the two-year, $12 million contract he signed with the Tampa Bay Rays.

The former Oakland A’s closer chose the Rays because of its proximity to his Clearwater, Florida home, says Rosenthal. Balfour also pitched for the Rays from 2007-10, so I’m sure that was a consideration as well.

Balfour, 36, had an All Star season in 2013, saving 38 games and posting a 2.59 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 72 strikeouts in 62.2 innings for the A’s.

Obviously, this would have been a nice grab by the Mets, but I’m a little surprised that they were willing to add a reliever with this pedigree and at these prices to be quite honest. I wonder if something is up with Bobby Parnell

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Mets Could Still Add More Starting Pitching Tue, 21 Jan 2014 00:02:04 +0000 Updated Post 1/20

According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, Assistant GM John Ricco said the team could still sign additional starting pitchers, despite the recent signing of lefthander John Lannan to a minor league contract.

It’s probably a good idea to bring in another arm or two and have them compete this Spring and then provide the team with some depth at Triple-A in case we need it.

The good thing is that they do consider Mejia as the favorite for the fifth spot in the rotation and that deGrom and Montero are also options.

I can’t wait for Spring Training to start already…

(Joe D.)

Original Post 1/19

The Mets signed former Washington Nationals lefthander John Lannan to a minor league deal on Saturday, but where does he fit in with the Mets staff?

He is certainly at a crossroads in his career. He’s appeared in just twenty games over the course of the last two seasons and has been released by two different teams.

But he’s just a couple of seasons removed from his 33 start, 182.2 inning season with the Nationals when he finished with a 3.70 ERA.

Still, I can’t see him realistically competing for the number five spot in the rotation this spring.

As long as one of the young studs are ready to go – with Jenrry Mejia being the frontrunner – I don’t see Lannan leapfrogging Mejia, Jake deGrom or possibly even Rafael Montero. The only pitcher really being challenged is Carlos Torres.

Torres is projected to be the long man/spot starter. He pitched well for the Mets in 2013 after being called up and earned himself the spot. It’s Torres’ to lose.

If Lannan’s minor league contract includes an opt out if he’s not called up by a certain date (like the one Torres had last year), he may possibly get a call-up by that date if he’s pitching well in Vegas and the Mets need a fresh arm.

As far as making the Opening Day roster, unless he’s the second coming of David Price, Lannan is likely competing for a job as the long reliever and hoping he’ll get the nod because he’s a lefty.

Presented By Diehards

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Scouts Are Raving About Jeurys Familia Tue, 31 Dec 2013 14:16:45 +0000 New York Mets starting pitcher Jeurys Familia

Jeurys Familia hasn’t thrown a lot this winter, but when he has, he’s been lights out, missing a ton of bats and flashing the mid-to-upper-90s velocity that has scouts raving, writes Baseball Prospectus. You can’t put a lot of stock in winter league performances, but you can put a ton of stock in young pitchers returning from injury and regaining velocity and missing bats.

I alluded to that in a recent mailbag I posted, based on what one scout told me last week. Yesterday, our own Pete Anselmo ranked Familia as his top Mets closing prospect.

You shouldn’t look too much into winter league stats, but last night, Familia was hitting triple digits on the radar gun.

Original Post 12/28

Jonathan asks…

What is the deal with Jeurys Familia? He seems to have fallen through the cracks which is odd being he was one of our top pitching prospects two years ago. Is he still in the Mets’ plans?

Joe D. replies….

That’s an interesting question. While Familia may have lost some of his luster he is still highly regarded by the Mets.

2013 was a lost year for the big righthander and he’s only pitched a grand total of 23 innings in the majors in the last two years. But it looks like the Dominican Republic native is just now starting to regain his full strength since a non-structural elbow injury wiped out his season this year.

In six relief appearances for Los Gigantes in the DWL, Familia has a 2.70 ERA in 6.2 innings pitched, allowing three walks and striking out twelve.

But it’s what some scouts noted about Familia during his play in the Arizona Fall League that should have us intrigued about this once highly regarded prospect. The hard-throwing righty was clocking in regularly at 95 mph and exhibiting the same velocity prior to his injury. That’s very significant for Familia who needs that plus-fastball to be effective.

Familia, 24,  was ranked No. 5 among Mets prospects by entering the 2013 season and was ranked No. 90 by Baseball America in their Top 100 entering the 2012 campaign. While you won’t see Familia appearing on any top prospects lists for the 2014 season, there is still reason to be excited about this young arm.

Don’t count Familia out this Spring, as he could very well break camp with the Mets and secure a key role in what should be a much improved bullpen this season.

The Mets have always had a severe lack of power arms in their pen over the last 3-4 seasons, but that should all change in 2014. Good things are coming our way.

