Mets Merized Online » Prince Fielder Tue, 17 Jan 2017 22:12:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Mets Fall 3-2 in Extras Despite Johnson’s Heroics Thu, 11 Aug 2016 03:41:36 +0000 bartolo colon

The New York Mets (57-56) were defeated by the Arizona Diamondbacks (47-66) by a score of 3-2 Wednesday night at Citi Field. The Mets remain 2.5 games behind the second NL Wild Card Spot.


Bartolo Colon started for the Mets this evening and pitched very well, allowing one earned run on seven hits and one walk in seven innings, striking out eight. He left with the Mets losing 1-0 halfway through the 7th. The game started off interestingly when in a first and third situation, the Mets recorded a fun 1-3-6-5 putout on Jean Segura attempting to score from third.

Addison Reed came in for the 8th and was greeted rudely by Jean Segura who cranked a double to right-center field. Michael Bourn bunted him over to third and then Paul Goldschmidt drove him in with a sac fly down the right field line. He also struck out one in the inning.

Erik Goeddel came in for the 9th to keep the Diamondback’s lead at 2-0. He walked the first batter then induced a fly out, before Terry brought in Jonathan Niese to face the lefty Socrates Brito. He got a tailor made double play ball, on which Neil Walker made a perfect feed to Wilmer Flores at shortstop, however he dropped the ball on the transfer and Brito was safe at first. Luckily the next pitch was a flyout to end the inning.

Jeurys Familia came in to preserve the tie score in the 10th, with Granderson moving to left and pinch hitters Kelly Johnson and Alejandro De Aza staying in at shortstop and center field respectively. After a quick Rickie Weeks strikeout, Jean Segura nubbed a ball down to the rookie Rivera at third, who charged and made a throw on the run to first. The throw was low, but James Loney made a phenomenal pick to get the speedy Segura by a hair.

Michael Bourn then lined a base hit to right, bringing Paul Goldschmidt to the plate. Bourn stole second, the D-Backs’ fourth stolen base of the evening, but it wouldn’t matter as Familia struck out Goldy with a 98 mph sinker. He stayed in to pitch the 11th and allowed only a base hit to Chris Owings.

Jerry Blevins came in to pitch the 12th, and after getting ahead 0-2 to the leadoff batter, served up a solo home run down the left field line to Oscar Hernandez, the first of his MLB career. He then recorded three quick outs, the last of which on a great leaping catch by Kelly Johnson at short to rob Michael Bourn of a base hit.

kelly Johnson


T.J. Rivera‘s first major league at bat came in the second inning with the bases empty and two outs. On a 2-2 pitch, he hit one hard up the middle, however it caromed off the pitcher Robbie Ray‘s leg towards the third baseman Jake Lamb, who threw him out at first. A classic 1-5-3 putout to start his career, welcome to the Mets T.J.!

The Mets’ bats were silenced most of the game. Ty Kelly, Neil Walker, and Jay Bruce all had singles, but that was it.

Losing 2-0 in the 9th, the Mets had 9-1-2 due up to bat. Alejandro De Aza pinch hit for the pitcher and drew a 6-pitch walk. Curtis Granderson then struck out on a 2-2 slider for the first out, de Aza still at first. Kelly Johnson was then called upon to pinch hit for the left fielder Ty Kelly. He got ahead 2-0 and then demolished an inside fastball three rows from the top of the Coca Cola Corner in right field to tie the game.

Lefty Adam Loewen was brought in to face Neil Walker, now with the score tied at two with one out in the 9th. Walker worked the count to 3-1 before he seared a base hit up the middle, his second hit of the game. Jay Bruce then hit a slow grounder to second, on which Jean Segura didn’t really seem to play with a sense of urgency. He didn’t charge the ball and was left without a play at second, and tossed to first for the out, moving Walker into scoring position.

Righty Daniel Hudson came in to face Wilmer Flores, who flew out to left field for the third out. On to extras!

T.J. Rivera led off the bottom of the 10th with his first major league hit, a one-hopper straight to Michael Bourn‘s crotch. Travis d’Arnaud then popped up a bunt attempt for the first out. Lefty Steve Hathaway was brought in to face James Loney, who grounded out to the first baseman, advancing Rivera to second with two outs. De Aza then flew out to center to end the inning.

Against Randall Delgado in the 11th, Curtis Granderson grounded out to the second baseman for the first out, and after working the count full, Kelly Johnson struck out looking at a high change up. Neil Walker then nubbed one against the shift to third, however the shortstop Owings, playing near the bag, made a nice play to throw Walker out at first and end the inning.

Losing 3-2 in the 12th, the Mets had Jay Bruce, Michael Conforto, and T.J. Rivera due up. Bruce flew out to left field, despite a shaky Rickie Weeks‘ making it look difficult. Up came Conforto, who entered in the double switch which brought in Jerry Blevins. He struck out, bringing rookie T.J. Rivera to the plate. He would not be the hero in his debut, however, as he flew out to center field to end the game.


Verizon Trivia Question: Who has saved the most Bartolo Colon wins?

6-Time All Star and 3-time Silver Slugger Prince Fielder today announced he will not be able to play baseball anymore and has ended his career. Fielder, 32, was for a while one of the most feared hitters in the game. He finished his career with a .283/.382/.506 slash line with 319 home runs and 1028 RBIs. Playing 11 seasons for the Brewers, Tigers, and Rangers, he averaged 33 HRs and 104 RBIs per season.

I just want to reiterate that T.J. Rivera‘s first MLB hit went straight into Michael Bourn‘s crotch. Can we get the SNY stat guys to find out if that’s happened before?

The Mets have still not won a game trailing after 8 innings this season.

Verizon Trivia Answer: Jeurys Familia (18 Saves)

On Deck:

Tomorrow at 12:10, the Mets will send Noah Syndergaard (9-6, 2.64 ERA) to put the hammer down on the Diamondbacks and Braden Shipley (1-1, 4.15 ERA) at Citi Field.

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MMO Fan Shot: March Madness Mets Style! Wed, 18 Mar 2015 13:07:30 +0000 VITALE
“It’s Mets March Madness, Baby!!!”

An MMO Fan Shot by Spencer Barnes

In honor of the phenomenon that brings grown men to tears, turns underdogs into Cinderellas, and makes young children look smarter than ESPN analysts, I present to you March Madness—New York Mets edition. In the spirit of all things optimistic, let’s call it the Bracket of Hope. Basically, the top (“Elite”) eight reasons why Mets fans should be excited about this year’s edition of the team. (We will begin at the Elite Eight because, c’mon, even the Nats don’t have 64 reasons to be hopeful.)

The Elite 8


Like every good tournament, this one has a Cinderella. For as much attention as all of the Mets’ young pitchers get (which will be discussed later), the organization does have some underrated minor league hitters that could certainly make contributions come mid-to-late summer. Should injuries or performance force presumed starting shortstop Wilmer Flores out of the lineup for an extended period of time, Matt Reynolds is an option. Like Flores, shortstop is not Reynolds’ natural position, but the transition to it has been relatively smooth for him. Hitting a combined .343 over 478 at-bats between AA Binghamton and AAA Las Vegas, there is reason to believe he can be at least an average major league shortstop. And while, barring an injury the chances are slim, there are whispers of him making the MLB roster out of spring training.

Dilson Herrera is another name that Mets fans will be hearing a lot of later this season and for years to come. Herrera got his feet wet in the majors in 2014, and with 2015 likely being Daniel Murphy’s last year in New York, he is the second baseman of the future. Despite his 5’10”, 150lb. frame, his 3 homers in 66 MLB at bats last season and .323 minor league average in 2013 provide glimpses of his offensive ability.

Catcher Kevin Plawecki is another player to watch. While lacking real power, he has been a .300 hitter each of the past two seasons in the minors. The Mets may have to make a decision between Plawecki and Travis d’Arnaud at some point (possibly as early as this year), and testing Plawecki at the major league level would provide some reassurance in deciding one way or the other.

Keeping all of this in mind, there will be no upset here. Harvey is the Kentucky Wildcats of this bracket, and he has a better chance of winning this matchup than the chances the world will ever see Jacob deGrom in barely more than a Speedo. When the Dark Knight made his first spring training appearance on March 6 (and his first “competitive” appearance since his injury in August 2013), the build-up to the game was described by some as a “playoff atmosphere.” I know I had a smile on my face and Prince Fielder-sized goose bumps on my arms when I saw him strike out the first batter he faced.

Bottom line: Harvey is the unquestioned ace of the staff, and though David Wright will always be the captain as long as he is a Met, Harvey has a certain swagger about him that cannot be matched. Harvey advances.


Next to Matt Harvey’s return, there is nothing more exciting about the 2015 New York Mets than a fully healthy David Wright. Being the no-excuses person he is, Wright is careful not to place blame on his shoulder for his, let’s just say, below average 2014 season. However, it was obvious that his injury definitely hindered his year. All reports regarding Wright have been positive, and barring any setbacks, there is no reason to think Wright can’t put up .290/ 20/ 80 numbers at minimum.

