Mets Merized Online » Pagan Sat, 06 Feb 2016 23:29:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 This Day In Mets Infamy: Shouts From Shea Interview With Joe DeMayo Sat, 25 Jan 2014 16:05:52 +0000 infamy

On this past Wednesday’s edition of the “Shouts From Shea” podcast featuring Stephen Keane from “The Kranepool Society” and myself we had Mets prospect expert, Joe DeMayo of PSL To Flushing, on to discuss everything from the Yankees signing of Masahiro Tanaka, the prospect of Stephen Drew wearing a Mets cap come Opening Day, as well as his opinions on many of the Mets minor league prospects and how he feels they will pan out.

And with that said…. HERE COMES THE INFAMY!!!!!

Mets alumni celebrating a birthday today include:

Mets pitching coach from the ’03 season, Vern Ruhle would have been 67  (1951).

Other notables include:

Sadly on this date in 2010, Jane Jarvis, the longtime Shea Stadium organist passed away.  I remember as a child in the ’70′s sitting in my seat before every first pitch just to listen to Ms. Jarvis serenading myself along with the rest of the crowd to her rendition of Meet The Mets.

The New York Mets traded reserve outfielder, Damon Buford to the Texas Rangers for minor league outfielder, Terrell Lowery on January 25, 1996.

The New York Mets sold Angel Pagan to the Chicago Cubs on January 25, 2006. The Mets would reacquire him just before the start of the ’08 season. He would prove to be a decent hitter and defender when he was focused – which wasn’t all the time.

The New York Mets signed free agent middle reliever, Aaron Sele of the Los Angeles Dodgers on January 25, 2007. Sele went 3-2 with an ERA of 5.37 in his lone season with the Mets.

Mo Vaughn will be rooting for the Seattle Seahawks for next Sundays Super Bowl because he prefers a good craft beer to Rocky Mountain Oysters!!!


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Enter Sandman: The Mets’ Three Year Journey to Irrelevance Mon, 02 Dec 2013 15:59:02 +0000 The GM Meetings in Orlando, home of Disneyworld, came and went and while none of us honestly expected the Mets to make a lot of noise, let’s take a trip to FantasyLand for a moment. Imagine if the Mets DID grab headlines. Visualize Sandy wheeling and dealing and returning to New York with Jose Reyes. And Carlos Beltran. Let’s say Alderson outwitted Brian Sabean (go with me on this) and convinced the Giants GM to give us back Angel Pagan. And just for the hell of it, Alderson also reacquired R A Dickey as well. We’d sure be feeling confident about 2014. Yet, all of these players were already on the Mets roster when Alderson took over as GM.

Carlos+Beltran+Washington+Nationals+v+New+VgPE3ydVODOl - Copy

Enter Sandman:

When he filled the shoes once worn by good ol’ M. Donald Grant, Alderson told us he needed to rebuild the team. He advised us it would take several years. Personally, if you’re going to rebuild something, Beltran, Reyes, Pagan and Dickey would be a pretty decent foundation to build upon, definitely better than what we have now—basically David Wright, plus a 24-year old ace who will miss a year with elbow surgery, and unproven rookies who are always a crapshoot. Especially with the Mets.

Since Sandman entered, our fanbase has been divided into warring factions. Some urge patience, though those numbers are dwindling after suffering many casualties. Others, like myself, want to win quickly. (Granted, I’ve never had patience.) My question is this: Alderson has asked us to wait several years for his magical mystery plan to take hold. My question is WHY?

sign man miracles

Baseball is a different game now than it was in 1962. When the Mets came into existence along with the Houston Colt 45’s, expansion teams were filled with the worst of the worst. Has-been’s and never will-be’s. When Jerry Koosman induced Davey Johnson to fly out to Cleon Jones in LF on October 16, 1969, that sealed what has become known as a ‘Miracle.’ The Mets had been a laughing stock for seven seasons. Now in their eighth year, they shocked the baseball establishment. It was partially considered a miracle due to the fact that an expansion team had risen from the depths of futility to the summit of the mountaintop in just 8 years. No team had ever accomplished so much in so little time.

Darryl Strawberry (L) with Mets General Manager Frank Cashen.

Those were the days, my friends…

Baseball was also different in 1980. Frank Cashen took the GM reins and promised within five seasons the Mets would be winners. It took seven, but by that fifth year, the Mets were in a pennant race for the first time in a decade. And although there was no immediate improvement in our won-loss record, one could sense the darkness lifting. The optimism in 1982 was far greater than it was in 1978, though our win total was similar. Free Agency was in its infancy when Cashen took over. Yet, in his third season, he signed one of the premier hitters in the league, George Foster, and teamed him with the return of Dave Kingman. Suddenly, two of the most prolific home run hitters in baseball were in Flushing. In Cashen’s fourth year, 1983, he brought back Tom Seaver, mostly for publicity and to boost attendance every fifth day. He acquired a proven winner in Keith Hernandez. And Darryl Strawberry, Cashen’s first pick in the 1980 draft, made his debut.

Can you picture Alderson acquiring an impact player like Keith in 2014, his fourth year? Do we have someone equal to Darryl coming up next year, followed by another Dwight Gooden the year after?

In 1962, it took a while because the nature of the game dictated that. Same goes for 1980. In today’s environment it does NOT take several years to win. If a team wants to win—and win quickly—it is attainable. Yet, Sandman is applying 1980 rules to the 21st century.

In 2012, Boston won 69 games and finished 26 GB. The following year their win total increased by 40% and they became World Champions.

Cleveland won only 68 times in 2012. In 2013, they were victorious 92 times and found themselves in the post-season.

2010 saw the Dodgers, whose front office was a dysfunctional mess, finish below 500, 12 games back. In just three years, the Dodgers had the defending World Champion Giants buried by the All-Star Break on their way to the post-season.

The 2010 Pirates lost over 100 games. In three years, after hiring a new manager with a proven track record of success, the Pirates increased their win total–57 to 72 to 79 to then 94, good enough to play in October. In three short seasons, the Pirates have transformed their team from a joke to where they are now poised to challenge STL for many years to come.

These teams can turn things around quickly. But the Mets cant?

The Marlins, in just their fifth season, became Champions. They’ve won the same number of championships in 21 years as we’ve won in 52 years.

Tampa Bay made their debut in 1998 and floundered for their first decade. Yet, in Baseball’s toughest division—with no fan support and playing in a small market–they’ve made it to the post-season four times in the last six years. The Rays have appeared in as many post-seasons in six years as the Mets have appeared in the last 28.

The Diamondbacks came into existence in 1998. The very next year they were division champions. And two years after that, in just their fourth season, they captured the World Series. The D-backs have won five division titles in 16 years while the Mets have won the same amount of division titles in 52 years. The D-backs started with NOTHING and won it all in four years. Alderson started with Reyes, Beltran, Dickey, K-Rod and Pagan. Yet, three years later, we are worse off.

alderson sandy wilpon

“Don’t worry, son. Sandy has a plan that will ensure you’ll keep the Mets.”

Enter Sandman in 2011. The Mets needed to only fill a two maybe three holes. Three years into the Alderson regime, we don’t have a closer, are still trying to find a shortstop, still searching for two starters (they have no plans to replace Harvey, any two rags will do), have an unsettled situation at first base, and our outfield is a bigger mess than my bedroom when I was seven years old.

Could any of you have imagined that after three years, that Chris Young, Ruben Tejada and Eric Young will all be everyday players?

So again I ask, “Why? Why do we need to wait for ‘the plan’ whereas fans in Boston, Tampa, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles and Phoenix do not?

