Mets Merized Online » outfield http://metsmerizedonline.com Sat, 18 Apr 2015 04:38:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.5 DeGrom Excited To Pitch In Mets’ Home Opener http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/04/degrom-excited-to-pitch-in-mets-home-opener.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/04/degrom-excited-to-pitch-in-mets-home-opener.html/#comments Mon, 13 Apr 2015 11:14:34 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=178809 jacob degrom

After a 3-3 road trip to begin the season, the Mets are gearing up for their home opener today against the Phillies.

Mets rookie sensation, Jacob deGrom, will get the start, and he is looking to build off of last year’s extraordinary success.

“I think it should be something he should remember for a long time,” Collins said about deGrom. “To be the Opening Day guy is really an honor.”

“When we made a decision that Matt was not going to be the starting guy, we certainly targeted Jake deGrom to be the guy who was going to start at home. I think it’s great for him. It’s a tip of the hat to what he accomplished and how he is. It will be fun to watch.”

“I’m definitely excited,” said deGrom, who allowed two runs in six innings and was charged with the loss on Wednesday against the Washington Nationals.

“I’ve been looking forward to it. I haven’t put too much thought into it. I’m just going to take it like every other game and go out there and try to put us in a position to win. I was really honored whenever they told me that I was going to have that game.” (Adam Rubin).

DeGrom was named the 2014 NL Rookie of the Year this past offseason after an impressive and dominant campaign that saw him post a 2.89 ERA with 144 strikeouts in 140 innings pitched.

Some are skeptical about whether deGrom can duplicate his results from last year, but I don’t believe it was a fluke. In fact, he may only be scratching the surface of his potential as he has good command and the skills to overpower the opposition. He knows what he’s doing out there.

The young righty will be pitching in front of an energetic sellout crowd today at Citi Field, and he will be facing a significantly weakened Phillies’ lineup.

It’s going to be a great day for baseball, and hopefully a successful one for deGrom and the Mets.

Today at Citi Field:

FIRST PITCH: Mets will honor the families of fallen NYPD heroes Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, who were killed in the line of duty on Dec. 20 in Brooklyn. Detective Liu’s widow, Pei Xia Chen, and Ramos’ sons Jaden and Justin will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

NATIONAL ANTHEM: NYPD Officer Lauren Leggio

PREGAME: Members of the NYPD will participate in pregame ceremonies including singing the national anthem and “God Bless America.” More than 150 NYPD officers will hold a giant American flag measuring 150 feet by 300 feet that will span the outfield grass. The NYPD has arranged for a special helicopter flyover of Citi Field.

VETERAN OF THE GAME: Former Mets Edgardo Alfonzo, John Franco, Rusty Staub and Mookie Wilson will present a game flag to the Veteran of the Game.

GOD BLESS AMERICA: NYPD Officer Makiah Brown

BE THERE EARLY: In anticipation of a standing-room-only crowd and enhanced security procedures, Mets encourage fans to take mass transit and arrive early. Gates open at 10:40 a.m. and pregame ceremony starts at 12:30 PM.

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Collins Insists Duda Not In A Platoon, But Will Sit Against Lefty In Atlanta http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/04/collins-insists-duda-not-in-a-platoon-but-will-sit-against-lefty-in-atlanta.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/04/collins-insists-duda-not-in-a-platoon-but-will-sit-against-lefty-in-atlanta.html/#comments Fri, 10 Apr 2015 11:58:26 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=178605 lucas duda

During spring training, Mets manager Terry Collins said that starting 1st baseman, Lucas Duda would not platoon at first base during the regular season. However that could be subject to change this weekend.

The Mets will head into Atlanta to face another division rival, the Braves this weekend, who are set to start lefty, Eric Stults on Friday and another southpaw, Alex Wood on Sunday.

Collins announced on Thursday that Duda will likely sit in one of those games. If Duda sits, Michael Cuddyer will move to first base while reserve John Mayberry Jr will get to start in the outfield.

One of the factors is that Lucas struggled mightily vs lefties last season. He hit .180 with 2 home runs and 10 RBIs in 111 at bats vs southpaws.

However, a refocused Duda came to camp and performed very well during spring training against left-handers, even demanding he play against.some of the best like David Price. He batted .304/.385/.552 in 23 at-bats against lefties this spring.

“It gets a little bit overplayed, I guess. It’s monotonous to hear about it,” Duda said last March about him being unable to hit lefties. “It is what it is. I’m comfortable facing them on a daily basis. That’s all that really matters.”

Nevertheless Duda will probably sit out in one of those games started by a left this weekend. He is 0 for 6 with 3 strikeouts and 2 walks in his career vs Wood, and against Stults, he is 1 for 4 with 2 Ks.

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Mets News: Reynolds Named Top Rookie, Nimmo Heading To Binghamton http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/04/mets-news-reynolds-named-top-rookie-nimmo-heading-to-binghamton.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/04/mets-news-reynolds-named-top-rookie-nimmo-heading-to-binghamton.html/#comments Fri, 03 Apr 2015 15:09:13 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=177948 USATSI_8186103_154511658_lowres

Here are a couple of updates from the one and only Adam Rubin of ESPN New York.

Former 1st rounder Brandon Nimmo will start begin the season in Double-A Binghamton. Earlier in the offseason, it was speculated by many that Nimmo might start the year in Triple-A Las Vegas.

With Matt den Dekker being traded earlier this week, the outfield in Vegas suddenly becomes a big question mark. It looks like it will consist of some combination of Cory Vaughn, Alex Castellanos, Travis Taijeron and Darrell Ceciliani.

matt reynolds

Infield prospect Matt Reynolds has been named the winner of the annual John Murphy Award which goes to the top performing rookie in Mets big-league camp. The award is named for the GM of the 1969 Miracle Mets.

Reynolds, 24, will begin the season at Triple-A Las Vegas, but made a strong impression with a solid if not spectacular Grapefruit League performance at Port St. Lucie.

Reynold wrapped up his spring with a.391 batting average and 1.01 OPS in 46 at-bats with two homers, two stolen bases, and 10 RBIs.

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Campbell Appears To Have Sewn Up Bench Spot http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/campbell-appears-to-have-sewn-up-bench-spot.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/campbell-appears-to-have-sewn-up-bench-spot.html/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 14:53:46 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=175483 eric campbell

It appears that Eric Campbell has locked up the final bench spot even before the Mets play one inning of Grapefruit League games which begin on Wednesday.

Terry Collins has had Campbell playing all all over the field so far in spring training.

“He’s going to wear every one of those gloves that is in his bag this spring,” Collins said Monday. “He’s going to play some third and he’s going to play a little bit in the outfield once we make some decisions in the outfield and he will get some time out there.”

Campbell has also been getting reps behind the plate this Spring and was already anointed the team’s third catcher by Collins last week.

