Mets Merized Online » Reyes http://metsmerizedonline.com Tue, 09 Feb 2016 19:46:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.13 A Christmas Carol: The Sandy I Met http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/a-christmas-carol-the-sandy-i-met.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/a-christmas-carol-the-sandy-i-met.html/#comments Sun, 20 Dec 2015 19:11:57 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=136501 Actor Jim Carrey as Ebenezer Scrooge

Pen went to paper way back in 1843. Even so, the classic holiday novella, “The Christmas Carol” resonates with readers today as one of Charles Dickens’ most important literary contributions. No other character in the beloved novella captures the fascination of readers and viewers like Ebenezer Scrooge.

Many times, my mind shifts to Ebenezer Scrooge when I hear New York Met fans and members of the media characterize Met General Manager Sandy Alderson. For me, it’s almost like many who root for or write about the Mets, have stolen a page from Dickens when they reference the Met GM.

Think about it. Like Scrooge, Sandy Alderson is often vilified as a cold, reclusive figure, a definitive “low temperature guy,” stoic and self-contained. Dickens painted a portrait of Ebenezer Scrooge as a Victorian like miser, a character who symbolized the rich, the elite, protecting only their interests at the expense of the suffering poor.

Fast forward to modern times and consider how many Met fans depict Sandy Alderson. Ditto. In their world view, Sandy Alderson was planted in the Met front office by Commissioner Bud Selig to protect the interests of his friend, multi-millionaire Met owner Fred Wilpon. Like Scrooge, Alderson is presented as shrewd and cunning, a tight-fisted, emotionless hoarder, a guy fixated on protecting the interest of his boss while at the same time immune to the suffering of fans who live and die for the Mets.

To read some comments on Met blogs and fan sites it would be easy to come away believing Sandy Alderson is a synonym for a covetous, grasping, possessive guy with no soft edges. A man who defers to logic and sabermetrics to avoid the warmth that comes with feelings and emotion.

The Sandy Alderson popularly typified by many Met fans and the press is not the Sandy Alderson I met at a Binghamton Met game in early September of 2011.

It was the final weekend of Double-A baseball, and I was in a foul and Grinch-like mood myself. Hurricane Irene had just devastated the tiny Catskill Mountain town where I lived, Binghamton Met baseball would soon be ending, and I was in desperate need of a mental reprieve. I hunkered down in a seat in the top row behind home plate and went about my pre-game statistical recordings that come with keeping score at a baseball game.

I’m obsessive about keeping score when watching a ballgame. Batting and pitching statistics are recorded before the game and then every pitch and every play is charted. For the most part, I’m not approachable as I madly jot down notes in the moments before a baseball game begins.

On this particular day, I was aware someone had appeared in the aisle outside my row. I was sitting in the third seat and glanced up to note a gentleman studying his ticket stub, clearly deciding where he was supposed to sit. An odd feeling of recognition flooded my senses, but I struggled to match a name with the face. This stately fellow sent a ‘hello’ my way as he settled into the aisle seat, which I returned with a nod. Deferring to my statistics, I decided to try and figure out if I knew who this Met fan might be when the final pre-game stats had been logged.

scroogeTurning back toward the stranger I was certain I should know who he might be. He was clearly a man who cared about his appearance, trim and neat as a pin. He traveled without scorebook, notepad or camera, somewhat unusual for a solitary fan sitting in the part of the park where scouts representing major league franchises often assemble. He was busy on a cell phone, tweeting I assumed.

Age has a way of slowing name recognition, but it wasn’t long before the name Sandy Alderson surfaced. Oddly, that presented a dilemma of sorts. I have always followed a belief that people of celebrity deserve some privacy in public venues. Sandy Alderson was at NYSEG Stadium to watch Met baseball prospects not to engage in conversation with me. Yet, it’s always my habit to introduce myself to the folks who sit around me at a baseball game. The social aspect of watching baseball is one of the pleasures of the game. I wasn’t sure how I wanted to handle that divergence.

It was a Juan Lagares at-bat in the bottom of the first inning that was the icebreaker. The B-Mets were playing the Fighting Phils from Reading, and Lagares was the B-Met rightfielder that night. Lagares was on a tear, ripping Double-A pitching at a .370 clip after his arrival to Binghamton. I would later come to believe it was Lagares and Reese Havens that Sandy had really come to see.

Lagares pieced together an uncanny at-bat that lasted 13 pitches with the outfield prospect flying out to the warning track in left field on the final pitch. I leaned towards Sandy and said, “Now that was a major league at-bat.” Knowing what I know now about the Met organizational approach to hitting and the role average number of pitches in an at bat means when evaluating prospects, I would have predicted Sandy’s response to my comment. It was like the flood gates opened and conversation flowed easily between the two of us for the rest of the night.

I made a conscious decision that night not to broach controversial topics swirling around Met land at the time, the hottest issue whether Sandy would resign Jose Reyes. I wasn’t a reporter looking for a sports scoop. My goal was to enjoy Sandy’s company as I enjoyed the company of any new neighbor at a baseball game.

Far from self-contained, Sandy surprised me by peppering me with questions. He had a curious mind and wanted to know everything he could about me. His first line of questions concerned my relationship with the B-Mets. How often did I attend games? Was I a season ticket holder? When Sandy learned I had purchased a game pack, he wanted to know how that worked. What kind of statistics did I take? Did I do anything with them after the game? Where did my interest in baseball and the Mets originate from?

When Sandy learned I lived some two hours from Binghamton and the town where I lived had been hit hard by Irene, the line of questioning shifted. Sandy had seen news clips about the devastation and was clearly concerned. There was much he wanted to know. Was anyone lost? Were folks displaced? What was the extent of the damage? His questions addressed the clean-up, possible damages of my home and property, lodging and provisions for people effected by the storm, anything and everything related to the storm and its impact.

Before long word spread that the Met GM was in the house. A steady stream of Met fans stopped by to chat with Sandy or hawk an autograph. Sandy couldn’t have been more accommodating. He treated each Met fan with the same curiosity and graciousness he showed in his conversations with me, asking people their names or asking questions about them, always obliging, always amenable. I was struck with the sharp contrast between the image of Sandy painted by his distractors and the guy seated alongside me at this B-Met game.

1450639240454I laugh when I read frustrated Met fans accusing Sandy Alderson of not caring about the team he puts on the field. That is not the Sandy I met. Sandy wasn’t shy about asking my opinions about B-Met prospects. He chatted about some of the younger players in the system, and we talked in general about the Mets. The Met GM was constantly on his cell phone getting Met game updates, reporting the score to me with any commentary that had been passed his way. I remember Sandy was especially pleased to report rookie pitcher Josh Stinson had registered an inning of scoreless relief toward the end of the game.

The things about Sandy that most impressed me that night were his wit, his dry sense of humor, and his genuine appreciation for all the unusual things that take place at a minor league baseball park. No two minor league baseball venues are the same. Every minor league park is distinct. Each minor league franchise has it’s own discrete culture with during the game entertainment events that help define what makes them special.

In Binghamton’s case three between innings game events come to mind. Binghamton is a city nicknamed the “Carousel Capital of the World.” To celebrate that fact, the B-Mets have a Carousel Horse Mascot ridden by a Cowboy who throws hot dogs over the screen to screaming fans. “I remember telling Sandy to prepare himself for something he had never seen at a baseball park before and unless he returned to Binghamton would likely never see again.” He laughed heartily at the mayhem that followed.

With a twinkle in his eye and a smile from ear to ear, Sandy was riveted during a mid-game break when a gate in the fence along the left field stands was opened and hundreds of kids poured out on to the field racing across the outfield to exit through another gate on the right field side. Sandy talked about how important it was to connect baseball with young people and you could tell he approved of the youngster’s lap in the outfield.

The clincher came during the seventh inning stretch. I whispered to Sandy that he was in for a real Binghamton treat. During almost every B-Met home game since the franchise began in Binghamton 21 years ago, an elderly gent called ‘Jingles’ dances to his own lively signature song during the break between the halves of inning seven. Jingles stage is located directly behind where Sandy and I sat. Sandy loved it, clapping to the rhythm and cheering loudly with all the other B-Met fans when ‘JIngles’ completed his jig.

In fact, Sandy was so inspired, as he sat back down in his seat, I watched him fish around in a pocket and pull out his ticket stub. Sandy jotted something down on the stub, turned to me and said, “Here. Take this. If you ever get to New York City call this number, and I’ll make sure you have a good time.”

Stunned would be an understatement. By the time the game had ended, Lagares would add a basehit to his 13-pitch at bat. And Reese Havens went 2-5 with a double and RBI. Sandy and I shook hands and headed our separate ways.

Tiny_timUnlike the cold, solitary, uncaring Sandy Alderson portrayed in print, I experienced the polar opposite. The Sandy Alderson who watched a baseball game with me at NYSEG was curious, welcoming, fun-loving, and generous, nothing like Dicken’s Ebenezer Scrooge.