Unlike Pittsburgh, where things improved dramatically in three seasons, in Flushing things have gotten worse over that same time. In 2010, the Mets won 79 games. Since Alderson’s arrival, our wins have dropped to 77, 74 and 74. And lets face facts. If it wasn’t for Matt Harvey in 2013, we would have lost close to 100 games. With three seasons in the books, Alderson’s Mets have averaged 75 wins, 24 games out of first, and own the longest string  of consecutive losing seasons in baseball.

For five straight seasons, of which the three most recent Sandy (AKA The Fixer) has been at the helm, the Mets have finished under 500. The last time the Mets have had such a dubious stretch was 1962-1968. We did post six consecutive sub-500 seasons from ’91 to ’96 and seven from ’77 to ’83. However, those stretches included strike-shortened seasons and no one can guarantee the Mets would have finished below 500 in 1981 and 1994 for a full 162 games. (The Mets concluded the abbreviated 94 campaign just 3 games under.)

And honestly, does anyone think 2014 will end our streak of irrelevancy?

empty seats citi field turner

Where did all the Mets fans go? Where’s Mets Twitter?

Another telling sign of the Alderson regime is not only the decreased TV ratings but also the declining attendance. In five seasons, Mets attendance has shrunk by 33%, dropping from nearly 3.2 million in 2009 to just over 2.1 million this past season. This is the first time in team history attendance has decreased five straight seasons. But that’s what happens when you get rid of ‘The most exciting player in baseball’, Jose Reyes, and expect to pack in the fans with the human windmill, Ike Davis and the King of Grittiness, Justin Turner.

If Alderson wants to save money AND get fans back to Flushing, why not bring Ron and Keith down from the booth? Sure, Ron may be 53 but since only Dillon Gee won more than 9 games, I’m sure Darling would be a good #3 at least. Ronnie—put down the microphone and start loosening up! And after you walk through the Jackie Robinson Rotunda to your seat, who would you be more excited to see playing 1B: A 60 year old Keith or a 27 year old Ike Davis? 60 or not, I guarantee Mex would strike out less than Ike Davis. (Just joking…kinda.)

Frank Cashen had a “plan” also. And when his plan was put in place, he was the architect behind the most successful decade in team history. Sandy Alderson has a plan…though I’m not sure what it is. He wants to rebuild the team. I guess the way things are looking we should be ecstatic if the Mets finish 500. That may very well end up being Alderson’s claim to fame. If the Mets are lucky, Alderson’s legacy will be getting the Mets back to complete mediocrity. Even as of now, that seems like a major accomplishment.

Presented By Diehards

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Upon Further Review: The Mets Coaching Staff Mon, 25 Nov 2013 17:54:50 +0000 terry collins 2

When the Mets renewed Terry Collins‘ contract at the end of September once the season had concluded, it was also announced that the entire coaching staff would return as well. This announcement didn’t come as a huge shock, but it was conceivable due to the fact that the crew has been the same since the start of the 2012 campaign. There has been criticism, praise, doubt, hopefulness, hopelessness, and devotion to the staff, but it still raises the question, Does the Coaching Staff Deserve to be Here? Let’s find out.

Bob Geren, Bench Coach

Bench coach Bob Geren was hired back in October in 2011, coming off a five year tenure as manager of the Oakland Athletics and replacing Ken Oberkfell. Although not completely favored among his players, Geren finished with a winning percentage just under .500 in over 700 games managed. As bench coach, he is responsible for assisting the manager in making late game decisions and serving as his right-hand-man, if you will. In my opinion, I don’t see anyone more certified than a former manager to fill that position. So I say Geren is fine in that role going forward. Another plus to his resume is Geren’s 289 games played at catcher in his major league career, coming up with a fielding percentage of .992 for the Yankees and Padres. I believe that is an extreme upside for Travis d’Arnaud and others going forward. And also, before every game this past year (home and away, including Spring Training), Geren and that day’s starting catcher, whether it be John Buck, Anthony Recker or others, would go out to the bullpen and practice blocking balls in the dirt and other catching tactics. I think that relationship between player and coach is absolutely invaluable.

Dan Warthen, Pitching Coach

Longtime pitching coach Dan Warthen was hired in 2008 when the managerial position changed hands from Willie Randolph to Jerry Manuel, replacing Rick Peterson. Warthen is well liked around the clubhouse and in the front office, always a plus. Pitchers say that he prepares them well for starts and he is one of the best coaches they have worked with. Obviously something has to be going well if Warthen is about to begin his sixth full season on the job, and the numbers don’t tell much different. From 2007 to 2008, the Mets pitching staff improved in ERA, strikeouts, complete games, SO/BB ratio, and H/9. Although Peterson was well liked by players and fans, Warthen was a nice improvement. I say Dan Warthen deserves to be here, and possibly for the long term, as his contract runs through the 2015 season.

Dave Hudgens, Hitting Coach

The 2011 signing of Dave Hudgens as hitting coach was, to say the least, surprising, considering he played in just six major league games, connecting on one base hit in seven at bats. It is obvious that the Mets offensive production has been down over the past few years, but is Hudgens really to blame? Although Marlon Byrd says that he deserves credit for reconstructing his swing, David Wright‘s production went down from 2010 to 2011, as did Angel Pagan and (although there may have been other reasons) Jason Bay. Hudgens is well liked by players, and he is the lone Mets staff member that participates on social media (@dmhudgens), but I think the Mets could do better when it comes to their hitting coach; there has even been talk of the Mets adding an assistant hitting coach.

Tim Teufel, Third Base Coach

Longtime fan favorite Tim Teufel rejoined the Mets in 2012, when he replaced Chip Hale as the third base coach. Teufel had been around the organization since 2001, but had not been with the big league club since his playing days from 1986 to 1991. Teufel brings with him eight years of minor league managing experience, compiling a 464-562 record in that span. His best year came in 2003 with the Brooklyn Cyclones, when they finished with a 47-28 record, winning the New York-Penn League. Personally, I love how aggressive Teufel is in the third base coaching box. He is never reluctant to send runners, and even when you think he made a bad decision, the runner is usually safe at home plate. Like I said before, Teufel is well liked by the fans, so I don’t believe his position will be in jeopardy any time soon. I’m looking forward to seeing Teufel in the coaching box on March 31st.

Tom Goodwin, First Base Coach

Tom Goodwin was only six years removed from his professional playing career when the Mets signed him in 2012 as the first base coach. Goodwin played 13 years in the major leagues with the Dodgers, Royals, Rangers, Rockies, Giants, and Cubs. His duties as a coach include “handling the outfielders and baserunning instruction,” according to the Mets media guide. Goodwin committed only 22 errors in 1,288 career games and went 369 for 487 on stolen base attempts, so he passes that test. Goodwin also frequently communicates with runners at first base (unlike Ricky Henderson, who I once saw talk to only a single runner during a nine inning game — that runner was Ramon Castro), so he passes that test too. So Tom Goodwin can stay for now. Any objections? Okay, let’s move on.

Ricky Bones, Bullpen Coach

What are the duties of the bullpen coach? To chart pitches and pick up the phone in the ‘pen? Who couldn’t do that? All kidding aside, Bones brings with him 11 years of big league experience split between seven teams. During this time, he posted an ERA just south of 5 and finished with 19 more losses than wins. Can we bring Guy Conti back?

Who doesn’t love a ‘stache like that? And a name like Ricardo Bones? Priceless.