On Monday, Campbell was observed playing shortstop and second base, to which Collins said, “it may prove useful in an emergency and gives us more options.”

With Anthony Recker, Ruben Tejada and John Mayberry Jr. also assured of spots on the Opening Day roster, it would seem the final spot will go to one of Kirk Nieuwenhuis or Matt den Dekker, and because the former is out of options, it’s almost a certainty that Kirk makes the team out of camp as well.

Barring any unforseen injuries, or one of those players falling completely flat on their face, your 2015 bench is pretty much set before the umpire screams, “Play ball!” tomorrow afternoon.

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Opinion: Parlaying Pitching Depth For Outfield Depth http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/opinion-parlaying-pitching-depth-for-outfield-depth.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/opinion-parlaying-pitching-depth-for-outfield-depth.html/#comments Tue, 17 Feb 2015 18:42:34 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=174749 wheeler harvey

Someone the other day brought up the fact that in a little over a year’s time we could see a rotation of Harvey, Wheeler, deGrom, Syndergaard, and Matz. With that tantalizing projection comes the realization that Colon, Niese, Gee, and Montero, are expendable. That’s three serviceable veteran starters and a top 100 prospect, all essentially excess baggage. When you add all-star second baseman Daniel Murphy to that list, that’s an awful lot of value up for grabs. It occurs to me that there is almost no way to screw this up. Any team that can afford to unload this many pitchers should get something in return, and we don’t need much, one or two decent hitters could put us over the top.

The Mets can’t possibly use all the starters they have and so they will have to find a way to get rid of some of them. They can’t move all of them to the bullpen and they’re not just going to release them. They have to find some trade partners. Other teams know this and the Mets may be at a disadvantage if their potential trade partners know they have to get rid of so and so.

The question becomes who? Who do we target?

I don’t see this front office unloading any prospects for established players. When you look at their history acquiring major leaguers it isn’t pretty. They should stick to what they know. Swapping major league veterans for prospects. We are more likely to see the sort of trade recently completed for Wil Myers, or, an even better example would be the Cubs landing Anthony Rizzo for Andrew Cashner — that rare trade that appears to have helped both clubs.

The Mets will be looking for emerging hitters who are close but but not established. It’s a risk to be sure, but it’s less of a risk if you have the scouting apparatus in place to make informed determinations.

The Mets have an excellent record scouting the minors as demonstrated by the Byrd, Beltran, and Dickey trades.  In fact they’ve done so well over the past few years they’ve all of a sudden found it difficult (as Joe D. pointed out in a couple of pieces a few weeks ago) to unload the likes of Gee and / or Niese or Colon. Teams are hesitant when they look at a roster infused with players like Wheeler and d’Arnaud (products of previous such trades) and are asking for the moon.

Nevertheless, the Mets should stick to their guns. Attrition is our friend, and eventually teams will need pitching and they will trade unproven up and comers to get it. All the Mets need to do is make sure they trade for the right ones, how hard could that be?

The Mets of course on their end need to figure out what their needs are. Flores may very well play a passable shortstop (he was by and large serviceable last year – never mind what the bandwagon “didn’t actually watch the games”  consensus concludes). He had one horrible game and a couple of flubs but was otherwise just fine.

Second base looks like it will eventually belong to a kid named Herrera … first base is Duda’s to lose and third is locked up by The David. So the infield looks set with a possible exception at shortstop, and even there we’ll know soon enough what we have. I suspect Wilmer will hit and I wouldn’t be surprised if he takes the job and runs with it.

The outfield is a different story. We’ve got Conforto and Nimmo on the way but they may not be ready just yet and they may yet hit snags along the way. Lagares looks like he’s entrenched in center, but our corner outfield spots are manned by aging stopgaps.

By all accounts it would appear that this Mets team would benefit most by trading for corner outfielders … there’s really no question.  Corner outfield is problematic in a more immediate sense because should Granderson or Cuddyer get hurt, the Mets really don’t have a ready replacement. You can’t say that about 3B (Flores – move Tejada to short), shortstop (Tejada), 2B (Herrera/ Flores), 1B (Cuddyer), or CF (den Dekker). Sure some of the replacements aren’t ideal, but injuries at these spots are not insurmountable.

The corner outfield spots on the other hand would present the Mets with legitimate holes in the event of an injury. I like den Dekker and Nieuwenhuis as bench players, but as regulars? I have my doubts. MDD in center is a different proposal because his defense would play well, but the corner outfield spots are worrisome.

So who do we go after given our Gee, Niese, Colon, Montero surplus? Montero is under control for quite a while and his value is yet undetermined. We’d be selling low if we traded Montero as I believe (in a piece I penned a few weeks back) that he was injured for a good part of last year. I’d be hesitant to trade him unless we clearly were to receive fair value.

The other available Mets pitchers are all veterans who promise to be more expensive to the receiving teams and therefore may not land a top organizational prospect, but they could net us a corner outfielder who might be ranked outside an organizational top 10 threshold.  A team with good depth in the outfield might be able to offer us a decent return, especially if they are on the margins of contention and have that need for a starter.

You probably won’t get a player without some blemishes, but if you look hard enough there are diamonds in the rough out there who may warrant a further look. Guys like Steven Moya come to mind … Moya has great power, decent speed, and he’s a good fielder.  He is “on the outside looking in”  as a 23-year old corner outfielder in the Detroit system. His only blemish is his plate discipline which unfortunately runs afoul of our organizational dictum for patience. He strikes out a lot and hardly ever walks … oh well.

Another guy is a 150‘s-ish ranked MiLB Shortstop who is #15 overall in the Mariners system, Ketel Marte. The Mariners have a lot of depth at short and should they find themselves with a need for a starter this is the guy I’d go after. Switch hitter, good contact, potential 2-hole type hitter, who is fairly advanced with his full season debut in AAA at the age of 20.

Teams on the cusp of contention with stacked outfields like the Orioles could very well come into play as a source of MLB ready prospects (Dariel Alvarez would be tremendous although it might take Montero and then some), however their rotation looks deep at the moment so they don’t quite profile as a partner with the Mets. I might have also included a guy like Steven Souza (the other end of the Myers swap) but the Rays already snatched him up. Souza is precisely the sort of player the Mets need to target … in fact that Rays deal is an excellent blueprint in principle for the Mets.

Some other names are Lane Adams of the Royals, James Ramsey of the Indians, Carlos Asuaje of the Red Sox, Peter O’Brien and Nick Ahmed of the Diamondbacks, and Jason Rogers of the Brewers.

Granted some of these guys are risky and might need to be packaged with longer term higher upside prospects, but there’s lots of talent out there and I have a feeling the Mets are going to need to address depth in the outfield if they are truly to have a shot in 2015. There is definitely a class of close to the show prospects that the Mets could exploit if they can ever find a team desperate enough for a starter. It’s a waiting game to some extent. Right now everyone’s rotation is stacked and healthy … that probably won’t be the case come opening day.