Oh, you probably want to know if I ever called the number on the ticket stub. Not during the remainder of the 2011 season. The Mets were limping along at the end of the year, so I reasoned I might make better use of Sandy’s offer early in the 2013 campaign.

As luck would have it, my son who resides in Los Angeles, came east for a cousin’s wedding. I hadn’t seen him in a year and asked if he would like to catch a game at Citi Field. A huge Met fan, who only sees his team on west coast swings, my son had never visited the Mets new ball park and was eager to make the trip.

I called the number. It hooked me with Sandy’s office. His secretary was great. She made the arrangements for us to see the game. When my two other children learned they hadn’t been included they were not too pleased with Dad. So, tail between my legs, I called back and inquired if there was a chance that there might be four tickets instead of two.

The end result – a magical night for me and my family. The Mets rolled out the red carpet, and we had a blast. It was an evening none will forget.

When we returned home I wanted to do something personal for Sandy in way of thanks. The Catskills and our mountains are famous for maple syrup. I sent Sandy and his secretary containers of home made syrup with a lengthy hand written thank you letter explaining how much the night meant to me and my family and, of course, expressing my thanks. Like the first President Bush, famous for his hand written thank you notes, Sandy impressed me as a similar kind of guy.

Several days later, when I returned home from my morning errands, I had a message on my answering machine from Sandy’s secretary to call his office. I did. After a pleasant chat, she told me how much she appreciated the maple syrup. She added that I had not left a return address on the package, and Sandy had asked her to call and get my address. I chuckled not expecting a thank-you for a thank-you, but sent along the information.

Not long after, a handwritten thank-you from Sandy on New York Met stationary arrived. It read:

John,

Thanks for your letter and the maple syrup! Both will help me through the month of September as we try to get back on a positive note here at Citi. I’m glad you enjoyed the trip here and look forward to seeing you again in Binghamton when I return there.

Regards, Sandy

I hope good fortune brings me together with Sandy Alderson again some day. Far from the Ebenezer Scrooge-like character unhappy Met fans portray him to play, the Sandy Alderson I met is everything Scrooge is not; a self-confident, fun-loving, genial, and generous guy. In the spirit of the Christmas season, I wish Sandy good fortune and good health and the joy that comes with a winning Met baseball season in New York.

An MMO Flashback from December 24, 2013.

mets christmas balls

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Taking A Look At The Mets’ Short-Comings http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/02/taking-a-look-at-the-mets-short-comings.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/02/taking-a-look-at-the-mets-short-comings.html/#comments Wed, 26 Feb 2014 23:22:03 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=149123 New York Mets Spring Training at their Minor League practice facility located within Tradition Field in Florida

I’ll bet you a blueberry cheesecake from Juniors that someone will read the title, jump straight to the comments and start hammering me for knocking the Mets. Who wants to take that bet?

It will take some getting used to for you newcomers to understand that post titles are to me what Playstation 4 is to my nephew. It’s my one opportunity to play around and have some fun.

Now, onto more important things…

Beat reporters did a fine job of summarizing how the team is looking at the shortstop position here at Mets spring training camp in Port St. Lucie.

Due to a lack of options, Ruben Tejada is currently penciled in as the everyday shortstop. So far nothing has changed on that front.

“At this moment Ruben Tejada is the shortstop here,” Terry Collins said today. “We’ve got to be patient with him. We’re going to get him a number of at-bats this spring. He’s been told that. And we’ll see how he plays. You don’t have a lot of options so he’s our main guy right now.”

However…

A team official told Adam Rubin that Wilmer Flores will get “a legitimate look at shortstop” and “not a passing glance.”

I love the sound of that.

Rubin says that while the previous stance was that Flores didn’t have the first-step quickness you look for in a shortstop, the Mets intend to revisit the matter and have themselves a closer look.

Bravo…

With Tejada as your primary option, it doesn’t hurt to give Flores every chance possible at shortstop. If we can get passable defense from him, his bat will make the shortstop position a strength for the Mets rather than the weakness it has been since Jose Reyes took off for South Beach.

Of course another popular option is what we’ve been covering extensively for the last four days, and that is a potential trade for Seattle’s Nick Franklin.

While the Mets acknowledge some interest and intend to scout him, nobody believes that they would give up Rafael Montero, who seems to be the one Met that fits the bill as far as the comparable pitching prospect Seattle wants in return.

Alderson would not comment on him, preferring not to discuss players that were another team’s property.He’s such a stickler for rules…

Then there’s Stephen Drew. You heard of him I take it? Alderson did not offer any indication there was anything close with the free-agent when he spoke to reporters today.

So in summing up the Mets’ options, Alderson offered this nugget:

“I’m not suggesting that we’re going to do something but right now I think we have reasonable options and option no. 1 is Ruben Tejada.”

Asked if there was a “strong possibility” the Opening Day shortstop was not currently with the organization, he responded: “I wouldn’t say that. No.”

That’s Legalese for Drew is still too expensive.

So there you have it… Straight from the well…

(Photo by Anthony J. Causi)

mmo

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Talkin’ Baseball: A Brilliant Infield Duo That Never Was http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/02/talkin-baseball-a-brilliant-infield-duo-that-never-was.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/02/talkin-baseball-a-brilliant-infield-duo-that-never-was.html/#comments Sun, 23 Feb 2014 14:51:57 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=148848 Scores of Met fans may have missed it. The New York Post ran a Sunday piece by Joel Sherman called “A Decade of A-Rod.” Most baseball fans have had more than their fill of Alex Rodriguez, especially Met fans tired of A-Rod’s front and back page coverage in the New York Dailies.

alex rodriguez a-rod

In the piece, Sherman spends a lot of time dissecting all the events that played into A-Rod becoming a Yankee. The Red Sox came within a whisker of signing Rodriguez. It wasn’t until Yankee third baseman and post season star Aaron Boone tore his ACL playing off-season baseball that the Yankees were in on bringing A-Rod to the Bronx. As is their habit, the Bronx Bombers were all in.

Rodriguez, a Met fan when he was growing up, hoped his people could swing a deal where he would land in Flushing. As things turned out, A-Rod would be coming to New York only to the other part of town.

As a Met fan, the piece that interested me the most indirectly involved the Mets. First, as part of the deal between the Yankees and Rangers, the Yanks gave up Alfonso Soriano and a pinstripe prospect from a list of five. That list included pitcher Ramon Ramirez, outfielders Rudy Guillen and Bronson Sardinha, shortstop Joaquin Arias and second baseman Robinson Cano. The Rangers chose Arias.

Stop and think what may have happened in Texas had they chosen Cano. The reports the Rangers had on a young Cano were that the future Yankee second baseman was talented but moody, so the club decided to move in another direction.

Arias has played in parts of six major league seasons, three with the Rangers, one split between the Rangers with a cup of coffee with the Mets and the last two with the San Francisco Giants. In just over 800 at bats Arias has a major league batting average of
.272.

With the deal complete, Sherman reports the Rangers and the Mets engaged in serious discussions about moving Soriano. The Mets wanted Soriano and were willing to part with their shortstop, Jose Reyes, to get him. Texas owner Tom Hicks vetoed the proposed deal fearing a fan revolt in Texas should he move Soriano immediately after relinquishing Rodriguez.

If the Rangers had selected Cano rather than Arias, and had Hicks not nixed the trade with the Mets, the Rangers would have fielded a double play combination of Jose Reyes at shortstop and Robinson Cano at second base. Now that’s enough to make your head spin.

mmo

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Collins Impressed At How Tejada Trimmed Down http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/02/collins-impressed-at-how-tejada-trimmed-down.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/02/collins-impressed-at-how-tejada-trimmed-down.html/#comments Tue, 18 Feb 2014 02:14:59 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=148224 New York Mets Spring Training at their Minor League practice facility located within Tradition Field in Florida

February 17

Ruben Tejada reported early on Sunday and manager Terry Collins was impressed today by how he looked, saying: “You can tell he’s really worked hard and trimmed down. I asked him how much faster he was. He said, ‘I’ll show you.’ And I said, ‘OK, good.’ He’ll have the chance.’’

February 16

One of the New York Mets on the hot seat is shortstop Ruben Tejada, who got into manager Terry Collins’ doghouse for not reporting early two years ago, his first replacing Jose Reyes.

He appears to have gotten the message, with the proof being showing up to spring training Sunday, almost a week ahead of schedule.

Technically, he reported on time two years ago, but Collins’ way of thinking was in Tejada’s first year as starter he should have shown initiative and reported even earlier.

Tejada redeemed himself by hitting .289 in 2012, but didn’t report in peak shape last spring and his work ethic was brought into question. Tejada got off to a miserable start both at the plate and in the field, was injured and eventually optioned to the minors.