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Giants vs Mets: Harang Goes Up Against Cain, Centeno Starts At Catcher Wed, 18 Sep 2013 20:15:37 +0000 aaron harang

Giants (70-81) at Mets (67-83)

RHP Matt Cain (8-9, 4.24) vs. RHP Aaron Harang (0-1, 4.50)

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Starting Lineup

  1. Eric Young, Jr. – LF
  2. Josh Satin – 3B
  3. Daniel Murphy – 2B
  4. Andrew Brown – RF
  5. Lucas Duda – 1B
  6. Juan Lagares – CF
  7. Ruben Tejada – SS
  8. Juan Centeno – C
  9. Aaron Harang - RHP

On Wednesday night at Citi Field, Cain faces the Mets, looking for just his ninth win of the season after finishing the 2012 campaign sixth in National League Cy Young Award voting. The right-hander is in jeopardy of not reaching double-digit wins for the first time since 2008.

Aaron Harang is making his second start for the club. He pitched well over six innings in his last outing, giving up three runs on four hits with 10 strikeouts. But he couldn’t avoid the long ball, surrendering three of them in an eventual Mets loss to Washington.

Game Preview

The Mets dropped the series opener to the Giants last night as both starters struggled. Matt Cain will get the start tonight for the Giants as he goes up against Aaron Harang making his second Mets start. On the whole, Harang is 5-12 over 126.1 innings with a 5.70 ERA over 23 games. As a Met, he pitched 6.0 innings allowing 4 hits with 3 ER. He has made 18 starts and pitched 115.0 innings in his career against the Giants with a 3.13 ERA. The Giants have the following numbers against Harang:

Pence 10-33, 2B
Sandoval 4-23
Scutaro 2-14, 2B
Pagan 3-11
Posey 4-8, 2B, HR
Crawford 1-6
Belt 0-5

Matt Cain is 8-9 over 28 starts this season logging 169.2 innings with a 4.24 ERA. He has pitched 37.2 innings in his last 6 games with a 3.13 ERA. He had a poor start against the Mets in July where he was pulled in the first inning after allowing 3 ER over 0.2 innings. The Mets have the following numbers against Cain:

Young 2-14
Murphy 3-10, 2B
Tejada 3-8, HR
Baxter 0-3
Duda 1-3, 2B

Lets Go Mets!

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Wheeler Struggles Against Former Team, Pagan Has Big Night In 8-5 Giants Win Wed, 18 Sep 2013 04:42:07 +0000 zack wheeler

The Mets (67-83) lost 8-5 to the Giants (70-81) on Tuesday Night

Zack Wheeler took the ball for the Mets, but struggled with his command against the team that traded him back in 2011. Wheeler managed to work around a leadoff walk in the 1st, but 4 walks in the 2nd (including one to the pitcher with the bases loaded) allowed the Giants to put up 3 runs in the 2nd inning.

New York fought back against former Met Yusmeiro Petit, getting a run in the 3rd before taking the lead in the 4th behind RBI hits from rookies Wilmer Flores and Matt den Dekker. MdD ran himself off of the basepaths by taking a reckless turn around 1st after his single, but the ensuing rundown ultimately allowed the go-ahead run to score.

The next inning, Wheeler’s 6th walk of the game helped Buster Posey drive in the tying run with a grounder to Murphy. In the 7th, Angel Pagan  gave the Giants a lead they would never relinquish with a long homer to left. San Francisco tacked on 2 more in the 8th and 1 in the 9th.

wilmer flores lucas dudaThe Mets tried to put together a rally in the bottom of the 9th, but after Daniel Murphy‘s RBI single made it a 3-run game, Lucas Duda and Andrew Brown both flied out to end it, giving the Mets yet another loss.

Wheeler was very disappointing today. He ended up going 5 innings and throwing 107 pitches, giving up 4 runs on only 3 hits thanks to a whopping 6 walks.

In case you’re wondering why Yusmeiro Petit left the Mets, we traded him for Carlos Delgado during the 2005 offseason. Remember when we used to make moves for impact players? According to our front office, “significant steps to improve the roster” are on the way, but given the track record of the Wilpons and Sandy Alderson when it comes to being honest, I am quite skeptical.

Speaking of Sandy, Angel Pagan really killed us tonight, driving in three, walking twice, and leaving the yard in the 5th. I guess the Andres Torres experiment didn’t work out. And whatever happened to Ramon Ramirez?

Travis d’Arnaud left the game early with a sore shoulder after being hit by a foul ball. His propensity for injuries is quite frustrating given that he is seen as our teams “future”, but hopefully he’ll be back tomorrow or Thursday. We have to hope that these injuries truly are all freak injuries— injuries that are not an indicator of an injury-riddled future for the young catcher.

Wilmer Flores also left the game early. Terry Collins said that it was mostly a lineup move, but Flores did seem to be having trouble with his ankle again. On the bright side, he swung the bat well today, as did his fellow rookie Matt den Dekker.

How great was Jerry Seinfeld tonight? The handful of innings he spent in the booth with Gary, Keith, and Ron were gold… the Mets might want to try to get him on the air a bit more often.

The year is winding down, and it’s really getting pretty ugly. Again, each loss helps us in terms of our draft pick, and it looks like we will be able to sign a top free agent without losing that pick this offseason… if Sandy is so inclined. Let’s see what “The Plan” has in store for us. Sandy has been talking about 2014 for so long that he must improve the team this winter… or else.

The biggest Mets news of the day? Matt Harvey might be able to avoid Tommy John, which is great, assuming that they are responsible and don’t let him pitch if it will put his long-term health at risk.

The Mets will try to even their series against the defending champions tomorrow. Aaron Harang (0-1, 4.50 ERA) will take the mound against Matt Cain (8-9, 4.24 ERA) at 7:10 PM in Flushing.

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Emotional Trade: Torres 2012 for Pagan 2013-2016 Wed, 03 Jul 2013 14:00:55 +0000 Last year, the Mets whiffed on a trade that brought Ramon Ramirez and Andres Torres to New York in exchange for Angel Pagan.

The deal was supposed to deal one of the Mets many outfielders, for a need which was middle relief and also bring in a veteran outfielder to fill the gap. Ramirez never lived up to the expectation of being a quality reliever, but was the trade really a whiff when you look back on it?

Pagan was set to be a free agent and he was coming off of his worst season as a big leaguer. The deal is what it is right? We all saw Pagan celebrate a World Series championship, and of course that created short term memory loss for many. As though having Angel Pagan on the 2012 Mets would have made that much of a difference.

Fast forward to the winter, and Pagan cashes in on a 4 year deal with the Giants worth $45 million while the Mets cut ties with both Ramirez and Torres. The contract was reminiscent of the Aubrey Huff contract the Giants signed after their 2010 championship. Why the Giants didn’t offer Pagan a qualifying offer first, I have no idea.

After Pagan signed his deal, many Mets fans thought of what could have been. Maybe they should have brought Pagan back in after the terrible year Torres had?

In case you had not noticed, Angel Pagan just had surgery on his hamstring following a tear and is out for at least 12 weeks following an injury he sustained during a rehab game. Pagan played his last big league game on May 25th when he strained his hamstring.

What’s interesting to note here is that Pagan earned himself a 4 year deal worth millions of dollars, meanwhile Andres Torres was brought back to San Francisco on a 1 year deal worth $2million and Torres is not only on the field, but he’s performing equally as poor as Pagan did prior to his injury.

In Pagan’s 46 games with 204 plate appearances he is shockingly similar to Torres’ 67 games with 207 appearances at the plate.

Pagan 30 3 24 15 25 .262 .314 .374 .688
Torres 23 2 18 14 46 .268 .314 .379 .693

I’m glad we get to see players like Juan Lagares patrolling the outfield rather than Torres, but the truth of the matter is – if Pagan had his same 2012 season in New York, there would have been a public outcry to offer him an extension similar to what the Giants offered.

At the end of the day, it looks like Pagan had a career year at the right time.