The only thing talked about more this offseason than this (white?) dress may have been the Mets’ shortstop situation. The consensus among the Mets fan base seems to be that anybody—Everett Cabrera, Stephen Drew, Ian Desmond, Troy Tulowitzki, Will Ferrell—would be a better shortstop than Wilmer Flores, regardless of what it cost to acquire them. I think I speak for the minority (and Aaron Rodgers) when I say, “R-E-L-A-X.” Yes, I realize Flo is not going to be the best defensive shortstop the Mets have ever had (although he has made a number of impressive, above-average-difficulty plays already this spring). But he should be at least serviceable, and should he hit like he has shown he can, he easily becomes one of the better players in the league at his position. Shortstop is not our strong suit, but it’s not a glaring weakness either. Wilmer should provide some hope for a possible playoff run this season.

Bottom line: Every avid college basketball fan knows the upset-potential of a 2-7 matchup. But in this case, David Wright survives and advances.


While each of these have taken recent hits to their overall potential dominance, they do both remain strengths for the Mets. Let’s begin with the starting pitching. The Mets are close to ten deep in terms of starters. Or at least they were until it was announced Monday that Zack Wheeler would have season-ending Tommy John surgery. This was supposed to be Wheeler’s year to shine, building off of his solid second half of 2014 (6-3, 3.04 post all-star break). Instead, we can only hope he will be ready by Opening Day 2016. So where does this leave the Mets? The hole left by Wheeler will be filled by one Dillon Gee, who seemed destined for the bullpen if all starters remained healthy. This move means that Rafael Montero should start the season as the long man in the pen, forcing one-fifth of what should be an extremely talented AAA rotation into the majors already. If and when another starter succumbs to injury, something we know is eminent (a team typically needs about 8-9 starters to get through a season), Wheeler’s injury ensures that either Noah Syndergaard or Steven Matz (an under-the-radar lefty who Las Vegas manager Wally Backman believes is a better pitcher than the highly-touted Syndergaard) will get a long look. Future Mets starter Cory Mazzoni could make an impact in the bullpen at some point this year, and Matt Bowman is an underrated prospect who could be that eighth or ninth starter in August or September.

New York’s bullpen is this tournament’s version of a team like Notre Dame; if they get hot and make their threes, they have proven they can beat teams like Duke and North Carolina. Can they go cold, completely fall apart, and lose by 30 to Duke? Without a doubt. One of the main goals of the Mets front office this offseason was to sign an established left-handed reliever to join Josh Edgin as the only two lefties in the bullpen. They failed to accomplish this, and Edgin, like Wheeler, has been lost to Tommy John for all of 2015. So… Sean Gilmartin? Jack Leathersich? Scott Rice anyone? Getting left-handed hitters out late in games could be a major problem. But hey, at least Adam LaRoche is out of the division! Jenrry Mejia and Jeurys Familia were dependable in 2014, but who knows if Bobby Parnell will be his old self right away when he returns from Tommy John himself?


The Mets make their metaphorical threes. Leathersich has walked 108 batters in 197.1 career innings in the minors, but has struck out 334 batters (15.2 K/ 9!) with a 3.42 ERA, illustrating just how unhittable he is if he can throw enough strikes. Dario Álvarez is another young lefty option to consider, and right-hander Vic Black proved to be more than adequate in late-inning roles last year. Black, Mejia, and Familia lock down innings six through eight, and Parnell comes back in May as strong as ever to shut teams down in the ninth. For as deep as the Mets are at starting pitcher, the bullpen is the wild card that will play an underappreciated role in the Mets’ playoff push.

Bottom line: If the pen can stay healthy enough and pitches as well as it can, it will be among the MLB’s best. The 6-seed pulls the upset.


Juan Lagares. Travis d’Arnaud. Wilmer Flores. The Mets offense is going to have to rely on young bats like these to make strides and become reliable hitters in 2015. It is going to be frustrating losing games 1-0 or 2-1 as the Mets will do often. However, if Flores can be what he is expected to be from an offensive standpoint, that will be enough from the shortstop position. Which d’Arnaud will we get this year? He was batting .180 before getting sent down to AAA Las Vegas on June 8. After getting called back up sixteen days later, it was a new d’Arnaud. His 10 homeruns and .272 average post-call up are proof that he has the ability to be an above-average catcher offensively. Center fielder Juan Lagares is the favorite to hit leadoff, which puts more emphasis on him growing as a hitter. If he is to be the leadoff man, the Mets would be thrilled with an average near .300 and 20 to 30 stolen bases. This may be a lot to ask of a 26 year-old outfielder whose calling card is defense (he won a Gold Glove in 2014), but it’s players like Lagares that are going to have to progress for New York to contend.

And how are these hitters supposed to get the most out of themselves?

The answer: new (and former Yankee) hitting coach Kevin Long. No one is expecting the Mets to score 900 runs this year and win every game 6-1. However, with the addition of Long, expectations have been raised in regards to offense. He is already receiving rave reviews from players like prospect Brandon Nimmo all the way to—wouldn’t you know it—former Yankee Curtis Granderson. One would like to think that reuniting Long and Granderson can get Curtis back on track toward his 2012 self (43 homers, 106 RBI). Another lefty power hitter who should benefit from Long’s presence is Lucas Duda. The only complaint about Duda’s 2014 campaign is his lack of production vs. left-handed pitchers, but the Mets will be thrilled with Duda should he put up identical numbers to last year (.253/ 30/ 92), and Long needs to make sure there is no drop off.

Bottom line: The Mets have the potential to be a solid team offensively this season due in large part to their young hitters. But the driving force behind these young hitters? Kevin Long. The 4 beats the 5 in a close one.


The Final 4

 Now you know all of the “teams” in the bracket and we have ourselves a Final Four. In honor of Virginia’s pack-line defense and possession-limiting offense used to run clock, I’ll try to give you a champion as quickly as possible. In the first semifinal…


I think we all know the way this one is going to go. If the Mets do end up in the playoffs, Kevin Long will no doubt have played a huge part in getting there. However, Matt Harvey is the team’s lynchpin; as he goes, the Mets go. If he returns to 2013 form, New York will have a legitimate Cy Young candidate and an extremely strong chance to win every five days. Every Final Four team needs its role players. But it’s the star that can put a team on its back and carry them to the Promised Land. And more importantly, in this “bracket of hope,” which gets you more excited: a 48 year-old hitting coach whose impact will only be truly noticed in the long run, or Matt Harvey? That’s what I thought.

Bottom line: The favorite advances to the final. Can Harvey complete his Kentucky-esque run?


The bullpen comes into the semifinals as the loveable underdog after upsetting the starting pitchers, but even VCU and George Mason’s magical runs eventually came to an end. With all of the power arms the bullpen possess, late innings should be just as exciting to watch as the earlier ones completed by starters like Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom. But let’s be real here; raise your hand if you cannot wait to see the true David Wright return to the field in 2015. There is no denying that Wright is on the wrong side of 30 and that his .302/ 33/ 104 days (2008) are behind him. At the same time, he is finally back to full health for the first time since early-to-mid 2014, and he should be able to be counted on as a leader off the field and one of the team’s best players on it. He is the only current Met that was a member of the 2006 Mets team that teased us with World Series hopes all the way until the bitter, Molina-and-Wainwright filled end, and a healthy Wright is a great reason to believe we can get there again.

Bottom line: For as important and fun-to-watch as this bullpen could be, it is no match for our captain. Wright vs. Harvey in the championship.

matt harvey ball

Championship Game

The Cinderellas were dangerous early. One even made a push into the Final Four. But when it comes down to it, it’s the big boys in the finals.


The classic Goliath vs. Goliath. If it were allowed, I would have seeded these two as 1Aand 1B. It should first be noted that the Mets were able to win 79 last season without Harvey throwing one pitch, and Wright being either injured or completely out of the lineup for the majority of the year. Anywhere near 30 starts from Harvey and 150 games from Wright are reason enough to think New York can make the jump to wild card contention and close to 90 wins. It’s not unreasonable to think they could each be Comeback Player of the Year candidates. Now, which return to prominence gives the Mets’ fan base more reason to be optimistic about the upcoming season? The winner is… Matthew Edward Harvey. He finally meets a formidable opponent this round, but his proven elite ability and superstar, “Dark Knight” persona put him over the top. (His 99 MPH fastball and newly rediscovered curveball don’t hurt either.) I fully expect to be able to tell which days Harvey pitches based on solely attendance numbers at Citi Field, and that’s something David Wright just can’t compete with. “Harvey Days” get Mets fans excited like nothing else can’t, and whether it’s Opening Day, the second game of the season, or the Mets’ home opener, the first regular season Harvey Day cannot come soon enough.