Presented By Diehards

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Parnell Expected To Be Ready For Spring Training Tue, 17 Dec 2013 19:43:04 +0000 During a brief media session at Citi Field today, Sandy Alderson updated us on Bobby Parnell who is recovering from surgery last September to repair a herniated disk in his neck .

Speaking about the 30 pound weight loss that was reported in October, Sandy said, ”he’s regained the weight and is about to start throwing again.”

Alderson told us that he doesn’t anticipate any problems and that he has no reason to believe Parnell won’t be ready for a full spring training.

He also confirmed a report on MMO that he was flying to New York to be examined, but said it was routine and not a post surgery follow-up.

“It’s  just an overall review. But right now we don’t have any reason to believe he won’t be ready.”

Original Post

The New York Mets don’t know whether closer Bobby Parnell will be ready for spring training as he continues his rehab following neck surgery on a bulging disc.

Parnell is to be re-examined next week.

“Hopefully he will be able to start resuming some baseball activities,’’ manager Terry Collins said.  “But I don’t know where he is at the moment.  He’s feeling better.’’

bobby parnell

Parnell lost 30 pounds since surgery, which sapped his strength. He has to regain the weight and stamina. Collins said he hasn’t spoken with Parnell, which, honestly, comes as a surprise. You’d think he’d check in.

“We’ve got to wait to see how he shows up, where he’s at in a month,’’ Collins said.

“He hasn’t done much yet, so he’s got to get himself in shape.  I think get his legs underneath him and start throwing.  We’ll just have to wait to see.  Bobby has always been a guy that’s down there in January anyways.’’

Maybe so, but Parnell hasn’t reported before following neck surgery.

After several so-so seasons bouncing around the bullpen, Parnell seized the closer role last year when Frank Francisco went down with an elbow injury.

Parnell saved 22 games in 49 appearances, and produced a 2.16 ERA over 50 innings. Always a power pitcher with a high strikeout ratio, Parnell learned to pitch last season, and drastically improved his control evidenced by a 44-12 strikeouts-to-walks ratio.

Parnell gave up only one homer and had a 1.00 WHIP.

If Parnell isn’t ready for spring training, and at this time no assumptions should be made that he will be, Vic Black, whom the Mets acquired from Pittsburgh in the Marlon Byrd-John Buck trade, is presumably first in line to replace Parnell.

Black throws a wicked fastball, and like Parnell is a strikeout pitcher.

The Mets are looking for bullpen help and might consider released Indians closer Chris Perez, who will come with baggage.

Last year, Perez and his wife were busted for marijuana possession after he was mailed the dope to his house … addressed to the dog. Reminds me of the episode of “Married With Children” when Al Bundy applies for and gets a credit card in his dog Buck’s name.

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We Want Your Mets Themed Holiday Songs! Sat, 14 Dec 2013 17:40:46 +0000 christmas carol_singers

The first submission of a Mets themed holiday sports song has arrived.  It would make New York Post sport columnist Mike Vaccaro proud.  The song was written by a lifetime New York Met fan from Rye, New York, named Robert Fuchs and is called “Let It Snow.”

Met fans have until Wednesday, December 18, to submit their Mets themed holiday song to  Writer of songs performed on Friday’s Tip-Off radio show will receive a free “Get Metsmerized” t-shirt.

Thanks, Robert, for getting the Mets themed holiday song submissions started.

As for the rest of our MMO reader’s, let’s get into the spirit, turn your creativity loose, and churn out some more song submissions.

Let’s Go MMO Met Fans!

scrooge ebenezer christmas carol

Original Post

He was folksy. He was humble. He was informative. And, he was entertaining.

MetsMerized’s Joe DeCaro mesmerized Tip-Off radio listeners this morning recapping the origins of his acclaimed Fan Site and talking baseball, particularly New York Mets baseball.  Randy VanKeuren, that growling Met Dawg, and I had a blast talking baseball with Joe and can’t thank him enough for carving some time from his busy schedule to join us on WIOX.  You can be assured Joe will get an invite to return to a future show.

Tip-Off is a Friday morning sports radio show heard on WIOX, community radio station, 91.3 F.M.  We broadcast from our studio, in Roxbury, New York, a small community run radio station housed in the Catskill Mountains.  From 8:00 – 9:00 a.m. every Friday morning, the Dawg and I talk sports.  Tip-Off covers sports topics from A to Z; local high school sports, outdoor sports found in the Catskills, unique human interest sport stories, and of course the world of professional sports.  Insufferable New York Met fans, the Dawg and I are often justly accused of slanting the topics we cover toward the orange and blue.  We proudly agree – guilty as charged.