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Rockies Shopping Charlie Blackmon http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/rockies-dangling-charlie-blackmon-why-mets-should-check-in.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/rockies-dangling-charlie-blackmon-why-mets-should-check-in.html/#comments Mon, 19 Jan 2015 05:44:37 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=173518 charlie-blackmon-

It’s that time of year.  As January rolls towards it’s conclusion and the spring training itch becomes an irritant, I rifle through baseball stats and begin my research for the fantasy baseball draft.  That process always unearths some surprises.

I play in a 15 team keepers league. Overall production, not positional balance has always been the philosophy that guides my draft selection process. Overall I rank position players in one giant pool based on an arbitrary star system.  That system is built around solid, above average performance in all five offensive categories.

To earn five stars, a position player must hit .275 or higher, score 75 runs or more, slam at least 20 home runs, amass 75 or more RBI and steal a minimum of 20 bases. Attaining each of those marks earns a star.  Position players who earn stars in each category are 5-Star players, guys to be coveted on draft night, you get the idea.

Amazingly, based on 2014 statistics only one major league position player reached my minimums and rated as a 5-star player.  Can you can guess who he is? It was Cleveland outfielder Michael Brantley. Brantley batted .327 with 94 runs scored, exactly reached the minimum HR total of 20, knocked home 97 runs and stole 23 bases. That’s quite a season.

Another young outfielder who had quite a season is the Colorado Rockies’ Charlie Blackmon. Sources tell Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports that the Rockies have discussed Blackmon in trade talks with multiple teams.

“The Rockies have spoken with the New York Mets about Dillon Gee this offseason, but Blackmon almost certainly would be too high of a price to pay for Gee alone. The Mets also appear set with their starting outfield of Curtis Granderson, Juan Lagares and Michael Cuddyer.”

Blackmon was a National League All-Star in 2014, batting .288 with 27 doubles, 19 home runs, 82 runs, 72 RBIs and 28 stolen bases, while batting leadoff for the Rockies.

This might be the place where Sandy Alderson lets caution blow away in the wind and makes a move.  At 28, Blackmon is just beginning to move into his high production years and would come with a low price tag and be under the Mets control through the 2018 season.

Yes, there are some concerns. Blackmon was an under the radar minor leaguer who was never projected to become a major league star. 2014 was a breakout year for him and Coors Field is a lot more friendlier hitting venue than Citi Field.  And his splits fell off some in the second half of the season; .305/.349/.479 compared to .288/.335/.440.

But, even Blackmon’s second half slash line would have shined for the Mets and would have ranked second in batting average to Daniel Murphy by only a point and third in slugging percentage by a whisker behind Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Lucas Duda.

With all our young pitching prospects it seems a lower level arm like Cory Mazzoni or Michael Fulmer could be added to a trade with Gee. That would give Colorado two potential starting pitching options in the trade. Possibly, to compensate for Colorado’s outfield loss ,Nieuwenhuis might be dangled to help get the deal done.

Blackmon is a versatile outfielder who played in all three outfield slots last year for Colorado. The kid is also durable and played in 153 games for the Rockies.  Further more, Blackmon batted at the top of the lineup in Colorado.  That’s an area that has been sorely lacking for the Mets since Jose Reyes. Blackmon’s 19 HR’s were second in the league from the lead-off spot trailing only Carlos Gomez of the Brewers.

Yes, on paper the Mets outfield is set, but Michael Cuddyer’s track record includes long stints on the disabled list, and John Mayberry is not adequate in filling in as a long-term replacement given his woeful numbers against RHP.

Blackmon’s breakout season and his promising numbers should make Colorado’s left-handed lead-off hitter an appealing option for the Mets.  Most appealing, though, would be his $504,000 price tag in 2015.

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MMO Exclusive: Mets Prospect Kyle Johnson Looks Back on Championship Season http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/12/mmo-exclusive-mets-prospect-kyle-johnson-looks-back-on-championship-season.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/12/mmo-exclusive-mets-prospect-kyle-johnson-looks-back-on-championship-season.html/#comments Sat, 20 Dec 2014 05:21:57 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=172121 mets - kyle johnson

Outfielder Kyle Johnson was a key part of the Binghamton Mets run to win the 2014 Eastern League Championship. Kyle played in 103 games and hit .259/.344/.384 with 25 doubles, 4 triples, and 4 home runs. He also stole 12 bases and had 14 outfield assists while playing all three outfield positions.

Kyle was drafted in 2012 by the Los Angeles Angels in the 25th round out of Washington State University. In his first full professional season in 2013 he batted .289/.385/.393 with 44 stolen bases and only struck out 89 times. On June 25th, 2013, he was traded to the Mets for outfielder Collin Cowgill who had been designated for assignment.

Kyle is a versatile outfielder who plays the game hard and has a knack for putting the ball in play in big spots proven by his .313/.423/.450 line with RISP last year. He also enjoys hitting from the leadoff spot where he batted .272/.354/.413 last year. He was nice enough to answer some questions for us about his season, so lets jump right into them:

Michael: First off just wanted to thank you for taking your time to answer some questions and congratulate you on being part of the EL Champions! What was it like to be part of a championship team? What was so special about this Binghamton team?

Kyle: The special part about our team was we had a core group of guys that didn’t move.  We had a great pitching staff, who knew how to compete.

Michael: For fans that haven’t seen you play how would you profile your own game?

Kyle: I take pride in my defense. Wherever I am in the outfield, I know I can make a play that will positively affect our team. With such a long season, some days the bat won’t show up, but I know my defense will always be there. Good defense and base running. Offensively, I do what I can to get on base. I take pride in scoring runs. Setting myself up for other guys to knock me in.

Michael: When on the road where is your favorite city/stadium to play?

Kyle: In the Eastern League, I really enjoyed Maine. Their atmosphere is something special. They have a unique field, plus the series were tough.

Michael: What do think you need to improve on to get to the Major League level?

Kyle: More consistent at the plate.  I’d have a month of .360 then a month of .220.  Just need to stay consistent for all 142 games.

Michael: What is life like for a Minor Leaguer when you are on the road?

Kyle: It’s tough. Long bus rides, get in late. But it’s all part of it. Makes you appreciate this game and the opportunity to continue to play. It’s fun going to different cities and parts of the country. You get to see a lot of the USA that otherwise I probably wouldn’t have seen. That’s one of the greatest treats of this game. I’ve been to every state now beside the Dakotas all because of baseball.

Michael: One last question,  what are you doing this offseason to prepare for the upcoming year?

Kyle: I spent the off season so far in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, where I grew up. I train at Ultimate Athlete, a local gym in the area. I have my hitting coach there who I have worked with for the past seven years. Primary goal is to create a more consistent swing. I had hot months and cold months this year, working to stay more consistent. I am heading to Puerto Rico to play for a month or so. Best way to practice is by playing, and I’m extremely excited for the opportunity.

