Mets Merized Online » Rick Ankiel Thu, 24 Apr 2014 22:00:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Mets Had One Of The Best Under The Radar Offseasons Mon, 13 Jan 2014 01:57:14 +0000 Mike Petriello of ESPN (Insider Subscription) writes that the Mets had one of the best under-the-radar offseasons by signing Curtis Granderson and Chris Young to upgrade their outfield defense.

For most of the first third of 2013, he writes, the corner outfielders in New York were Lucas Duda in left and Marlon Byrd in right, flanking a rotating combination of Rick AnkielCollin CowgillJordany Valdespin and Kirk Nieuwenhuis in center field. That’s pretty brutal.

juan lagaresWhile Byrd was somewhat above average, he adds, Duda is so bad that he’s  accumulated a shocking minus-42 defensive runs saved (DRS) in parts of four seasons for the Mets. He was eventually replaced by Eric Young, but even he was only slightly better, with minus-7 DRS for the season.

Petriello says that things turned around when Juan Lagares took over the bulk of time in center and proved to be one of the best defensive center fielders in the game.

Well deserved praise for Lagares and the Mets by ESPN. With Lagares in center flanked by Granderson and Young in the corners, Mets pitchers should reap the benefits of one of the best defensive outfields in baseball.

After what we’ve seen over the last 4-5 years, it will be a pleasure not to hold our breaths everytime a batter sends one sailing over the infield. I’m looking forward to seeing all three of them patrolling the same outfield when spring training games begin in about five weeks.

Presented By Diehards

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Ojeda Tabs Lagares As His Breakthrough Player for 2014 Tue, 29 Oct 2013 13:40:28 +0000 juan lagares

Nick asks…

Is Juan Lagares an everyday player? He seems more like a Endy Chavez defensive substitute type to me, but I keep hearing that he has a hold on the everyday center field job. Do you think his bat will develop or will we see the same offensive production we saw last season? Any idea what kind of numbers we should look forward to?

Teddy replies…

I don’t think Lagares is a defensive substitute at all. First of all, his defense is similar to Chavez, but I like to compare his defense to our young version of Carlos Beltran. He just doesn’t give much away except the impossible, and he glides to the ball. It’s like an art to me, just watching his routes.

His bat will play, it takes some rookies some time to adjust to the Majors. His bat is actually better than people think. In the upper minors, Juan Lagares hit for a .330 average in 739 at-bats. If believed this average is skewed by Vegas’s hitting grounds, don’t be deterred, only 78 at bats were at Vegas.

However, during those accumulated stats, Lagares only walked 48 times while striking out 136 times, but he did hit nine homers and 43 doubles during that span.

Jon Heyman reported that the Mets are very comfortable moving forward with Lagares as their everyday center fielder.

Additionally, when Bobby Ojeda was asked in an interview which player he expected to have a breakthrough season in 2014, he responded:

“Juan Lagares. I think you’ll see much more power out of his at bats. I think that’s something this ballclub needs on a consistent basis.”

Lagares could hit virtually .280 (his discipline would suggest he wouldn’t be able to sustain a higher average) with some home run power and a ton of doubles. He has yet to tap into his speed which is also a plus tool for him. Either way, that is an above-average outfielder, especially with his plus fielding saving the day in center.

I’ll take that any day, wouldn’t you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

pinky and brain

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

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

Let’s Go Mets!

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Another Juan Of Those Posts About Lagares Tue, 03 Sep 2013 21:46:41 +0000 Who remembers John Milton Rivers?

You know, that speedy center fielder that used to run funny and played for the Yankees during their 1977 and 1978 championship years?

I guess you probably know him better by his baseball name, Mickey…

Last week, I had an interesting debate with the executive producer of SNY, when I asked him why two of his blogs posted that Daniel Huchingson was suspended for 50 games.

“It’s his given name.”

I thought that was funny being everyone else in the universe including himself and his mom refer to him as Chase Huchingson.

“Wouldn’t it be better to use his baseball name rather than his given name,” I asked?

“It doesn’t matter”, he retorted.

“By the way, what did you think of Richard’s press conference this afternoon?”

“Who’s Richard?”

“Oh, I’m sorry, I was using his given name. I’m talking about Sandy.”

bugs bunny

Ain’t I a stinker?