He struggled when he returned and ended the season with a fractured leg and seemingly out of the Mets’ future plans.

However, when the shortstop market – Jhonny Peralta and Stephen Drew – became too pricey, the Mets had no alternative but to thought they’d give Tejada another chance.

Other than the market, what moved the Mets toward a Tejada encore was his commitment in an off-season fitness camp in Michigan.

Tejada’s presence in Ann Arbor, and reporting early is a good sign.

(Photo by Anthony J. Causi)

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Sandy Alderson: Unlikely Mets Acquire Another Major Free Agent http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/02/mets-matters-sandy-says-its-unlikely-he-acquires-another-free-agent.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/02/mets-matters-sandy-says-its-unlikely-he-acquires-another-free-agent.html/#comments Thu, 13 Feb 2014 16:18:50 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=147880 drew

February 13

Sandy Alderson told reporters today in St. Lucie, that it is unlikely that he acquires another major free agent this offseason.

It’s now one of those cases where you have to do the math.

A Drew signing seems very unlikely at this point and it’s not as if the Mets were ever really that close.

February 12

Sandy Alderson said Tuesday afternoon that the New York Mets have the money to sign shortstop Stephen Drew “under the right circumstances.’’

An opt-out after one year is not one of those circumstances. Neither is Drew’s reported asking price of $15 million a year for a career .264 hitter. I don’t care how good a glove he flashes.

In addition to his contractual demands, there are other reasons why Alderson shouldn’t feed the speculation.

Just say, “No, we don’t have an interest in Drew.’’ He can always change his mind if something happens to Ruben Tejada.

Alderson said he’s happy with Tejada’s off-season commitment to getting in shape by attending a fitness camp in Michigan.

Two years ago Tejada had a good season in the first year without Jose Reyes. Now, Tejada might never equal Reyes’ offensive potential, but his .289 average and .333 on-base percentage in 2012, certainly is good enough to believe there’s a chance for more.

The Mets soured on Tejada because of his attitude and performance last year, which ended with him fracturing his leg. Alderson said upgrading shortstop was an off-season priority, but the prices for Drew and Jhonny Peralta excessive.

Although Alderson said Drew was affordable, it doesn’t make him a wise purchase, especially for a team on the build. Teams not expected to win don’t invest that kind of money on an average hitting shortstop. They do if he’s the missing piece, but the Mets need more than a few pieces.

The Mets are pointing to 2015, and Drew would be gone by then if they give him the opt-out.

If 2014 is simply a transition year, the Mets are better off giving Tejada this season and finding out what they have in him – after all, he’s 24 and Drew is 30.

The Mets can build around Tejada. As their roster is currently comprised, they can’t build around Drew.

Save the money for something else, perhaps for a missing piece at the trade deadline if this season exceeds all expectations.

Thoughts from Joe D.

John, why don’t you tell us how you really feel about Drew? Actually, you’re preaching to choir and I’ve never saw the fascination with such a mediocre player who spends way too much time on the disabled list.

As I’ve been hammering since the offseason began, give Tejada another chance and if it don’t work out, you have a better group of free agent shortstops on the market next offseason.

I’m tired of hearing that the reason we should go hard after Drew is because he’s an upgrade over Tejada. Guess what? Even Tejada is an upgrade over last season’s Tejada. And the kid’s been busting his butt since the season ended. I’ll take my chances and hope that the 2012 version shows up in 2014. Remember when Met fans were all giddy and coming to the park holding signs that read, “Jose who?”

The kind of money we’re hearing about for a player who is not a difference maker boggles the mind. And the scary part is the overwhelming chance he goes belly up right after we sign him to a multi-year deal. Why don’t you think he got a multi-year deal the previous offseason?

Additionally, where do you bat him? Are you going to stick his career .329 on-base in the leadoff spot? No thanks. This guy is like the square peg that will only complicate matters. We already have a great number two hitter in Murphy, and he’ll end up batting 6th or 7th.

Drew has earned $30 million in his eight year career, and now on the wrong side of 30 we have some fans who want to give him that much for a two year deal? It’s almost laughable.

This is simple. Save the money. Play Tejada. Reevaluate at the end of the season when you have better options available.

Presented By Diehards

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From Left Field: What Could Have Been If Mets Signed Jose Reyes http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/02/from-left-field-what-could-have-been-if-mets-signed-jose-reyes.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/02/from-left-field-what-could-have-been-if-mets-signed-jose-reyes.html/#comments Wed, 12 Feb 2014 19:03:35 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=147878 Jose Reyes ball

I was listening to WFAN this morning, and Evan Roberts brought up an interesting point.

He said that the Mets two gaping holes right now are shortstop and leadoff hitter.

Hmm, not too long ago, the Mets had arguably the best in the game at both: Jose Reyes.

But of course, we know what happened there.

Granted, based on the Mets financial situation at the time, keeping both Reyes and David Wright would have been a pipe-dream.

But I can’t help but wonder what could’ve been if the Mets were somehow able to re-sign Reyes.

Things may have shaken up a bit differently, but imagine the current Mets roster with Reyes.

The lineup would be something like Reyes leading off at shortstop, Daniel Murphy at second, Wright at third, Curtis Granderson in one corner outfield spot, Chris Young in the other corner spot, Ike Davis/Lucas Duda at first, Juan Lagares in center and Travis d’Arnaud behind the dish.

The bench would be solid with Ruben Tejada as a defensive replacement, the speedster Eric Young Jr., the versatile Josh Satin, maybe the power bat of Andrew Brown and whoever the backup catcher winds up being.

That’s a pretty good team, especially taking into consideration the Mets’ pitching staff as well. Maybe not the Atlanta Braves or the Washington Nationals, but no doubt a contender for a wild card spot.

But now reality is setting back in, and it will become even more evident if I ever watch a Toronto Blue Jays’ game with Reyes penciled into shortstop and the leadoff position.

Reyes was a dynamic player for the Mets, and it’s just unfortunate that his free agency occurred at a time when the Mets had absolutely no money.

Maybe the team brings in Stephen Drew – though he’s not Reyes.

Or maybe Tejada surprises – though he’s not Reyes.

And depending on if the team can find a position for him, Young Jr. could be a leadoff option – though he’s not Reyes.

It just goes to show how difficult it is to find a quality shortstop and leadoff hitter, as the Mets are still searching for both going on three seasons without Reyes.

Presented By Diehards

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Hits & Misses: Mets Going Dutch, Still Searching For Reyes’ Replacement http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/02/hits-misses-mets-going-dutch-still-searching-for-reyes-replacement.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/02/hits-misses-mets-going-dutch-still-searching-for-reyes-replacement.html/#comments Mon, 03 Feb 2014 15:03:32 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=147051 tejada Joshua Lott

On Saturday, we posted something about the article in the New York Times by Tim Rohan about some of the Mets players that were going to the strength and conditioning camp in Michigan run by Mets adviser, Mike Barwis.

The training program was voluntary, but it was the Mets who suggested to Ruben Tejada and Wilmer Flores that they go before the end of last season. Juan Lagares, Lucas Duda and prospects Dominic SmithPatrick Biondi and Phillip Evans also ended up attending once they heard about it.

What I thought was very odd, was this part of the article:

The program was voluntary, the cost split between the organization and each player.

Now maybe this is common practice, but I found it odd that the Mets didn’t completely fund this for each player. Especially in the cases of Tejada and Flores who probably knew if they declined to go that the media would have been leaked some negative info and before you know it they would make a hail storm out of it. You know it’s true…

alderson-on-reyes

The Mets’ lack of an ideal leadoff candidate has everyone in a tizzy lately, the least of which is the Mets’ own manager Terry Collins who recently said over the weekend that Eric Young is his primary leadoff candidate.

Of course that’s code for Eric Young will play everyday and Juan Lagares will likely be hitting the pine in Flushing or the sand in Vegas.

What I find odd is how quickly this front office has run from their Moneyball roots, especially when it comes to how they viewed hitters with high strikeout totals and low on-base percentages. Once thought of as a bad thing, they’ve become less important, while home runs and stolen bases are back on the featured menu.

Four Winters ago, I became hooked on the concept that at it’s most rudimentary level, the game depended on avoiding outs. I never looked at it that way before, but it made complete sense. As did having your best OBP guys at the top of your lineup. The reason being that you want those who are the best at getting on base to get the most playing time AKA at-bats. That made a lot of sense to me too.

But apparently, those things are not so important anymore. Young may not excel at getting on base, but he can steal bases, so…

Four Winters ago, Sandy Alderson downplayed Jose Reyes‘ speed saying that a stolen base was just a footnote when it comes to winning games.