If you’re talking New York Mets baseball or baseball in general it doesn’t get much better than MetMerized’s Joe DeCaro. We swapped stories, we laughed and we listened carefully to Joe’s insightful observations about his Fan Site, the dedicated Met fans who visit his site every day, the world of blogging, and, of course, our Mets.

At the end our the hour I asked Joe for some help.  You see, each Holiday Season our Tip-Off show before Christmas features a segment when the Dawg and I sing, if you can call it that, Holiday Sport Songs written by New York Post sports reporter Mike Vaccaro.

Mike Vacarro’s Post column the Sunday before Christmas every year is built around six or seven reworded Holiday carols or songs describing the state of the New York professional sport franchises.  Mike’s song lyrics are clever, witty, and a whole lot of fun.  With the current state of pro sports in NYC, I can’t wait to see what he comes up with this year.

Our problem, this year the Sunday before Christmas falls on December 22nd.  Our final pre-Christmas Tip-Off show is next Friday, December the 20th.  That means this year it we use Mike’s lyrics it would have to be on a show that comes after Christmas.  Not cool.

The Dawg and I could postpone our Holiday Sport songs for a year.  But, people enjoy listening to us make fools of ourselves.  So, the Dawg and I asked Joe if we might use an MMO post to help us out.

Here’s our idea. Why not send out a challenge to MetsMerized readers to get involved with our Holiday Tip-Off show?  Met fans are creative.  Met fans are inventive.  Met fans can come up with all kinds of imaginative ways to shout our their opinions of their baseball team on MetsMerized every day.



Get your creative juices going and put together a Holiday Sport song with a  theme related to our New York Mets that we could use on our December 20 Tip-Off show.  All you have to do is reshape the lyrics of a Holiday favorite around something to do with the Mets, email their song to us, then the Dawg and I will select six or seven to perform on next week’s show.  We’d like your submission to include a short biography with insights or observations about what it means to be a Met fan that we could include when we perform your song on the show.

All this  might be a bit hard to process, so here’s an example of a Holiday Sport Song I wrote and sang on this week’s Tip-Off show for Joe.  It’s called ‘Deck the Stands.’

Deck the stands with ‘orange- and- blue’ streamers


Sandy’s moves make Met fans dreamers


A roster graced with brand new faces

Fah-lah-lah, Fah-lah-lah – lah-lah-lah

Adds the Mets to pennant races

Fa-lah-lah-lah-lah-lah, lah-lah-lah-lah.

That’s pretty basic, and I know you can do better than that.  Metsmerized Fans, how about it?.  Let’s see what you’ve got.  Here’s your chance to have a little fun, turn your creativity loose and sound off about the topic that feeds our obsessions, our New York Mets.

mets christmas balls

Here’s what you do.

  1.  Put pencil to paper and/or fingers to keys and unlock your creative side to come up with a song.
  2. E-mail the song to
  3. Send your Submissions by 12:00 o’clock, noon, on Wednesday, December 18, 2013.
  4. Listen in to the show on Friday, December 20, from 8:00 – 9:00 a.m. on WIOX, 91.3 F.M. or stream the show on to hear if your song is selected.

Thanks for the help.  Met fans are some of the most creative people in the world.  We can’t wait to see what you come up with.


Thoughts from Joe D.

Let me just add that the six songs that John and Randy choose will all win a fee Get Metsmerized T-Shirt from our shop as our way of saying thanks for spreading some of your holiday cheer!

mr met

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Ike Davis Update: Rays Re-Sign James Loney Fri, 13 Dec 2013 22:42:07 +0000 james loney

Dun Dun Duh…

The Rays have reached an agreement with James Loney on a three-year, $21MM contract, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, pending a physical.

Tom Haudricourt of the Journal-Sentinel also adds:

The problem is, as the pool of first-base candidates dwindles, the tougher it is. The Mets originally asked for pitching prospect Tyler Thornburg for Davis and the Brewers said no. But the Mets might not back down very far as the Brewers’ choices are reduced. And NL Central rival Pittsburgh also is looking for a first baseman.

How much interest the Brewers have in exploring a trade for Texas’ Mitch Moreland or Seattle’s Justin Smoak, I’m not sure. You get the feeling Davis is the one they’ll try to get but at what price? The Brewers have had a tough time developing major league starting pitchers and don’t want to lose a promising one such as Thornburg.

And the plot thickens…

Original Post 12:00 PM

Ike Davis not doing wellKen Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports that the Mets and Brewers are still talking about a deal for Ike Davis, but the Brewers still won’t part with RHP Tyler Thornburg.

Alderson spoke about how dependent it would be to find a willing partner to trade Davis.

“Everybody is aware of what we have. We don’t have to advertise that,’’ Alderson said. “As far as marketing, other teams do their own evaluations. If somebody is not inclined to make a deal for a particular player, it is difficult to talk them into it and get something in return.’’