Michael:  Glad I got a chance to talk to you! Hope to see you at Citi Field soon!

Kyle: Hope so too, going to work as hard as I can to get there.

Michael: Thanks again from everyone at MetsMerized Online!

Unfortunately for Kyle the Las Vegas outfield will probably be stacked with the likes of Nimmo, MDD, Ceciliani, Allen, Castellanos, etc next season. Tough not to root for a guy who works hard and is dedicated to making himself better. Everyone loves an underdog story and guys like Dillon Gee have proved it can happen!

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Marlins Reel In Martin Prado In 5-Player Swap With Yankees http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/12/marlins-reel-in-martin-prado-in-5-player-swap-with-yankees.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/12/marlins-reel-in-martin-prado-in-5-player-swap-with-yankees.html/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 20:19:28 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=172080 Arizona Diamondbacks v Philadelphia Phillies

The New York Yankees have traded third baseman Martin Prado and pitcher David Phelps to the Miami Marlins in exchange for pitcher Nathan Eovaldi, first baseman Garrett Jones and prospect Domingo German. The Marlins will also receive about $6 million in cash in the deal.

Miami continues to add more major league pieces after already adding Mat Latos, Dee Gordon and Michael Morse in other moves this offseason.

Prado, 31, can play all four infield positions and in the outfield. He hit .282/.321/.412 last season with the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Yankees, and the former All-Star is a .291 lifetime hitter. He’s lauded as a team leader and great clubhouse presence.

Phelps, 28, threw 113 innings, split between starting and relieving, and recorded a 4.38 ERA and 1.42 WHIP for the Yankees. He struck out 92.

Jones, 33, hit .246/.309/.411 in 496 at-bats last season, predominantly playing first base.

Eovaldi, who turns 25 in February, went 6-14 with a 4.37 ERA last season for the Marlins.

Wow, the Hot Stove is really cooking today…

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Trading Curtis Granderson? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/12/trading-curtis-granderson.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/12/trading-curtis-granderson.html/#comments Mon, 08 Dec 2014 16:23:20 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=171317 curtis granderson

Here’s something different… Andy Martino of the Daily News suggests that the Mets should explore the possibility of trading outfielder Curtis Granderson so that they could free up some payroll and go after a bigger bat like Matt Kemp or Justin Upton.

“Try to move Granderson, clearing payroll and an outfield spot for a Kemp or Upton. Maybe get a third-team involved; there’s a lot of talk about three-way deals lately. In a market starving for offense, the Mets would probably be able to drum up some value for a corner outfielder who managed 20 home runs last year, his first at Citi Field. Then, they could allocate some of the money saved to other hitters.”

I’m certainly not interested in trading away players like Jacob deGrom and Zack Wheeler for the likes of Upton or Kemp, but the thought of trading Granderson at a time when teams are desperately craving power hitters is actually very intriguing.

If a team wants to give us a couple of huge prospects or major league pieces or a combination of both, you have to listen, right?

Granderson is owed $47MM through the 2017 season and has shown signs of decline over the last couple of years.

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Don’t Sell Michael Cuddyer’s Impact Short http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/11/dont-sell-michael-cuddyers-impact-short.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/11/dont-sell-michael-cuddyers-impact-short.html/#comments Thu, 13 Nov 2014 22:30:17 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=169858 Michael-Cuddyer-Colorado-Rockies

Before we go any further let’s be clear, I like the Michael Cuddyer signing. Some of you may raise an eyebrow because I recently wrote a piece about the correlation between spending, value and performance, however, we need to consider this particular signing in the context of the 2015 Mets.

I’ve been following Cuddyer since he came up with the Twins. He’s always been one of these more than the sum of his parts type guys. He struck me initially as being very well coached and his approach at the plate was refined. He was another in a long line of young productive players churned out by an outstanding Twins player development program.

He was sort of a third baseman back then but he ended up splitting his time all over the place — 3B, 2B, 1B, OF and DH. Over the course of his career, he has spent the most time in the outfield where he sports a .986 fielding percentage. He also has a -15.6 defensive WAR, not the greatest. He seems to get decent jumps and he can handle what he gets to but his range is an issue. Over the past five seasons Cuddyer is next to last in UZR for right fielders.

You also have to factor in the value of the number 15 pick in next year’s draft which is probably somewhere between 10 and 15 million. That pushes the real cost of the Cuddyer contract north of $30 million (a conservative estimate). Cuddy will be 36 before opening day and he only played 49 games last year … there’s that as well. Wait, did I say I liked the Cuddyer signing? I did didn’t I … hmm.

The thing about Cuddyer is he always seems to be in the middle of things offensively.  He has a lifetime .813 OPS, a .347 OBP and a 114 OPS+.

He also has six seasons of 235 or more total bases and five years of 80 or more RBI. Those are some pretty decent figures folks, so there is definitely an argument for this guy … but wait, there’s more.

Since signing Cuddyer, there’s been a lot of talk about park factors and home/away splits, well, consider that from 2005 to 2011, Cuddyer batted .292 at home (at the Metrodome mind you, which most consider a pitcher’s park in it’s later years) and .250 on the road before he arrived to Coors. He has always performed much better at home, and lets face it, couldn’t the Mets use someone like that?

Not counting 2014, Cuddyer averaged 32 doubles a season from 2009 to 2013 — that’s five straight seasons of 30+ doubles (three of them in Minnesota). Since the beginning of 2013 he also has a wRC+ of 142.  He’s got 1,366 hits over his last 10 seasons, and 732 hits over that same recent five year stretch.

He’s getting better as he gets older. You may scoff and point out he spent two thirds of his season on the DL last year, but lets look at the one third he did play. In 49 games he had 63 hits, 32 runs, 15 doubles, 10 home runs, a .579 SLG, and a .955 OPS. Extrapolated over a whole season those are MVP numbers. He’s the kind of player that can carry a team. During one game last September, he had a three hit, one homer, two double, seven RBI game.

If you ask me, there is no argument … Cuddyer is in the midst of a phenomenal six year stretch and over the past year and a half he has been putting up MVP numbers. It reminds me a little of Chipper Jones the way he seemed to get better and better as he got older, eventually wearing down from injuries that in no way seemed to impact his hyper-refined ability to hit. When he played, he was incredibly dangerous.

Most would say we overpaid for Cuddy, especially if you look at his career stats and tack on any kind of dollar value to the draft pick … but when you look at his last six seasons it’s not quite the overpay you’d think. Cuddyer right now (and by right now I mean as recently as last September) is playing at an extremely high level. He’s one of these guys whose intellect and experience appear to be enhancing his approach and making him remarkably productive in spite of his age

If, and it is a HUGE, tremendous, gargantuan if, he can stay on the field. Is it worth the risk? No doubt about it. We have a shot in 2015 if we can muster even a minimal uptick in offense … If Cuddyer can keep himself relatively healthy he will almost single-handedly give us that.