Bottom line: Congratulations, Matt. On a young team with so many points of hope, you are the greatest.

All statistics courtesy of

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This Fan Shot was contributed by MMO reader Spencer Barnes. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 25,000 Met fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to us at Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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Rangers Agree To Seven Year, $130 Million Deal With Choo Sat, 21 Dec 2013 17:48:33 +0000 Shin-Soo Choo

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports, that the Texas Rangers have agreed to a seven-year deal with free agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo worth a reported $130 million dollars.

Earlier this week, it was reported that Choo turned down a seven-year, $140 million offer from the Yankees before they signed Carlos Beltran, so this is not in the least bit surprising.

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels reportedly offered Choo a seven-year deal at the Winter Meetings, but no dollar amount was specified.

The former Reds center fielder will take his career .389 on-base percentage to Texas where he’ll provide plenty of RBI opportunities for newly acquired first baseman, Prince Fielder.

Choo, 31, batted .285/.423/.462 last season with 21 home runs, 54 RBI and 20 stolen bases.

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Mitch Moreland Could Be Future Target For Mets Sun, 24 Nov 2013 15:53:22 +0000 moreland

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe lists the Mets as a potential suitor for first baseman Mitch Moreland of the Texas rangers.

The Rangers have a history of first basemen moving on and creating new careers for themselves. The list includes Adrian GonzalezChris Davis, and Justin Smoak.

Now Moreland, who has tremendous raw power, seems to be available after the Rangers acquired Prince Fielder for Ian Kinsler.

Moreland could be a future target for the Mets (if they deal Ike Davis), the Rays (always looking for a low-cost guy), or the Pirates (in need of a first baseman). Moreland has shown signs of being a possible break-out guy, but it hasn’t happened yet. The next team may benefit.

Moreland set career highs in games played (147), home runs (23) and RBIs (60) in 2013, but his OBP fell to .299.

The Dallas Morning News reported that it was the third straight season below .325 for him after breaking into the majors with a .364 OBP in the second half of 2010.

Moreland becomes arbitration eligible this winter, so his salary will jump from $502,000 to more than $1 million.

An intriguing option to say the least…

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Could Rangers and Tigers Blockbuster Deal Impact Mets? Fri, 22 Nov 2013 13:39:46 +0000 I’ve seen a few blog posts out there in which a team analyzes how the recent Tigers-Rangers blockbuster deal impacts their individual team.

For example, how does this deal affect the Boston Red Sox? Or the White Sox? Or the Rockies?

So here’s the Mets’ view of the situation.


Let’s look at the facts: The Mets need a shortstop, and even after the blockbuster deal, the Texas Rangers have t

With Ian Kinsler heading to Detroit, all signs point to Profar moving to second base and Andrus – and his huge contract – remaining at shortstop.wo good ones (Elvis Andrus and Jurickson Profar).

But I’ve been hearing interesting rumors that could affect the Mets in some way. Even after acquiring a big bat in Fielder, the Rangers could be a potential destination to land this offseason’s top free agent: Robinson Cano.

Of course, a few things would have to fall into place for the Rangers to land Cano, the first of which would be a willingness to trade either Profar or Andrus.

Andrus has become a proven commodity at shortstop, but in order to commit at least $200 million to Cano, the team would have to move the bulk of the money due to Andrus, who signed an eight-year, $120 million contract early last April.

If Texas signed Cano, Profar would remain at shortstop, and the Rangers would easily have one of the best infields in the game with Fielder, Cano, Profar and Adrian Beltre.

Enter the Mets, who again need a shortstop. I’d much rather see this team acquire Andrus and take on the bulk of that contract than overpay for Jhonny Peralta or Stephen Drew.

In fact, the Tigers are looking at the possibility of bringing back Peralta to play third base, even though prospect Nick Castellanos is waiting in the wings.

Andrus is only 25 and has put together a good start to his pro career. He’s a two-time All-Star, a consistent base stealer and better offensively than any shortstop the Mets have run out there since Jose Reyes.

Defensively, Andrus has incredible range and one of the best throwing arms in the game. Sure, he’ll make some errors, but he’ll make up for them with turning infield hits into outs.

Andrus looks like a great fit for the Mets, right? Unfortunately, it’s not going to be easy to pry him away from Texas.

First, it’s not a given that Cano signs with the Rangers, especially with the Yankees still heavily involved.

But more importantly, the Mets and Rangers would have to agree to a trade. The only thing the Mets have to trade right now is a few promising pitching prospects.

Back when the Rangers had dominant teams of the mid-1990s, those teams were made up of all hitting and no pitching. But lately, the Rangers have had decent pitching staffs and appear set heading into next season.

Yu Darvish, Derek Holland, Alexi Ogando, Martin Perez and Matt Harrison (return from back surgery) should form the starting five. The team also has promising youngsters Nick Tepesch and Robbie Ross as insurance. Neftali Feliz is also an option as he continues his recovery from Tommy John surgery, though he might slide back into the closer role with Joe Nathan being a free agent.

So the Rangers’ pitching staff looks good. But catcher and at least one of the corner outfield spots would need to be filled. I doubt the Mets would trade Travis d’Arnaud to get Andrus, and the Mets have their own outfield problems to be worried about.

That’s why, as good as Andrus would look in a Mets’ uniform, let’s not get our hopes up too much.

The most likely scenario is that the Rangers keep Andrus at shortstop and try to sign one or even both of Brian McCann as the catcher and Jacoby Ellsbury as an outfielder.

But if you start hearing rumors that the Rangers’ interest in Cano is intensifying, that would at least mean there could be a light at the end of the tunnel for the Mets potentially making a deal for Andrus.

It’s OK to dream right?

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Are Mets Still Interested In Bringing Dice-K Back? Thu, 21 Nov 2013 20:18:13 +0000 Earlier this week I suggested things could heat up in the Hot Stove and this might be the time for the New York Mets to strike.

And, I didn’t mean Prince Fielder, or Brandon Allen for that matter.

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson agreed the other day things could get warm, but wouldn’t say how close he’d get to the “Stove.’’

“We have to be realistic about the market and not sort of deny the inevitable,’’ Alderson said. “If the market is as robust as it seems to be, I think we have to acknowledge that.’’

OK, he acknowledges it. Then what?

“And, consistent with that acknowledgement, if we’re going to participate, we have to recognize that,’’ Alderson added.

The operative word in all that was “if.’’

daisuke matsuzaka

Well, are the Mets going to participate? A robust market means spending and Alderson’s checkbook is still under wraps.

Alderson said the team has been more active, but that has to mean working the phones because we’re not seeing anything public outside of Allen, the departures of Mike Baxter and LaTroy Hawkins, and, of course, the ones who got away – or are about to.

Because we’re not going to see Matt Harvey outside of a courtside shot of him at the Knicks game Wednesday night, the Mets are in need of pitching first and foremost. I’m aware of the crying for a power outfielder and the need of a shortstop, but the Mets only have three starters. Nothing happens without pitching.

It would have been sweet to get Josh Johnson, but that wasn’t going to happen. Meanwhile, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Aaron Harang could get away. Late season pick-ups last year, both provided quality innings at the back end of the rotation. In a combined 11 starts, only twice – both times by Matsuzaka – did they not get out of the fifth.

Alderson said he wanted veteran innings at the back end, and these two are as veteran as you can get. And, what they gave the Mets is what they are seeking now. Sure, the Mets want to do better. But, better means spending more.

Matsuzaka pitched well in September after pitching coach Dan Warthen tinkered with his mechanics and got him to speed up his delivery. My concern is he pitched well enough for him to catch another team’s eye and might be willing to give him two years. The presumption is the most the Mets will offer is one year plus an option. That would mean the Mets would lose him.

It’s still November, and there’s plenty of time remaining, but that’s not the issue. It’s a matter of who will be remaining when the Mets are ready to do more than talk on the phone.


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Keep Dreaming Kernan Thu, 21 Nov 2013 16:06:58 +0000 robinson-cano3-540x422Robinson Cano is not the answer to the New York Mets problems.

A 31-year old free agent, Cano’s sticker price is somewhere around 10 years/$300 million. In fan speak that’s somewhere in the nosebleed section.

Which Major League Baseball organization is ready to invest in a player who will earn $30 million per season (assuming he earns $30 million per year) at age 38, 39, 40 and 41. The New York Yankees won’t. The Los Angeles Dodgers learned their lesson on trying to buy a championship; they’re not interested in Cano at that price. The Mets? Comical.

The dinner meeting between Jay Z, and Mets general manager Sandy Alderson is nothing more than hype. In fact, baseball insiders suggest the Mets are pawns in an attempt to get the crosstown Yankees to respond. No such luck.

The Mets are in no position to make an offer to Cano and here’s why: According to COT’s, the 2013 New York Mets payroll was $93,684,590. As reported, Cano is asking for $300 million over 10 years, or the equivalent of the Mets entire 25-man payroll over three years.