It’s apparent that the Brewers are very interested in Davis, but given his risks and his regression, they are unwilling to part with much especially with his $3-4 million potential salary.

That said, Alderson is reluctant to give Ike away even though the salary relief alone could go toward an offer for Stephen Drew who they still want.

“Let me emphasize one thing: We’re not in the business of giving players away,” Alderson said. “We don’t expect to get in that business.”

Tough decisions lie ahead for both teams.

Presented By Diehards

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Mets Will Likely Keep Murphy Unless They Are Overwhelmed Thu, 12 Dec 2013 03:53:14 +0000 MLB: New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies

In a quick update to this post from yesterday, a team that likes Daniel Murphy and checked in on him told ESPN New York that the Mets’ asking price was “substantial.” That led the source to speculate that the Mets ultimately may hold onto the second baseman.

“The team that approached the Mets, by the way, had no interest in using Murphy as a second baseman. They would have restored him to a corner infield spot.”

I feel the same way and “I believe the Mets have no real interest in moving Murphy unless they are overwhelmed.”

That’s what I tweeted yesterday and I’ve had that hunch for about a week now…

Keeping Murphy for me is good news… I’ve always been with 28…

Original Post

One rival GM who we spoke to this morning, would not deny or confirm this morning’s report by Jim Duquette of Sirius Radio that the Mets asked the Baltimore Orioles for top prospect Dylan Bundy in exchange for Daniel Murphy.

However he did say,”If that’s true, there’s no chance they trade Murphy…Murphy is a nice little player, but I can’t see any team willing to part with a young live arm like that for his particular skill set.”

To add a little context here, going into the 2013 season, Bundy was the No. 2 ranked prospect by MLB’s Jonathan Mayo, ahead of Zack Wheeler, Travis d’Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard.

More context. Would you trade Noah Syndergaard for Brett Gardner or Brandon Phillips?

That’s what I thought too…

That said, neither our guy or the exec believed there was any truth to the rumor…

Original Post 12/9

Adam Rubin of ESPN New York says that Alderson acknowledged the Mets won’t add another free agent of a Stephen Drew caliber and price tag unless a contract is subtracted from payroll.

Rubin also added that Alderson made it sound like Eric Young Jr. is not necessarily a reserve. Which seems to indicate that Daniel Murphy still could get traded.

Today the Mets have gone from passive to aggressive in their pursuit to trade Murphy. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Sandy Alderson is pushing very hard to deal heir doubles-machine Daniel Murphy.

MMO’s John Delcos spoke to one rival executive who said “it’s not a matter of if, but when” they’ll trade the popular Mets second baseman.

“There is certainly a market for him,” another team beat writer said, but Andy Martino of the Daily News disputes that writing that there’s “some skepticism among team execs that they will find many takers for Murphy.”

So there’s some mixed reactions to dealing Murphy, but nothing concrete other than an overriding sentiment that the Mets are anxious to move him.

Presented By Diehards

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Brewers Continue To Pursue Hart, Out On Davis Wed, 11 Dec 2013 05:17:31 +0000 ike davisLast night we reported that MMO Senior Editor, John Delcos, spoke with a team executive from the Milwaukee Brewers who said that the “Mets were asking for more than they were willing to give up for Ike Davis.”

“It makes more sense for us to re-sign Corey Hart and we won’t have to lose any assets to get him.”

At the time, we believed that talks for Davis with the Brewers were dead.

There was a rumor late this afternoon that the Brewers and Mets were talking again, but Jim Duquette then reported an hour ago that the Brewers are out, confirming what our source initially told us.

Tyler Thornburg24, had a solid season in 2013 going 3-1 in 18 games (seven starts) with an ERA of 2.03 in 66.2 innings.

The Brewers are getting antsy, reports Adam Rubin, and would like a decision from Hart soon. If that falls through, maybe Milwaukee comes back to the Mets?

We’ll see…

Original Post 12/9

The Mets intend to find a trade partner for either Ike Davis or Lucas Duda during the Winter Meetings this week.

Newsday’s Marc Carig writes that though both have been mentioned as trade candidates, it appears that Davis is more likely to be moved.

David Lennon, also of Newsday, agrees saying that the Mets sound more invested in Duda’s growth than Davis. and that Davis could be dealt this week.

Our own John Delcos said that there seems to be an urgency to want to trade Davis now, even though it could mean getting less.

The Brewers, Pirates, Orioles and Rays have showed varying levels of interest, but it’s Milwaukee who seems to have the most serious interest. Marc Carig of Newsday confirms that the Brewers and Mets did talk today. But one person we spoke to with knowledge of the situation said there is nothing imminent. The Brewers are more interested in re-signing Corey Hart and have made him a priority. The other three teams’ interest ranges from lukewarm to distant.