Oh, one other thing, Cuddy has a .338 batting average over the course of six series in the playoffs, including a .348 batting average in the ALCS.

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M’s Outfielder Michael Saunders Is Not A Fit For Mets http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/11/ms-outfielder-michael-saunders-is-not-a-fit-for-mets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/11/ms-outfielder-michael-saunders-is-not-a-fit-for-mets.html/#comments Fri, 07 Nov 2014 17:46:02 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=169587 Saunders-1a-Michael-480x351

According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com, the Seattle Mariners are expected to shop right fielder Michael Saunders at the GM Meetings which begin on Monday at Phoenix, Arizona. Crasnick says the two sides are ready to move on from each other.

That said, Saunders is not really a fit for the Mets on many, many levels. For one, he bats lefthanded and the Mets already have a glut of left-handed options like him including Matt den Dekker and Kirk Nieuwenhuis.

Secondly, he’s 28 years old, set to make about $3.5 million in arbitration after earning $2.3 million this season, and spends more time on the shelf than in the field.

Last month, both GM Jack Zduriencik and manager Lloyd McClendon publicly criticized Saunders for his lack of conditioning and inability to stay in shape. This, more than anything, is why he’ll be an ex-Mariner before the end of the month.

Defensively, over the last three seasons he’s been average to below average depending on which outfield position you play him in.

As to whether this is a player the Mets should be looking at? It makes little to no sense to me.

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Nimmo and Mazzilli Off To Solid Starts In AFL http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/nimmo-and-mazzilli-off-to-solid-starts-in-afl.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/nimmo-and-mazzilli-off-to-solid-starts-in-afl.html/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 13:17:06 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168318 Jessica Quiroli of Minor League Ball is reviewing many of the prospects currently competing in this year’s Arizona Fall League. She had some interesting things to say about a pair of Mets prospects who have impressed her.

Brandon Nimmo

brandon nimmoBrandon Nimmo is that rare breed of focused aggression and intensity, mixed with patience and teachability. His story is legend at this point: with no high school baseball program in Wyoming, he played the showcase circuit. Scouts noticed and he was drafted in 1st round in 2011 He came to the Brooklyn Cyclones of the New York Penn League as poised as a ten-year veteran. By the end of the season, however, the inexperience showed. Fatigue affected what was otherwise a highly successful debut.

He entered Spring Training in 2013 ten pounds heavier and talked about the noticeable difference in getting to balls in the outfield. He made the jump to Double-A Binghamton in 2014. He showcased more power, with a smooth swing path (it looked wobbly at times in 2012), and good hip rotation. He simply looked like a more solid version of the guy that played 69 games in Short-A ball in 2012. The selection to the fall league wasn’t a surprise.

Nimmo is the top outfield prospect in the organization, and one of the top outfield prospects in all the minor leagues. In tough fall league competition, he can work on developing more power and improve already very good plate approach. After the struggles with consistency that he exhibited down the stretch in his first professional season , he showed more ability to perform at the level he’s capable of in 2014. He ended the season hitting .278/.394/.426 in 127 games. He’s had a good fall league debut, hitting .393/.476/.571 in his first seven games.

L.J. Mazzilli

L.J._MazzilliSimilarly, Mets second base prospect L.J. Mazzilli is developing more power at the plate. His ability for gap-power was on display in 2013 with the Brooklyn Cyclones.And while Mazzilli has the same kind of professionalism and maturity as Nimmo, Mazzilli’s is all pedigree, as the son of former major leaguer Lee.

The younger Mazzilli also remained unfazed by the super-hype of his introduction to the New York media at Citi-Bank Field. That kind of laser-focus helped him adjust quickly to pro- ball. He exhibited rock-solid maturity off the field, and a consistent approach at the plate, also proving to be a strong defender with good speed. He hit .301/.361/.440 in 131 games between the Florida State and South Atlantic Leagues this year.

He spoke about his goals this off-season, working on strengthening and agility, with a focus on further improving his speed. Putting those elements together in fall league, and continuing that program through the winter, could lead to him seeing Double-A time in 2015. While not highly ranked in the system by some sources, he can play himself into a more valuable role with the Mets.

* * * * * * * *

I took a quick look at their stats this morning and both seem to be off to a solid start in Arizona where Nimmo is slashing at .323/.447/.419 in 31 at-bats, and Mazzilli is posting a .250/.400/.400 line in 20 at-bats.

Last night was only the sixth game for Mazzilli, who lined a triple into the gap and scored two runs during Scottsdale’s 7-3 victory over Glendale on Monday night. Nimmo added an RBI single in the game.

“I’m still trying to get in that groove offensively,” said Mazzilli after the game. “I feel I did well this year. I learned a lot in the first month-and-a-half of the season when I was struggling a little bit. I figured out what it takes for me to be the best I possibly can be, and I stuck with that plan and approach.”

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Could Mets Ultimately Fill An Outfield Spot Internally? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/could-mets-ultimately-fill-an-outfield-spot-internally.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/could-mets-ultimately-fill-an-outfield-spot-internally.html/#comments Mon, 13 Oct 2014 04:05:54 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=167728 cesar puello

Let’s pretend for a moment that Sandy Alderson makes no effort to improve the Mets left field situation in the offseason. For arguments sake, we’ll say that he addresses the need at shortstop but a combination of high prices and long years got the better of the outfield candidates. Heading into 2015, can we expect anyone in the pipeline to make the jump to the big leagues?

According to Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com, the Mets top-two prospects are starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard and catcher Kevin Plawecki. Neither is likely to lend a hand in the outfield. After those two, it gets better. Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto are three and four.

Nimmo was drafted back in 2011 at the ripe old age of 18 and has shown promise, developing his game while his body catches up with his potential. He’s filled out nicely and is projecting to be a solid outfielder. The trouble is, with just 65 games played at AA Binghamton, where he hit .238/.339/.396/.735, he’s still at least a year away or maybe a 2015 September call-up.

Conforto and Nimmo are the same age and were actually born in the same month. The difference is, Conforto was drafted out of Oregon State while Nimmo came out of high school.

Conforto spent the entire 2014 season in Brooklyn where he hit .331/.403/.448/.851. It’s hard to imagine a player making the jump from short-season (A) to the majors, but you have to wonder if Conforto, with his years of college ball, could actually beat Nimmo to the Mets.

The reason those two names are talked about so much is because at AA and AAA there isn’t a whole lot of outfield talent. Guys like Cesar Puello, Matt den Dekker and Andrew Brown occupied spots with the 51′s while Darrell Ceciliani, Kyle Johnson and Travis Taijeron started the most games for Binghamton.