This is the “dream” that New York Post columnist is Kevin Kernan suggests fans and the organization buy into, both literally and figuratively? If so, recent history suggests such investments can quickly turn into a nightmare.

The Mets have to get into major buy mode … Dream along with me for a little bit more. Could you imagine if the Mets had Cano and Wright in the same lineup and how that would turn this town upside down … The Mets need to find a way to wipe away the face of failure that has been with them every day for years.

Two years ago, at age 31, Albert Pujols signed a 10-year, $240 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The deal was loaded with incentives above and beyond the $240 million guaranteed deal.

In 2001, Alex Rodriguez signed a 10-year, $252 million contract with the Texas Rangers. During his three years in Texas the team won 73, 72, and 71 games, finishing in fourth place every season. Rodriguez produced but the Rangers didn’t.

When the contract was signed, there was a lot of concern among not just Major League Baseball, but all sports for the dollars that were involved. In terms of what was going on in the economy and everything else five or six years ago, it really changed the economics across all of sport in a pretty dramatic way. What’s the real value of a player? — Harvey Schiller

The organization realized one player, regardless of his output, does not make a winner. Rodriguez — and his massive contract — were traded to New York.

I am certain the Mets human resources department is familiar with the residual effects of overpaying. Remember Bobby Bonilla? You should. He’s on the Mets payroll until 2035. Mind you, he hasn’t played in a major league game in more than a decade.

How about Prince Fielder? He signed a nine-year, $214 million deal with the Detroit Tigers prior to the 2012 season. Two years, zero rings and a lingering feeling in Detroit that this was a bad deal. As Jeff Passan at Yahoo! Sports noted in the aftermath of another disappointing post-season:

$46 million he made this year and last, and for the $168 million he will earn over the next seven seasons, and almost always the amount of money a player receives and the level of vitriol toward him for October letdowns are correlated … He is Prince Fielder, he signed the fifth-largest contract in baseball history and he will keep catching hell if he doesn’t start hitting.

Kernan added:

Remember the excitement when Mike Piazza was traded to the Mets from the Marlins. Imagine if the Mets could somehow pull off a deal to acquire someone as talented as Carlos Gonzalez or Giancarlo Stanton. The Mets would be a big-market team again.

Has Stanton made the Marlins a contender? No. In 2012 he was surrounded by Hanley Ramirez, Logan Morrison, Jose Reyes and Carlos Lee. The Marlins were loaded with great starting pitching: Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Ricky Nolasco, Carlos Zambrano and Anibal Sanchez. The Marlins finished in last place in the National League East — behind the beleaguered Mets.

Don’t misunderstand. The Mets would be a better team with Gonzalez, Stanton or Cano, but at what price? Let’s face it, it’s highly unlikely the Mets will be playing for a playoff spot in 2014. Will one high-profile player put them over the top? No. The Mets need a handful of young, major league ready talent, not an aging veteran or an overpriced big ticket free agent. Improve the overall team, get competitive — quickly — then add the final pieces, either by free agent or trade.

Robinson Cano would not make the Mets a “big market” team again. The Mets are a big-market team, performing at a minor league level and operating on a small market budget.

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Blockbuster: Tigers Trade Prince Fielder To Rangers For Ian Kinsler Thu, 21 Nov 2013 08:22:01 +0000 prince fielder

In a stunning move on Wednesday night, the Detroit Tigers  traded first baseman Prince Fielder to the Texas Rangers in exchange for second baseman Ian Kinsler.

Tigers are sending $30 million to Texas along with Fielder and the deal is pending the waiving of no-trade clauses and physicals.

Fielder, 29, is only two years into his $214 million mega deal he signed with the Tigers before the 2012 season. He gave the Tigers some bang for the buck during his stay, posting an .878 OPS. His trade will enable Detroit to move Miguel Cabrera back to first base, while freeing up money to retain reigning Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer who is a free agent after 2014.

Kinsler, 31, is entering the second season of a five-year, $75 million deal that runs through 2017. His departure opens second base for top prospect Jurickson Profar.

Here are some reactions from this blockbuster deal:

Jon Heyman, CBS Sports:

Detroit could use big prospect Nick Castellanos at third base, and move two-time defending A.L. MVP Miguel Cabrera to first base. That could be a plus for Cabrera, who had switched to third base with Fielder’s signing two years ago, given his physical issues in 2013. Even if Castellanos plays the outfield, it’s seen as likely Cabrera would move to first now.

Jeff Passan, Yahoo Sports:

Give lots of credit to Dave Dombrowski; the potential nightmare back half of Prince Fielder‘s nine-year, $214 million contract is no more. Instead, Fielder and the $168 million he’s still owed is gone after two mildly disappointing seasons in Detroit, with Ian Kinsler‘s more palatable deal coming back.

Jon Daniels, Rangers GM:

Dave (Dombrowski) called yesterday and threw out the concept. We had a little dialogue before on it. From there, David and I had a series of phone calls and both sides were interested and we got the money where both sides could live with it.

Matthew Pouilot, NBC Sports:

The Rangers get better on the field with the one-for-one deal, but it’s at a cost of inheriting one of the game’s worst contract. Most likely, Fielder will put up a better line next year than the .279/.362/.457 he hit while going through a divorce in a career-worst 2013 season. He’s just turning 30 in May, and while his body type suggests an early decline is quite possible, he probably has at least one or two more .900-OPS seasons in him.

Ron Washington, Rangers Manager:

Fielder has presence, He’s been a very productive player. He’s a winning player. I do believe he’ll fit well in this clubhouse.

Michael Rosenberg, Sports Illustrated:

Sometimes I think Dave Dombrowski should write a book about running a high-payroll baseball team, but I doubt any other general manager would buy it. Dombrowski does things that don’t make much sense, right until the moment they do. And to understand how deftly he has navigated a job that is more difficult than people realize, look at what Dombrowski did, from start to finish, with Prince Fielder.

Dave Dombrowski, Tigers GM:

We have been trying to create some financial flexibility. We’re in a situation where we have a lot of stars. They’re well-paid stars, and you can only have so many of those. It gives us some flexibility at the first base spot. I’m not really sure what we’re going to do here today with Miguel, but eventually we see him as a first baseman.”

Phil Rogers,

Reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer, who was acquired from Arizona in the three-team trade that sent Granderson to the Yankees, appears to be an obvious beneficiary of this trade. The Tigers couldn’t have anticipated Scherzer upstaging Justin Verlander a couple of years ago, but that’s what the right-hander has done. With Fielder and much of his nine-year, $214 million contract gone, Dombrowski has more flexibility to sign Scherzer to an extension that allows the co-ace to work alongside Verlander and Anibal Sanchez through at least 2017.

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We Developed The Pitching, Now It’s Time To Buy The Bats Tue, 15 Oct 2013 13:34:39 +0000 zack wheeler 3You don’t need me to tell you that pitching is what wins in baseball these days. However, the extent that pitching dominates the game may come as a bit of a surprise. The top-10 pitching staffs in terms of team ERA finished with an average record of 92-70 while the teams at the bottom combined to average a 74-88 record.

The last time that a team won the World Series after finishing above the league average in team ERA was the dreaded 2006 St. Louis Cardinals. With all of that said, the Mets appear to be in a good place going forward.

It’s hard to look past what David Ortiz and the Red Sox did in their comeback last night but prior to the 8th inning, Detroit had held the league’s top scoring offense to one run on three hits over 16 innings. There is premier pitching talent on display everywhere you look in the LCS and six of the eight starting pitchers have been home-grown.

Although the last few years have been a struggle and the present is still full of uncertainty, the Mets have set themselves up to succeed. A rotation of Harvey-Syndergaard-Wheeler-Niese-Gee is destined to succeed in this league and now that the front office has assembled a formidable young staff, the time has come to start surrounding it with the right pieces.

The evaluation process of home-grown position players has yielded discouraging results. If executed properly, 2014 could be looked at as the bridge between the past and the bright future. The front-office has a large enough sample size to judge the players that have contributed to their mediocrity over these past seasons. Sandy Alderson and his staff are experts but it doesn’t take a skilled professional to see that the likes of Lucas Duda, Ike Davis and Ruben Tejada will not hold significant roles on a winning team.

It’s time to get serious and surround a core of David Wright, Daniel Murphy, Juan Lagares and Travis d’Arnaud with a cast of reliable players.

The Mets need to create a standard that they can use to fill these vacancies. A winning attitude and an expectation of winning are important characteristics of any good team and something that the Mets lack. Even David Wright is a stranger to winning and held an entirely different role on the last successful Mets teams.

Detroit Tigers v New York MetsLooking around at the last four teams standing, each has high-end pitching talent and a lineup filled by players who identify with winning. Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder had only fleeting memories of success so Dave Dombrowski went out and got veteran Torii Hunter who introduced a new hunger that the talented Tigers roster lacked.  Boston rebuilt around their core players by adding Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino into the mix. St. Louis has a young team that only knows how to win and Los Angeles is full of veterans that have paved the way for their pitching staff.

