Mets Merized Online » RA Dickey http://metsmerizedonline.com Mon, 08 Feb 2016 23:00:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.13 Featured Post: The Trials and Blooperations of Terry Collins http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/05/featured-post-the-trials-and-blooperations-of-terry-collins.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/05/featured-post-the-trials-and-blooperations-of-terry-collins.html/#comments Sat, 17 May 2014 22:06:21 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=155920 terry-collins1

I should preface this by saying I was not a fan of the Mets decision to hire Terry Collins to take over as manager prior to the 2011 season.  A change needed to be made, no doubt, but it was a clear signal at that point that the Mets were going to rebuild.

Collins has compiled a 244-281 record with the Mets in his 3+ years at the helm, and now has a career record of 688-715 as a major league manager.  Needless to say, his record doesn’t exactly strike fear in the hearts of his opponents.

Its really not so much the record that bothers me about Collins as much as the in game decisions, and day-to-day way he manages his ballclub. TC apologists will point to the fact that he just hasn’t had any talent.  Let’s visit this for a moment.  TC has managed the Astros (1994-1996), Angels (1997-1999), and Mets (2011-present).  He had an 11 year layoff as head coach before the Mets offered him the position.  Teams weren’t exactly knocking down his door to offer him a job.  I looked back at the rosters that Terry Collins has coached during his tenure, in which he has never won his division.  Check this out.

Jeff Bagwell (Gold Glove & MVP-’94), Craig Biggio (GG, Silver Slugger 94-96), Ken Caminiti (GG,SS, MVP 96), Luis Gonzalez, Steve Finley (GG), Bobby Abreu, Doug Drabek, Darryl Kile, Shane Reynolds, Mike Hampton, Todd Jones, Billy Wagner etc.

Darin Erstad, Garret Anderson, Jim Edmonds (GG), Tim Salmon, Cecil Fielder, Mo Vaughn (MVP), Troy Glaus, Chuck Finley, Troy Percival etc.

Jose Reyes (2011 Batting Champ), R.A. Dickey (2012 CY Young), EY Jr (2013 SB Champ), David Wright, Daniel Murphy, Ike Davis, Carlos Beltran, Angel Pagan, Jason Bay, Johan Santana, Matt Harvey, K-Rod,

The guy’s had multiple MVP players at his disposal, countless Gold Glove & Silver Slugger winners, the Batting Champions, Cy Young Award Winners, and Stolen Base champs.

 

The year after he left the Astros they won the division three years in a row, made a World Series appearance, and won 102 games in 1998 with what most people would say was a less talented roster. It took the Angels two years to win the World Series once Collins was fired amidst a season that he compiled a 51-82 record. Joe Maddon finished the season off for TC with a 19-10 record with the same guys.  Mike Scioscia won the World Series with pretty much the same group minus Jim Edmonds & Mo Vaughn, who were in their prime years under TC.  In fact, even when he took over the Mets job we had a rotation of Johan Santana, RA Dickey, Mike Pelfrey, Jon Niese & Dillon Gee, with Jenrry Mejia and Matt Harvey on the horizon, and Jeurys Familia was probably a better SP prospect than both of them at the time.  The lineup was filled with stars like, Jose Reyes, David Wright, Carlos Beltran, Jason Bay, Angel Pagan, Daniel Murphy, Ike Davis, and we had a great bullpen, with Parnell setting up K-Rod, and somehow he won 77 games, and it seems to me that he has made every single player worse the longer he’s coached them.  I guarantee there are a number of readers here at MMO that could’ve won more games that season. My guess is that we will be a far better team as soon as he is gone just like every other club he has managed.

Look I wasn’t expecting the Mets to win the world series the last couple of seasons, but Collins was brought on because he was supposed to good a developing young talent.  What young talent has improved?  Our sure fire future MVP 1B in Ike Davis is a shell of his former self, at best, Murphy is just now getting back to being the hitter he was when Collins arrived, Tejada has become the worst regular in the game, David Wright sure isn’t any better than he was before TC came to town.  What about baseball’s top offensive catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud, buried in the bottom of the order from the word go. Why have promising bats like Lucas Duda, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Jordany Valdespin, Matt den Dekker, and Zach Lutz either regressed or faded out of the organization altogether?  It looks like he even made Chris Young, Curtis Granderson and Josh Satin regress in just one years time.  Where is the improvement?  What is he doing to motivate or mentor these players?  Who has he developed into established everyday players?  You could say Juan Lagares, but he has subsequently buried him like he has all of our other top young talent over the past three years.

Unfortunately, these are not Collins worst areas.  His bullpen management, and organization of the pitching staff is the worst ant scatter I’ve ever seen in my life.  Pure Chaos.  Like Ike Davis’ bat was supposed to be.  Who’s closing?  Terry doesn’t know.  How in the world are the players supposed to know?  How can they prepare to be successful when they have no idea what role they are preparing for?  I wonder if you ask each member of the bullpen, what their role is with the team, how many of them would have no answer at all.  That’s some uplifting stuff Terry.  Lets crush everyone’s confidence.  Lets make sure they we will not set a single one of those guys up for success.  “Let him work through it”, right Terry?

If he isn’t going to define any roles, he could at least stop making such amateur in-game blunders to further hinder his team.  Does anyone remember in Atlanta a couple of years ago when he brought in his RP before Atlanta made the lineup switch for the PH, and I think he ended up with Scott Rice facing Justin Upton, or it may have been a RH facing Freeman.  Either way, the commentators pointed it out right before the ball sailed 100 ft over the fence.

mets vs nats 6-4 bullpen implosion

What about the Nationals game last year in which Harvey was dominating, until TC reared his ugly in-game strategy again.  4-1 Mets, runner on first, two outs in the 8th, Denard Span at the plate, and TC replaces reliever David Aardsma, who had just faced consecutive lefties, Roger Bernadina & Chad Tracy for the second out of the inning, and had pitched lights out since joining the Mets, with a struggling and apparently injured Josh Edgin.  He ended up using four relievers that inning and actually created three worse matchups than he originally had with Aardsma facing Span.  Did he think Span was gonna hit a 3-run HR with only one man on base? To make matters worse, in his bullpen dismantlement, he forgot the pitchers spot was due up second in the bottom half of the inning, and had to pinch-hit for Scott Rice, the second lefty TC used that third of an inning after Brandon Lyon got blasted. He ended up having to pitch Parnell for a 5th consecutive game after he was told he would have the day off, in a tie game in the top of the 9th.  He gave up three runs and got the loss.  We lost that game 6-4 and I just know Harvey wanted to punch TC right in the face.  It’s things like this, that not only destroy a team for that day, but for a season.  The bullpen was dead for the next few days.  Aardsma lost all his confidence, and was hit hard from then on out.  Brandon Lyon was released in short order.  Those things indirectly, and directly effect teams for the rest of the season.

There are countless other instances like this that he does on a nightly basis.  He almost always double switches his bench bats into the game to give the other manager an advantage of knowing the matchup beforehand.  I bet his RH bench bat has seen more ABs vs RHP, and vice versa for his LH bench bat.  Its just another example of him not giving his players the best chance to succeed.

I’m not even going to mention how poor his media communication can be with the constant declarations of who is, and who isn’t an everyday player to subsequently burying them on the bench for weeks at a time.  I swear he cools off our momentum more than the opponents pitching staff.

It wears on a team after a while when the manager constantly snatches defeat out of the jaws of victory.  It’s hard enough to succeed as it is.  It’s almost impossible to do it in spite of your manager.  It’s time for a change.  We’ll be better off in no time.  If history repeats itself, we should be perennial contenders within two years time with a bunch of post seasons and even a World Series sprinkled in. Just like the Angels and Astros.

MMO

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Matt Harvey: The Mets Have Their Ace http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/matt-harvey-the-mets-have-their-ace.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/matt-harvey-the-mets-have-their-ace.html/#comments Wed, 08 May 2013 15:57:47 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=117881 matt harvey 33Once upon a time, not so long ago, the Mets had a top ten prospect named Zack Wheeler who was deemed the heir apparent to their oft-maligned rotation.  It had to be Wheeler, who would assume the role of staff ace.  Especially with the controversial trade of surprising knuckleballer, RA Dickey.  It seemed unanimous that Wheeler, his high nineties fastball, and array of formidable secondary pitches were just months away from changing everything.  That was the plan, but then Matt Harvey happened…

The July 2012 promotion of the Mets’ second best pitching prospect was met with much fan fair.  Harvey promptly rose to the occasion in the eleven strike out win that was his debut against the Arizona Diamondbacks.  For an encore, he went on to post an ERA well under three in ten starts comprised of almost sixty innings pitched.  For certain it looked as though the Mets had another quality starter on their hands, but no one could have anticipated what Matt Harvey had in store for the Mets and their fans in 2013.

Entering last night, Harvey’s 2013 campaign featured a 4-0 start which saw him yield more than one earned run on only one occasion over six starts, in route to the National League Pitcher of the Month award for the month of April.  Coming off a full seven day’s rest, Harvey spent Monday night victimizing the White Sox lineup in route to nine scoreless innings of one hit ball with twelve strike outs and exactly zero walks.  This saw Matt drop his ERA to an impressively low 1.27 while assuming the league lead in strike outs with 58.

The stats are impressive enough, but they are easily trumped by the undeniable presence that Harvey brings with him to the bump every night.  Each start celebrated as “Happy Harvey Day” on various social media forums, the fans have fully accepted Matt as the absolute ace of this staff, no questions asked.

Harvey’s rise to what will soon be, if it isn’t already, super-stardom, will make it that much harder for those that come behind him, namely Wheeler.  Having been billed as possessing the best repertoire in the system, its hard to believe that Wheeler can match the ridiculous change-up and slicing slider that Harvey has used to carved through opponents thus far this season.  While the Mets will need Wheeler to be a productive member of the rotation in short order if they hope to stay in the hunt this summer, Matt Harvey has made most, if not all fans forget that someone other than he may be the savoir for the Mets pitching woes.