Getting back to Mickey Rivers, I loved this quote he once said about playing center field.

“The first thing you do when you get out to center field is put up your finger and check the wind chill factor.”

I wonder if Juan Lagares does that?

juan lagares


Last week, I was happy to see the response Bobby Ojeda gave to the following question…

Which Met player do you expect to improve their game the most in 2014?

Ojeda responded:

“Juan Lagares. I think you’ll see much more power out of his at bats. I think that’s something this ballclub needs on a consistent basis.”

How many of you were a bit perturbed when Lagares was shifted over to right field to accommodate Matt den Dekker in center field this past weekend?

I know I was…  So what does this amazing talent do?

Not much, all he did was fire a perfect relay throw to Daniel Murphy to tag out Bryce Harper at third. The kid’s got a rocket launcher for an arm…

bryce harper


Lagares now leads the National League with 12 outfield assists and is second in the majors, despite playing about 40 less games than everyone else in the top ten. His dozen assists also tied the franchise rookie record set by Tsuyoshi Shinjo in 2001. But enough about his Gold Glove defense, I want to talk about Lagares’ bat and that comment by Ojeda.

Going into yesterday’s embarrassing loss to the Braves, Lagares had hit in three straight games and in six of his last seven dating back to August 25. Over those seven games, he was batting .370 (10-27) with four runs scored, two doubles and two RBI.

When I saw him penciled into the number five spot in the lineup yesterday, I was kind of excited. Of course that spot is usually reserved for one of your team’s top sluggers and here was Lagares getting a chance to do some damage and drive in some runs. He went 2-for-3 with a walk, a run scored and  He’s now batting .364 over his last ten games and even drew four walks to shut-up the folks on twitter who even now still  complain about his lack of walks and aggressiveness. There’s just no pleasing some Met fans…

In 45 games since the All Star break, the 24-year old whiz-kid is batting .301 with a .448 slugging and .799 OPS. Among his 49 hits he has stroked nine doubles, three triples and three home runs while driving in 17 and scoring 19 runs. He has transformed himself at the plate and drives the ball with authority.

I love watching him come to the plate with two outs. He has this thing about never wanting to make the last out and in 99 at-bats he’s slashing at a .303/.361/.465 clip and an .816 OPS. We could use a few more players with this mindset…

We hear the term 5-tool player thrown around all the time, but for the most part those players never deliver on that promise. In Juan Lagares we have someone who is exhibiting all the hallmarks of those five tools scouts look for and the best part is that he plays for the Mets. He’s all ours and is having one of the best rookie seasons in the game.

Currently, only Carlos Gomez and Andrew McCutchen have a higher WAR than the 3.6 Lagares has among centerfielders. And among rookies that ranks third as well behind Yasiel Puig  and Nolan Arenado. I would argue that if Terry Collins had used his noodle and didn’t waste so many at-bats on Rick Ankiel, Collin Cowgill and Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Lagares could have a WAR that would be close to or even surpass 5.0. Wow… That is David Wright terrain…

So what’s my point about all of this?

Just wanted to say that I am really excited about a lot of things for the Mets in 2014, and I can’t wait to see what Juan Lagares does for an encore next season.

Now I’m not saying we’re gonna go out and win a Wild Card next season, that has more to do with what Richard, I mean Sandy, does this offseason. But if he really wants to field a contender – a real contender – he has plenty of money to do it and plenty of trade chips to swap along with a core of great young pitching and hitting to build around. Now it’s time to fill in the gaps…

This offseason is all on him and it’s time for Sandy to finally put up or shut up…

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MMO Exclusive: 2013 Mets Midseason Report Cards Fri, 19 Jul 2013 17:25:53 +0000 report card

With the New York Mets (41-50) about to embark on the second half of the the 2013 season, I hit up two dozen of our MMO writers for their overall grades by position for our Mid-Season Report Cards.

For added measure we also included Terry Collins, Sandy Alderson and Mr. Met who was the only one to score an A+. :-)

So without further ado, here’s our 2013 Mid-Season Mets Report Cards.