If the Mets are serious about winning then they need to take this time to find their Torii Hunter. In a pitching-driven league, the Mets don’t need to fill all of their voids with sluggers. This team ideally needs one big bat to protect Wright, a catalyst that can get on-base and two veteran role players that that will bring leadership and a will to win.

The best approach may be to roll the dice on Jose Dariel Abreu, sign Shin-Soo Choo and sign or trade for a few intermediate/low-cost veterans along the way. The most important thing is not to sacrifice the teams young pitching in search of a bat.

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David Wright Nominated For Hank Aaron Award Mon, 07 Oct 2013 17:52:11 +0000 david wright

The New York Mets, Major League Baseball and MLB Advanced Media today announced that David Wright was named the club’s nominee for the 2013 Hank Aaron Award.  Fans can vote exclusively online at and

Wright, who was named to his seventh All-Star team (fifth as starter), led the Mets with a .307 batting average.  The third baseman hit 18 home runs with 58 runs batted in, despite missing six weeks with a right hamstring injury.  Wright homered in three straight games twice, and also passed Mike Piazza to move in to second on the Mets all-time home run list with 222. On June 23rd, Wright collected four extra base hits (two doubles, one triple and one home run) to tie the franchise record. Wright was named the fourth captain in club history by his teammates in March.

For the fourth straight year, a special panel of Hall of Fame players led by Hank Aaron will join fans in voting for the award, which is officially sanctioned by Major League Baseball and has recognized the most outstanding offensive performer in each League since it was established in 1999.

The Hall of Fame panel led by Aaron includes some of the greatest offensive players of all-time –Roberto Alomar, Johnny Bench, Tony Gwynn, Paul Molitor, Eddie Murray and Robin Yount.  These Hall of Famers – who combined for 15,581 hits, 6,902 RBI and 1,334 home runs – have all been personally selected by Hank Aaron to lend their expertise to select the best offensive performer in each League.

Through October 10, fans will have the opportunity to select one American League and one National League winner from a list comprising of one finalist per Club. The winners of the 2013 Hank Aaron Award will be announced during the 2013 World Series.

“It is a great honor that Major League Baseball recognizes the most outstanding offensive performer in each League with an award in my name,” said Hank Aaron. “The game is full of so many talented players today that I am thankful my fellow Hall of Famers and the fans assist in selecting the much deserving winners.”

Past winners of the Hank Aaron Award include: Miguel Cabrera and Buster Posey (2012), Jose Bautista and Matt Kemp (2011), Bautista and Joey Votto (2010); Derek Jeter and Albert Pujols (2009); Aramis Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis (2008); Alex Rodriguez and Prince Fielder (2007); Jeter and Ryan Howard (2006); David Ortiz and Andruw Jones (2005); Manny Ramirez and Barry Bonds (2004); Rodriguez and Pujols (2003); Rodriguez and Bonds (2001-02); Carlos Delgado and Todd Helton (2000) and Manny Ramirez and Sammy Sosa (1999).

The Hank Aaron Award was introduced in 1999 to honor the 25th Anniversary of Aaron breaking Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record, and, at that time, was the first major award introduced by Major League Baseball in more than 25 years.

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No End In Sight, Even As 2013 Comes To A Close Sun, 29 Sep 2013 13:30:31 +0000 whats the planWith Saturday’s loss, the Mets have clinched themselves a protected draft pick. However, it is starting to seem like this will be irrelevant. Reports on Friday indicated that the Mets do not plan on pursuing any of the top free agents, with the possible exception of Shin-Soo Choo, who will likely cost more than what the Mets seem ready to offer.

The Mets were horrible this season, so you don’t need anything but common sense to see that unless things improve significantly, they will be horrible next season as well. But does the Mets’ Front Office have the common sense or wherewithal to stand and deliver? If they do, I would like to see it.

Year after year I have watched this team put up with increasingly unbearable won-loss records while misleading their fans through the media to create an artificial sense of hope, asking us to ignore the crippling nature of their financial problems, and expecting improved results from a “plan” that I don’t believe exists. This was apparent yesterday, when news broke that the Mets plan on giving Terry Collins a contract extension despite the fact that the team’s record has gotten worse during each year of his tenure. It was apparent Friday, when news broke that the Mets do not plan to sign any free agents who would cost them a draft pick— even if their draft pick is protected. It has been apparent since 2009, when the Mets began a string of five straight seasons with fewer than 80 wins— a streak that will carry into and ever-more-possibly through 2014.

There is a reason why a team that won without spending money got a best-selling book and a movie starring Brad Pitt made about them: because it was such a rare occurrence. There is a reason why nobody bats an eye when the Yankees win one of their 27 championships, but everybody goes nuts when the Marlins make big offseason splashes and then finish last: because the teams that spend usually win. Big payrolls do not guarantee wins. Small payrolls do not guarantee losses. But I’d much rather take my chances with Prince Fielder than Brandon Nimmo, and if the Wilpons don’t figure out that most of the other passionate fans who have begun to stay away from Citi Field feel the same way, their revenue will continue to shrink.

In short, the Mets need a change. Bringing in guys like Collin Cowgill and then talking about their “advanced stats” does not constitute change. When you are losing, the only thing that constitutes “change” is winning. To win, you need a good rotation, reliable relievers, tight defense, a lights-out closer, and a mix of consistent contact hitters and dangerous power hitters. You also need health and depth.

If the Mets plan on 2014 being “the year”, they need to make major moves. The team needs to be open to overpay for certain players if that’s what it takes. They also need to be willing to be flexible enough to do what it takes to land star hitters on the trade market. Good players will not fall into their lap. The Mets have to go and get them, or else they can watch the team continue to lose games, attendance and relevancy year after year.

David Wright will be on the team next year. So will Matt Harvey, although he might not throw a pitch all season. Bobby Bonilla will also be on the payroll, and Terry Collins will again be in the dugout, for better or worse. Everybody else is a candidate to be traded or heading to free agency, so take a good long look at everyone you see on the field Sunday, because, if the front office is finally being sincere when they talk about “change”, it might be— it better be— the last time you ever see players like Omar Quintanilla in a Mets uniform.

But I won’t throw out my Mike Baxter jersey just yet, because the team has yet to give me a reason to believe more players like Baxter won’t be in the starting lineup next April.

pinky and brain

Hopefully, underperforming players who don’t belong will be shown the door, and players who do (such as Murphy, Wheeler, d’Arnaud, Niese, and a few others) will be retained. But Alderson & Co. should consider nearly anybody as trade bait if a team with a star caliber performer comes calling. If the Mets want to let Robinson Cano steal $300 million from another team, that’s fine, but they had better invest in several mid-tier free agents to make up for it. We need to have power in the lineup, we need to have guys ready to step in when injuries occur, and we need to have enough depth. The market isn’t ideal, but the answers are there if the Mets are willing to look for them.

The Mets’ season ends today. I have enjoyed writing game recaps for you guys since I joined MMO during the second half, and I look forward to writing articles during the offseason. No matter how frustrating this team can be, I will never desert the Mets and I appreciate all of you who feel the same way. Hopefully we will be seeing more guys like Carlos Gonzalez and fewer guys like Rick Ankiel wearing the Orange & Blue soon. Very soon. But for the meantime, at least we don’t have to worry about bandwagoners.

Let’s Go Mets!

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Harvey Has Partially Torn UCL, Tommy John Surgery Not Being Ruled Out Mon, 26 Aug 2013 20:16:06 +0000 harvey

Update 4:15 PM

According to Marc Carig, Mets right-hander Matt Harvey underwent an MRI at the Hospital for Special Surgery this morning for an undisclosed reason and WFAN’s Mike Francesa is reporting that Matt Harvey has a partially torn UCL.

Sandy Alderson held a press conference and said that Matt Harvey will likely be shutdown for the rest of the season and that Tommy John Surgery has not been ruled out.

They will wait 7-10 days for the swelling to go down so they can get a better MRI image and then the decision of whether or not to have surgery will be made by Harvey.

Alderson said that “Harvey has been treated for forearm soreness for sometime”.  He doesn’t know when Matt first experienced the soreness in his forearm, but he was being treated and there was no elbow pain.

“My understanding is that after he came out of his start against the Tigers, the pain in the forearm was more severe than it had been.”

“I wouldn’t expect Harvey to pitch the rest of the season.”

“This is not a career-ending injury under any stretch of the imagination. This is what many successful teams must go through from time to time, and for us to expect not to have to go through it from time to time would be unrealistic. The news was tough today. No question about it. And the full implication of it probably has not yet been felt. But we have to respond, and we will.”

“At least we have a leg up on responding to this. Luckily we have depth at starting pitching in the minors.”