Recent history has seen pitchers as unproven as Mike Pelfrey toe the rubber as the team’s ace.  Those days, at least for the time being seem to be behind us.  Having been drafted by Omar Minaya in 2010, Harvey will be ineligible for free agency until the 2019 season at the earliest and now represents the youth movement envisioned by Mets general manager, Sandy Alderson.  The franchise will need others to rise through the ranks in order to realize Alderson’s vision, but regardless of whether those who will soon follow his path are able to do their part, Matt Harvey is here and the Mets have their ace.

Follow me on Twitter at @RobPatterson83.

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Syndergaard Lit Up In 11-8 St. Lucie Loss To Fort Myers http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/syndergaard-lit-up-in-11-8-st-lucie-loss-to-fort-myers.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/syndergaard-lit-up-in-11-8-st-lucie-loss-to-fort-myers.html/#comments Fri, 19 Apr 2013 05:03:10 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=115254 Fort Myers 11, St. Lucie 8

It was not a good day for the R.A. Dickey trade all around, as on the heels of the news to the injury of Travis d’Arnaud, Noah Syndergaard had a rough time pitching for St. Lucie on Thursday evening. Syndergaard was in consideration for a promotion to Binghamton when Luis Mateo was placed on the DL – but was passed over in favor of Jacob deGrom, who shined in his debut on Wednesday night.

noah sybdergaard michael baronSyndergaard was left to make his scheduled start down in St. Lucie, but unfortunately for the young prospect, he ran into a bit of a wall. He lasted only three innings and was on the hook for seven earned runs off eight hits and two walks, while striking out two. He allowed one home run – a two-run jack in the first inning and never really looked comfortable after that. He allowed a lead-off double to begin the game to Adam Pettersen, who scored on the aforementioned two-run home run with two outs in the first. He gave up two hits in the second, but induced a double play to get out of it.

The third inning brought trouble for him again, however, where he struggled to get the third out once again. After allowing a lead-off single to Adam Pettersen again, he got the next two men out, although Pettersen stole second base. Syndergaard then allowed a walk, triple, single, walk, and double…ouch. The whole fiasco resulted in a five-run third inning and closing the door on Syndergaard’s evening.

St. Lucie overcame the 7-2 deficit by scoring five runs in the third inning, with the big blow coming on a two-run homer by Matt Reynolds, his first of the season. St. Lucie then took an 8-7 the lead in the fourth when Aderlin Rodriguez launched his third homer of the season – a solo job. However, the bullpen failed to get it done. After three hitless innings of solid relief from Jim Fuller, the next four relievers Wanel MesaHamilton Bennett and Randy Fontanez combined to surrender four runs over the final three innings.

Key Stats

Aderlin Rodriguez: 1-for-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R

Dustin Lawley: 0-for-2, 2 BB, 2 R

Matt Reynolds: 2-for-5, 1 3B, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI

Gilbert Gomez: 2-for-4, 3 RBI, 2 K

Charles Thurber: 1-for-2, 2 BB, 1 R, 1 RBI

Noah Syndergaard: 3.0 IP. 8 H, 7 ER, 2 BB, 1 HR

Jim Fuller: 3.0 IP. 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K

Hamilton Bennett: 1.0 IP. 1 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 1 K

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Mets Minors: Syndergaard Could Be Mets No. 1 Prospect By All-Star Break http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/mets-minors-syndergaard-could-be-mets-1-prospect-by-all-star-break.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/mets-minors-syndergaard-could-be-mets-1-prospect-by-all-star-break.html/#comments Mon, 01 Apr 2013 04:09:34 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=112426 noah_syndergaard

Noah Syndergaard knows he has all eyes on him. By June 16, Syndergaard could find himself as the crown jewel and No. 1 prospect for the Mets if Travis d’Arnaud and Zack Wheeler are called up to the show. The Mets boast a young crop of power pitching right-handers that include the likes of Rafael Montero, Luis Mateo and Domingo Tapia. Once Wheeler is promoted, at the top of that list of names will read Noah Syndergaard.

Syndergaard is a tall and imposing figure on the mound, standing in at 6-feet 6-inches is an intimidating presence. I had the chance to watch a bullpen session on Syndergaard and love what I see. His mechanics are effortless and the ball explodes out of his hand (High 90s fastball). His changeup is great, and while there have been some knocks on his curveball in the past, it looks like it is developing nicely. This kid is the goods.

Milb.com recently sat down with the former first round pick, and here are some highlights from the discussion they had with Syndergaard where they talk about how he felt when he heard he was traded, and of course, his curveball:

MiLB.com: So your first Spring Training with the Mets is just about over — how different was it as compared to your previous two with the Blue Jays?

Noah Syndergaard: It’s not that much different, some minor things here and there — the instructors and goals — but it’s still the same.

MiLB.com: How shocked were you when you heard you’d been traded — in a deal for the reigning Cy Young Award winner, no less?

Syndergaard: I was pretty shocked. I went to bed the previous night before the rumors started and I thought it would just be Anthony Gose and [Travis] d’Arnaud. And the next afternoon I saw my name was in the mix. I called my agent, he said it’s probably just a rumor. About 30 minutes later, he texted me and said, “It might go down.” A couple days after that, I got the call that they’d traded me. It was pretty exciting to be traded for a Cy Young winner.

MiLB.com: You told us a year ago that you modeled yourself after Nolan Ryan growing up. A little before your time, but was he your favorite player? Have you ever met him?

Syndergaard: Never met him. I don’t know who my favorite player is. I always followed the Rangers, and Josh Beckett would be one of them. But Ryan, I never saw him pitch.

MiLB.com: Where are your off-speed pitches at coming into Opening Day? Are you confident with your curveball and slider after working on things this Spring?

Syndergaard: Yeah, definitely, my curveball was really good today. It’s felt good in my bullpens — it’s a lot better than it was last year in the beginning of the season — so it’s a plus pitch for me right now, a strikeout pitch.

MiLB.com: What’s your mind-set on the mound? Can you hear the fans and the dugout and the hot dog vendors, or is that level of focus something you think all pitchers have to work on?

Syndergaard: I’m able to tune things out pretty well. When I was in school, my mom would ask me if I could hear yelling and I said, “I’ve never heard you once from the stands.” The other day, when I was throwing my live BP, I didn’t notice anything but the catcher.

MiLB.com: Do you feel like you’ve had any pressure being a first-round pick? Or now after being traded for R.A. Dickey?

Syndergaard: Kinda, not much as a first-round pick, but definitely being traded for a Cy Young winner. Hopefully, I can live up to the potential.

MiLB.com: When do you see yourself getting to New York? I know guys like to deflect the timetables back to the player development folks, but do you feel like you’re a year or so away?

Syndergaard: I would say I’m probably two years away, I’m guessing. But it’s whatever the organization decides. I’ve never been to New York.

You can read the interview in it’s entirety here.

You have to love that the kid recognizes that he has the spotlight on him and that he can deal with the weight of those very high expectations. Former first round pick, traded for the N.L. Cy Young Award winner, plays for an organization where the city (and media) never sleeps, and is the heir apparent to being the No 1. prospect of that same organization… Piece of cake… :-)

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Mets Unorthodox Path To The Playoffs To Be Led By Unproven Players http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/02/mets-unorthodox-path-to-the-playoffs-to-be-led-by-unproven-players.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/02/mets-unorthodox-path-to-the-playoffs-to-be-led-by-unproven-players.html/#comments Fri, 22 Feb 2013 01:34:17 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=108623 mr metThis week, Terry Collins and David Wright provided their annual sound bites that they believe the Mets, yes the group that has found its way to Port St. Lucie this spring, have it in them to make a run to the playoffs.  I know what your thinking.  How could a team that won only on seventy-four games last season with a Cy Young Award winning knuckleballer that has since been traded, a team which features what has already been almost unanimously dubbed a comically bad outfield, and a team that finds itself entrenched in what is likely the most powerful division in baseball have any chance at pulling that off?  The simple answer… They dont!  However, the team that will be donning the blue and orange come mid-summer should have a much better chance as the pieces outlining “Sandy’s” team fall into place.

Finances and injuries aside, the biggest in-season problem that has crippled the Mets over the past five years has been the inevitable second have swoon.  You can almost set your clocks to the post all-star break slide that sees the team lose its last grasp of postseason aspiration each summer.  This season’s group has the opportunity to avoid the same fate, and here’s how that happens…

First and foremost, I don’t think this season’s outfield is all that bad, at least compared to last season’s outfield, from an offensive standpoint.  Your asking a group that will likely include Lucas Duda, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Collin Cowgill, Mike Baxter and probably Marlon Byrd to collectively give you a season that eclipses the .238 BA, .309 OBP, 55 HR, 206 RBI, and .696 OPS that last year’s crop of outfielders posted.  Those numbers are not unobtainable, even for the group in camp this spring and better yet.. I’m only asking them to do it for half the season.  The pursuit of legitimate outfielder was an utter failure this winter and remains the organization’s biggest issue going forward.  However, if the aforementioned comically bad outfield can hold it together long enough, reinforcements could be on the way when the trade deadline looms this summer.  The team’s undeniable need for at least two quality outfielders, it’s sizable crop of young minor league arms and any lingering hope for a playoff run could be enough to see Sandy Alderson pull the trigger on another blockbuster mid-season trade.  However instead of bolstering the team’s farm system, this move shores up the Major League outfield and ideally fills one of those positions for seasons to come.

Such an addition, albeit theoretical, only adds to the renovation the twenty-five man roster is likely to experience this summer.  Acquired as part of the trade that sent R.A. Dickey to Toronto, Travis d’Arnaud figures to arrive in Queens by mid-June.  His arrival not only provides a quality backstop for the team’s biggest weapon, the starting rotation, it also figures to make a decided lefty dominated lineup, more formidable.  Does he immediately blossom into the weapon the Mets envision for the next ten years?  Probably not, but that doesn’t mean he won’t provide quality at bats and an added level of power this lineup so desperately needs.

zack wheelerYour final, and in all likelihood most anticipated arrival this summer, will be that of Zack Wheeler.  Boasting a pitch selection that many deem good enough to see him quickly evolve into the team’s ace, he will cause headaches for opponents who will be seeing him for the first time late in the season.  Its also important to recognize that his impending arrival leaves the Mets with an excess of major league caliber starting pitching that is always coveted at the trade deadline.  That could mean the mid-summer trade of former ace and no-hitter hero, Johan Santana, who will exit Queens with the Mets paying the large majority of his salary to ensure a good return, provided he can remain healthy, further aiding the team elsewhere as the summer presses on.