2013 report cards

Terry Collins  C-

TC has been dealt a limited hand but has done a solid enough job overall. His bullpen management remains terrible. His opinion changes rather quickly. Just because you´ve been names a starting player on Monday doesn´t mean you´ll still be one on Saturday. That said, the players seem to enjoy playing for him and usually play hard – even if it´s not always obvious due to their limitations. – Andre

Sandy Alderson  C-

If you accept that 2013 is and was always going to be a transitional / building year, hopefully the final one in terms of financial austerity and waiting out contracts, then Alderson has done a pretty good job overall over the past calendar year. Yes, the team remains a mediocre 75-win caliber team all things considered that´ll probably finish 4th yet again this season. However, if you deduct the Santana & Bay contracts from this year´s payroll, the Mets are 3rd to last in the majors overall with only the Astros & Marlins spending less on their product on the field. So, not contending should not come as a surprise when prospects get moved at a rather slow pace and no money is spent while the group of remaining players lacks high-end talent beyond David Wright, Matt Harvey and to a lesser degree Bobby Parnell. – Andre

If the goal that Sandy himself established in 2010 was to see a renaissance in 2014 that will usher in years and years of sustainable success then you have to give him a near failing grade. Nobody I speak to among scouts, baseball insiders and baseball journalists see 2014 as anything other than what we’ve seen in the last three seasons. Wheeler was never going to be a difference maker, and winning franchises need more than two core players to achieve sustainable success. In three seasons we have more holes than we did in 2010 and no immediate help on the way. He has yet to develop any of his own minor leaguers as the cream of the crop came from trading players that he inherited. Sure it takes time to develop a farm and more than three seasons, but I’m using his timetable not one that I conjured up. The heat is on Sandy. – Joe D.

First Base  D-

The Governor needs to step in and declare first base a disaster area. Ike Davis was once looked upon as a core player and the first baseman of the future. Not anymore. Sadly, there are few in-house options that can give the Mets the 30-homer bat they desperately need from this position. Josh Satin should be getting the majority of playing time, but he doesn’t have that kind of power, but can get on base and drive in runs with his line-drive stroke. – Joe D.

Second Base  B-

Daniel Murphy has improved his defense and while he´s been hot & cold on offense still is at least an average bat offensively at second base. He´s a solid average piece. With Wilmer Flores mashing at AAA, the Mets will face a big question here soon. Keep the solid average piece as he enters his later arbitration years ? Go with the higher upside bat with the defensive question marks? – Andre

The Wilmer Flores situation will come to a head very soon. – Joe D.

Shortstop  C-

Ruben Tejada has been the other big disappointment. He has gradually regressed from his nice 2011 / early 2012 form and was a well below average player over the past calendar year. He´s still young and thus some hope remains. Quintanilla is a limited talent but has made the best out of his opportunity playing steady defense and providing a decent enough bat that this spot isn´t a liability right now. – Andre

Shortstop? What shortstop?

Third Base  A

David Wright has hit at or slightly above his already lofty career norms in spite of no protection around him in the lineup and played Gold Glove caliber defense. It´s time to surround him with better talent. – Andre

The worst part of signing Wright to the ginormous contract, was not going the extra hard and surrounding him with the guns to battle the NL East. So he’ll unfairly get the the blame for results in the standings and this was exactly what I hoped wouldn’t happen – Joe D.

Catcher  C+

Mostly manned by John Buck and Anthony Recker, things looked promising through the first three weeks of the season, but quickly went into a deep decline after that. Mets catchers are now batting .213 with a .277 OBP and 103 strikeouts in 347 at-bats. Very Thole-esque wouldn’t you say? – Joe D.

Left Field  C-

It started out with Lucas Duda and now has Eric Young Jr. and in about two more weeks it will be a combination of the two. What’s a manager to do. The bottom line though is that left field has produced the second highest OPS for the Mets so far at pedestrian .783. Keep on drawing those walks Lucas. Despite missing nearly a month, Duda is still second on the team with 38 walks which accounts for a huge chunk of the OPS. I need to see more of EY until I’m convinced he’s not the player his first 950 MLB plate appearances say he was. – Joe D.

Lucas Duda has proven he is not the long term answer in LF. Certainly not defensively. Possibly not offensively either. Eric Young Jr. has played some here recently and looks like the spark plug the team had been missing. – Andre

Center Field  C-

Cowgill flopped. Valdespin didn´t do much either. Nieuwenhuis has been up & down. Lagares has shown great defense but also some rawness offensively. – Andre

I can’t believe Sandy Alderson has me missing Andres Torres. – Joe D.