Neither Davis or Duda alone will be enough to get the Mets the shortstop they need or a starting pitcher who can give them the innings they want. But a source told Carig that the Mets remain confident that there are enough potential trade partners remaining for first basemen with power.

That may be true, but there are other options available. The first-base market is flush with trade possibilities in the Marlins’Logan Morrison, the Rangers’ Mitch Moreland and the Red Sox’s Mike Carp, according to Ken Rosenthal.

Other choices include free agents James LoneyCorey Hart and Kendrys Morales. The Rays, Pirates and Brewers are three teams looking for first basemen.

It certainly looks like Davis’ days with the Mets are numbered and that the front office is resigned to moving him as quickly as possible so they can move on from this first base controversy.

Presented By Diehards

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Mets Bring Back Jeremy Hefner Tue, 10 Dec 2013 22:53:20 +0000 jeremy hefner

The Mets have re-signed starting pitcher Jeremy Hefner, reports Anthony DiComo.

The deal is for a minor-league contract and will allow the Mets to retain control of Hefner at a reduced salary while he rehabs from Tommy John surgery.

Hefner will likely miss a good portion if not all of 2014.

Great move though, nice to see Hefner back…

Original Post

Jeremy Hefner being non-tendered doesn’t sit too well with me.  It has nothing to do with performance.  It’s the human element.

I know it’s hard to feel bad for someone who had a half-million dollar a year salary, but of the five players that were non-tendered by the team on Monday, Jeremy’s cut is the one that stings the most.

Justin Turner, Scott Atchison, and Omar Quintanilla were arbitration eligible and are of sound mind and body to be able to seek gainful employment in 2014.  Jordany Valdespin… well, what’s there not to say about Jordany. He needed to go.  He can be “The Man” somewhere else… if anyone will have him.

But then there’s Jeremy.

Had he been a veteran player who had already made his fortune in the game when he hurt his arm and was facing a year of unemployment – I wouldn’t feel bad.  I didn’t feel bad when the Mets non-tendered Mike Pelfrey – he had already made more than $14 million in the game.  But Jeremy?  He’s a pre-arbitration eligible player that played in the majors in 2012 and 2013 with just under two years of major league service time.

So what? Injuries happen all the time, right?

Here’s where the bleeding heart liberal in me kicks in.  Hmmm… he got hurt on the job.  So rather than keep him in the fold and pay him the minimum wage when he’s rehabbing the injury he suffered while in your employment, you fire his rear end while he’s not in any position to be able to find work.

Now maybe the Mets will sign him to a minor league contract for 2014 so they can keep a close eye on his rehab to see what he has for 2015.  Even if they throw him a bone and do that, i’m sure it wouldn’t be at a major league salary – so he’d be getting a pay cut for getting hurt on the job.  Oh, and because he’d be re-signed on a minor league contract – he’s not racking up the major league service time.

Maybe another team will look to sign him to a minor league deal so they can have him in their fold for when he’s ready to return to live action in 2015.  Maybe he’ll even get another team to sign him to a major league contract for next year so they have him under control going forward.  Or maybe he won’t get another shot because a whole new round of hungry youngsters moved up the ladder while he was away.  Regardless, it just doesn’t sit well…

button mr met man

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Mets Back Off On Bartolo Colon Due To Demands Mon, 09 Dec 2013 20:55:57 +0000 BartoloColon

Updated 12/9

The Mets had a meeting today with the agent for veteran free-agent righthander Bartolo Colon according to Sweeny Murti of WFAN.

But thankfully, they were scared off by his contracts demands. We are hearing that there might be a two-year deal floating from at least one team, and we think it’s the Mariners.

Also, not as much to say by Sandy today compared to yesterday, but he did say it’s unlikely he’d give a multi-year offer to any starting pitcher.

Original Post 12/8

In a column for the Daily News, Bill Madden suggests that the Mets should consider signing free agent RHP Bartolo Colon this winter even if it means a two-year deal, to satisfy the fanbase.

My tweet yesterday, pretty much sums up my take on a two-year deal for the veteran righthander who seems to have been around since the Reagan administration.

I’m quite certain that the fanbase is not looking to be satisfied by Colon. After running a fan site for nine years, I have a pretty good sense of what Met fans are thinking and I’d say the vast majority of them would be up in arms over a two-year deal for this fat-cat.

The 40-year-old Colon is coming off a surprisingly excellent season in which he posted a record of 18-6 over 30 starts for the Oakland A’s and finishing sixth in the American League Cy Young voting with 12 percent of the votes. His 2.65 ERA was the lowest mark for a pitcher over 40 since Roger Clemens posted a 1.87 ERA with the Astros in 2005.