You see, unlike most teams who enter the year with a roster primed for playoff glory, the Mets hopes lie in the effectiveness of players who aren’t even hear yet.  When they arrive, they’ll join a roster full of other young players who, save David Wright, don’t realize they’re not good enough.  With any luck it will be that naivety and maybe even some stubbornness that sees the Mets remain in the thick of things long enough for their difference makers to arrive.  Unlikely?  Yes.  Impossible?  Of course not.  However, if they do experience such success, the added excitement of having things come together at just the right time could give the Mets the added momentum necessary to push through a division of much more established teams.

The Mets are not by any stretch of the imagination poised to be a contender this summer, but that should stop fans from enjoying the ride.  Enjoy the knowledge that the team’s brightest young stars are on their way and poised to contribute later this year.  Know that if their predecessors can stay the course long enough, the likes of Travis d’Arnaud, Zack Wheeler and maybe even a few players to be named later will be playing for a lot more than reps before this season is said and done.

Follow me on Twitter at @RobPatterson83

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This Is How The Mets Can Win 85-90 Games in 2013 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/02/this-is-how-the-mets-can-win-85-90-games-in-2013.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/02/this-is-how-the-mets-can-win-85-90-games-in-2013.html/#comments Mon, 18 Feb 2013 18:37:31 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=108375 mets spring training 2013 Wally Backman leads workout

Almost everyone is going to pick the Mets to finish fourth in the division. That’s a given. They are looking up and down at team rosters, and giving their projections based on the players on those rosters. A roster is simply a list of names. It can’t tell you if a player is going to have an up year or a down year, it can’t tell you if a player is going to get injured or not, nor can it tell you if the guys on that roster have the heart and determination it takes to win baseball games. So while the analysts make their predictions based on names on a roster because those names are associated with better baseball ability, there is really no telling what can happen over the course of a 162 game season.

dickey-mets

But who will replace Dickey’s wins???

Another flawed way to try and determine whether or not a team can win a specific number of games is by looking at the starting rotation, trying to project how many wins each pitcher will have, and then adding them up. Another major mistake is asking oneself who is going to replace the twenty wins that R.A. Dickey tallied in 2012.

This way of thinking is so fundamentally flawed that I don’t even know where to start. While pitching is very important, let’s not forget that there are still eight guys on that field playing the game. Dickey did not win twenty games by shutting out twenty opponents, his other teammates actually contributed as well. In fact, trying to ask where the Mets will get those twenty wins from is a waste of time. It’s safe to say that the average wins that the ace of a team gets is 17 in a season. That would mean the Mets really are only looking at making up three games at most from losing Dickey, not twenty.

Sticking with the pitching projections, if you add up all their predicted wins from the starting rotation you can’t forget to add all the wins that the bullpen accumulate throughout a season. Any wins that the many potential call-ups and spot starters accumulate also have to be included. But this really is a waste of time when trying to determine how many wins the Mets will garner in 2013.

So how can the Mets win 85-90 games in 2013?

The same way teams have been winning games for over a century: with solid pitching, good defense, getting on base, and timely hitting. It doesn’t matter who is on the roster if the team can’t accomplish those things.

The Mets have to break the game down incrementally into it’s simplest form: innings. They have to treat each inning as if it is a mini-game. The goal is to win more innings than your opponent. Baseball games are nine innings for a reason; if your team wins five innings, and your opponent wins four, you win the game. It really is a best out of nine series. The Mets have to take the season inning by inning, and then when all those innings are added up, it should translate in the win column. Met prospect Jack Leathersich actually said as much to Joe D. just last week in his interview with him.

Halfway through 2012, the Mets found themselves ranked in the top ten of the MLB Power Rankings.

Halfway through 2012, the Mets found themselves ranked in the top ten of the MLB Power Rankings.

How easily we forget that in 2012, the Mets were on pace at one point in the season to win over 80 games. They were winning games with solid pitching and timely hitting. That’s the classic recipe for winning baseball games. The Mets were ranked as high as ninth in the MLB Power Rankings and Mets fans started to believe that there could be a playoff run in the future. However, after the All-Star break, the team never did get back on track. I’m sure one of Terry Collins‘ goals in 2013 will be to get off to a hot start like the Mets did in 2012, but this season, keep his team motivated and finish the season just as strong as it starts.

Everyone complains about how awful the Mets outfield looks now, but did it honestly look much better before the 2012 season? Maybe a tad, but let’s not kid ourselves. Did you ever consider the Mets outfield in 1969 and more recently in 2000?

Scott Hairston had a great year, but nobody anticipated that. Aside from Hairston the Mets outfield was equally as awful in 2012. Who is to say that the Mets won’t get another outfielder to step up in 2013? Maybe this year the Mets will have two surprises instead of one. One of the great things about having a lot of youth in the outfield is that these guys will play hard because they want to stick with the team. That means the potential of one or two of the young guys stepping up in 2013 is actually promising. And while the outfield may still be a question mark, the Mets infield has the potential to be one of the best in the entire National League.

Travis d'Arnaud (NY Times)

The Mets also received virtually no offensive output from the catcher position in 2012. In 2013, this trend should change. Travis d’Arnaud should be arriving some time in May, and should easily be able to out-perform the Mets catchers from 2012. He will inject at least fifteen home runs into the lineup over the course of the season, and the healing process for the fans that were heart-broken when Dickey was traded will begin.

If the analysts projections were correct every year, then what would be the point of playing the season out? They could all save us a lot of time and hand out trophies based on rosters. However, this is not a contest for putting together the best roster on paper, this is about winning ball games. The Mets can win over 85 games in 2013 if they stick to the winning formula: solid pitching, good defense, getting on base, and timely hitting.

While one prominent Mets site has Policed the situation, concluded his investigation, and determined that there is no evidence to suggest that the Mets can replace those 20 wins from Dickey, I say this Mets team is still innocent until proven guilty.

There is a lot to look forward to in 2013 as Mets fans. There are some exciting young prospects waiting in the wings and if the Mets stay healthy, they are going to sneak up on a lot of teams this year. This is going to be an exciting season of Mets baseball.

2013 New York Mets Prediction:

88-74, 2nd Place N.L. East

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R.A. Dickey Accepts NL Cy Young At BBWAA Dinner http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/01/r-a-dickey-accepts-nl-cy-young-at-bbwaa-dinner.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/01/r-a-dickey-accepts-nl-cy-young-at-bbwaa-dinner.html/#comments Sun, 20 Jan 2013 19:37:56 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=105412 The stars were out at the New York Hilton Saturday night at the 90th annual Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) Dinner.

This year’s award winners received their hardware, and of course, R.A. Dickey was the main event.

Dickey took home the 2012 NL Cy Young Award and was honored with the BBWAA’s “Joe DiMaggio Toast of the Town” award for forging a special bond with the New York fans.

R.A. Dickey at BBWAA Dinner

R.A. Dickey at BBWAA Dinner

Before Dickey took to the podium, the dais featured some of the top players in the game today including Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, David Price, Buster Posey and C.C. Sabathia. Former Met killer Chipper Jones was also in attendance to receive the BBWAA’s “Long and Meritorious Service” award.

The 1973 NL champion New York Mets were honored for their 40th anniversary. Rusty Staub and Buddy Harrelson accepted the “Willie, Clipper and the Duke” award. Willie Mays was actually there too and was given a standing ovation.

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson was tasked with introducing the 1973 team. But before doing that, he acknowledged Dickey for his remarkable season.

“The contributions he’s made for the Mets not just this year but over three years, it’s been a privilege of mine to watch him perform over the last two,” he said. “I think everyone, Mets fans and baseball fans everywhere, will agree that last year was truly not just historic but in some ways a storybook finish to his career here. I hope it’s not finished. I hope that sometime down the line that we will meet again.”

However, he said he was not infringing on Blue Jays’ general manager Alex Anthopoulos, who was sitting at the table right in front of the podium.

Sandy Alderson, the comedian

Sandy Alderson, the comedian

Alderson must have thought he was a comedian, but many Mets fans in attendance were not too impressed with his routine. He said that he has been in contact with several outfielders that he “met on the Internet, one of which went to Stanford.” Naturally, he was poking fun at the Manti Te’o situation, but still Sandy, why don’t you go get us an outfielder rather than joking about it?

But Alderson wished Dickey well, even though he was the guy who sent him out of town.

“Perhaps R.A. will become the first back-to-back Cy Young winner in two different leagues representing two different countries,” he said. “I hope that happens.”

Dickey was introduced by Phil Niekro, the greatest knuckleballer in history who served as a mentor to Dickey as he learned to throw the mysterious pitch.

Niekro was honored to be part of the event and even said to his wife that if his wedding had been scheduled for Saturday, he would have postponed it in order to be in New York for R.A.’s special night.

When Dickey won the Cy Young, Niekro called right away, and Dickey kept saying, “We did it! We did it!”

“I said, ‘We didn’t do it. You did it. You were out there busting your butt from the first day of spring training to the end, you’re taking the signs and you’re striking them out, and you’re pitching one-hitters and shutouts. You did it.’”

But Dickey still said that it was a team effort.

Niekro said that he was so proud of Dickey, and he’s sure that the likes of Charlie Hough, Tim Wakefield, his brother Joe Niekro, Hoyt Wilhelm, Tom Candiotti and Wilbur Wood would all feel the same way.

Phil Niekro introduces Dickey

Phil Niekro introduces Dickey

“This has never happened to us before,” Niekro said. “No knuckleballer in the history of the game had won a Cy Young Award. You (Dickey) have brought us up to a level that none of us ever thought we’d get to.”