Boy, how things have changed…

The truth is that this team has not been able to find anyone to replace Reyes both at the shortstop position or at the top of the order. I guess some players are irreplaceable after all…

Presented By Diehards

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Has The Confidence Of Some Returning Players Been Shaken? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/has-the-confidence-of-some-returning-players-been-shaken.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/has-the-confidence-of-some-returning-players-been-shaken.html/#comments Sun, 26 Jan 2014 16:13:56 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=140704 The Mets front office, purposefully or not, is damaging the confidence of their young players. The likely starting lineup this year will feature players who have been the subjects of trade rumors, mid-season minor league demotion, or work ethic criticism. It is difficult to pinpoint the result of such degradation yet, but it is hard to imagine the result being positive.

ruben tejadaThe confidence of Ruben Tejada, the Mets prospective opening day shortstop has reached peaks and valleys. Once thought of as a capable Jose Reyes replacement, the confidence and subsequent performance of the 24-year-old Tejada has since plummeted.

In a piece written in November by Andy Martino of the Daily News, Martino understandably predicted an end to Tejada’s time with the Mets by the end of this offseason. Martino’s prediction came on the basis of several conflicts between Tejada and the Mets. Most recently, Tejada’s grievance threat and most notably his 2013 spring training appearance, to which he arrived out of shape.

The latter misstep on Tejada’s part was a mistake, and for a 23-year-old shortstop of a New York team, missteps should be expected. However, instead of privately consulting Tejada, both Terry Collins and Sandy Alderson took to the media to express their disappointment. “Extra batting practice, extra this, extra that, doesn’t happen unless someone else is insisting on it”, Alderson griped in a WFAN interview.

The complexities that arise when a player is thrust into the New York City spotlight are well documented. Tejada is currently experiencing everything the media has to offer as his coaches make public his private issues. Now, less than a year later, the Mets are counting on Tejada to open the season at Shortstop, expecting a change. The newfound dependence on Tejada speaks to the Mets’ desperation, lack of a formidable substitute, and the necessary resources to acquire one. The Mets on the trade market are talking the talk but have yet to walk the walk, thus sacrificing the confidence of the players they are depending on.

Bobby Parnell, despite lingering neck issues, was all set to be the opening day closer for the Mets. That was at least, until the Mets reportedly were willing to shell out $12 million for Grant Balfour. The Rays swooped in and Balfour opted to stay near his hometown, cutting short what might have been a Closer Controversy.

The fact that the Mets, according to Adam Rubin, are now “in dialogue” with Fernando Rodney suggests that something is up with Parnell. Either way, the Mets are not confident in Parnell to open the season as their closer and are actively searching for a replacement.

Joe DeCaro of MetsMerized details in a recent article Parnell’s Twitter cameo, in which he notes “the neck is very good”, and that he is “throwing, running, lifting all on schedule for the start of the season.” Parnell’s intentions seem to be in discordance with those of the Mets. Either way the Mets will have to rely on Parnell and we must wonder how his confidence will have been altered.

The same pattern has occurred with Ike Davis and now, after having been booed off the field in 2013 and the Mets having failed to find him a new home, Davis is on track to open 2014 with the Mets. Hard to believe after the months of ongoing rumors fueled by the front office.

Davis, Parnell and Tejada are still young players playing in a very tough baseball town. Their confidence has taken many hits of late and yet all three are expected to preform in starting roles as the season approaches. Little has been done this offseason to enhance the confidence of these players and they will be left to their own devices due to failed attempts to replace them. I ask you the reader, what effect if any will the organization’s lack of confidence have on these Mets players this season?

Presented By Diehards

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MMO Fan Shot: Going To WAR For Stephen Drew? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/mmo-fan-shot-going-to-war-for-stephen-drew.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/mmo-fan-shot-going-to-war-for-stephen-drew.html/#comments Mon, 13 Jan 2014 19:00:54 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=139366 MLB: Boston Red Sox at Detroit Tigers

An MMO Fan Shot by Steven Pacchiano

Call me old fashioned, call me a dinosaur, I’m 39 years old BUT I still have 20/20 vision. I understand the concept of WAR and all the stats that go into it, but I really prefer to look at the classic numbers and watch the player play in order to decide if one player is better than another.

WAR supposedly is a stat that determines the value of a player’s total contributions to their team. It is claimed to show the number of additional wins a player would contribute to a team compared to a replacement level player at that position, usually a minor league player or bench player. It is an attempt by the sabermetric baseball community to summarize a player’s total contributions to their team in one statistic. An example would be, saying that Player A is worth 3 wins and player B is worth 6 wins.

I think it’s a very interesting idea for a stat and would love to be able to put a “number” on a guy like this. But I think there is something flawed somewhere in the calculations. Maybe there is too much weight for one stat over another or maybe they are missing a value or two, because to me something just doesn’t add up.

So lets relate this to Stephen Drew since he’s still in the headlines. Drew had a WAR of 3.1 in 2013 for the World Champions Red Sox. He had a batting average of .253, 13 HR and a .333 on base percentage. He played in 124 games in 2013. Let’s pretend and say the Mets do sign him, with the current roster where would he on opening day? Sixth or seventh?

Lets take a look at some players with a lower WAR than Drew and consider where they would hit in our lineup for comparison:

Norichika Aoki, who had a lower WAR 3.03 (not by much), who hit .286 with a .356 OBP, 20 SB and 80 Runs scored in 155 games on a Bad MIL team. (Would be a great leadoff hitter if the Mets had him)

Matt Holliday had a WAR of 2.66, Matt hit .300 with 22 HR, & 94 RBI with a .389 OBP, in 141 Games. (Would hit clean up in our lineup)

Justin Upton had a bad year (for him) and had a WAR of 2.64 BUT he still hit, .263 with 27 HR, 70 RBI, 94 Runs and a .354 OBP. (Would hit clean up in our lineup)

Domonic Brown, Had a WAR of 2.51, He hit .272 with 27 HR, and 83 RBI in 139 Games. (Would hit clean up in our lineup)

Allen Craig, Had a 2.25 WAR, Allen hit .315 with 97 RBI and a .373 OBP (Allen would hit 3 or 4 in our lineup)

Now WAR or no WAR, I would much prefer any of these guys on my team than Drew. ,Their numbers BLOW his away. Most of these players are big difference makers. Please look over their numbers again for yourselves. Yes, yes I know WAR also takes into consideration what position a player fields, so lets look at a few shortstops…

Alexei Ramirez, had a 2.58 WAR, but he hit .284, 39 doubles and 30 SB. In 158 Games (He would leadoff if he was on the Mets)

Jose Reyes (A name we all know) Had a WAR of 2.55. Yes, he did only play 93 Games (31 less than Drew), but Jose hit .296 with 10 HR, with a .353 OBP (Jose would take back his leadoff spot in our lineup)

Jed Lowrie Had a WAR of 2.27, And he hit .290 with 15 HR, 45 Doubles, 80 Runs scored, 75 RBI and a .344 OBP. (He would hit second in the Mets lineup)

I do know that Drew is a better defender than these other shortstops, Lowrie and Alexei committed a lot more errors BUT Reyes only had one more error than Drew. But the way I see it, committing an error doesn’t always lose you a game. Sometimes it doesn’t even cost you a run. Maybe there is a bit too much weight on defense?

Hey, if GM’s thought WAR really determined the value of a player’s total contributions to their team in games won, than we should sign Drew and trade him for one of those other guys I mentioned. Maybe they would think they were getting a good deal?

* * * * * * * *

This Fan Shot was contributed by Steven Pacchiano. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 25,000 Mets fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to GetMetsmerized@aol.com. Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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The Long And The Short On Carlos Beltran http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/the-long-and-the-short-on-carlos-beltran.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/the-long-and-the-short-on-carlos-beltran.html/#comments Wed, 01 Jan 2014 22:33:17 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=136202 endy_chavez_catch

The Baseball Gods smiled down on Flushing all season. It seemed more than just a coincidence that as the Mets paid homage to the ‘86 Championship, 20 years later we were destined to again make the dream come true. The ’06 Mets played with confidence and swagger. David Wright was a clean-cut leader, an athlete your kids could look up to, a la Gary Carter. Speedy and much-loved Jose Reyes batted lead-off as did speedy and much loved Mookie Wilson. Paul Lo Duca had  a fiery intensity that conjured up images of Ray Knight. Yes, 2006, just like 1986, was a mere formality.

Shockingly, as the 86 club had found itself struggling against an inferior Houston team, the ’06 Mets were also fighting for survival against the pesky St. Louis Cardinals. When Endy Chavez robbed Scott Rolen of a HR to keep the score tied at 1-1, it was clear this one iconic image would live forever in Mets folklore: Tommie Agee in 69, Jesse Orosco on his knees in 86, Endy against the wall in 06. It would be the one play that would shift momentum back in our favor and carry us to Detroit in the World Series. Endy’s catch, however, was nothing more than premature celebration.