The Mariners, fresh over their Robinson Cano signing, are still willing to spend aggressively courtesy of their new TV deal. They are getting set to offer Colon a two-year deal according to various reports.

If I’m the Mets I am not messing around with this one.

Colon turns 41 next season and I don’t want to be the one holding the bag when his big regression comes crashing down on some poor unsuspecting team. Quite frankly, I also have big concerns about his weight, and lets not forget his PED suspension.

Colon will be looking for a deal in the two-year $25-30 million range. No thanks.


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Alderson Clarifies Earlier Statement On $85 Million Payroll Mon, 09 Dec 2013 06:30:05 +0000 alderson getty images

Sandy Alderson clarified his comments during his briefing tonight when he told reporters that he is now working with an $85 million payroll figure.

What he meant to say was that payroll would not be lower than $85 million which was $2 million less than his original $87 million base. I wish he would stop talking about this already and just improve the team.

Last season, the Mets payroll was $88.9 million which ranked in the bottom half of all MLB teams at 19th highest.

  1. New York Yankees $228,995,945
  2. Los Angeles Dodgers $216,302,909
  3. Philadelphia $159,578,214
  4. Boston $158,967,286
  5. Detroit $149,046,844
  6. San Francisco $142,180,333
  7. Los Angeles Angels $142,165,250
  8. Texas $127,197,575
  9. Chicago White Sox $124,065,277
  10. Toronto $118,244,039
  11. St. Louis $116,702,085
  12. Washington $112,431,770
  13. Cincinnati $110,565,728
  14. Chicago Cubs $104,150,726
  15. Baltimore $91,793,333
  16. Milwaukee $91,003,366
  17. Arizona $90,158,500
  18. Atlanta $89,288,193
  19. New York Mets $88,877,033
  20. Seattle $84,295,952
  21. Cleveland $82,517,300
  22. Kansas City $80,491,725
  23. Minnesota $75,562,500
  24. Colorado $75,449,071
  25. San Diego $71,689,900
  26. Oakland $68,577,000
  27. Pittsburgh $66,289,524
  28. Tampa Bay $57,030,272
  29. Miami $39,621,900

So if the Mets were to say spend the same amount, or about $4.5 million above that $85 million base, there a good chance the Mets will be in the bottom ten with teams like the Marlins, Pirates, Padres, etc. Especially with other teams spending their new TV money. The Mariners and Royals may have already passed the Mets up.

The Mets were recently ranked as the third most valuable major league baseball franchise by Forbes Magazine.

Original Post 12/7

Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, estimates the current Mets payroll to be at $75.4 million dollars.

He calculates $47.5 million on guaranteed contracts for David Wright, Jon Niese, Chris Young and Curtis Granderson. Projects an additional $20.9 million for seven arbitration eligibles, and roughly another $7 million for the other 14 spots at league minimum.

If you were to use the $25-30 million spending allotment that Jeff Wilpon stated last month, or the minimum $87 million figure Sandy Alderson mentioned two weeks ago, it gives the team roughly $12-13 million left to spend.

It sounds like plenty of money to get the job done and don’t forget that more money can be cleared up if the Mets were to unload Ike Davis or Daniel Murphy or both as many expect.

The number one priority for Sandy is to find a leadoff hitter to round this offense out. Ideally that player should play shortstop. Let’s see how this all plays out beginning tomorrow in Orlando.

Presented By Diehards

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Arruebarruena Had His Showcase This Weekend, One Scout Unimpressed Sun, 08 Dec 2013 22:55:38 +0000 Erisbel+Arruebarruena

Cuban shortstop Erisbel Arruebarruena had his showcase this weekend in the Dominican Republic and Jonathan Mayo of spoke to one scout who was on hand and told him this:

“He’s what you’ve been reading. He’s a very good defensive player. His glove is very close to the big leagues. The bat, you kind of think he’s one of those guys who’ll bat down in the order.”

“He’ll be a quality defensive shortstop in the majors, but you wonder if he’s going to hit. We’ll have to hear what the money is. This isn’t like Aroldis Chapman or Yeonis Cespedes. You’re not going to hear from 15 teams.”

I’m not convinced he’s someone the Mets will be considering.

Putting Erisbel Arruebarruena In Context

The only thing more difficult than pronouncing his name is projecting Erisbel Arruebarruena on the field.The Mets scouts will be present this weekend when the 23-year-old Cuban shortstop showcases his skills. Arruebarruena is a mystery to MLB fans with the extent of his compatible experience coming from his performance in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. In 16 at-bats, Arruebarruena posted six hits and a .375/.444/.375 line.