Dickey and Niekro embraced before it was R.A.’s turn to accept his award. He started with a litany of thank you’s to the Wilpons, Alderson and Mets’ public relations director Jay Horwitz.

“I have so many thank you’s for my Met family, and that’s what it really felt like when I was here,” Dickey said. “I don’t think I could have ever wished to play for a better manager than Terry Collins.”

Dickey of course thanked his wife Anne for sticking by him at his lowest times and traveling all over the country, Latin America and now Canada with him as he pursued his dreams. He talked about Cy Young’s wife, Robba, to put his thanks into perspective.

“For every Cy Young Award winner who has a mate and is married, there needs to be a Robba Young Award to go along side of it,” he said.

Dickey – a Star Wars buff of course – gave a special thank you to whom he calls the “Jedi Council of Knuckleballers” made up of Hough, Wakefield and Niekro. He said he remembers meeting Hough in 2005 as he was on his way out as a conventional pitcher.

“I was throwing 85 (mph) and didn’t have the control of a Greg Maddux,” he said. “I was serving up some balls that still haven’t landed.”

But he was grateful to his manager and pitching coach with the Texas Rangers, Buck Showalter and Orel Hershiser, for giving him the confidence to reinvent himself.

“75,000 knuckleballs off a cinderblock wall later, and here I am,” Dickey said. “I would not be here if it wasn’t for Charlie, Phil and Tim. This is an award to not only be celebrated with them but also the city of New York and the New York Mets fanbase.”

Phil Niekro and R.A. Dickey embrace.

Phil Niekro and R.A. Dickey embrace.

Dickey only spoke for a few minutes since he likely had to feel a bit strange. Here’s a guy being celebrated in his former town for his accomplishments with his former team, but yet that team sent him packing even though he wanted to be back. Sure, the trade made sense for a rebuilding franchise, but it’s still tough to Dickey leave after such an inspirational season.

This year’s dinner marks the second straight year (Jose Reyes in 2012) that a Mets’ award winner accepted an award as a member of another team.

Even so, the night was a great event for baseball fans and one that Dickey will cherish for the rest of his life.

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Should The New York Mets Pursue Jair Jurrjens? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/01/should-the-new-york-mets-pursue-jair-jurrjens.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/01/should-the-new-york-mets-pursue-jair-jurrjens.html/#comments Fri, 04 Jan 2013 22:44:22 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=104113 Picture Courtesy of USA Today

Picture Courtesy of USA Today

Question: How many free-agent pitchers are 26 years-old, have had two seasons at the major league level with sub 3.00 ERA, and were named to an All-Star game?

Answer: Jair Jurrjens

There has been little to no talk about Jurrjens hooking on with any teams this offseason.

The question is why?

Granted, he is coming off an abysmal year that saw him sent down to the farm to work out his issues at one point. But is one season really enough to pull the plug on a pitcher that looked to be headed towards becoming the next legendary pitcher in Atlanta?

Apparently for the Braves, what they saw in 2012 was enough to send him packing. Could the fact that the Braves gave up on Jurrjens so quickly be what is scaring other teams away?

At this point, the Mets should be all over this guy. They should buy low on Jurrjens and see if he can regain the form that once led him to be an All-Star. They need to fill a hole in the rotation that was left behind when the team traded RA Dickey, so why not take a shot on a young pitcher who has had success at the major league level?

Jurrjens is not a power pitcher, but even after his 2012 campaign where he posted a 6.89 ERA, his career ERA is still a respectable 3.62. It would be smarter for the team to take a chance on a young pitcher, with a high ceiling, than a pitcher like Chris Young at this point (who is rumored to make a possible return to the Mets).

The Mets could sign Jurrjens to an affordable one-year deal, and if he performs well, they could potentially flip him at the trade deadline. They could also determine if they want to keep him and if he fits in with the team’s future plans. If he performs like he did in 2012, they could just cut him loose like the Braves did at the end of the year. Seems like a no-lose situation for the Mets.

Maybe with the added incentive of staying in the NL East and getting to play against the team that cut him loose, after just one subpar season, will light a fire under Jurrjens again.

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Are The New York Mets Really Rebuilding From The Ground Up? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/01/are-the-mets-really-rebuilding-from-the-ground-up.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/01/are-the-mets-really-rebuilding-from-the-ground-up.html/#comments Thu, 03 Jan 2013 12:30:47 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=104006 We have heard that the Mets are going through a complete overhaul, rebuilding the organization from the ground up.

Travis d'Arnaud jumps to the top of the Mets prospect list..

Travis d’Arnaud jumped to the top of the Mets prospect list.

Until the trade that sent RA Dickey to the Blue Jays for prominent prospects Travis d’Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard, it sure didn’t look like a team that was rebuilding. The Dickey trade was the first action taken by general manager Sandy Alderson that signaled that the team may be undergoing a rebuilding phase.

Unfortunately, due to circumstances, the Dickey trade was not really so much a part of the rebuilding process as it was picking the pocket of a team (the Blue Jays) that is putting all of their eggs in one basket in 2013.Trading a prominent major league commodity for minor league prospects is generally the tell-tale sign that a team is entering a rebuilding phase. The question is, should the Mets be rebuilding from the ground up?

Rebuilding is a term that we generally hear coming from places like Kansas City and Pittsburgh. They always seem like they are rebuilding, don’t they? That’s because once a team takes on a rebuilding project, unless everything clicks, meaning the prospects all gel and hit their stride at the same time, there will be setbacks. Baseball prospects are about as unpredictable as lightning strikes. There is no such thing as a sure thing. Because of that, a rebuilding phase can sometimes take years to complete.

Another reason why these rebuilding teams always seem to be rebuilding is because they are generally from small markets. With little money to spend on free-agents, they have no choice but to rebuild year after year and hope that prospects pan out. The problem is, when they finally do pan out, they often lose the players due to the inability to pay them once they hit free-agency for the first time.

What ends up happening? Large market teams have no reason to build their minor league systems because they know that the prospects that are developed by the small market teams will eventually be out of their price range. They just sit back and wait to write them out a fat check. It makes you wonder if the small market team decided to start spending some money and keeping their prospects, how the power would shift in the major leagues if the large market teams could no longer subsidize these prospects.

rebuilding

Now the question is: Are the Mets truly rebuilding?

Let’s get one thing out in the open – large market teams don’t rebuild, they replenish. There is a major difference. Replenishing entails filling in gaps in the organization; rebuilding entails starting from scratch. The Mets should not be rebuilding, they should be replenishing.

They want to make everyone think they are rebuilding because if a team claims to be rebuilding, they think it gives them a free pass for stinking up the joint. Well that may fly in Pittsburgh. It may have flown in Kansas City. But in New York, that just isn’t going to fly.

Not to mention, this has to be the absolute worst rebuilding in the history of rebuilding. Rebuilding teams don’t sign players to $138 million contracts; they trade them. Rebuilding teams don’t let 23 of their draft picks to go unsigned; they sign them.

Unless this is some new hybrid type of rebuilding process where you don’t trade your biggest trade chip and you don’t sign draft picks, it is not rebuilding. Do you want to know what it is? It’s an excuse for not spending money. Period.

The Chicago Cubs are another team that is said to be in a rebuilding process. However, the difference between the Cubs and the Mets is that their front office has been busy all off-season signing players in an attempt to improve in 2013. They’re rebuilding and yet spending money to improve in the interim. Who would’ve thought it was possible?

What have the Mets done this winter? They have accomplished the impossible feat of being the only team to not sign a major league free-agent.

The Mets are not rebuilding, they are stalling. They were hoping the Mayans were right. But now we are in 2013 and they don’t know what to do.

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From Left Field: In Mets’ History, Farm System Has Lacked Strong Hitting http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/12/from-left-field-in-mets-history-farm-system-has-lacked-strong-hitting.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/12/from-left-field-in-mets-history-farm-system-has-lacked-strong-hitting.html/#comments Thu, 20 Dec 2012 14:36:52 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=103326 MLB: Spring Training-Toronto Blue Jays at Atlanta Braves

After the trade sending R.A. Dickey to the Blue Jays, I started thinking that the Mets really have never developed a top-notch catcher out of their minor league system.

Todd Hundley is closest thing to being a productive home-grown catcher, which isn’t exactly saying much.

Of course, the most productive catchers in team history, Gary Carter and Mike Piazza, were acquired via trade.

Now that the Mets’ catching future in the hands of Travis d’Arnaud, hopefully he can change that trend. Though the Mets didn’t draft him, he will at some point make his Major League debut with the Amzain’s.

Then I also got to thinking: Not only have the Mets really never developed a strong catcher, but they also really have struggled in developing any sort of hitters from their system.

Scouts will say that pitching and defense win championships, but you have to score some runs as well.

The Mets have actually been known in their history to have all sorts of good pitching prospects but not much hitting.

Really the bulk of the Mets’ strong hitters have been acquired via trade or free agency: Piazza, Carter, Keith Hernandez, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, Howard Johnson, Cliff Floyd, etc.

I looked back in Mets’ MLB Draft history to see if any of their offensive-minded draft picks ever made it big, and I came up with just two: Darryl Strawberry and David Wright.

That’s right, in all the years of drafting players, they’ve only developed two draft picks into superstar Major Leaguers.

Sure, they drafted role players like Lee Mazzilli, Mookie Wilson, Wally Backman and Lenny Dykstra, but I’m talking about face-of-the-franchise type players.

Now along the way, there have been players that have signed as minor league free agents that became good Major Leaguers, including Cleon Jones, Edgardo Alfonzo and Jose Reyes.

But even so, five players in the history of the franchise? That’s weak.

But on the pitching side, the Mets have been more successful. They drafted Nolan Ryan, Jim McAndrew, Jon Matlack, Dwight Gooden, Bobby J. Jones and Scott Kazmir.

Though not all these pitchers had their success with the Mets (especially Ryan), at least the Mets saw the talent in these arms.

And of course, the Mets signed and developed amateur free agents named Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman.

Currently, guys like Jon Niese and Matt Harvey can continue the trend of strong pitching prospects panning out, and Zack Wheeler (though acquired by the Giants) isn’t too far behind.