One hour later, Shea was deathly quiet. Fans stared in shock as the unimaginable happened. Carlos Beltran –post-season legend, our highest paid player, the guy you’d want at-bat with the game on the line — was paralyzed by a knee-buckling curveball. The bat never left his shoulder. As I watched the Cardinals rejoice I stared in disbelief. Seeing is believing—but not in this case. At that moment, I wanted to leap through my TV and choke the daylights out of Beltran.

20061020beltran

We were confident there’d be other chances, other post-seasons, other opportunities. But seven years later and the Mets have failed to come as close as they had that October night.

With the exception of perhaps only Gregg Jefferies no other player brings out more passionate opinions.

Beltran is back in NY. But he’ll be wearing pinstripes this time. During his press conference, when asked about the Mets, Beltran voiced his own strong opinion:  ”I can deal with 0-for-4s and three strikeouts and talking to you guys. I can deal with that,” Beltran said. “When somebody is trying to hurt you in a personal way, trying to put things out there that are not me, we have trouble.”

“You cannot believe the organization that signed you for seven years is trying to put you down. In that aspect, I felt hurt. I’m a player but they don’t only hurt me, they hurt my family, they hurt people around me. It wasn’t right, put it that way.”

Cue the Beltran bashing.

Here on MMO as well social media, Mets “fans” have resorted to insulting him, blaming him and using language that’s not family friendly. Yes, Carlos Beltran was our highest paid star. And yes, he was brought here to bring us a championship. However, he is not the first, nor will he be the last, to earn big bucks and not win it all. Ty Cobb, Ted Williams, Ernie Banks, Ken Griffey Jr, Ralph Kiner, Rod Carew, Willie McCovey, Tony Gwynn, Harmon Killebrew, Nap Lajoie, Craig Biggio and Don Sutton all earned huge amounts of money while hoping to lead their team to a Series victory. Yet, none of them did. However, these men are idolized as heroes. But not Beltran. Even though, in the next 10 years, he will join all of them in Cooperstown.

Ralph-Kiner

During his stint here, Beltran put up impressive numbers, compiling some of the best stats in Mets history. From 05-08, he hit 117 HR’s while plating 418 RBI’s and maintaining a respectable .275 BA. Only Keith Hernandez has won more Gold Gloves as a Met. His 41 round-trippers tied him with Todd Hundley for most in a season. His 127 runs scored is a team record. He declared one spring “The Mets are the team to beat.” And although his prediction did not pan out, wouldn’t it be nice to again hear that kind of confidence? From 05-08, Beltran’s most productive seasons, the Mets averaged 89 wins. In 2009, when he missed half the season due to injuries, the Mets won just 70. Coincidence?

True, it was Beltran’s stationary AB in Game 7 that closed the curtain on 2006. However, without his 41 HRs, 116 RBI’s, 38 doubles and 18 steals in 21 attempts, we don’t even get to Game 7, much less the post-season.

In the 2006 LCS, Beltran hit .296 with 3 HR’s and 4 RBI’s. By comparison, David Wright batted .160 with a .276 OBP and 2 RBI’s.

However, it’s Beltran that’s caught the ire of fans, He’s the whipping boy, the poster child of failure simply because he didn’t connect on a pitch that Stan Musial couldn’t have hit, a pitch thrown by a guy who would go on to be one of the top pitchers in the NL. But because he had the misfortune of being #3 in our batting order, he sucks!

By that logic, he’s in good company. Here are some others players who “suck.”

Has anyone ever sucked more than Mike Piazza? He made the final out not in the LCS, but in the WORLD SERIES!!! And to the Yankees??? He really sucks, doesn’t he? Let’s not forget the guy with the mustache. Yes, that guy. Keith Hernandez hit a paltry 231 in the ’86 series and after making the second out in the bottom of the 10th in Game 6, he promptly walked into the clubhouse, removed his jersey and was gulping a beer as teammate Gary Carter walked to the plate. I guess Keith couldn’t wait to do some crossword puzzles, right? And would any discussion about Mets who suck be complete without including Doc Gooden? Gooden lost 2 of the 3 games to Boston, posting an ERA of 8.00 and allowing 17 hits in 9IP. That’s an ace? He REALLY must suck.

Baseball history is filled with players who suck. Beltran is just the latest one.

In 1952, the Dodgers lost to, who else, the Yankees, in 7 games. Gil Hodges went an unheard of 0-21. One measly hit, one little Texas leaguer anytime during the course of a week and Dem Bums defeat the hated Yankees. Boy, that Hodges guy sucks.

But sucking goes back further. In the 9th inning of game 7 of the 1926 World Series, with his team losing 3-2, Babe Ruth was thrown out trying to steal 2b. It’s the only time a Fall Classic ended that way. And Ruth’s caught stealing took the bat out of the hands of Lou Gehrig! Wow, no wonder he’s known as The Sultan of Suck.

babe-20ruth_jpg

Piazza, Hodges, Hernandez, Ruth, Beltran. I’d say that’s pretty good company.

Carlos Beltran now joins many former Mets who spent their later career in the Bronx. Gooden, Strawberry and David Cone all played for the Yankees after establishing themselves in Flushing. Gooden, Strawberry and Cone all went on to get a ring while playing in the Bronx.

It’s obvious Carlos felt disrespected by the Mets front office. Join the group, Carlos. We’re fans and get disrespected by that same front office.

He was vilified for skipping a visit to Walter Reed Medical Center due to a scheduling conflict, even though he’d already agreed to appear at a charity event in his native Puerto Rico. Despite the fact Reyes and Wright also were no-shows, it was Beltran who caught the brunt of ownership’s wrath.

Can anyone blame Carlos for feeling unappreciated by management? In 2011, Mets owner Fred Wilpon called his own team “shi**y.” About Jose Reyes, Wilpon said, “(Reyes) ain’t worth Carl Crawford money because he’s always injured.” He called David Wright, “a nice guy and very good but not a superstar.”

And in regards to signing Beltran for 7 years/$119 Wilpon called himself “a schmuck” for doing it.

A schmuck. Finally! For the first time in years, I find myself agreeing with Fred Wilpon on something.

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When Is A Good OBP Not So Good http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/when-is-a-good-obp-not-so-good.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/when-is-a-good-obp-not-so-good.html/#comments Sun, 29 Dec 2013 23:11:29 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=137126 luis castillo

Egads… What’s that picture of Luis Castillo doing up there? I bet you didn’t think you’d see him again, right? While I was reading through some comments, I came across an interesting exchange I serendipitously started when I wrote that signing Stephen Drew could end up being as bad as the Luis Castillo signing.

Then our own Connor O’Brien really kicked things off when he wrote, “Castillo had about the emptiest on-base percentage possible. Absolutely no power.”

I never really heard anyone say that before about a player with a .380+ on-base, but here is how the rest of the exchange that ensued unfolded. I thought it was pretty interesting…

BadBadLeroyBrown – He was a table setter his job wasn’t POWER it was to get ON BASE. Period. Nothing empty about that.

Connor O’Brien – But you want to – leadoff hitter or not – get on base in high quantities and with quality, meaning more extra-base hits as well. Would the team not have been better off had Castillo been on second instead of first ten more times?

There is really a certain balance that needs to be struck between the two, and Castillo didn’t necessarily have that balance. Having guys on second instead of first makes your team more likely to score, meaning you have done your job more effectively than someone who just hit a single.

For this reason, while Castillo was a good leadoff hitter, he wasn’t as good as someone like Jose Reyes or Jacoby Ellsbury. You want players that get quality hits everywhere in the lineup, not just in the middle of the order.

Not Alex68 – Can you explain and show evidence of empty OBP? Is Empty OBP an actual stat (eOBP)? Pray tell.

Kabeetz – You’re either on base or you’re not. There is no such thing as a “full” or “empty” OBP.

Connor O’Brien – Sorry, I have to disagree with you on that.

If two players get on base 40% of the time (.400 OBP), one can be much more effective than another.

Take a look at these two players from this year in batting average and OBP.

Player 1: .298 BA .374 OBP
Player 2: .286 BA .370 OBP

If all On-Base Percentages were created equal, each of these two players would be of roughly the same skill level, right? Well, see who they are.

Player 1: Billy Butler – .298/.374/.412 15 HR .345 wOBA

Player 2: Chris Davis – .286/.370/.634 53 HR .421 wOBA

While Billy Butler is a nice player (and I believe even an All-Star), he was nowhere close to Chris Davis this season, despite getting on base at roughly the same rate. Davis did more on average each time he got on base, making Butler’s OBP “emptier” (just an expression) than that of Davis.

Sean-Connery-The-Untouchables-Norfolk-Jacket

“Here Endeth The Lesson”

Presented By Diehards

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Around the Diamond – Shortstop http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/around-the-diamond-shortstop.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/around-the-diamond-shortstop.html/#comments Sun, 29 Dec 2013 17:05:27 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=137170 buddy harrelson

In the Mets 52 year history, there have been 22 different players that would be classified as the “everyday” Shortstops. Three of them, Bud Harrelson, Jose Reyes, and Rey Ordonez, account for 23 (44%) of those seasons.