The Mets will be sending scouts to the Yankee complex in the Dominican Republic this weekend to watch Arruebarruena’s showcase according to Andy Martino of the Daily News.

Arruebarruena has drawn comparisons to Jose Iglesias due to his sterling defense and suspect offensive abilities. Due to a lack of quantifiable stats from Arruebarruena, it may be best to compare him to a few players that posses a similar and skill-set and/or are relevant to the discussion.

The following are scouting reports on Jose Iglesias, Adeiny Hechavarria, Ruben Tejada, as well as Arruebarruena. The reports are the opinions of professional scouts and journalists.


Jose Iglesias

Plus bat speed accented by quick wrists. Low maintenance, compact swing. Little lower body in swing mechanics. Pulls ball hard, but struggles driving the ball the other way. Minimal power projection. Can evolve into a solid-average hitter for batting average and show doubles power as he matures. Small frame with not much more room to pack on muscle.

Extremely impatient approach. Making strides and improving with understanding of his strike zone. Neglects to cover outer third of plate with eyes. Struggles staying back against breaking balls. Must improve with handling of off-speed stuff to hit consistently at big-league level.

Above-average speed. Projects as #9 hitter in first division team’s lineup, with ceiling of #2 hitter as he approaches his late-20s.

Adeiny Hechavarria

Scouts still aren’t sold on his offensive ability. He is never going to hit — but replacement level at short right now is low enough that he could be a 2-win player.

Hechavarria has very poor plate discipline – he swings at pitches well out of the zone and offers at the first pitch far too often. He has no patience, no feel for the strike zone and no power.

He’s fast enough that he’ll beat out some infield hits, lay down bunt singles and do some damage on the base paths, but it is unlikely that his offensive output will ever warrant any sort of praise.

Ruben Tejada

Strikes out too much for a hitter with his line drive approach. Has fringy strike zone and pitch recognition. Struggles to hit off-speed pitches still but is improving. Has a line drive swing that doesn’t generate much loft because he chokes up on the bat. Handles the bat well and gets on-base enough to warrant a top of the order spot, although his strikeouts hurt his case. Should hit between .275-.300 annually going forward.

Well below average power, almost strictly a doubles hitter. Lucky if he hits any homeruns, not a threat to go yard more than once or twice a year.

Slightly above average speed. Still learning how to read pitchers and get good jumps when stealing bases, and because of this struggles with stolen base percentage and overall confidence to run.

Erisbel Arruebarruena

The bat is a major source of concern with Arruebarruena, even more so than with Iglesias and more along the lines of Marlins Cuban shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria. A righthanded hitter, Arruebarruena has a long swing, struggles with pitch recognition, swings through breaking balls in the strike zone and is prone to chasing too many pitches out of the strike zone. He has a pull-oriented approach and minimal power, so several scouts are skeptical he could hit better than .220 or hit a .300 on-base percentage against major league pitching.

His lack of foot speed would also limit his appeal as a potential defensive-oriented backup, since he wouldn’t have as much value as a pinch-runner. 


Jose Iglesias

Elite defensive skills highlighted by extremely fluid hands and soft glove. Excellent instincts and anticipation produces his well above-average range. Will get to balls within range, if not all.

Plus, accurate arm. Adept at throwing on the move and has outstanding body control. Future perennial Gold Glove shortstop. Grades as an “80″ defensively. Can also play second and third base more than adequately. Major-league ready in the field.

Adeiny Hechavarria

He has plus range, hands and arm strength, though he’s prone to throwing errors because he tends to flip the ball to first base. Hechavarria is a “70” defender at shortstop (on the 20-80 scouting scale).

His skills at short are undeniable, especially his split second reactions. He has great reactions, combined with above average speed give him terrific range. He has soft hands and an above average arm.

Ruben Tejada

Great side to side and going back range, average range charging the ball. Strong footwork and soft hands. Slightly above average arm strength with plus accuracy. Very athletic defender, who is capable of making difficult plays.

Erisbel Arrebaruenna

Arruebarruena has clean hands, quick actions and good body control. He’s a below-average runner, but his quick first step and instincts give him good range.

He has a quick transfer and a plus-plus arm with accuracy, which allows him to make throws from deep in the hole and turn 4-6-3 double plays with ease. His awareness in the field is advanced and he’s shown the ability to make the barehanded play look routine and make strong throws from different angles.

Scouts have called Arruebarruena a magician in the field, and if he can hit enough to be an everyday major league shortstop, he has the potential to win a Gold Glove.


Jose Iglesias

Due to advanced defensive skills, he will most likely learn to hit at the major-league level and slowly ramp into becoming more proficient at the plate over the course of a big-league career.