Since they appear to be awfully similar players both offensively and defensively, I can comfortably say I’d rather suffer through Andres Torres in 2012, than Angel Pagan from 2013-2016.

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Summer Clearance: Possible Trade Strategies For The Mets Sat, 25 May 2013 13:00:20 +0000 Although many months remain in what has thus far been a troubling season, it is not too early to consider trade strategies that could best leverage the assets presently on the Met roster. Not that a white flag has officially been flown, but barring a near- miraculous leap in the level of offense from the current roster along with the cloning of a certain pitcher with the initials “MH,” it would seem a safe bet that there isn’t going to be a fight for playoff tickets in Flushing this fall. Not that I don’t expect an improved level of play from this team at some point this summer. After all, the 2001 team that has been referenced lately as the last one to tumble to 10 games under the .500 as early as this year’s version managed to reverse course strongly enough to finish 2 games over. Still, the team as presently comprised is clearly out-gunned in most phases of the game not only by their primary competitors for the division crown, but by most of the league.

 Fielding a team that can win enough to hold back the onset of apathy in the fan base is a standard goal for a front office engaged in rebuild mode. Failing that, constructing a roster that features young, exciting players that provide the promise of greatness to come can compensate to a degree, an approach that has been used before during the “Bring Your Kids to See Our Kids” campaign of 1979 and again in 1983 when the slogan “Catch Our Rising Stars” was employed to communicate the same enticement.  It is possible that the law of averages alone will dictate a better level of performance by certain key players (guess who) and the team overall as the season progresses, but it will likely coincide with the arrival of Messrs. Wheeler and D’Arnaud. At that point, we may be looking at a roster that has undergone some significant changes.

In the last piece in which I speculated about Met trade possibilities, I concentrated on potential targets for the team to pursue by leveraging their apparent surplus of pitching prospects. Today I intend to look more closely at trade chips on the major league roster, probable suitors for their services, and some possible acquisition candidates. Some of this may represent examples of wishful thinking, but I have striven to keep things realistic.

latroy hawkinsBULLPEN: Seriously? Other than Bobby Parnell is anyone really going to want these guys? Well, contending teams are typically looking to shore up their relief corps with veteran arms, and capable left-handers are always a desirable commodity, so yes, I expect some interest to be shown in the Met Fire Brigade by at least a few teams. With “veteran” being a key word here, one should assume that the more senior members of the bullpen staff will be shopped and will generate a goodly amount of interest as long as they remain reasonably effective. LaTroy Hawkins, Brandon Lyon, Greg Burke, Scott Rice and the rehabbing Tim Byrdak all fit the bill of future marketable trade fodder, Rice’s “older rookie” status notwithstanding. Just about any contending team qualifies as a possible destination for these players, but those with the most obvious need at this point include Tampa Bay, whose bullpen is ranked one notch from the bottom in all of MLB despite their being only 4 games out of first at the time of this writing, and St. Louis, currently in first place in the NL Central but with a bullpen ranked fourth from last and only one tick higher than that of the Mets.

Relievers  are among the more transient assets in baseball (as Met fans can attest), so the payoff in trade is generally a prospect or two of less than stellar quality, with quantity often compensating for the relative lack of star potential. These players often come from AA and below, so I don’t foresee much in the way of quick fix material arriving in any hypothetical deal that could materialize. However, with the philosophy and track record of the Alderson team being what it is, we can expect that any return package obtained by New York will include at least one prospect that merits a flyer.

shaun marcumSTARTING ROTATION: Not that the Mets have any to spare, but as starters  are at a premium at all times, you can’t rule out the possibility of someone making a good enough offer to pique the Sandman’s interest. The only candidates I can truly envision going in a deal of this nature would be Shaun Marcum, who would probably have at least a couple wins by now on a team with a decent offense, and  Jon Niese, whose youth, left-handedness, experience, highly affordable contract, and relatively successful track record make him a highly marketable chip. Clearly the team will not be looking to deal Harvey, and Gee’s inconsistency and injury history are not likely to interest many looking to arm up for a stretch drive.

Teams with the greatest need in this area include Baltimore, Oakland, San Francisco, and Colorado, all of which are either leading their divisions or in contention despite having starting staffs that rank lower than that of the Mets (thanks largely to Mr. Harvey), and other than the Rockies (who barely escape this distinction) are firmly in the lower 33% of MLB rotations. Trades of this type usually involve pitching going in both directions, where one team swaps inexperienced, often erratic arms full of promise for the hoped-for consistency and veteran mound presence that can help carry them to glory. Of course, teams also deal from strength, so, recognizing the Mets’ shortage of viable outfield options, it is probable that trade partners with a surplus in this area will come calling.

Baltimore’s highest rated prospect is pitcher Dylan Bundy, but both his injury status and outrageous potential pretty much exclude him from the picture. Their best AA pitcher, Kevin Gausman has already been promoted to the big club due to their desperation for starters. He’s a big hard-throwing righthander with a terrific K/BB ratio and any deal involving Niese would have to include him in my opinion. After the whole Wheeler/Beltran thing, Brian Sabean might not be as anxious to do a deal with the Mets so soon after, but outfielder Gary Brown is pretty well blocked by in their system by Angel Pagan so there appears to be a fit. Oakland’s top outfield prospect is Michael Choice, a corner outfielder with the kind of power bat the Mets crave. Colorado has Kyle Parker at AA, an outfielder who profiles similarly to Choice, but is probably at least two years away.

rick ankielPOSITION PLAYERS: Before you start, even if there were any takers on Ike now, which is questionable, I’m not inclined to sell low on anyone. Anyway, I’m still looking for him to snap out of it. No, the real potential trade chips here are the veteran outfield bats of Marlon Byrd and the surprising Rick Ankiel (provided he keeps it up), along with the soon-to-be superfluous John Buck and the versatile Daniel Murphy. Of this group, Murph is probably the most valuable, being able to adequately man three infield positions and going through the occasional unconscious period at the plate where line drives materialize out of his bat seemingly at will. Speculation has already arisen that the Nationals could look to acquire him to replace the ineffective Danny Espinosa.  Knowing the Alderson approach, he would likely ask for Washington’s top outfield prospect Brian Goodwin, a five-tool CF currently at AA Harrisburg, but trades between division rivals are tricky and I’m not sure even Sandy could pry him away. A more realistic target would be AAA CF Eury Perez, a speedy leadoff type whose slot in the big club is held down by recent acquisition Denard Span.

Buck is attractive to teams for his veteran presence, defensive prowess, and occasional power, but I wouldn’t expect him to command a big return. Byrd and Ankiel profile as the type of players teams acquire to strengthen their benches for the stretch run, but again, the return on trades of this type are not likely to include anything of top-tier value. We will have to put our faith in the scouting ability of Alderson, DePodesta, et al to help insure that something useful comes back on this end of any deal.

The Mets are clearly in transition mode and changes are to be expected. Hopefully we can all glean some excitement from those shifts even if we have to wait longer for the eventual payoff. I just hope the wait isn’t too much longer.

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This Is How The Mets Bullpen Should Be Made Fri, 01 Feb 2013 18:47:37 +0000 latroy hawkins

It was announced yesterday that the Mets signed 40-year old LaTroy Hawkins to a minor league deal with an invitation to major league Spring Training. He joins a plethora of veteran relievers to receive the same deal including Tim Byrdak, Aaron Laffey, Pedro Feliciano and most recently Scott Atchison. In recent years, the Amazin’s have tried to fill the gaping hole in the bullpen by signing big-name arms that haven’t gone as expected or making trades that have backfired.