There are separate problems with the outfielders in each level. In AA the issue is a lack of talent. None of those players, who started the most games in the outfield this past season, had a batting average above .300. Not exactly a promising indicator. In AAA the issue is different. We know what den Dekker and Brown can be and it’s not a solution to the Mets problem.

Puello is a different story. Currently the #13 prospect in the system, he missed 50 games after he was suspended because of the Biogenesis scandal. That came after a monster year in AA, back in 2013. He slashed .326/.403/.547/.950 and added 16 home runs to that line. In 2014 he regressed, hitting less home runs and batting .252 with a .355 on-base and .393 slugging.

It’s safe to think Puello is the most major league ready outfielder left in the system. If you remove the guys who have already appeared on the team like den Dekker and Brown, Puello is clearly ahead of Nimmo and Conforto and if the Mets decide not to bring in outside help in the outfield, don’t be surprised if he’s the guy who gets a long hard look this spring.

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Murphy Hasn’t Been Approached About Playing Outfield http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/murphy-hasnt-been-approached-about-playing-outfield.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/murphy-hasnt-been-approached-about-playing-outfield.html/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 12:26:36 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=166973 daniel murphy

On Sunday, April 12th, 2009, left fielder Daniel Murphy drifted towards the warning track inside Dolphins Stadium in Miami, FL. Johan Santana was on the mound and just a few games into the season, Murphy was about to blow a game for the New York Mets with a big error. Josh Johnson would go on to pitch a complete game shutout while Santana got a tough luck 2-1 loss.

This April, that memory will turn 6-years old and surprisingly talks have once again surfaced about moving Murphy back to the outfield according to a report by Mike Puma of the New York Post.

“Mets officials have broached the idea with Daniel Murphy about possibly playing some left field in 2015, according to a club source, but the second baseman isn’t in favor of the idea, and the team isn’t expected to press the issue.”

However. Murphy says he hasn’t been approached yet according to Mike Vorkunov of the Star-Ledger.

“It doesn’t mean it’s not coming,” Murphy said. “It just means that as of Sept. 28 that’s nothing that’s anybody has come to me and mentioned to me.”

When asked if he’d be amenable to a position change if one were to be asked of him, he said, “You play baseball, you do what you’re told,” Murphy said. “That’s the easy part.”

Murphy has a .956 fielding percentage in the outfield , the lowest he’s recorded at any position in his career. In 2014, he was a .974 fielder at second base.

Murphy is expected to earn about $8 million in arbitration this Winter, leading to speculation about whether he’s played his last game as a Met.

Asked if he thinks he’ll be back with the Mets next season, Murphy said, “That’s a question probably for him [Sandy Alderson]. I want to be back. I know I got another year of control. People way smarter than me deal with that. …I just run out there and try to play as hard as I can.”

Murphy is one of many interesting story-lines that will unfold as we move into the winter months. He batted .289 this season and led the team with 172 hits, 37 doubles and 79 runs scored. Additionally, his .734 OPS was second only to Lucas Duda among qualifiers.

As he enters his third and final year of arbitration it should be noted that he and the Mets have always avoided arbitration the past. But the real question is whether he’s priced himself out of the Mets’ reach and is moved this offseason, or if he’ll be back at second base for the Mets in 2015.

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Would Moving the Fences In Help Curtis Granderson? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/would-moving-the-fences-in-help-curtis-granderson.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/would-moving-the-fences-in-help-curtis-granderson.html/#comments Fri, 26 Sep 2014 18:00:15 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=166630 curtis granderson

This morning, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reported that the Mets plan to reconfigure the dimensions of Citi Field. By “reconfigure,” it’s likely that Rubin means that the Mets want to bring in the outfield fences. The idea is, make the distance from home to the right-center field gap shorter and you would thereby increase home run potential. The two hitters that would seem to benefit most would be the two highest paid and worst performing players this season – David Wright and Curtis Granderson. It seems like a simple fix, right?

Well, let’s see if moving the fences in would really help Curtis Granderson. From 2011-2012 Granderson hit 84 home runs. Thanks to the intelligent people at Hittrackeronline.com and specifically Greg Rybarczyk, we can see where each one of those home runs landed. These are his 2011 results:

Granderson2011 (Greg Rybarczyk Hittrackeronline)

Granderson’s 2011 average home run distance was 389.1 feet. Only 9 of these 41 home runs were close calls. The other 32 would have gone out in nearly every ballpark in the major leagues. His 2012 home runs looked similar. The 43 Granderson belted that season averaged a distance of 383.2 feet. Only 10 of these were close while the other 33 would have gone out anywhere. So the older, post-injury Curtis Granderson is probably not hitting the ball as far, and moving the fences in will help, right?

Here is the spray chart for Granderson’s 2014 home runs:

Granderson2014 (Greg Rybarczyk Hittrackeronline)

 I found this great graphic from the Katron Batted Ball Tool. It seems that Granderson has not really used the part of the outfield where the fences would most likely be moved in most – right around that “375″. If the entire right side of the outfield were to be brought in, he’d be looking at something closer to 25 home runs.

Granderson Spray Chart Katron(dot)Org

Moving the fences in may not help Granderson’s power numbers all that much. It seems that his lack of pop has come more from lack of consistent quality contact and propensity to strikeout, than the distance of the outfield fences. 

As The Metropolitans correctly pointed out, taking the averages themselves does not show the full picture. The average distance of Granderson’s 19 home runs in 2014 is inflated due to the fact that the shorter home runs he had hit in 2011 and 2012 are no longer included.

According to Baseball Heat MapsGranderson is averaging 201 feet on batted balls in 2014. He is averaging 271 feet on his fly balls in 2014. In 2011, he was averaging 285 feet on fly balls.

In conclusion, it would appear that moving in the fences would, in fact, help Curtis Granderson’s power output. However, the potential improvement may not be as great as some suspect, as reflected in the final graphic of Granderson’s batted ball data at Citi Field.

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Mets Want Juan Lagares To Steal More Bases http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/mets-want-juan-lagares-to-steal-more-bases.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/mets-want-juan-lagares-to-steal-more-bases.html/#comments Wed, 03 Sep 2014 12:16:31 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=164852 juan lagares scoresWith a 4 for 4 performance on Tuesday night in Miami, Juan Lagares did something he had never done in his major league career. Batting out of the leadoff spot, he collected 4 hits. For the Mets front office, this was likely the second most impressive feat of the night. First were his 2 stolen bases.

According to ESPN’s Adam Rubin, the Mets want Lagares to be more aggressive on the base paths and are force feeding him steal signs throughout the game. Terry Collins has fully bought into the philosophy:

“You can’t play center field like he plays it, with that first step, and not be able to be a good baserunner — because this guy is daring, he’s got a great first step, he’s got great speed when he gets it going. But what we’ve got to do is get him to top speed faster. He shows it in the outfield. That’s why I say there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be able to do it” (Rubin, ESPN).