Maybe the problem with the Mets organization is that the team has focused so much on developing young pitching that the hitters have suffered. Or maybe the scouts are not taking the proper time to assess young hitters while breaking down pitchers.

Keep in mind, this is an organization that used first round draft picks on Lastings Milledge, Jason Tyner and Terrence Long. Not exactly offensive-minded players.

Maybe this trend will be put to rest if Ike Davis and d’Arnaud develop into the hitters that they are projected to be. But even so, it’s something to be considered.

As it stands, even if Mets’ pitching only allows one run per game, the Mets’ offense will struggle matching that.

You need hitters, especially a few power hitters, in this league, and that’s just something the Mets do not develop well in their minor league system.

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Alderson’s Amazin Plan: A Long And Winding Road http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/12/aldersons-amazin-plan-a-long-and-winding-road.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/12/aldersons-amazin-plan-a-long-and-winding-road.html/#comments Tue, 18 Dec 2012 14:00:03 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=103162 sandy-alderson-thinking1-288x4002012 saw Miguel Cabrera become the first Triple Crown winner in 45 years. I wonder if Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski has considered trading Cabrera. Surely after putting up numbers like that he could definitely get some good prospects.

We had a pitcher once who seemed to be slipping. He was approaching 33, his best years behind him. Over his last two seasons, his ERA rose 26%, his strikeouts decreased by about 8%, his wins dropped by nearly one–third and he was allowing more home runs. He was sent away for a slick fielding second baseman, a young slugger with a good eye, a lanky righthander who posted a 2.74 ERA the previous year, and a ‘cant-miss’ outfielder with great bad speed.

Just wondering… How many of you who were there, now think trading Tom Seaver for Doug Flynn, Steve Henderson, Pat Zachary and Dan Norman worked out well for us?

I’ve been a Mets fan for 40 years now and thanks to our GM, I apparently don’t understand the game. I always thought that when you have a good player you keep him. You use that player and try to build a winner. Apparently, I’m incorrect. I now see that when you have a good player, you trade him and gamble on young unproven prospects.

Buster-Posey

Just to digress for a moment, Giants GM Brian Sabean must be an idiot. What does he know about building a winner? So what if his Giants have won two World Series in three years? He’s got Buster Posey who, in three seasons, has won a Rookie of the Year and an MVP. Why isn’t Sabean shopping him, that fool? Think of all the young prospects he could get in exchange for Posey. Hmm, maybe Alderson can call him up and give him a few pointers on building a winner.

Okay, bad analogy. Posey is 25, Dickey is 38. However, Dickey is a knuckle-balling 38. Charlie Hough pitched until he was 46, Tim Wakefield to age 45 and Phil Niekro until 48. Hoyt Wilhelm was 50. Think 38 is old? Well, consider it’s very possible that Dickey will still be pitching when David Wright retires.

Jose Reyes, among the most exciting players in baseball, was one of the most popular Mets in decades. Although he’d been our shortstop for eight seasons, Alderson channeled M. Donald Grant. After putting down his talents by saying speed was not important, he told Reyes, “Show me what you can do.” Jose sure showed him, becoming the first player in team history to win a batting championship… Then Alderson showed him the GW Bridge and pointed him south.

Alderson told us that Reyes wanted too much money and, due to his history of injuries, it was too big a risk. Fine, whatever.

Fast forward to one year later. RA Dickey became the one and only bright spot in yet another abysmal Mets season. He was the feel good story of 2012. For a change, the Mets were presented positively in the national spotlight. R.A. became the first Mets pitcher in more than a quarter of a century to win the Cy Young Award, and the first knuckleballer ever to cop the award. In addition to setting a team record of 32 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings, he also led the NL in innings pitched, strikeouts, complete games and shutouts.

Last winter, Alderson told us he couldn’t keep Reyes because he wanted too much money and that he wasn’t worth the risk due to injuries. This winter, Alderson lets Dickey walk because of a difference of only $6 million over three years in a new contract. And ironically, who do we get back, but a catcher who missed half the season with a knee injury, and also missed half a season in 2010 with two bulging discs in his back.

If we had no problem getting rid of Reyes because of injury concerns, then why now is it acceptable to get a player trying to recover from a season-ending injury? An injury to his knee… And a catcher yet, too…

M. Donald Grant is regarded as the worst GM in our history. He traded Seaver, Kooz, Tug, Rusty, Cleon, Buddy, etc… However, I have more respect for him than I do for Alderson.

Mets_fan_sadGrant was an autocrat, a businessman who ran the team with a dictatorial approach. He did not care that the stands were empty. He did not care that the fan base detested him. He did what HE wanted with no fanfare, no concern for us. Mets fans be damned.

Alderson, however, gets rid of players in Grant-like fashion, but then turns around and tells us it’s good for the team. Don’t lie to me. Don’t insult our intelligence. Don’t treat us like we are stupid. Don’t talk down to us. Our wins and attendance have dropped for three straight seasons and these trends will continue into the future. isn’t that the truth?

Whereas Grant destroyed the team, he didn’t placate us with soundbites. Alderson does the same, but then lies to us about how great things are and will be.

If D’arnaud is indeed the next Mike Piazza, the second coming of Mickey Cochrane, then why did we also need to get John Buck? Isn’t one great catcher enough?

I guess the Mets approach is simple: If you’re good, we have no interest in keeping you. But if you’re no good, you’re more than welcome to stay. This approach confuses me.

Am I supposed to root FOR guys like D’arnaud or against him? I mean, lets say he does great. He’s Buster Posey 2.0. He’s Johnny Bench. He’s Yogi Berra. But if he does really well, then what? He’ll want more money and become too costly and we simply cant have that. So we’ll simply trade him for a couple of good prospects. Is that the cycle? The plan? The future?

What’s the long range goal?

When does this merry-go-round of lunacy end?

Why draw the line there? What if, GOD FORBID, Lucas Duda hits 35 HR’s next year? Well, we can trade him for a couple of prospects. Maybe Jon Niese will come through and become a 20 game winner like, say, oh I don’t know, RA Dickey. Eureka – Sell High – We can surely get two huge prospects for him now. Jackpot.

baseball-fans-sad_2012507i - Copy - Copy

I can almost see M. Donald Alderson licking his chops at the thought of it.

Guys play well, they’ll earn more money, and that’s not something that fits into the Mets plans… This new philosophy.

Hey, here’s something to consider. Maybe if Alderson trades away each player for 2 or 3 prospects, he can get a special dispensation from Bud Selig. Maybe the Mets can have a 60 man roster. (Of course, 57 of them would suck but still…)

And wow, imagine if in 2013 David Wright becomes the first player to hit .400 since Ted Williams. Hmm… A .400 hitter would definitely warrant a few prospects and he is getting long in the tooth at 31.

Last season we bid farewell to Jose Reyes. Now we all watched R.A. Dickey get sent away. Both are now reunited in Toronto, a team that is determined to win. GM Alex Anthopoulos stated on Monday night that the Jays have not been to a World Series in 19 years and “that’s too long to ask fans to wait”. Hey, Alex, try 26 years.

Reyes and Dickey are now with a team that has become the powerhouse of the AL East, and fully capable of dethroning the Yankees. Maybe next October, Reyes and Dickey can join the likes of Carlos Beltran and Angel Pagan. Remember them? They are also ex-Mets discarded by Alderson who then immediately found their way into the post-season with other teams.

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Sandy Alderson Gets His Man… And Then Some http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/12/sandy-alderson-gets-his-man-and-then-some.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/12/sandy-alderson-gets-his-man-and-then-some.html/#comments Tue, 18 Dec 2012 13:00:41 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=103129 What's The Plan Stan?Patience is a virtue.  That certainly applies to the patience of Mets GM, Sandy Alderson, who once again proved his critics wrong this weekend when he secured a windfall of popular prospects from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for reigning Cy Young Award winner, RA Dickey, and his personal catchers, Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas.  In doing so, Alderson waited out both the starting pitching market and the limits of the fan base’s collective sanity, cashing Dickey in at the absolute peak of his value and in the process, pushed the Mets forward towards their ultimate goal building a core of young, promising talent.

Sandy’s man, as I’m sure you’ve heard is Travis d’Arnaud, who is widely considered the best catching prospect in all of baseball.  Despite a season ending knee injury, it wouldn’t be surprising to see d’Arnaud break camp with the Mets come April, instantly bolstering the team’s roster at catcher.  Hitting for both power and average, while at the same time being considered above average defensively, d’Arnaud has the potential to solidify the Mets backstop needs for the foreseeable future.  If you ask most MLB General Managers, Travis d’Arnaud may have been too much to offer all by himself, but Sandy Alderson wasn’t done.

As a result, the Blue Jays’ number one pitching prospect, Noah Snydergaard, will also head south of the border and join the strong crop of young, hard throwing pitchers the Mets already have at the Single A level.  Although he may not find his way to the majors until sometime during the 2015 season, Snydergaard’s inclusion in this deal is the perfect example of Sandy Alderson maximizing what he has to work with.  For the second time in two years, Alderson pulled off a trade that no one thought was possible by waiting until what seems like the last possible minute to get things done.

Throw-ins on the deal also include backup catcher, John Buck, who will serve as a place holder for d’Arnaud if he isn’t ready for the start of the season, and eighteen year old Wuilma Buerra, who will look to come back from a broken jaw as a result of being struck in the face by a rogue pitch.  Neither play a major factor in the balance of this deal, but they do represent just how much value Alderson was able to squeeze of our Dickey’s Cy Young season.

Like him or not, these types of deals are the reason Sandy Alderson was brought to Queens, and will be the reason he remains in Queens if he so sees fit.  Hamstrung by a reduced cashflow, only now, entering his third season as team General Manager can the hints of the master play start to take shape.  With two months remaining before Spring Training, his work certainly isn’t done if he hopes to field a semi-competitive team in 2013.   However, regardless of how this upcoming season plays out, Sandy Alderson has put several more pieces in play for what could be a promising young team in 2014 and beyond.