Who are the men who have played the most games at Shortstop in Franchise history? (year they were the primary in parenthesis)

10. Ron Gardenhire (1982) – Ron played 230 games at short (192 starts). In 1982, he hit .240 with 3 HR and 33 RBI.

8. (tie) Jose Vizcaino (1994-95) – Jose played 236 games at short (227 starts). In 1995, he hit .287 with 3 HR and 35 RBI.

8. (tie) Ruben Tejada (2012) – Yes, Ruben is on the list. He has played 236 games at short (227 starts). In 2012, he hit .289 with 1 HR and 25 RBI.

7. Roy McMillan (1964-65) – Roy played 335 games at short (326 starts). In 1965, he hit .242 with 1 HR and 42 RBI.

6. Frank Taveras (1979-81) – Frank played 372 games at short (354 starts). In 1979, he hit .263 with 1 HR and 33 RBI with 42 stolen bases.

5. Rafael Santana (1985-87) – Rafael played 478 games at short (427 starts). In 1985, he hit .257 with 1 HR and 29 RBI.

4. Kevin Elster (1988-91) – Kevin played 524 games at short (461 starts). In 1989, he hit .231 with 10 HR and 55 RBI.

3. Rey Ordonez (1996-99, 2001-02) Rey played 907 games at short (870 starts). In 1999, he hit .258 with 1 HR and 60 RBI. He also won three consecutive Gold Gloves (1997-99).

2. Jose Reyes (2003, 2005-08, 2010-11) – Jose played 999 games at short (992 starts). In 2006, he hit .300 with 19 HR, 81 RBI, a league leading 17 triples and a league leading 64 stolen bases. He was a 4 time All-Star (2006, 2007, 2010, 2011) and won the National League batting title in 2011. Jose was, in my opinion, by best Shortstop in Mets history.

1. Bud Harrelson (1967-74, 1976-77) – Bud played 1,280 games at short (1,213 starts). He was the starting shortstop on the Mets first two World Series teams. In 1969, he hit .248 with 0 HR and 24 RBI. He was a two time All-Star (1970, 1971) and won the Gold Glove in 1971.

Presented By Diehards

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Mets Should Check In On Rangers’ Elvis Andrus http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/mets-should-check-in-on-rangers-elvis-andrus.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/mets-should-check-in-on-rangers-elvis-andrus.html/#comments Tue, 17 Dec 2013 18:48:31 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=135724 andrus

Live update from Citi Field:

Sandy Alderson said this afternoon, that two or three teams are potential trade partners for a shortstop, but it’s becoming more and more likely every day that the position may go to Ruben Tejada.

We’ve improved the team at other positions,” Alderson explained. “So, giving Ruben a chance to reestablish himself as an everyday player isn’t such a bad thing.”

* * * * * * * *

Recently, Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the Texas Rangers would consider dealing Elvis Andrus. As we all remember, the Rangers sparked the offseason by swapping Ian Kinsler with former Tiger Prince Fielder so they no longer have an surplus of infielders to deal for other needs. However, if what Ken Rosenthal says is true, I believe the Mets should seriously consider attempting to seduce Jon Daniels with an offer.

There are a few reasons why Elvis Andrus should be in the Mets crosshairs this offseason. One is that they might not have to give up a king’s ransom to acquire him. In April of this year, Andrus signed an 8 year extension worth $118 million through 2022, which averages to almost $15 million per year. So if the Mets were to offer a few major league pieces that could help Texas like, say, Daniel Murphy and Lucas Duda, along with one or two near major league ready starting pitchers such as Rafael Montero and/or Jacob DeGrom, the Mets may intrigue Daniels enough to pull the trigger.

Daniel Murphy could slot into second base for Texas, allowing Jurickson Profar to maximize his value at SS, where he is more than capable of playing. The hitter friendly environment would most likely increase Murph’s power potential to at least 15-20 homers. That combined with a .285 average, 20-25 steals and average defense would be extremely productive for a usually offensively lacking position. Lucas Duda does not have much luster but it is possible he could DH, eliminating his shortcomings in the field and making him appear slightly more attractive. If you complement these two with Rafael Montero and/or Jacob DeGrom who could come up mid-season for Texas and help them out of the back of the rotation or the bullpen during a playoff push, a deal could possibly be made.

Not only would this deal probably free up a few million from the payroll due to Andrus only making around $5 million next season, but it would give the Mets the leadoff shortstop they have desperately needed since they lost Jose Reyes to free agency. It may not seem like Andrus is much of a threat offensively with a .274 career average, a .339 career OBP, and virtually no power but with a healthy ground ball rate well above league average, a consistent BABIP every year (.316 averaged over 5 years), and a career line drive rate of 20%, a spike in both BA and OBP is not out of the question, especially since he’s only 25 years old with room to improve. When Andrus gets on base, he’s proved he can swipe bags with 42 SB in 2013 and an average of 35 SB per season since his debut which somewhat makes up for his complete absence of power.

It gets better. I have not even mentioned his defense yet. Andrus has incredible range and instincts which helped him achieve a 2.0 defensive WAR last year. Defense is an aspect of Andrus’ game that will remain fairly constant throughout his career so even if his offensive output does not improve, there is still that to bank on. Andrus has also displayed durability over the course of his career, averaging around 151 games played per season since his debut which is attractive in its own right. Even Reyes had trouble staying on the field at times.

Andrus is not a perfect player by any means but he could be an offensive catalyst at the top of the order that the Mets have been looking for. Even if he does not improve whatsoever from last season, his WAR was still 4.3 compared to the miserable -0.1 WAR the Mets got last year out of the position. The Mets do have a couple promising shortstop prospects a few years away (i.e. Gavin Cecchini and Amed Rosario) but reliable shortstops are few and far between these days so his lengthy and expensive contract is worth a risk. Even if Cecchini is the next Marco Scutaro and Amed Rosario is the next Troy Tulowitzki, a $15 million dollar contract for a defensively gifted shortstop with at least average offensive production is certainly not untradeable. The bottom line is, if I’m Sandy Alderson, I have to at least be thinking about giving Jon Daniels a call and checking in.

Presented By Diehards

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Mets Would Be Smart To Avoid Stephen Drew http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/mets-would-be-smart-to-avoid-stephen-drew.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/mets-would-be-smart-to-avoid-stephen-drew.html/#comments Sun, 15 Dec 2013 17:58:14 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=135599 MLB: Boston Red Sox at Detroit Tigers

As the Mets continue to try and address the shortstop position, they reportedly still have interest in signing former Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew. The Red Sox remain interested as well.

Drew, who was a key to the Red Sox title run with his stellar defense, batted .253 this past season with 12 home runs and 67 RBI.

When comparing Drew to Ruben Tejada, its obvious that he is an upgrade over Tejada and acquiring him would bring the Mets one step closer to becoming a playoff-contending team.  His range at short plus his great defensive play is something that the Mets haven’t had since Jose Reyes.

While Drew would certainly improve the Mets defensively up the middle, the Mets might be a lot better off without the former first rounder (15th overall in 2004 draft).

Over the last several years, Drew has not been swinging the bat on a consistent basis. Even in 2013, Drew had his fair share of prolonged slumps at the plate. The postseason was a time where his inconsistency at the plate really showed, as Drew went onto batting a dismal .111 with a .140 on-base in 54 at-bats with 19 strikeouts. And speaking of strikeouts, Drew whiffed 124 last season in 442 at-bats – a total that would have led the Mets.

While he can be inconsistent at the plate, injuries have also been a problem for Drew over the last several years.  In 2013, he suffered a concussion in Spring Training, and during the season, he also logged time on the DL with a strained hamstring.  Looking at his last three seasons (2011-2013), Drew has averaged only 96 games or just a little more than a half season worth of play.

Right now, the Red Sox appear to be the front-runner for Drew because they have reportedly offered him a two-year deal and he did enjoy his time in Bean Town.

While I’m sure the Mets would be keen to acquire him on a two-year deal, its probably going to take three years from Sandy Alderson to even consider getting a deal done.  For three years and (just speculating) $10+ million per season, I believe that money should be spent elsewhere.

For a player with this many flaws and concerns, a three-year deal or even a two-year deal seems like too big a risk for the Mets to take. I pass.

Presented By Diehards

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I’d Be Fine With Giving Ruben Tejada Another Chance – And A Short Leash http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/id-be-fine-with-giving-ruben-tejada-another-chance-and-a-short-leash.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/id-be-fine-with-giving-ruben-tejada-another-chance-and-a-short-leash.html/#comments Fri, 13 Dec 2013 14:42:05 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=135453 ruben tejada

I know I am in the the minority on this, but I would have no objection to giving Ruben Tejada one more shot.