They are going to take the conservative approach. “If we could avoid surgery, we will, but that situation will need to be monitored.”

This sucks…

This is what I’ve discussed many times before and even this morning below…

If a key player is sore, you shut them down, take images, and don’t send them out on that field until you get the all clear….

Last week I did a mailbag asking why do the Mets baby their pitchers…. This is why…

This is why we posted five days ago that a 6-man rotation would be a great idea for our very young rotation, both now and in 2014…

Damn… My worst fear has been realized for this kid…

Original Post 8:00 AM

While no pitcher should ever beat themselves up over losing a game to the powerful lineup of the Detroit Tigers, Matt Harvey did after the Mets’ 3-0 loss on Saturday. After all, having the greatest hitter on the planet in Miguel Cabrera, and then surrounding him with names like Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez among others, would be a tall task even for Sandy Koufax and Tom Seaver in their primes.

Of course there was also the small matter of Harvey’s opposing mound rival, Max Scherzer, who improved his record to 19-1 while striking out 11 Mets that day.

Harvey gave up a career-high 13 hits against Detroit, as the Mets lost for the fifth time in his last six starts. If the Mets had put up a four-spot, this conversation might be moot. But maybe not… The Mets ace admitted to feeling fatigued after the game…

“I’m getting pretty tired, but so is everybody,” Harvey said. “You have to work through it and you have to deal with it. It’s a long season. You have to figure out how to get things done. My performance the last couple of starts has been pretty terrible. I’ve got to work through it and get better.”

“I couldn’t a throw a slider for a strike. I couldn’t really throw it that well at all. It’s a pitch that I need. The last couple of starts I haven’t had it. I figure everybody is going to go through a stretch there where you’ve got to battle through some fatigue and some discomfort. It’s a long season and you’ve got to push through it.”

Harvey has already logged 178.1 innings of work this season and is still on track to make another seven starts if he stays on his current schedule. However, don’t expect that to happen.

Terry Collins understands the time has come to start curbing Harvey’s workload and that might include skipping a turn in the rotation, even though he’s the one player that can still fill Citi Field when he’s on the mound.

“You’re trying to put people in the seats out there, and having Matt Harvey out there every five days helps us,” Collins said. “But we still know down the road, we have to keep this guy healthy.”

Harvey has a 2.27 ERA this season and currently leads the league with 191 strikeouts. However, the kid is right, and it’s obvious that the grind of his first full season is having a direct effect on his performance. You can see it in his velocity, you can see it in the lack of late life, and you can see it in his command.

At 24, the big righthander has already surpassed his career high in innings, already eight more than he had last season combined between the majors and minors.

“You’ve got a guy who is one of the best competitors I’ve ever been around who thoroughly wants to pitch nine innings every night he’s out there,” manager Terry Collins said Sunday.

“Yet you’ve got to take into consideration what’s the best interest of the club, the team at the time, and the organization down the road. How to get this guy through it?”

With the Mets only days away from mathematical elimination, the team must look at the bigger picture and when your ace tells you he is fatigued and tired – you must take note and action. Harvey is not one who would readily admit how overworked he feels unless it has reached an intolerable level.

It’s time to back off… Forget the Harvey Days and lets focus on the Harvey Years… Beginning with 2014…

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Can Ike Davis Still Save His Career? Wed, 15 May 2013 15:52:34 +0000 ike-davis

One of the more frustrating things so far about the 2013 season for the Mets, has to be the ongoing struggles of first baseman Ike Davis. Many of us including myself, were simply salivating of the thought of a breakout season for Davis this year, especially after the way he ended the 2013 season leading the National League in home runs and RBIs.

With the exodus of Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols to the American League, some even envisioned a possible All Star berth along side Joey Votto at Citi Field for the Mid-Summer Classic.

All those glossy expectations are now out the window and instead of celebrating a great season for our first baseman of the future, we are left wondering if Ike Davis will be a part of the solution or the future at all. Trade rumors and speculation are already abounding.

Manager Terry Collins can’t make up his mind what to do with his struggling power hitter and after vowing to leave him in the cleanup spot for as long as it takes, he was dropped to the seven spot of the order two days later.

Andrew Kahn, who has written for the Wall Street Journal, Newsday and ESPN, sheds some light on the matter in a comprehensive article today which you can read here.

Using Baseball-Reference’s “Similarity Scores,” he gathers a list of players who compared with David through their age 25 seasons. Among them you will find Carlos Delgado, Mo Vaughn, Eric Karros and David Ortiz to name a few.

However, the key difference between Davis and the other players in the chart, he writes, is that they had a breakout season. “A year in which they performed close to how they’d perform over the rest of their career at age 25 or 26.”

He tackles the question I posed in the title, and does a good job of concluding that if Ike Davis is ever going to be the player we all thought he would be and thus save his career, then this is the year to prove it. Read Andrew’s full article here.

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Here Comes The Throw, Here Comes The Play At The Plate… Not. Fri, 26 Apr 2013 02:57:28 +0000 victor martinez

For those of you that missed it, there was a strange play that took place during the Detroit Tigers’ 7-5 win over the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday night. Quite frankly, I’ve never seen anything like it before. Here’s what happened along with the accompanying video from

During the third inning with the Tigers trailing 4-2 and base runners Prince Fielder on third and Victor Martinez at second, Jhonny Peralta lined a single to right field to score Prince Fielder. It should have ended there, but Martinez rounded third and started chugging to third, opting to test the powerful arm of Jeff Francoeur.

The former Met fired a bullet to home that essentially made Martinez a dead duck. But instead of trying to barrel over Royals catcher Salvador Perez who had the plate blocked and was waiting for the slow-footed Tigers DH to make contact. Only a few feet from home plate, Martinez suddenly decides to make a hard right turn and proceeds to head to the dugout. The home plate umpire ruled Martinez out for running outside the baseline and there was never a play at the plate.

There’s something seriously wrong here. I get that the oft-injured Victor Martinez was probably thinking of trying to avoid another stint on the DL, but still… There’s something wrong here. Seems like fans were denied a good old-fashioned baseball staple – the play at the plate.

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MMO Fan Shot: The World Baseball Classic Is Not A Nuisance Sat, 02 Mar 2013 12:16:27 +0000 wang wbc

In the wee hours of Saturday morning, righthander Chien-Ming Wang tossed six shutout innings to lead Chinese Taipei to a 4-1 victory over Australia. The 2013 World Baseball Classic is officially underway.

As the tournament kicks off, the sentiment from most fans I run into is that they view the WBC as a “big pain in the ass”. Some fans resent the fact that their team’s top players have bolted their Spring Training camps in Arizona and Florida just so that they can begin training and competing in the WBC. “What a damned nuisance.”

I beg to differ.

I believe the WBC should be embraced by MLB fans and players alike. It’s in the game’s best interest to promote our national pastime throughout the world and open it up to new markets for a variety of reasons. The least of which is uncovering new and brighter stars from an ever-increasing talent pool. We’ve seen this happen before.

In the history of baseball, breaking the color barrier in the late 1940′s and expanding the game to Latin America in the 1960′s did more to popularize the game and produce more stars than anything else MLB has ever done. The WBC can be another watershed moment for baseball.

In an interesting article about the this subject by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, he mentioned that the WBC Championship Game in 2009, was the sixth most watched sporting event that year, drawing more than 82 million viewers world-wide. And yet fewer MLB stars will participate in 2013 than in 2009. Many of the stars who were invited to participate decided to opt out. Too bad.

wright usa wbc

Many Mets fans moaned yesterday when it was reported that David Wright had left Port St. Lucie to represent Team USA. Not me. I applauded him.

“Of course, I’ll miss being here and I’m sure I’ll have to catch up a little bit once I get back,” Wright said. “But for me, the chance to represent Team USA, to go play for your country, was something that I just couldn’t pass up. I had so much fun the last time. I wanted to do it again.”

By the way, before Wright left, he took care of business and lined a two-out single to plate Justin Turner with the go-ahead run in the Mets 6-2 win over the Tigers.

One more thing. Rosenthal makes a great point in his article when he said the U.S. loses on every level when its stars decline to participate.

“The reluctance of aces such as Justin Verlander, Clayton Kershaw and David Price is understandable, given the fragile nature of pitching. But position players such as Buster Posey and Prince Fielder? And youngsters such as Mike Trout and Bryce Harper? C’mon.”

The WBC isn’t a nuisance. It’s an opportunity.

I’d like to express my thanks to Joe D. for posting this article for me on such short notice. It’s an honor to contribute to such a prestigious site for Mets baseball.

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This Fan Shot was contributed by Robert J. Loewen.

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First Pitch Mitch: Top 2012 MLB Players By Position Sun, 23 Sep 2012 13:00:46 +0000 The season is winding down, and it’s time for me to pick out the FirstPitchMitch All-Stars. The FPM All-Stars are like the All-Madden team of baseball – they are the best of the best. When this team steps in to the stadium the skies open up, and the baseball gods marvel at their creation.