Unlike building other factors of a team, the bullpen is not necessarily something that can be solved by going on a spending spree, because short of Mariano Rivera or Jonathon Papelbon, there aren’t many bonafide elite arms in relief. This is mostly because relievers are such a crapshoot and fluctuate so greatly from year to year in performance.

Just look at Ramon Ramirez for the Mets last season. Prior to 2012, Ramirez had at least 65 innings pitched and an ERA south of three each of the four previous seasons. His less effective years in 2006 and 2007 came at Coors Field with the Rockies, so take his career 4.45 ERA in Denver with a grain of salt. What seemed to be a solid effective reliever from 2008-2011, was anything but with the Mets in 2012. He seemed like such a steady arm for the Mets, so consistent that the front office was willing to part with Angel Pagan in return for a reliable go-to arm out of the ‘pen, and it blew up in Sandy Alderson’s face.

In addition to Ramirez, K-Rod, J.J. Putz, Sean Green, Hisanori Takahashi, Jon Rauch, Frank Francisco, D.J Carrasco, and Ryota Igarashi represent some of the Mets major relief acquisitions in recent years. Short of a solid season out of Takahashi and an up-and-down year from Rauch, the Amazin’s haven’t fared all too well with the large-scale relief deals.

This is not to say that signing big-name relievers are a mistake, but in my opinion carry a higher risk; not in the sense that they are at a higher risk for failure, but require a higher commitment to acquire them. That could be in the form of a 3-year $37 million deal or by trading someone like Angel Pagan or Mike Carp. The aforementioned arms that Alderson has signed have just as much of a chance for success or failure as the more well-known relievers, only they come with little to lose if things don’t pan out.

The 2012 Oakland A’s came into the year without Andrew Bailey, Brad Ziegler or Craig Breslow. With the exception of Grant Balfour, the bullpen was entirely comprised of no-names and cast offs, primarily acquired via a minor league deal, as prospects via trade, or from the farm system. This collection of misfit toys took a bullpen that last year had a 15-25 record, and ranking 18th in baseball in ERA, to a squad that produced 30 wins compared to just 14 losses and ranking second in the AL only to the Rays with a 2.94 collective ERA.

forrest gump

The fact of the matter is, relievers are like a box of chocolates; and not the kind you send to Jose Reyes. You never know what you’re going to get. Who is to say Jeremy Affeldt or Sean Burnett will have better seasons than LaTroy Hawkins or Pedro Feliciano?

Last winter, Alderson tried to go the conventional route, and it produced the worst bullpen in baseball. Now trying a different, more selective and educated approach, this bullpen could be something that doesn’t draw adjectives such as “atrocious” and “appalling”. Or at the very least, in the words of Sandy:

“I’m not sure how we can end up with a not-improved bullpen.”


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Sunday Morning Grind: The Future Has Arrived Sun, 18 Nov 2012 15:32:02 +0000

The Mets are on a mission to upgrade their catching position and somehow figure out their outfield configuration before the ump cries “Play Ball” on Opening Day. Offensively, the Mets ranked the worst in MLB at both positions. Defensively, I’m not sure, but suffice it to say it was pretty awful. On that note, scratch Torii Hunter and Melky Cabrera off the available outfielders list, and Gerald Laird and David Ross off your catchers list. Those were a few of the less expensive options some saw the Mets targeting, but the market is developing faster than the Mets are.

From the “Outfielders The Mets Will Never Sign” department, Angel Pagan could sign a new deal before the start of the Winter Meetings on December 3, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The Phillies, Braves and Nationals are all very interested in the former Met and are talking. Rosenthal adds that the Giants are not totally out of the picture yet on Pagan. All three teams are also talking to free agent B.J. Upton. The former Rays center fielder has already been wined and dined by the Braves and Phillies, and he could be meeting with the Nats before the holiday weekend.

Sandy Alderson talks a lot about building the Mets brand. I guess the goal is to ensure we don’t wind up like Wonder Bread and Twinkies.  He said the following on Friday night to a group of aspiring lawyers at the Ivy Sports Symposium at Columbia University.

“You have to divorce the interest of the institution from your personal interest, and sometimes it’s difficult to do that,” Alderson said. “It can be extraordinarily difficult sometimes. From my standpoint, it’s about the long-term interest of the franchise. That doesn’t mean that everything is decided in terms of the longer view. What may be in the best long-term interest of the franchise is to go out today and do something dramatic and make every attempt to win today, to build the brand, to re-establish the brand, to sort of re-establish the legitimacy of a franchise.”

When Alderson says “sometimes you have to do something dramatic and make every attempt to win today”, is he talking about the Mets? Because it certainly doesn’t look like he’s doing or has done anything dramatic with the Mets to win today. That’s something only the other 29 teams are trying to do. Oh well, lawyers talking to lawyers, who can believe anything that comes out of that… :-)

For all of you believe we are moving in the right direction, good news… Single game tickets go on sale tomorrow at 10:00 AM. Do your duty and support the tremendous effort it has taken to get this team where it is today. Keep your hopes alive for a bright future and make sure to support the cause and let Sandy know you’re proud of him. Put your money where your mouth is my friends and go enjoy some exciting Mets baseball in the process. And on that positive note, I wish you all a wonderful Sunday. Only 12 weeks until pitchers and catchers report. :-)


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MMO Fair or Foul: December 6, 2011 – A Day That Will Live In Mets Infamy? Tue, 10 Apr 2012 15:35:26 +0000

Here’s an interesting take on why the Mets are off to a 4-0 start as written by our friends at SprungOnSports. Read on and then tell us whether you agree or disagree.

On December 6, 2011, Mets GM Sandy Alderson signed relievers Frank Francisco and Jon Rauch and acquired Ramon Ramirez along with CF Andres Torres from the Giants for Angel Pagan. Alderson is one of the smartest men in baseball. He knew he would not be able to have an advantage over other teams with a juggernaut offense or a dominant rotation. But with so many relievers available last season, Alderson realized he could assemble a quality bullpen for a bargain basement price.

What difference has the new bullpen made so far? In games decided by two runs or fewer last season, the Mets went 34-40. When over 45 percent of your games are that close, a couple of key bullpen acquisitions could go a long way. New York went 4-7 in those tightly contested games last April. They’ve won the first four thus far. An immense amount of credit should be given to Alderson for big time moves that were considered an afterthought at the time.

So how is the trio of Francisco, Rauch and Ramirez doing so far? In 9 1/3 innings, they are 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA, three saves, two holds, four hits and two walks allowed to go with six strikeouts. They have been crucial components of all four wins thus far, all close wins. – Read the entire post at

I was one of those who was very critical of the Jon Rauch signing for $3.5 million. He looked excellent last night – dominating actually. Francisco has already racked up three saves in three opportunities.

Of course there’s two sides to every story…

December 6th was also the day the Mets lost Jose Reyes for good. In fact the timing of these other moves for relievers came less than two hours after Jose Reyes officially became a Marlin. To the second. Both the Rauch and Francisco signings, as well as the Angel Pagan trade, all happened within a 15 minute window and seemed concocted and orchestrated to deflect the incoming fire from the Reyes aftermath. So were these signings just a happy coincidence? A pleasurable little side effect nobody was really counting on?

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What The Mets Didn’t Tell You About Pagan Trade… Fri, 09 Dec 2011 15:05:20 +0000

Amazing… No mention of this detail until today. I guess Mets fans are not on a need to know basis under this very covert front office operation.

A Tale Of Two Cities

I investigated Rubin’s claim and here are the Mets and Giants versions of the Press Release:

The distortion and smokescreen with the Mets continues, and some prefer to believe Reyes’ version of events over the Mets who have been nothing but extraordinarily shady to say the least.