Huh? But why, oh why?

Because I still think he can be a decent player.

Ruben is never going to be Jose Reyes. He is never going to be a superstar. He is never going to the Hall of Fame. But he had a pretty decent 2012 as a full time player to build upon his 2011 campaign. He’s won’t hit you a lot of home runs (ok… maybe one every other year), but in 2012 he hit .289 with 26 doubles and played a pretty good shortstop. There were a lot of us that felt good about him being our starting shortstop at this very same time last year…

Then 2013 happened.

I’d like to chalk it up to immaturity. Let’s not forget, Ruben broke into the major leagues at a very young age. He was only 20 years old. He was a productive major league starter when he was 22. Last year he was only 23. He’s only going into his age 24 season. He’s at the age where other players are just starting to break through into the majors and he already has multiple years under his belt.

Without knowing him personally… maybe he got too big for his britches and took his position for granted because he got to the bigs quicker than most of the other prospects? I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. He’s shown he has some talent and showed he could hit major league pitching for two years in a row. I’m not of mind to believe that his ability completely disappeared in one season. He’s too young for that to happen. He just regressed.

I know I did some stupid things when I was his age and thought I knew everything. It wasn’t until I got older that the version of me in the present wished I could go back and shake some sense into the version of me in the past. With age, comes wisdom (hopefully) and hopefully he learned a lesson last season by being banished to the minors that nothing is earned in this game. There’s always another guy coming through the ranks that is willing to outwork and out-hustle you to get your roster spot.

So I’d be fine with giving Ruben another shot. And a short leash. Don’t hand him anything. Make him earn it in spring training. It won’t be the end of the world if he’s in the starting lineup come Opening Day. Make him earn his keep. He knows his career is on the line.

And if the Mets are in contention come July and the team is still in need of an upgrade? Teams make trades for the homestretch all the time.

Presented By Diehards

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The Curtis Granderson Story: Have We Seen This Movie Before? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/the-curtis-granderson-story-have-we-seen-this-movie-before.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/the-curtis-granderson-story-have-we-seen-this-movie-before.html/#comments Sat, 07 Dec 2013 16:32:53 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=134706 We’ve been waiting all winter for our team to do something. Yesterday, our inactive front office became active by signing Curtis Granderson for 4 years/$60 million. But is the waiting over? Will this be our only major move or will it be the first of several? Is this the first baby step in bringing a winner back to Flushing or purely window-dressing?

I’ve been a vocal outspoken critic of Sandy Alderson since his arrival. However, when Alderson does something positive, such as re-signing David Wright — something I never thought he’d pull off — I tip my hat to him.

With the Granderson signing, however, it’s different. I applaud Alderson and the Wilpon’s for bringing him over. No matter what, we’re a better team now than we were 48 hours ago. However, Granderson alone will not turn us into instant champions. But I still have concerns, many concerns.

ap-granderson-hurtjpg-6284dac22f1ef341_large

Back in 1985, Paramount Pictures turned the board game Clue into a motion picture. When they distributed it to theatres, there were three different endings. I feel that the acquisition of Granderson is a movie I’ve already seen. I’m just unsure of the ending. Will it be a Pedro Martinez ending or a Jason Bay ending?

In 2005, the Mets signed Pedro Martinez. It was a “statement.” Omar Minaya laid down the gauntlet to the NL that the Mets were serious. One month later, he added Carlos Beltran, awarding him the most lucrative contract in team history.

Martinez was our ace that first year. He was the team leader in wins (15), IP (217), K’s (208) and ERA (2.82.) Yet, most fans look back and view this signing as a bust. Over the remaining three years of his contract, Pedro would only win 17 more games, average 90 IP while compiling a 4.22 ERA. Minaya’s “statement” was, for all intents and purposes, window-dressing. We generally regard the Martinez-Mets relationship as a failure.

Five years later our fan base and the NY media was itching for Minaya to do something else, something big. The 2009 Mets stumbled and stumbled badly. It was the first time in half a decade we finished below .500 (70-92). And while the Mets christened their new stadium, fans in the Bronx were treated to yet another Championship. The pressure mounted, Minaya caved and made a move because he felt he needed to do something. That something was named Jason Bay.

Jason+Bay+New+York+Mets+Announce+Jason+Bay+aky-B7YqwDOl

I’m not really going out on a limb here when I say Bay won’t ever join Keith or Rusty or Piazza as one of the most beloved Mets of all time. Almost immediately he caught the ire of the fans and became the poster boy for everything wrong with the Minaya regime. Seemingly from day one, we were biding our time to be free of his salary.

Hindsight, however, is 20/20. Bay arrived in Flushing a top run producer in the game. He was one of the most sought after Free Agents that winter. Yet, he quickly learned that Citi Field is the place where power hitters go to die. Just look at the decreased power production of David Wright since ‘09.

What’s worrisome is the fact that Bay’s numbers in the 4 years prior to coming to New York are far better than Granderson’s over his previous 4 years. It’s doubly worrisome due to the fact Granderson played those 4 years in the launching pad known as Yankee Stadium.

stats

Bay was 31 when he donned a Mets jersey for the first time. Granderson will be 33.

I can’t help but feel that Alderson made this move due to the pressure to do something. I hope I’m wrong. I hope there will be a few more transactions to make this club relevant again. But I don’t see it. What I do see, however, is a double standard.

In 2011, Jose Reyes stated he wanted to stay in NY, the team he came up with. Negotiations dragged on and on. In spite of Reyes being one of the most beloved players in team history and already being near or at the top of numerous offensive categories, after eight seasons Alderson wanted to see more. Reyes went out and became the first Mets player to win a batting title. His .337 BA is third highest since 1962. Yet, Alderson made jokes about sending chocolates while Reyes packed up his batting title and headed south. Here we are two years later, still without a suitable replacement.

JOSE REYES EN LO MARLINS 2012

I alluded to it being a double standard. One concern that Alderson expressed (and understandably so) was Reyes’ history of injuries. However, with the acquisition of Granderson, that is apparently no longer a concern. In the 7 year span from 2005-2011, Reyes played in 928 games. In the 7 year period of 2007-2013 Granderson played in 972 games—a difference of only 44 games over 7 seasons. If Alderson had concerns about Reyes’ health, Granderson isn’t exactly Cal Ripken. Although Granderson averaged only six more games per year than Reyes, suddenly Alderson is NOT concerned about health.

Sarah Palin

When Jose Reyes batted .337 with 181 hits, an OBP of .384 and slugging percentage of .493 in 126 games, Alderson morphed into Sarah Palin: Thanks, but no thanks. When Granderson plays in 61 games, batting .229 with 49 hits, an OBP of .317 and a slugging percentage of .407, Alderson has no qualms about handing over $60 million. Alderson refused to sign a 28 year-old Reyes for 5-6 years. Yet, he signs a 33-year old Granderson for four years and coming off a season where he missed 100 games.

robert_plant-led_zeppelin

I can’t help but think of Robert Plant: Ooh, and it makes me wonder.

I applaud Alderson for doing… something.

The Mets are a better team than we were just a couple of days ago. And even though we’ve been waiting all winter… even though we’ve been waiting nearly 30 years for a championship…  even though we’re going on a decade since our last post-season… we’ll still have to wait some more to see how the Granderson signing plays out.

Hopefully this movie will have a good ending.

mmo

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Are The Mets Moving Back Into The Steak Section? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/are-the-mets-moving-back-into-the-steak-section.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/are-the-mets-moving-back-into-the-steak-section.html/#comments Wed, 04 Dec 2013 17:32:09 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=134467 alderson sandy wilpon

In the winter of 2011, super-agent Scott Boras stated that the Mets typically shop in the “steak section” however they have been residing in the “fruits and nuts category” as of late.

Finally today we have seen reports of some high-rolling as the team has “intensified discussions” on the idea of splurging on a high-profile free agent in Curtis Granderson.

Does this mean they are they back in the steak section though? Not exactly.

Alderson and company did sit down for steaks with Robinson Cano, however that was more of a meeting to meet with Jay-Z rather than the Yankee second baseman. Their meeting with Granderson however, consisted of a “Q-and-A kind of thing” while the respective parties dined over a few slabs of salmon; a grand bit of symbolism.

The Mets aren’t quite back in the steak section, they probably never will be under the frugal Sandy Alderson. They do however, have money to spend; they aren’t picking through pistachios anymore.

This offseason is significantly different than years prior; we hope that these fishy negotiations with Granderson are an indication of that. We hope that this is more than the pursuance of Jose Reyes, the ‘What Outfield?’ fix of 2012 or the talks with Michael Bourn, for those were not but smoke without a fire.

It remains to be seen if these are some true, bonafide orange-and-blue embers on the Hot Stove fire or not. Either way, it appears the Mets are at least kicking around the thought of reeling in their first big fish under Alderson rather than watching the school go by.