Follow me on Twitter at @RobPatterson83

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Believe It Or Not, The Mets Have Gotten Worse http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/12/believe-it-or-not-the-mets-have-gotten-worse.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/12/believe-it-or-not-the-mets-have-gotten-worse.html/#comments Tue, 11 Dec 2012 13:00:53 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=102587

It’s really hard to believe, but the Mets have gotten worse this off-season. They haven’t done anything to improve on their 2012 season. In fact, they lost a couple of players that helped them to their mediocre performance in 2012.

There was a reason why the Mets waited until the Winter Meetings to sign David Wright to his extension, and have him stroll into that press conference in the awesome new uniform. All of a sudden, the fan base was focused on David Wright and the cool new uniforms, and not the fact that the Mets did nothing to improve this entire off-season.

This winter has been nothing but a diversion. Sandy Alderson was trapped in a corner surrounded by Mets fans asking for “significant changes,” and he pointed to the sky and said “look, what’s that?” We all looked, and he snuck away. It was a very clever move by Alderson to sign Wright and make a spectacle of it at the Winter Meetings.

He knew from day one that Wright was re-signing. But if they signed him before the Winter Meeting, everyone would have been questioning what the Mets accomplished during the meetings in order to improve the team. Everyone gave them a free pass after Wright was signed.

Locking up David did nothing to improve the Mets in the short-term. It probably didn’t do anything to improve the team in the long-term. It was all just an illusion. Sure, David will probably retire as the greatest Mets player to ever wear the blue and orange. That makes some people happy. But most fans would be happier with progress. What we are seeing is not progress.

R.A. Dickey was great in 2012, but trading him was one of the few opportunities the Mets had to improve this off-season. Unfortunately, the Mets blew it by forgetting he is 38-years old. There is still too much risk for teams to take on a 38-year old pitcher, regardless if he won the Cy Young award or is a knuckleballer.

Being a knuckleballer doesn’t help sell his age, it simply clouds his success as teams wonder if a knuckleballer can maintain that level of success year after year. So while the Mets would have been able to sell high on Dickey coming off his great year, they were never in the driver’s seat. The fact that the Mets are holding strong at two years for $20M, and are hesistant to give Dickey the extra $6M he is requesting says it all.

If all the Mets accomplish this off-season is signing two players that were already under contract for 2013, then how can we say it was a successful winter? We can’t. In fact, we have gone backwards.

The issues in the outfield have not been addressed, and with the potential loss of Hairston, have gotten worse. The bullpen is still a giant question mark – an even bigger question mark is why Bobby Parnell was labeled “untouchable.” The catching situation is as nauseating as ever. It begs me to ask, what is the direction of this team?

Are the Mets rebuilding? It sure doesn’t seem so. Do they have a win now mentality? Absolutely not. What’s the deal?

If the Mets re-sign Hairston, that means the Mets who were supposed to undergo “significant changes” would have done nothing more than sign three players from the 2012 team that only won 71 games. That isn’t very promising.

At least in 2012 we had the excitement of the first no-hitter in Mets history and the magical season of R.A. Dickey to help the fan base get through the season.

What do we have to look forward to in 2013? Oh yeah…those awesome new uniforms.

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If The Mets Trade R.A. Dickey, Who Becomes The Team’s Ace? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/11/if-the-mets-trade-r-a-dickey-who-becomes-the-teams-ace.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/11/if-the-mets-trade-r-a-dickey-who-becomes-the-teams-ace.html/#comments Fri, 30 Nov 2012 19:08:20 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=101780

At season’s end Dickey called he and Wright a “package deal.”

Now that the Mets have locked up David Wright to an extension, they will probably shift their attention to the 2012 Cy Young award winner, RA Dickey. Could the reason why Wright finally agreed to sign on the dotted line be because he and Dickey are truly a package deal, and now the Mets are going to lock up Dickey next? Maybe the Mets told Wright they were going to sign Dickey, and it prompted David to finally agree to terms – who knows at this point?

There has been tons of speculation regarding what the Mets are going to do with regards to Dickey. There have been numerous trade rumors this off-season. Rightly so, as it seems this would be the optimal time to restock the team with young prospects in exchange for Dickey. That’s called selling high. Then, in the midst of the rumors, they were somewhat discredited when other MLB team executives said they thought the Mets were using the trade talks to gain an edge when negotiating with Dickey. That last part doesn’t really make much sense.

Dickey wants to be a Met. He has publicly proclaimed this. He is still saying he will take a two-year deal with the Mets. Dickey has already given the Mets all the negotiating power they need. Why would they have to falsely start dangling Dickey out there as trade bait to gain any bargaining power?

Picture the Dickey situation as high school prom. The Mets will be the guy in this scenario, and Dickey will be the girl. If you are a guy, and you know a girl wants to desperatley go to the prom with you, you basically have two options. The first option is pretty straight forward and involves just asking the girl you know already wants to go with you. The other option is to wait it out, maybe ask a couple of other girls, and if you get turned down there is no pressure because you know the other girl is just waiting for you to ask her. The Mets are pretty much the guy, checking to see what else is available out there. The girl has lost all her negotiating power, and so has Dickey.

So based on my prom theory, I have to assume that the Mets really are thinking about trading Dickey this winter. Now the question becomes if they trade Dickey, who becomes the ace of the staff in his absence?

The Mets really only have one option. And no, it’s not Johan Santana.

The ace of the staff immediately becomes Matt Harvey.

Santana just does not have what it takes to be the ace of the staff anymore. He pitched admirably in 2012, but he’s probably a number two or three starter at this point in his career. On the other hand, Harvey has electric stuff, and has shown to have the potential to be the ace of the staff. Based on what he displayed during his 2012 call up, you would have to believe this kid would rise to the occasion.

Sure, everyone would like to give Harvey two or three years to develop into the ace of the staff, but if this kid is going to be remembered as one of the great Mets pitchers, he should have no problem adjusting and striving in his new role with the team.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Whether the Mets decide to trade Dickey or not remains to be seen. Emotions aside, the Mets should probably trade Dickey now, at a point where they can get the most value for him. Either that, or run the risk of signing a 38 year-old pitcher with about 2.5 good seasons under his belt.

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Mets Fans Suffering From Bargain Bin Boredom http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/11/mets-fans-suffering-from-bargain-bin-boredom.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/11/mets-fans-suffering-from-bargain-bin-boredom.html/#comments Tue, 27 Nov 2012 14:00:39 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=101570 As winter creeps onto the landscape and the offseason crawls along, its becoming apparent that the sweeping changes that were promised by Mets GM, Sandy Alderson, are likely to be held off another year.  Instead of renovating the roster to resemble that of a organization poised for a resurgence, the Mets remain in a holding pattern.  The team’s front office had declared the World Series, then the Thanksgiving holiday and now the start of the winter meetings as dates for clarity on the futures of RA Dickey and David Wright.  The first two dates have come and gone, with the latter quickly approaching, and yet we still wait.  That appears to be what we do best around here these days…Wait.

Speaking as someone who was content with the idea that it took more than a season to screw this franchise up and that it will take more than a season to fix the mistakes of those that came before him, I tolerated the notion that 2014 might be the year the Mets find themselves back on the map.  So, I waited.  Waited for what, I’m not exactly sure, but I’m pretty sure I expected the framework for such a rebuild in place a mere season away from the self-imposed rebuilding deadline.  For sure, the team would need at least a season to mesh, right?  And still, I wait.

I think I’ve gotten to the point that I’m actually bored with what going on here.  Quite frankly, I don’t care what the team’s financial situation.  Furthermore, the methodical approach of Sandy Alderson seems to do nothing but make the agony of knowing there is little immediate hope on the horizon even worse.  You see there is nothing wrong with signing low risk, high reward players like Tim Byrdak to minor league contracts.  In fact, its good baseball sense.  However, these are not the signings necessary to put the chips in place for a rebuild.

To be perfectly honest, resigning David Wright and RA Dickey only maintains the organization’s current position of limbo.  These are the players that the front office should build around, but even their future is in doubt.  If we’re lucky enough to ink them to long-term deals, I fear that the players filled in around them will simply maintain the status quo.  Two months ago it was unfathomable that fifth outfielder, Andres Torres, might occupy a roster spot next season.  Now it appears borderline likely.  Simply put, scratching the bottom of the bargain bin has become tiresome.

As another spring training draws near, the blueprint for success is no clearer today than it was two years ago.  Addition by subtraction has replaced the big market mindset brought to you by Omar Minaya and Bernie Madoff.  Whether you blame poor investing, poor free agent signings, or even poor player development, the Mets schtick just seems stale at this point.  Resigning Wright and Dickey may pacify some fans, but it will be the players brought in around them that will inspire the imaginations of the masses.  They don’t have to be nine-figure players, but the Ronnie Cedenos of the world just aren’t going to get it done.

I’m bored Sandy Alderson.  Give me a reason to get excited, a reason to look forward to the future, hell.. give me a reason to come to the ballpark.  Show fans that this organization is still interested in winning.  Enough with the stopgaps.  Lets build something worth the our time..and our money.

Follow me on Twitter at @RobPatterson83

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Sandy Alderson And His Legacy Of Diminished Expectations http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/11/sandy-alderson-and-his-legacy-of-diminished-expectations.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/11/sandy-alderson-and-his-legacy-of-diminished-expectations.html/#comments Mon, 19 Nov 2012 02:19:44 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=101079 Who can forget where we were and what we were doing on December 16, 2004? (Ok, I admit it. I didn’t know the exact date either). It was a huge day for us fans. After finishing 25 GB and under .500 for the 3rd straight year, Omar Minaya made not only a bold move but made a statement. The New York Mets—yes, OUR New York Mets—signed the top pitcher of his era: Pedro Martinez.

Granted, we all knew at 33, Pedro’s best days were likely behind him. However, it sent a message to the National League. The Mets were back! And ready to build a champion.

Just as the realization of Pedro pitching in blue and orange took hold, the Mets did not back off. Less than one month later our GM went out and signed one of the game’s premier hitters and 5 tool superstars, Carlos Beltran.

Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran within 30 days? Yes, it was a hell of a good winter. Remember how it felt? Remember how we were drooling in anticipation? Opening Day could not get here quick enough.

The Mets improved their win total by 12 and finished just 7 GB. Pedro went 15-8 with a 2.82 ERA and although Beltran struggled in the NY spotlight, we felt hopeful for a bright future. We were heading in the right direction.

Meanwhile, 3000 miles west, in August that year, the Giants called up a pitcher named Matt Cain.

In spite of the improvement in 05, Mets fans hungered for more. We were on the cusp of something great. We had Pedro, Beltran and youngsters David Wright and Jose Reyes were coming into their own.

If we thought the 2005 off-season was good, 2006 far surpassed it. There were areas for improvement. And Minaya acted.

Our closer, Braden Looper, posted an unacceptable 3.94 ERA. The Mets went out and signed Billy Wagner and his 284 career saves. Wagner responded and in his first season he recorded 40 saves (3rd most in team history) and a 2.24 ERA.

While Doug Mientkiewicz provided a good glove, first base is a power position. Minaya was able to pull the string and bring Carlos Delgado to Flushing. Like Wagner, Delgado put up solid numbers, knocking in 114 RBI’s and 38 HRs.

That same winter we said a tearful goodbye to our beloved Mike Piazza. No one could fill his shoes. But in 2006 it was fiery Paul LoDuca behind the plate. LoDuca hit 318, the 2nd highest of his career.

Pedro. Delgado. Wright. Reyes. Wagner. Veterans like Glavine and El Duque. Yes, we were on the verge of greatness. A dynasty to rival the 1980’s. We were taking New York back from the aging Yankees.

We still remember that late October evening. Carlos Beltran flinched at the knee-buckling curve delivered by Adam Wainwright. We sat and watched in disbelief as the Cardinals celebrated on OUR field, in OUR home.

The disappointment of 2006 was a bitter pill to swallow. As we blamed Aaron Heilman and cursed Yadier Molina, we were still hopeful. Our young players now had post-season experience. We finally dethroned the mighty Braves and although we fell short in 06, we were confident this was the start of something new, something great. This was only the beginning.

That winter the Mets fine-tuned the bullpen and also acquired veteran Moises Alou.

In 2007, the Mets were on fire all season but suffered a September collapse for the record books. Our 88 wins put us just 1 GB of our 2nd straight division title.

That season also saw the debut of Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum.

2007 was another bitter pill to swallow…but we remained hopeful. 185 wins in 2 years for the Mets is something to behold. The future was still bright. We were oh-so-close. We could taste it. We were only one or two players away from getting that Championship.

On February 2, 2008, I was driving down the street listening to the radio when I heard the news. I screamed out in excitement, pounded my steering wheel, pulled to the curb, picked up my cell and called my dad. When he picked up, I shouted, “Holy &*%$, we just got Johan!!!”

Once again, Mets fans were chomping at the bit, counting down to Opening Day. The best LHP pitcher in baseball would be towing the rubber for us every fifth day. It was a great time to be a Mets fan. After falling short in 06 and 07, NOW we’d finally get to the Promised Land. We were ecstatic.

That same winter, 3000 miles west, Giants GM Brian Sabean picked up the phone. He asked the Padres if he could negotiate with San Diego’s manager, a guy named Bruce Bochy. The Padres CEO was Sandy Alderson. Alderson said ‘Go right ahead.’

On August 14 of 2008, a rookie third baseman named Pablo Sandoval made his debut.

2008 was another heartbreak. We tallied 89 wins, just 3 GB and missing the Wild Card by 1. Three straight seasons. Three straight heartbreaks. While we were building a winner and focusing on dethroning the Braves, it was suddenly now the Phillies who were the class of the NL East.

Our hope was waning. But we still felt confident. We still had a hell of a good team. We were competitive. We had talent. We could almost taste the champagne on our lips.

That winter Omar Minaya ratcheted things up. He went out and signed the premier closer in the game. Fresh off his record setting 62 saves with Anaheim, K-Rod would now be closing for us. The Mets also acquired innings eater Livan Hernandez and veteran proven winner Gary Sheffield.

In spite of 3 straight gut-wrenching years, we spent the winter eagerly awaiting Opening Day. No matter what happened in the past, the future appeared bright.

I don’t want to start a debate about our GM’s. One ran the Mets as a team, the other as a business. One was concerned about wins on the field, the other is concerned with the bottom line, putting a sub-par product on the field, and then asking fans to hand over money.

Bruce Bochy has been at the helm of the Giants for 6 seasons. The Mets have had 3 managers in that time. In the 16 seasons since Brian Sabean has been running the Giants, we’ve gone through 5 general managers. Maybe something is to be said about the way the Giants do things: After all, they’ve won as many championships in the last 3 seasons as we’ve won in 50.

Did Omar fail? Maybe, maybe not. But at least he tried. All those years he was our GM, we were seemingly only 1 or 2 players away from a championship. How many players away are we now?

Minaya spent winters bringing us guys like Delgado, Beltran, Pedro, Wagner and yes, even Jason Bay—but at least the man tried. Minaya brought us hope. The first winter Alderson was at the helm, we were pinning our hopes on guys like Brad Emaus, Chris Young and Chin Lung-Hu. (I didn’t bother calling my dad to share the news)

With 2 full-seasons under his belt, Alderson has watched our wins decrease both years. Attendance has continued to plummet.

As heartbreaking as 2006, 2007 and 2008 were, wouldn’t it be nice to at least be part of a pennant race again? Wouldn’t it be nice to play meaningful games after June?

We tried to build a winner under Minaya. That didn’t work. But at least we were heading in the right direction. We were so close. But now? Is anyone out there looking forward to Opening Day? Any Mets fans chomping at the bit for that big series in September against the Nationals when we might be fighting for a pennant?

The point I’m making (in a very long winded way) is this: We’ve gone from a fan base eager to win, thirsting for improvement, hungry for a championship to an impatient bunch, worn down by the spin of the front office.

Think about it. Just a few years ago, we spent winters hoping to IMPROVE. Now we spend winters simply not wanting to get any worse.

The Mets front office considers it a victory not to improve with new players, but to retain the players we have.

This winter our goal is not to go after guys like Upton or Hamilton but to keep what we have. Let’s be honest. If we end up keeping both Wright and Dickey, we’ll consider it a great winter. But is that IMPROVEMENT?

Jose Reyes, in spite of being a Met for 8 seasons, was told by Alderson, ‘Show me what you can do.’ Reyes responded by becoming the first Met ever to win a batting title. Alderson’s response was a kick in the butt and sending him south.

Now, the much loved, hard-working, Cinderella story of RA Dickey has played out. Eight months ago who would have dreamed that RA would win the Cy Young? The last time a Mets player won that award was Doc Gooden in 1985. At that time David Wright had just learned to walk and was two years shy of kindergarten.

The Alderson regime has not only attempted to teach us to do more with less, but he has also trained us to expect less. No expectations breeds a contented fan base.

In 2006, the Mets catch phrase was “The Future is Now.” Under Sandy Alderson, the future is…well, the future is in the future.

“I, by no means, am looking beyond 2011. Our job here is to put the best possible team on the field in 2011. And I think if we work at it, we should have every chance to be competitive.”

Sandy Alderson speaking to the media after being announced as Mets GM.  October 29, 2010

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RA Dickey Wins Cy Young, Fans Still Torn About Trade Talks http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/11/ra-dickey-wins-cy-young-fans-still-torn-about-trade-talks.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/11/ra-dickey-wins-cy-young-fans-still-torn-about-trade-talks.html/#comments Thu, 15 Nov 2012 18:36:33 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=100879

Now that RA Dickey has won the Cy Young, it’s inevitable that the talks swirling around the Mets will be regarding whether Dickey should be traded in the coming days/weeks. David Wright’s contract talks have taken a back seat for now.

Trading Dickey: Is it the right thing to do, or is it the wrong thing to do?

Everyone has been presenting solid evidence to back up which side of the argument they support. Truth be told, that’s because it’s easy to make very solid arguments for either side.

I am now going to present both sides of the argument for you – a virtual argument with myself – and then leave it up to the fans to decide which side of the argument they think is better for the Mets. Without further ado, I present you with case #2012 Mitch vs. Mitch – the argument of whether not to trade Dickey.

Mitch – Trade Him

There are numerous reasons why the Mets should trade Dickey this winter. The Mets have to put their emotions aside and look at this strictly as a business decision. They have the opportunity to sell very high on Dickey right now, and they have to understand that while Dickey throws the knuckleball differently than the traditional knuckleball pitcher, it is still an unpredictable pitch. Do they want to run the risk of finding out if Dickey has found a new and magical way to throw this pitch more effectively, or let some other team worry about it? The odds of Dickey repeating what he accomplished this past season are highly unlikely given the unpredictability of the knuckleball.

The Mets currently have tons of holes to fill. That is not breaking news. This is the optimal situation to take advantage of Dickey’s success and his very affordable pay check, and fill some of them. The Mets will only have Dickey for two or three more years if they re-sign him. However, they may be able to get some young talent in exchange for dickey that can help them for a much longer period of time. I would prefer if the Mets get established MLB players, over unproven prospects, to help the team right away.

Now that the team is committed to re-signing David Wright, the team has to use Dickey’s success, and get some players in exchange to build around David. The Mets will be able to pick the best offer from a long list of suitors, and that opportunity is too sweet to pass up.

Mitch – Keep Him

I can’t believe we are having this discussion. Here is a player that loves being a Met, he wants to be a Met, so how could we ever trade him? He was the most reliable player for the Mets last season, and he won the Cy Young. This is a no-brainer.

By keeping Dickey, the team will have the most affordable ace in the league. If you want to talk about this all being business and not personal – that’s good business. Dickey is also an excellent locker room presence, and will be able to assist with the development of the younger pitchers.

Pitching leads to success in this league, so by trading away top notch pitching for hitting, the Mets would be making a huge mistake. Good pitching is much harder to come by than good hitting. Cy Young winners are even harder to come by. The starting rotation is so much stronger with Dickey in the mix, and the Mets would be wise to build around both Dickey and Wright, not just Wright.