Anyway, according to several reports, new Mets center fielder Andres Torres is a nice guy with a great story. He’s sounds very excited to be joining the Mets and is looking forward to having a solid year next season after a disappointing season in 2011.

“I’m excited to go to New York. I grew up in Puerto Rico, but I’ve got a lot of family there, too. Last year, I battled a few injuries, but this year, I’m going to be ready,” Torres said, referring to an Achilles strain that cost him much of April and a right leg contusion that knocked him out for another two weeks in August. “[The 2010 season] was big, we won the World Series and I had a big year. I was a big part of that. I know what I can do. I’m going to go strong, and I’m going to do my best out there.”

Awesome… Welcome to New York, Andres… I hope you have a tremendous debut and a fantastic season in 2012… Heaven knows we need it…

A word of advice though… please get your on-base percentage above your career mark of .312 especially if your going to bat leadoff. I know it’s always difficult to improve the older a player gets, but many 34-year-olds have beaten the odds before and you can too.

Both Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins mentioned Torres as the probable leadoff hitter in 2012. ”He has those attributes to lead off if he’s performing offensively at the level he did in 2010,” Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said.

That’s wishful thinking…

I saw a post on MetsBlog yesterday extolling all of the virtues of Andres Torres along with reactions from Giants fans who wished him well and poured out their ever-lovin guts for him. Even I was touched by the raw emotion on display and the heart-warming sentiments… Now back to baseball and reality…

Here are some more comments from Giants fans in the press release featured on the Giants website.

AlwaysONB – From an offensive standpoint, I kinda like this trade. Pagan has proven himself as a good base-stealer, so he’ll probably end up taking Torres’ leadoff spot. He’s not exactly a power threat, but he can still get on base and not get picked off once a week like Torres seemed to do last year.

BustaBusta - This is a great trade. Sure, Ramirez was great, beyond great in fact, but we have 3-4 other guys in the bullpen who can get the job done just as well as he did. The Giants can afford to get rid of Ramirez. Also, all these arguments about Torres being a fan favorite are no reason to keep him. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Torres as a person, but really a .221 avg. He is not a starter, nor will he be in New York. Pagan, on the other hand, is a potential .280 hitter, who can play all outfield positions. Additionally, he can be a true leadoff hitter, which the Giants have been lacking for the last several years (with the exception of 2010). Overall, great trade.

HondoLane – I know I am going to get some heat for this, but I love the trade.  Torres was a very inconsistent hitter (and base runner) even in the WS year and the Gs were going to have to open their wallets to retain Ramirez, who admittedly is a loss. However, Pagan can play…  He is a fine hitter (and good in the clutch), a great base stealer (32 steals in 39 attempts this past year), and like Torres, is aggressive and competitive.  He also doesn’t strike out much, unlike Torres.  The Giants really needed a proven lead-off hitter and they got a very good one…  I’m happy.

GiantsCommenter – People…..Torres would not even have made the team this year.   Essentially, this was a swap of a nice set-up reliever for a starting, speedy lead-off hitter (and in case you haven’t noticed, there aren’t a lot of those around). This was a nice trade for both teams because the Mets needed to upgrade a pathetic bullpen and the Giants needed to get a good lead-off hitter.  Mission accomplished.

TheWillies – The Giants get a career .280 hitter who steals 30 bags and averages 80 runs a year.  That’s a significant upgrade over Torres.  This is the kind of lineup The Giants should have been running out there — one built for the dimensions of AT&T Park.  Speedy gap hitters who steal bases.  It’s a formula that worked well for the ’80s StL Cardinals.

There’s a flipside to everything…

Mets fans, meet Alex Cora err, Cory Sullivan, err, I mean Andres Torres, your replacement for Jose Reyes at leadoff. By the way, who else fell off their chair when Sandy Alderson said Andres Torres was “gritty”?

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Alderson Had a Good Day Wed, 07 Dec 2011 14:37:04 +0000 Last night I couldn’t go to bed after a long day because for the first time since Alderson became GM it seemed as though a plan of sorts was being unveiled.

Before anybody assumes anything, I don’t think anything that happened last night was phenomenal, I just think it was a sign of moving on, and an actual plan for 2012.

The biggest move was the trade of Angel Pagan for Andres Torres and Ramon Ramirez.

I like the trade for a few reasons. Mainly, Pagan and Torres were likely to be non-tendered. Torres+Ramirez likely equal what Pagan would have made so right there you have a smart financial move with baseball reasons behind it.

Second, I don’t expect Torres to be some magical hitter, or even better with the stick than Pagan. What I do expect is that he will be a much better fielder. I’ve been saying that for the Mets, and mostly any NL team I’d prefer the roster be built with strong bats at the corners, and defensive minded at 2B/SS/CF and somewhere in the middle behind the dish.

Don’t think the moving of the fences is a mistake with Beltran and Reyes gone. Citi Field still will be a pitchers park, but players like Wright/Davis/Bay are “expected” to perform at an even higher level than they have, when you add Duda to the mix you have 4 players who could have been negatively affected by the fences, who with that small move are now considered an upgrade.

If you get more production out of 3B, LF alone, you’ve made up significant ground on the loss of a full year Beltran and Reyes. The worst word when building a team is “if”, but right now that is all you can hope for with the Mets corner stars. If Duda can play 140+, If Davis is really healthy, if Wright and Bay can get their head on straight.

Torres in CF should make Bay and Duda better in the OF, assuming Duda is the starting RF. The other thing I like about Torres is that Giants fans liked him. When a player of his offensive caliber is “liked” by the team’s fans that tells you something. Here’s a quote from a friend of mine,

“I like Torres a lot. Great guy, great glove, lots of speed, a little pop, and draws walks. Strikes out a lot and probably won’t hit for average. Split the difference between his career year in 2010 and his disaster last year and you still have a pretty valuable player given his gold glove D and the walks. He has struggled with ADHD his whole life and it sounded like the Giants were worried about that and lost faith in him last year.”

The ADHD thing is interesting. Something I haven’t heard reported regarding this trade. His words as a fan like you or I speak to me because he clearly has an appreciation for the way Torres plays the outfield.

Then from McCovey Chronicles

“The love letter to Andres Torres will come. He is, and always will be, one of my favorite Giants of all-time. I’ll miss him, even as I appreciate that Angel Pagan is a pretty good player.” Grant Brisbee

You don’t love a player like Torres unless he plays hard right?

In 2010, Andres Torres was awarded the Willie Mac award by the San Francisco Giants, which is given to the player who best exemplifies the spirit and leadership consistently shown by McCovey throughout his long career, voted upon by the players and coaching staff.

If you don’t love the sound of that, considering the Giants won the World Series in 2010 then I can’t convince you to appreciate Torres.

I’m not saying I love Torres but when you pair him with a very capable middle reliever, how can you not be pleased with the trade?

I think there is still a divide between the fan base, and that divide is going to linger until one half of us gets over the fact that Jose Reyes is not a NY Met. Every move made from Reyes signing to the end of Alderson’s reign can’t be paired with “if they had signed Reyes.”

It’s time to move on, I’m not saying you shouldn’t be disappointed that Reyes is gone, I’m saying no amount of bickering or complaining is bringing him to Citi Field except as a Miami Marlin.

Alderson can’t replace Jose Reyes right now, it’s not realistic. So the best thing he can do is move on, and find ways to improve the team in other weaknesses.  In 2011, the bullpen racked up 27 losses for the Mets. Rauch/Ramirez/Francisco should “on paper” decrease that total.

As fans we have a choice to make, either move on, or become Randy Quaid in Major League 2.