Salmon beats a box of chocolates any day in my book.

salmon

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Enter Sandman: The Mets’ Three Year Journey to Irrelevance http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/enter-sandman-the-mets-three-year-journey-to-irrelevance.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/enter-sandman-the-mets-three-year-journey-to-irrelevance.html/#comments Mon, 02 Dec 2013 15:59:02 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=134187 The GM Meetings in Orlando, home of Disneyworld, came and went and while none of us honestly expected the Mets to make a lot of noise, let’s take a trip to FantasyLand for a moment. Imagine if the Mets DID grab headlines. Visualize Sandy wheeling and dealing and returning to New York with Jose Reyes. And Carlos Beltran. Let’s say Alderson outwitted Brian Sabean (go with me on this) and convinced the Giants GM to give us back Angel Pagan. And just for the hell of it, Alderson also reacquired R A Dickey as well. We’d sure be feeling confident about 2014. Yet, all of these players were already on the Mets roster when Alderson took over as GM.

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

Enter Sandman:

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

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

sign man miracles

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

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

Those were the days, my friends…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

alderson sandy wilpon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

empty seats citi field turner

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

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

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

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

Presented By Diehards

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The Top 10 Mets Offensive Seasons Since 1980 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/the-top-10-mets-offensive-seasons-since-1980.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/the-top-10-mets-offensive-seasons-since-1980.html/#comments Thu, 28 Nov 2013 05:19:51 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=133664 piazza

It’s hard to believe that we’re only a few seasons removed from some of the best offensive seasons in Mets history (hard to argue they haven’t been offensive lately, just in a different sense).

So what are the 10 best Mets seasons in terms of offensive production over the last 34 seasons? (I’m using 1980 because I’ve been following the team since the 80s)

Runs Scored Per Game

1.  1999 – 853 scored – 5.23

2.  2006 – 834 scored – 5.15

3.  1987 – 823 scored – 5.08

4.  2000 – 807 scored – 4.98

5.  2007 – 804 scored – 4.96

6.  2008 – 799 scored – 4.93

7.  1986 – 783 scored – 4.83

8.  1997 – 777 scored – 4.80

9.  1990 – 775 scored  – 4.72

10. 1996 – 746 scored – 4.60

We can see that from 2006-2008, the Mets produced some of their best offensive clubs since the 80s.  Yes, they collapsed in 2007 and 2008, but they had some of their best run producing seasons those three years.  From 1996-2000, we saw 4 of the top 10 best offensive seasons (with the exception of 1998, which did not make the list).  1986-1987 also produced another two top 10 seasons.   The only season that isn’t clumped together was 1990 – which was at the tail end of their dominance and followed the 1988 and 1989 seasons which included some of their top pitching clubs.

So who made up these typical lineups during these seasons of offensive plenty?

2006-2008

C – Paul Lo Duca / Brian Schneider

1B – Carlos Delgado

2B – Jose Valentin / Luis Castillo

SS – Jose Reyes

3B – David Wright

OF – Cliff Floyd / Moises Alou / Fernando Tatis

OF – Carlos Beltran

OF – Xavier Nady / Shawn Green / Ryan Church

Where was there continuity over those three seasons?  Carlos Delgado, Jose Reyes, David Wright, and Carlos Beltran.  Four pretty good names.

1996*-1997

C – Todd Hundley

1B – Butch Huskey / John Olerud

2B – Jose Vizcaino / Carlos Baerga

SS – Rey Ordonez

3B – Jeff Kent / Edgardo Alfonzo

OF – Bernard Gilkey

OF – Lance Johnson

OF – Alex Ochoa / Butch Huskey

Edgardo Alfonzo made 85 starts in 1996 at 2B/3B/SS

1999-2000

C – Mike Piazza

1B – John Olerud / Todd Zeile

2B – Edgardo Alfonzo

SS – Rey Ordonez / Mike Bordick

3B – Robin Ventura

OF – Rickey Henderson / Benny Agbayani

OF – Brian McRae / Jay Payton

OF – Roger Cedeno / Derek Bell

1986-1987*

C – Gary Carter

1B – Keith Hernandez

2B – Wally Backman

SS – Rafael Santana

3B – Ray Knight / Howard Johnson

OF – Mookie Wilson / Kevin McReynolds

OF – Lenny Dykstra

OF – Darryl Strawberry

Tim Teufel made 70 starts in 1986 and 72 starts in 1987 as part of a platoon with Backman, Mookie Wilson made 76 starts in 1987

1990

C – Mackey Sasser

1B – Dave Magadan

2B – Gregg Jefferies

SS – Kevin Elster

3B – Howard Johnson

OF – Kevin McReynolds

OF – Daryl Boston

OF – Darryl Strawberry

edgardo alfonzo

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Alderson: It’s Conceivable Tejada Will Be Starting Shortstop http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/alderson-its-conceivable-tejada-will-be-starting-shortstop.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/alderson-its-conceivable-tejada-will-be-starting-shortstop.html/#comments Tue, 26 Nov 2013 22:41:07 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=133844 Tejada surprised many with his quality offensive production in 2012

Updated by Joe D.

In the conference call to announce the Chris Young signing, Sandy Alderson said it’s conceivable that shortstop could be filled by Tejada or otherwise internally.

He said he has reached out to teams about trading for a shortstop and said that the market is very thin even before the Cards signed Peralta…

Sandy added that Tejada is doing great since recovering from a broken fibula and working out without any limitations.

He is now back home in Panama.

 * * * * * * * *

Considering how things have unfolded in the shortstop market, speculation is the Mets will give Ruben Tejada another chance to live up to the expectations he generated two years ago.

Stephen Drew, who would have been ideal at Citi Field, had too expensive a price tag for even the Red Sox, so there was no way he was coming to Flushing.

The Mets’ next choice, Jhonny Peralta, wound up with St. Louis, which is just as well because as a PED user, his production must be viewed skeptically. And, $52 million over four years is excessive under those conditions.

I’ve never been a big Tejada fan. I don’t believe he hustles and his sometimes lack of work ethic and commitment is annoying. However, his attendance at a fitness camp in Michigan – along with Lucas Duda and Wilmer Flores – presents him in a different light.

It demonstrates an effort, and at this point, that’s something important to the Mets.

Two years ago, his first as a starter in the post-Jose Reyes era, Tejada didn’t report to spring training early as manager Terry Collins wanted. He wasn’t technically late, but Collins believed Tejada should have demonstrated more enthusiasm in preparing for his first season.

Was Collins wrong for thinking that? No. Was Tejada wrong for not reporting early? Technically, no, but he did leave a bad impression.

Tejada redeemed himself with a good season, hitting .289 with a .333 on-base percentage. However, Tejada got off to a horrible start, both in the field and at the plate last year. Following an injury and lengthy stay in the minor leagues, Tejada finished with a .202 average and .259 on-base percentage at the time his season ended with a broken leg.

Economically, Tejada made $514-thousand last year, his third in terms of service time, so the Mets know they won’t pay a lot of money.

There’s literally not a better option in the free agent market, at least not one with an injury history – Rafael Furcal – or who’ll want an excessive amount of money.

The Mets’ timetable to pose serious competition has now been pushed back to 2015 following the season-ending injury to Matt Harvey.

Given that, plus the economic factors, paltry market and nothing in the farm system – Flores is not an option – it makes sense to give Tejada another opportunity.

If Tejada plays the way he did two years ago, that’s something the Mets can live with. And if not, then there’s always next year.

Thoughts from Joe D.

I’ve long thought that  Tejada would be in the Mets Opening Day lineup next season.

While that is now a revelation to some prominent bloggers and news sources, I’ve had the shortstop market accurately pegged right from jump street.

Back on September 30th I wrote that with only two quality shortstops available and more than a half dozen teams in the market for one, prices would skyrocket and that I didn’t believe the Mets “would have the stomach for it.”

A couple of weeks later, I wrote that given the huge $30-40 million cash infusion for each team – courtesy of the new National MLB TV deal – that even teams like the Houston Astros would be spending big this Winter.

When the Mets said they would be able to spend $30 million, I found it difficult to believe they’d be able to fill Sandy’s wish list on that budget. “If the Mets think they can do all that with a $30 million budget, they need to get back into the world of reality.”

Sandy has since whittled down that once expansive list to 3-4 acquisitions.

When it was rumored that the Mets met with Jhonny Peralta in Orlando, and then saw how they downplayed the meeting through Joel Sherman and Andy Martino – I declared in no uncertain terms that the Mets were out on Peralta and Drew. And so it is.

Going with Tejada is not such a bad idea. At 23 he has a good chance to still become a productive shortstop and I still believe in him.

The Mets need to save what money they have left and get a lefthanded power hitter for left field. That should be the number one priority. Upgrading Tejada is a luxury not a necessity.

mmo

 

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