Without further ado, I present the first ever FPM All-Stars… 

Catcher – Yadier Molina

Yadier narrowly edged out Buster Posey simply because only 37 players were successful when stealing bases with Molina behind the plate in 2012. He threw out a ridiculous 47% of runners attempting to nab a base. Did I mention he put up some dynamite offensive numbers as well? He’s hitting .321, to go along with 20 HR and a .888 OPS. His WAR, for you sabermetric fans, is currently a 6.8.


First Base – Prince Fielder

Every team deserves a prince. Fielder put up very solid offensive numbers again this year hitting .304, to go along with 27 HR and 101 RBI. Any guy that swings the bat with the intensity of a kid trying to knock the candy out of a piñata will always have a spot on the FPMASs. With that monster swing, he only struck out 77 times in 537 AB this year – awesome.


Second Base – Robinson Cano

Is there any question regarding who would be the second baseman on this team? No need to go through the stats, but he’s hitting .299 with 30 HR this year. There’s always next year Aaron Hill.


Shortstop – Derek Jeter

Does this guy get old? He’s having one of the finest offensive seasons of his career, to go along with his solid defense at the all-important position of shortstop. Jeet is currently hitting .323, to go along with 30 2B and 15 HR. I love that his uniform is always dirty, and there’s always room on the FPMASs for future Hall of Famers.


Third Base – Miguel Cabrera

Can you say Triple Crown? Barring some sort of ridiculous slump we will have our first Triple Crown winner since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. He is currently hitting .333, with 41 HR and 130 RBI. Triple Crown winners can play whatever position they want on FMPASs, but Miguel will be a third base. 


Left Field – Josh Hamilton

Josh Hamilton is the best player in baseball – period. I don’t care if he’s listed as a center fielder, he’s playing left field for the FPMASs. Ryan Braun might be upset with me, but nobody can argue with a stat line of .287/42/123. Josh Hamilton will retire from this game as a legend, and legends are always welcome on the FPMASs.


Center Field – Mike Trout

I really had a hard time with this one. My heart was yelling Andrew McCutchen, but my brain kept whispering Trout. They both play a ridiculous center field. They both hit for average and power. It really came down to the stolen bases. Mike Trout was simply the better all-around player this year. For a rookie to put a team on his shoulders, when Albert Pujols is on the team, says enough. For you sabermetric fans, Trout leads the league with a 10.1 WAR.


Right Field – Giancarlo Stanton

The player formerly known as Mike. This guy hits moon shots. I watched him at batting practice down at Citi Field in early August, and his upper deck blasts were jaw dropping. I would love to see how many homeruns this kid could hit in a season if he could stay healthy. Only three right fielders had a higher WAR than Stanton this year, and Jay Bruce may play on a better team, but Stanton is a better player.


Designated Hitter – Edwin Encarnacion

Who can argue with 40 HR, 120 RBI, and a .280 batting average from your DH position? ‘Nuff said.


Starting Pitcher – R.A. Dickey

Come on…you knew I was getting a New York Met on this team somewhere. Dickey has been one of the very few reasons Mets fans have had to smile all year. With 18 wins, 205 Ks, 2.67 ERA, and in the discussion for a Cy Young award – Dickey is the clear choice as the FPMASs starting pitcher. Now we gotta get Molina one of those crazy big catcher’s mitts for when Dickey throws his “Dancing Destroyer.”


Closer – Fernando Rodney

This guy is lights out and wears his hat cockily tilted to the side. Love it. With 43 saves, a ridiculously minuscule 0.66 ERA, and 68K in 68 innings pitched – I will be tapping my right arm as I walk out to the mound in the ninth inning to replace Dickey.

* * * * * * * *

So there it is, the first ever FirstPitchMitch All-Star Team. The baseball gods are happy with my choices, but what about the readers? Use the comment section below if you have any conflicting player choices you would like to share.

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Reyes, Pujols or Fielder? Wed, 25 Jan 2012 17:45:12 +0000 The Eagle has landed. The last of the “big” Mohicans, Prince Fielder, has finally agreed to a mega-deal and now has a new home in Motor City… Rah, rah, or better yet, vroom, vroom…

So now that the dust has settled, here is an interesting question first posed by Mets historian and ESPN New York statistician Mark Simon who asked via Twitter:

Lets look at all three deals up close and personal:

  • Jose Reyes - The Miami Marlins signed the 2011 NL Batting Champion to a $106 million, six-year contract.
  • Albert Pujols - The Los Angeles Angels signed future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols to a $254 million, ten-year contract.
  • Prince Fielder – The Detroit Tigers signed the former Brewers’ mega-star to a $214 million, nine-year contract.

So for all of those Mets fans who were going ballistic or rolling on the floor laughing over the largess of the Jose Reyes deal, which of these three deals would you consider to be the best value and the least volatile in terms of potential for disaster?

Yeah, that’s what I thought too….

Seems to me like the Marlins got themselves a bargain now that all is said and done.

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Where Will Prince Fielder Land? Sun, 01 Jan 2012 21:20:50 +0000

Happy New Year Everyone!  With not a whole lot to talk about today, I’ve got something to talk about.  Where will Prince Fielder land?

It’s really surprising to see that Fielder has not signed yet.  We expected Fielder to ramp up his negotiations after Albert Pujols signed with the Los Angeles Angels. However, it appears that he has slowed down in his pursuit of a new team.

According to Fielder’s agent Scott Boras, the process of getting Fielder acquainted with MLB general managers and owners has been time consuming.  Teams like the Cubs, Nationals, Orioles, and the Mariners are interested in his services.

The team that signs Fielder will no doubt receive one of the best offensive players in Major League Baseball today.  Fielder has the ability to hit bombs and when I say bombs, I literally mean bombs. He’s an RBI machine and also one of the most versatile players in the game.

At the moment, it appears that the Orioles are the favorites to land Fielder. Reports say that the Orioles are willing to go 8-years on a $160 million dollar deal.

There have been rumors that Fielder could sign a short-term contract of around 3-years, but I disagree – not with Scott Boras running the show.

As far as other teams go, it’s been very quiet. The Cubs have expressed interest in Fielder, but some say he might even end up with the Nationals.

GM Mike Rizzo has already said that Adam Laroche will be the team’s first basemen in 2012, so if Fielder signs with the Nats, then there could be some drama coming (just like what happened with Hanley after the Reyes signing).

If Baltimore is the only team willing to give Fielder a huge contract, then I expect he will sign there and forego and probable post season runs.

Things might change, but at this point it’s looking good for the O’s.

Who do you think will land Prince Fielder?

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Player Evaluation: Check Your Emotions At The Door Thu, 21 Oct 2010 17:15:21 +0000 As I was writing a response to Cerrone & Joe D and the rest of our MMO population, I realized I was writing a blog. Therefore, I figured a responsive blog may be the best route to go. 

It’s a great debate. It’s one that isn’t stale and what I find fascinating about it is well two things. #1 – Nobody knows the answer because nobody knows who the General Manager is, and #2 – The school of thought at stake here is whether or not you believe in statistics versus emotion.

There’s absolutely no way a Mets fan should be able to deny that not wanting to trade Ike Davis for Prince Fielder is fueled first and foremost by emotion. I don’t blame you. We like homegrown talent.

If you’re basing your decision on talent there’s absolutely no possible way you can make a realistic argument for Davis over Fielder. You just cannot. You can’t even use age to support your theory because Fielder is only 26. You can use his contract situation, but I’d have to think in a utopian world where Fielder comes to NY in the off-season it’d be with an extension. 

It’s near impossible to make an educated guess on *any* roster decisions going forward. You, myself, Cerrone, Joe D, Greg Pomes…and the players themselves have *no* idea who is staying, who is going and who is coming in. It depends on the driver of this out of control ship. 

So here is how I evaluate it as somebody who examines statistics more than emotion. This debate is more about how we should be looking at non-Mets talent, and how we also need to start looking further into the players wearing the Mets uniform. 

Home Runs: The important factor here is not how MANY homeruns a player hits but if he has that kind of power. That kind of power forces pitchers to deal with hitters in the lineup differently. Does Fielder have more power? Absolutely, if you think it’s a question you’re foolish. 

Strikeouts: What Mets fans will learn actually if the Mets hire a guy like Alderson or Hahn is that Strikeouts are…. outs. They are practically no different from a ground out or a deep fly ball to CF with nobody on. They are just an out. So you shouldn’t be examining how many times a player makes one SPECIFIC type of out… you should be looking at how many OUTS they contribute. 

Sure a strikeout is frustrating because to a fans eye it looks bad… but if half of David Wright’s Ks were split between ground balls in the infield and shallow fly balls in the outfield… nobody would complain. Yet they all add 1 out in the inning. 