Alderson proved with his actions last night a few things:

#1 He is capable of making an impact trade that isn’t superstar or big time prospect driven. The Pagan for Torres/Ramirez deal was a creative one. The easiest deals to make are X Superstar for X Prospects, and have a nice day.

#2 He is concerned with 2012, if he wasn’t there would be no reason to bring in 3 veteran relievers in 1 day. Nobody can come here and say as of this morning Alderson doesn’t care how many games the Mets win in 2012.

#3 Information on exactly what they are trying to do with player movement is not going to be leaked, they are holding their cards close to the vest and I like it.

I like the moves because they aren’t flashy, but they are significant. It showed me that Alderson isn’t here to just trade everybody or let every player walk.

It also showed me he recognized what I’d say was their biggest weakness and he did his best to fix that problem while not exhausting his budget.

As a Met fan it’s time to get behind that concept.

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Angel Pagan Traded To Giants For Andres Torres and Ramon Ramirez Wed, 07 Dec 2011 06:23:40 +0000 24 hours after the bittersweet news that Jose Reyes had signed a six-year, $106 million dollar deal with the Marlins, Sandy Alderson decided to get Mets fans minds off of Reyes and back to baseball, by orchestrating a flurry of moves climaxed by a trade that sent center fielder Angel Pagan to the San Francisco Giants for reliever Ramon Ramirez and outfielder Andres Torres.

Torres is coming off a disappointing season after a breakthrough season in 2010, and at 33 years old he’ll be hard-pressed to rediscover that form at the plate. Defensively he is above average at all three outfield spots and also has good speed which will come in handy at Citi Field.

The steal of the deal for Alderson might be Ramirez who may now be the leading contendor for the Mets setup role in the bullpen, and he can also close if the need arises. The 30-year-old righthander had a 2.66 ERA in 66 appearances for the Giants last season.

Both Torres and Ramirez are in their final year of arbitration and will become free agents after next season. On the surface the deal looks like a good one for the Mets and even if Torres ends up becoming a fourth outfielder, I still like the deal because of how badly the Mets needed a reliever like Ramirez in the bullpen.

As for Angel Pagan, he got his shot and lets face it, he blew it. He regressed in the field, at the plate and on the base paths. Pagan, 30, hit .262 with 32 steals and a .322 on-base percentage in 2011 after having a career year in 2010 with a .290 average, .340 OBP, 11 home runs, 69 RBIs and 37 steals. He also became a problem in the clubhouse and had become a loner who was always pouting.

All in all, a good deal.

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Alderson Has $10-15 Million To Spend On 17 Roster Spots Mon, 05 Dec 2011 21:48:46 +0000 This afternoon in Dallas, Sandy Alderson told reporters that the Mets have between $20 and $25 million to spend this off-season, but that range includes paying Mike Pelfrey and Angel Pagan who will likely earn roughly $10 million in arbitration.

That leaves approximately $10-15 million to spend on 17 other roster spots.

It also means, Alderson must have misspoke again when he said that payroll would be the same with or without Reyes. That’s happening a lot these days.

Yep, it’s as I’ve said all along, an $85 million payroll in 2012, $70 million in 2013.

How does Fred sleep at night?

Sandy will be with Mike Francesa at 5:45 PM.

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Hot Stove: Angel Pagan Being Shopped? Fri, 25 Nov 2011 23:10:14 +0000

A couple of days ago Metsblog’s Matt Cerrone shared what he has heard regarding the teams plans for Angel Pagan. As many of you already know Pagan is a non-tender candidate this off-season. However many NY Beat Writers have already put out stories that the team plans to tender Pagan a contract for 2012. Cerrone reports that the talk around the team is that the Mets would like to tender him a contract, then trade him to a team with pitching to dangle.

Cerrone did not specify whether the team would look for starting pitching or bullpen help in a trade for Pagan, however he did imply that it may be a starter. The team would then use the money they saved on Pagan to sign a CF replacement. Names like David DeJesus, Nate McLouth and Rick Ankiel are all possibilities. However do not count out a trade for a CF either.

It’s also fun to speculate on what Pagan could fetch in trade. Obviously his value is down after a poor 2011 campaign. The Mets probably could have landed a much better pitcher in exchange for Pagan after last season when his value was at an all-time high.

Teams That Could Be Interested In Pagan

Athletics -

Brandon McCarthy and Joey Devine could be discussed.

Rays -

Jeff Niemann could be discussed.

Nationals -

Tom Gorzelanny and Collin Balester could be discussed.

Rangers -

Scott Feldman, Michael Kirkman and possibly Colby Lewis could be discussed.

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Sandy Makes The Right Call On Pagan Sat, 19 Nov 2011 15:07:05 +0000 Welcome Metsmerized readers. My name is Drew and I’ve been a lifelong Mets fan since 1972, a season which began with tragedy after the death of beloved manager Gil Hodges. On the field, we got off to a great start that season with Yogi leading the way and the addition of Willie Mays, but eventually the injuries became too much to overcome (Staub’s injury killed us) and Jim Fregosi, who we traded Nolan Ryan for that offseason ended up being a huge flop. It was a lot like 2009 in that everyone had us pegged as favorites that year. We finished in third, but 1973 was just around the corner. I look forward to my experience writing for this great one-of-a-kind Mets blog.

So far, this offseason has been quite dull for those of us hoping to see the Mets get out in front of the competition while seeking to improve on their third consecutive 4th place finish in the NL East. The new GM however, prefers a slow and measured approach – opting to let other teams set the market for prized shortstop Jose Reyes, and also allowing rival teams to pick through the prime offerings while we wait to sift through the slim-pickings that remain at the end.

We saw this same approach last offseason. We were told the team was hand-cuffed and that they had little to no flexibility to do more, and they were right. “Next offseason will be much different”, they said, but by the looks of it, it’s not. In fact when you consider the potential loss of Jose Reyes, the only difference is that it might be worse.

One area that I felt needed improving this Winter was centerfield. For the last seven years, we didn’t have to worry too much about that position, but with Beltran now gone and his replacement Angel Pagan failing to deliver and actually regressing in 2011, it would seem an obvious area for the front office to improve upon. If all the reports of the last few months were true, the front office was not at all pleased with the prospect of another season with Pagan as the everyday centerfielder, but this week we learned that they’ve decided to tender him and risk having to pay him in upwards of $5MM dollars for 2012. What happened, why the sudden change of heart?

On the surface it would appear that this was a head-scratcher, at least it was for me. But I read an article by Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger that shed some additional light on this and in the end I agreed with the direction the Mets chose to go with regarding Pagan. First a quote by Sandy Alderson on the matter,

“I think Angel gave us quite a bit that maybe was underappreciated. Maybe the defense was not up to his expectation or even ours. But he gave us some speed on the bases. He filled in I think reasonably well for Jose Reyes when he was out…So if we have Angel in center field to begin next season, we’ll be happy with that.”

Pagan is no spring-chicken, he’ll be 31 next season, and he spends an awful amount of time nursing injuries throughout his career, but when you compare him to some of the other available centerfield options as McCullough did over the last three seasons, here is what you see:

Take a look at the center-field market, and how these players have performed since 2009:

Rick Ankiel: .235/.297/.378, .296 wOBA, 2.2 fWAR
Coco Crisp: .262/.326/.396, .332 wOBA, 7.0 fWAR
David DeJesus: .277/.349/.417, .334 wOBA, 8.5 fWAR.
Grady Sizemore: .234/.314/.413, .317 wOBA, 1.9 fWAR

And here’s Pagan: .284/.336/.422, .336 wOBA, 9.3 fWAR.

Don’t ask me what the numbers at the end are, I haven’t a clue, but the batting average, on-base and slugging work just fine for me and tells the story. Pagan has clearly outperformed the competition, can steal bases, is cheaper, and there’s a good chance he could see improvement both on offense and defense.