Adeiny Hechavarria

Hechavarria’s glove will get him to the majors because he plays a premium defensive position very well. He’s not a future All Star and won’t provide the value you’d expect from someone who signed as big of an amateur contract as he did, but he’ll be a big league shortstop for a decade or so.

Ruben Tejada

Slightly above average shortstop, capable of holding down a starting job on non-playoff teams. He is best used as a backup infielder who can play multiple positions. Needs to do a better job of using his speed to steal bases, and cut down on his strikeouts.

Erisbel Arrebaruenna

He’s a premium defender at a premium position with questions on the bat. If you’re built well offensively around the field other than shortstop, you can live with that if you get outstanding defense. But the bat is still the question mark.


If Arruebarruena turns in a respectable performance in front of scouts, there is a likelihood that a handful of teams will be competing for his services. It will certainly be a rough transition for him at the plate but with proper coaching and experience, I could see him turning into a worthwhile investment.

The footage of Arruebarruena at shortstop gives me confidence that he will be a top-five player defensively at the position.  However there is a significant chance that he will never become a better hitter than what Ruben Tejada already offers. With Tejada already on the team, the question will be whether or not the demand pushes his price tag beyond a justifiable cost for the Mets.

Arruebarruena figured to be a masterful shortstop while Tejada is a slightly above-average fielder. If Tejada projects as a .265/.330/.340 hitter, how good would Arruebarruena need to be at the dish to justify the expense?

(Photo Credit:


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Curtis Granderson Agrees To Four Year, $60 Million Deal With Mets Fri, 06 Dec 2013 19:00:32 +0000 Curtis+Granderson

The Mets have agreed to sign free agent outfielder Curtis Granderson to a four-year deal according to Joel Sherman of the NY Post. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports that the deal is worth $60 million dollars or a $15 million annual average.

Andy Martino of the Daily News added that the deal is a straight 4-year deal, per source. No option of any sort for 5th, vesting, team or otherwise.

The Mets will lose their second round pick, but that’s no big deal if Granderson delivers 25-30 homers a season for the Mets as they believe he will.

Sandy Alderson apparently relented and gave into Granderson’s fourth year demand which came as a surprise to me. However, Sandy did what he needed to do and gave the 32 year old Granderson what he wanted to get a deal done. If he had let him go to Orlando unsigned, I doubt he would have been a Met.

Granderson suffered a couple of freak injuries last season and was limited to just 61 games with the Yankees, batting .229/.319/.407 with seven home runs and 15 RBI in 245 plate appearances while striking out 69 times.

In 2012, Granderson played in 160 games and another 156 games in 2011. Over those two seasons he compiled 84 home runs, the most in the majors.

The newest Met is expected to play left field I would suspect, pushing Eric Young Jr. out of a starting outfield job. If the Mets move him to second base, it could signal a Daniel Murphy trade which would free up about $5 million for the Mets.

Regardless of what happens, the Mets made some real noise in the free agent market for the first time in a very long time. For that I applaud them.

Original Post 9:00 AM

Nothing new to report this morning and all remains quiet between Granderson and the Mets.

The latest update came yesterday afternoon from Mike Puma of the New York Post who wrote that the Mets believe they have a “decent” chance of landing Granderson. This begs the question, how is that a “decent chance?”

Both sides seem at a standstill with Sandy Alderson holding firm at three years, while Granderson still wants four.

Usually when a team and a free agent get locked into a game of chicken, the free agent usually wins.

With the Winter Meetings starting in 48 hours, the Granderson camp will hold court in Orlando and bring 2-3 more teams into the negotiations.

After all, that’s what agents do and you could make a strong case that Granderson is the second best outfielder available. That’s not a bad spot to be in when you have at least 15 teams on record for needing an outfielder.

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Mets Extend A Three-Year Offer To Granderson Wed, 04 Dec 2013 18:00:26 +0000 curtis-granderson_600


According to WFAN/CBS Sports baseball insider Jon Heyman, the Mets are believed to have offered free agent outfielder Curtis Granderson a three-year deal.

Heyman also reports that Granderson is looking for a five-year deal and that the 32-year-old outfielder is seeking $17 million per year.

It’s interesting watching how this is evolving.

About an hour ago I actually posted on Twitter than if I were Granderson’s agent, I’d probably advise him to wait until Carlos Beltran signs his deal and then demand a 4-5 year deal.

As was reported earlier, the Mets were only planning to offer three years.

That an offer was actually extended, indicates that talks may be settling down for now, while Granderson’s agents get back to some of the other teams that have reached out to him. This is what all agents do. They shop offers and try to get a better one.

No word yet if the Mets have asked for a right of first refusal, or even if three years was their final offer, but these things have a way of leaking out sooner rather than later.

(Updated 12/4 1:00 PM)

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