So with that said Ike Davis made an out about 64% of the time he came to the plate. Fielder made an out about 60% of the time. That’s what’s important… not the certain type of out they make.  

Walks: I don’t even know why this is a debatable topic. One guy is a proven power hitter and one guy was in his rookie year. A large part of why Fielder walks so much is due to his reputation and rightfully so. 

Defense: Here is where you will need to answer some questions as a Mets fan. You can’t deny that Fielder is an eye sore at 1B… but what you need to be able to tell me is, how many runs does Fielder cost you at 1B and how many runs does Davis cost you?

If you can’t answer that question then you can’t give me an educated guess on whether Fielder hurts you at 1B. Does he force more runs from the opponent than he produces for his team? I’d find that very hard to believe.

The people that try to use defense as their basis for supporting Davis to me, are the people who just really like Davis (not blaming you). Your defense at first base impacts the game how often? Making great plays at 1B are fine, but how often do you make the great play and how often are you just making routine plays at 1B?

If you’re telling me Davis is so far more superior than Fielder, I retort by asking you how do you know? 

How many games have you seen played by Davis? Now how many have you seen by Fielder? 

The problem with defensive statistics is that a large part of defense is judged based on opinion of a scorekeeper, and opinion of the fan watching the game. You strike out, you strike out. But who says a certain ball is more playable over another?

Is Davis a better fielder at 1B than Prince? I’d guess so, but what are you basing your decision on for saying that with certainty? You certainly are not using errors committed, because Fielder has 11 errors combined in the past two years compared to Davis’ 9 last year.

Are you using Zone Rating? If you are, Fielder’s ZR was better than Davis’ last year. Or maybe you’re just using Range Factor which would just add to the sillyness of this debate because the guy plays 1B and by nature of the position is involved in enough plays that his RF is skewed anyway.

So what are you basing it on other than… emotion? The only other item you could use is that occasionally Davis has the ability to make a more spectacular play. Awesome…but you don’t build a team on that idea. That type of play is so few and far between that to use it as a basis for argument is simply forming your facts around your opinion.

There’s nothing out there that can REALLY tell you having Ike Davis at 1B with a glove on his hand and a bat in the other outweighs the same idea with Prince Fielder. So if we’re being honest, there’s no logical way you can use defense to support your theory of Ike Davis over Prince Fielder.

Overall:  At some point we as Mets fans are going to have to understand that you cannot fix this franchise by keeping the same players and keeping the same mindset as in the past. You want a new look to this franchise but… not if it means getting rid of Wright, Reyes, Beltran, Santana, Pelfrey, Niese, Pagan, Davis etc. You can’t have it both ways you know? 

With that said, I think this is an impossible question to answer. If the Mets new GM comes in and says he can turn this team into a championship team within 2 years, then if this offer is on the table…you take it. You have to with the current makeup of this roster. If the new GM comes in and says be patient, we’ll be competitive but we are not ready to go all the way yet… then frankly you hold onto Davis and see what happens with Fielder’s contract in comparison to how Davis performs in his sophomore year. 

The toughest part about being a fan of any team is checking your emotion at the door. This is why in large part I respect Bruce Bochy. Pablo Sandoval is arguably the most popular Giants player next to the Freaky Franchise, and he sat him in the playoffs because at the time he was not helping the team. 

When you check your emotion at the door, you are able to make more informed decisions on your talent. This is why it’s never a good thing when a GM falls in love with a player, or when ownership falls in love with a coach.

So as the Mets are about to give a tour of Citi Field to who I hope is the next General Manager of this franchise, we as Mets fans are going to have to learn to adjust our thinking. Phillips, Duquette, and Minaya are gone. Our thinking was in response to their management styles.

Alderson is a complete opposite to all 3 of them, and that will take some getting used to on all of our parts.

If it is Alderson, one thing I expect we will learn very quickly is, you can’t make educated decisions on players if you’re allowing your sports heart to be involved in the process.

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From Left Field: Would You Trade Ike Davis For Prince Fielder? Mon, 11 Oct 2010 20:37:50 +0000 So with the bulk of the offseason looming, there are many questions surrounding the Mets. One that fans would not think would be a huge issue is first base.

Ike Davis had a solid rookie year hitting .264 with 19 HR and 71 RBI (just three behind the Mets rookie record set by Darryl Strawberry in 1983).

He played a Gold-Glove caliber first base and is booming with potential.

I have been hearing some possible free agent signings and trades over the last week. Most appear unlikely due to contractual issues or financial constraints. But one that caught my eye was a possible deal that would send Ike Davis to the Brewers for Prince Fielder.

At first, I thought to myself, “I would never want the Mets to make this trade.” But after giving it some thought, it might be a deal they may want to consider.

Before I go on, I’d like everyone to know that in my opinion, Davis could blossom into a terrific power-hitting first baseman. The Mets have lacked a true power threat for the past few seasons and could use a jolt in the power department.

Enter Prince Fielder. Though Fielder had somewhat of an off year in 2010, the man’s got raw power. He averages 37 HR per 162 games and has driven in over 100 runs in three of his five full seasons, including 141 in 2009.

Now why would the Brewers trade such an impressive talent who is only 26? Well the business aspect of baseball comes into play.

Fielder will be a free agent after the 2011 season, and let’s be honest: There’s no way the Brewers will have the budget to re-sign the big guy. Rather than let him walk for just compensatory draft picks, the Brewers would be smart to trade him for a high-level prospect.

Enter Ike Davis. Davis has proven he can hit major league pitching but suffered from a few stretches of inconsistency this season. Scouts have compared him to an Adam LaRoche-type player (above average power, solid glove, will strike out a good amount, hit somewhere between .260 and .280).

So would trading a young Ike Davis who “projects” into an Adam LaRoche be worth Prince Fielder?

I will be the first to say that I am extremely torn on this possibility. I enjoyed watching Davis for us this year. He had some clutch hits and hit some monstrous home runs.

But I also realize the presence that Prince Fielder would have in the middle of the Mets order. There’s no telling if Davis will develop the raw power of Fielder. I wonder what the Mets would do if the Brewers were willing to pull the trigger on this deal (another major consideration).

When looking at this deal, it would make sense for both teams. The Mets desperately need a consistent power threat, and the Brewers would solve their first base vacancy for the next few seasons.

Like I said, I’m glad I am not in charge of making this decision, but I am curious to what the fans think. Feel free to let me know if you would make this deal or place your confidence in Ike, and of course why or why not.

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Apparently Every MLB Player Is On The Trading Block Sun, 22 Nov 2009 16:58:18 +0000 I was actually going to name this post “Add Miguel Cabrera To The Trading Block”, but then I thought, why not add everybody else too?

That’s right, everybody is on the trading block, and that includes young and affordable stars like Felix Hernandez, and Evan Longoria, as well as the cream of the crop players like Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera.

According to all of my sources, and I have just as many as everyone else, everybody is on the trading block unless we hear otherwise from their agents or GM’s.

Until we hear an absolute and specific denial in the form of a press release from the team, sports journalists and bloggers everywhere will use their Constitutionally protected rights to proclaim that everyone is on the trading block.

They will use their rights to report this groundbreaking information one player at a time. Yesterday it was Josh Johnson, today it’s Miguel Cabrera, tomorrow it will be Prince Fielder. Oh wait a second… we already did Prince Fielder… Umm, make that Hanley Ramirez.

We will be able to use our real sources (named or unnamed), our fictional sources (definitely unnamed), and even my next door neighbor Sam’s dog, who barks and speaks to me at night about a variety of baseball topics.

Okay, enough with the bad sarcasm, I think you all catch my drift…

Seriously though, the hot stove rumor mill is really starting to get way out of hand. All of a sudden everybody has sources, and attributing rumors to these sources has become more important than the rumors themselves. It’s all about the sources now. It’s become the fashionable thing to do in sports blogging.

And then of course there is the battle to proclaim superiority, in those extremely rare instances when a deal actually gets done. Nobody analyzes the deal anymore, instead it’s a rush to say I reported this two weeks ago, or two months ago, or two years ago, click this link to read it. Most of them almost sound so paranoid that you have to wonder if they should be profiled by the FBI. I now refer to this phenomenon as the “Superiority Complex”.

When the rumors are debunked, as most of them usually are, a new series of blog posts follows that are filled with excuses as to why they were not “technically” debunked in the true sense of the word. Huh? What was that you said?

These new blog posts are then coordinated with a barrage of updates on their Twitter accounts, in an all out attempt to save their dwindling reputation.  

If that fails, then the search is on for any tantalizing bit of information they can get that would seem like a prelude to an imminent deal.

This info is then posted (in warp speed) with the hope that when the imminent deal is eventually announced (usually hours later), readers will forget the false rumor that nearly demolished their reputation, and remember the new rumor that was never their rumor to claim in the first place, but who cares?

All is fair in love and war… and on the internet.

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