Alderson is making the right call here.

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Mets Plan To Tender Pagan, But Could Be Priced Out On Capuano Tue, 08 Nov 2011 03:20:45 +0000

In a post to Twitter, Jon Heyman of said that the Mets plan to tender Angel Pagan a contract before the December 12 deadline. If he is non-tendered, Pagan will become a free agent, opening up a spot in centerfield.

It’s no secret that the Mets have soured on Angel Pagan, but with nobody in the organization ready to step in and take over center field, the Mets are kind of stuck.

Then there’s the strong possibility that Adam Rubin hit the nail on the head when he said this could just be the Mets posturing for some extra leverage as they look to trade Pagan this offseason. One team that could have used him was the San Francisco Giants, but they already traded for Melky Cabrera earlier today.

Pagan is now 30, and is coming off a season that saw him hit .262 with a .322 OBP, seven home runs and 32 stolen bases in 123 games played. He earned $3.5 million this past season, so his salary could be $4.5 to $5 million in 2012 if he returns.

Jon Heyman also reported that the Mets are most likely to poor to bring back starting pitcher Chris Capuano whose desire for a two-year deal may be too rich for the Mets taste as they try to keep it under $100 million this offseason.

* Alderson confirmed that payroll for 2012 will be between $100-$110 million, but it was later learned that that figure included the payroll for next June’s draft class and bonuses. Realistically, the Mets will come in at around $95 million to begin the new season.

Well aware that Capuano would be seeking a multi-year deal, Alderson has already shelved any negotiations him and with other Mets free agents until late in the offseason.

My guess is that Capuano will end up getting a 2-year/$14 million dollar deal from someone this Winter. The left-hander was 11-12 with a 4.55 ERA in 33 appearances for the Mets last season, but more importantly he avoided the DL and got stronger as the season wore on, saving his best starts for the last few weeks of the season.

The only two year deal the Mets doled out on a free agent last offseason went to reliever D.J. Carrasco, and that turned out to be mistake. Don’t expect any multi-year deals this offseason as the payroll crunch will be even tighter than last year with almost $50 million dollars slashed and one third less resources to work with.

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Giants Trade Sanchez To Royals For Melky – Missed Opportunity For Mets? Mon, 07 Nov 2011 18:50:34 +0000 According to the the Kansas City Royals, the team has acquired LHP Jonathan Sanchez and Ryan Verdugo from the San Francisco Giants for centerfielder Melky Cabrera.

Sanchez, 28, is up for his third year of arbitration elibility (and final year of team control), and would have made something like $5-6MM through the process.

Cabrera, 27, is up for his fourth year of arbitration elibility (he’s a Super Two), and could earn as much as $4MM this offseason.

Sounds like a pretty even deal to me.

I wonder if the Giants would have been interested in Angel Pagan?

Pagan is easily a better defensive centerfielder than Melky, and offensively they are statistical clones:

  • Cabrera career slash: .275/.331/.398
  • Pagan career slash: .279/.331/.418

Pagan also would have given the Giants an extra year of team control.

I know this would have left the Mets in a precarious position in center field with few in-house options, but it may have been a good precursor to other similar type moves or even open them up for a run at Grady Sizemore – who shouldn’t be too costly and has infinitely more upside than Pagan if he’s healthy.


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From Left Field: The Status Quo Fri, 14 Oct 2011 00:05:27 +0000

With the World Series just around the corner, the MLB offseason hot stove can’t some soon enough for us Mets fans.

But just like last offseason, the Mets will likely be watching as the other NL East teams improve while they sit tight.

The team is looking to shed payroll rather than add it, so we might just have to stick with what we’ve got yet again.

On paper at the beginning of 2011, the team didn’t actually look so bad. However, once the injuries set in, the Mets came back down to earth.

On the whole, Terry Collins and Mets overachieved last season based on how things could have turned out.

In 2012, the team on paper—assuming there are no major free agent signings or trades—will look weak. But we might just have to bite the bullet and hope for the best.

With Jose Reyes likely on the way out and trade talks swirling around David Wright, this team will be forced to rely on unsung heroes.

Ike Davis will be at first, Justin Turner at second, Ruben Tejada at short and Wright at third, but if he’s traded then Daniel Murphy fills in at the hot corner.

Jason Bay will be in left based on the huge contract. If he can pick up where he left off this season, then that wouldn’t be so bad.

Question marks surround Angel Pagan in center. He’s a prime non-tender candidate. Rick Ankiel could be a potential option to fill in.

As of now, it seems Lucas Duda will be the team’s everyday right fielder. We’ve seen what he can do with the bat in short spurts, but how will he handle 600-plus at-bats?

Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas will be the catching tandem, with Thole getting the bulk of the playing time.

The pitching staff is a completely different animal. Hopefully, a healthy Johan Santana can carry the starters, and the team can afford one of the many talented closers available on the market.

Let’s not get too set on this lineup, since it is still only October. Maybe the Mets will surprise us all by bringing back Reyes and maybe making a play for lefty starter C.J. Wilson. But the odds of bringing in one let alone both are extremely slim.

So Mets fans, maybe the status quo of this team can be enough to compete—likely not for a division title or a wild card but at least the .500 mark.

That may not be good enough for some fans, but the road back to relevance has to start somewhere.

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B.J. Upton For Daniel Murphy? Mon, 03 Oct 2011 02:55:54 +0000 The season is over. Once again the Mets failed to reach the postseason. Nothing new, and certainly not surprising. Time to start looking toward the offseason.

Would B.J. Upton make sense in CF for the New York Mets in 2012?

Centerfield will be a wide open position for the Mets in 2012. While I don’t think Non-Tendering Angel Pagan is a good idea, it may happen. I think Pagan is at least a valuable 4th OF. However his talent may not equal what he gets awarded in arbitration. If the Mets feel that is the case he is a goner.

Upton has been on the trading block for awhile now. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Maybe both. There’s no secret Upton has a cocky personality that has clashed with teammates in the past (see Longoria spat). That can be a toxic substance to bring into a clubhouse that made great steps forward in 2011. However that toxic substance can hit for a power. And right now the Mets badly need an influx of power.

Upton’s 2011 Batting Line- .243 AVG, 23 HR, 81 RBI, .429 SLG, 71 BB, 161 K* in 560 AB

Obviously the average leaves a lot to be desired. Pagan hit .262 in 2011. The strikeouts are also WAY to high. However he hit 23 HR this season. Not to mention he has shown he can take the ball out of Citi Field at will in the past. Now with the dimensions being altered and walls coming down a tad, Upton will surely flourish at Citi Field.

Defense is also a big key to Upton’s game. He has quick legs and has shown the ability to cover his position well. Could be a nice replacement for Angel Pagan in Citi Field’s spacious CF.

Murphy’s 2011 Batting Line – .320 AVG, 6 HR, 49 RBI, .448 SLG, 24 BB, 42 K in 391 AB

Murphy could play a variety of positions for the Tampa Bay Rays. He can mainly play 1B while alternating at DH. He could even spell Evan Longoria at times at 3B from time to time.

While I’m not sure if the Rays would say yes to a straight up swap of Upton for Murphy. I’m quite positive they’d say no. Murphy is coming off back to back seasons where he was injured. More than likely the Rays would ask us for another piece to even out the trade. One name I like is Fernando Martinez. He’s still young despite his constant injury problems that have haunted his young career. If he can get it together he still has potential to be a mediocre MLB player.

Would Rays say yes to a Murphy/Martinez for Upton swap? I think it’s possible. At very least Murphy is a starting point in talks.

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