It all makes sense for the Mets. Lagares obviously shows explosive speed in the outfield so if he’s able to lengthen his leads and get solid jumps, he should be able to start swiping bags. If he is able to add stolen bases to his already impressive overall game, Lagares could become an ideal leadoff hitter for the Mets in the future.

“I know I can run a little bit.” said Lagares. “In the beginning I had a couple of injuries with my hamstring. That’s why I didn’t try to over-run. But now I feel 100 percent. I want to take advantage of that. I think if you’ve got the speed, it’s just about working to steal bases.”

Lagares has stolen 2 bases twice in his career. The last time he did it was on July 26th, 2013 against the Washington Nationals. In that game, Lagares went 3-4 with 3 runs scored and the 2 stolen bases. The Mets won that game 11-0. Maybe the Mets are on to something here. When Lagares has run in the past, good things have happened. For the rest of September, I hope we see a lot from the Mets center fielder.

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Red Sox and Rusney Castillo Agree To $72 Million Deal http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/08/red-sox-and-rusney-castillo-agree-to-72-million-deal.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/08/red-sox-and-rusney-castillo-agree-to-72-million-deal.html/#comments Fri, 22 Aug 2014 19:22:08 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=163039 Cuban Rusney Castillo arrives safely in

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.is reporting that Cuban free agent Rusney Castillo has agreed to sign with the Boston Red Sox for a record six-year, $72 million dollar contract.

Congratulations to the Red Sox who by all accounts have gotten themselves a very high-impact player who seems to have chosen a park perfectly suited for his skill set.

The Mets were just bystanders on this one so nobody expected them to swoop in and grab him despite needing help in the corner outfield and shortstop position, both of which Castillo plays.

General manager Sandy Alderson indicated to Mike Puma of the New York Post, that the money it will take to sign Castillo is not the issue.

“I think it’s a matter of there might be some scouting differences of opinion, and kind of where we are and what we’re going to do in the immediate future, so there are lots of issues involved,” Alderson said.

Alderson said basically the same thing about previous Cuban free agents, casting doubt on the majority of glowing scouting reports.

I believe it’s just his way of deflecting from the real issue which is that the Mets don’t have the financial wherewithal to invest in any of these amazing talents that are making their way from Cuba to the major leagues.

August 18

George A. King of the New York Post reports that after speaking to major league teams who are interested in signing free agent outfielder Rusney Castillo, most teams believe that the Philadelphia Phillies are the favorites to land the Cuban phenom.

King says that it’s not unanimous, but it clearly shows a shift in momentum that had previously been with the New York Yankees.

Castillo is now narrowing down his offers, and while there’s no timetable for him to choose his team, a final decision could come soon. Sources have told King that the contractual guarantee will likely fall in the $40-55 million dollar range.

I’d still be very surprised if Castillo lands anywhere besides the Bronx, but after hearing Ruben Amaro Jr. speak last week, he clearly expressed a need for a young offensive bat for his outfield, and Castillo certainly sounds like he could fill that need.

The Mets have shown no interest in Castillo, other than a token appearance at his first public showcase.

The gifted 26 year old athlete is often compared to Ron Gant who finished his 16 year career with a .803 OPS and averaged about 30 homers, 20 stolen bases, 100 runs and 90 RBI per 162 games.

The Red Sox, Mariners, Tigers, Marlins, Astros, Yankees, Angels and Phillies are among the teams that are expected to be in the hunt for the young phenom’s services.

The Mets did attend the initial showcase, but never showed any real interest in Castillo – a sign that the team is still not ready to engage other teams in a bidding war – even one which won’t exceed $60 million according to most experts.

I thought this was cool comment by Long Suffering Fan who wrote:

I know this is a pipe dream, but…

A DOZEN REASONS WHY THE METS SHOULD SIGN RUSNEY CASTILLO

1. He is only 26, so unlike the other free agents, Castillo will still be relatively young in year five or six of his contract.

2. He is not going to cost the Mets a first or second round draft pick, because he’s not coming off another team’s roster.

3. He can hit the cover off the ball, unlike any current Met, current prospect, or the current free agent class, and boy do we need a consistent hitter in the middle of the lineup..

4. He will permanently resolve our remaining corner outfield issue, leaving captain Kirk and MDD to fill out a strong outfield bench.

5. He will not cost quite as much as a free-agent veteran, because he brings no major league experience.

6. He won’t cost us any of our best prospects, best pitchers, or and player for that matter. We can continue to nurture our minor league talent that will be the future foundation of this team.

7. With Chris Young gone and possibly a Colon salary dump, the Mets can sign Castillo for around $10-$12 million a year and still have plenty left over for other Free Agents.

8. Wilpon has claimed that, with the Madoff mess cleared up, he is going to let Sandy Alderson spend some money. Here’s the chance to prove it.

9. It would really suck if the Yankees, Cubs, or Phillies sign Castillo, and he hits .300 with 20 HR and 90 RBI next season.

10. We’re not going to find another corner OF who can hit like him, so you might as well spend the money and make this team a winner.

11. There are no guarantees that anybody will succeed in New York (we’ve seen all the mistakes) so you might as well sign the guy with the highest ceiling AND who will cost the least.

12. Everything else that the Met’s have tried (for the past 10 years) has failed, so why not go out and try signing one of these Cuban stars? I hereby nominate Rusney Castillo as the Mets Opening Day left fielder in 2015.

Nice job… Another great nugget from the MMO community…

Unfortunately, the Mets are still in dire straits and they don’t have the gumption or the money to swing a deal like this. They’ll be on the sidelines just as they were for the last 4-5 Cuban signings while the big boys fight this one out.

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Bobby Abreu Expected To Join Mets In September http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/08/bobby-abreu-expected-to-join-mets-in-september.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/08/bobby-abreu-expected-to-join-mets-in-september.html/#comments Mon, 18 Aug 2014 20:59:53 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=163443 bobby abreu

The Mets re-signed Bobby Abreu to a minor-league deal this past Friday, and a team official told Adam Rubin of ESPN new York. that he’ll assuredly be part called up in September when rosters expand.

“Whenever we sign a veteran player to a minor-league deal, we think about the impact he may or may not have on younger players,” VP of Player Development Paul DePodesta told Rubin. “We certainly believed Bobby could have a positive influence in addition to his on-field performance.”

Abreu has also expressed an interest in becoming a hitting coach after his playing days are over. DePodesta addressed that as well.

“As far as I know, there haven’t been promises made about the future, playing or otherwise. But we’re always on the lookout for guys who can continue to have an impact in uniform beyond their playing days.”

Abreu batted .238 with one home run and 14 RBI during his first stint with the Mets, and was hitless in his last 22 at-bats as a pinch hitter.