Good pitching beats good hitting, period.

The Mets can try and fill some holes with the money saved from deferring Jason Bay’s contract now. There is no need to trade Dickey.   

We Want to Hear From You

Which argument is stronger? Do you have any other thoughts about why the Mets should either trade, or keep Dickey? MMO would love to hear from you in the comment section below.

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From Left Field: Only 3 Teams Have Traded A Reigning Cy Young Winner http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/11/from-left-field-only-3-teams-have-traded-a-reigning-cy-young-winner.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/11/from-left-field-only-3-teams-have-traded-a-reigning-cy-young-winner.html/#comments Thu, 15 Nov 2012 16:46:32 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=100848  

Now that it’s official that R.A. Dickey has won the NL Cy Young, hopefully the trade talks surrounding him begin to subside.

It’s sad that the Mets are in such a financial bind that they can’t find the money to lock up a Cy Young award winner to a contract extension.

Sure, the arguments for trading him make sense. His value is at an all time high, and the Mets could maybe get back a few Major League ready prospects in return.

But here’s a guy who (surprisingly) actually wants to stay with the Mets because this is where he got his shot to succeed.

Dickey was 20-6 in 2012 with a 2.73 ERA and led the league in strikeouts (230), complete games (five) and innings (233.2). In those innings, he only walked 54 batters, which is extremely rare for a knuckleballer.

Let’s take a look back at baseball history to see how many Cy Young award winners started their next season for a different team the year after winning the award.

Reliever Mark Davis won the 1989 NL Cy Young for the San Diego Padres after posting a 1.85 ERA and 44 saves. However, he signed with the Kansas City Royals for three years and $10 million prior to the 1990 season.

In 1992, Chicago Cubs hurler Greg Maddux won the NL Cy Young with a 20-11 record and 2.18 ERA. He had played seven seasons in Chicago, but contract negotiations stalled, leading Maddux to sign a five-year, $28 million deal with the Atlanta Braves. How did that one work out for the Cubs? Well, Maddux wound up winning the next three Cy Youngs pitching for the Braves.

In the strike-shortened 1994 season, former Met David Cone won the AL Cy Young with the Royals after finishing 16-5 with a 2.94 ERA. But right after the strike ended, he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for Chris Stynes, David Sinnes and Tony Medrano.

The 1997 season saw Pedro Martinez of the Montreal Expos win the NL Cy Young after going 17-8 with a 1.90 ERA and 305 strikeouts in 241.1 innings. He also threw 13 complete games that year. However, the Expos knew they wouldn’t be able to sign him long-term, so the team traded him that winter to the Boston Red Sox for Carl Pavano and Tony Armas Jr. Martinez signed a six-year, $75 million contract in Boston, which was the largest ever awarded to a pitcher at that time.

Roger Clemens won the 1998 AL Cy Young with the Blue Jays, finishing the year 20-6 with a 2.65 ERA. Even with two years left on his contract, Clemens was traded to the Yankees for David Wells, Homer Bush and Graeme Lloyd.

Three Cy Young Award winners – Frank Viola (1988, Twins), C.C. Sabathia (2007, Indians) and Cliff Lee (2008, Indians) – started the following year with the same team but were traded near the July trade deadline.

So excluding those last three, that’s five pitchers in the 56-year history of the award that pitched for a different team immediately after winning a Cy Young. Further exclude Maddux and Davis since they signed free agent contracts, so just three pitchers – Cone, Martinez and Clemens – were traded after winning the award.

Dickey would fall into that category if the Mets traded him, since he was put under contract for the 2013 season once the Mets exercised his option. He would join impressive company if traded, but hopefully this award and his desire to return convinces ownership to get a deal done.

His age and pitching style are certainly risk factors, but now that he’s finally shown consistency over the past three years, it would be a worthy investment.

Maybe a two- or three-year extension with a higher base salary could get the job done. But seeing Dickey become just the fourth reigning Cy Young winner to get traded would be tough to swallow.

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Cerrone: “Niese or Dickey, But Not Both” http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/11/cerrone-niese-or-dickey-but-not-both.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/11/cerrone-niese-or-dickey-but-not-both.html/#comments Tue, 06 Nov 2012 14:00:54 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=100156 As the Mets look for ways to improve their roster heading into next year, its become apparent that their shoestring budget will force them into the trade market.  There are a million ways that could play out, but some people have their ideas.  For instance, I think the pertinent play would be for the Mets to shop RA Dickey in an effort to fill their outfield and/or catching needs.  That, however, isn’t the only line of thought.  On multiple occasions since the close of the season, MetsBlog‘s head honcho, Matt Cerrone, has indicated that the Mets could look to package Jonathan Niese with Lucas Duda in an effort to bring in an impact bat this winter.  Not a crazy statement, however the one shown below, which Cerrone made during his commentary on a post regarding teams that could show interest in Dickey this winter flat out scares me.

“…if there is no hope with Dickey returning, the Mets might choose to trade him (and keep Niese) for prospects to help down the road… plus they’d add back Dickey’s $5 million in to the available budget. I think it’s one or the other, though, not both.”

I realize that with the possible exception of David Wright, Jon Niese and RA Dickey are probably the team’s most marketable players, but at what point did it become one or the other?  Furthermore, it frightens me that the Mets could opt to trade a twenty-six year old leftie, whose shown progress on an annual basis, is coming off of the best season of his career and is currently signed to an amazingly team friendly contract, instead of trading what will amount to be a more expensive, nearly forty year old knuckleball pitcher with no history of success.  If it has to be one or the other, certainly the Mets have to keep Niese, right?

Bear in mind I’m not saying that Matt is incorrect.  As someone who has much more access than myself, I’m inclined to give his insight the benefit of the doubt.  I just don’t see how there can be much debate.  To be perfectly honest, I realize that one of them has to go if the Mets are going to add a quality outfielder with a power bat.  I’ll even go as far as admitting that Niese’s youth, when combined with the aforementioned team friendly contract may make him more valuable on the trade market than Dickey, but as he prepares to enter his fourth full season, Niese has the potential to anchor one of the youngest (and most exciting) rotations in baseball with the eventual departure of Johan Santana.

With a contract in place that would keep Jon Niese in Queens through the 2018 season at no more than $11M annually, how on earth could the Mets consider trading him away.  Niese may never have a twenty win season, he may never win the Cy Young and he may never be an “ace”, but for a front office that has stressed value contracts, this has to be a no brainer.  I’m sorry..I love RA Dickey and all the unique things he brings to the table, but if it can’t be both, it has to be Niese.

Follow me on Twitter at @RobPatterson83

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Mets Can Still Get Back On Track This Winter http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/11/mets-can-still-get-back-on-track-this-winter.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/11/mets-can-still-get-back-on-track-this-winter.html/#comments Sat, 03 Nov 2012 14:00:34 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=100051 On the heels of their sixth consecutive disappointing season, the Mets entered this offseason with another set of tempered expectations.  Having force fed fans a vision of contention for the 2014 season with the arrival of key pitching prospects, the Mets enter this winter with more questions than answers yet again.  Devoid of a quality major league outfielder and without a solid anchor behind the plate, it would appear that the Mets must still renovate half of their starting lineup.  That process must begin this winter should the front office hope to stay on plan as their young arms make the journey to Queens this season.

Like many of you have felt, its been disappointing to learn that Sandy Alderson once again finds himself with no more than $10 million (at absolute max) dollars to work with.  Having gotten used to rosters of big ticket free agents and payrolls that reached for the stars, this new frugal route still sits sour with most fans.  Nonetheless, this is the path the Wilpons have chosen and we’re unfortunately along for the ride.  That said, the team is still in position to work towards its ultimate goal of 2014 success.

Having endured more experiments than I care to count since Sandy Alderson took the helm, the Mets still appear set to return Lucas Duda to the outfield next spring.  The swing to left field, widely believe to be the easier of the corner outfield spots, provides him the opportunity improve his defense while keeping his bat in the Mets powerless lineup.  Centerfield also appears to have been assigned to the strike out happy Kirk Nieuwenhuis already.  His inclusion in the 2013 roster provides the Mets with a semi-legit centerfield/lead off option, or at least the best we can hope for on such a restricted budget.  Are these early designations the best we could have hoped for?  No…but if I had to chose two experiments for the Mets to forge ahead with, this would probably be the two I’d pick.

So that leaves catcher and right field… Luckily for Mets fans, or I suppose unluckily depending on your mindset, the Mets have more assets than the $10 million dollars mentioned above.  While the team can almost certainly fit a tenured catching upgrade into that budget, a power hitting right fielder often comes at a premium.  Enter thirty-seven year old Cy Young hopeful, RA Dickey, who increasingly looks destined for the trade market this winter.  A twenty game winner with no sure future, Dickey may be just enough to fetch the type of outfielder the Mets covet to slot into right field next season.

Is it a sure plan?  Certainly not.  However, it bridges the gap to next off-season when the team will find itself with more than $40 million dollars in loose change to work with due to the expiration of the Bay and Santana contracts.  At that point, the team could find itself to be a major player in the free agent market if the time to abandon the Lucas Duda and/or Kirk Nieuwenhuis experiments has finally arrive.  Furthermore, the Mets will have learned more about the likes of Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and much much more.  Therefore, should a starting pitcher also become a requirement headed into 2014, the team will have the flexibility to make that move.

So while I’m sure none of this excites you for the 2013 season, we can only hope that the team makes the moves necessary to continue a path towards contention.  Making at least half the major changes needed to do so is certainly within the realm of possibility this winter.  Doing so may not fill the seats at Citi Field next spring, but it will, at least in my opinion, yield the team’s first successful offseason since Sandy Alderson arrived.  Whether that’s his fault or not is another debate for another time, and although the losses have certainly added up in recent years, the New York Mets are not so far off track that this thing can’t be saved.  Two years ago the front office laid out a plan and with the right moves this winter, they can still make 2014 the year they find themselves back on the map.

Follow me on Twitter at @RobPatterson83

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