August 14

The Mets announced that they have re-signed outfielder Bobby Abreu and assigned him to Triple-A Las Vegas.

Las Vegas recently lost outfielders Matt den Dekker and Kirk Nieuwenhuis when the two players were promoted to the Mets, so this is obviously a move to add some outfield depth to the Triple-A squad.

There are many in the organization who view Abreu as a future coach, so this may be a sign that he’ll remain with the organization in some capacity after the season if no team is willing to give him a major league roster spot.

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Would Alex Rios Make Sense For The Mets? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/would-alex-rios-make-sense-for-the-mets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/would-alex-rios-make-sense-for-the-mets.html/#comments Wed, 16 Jul 2014 17:44:07 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=160899 Alex-Rios

The Kansas City Royals have acquired reliever Jason Frasor from the Texas Rangers in exchange for minor league righthander Spencer Patton.

Frasor, 36, is in the midst of another strong season, posting a 3.34 ERA with a 9.1 K/9 in 32 relief appearances spanning 29.2 innings pitched. Last season, he had a 2.57 ERA in 61 appearances for the Rangers.

The veteran righthander is owed about $700,000 through the end of the season and will become a free agent this winter.

It doesn’t sound like the Rangers got much for their quality reliever. Patton, 26, has a 4.08 ERA in 34 relief appearances for Triple-A Omaha and was not considered a top 25 prospect for the Royals.

The Rangers have the worst record in baseball at 38-57 and are reportedly going to sell off as many pieces as they can before the trade deadline.

I wonder if the Mets can grab outfielder Alex Rios, who is a free agent at the end of this season but has a team option worth $13.5 million for 2015. Rios leads the majors with nine triples, and is batting .305 with a .773 OPS in 387 plate appearances.

The 33-year old has 21 doubles, four home runs, 41 runs scored and 42 RBI on the season with 16 stolen bases. Rios bats righthanded and is batting .378/.413/.659 against lefthanded pitching.

Last season, Rios hit 18 home runs, drove in 82 runs and stole 42 bases while scoring 83 runs. He’s a solid defender in right field.

It looks like the Rangers are just looking for salary relief and Rios may come cheap. His style of play would work well in Citi Field and if he doesn’t work out, the Mets are not on the hook for 2015.

An outfield of Curtis Granderson in left, Juan Lagares in center and Rios in right would make for one of the best defensive outfields in the league. In Rios the Mets would have a leadoff hitter that could free up Grandy to bat in the middle of the order which is why he got that $60 million from the Mets.

There’s also a Mets connection to Rios as it was J.P. Ricciardi who signed Rios to his current contract which was originally a seven year deal worth $70 million dollars and bought out Rios’ arbitration years. J.P. got a lot of flack for the deal at the time, but in retrospect it wasn’t really as bad as many made it out to be.

Of course if you make a move like this, you follow it up by cutting Chris Young and maybe you can also dangle Eric Young Jr. out there for any teams looking for some speed off the bench. With Rios on board, EY becomes somewhat expendable.

The best part is you have three everyday outfielders with two very solid 4th and 5th outfield options in Bobby Abreu and Kirk Nieuwenhuis.

Anyway, it’s something to think about on a slow Mets news day.

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Great First Impressions on Brandon Nimmo http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/great-first-impressions-on-brandon-nimmo.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/great-first-impressions-on-brandon-nimmo.html/#comments Tue, 08 Jul 2014 16:08:45 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=160172 brandon-nimmo-2

He’s one of the most talked about Met prospects, a subject of heated debate ever since he was selected with the Mets’ top pick in 2011. After getting my first extended live look at Brandon Nimmo during Saturday’s doubleheader at Binghamton’s NYSEG Stadium, I think most Met fans are going to be impressed and pulling hard for our top outfield prospect.

At the center of the storm is a baseball neophyte.  After chatting with the guys sitting in front of me and telling them a little about Nimmo when he moved to the on-deck circle as he prepared to hit, one turned and said, “Wow, he really does look young doesn’t he?” as Nimmo approached the plate. Yes, Nimmo looks young and exudes an excitement and passion for baseball.

Watching Brandon Nimmo com to bat, dispels any argument about the fact that he is developing a plate discipline beyond his 21 years of age. Nimmo knows the strike zone. In seven plate appearances on Saturday, Nimmo worked three base-on-balls. Nimmo worked a ten pitch walk in his first at bat of the double header.  Even his strikeout in his last at bat of the opener forced Erie’s Tommy Collier to use 9 pitches.  Nimmo fouled off 9 of the 19 pitches he saw in those two at bats.

That profile is consistent with Nimmo’s St. Lucie Met stats this spring before his elevation to Binghamton and a huge part of his impressive on-base-percentage at the high-A level.  In 279 plate appearances in Florida, Nimmo worked 50 base-on-balls, one less than his strikeout total helping him build a .448 OBP.  That same command of the strike zone is taking shape in Binghamton where Nimmo has already walked a dozen times in 66 plate appearances.

And, Nimmo hustles. Nimmo doesn’t jog to first base after working a base-on-balls. He sprints. I’d always read Nimmo lacked speed. You would have fooled me making that claim watching the kid yesterday. After walking to open the second game of the double header, Nimmo stole second base easily on the next pitch then later raced home to score the B-Mets first run of the day when Brian Burgamy singled.  A second walk to lead off the third turned into Binghamton’s second run with Nimmo scoring when Dustin Lawley singled to left.  Later in the second game, Nimmo would pull a 76 mph curveball to right field for a single.

Nimmo’s all out hustle provided some anxious moments in the late innings of the nightcap.  Playing left field NImmo was off in full speed pursuit of a foul ball that floated near the stands on his side of the field.  Barely breaking stride, Nimmo smashed into the tarp stored along the outfield fence, the contact bringing gasps from the Binghamton crowd.  The young outfielder returned to his position apparently unmarred from tangling with the tarp.

Above all else Nimmo brings a refreshing enthusiasm to the baseball diamond.  He approaches the batters box with a big smile on his face, sometimes exchanging pleasantries with the umpire.  Nimmo runs all out on the bases and plays the game with a bounce in his step.

Brandon Nimmo didn’t do anything spectacular at NYSEG Stadium on Saturday.  He went a combined 1-for-4 at the plate, walked three times, stole a base, and scored two of the B-Mets 4 runs in the double header.  With that said, doing all the little things that help baseball teams win games, Brandon Nimmo was impressive.

And physically, Brandon Nimmo has a huge upside.  It’s pretty obvious Nimmo is far from filling out his tall, athletic frame.  There is a lot of growing and a lot of maturing still to come.

As it is with many youngsters tabbed with the label of baseball prospect, no one really knows what kind of major league baseball player Brandon Nimmo will be.  If Nimmo contines to approach the game like he showed me this weekend, I’m hoping when all the evidence is in the verdict will be a good one for Nimmo and New York Met fans.

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