Right Field  B+

Marlon Byrd has had quite the unexpected comeback season. He single-handedly made right field a strength for the team so far this season, which of course means it may be time to move him. Right? Isn’t how this works? – Joe D.

Starting Rotation  B+

Matt Harvey has been great. Jeremy Hefner has far exceeded expectations and has done well. Dillon Gee has been up & down – but pretty much as expected overall. Jon Niese is the third biggest disappointment of the year. Though injuries and bad luck & bad weather have played a key role. It´ll be a big key getting him back to 100% going forward. Marcum was rarely healthy and performed between mediocre and terrible. Zack Wheeler remains a work in progress though the upside is huge. Getting him to be more consistent is another key going forward. – Andre

Bullpen  C

Bobby Parnell has emerged as a lights out closer which is very nice. Most other relievers have been unspectacular though better off late. The injury to Jeurys Familia was a big blow structurally as he could have been that 2nd power arm a good team needs in the pen. Josh Edgin has been too inconsistent. – Andre

I knew this group was in trouble again when after three weeks they already shuffled ten different players off or into the pen. Wow… Bullpen Revamp 3.0 was looking like another failure. By the time May ended it was in familiar territory ranking last in the majors in ERA, BAA and WHIP. Collins burned out his two best middle relief arms resulting in Lyon getting cut and Rice going from great to scary. Edgin had a short hiatus in the minors after a demotion, but has looked better. But largely, the bullpen has been a one-man show. – Joe D.

Bench  C+

Considering all the fluctuations in the lineup, the bench pieces have done a solid enough job. Unfortunately, too many bench pieces have been pressed into starting roles they´re probably not suited to fill. Mike Baxter being one example. – Andre

Andre pretty much nailed it. With most of the solid bench options now pressed into starting duty, I’m fearful as to what we’ll get in the second half. – Joe D.


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Eric Young Is Drawing Rave Reviews As A Met, But Is It Sustainable? Fri, 12 Jul 2013 17:34:05 +0000 eric young points

Terry Collins had some high praise for Eric Young Jr. yesterday, in a conversation with the New York Post.

“The energy level has been raised since we got E.Y. and called up some guys from the minor leagues,” Collins said. “Andres Torres did a nice job last year when he wasn’t hurt, but certainly this year Young has made a big difference in our lineup.”

And even right fielder Marlon Byrd is happy to have Young patrolling the outfield with him and batting at the top of the order. “He’s the prototypical leadoff guy,” Byrd said. “I’m just so glad we have him over here.”

Ever since being acquired for starting pitcher Collin McHugh, Eric Young Jr. has been a spark plug at the top of the Mets lineup. He is hitting for a high average, and he has jolted the top of the Mets lineup with speed. Young’s speed has also made a difference defensively since he is a vast upgrade over the slow-footed Lucas Duda in left field. There is no denying that Young has been terrific so far, but is his performance sustainable?

There are a number of factors that make me skeptical about Young’s hot start. Before being traded to the Mets this year, Young was in the midst of an atrocious season. He was only hitting .240, with 1 HR, 6 RBI, 22 RS, 8 SB’s (4 CS’s) and 11 BB’s for Colorado in 57 games. In fact, he was performing so poorly that Colorado designated him for assignment.

Not only did Young struggle to produce offensively this year with Colorado, he struggled to produce his entire career. In 776 at bats with Colorado, Young has possessed .260/.329/.342 slash line with only 6 home runs and only 40 RBI. His numbers were also aided by an extreme hitter’s park in Coors field. In games played on the road, Young has hit under .230 in his career. It’s also important to note that Young isn’t a prospect that had struggled. He is 28 years old, which is considered the prime of a player’s career.

Young has been exciting to watch so far, but his success has come in a very limited amount of playing time. Just in this season alone, there have been many instances of players who have started their Met’s career s great like Young, but quickly faded away. John Buck, Collin Cowgill and Rick Ankiel also started their Mets career on fire like Young, but now Cowgill and Ankiel are no longer in the organization and Buck is struggling to maintain his average over the Mendoza line. How is Young’s great start any different from theirs?

Young’s 776 at bats with Colorado tell us more about the player he is than 93 at bats with the Mets. I think when all these facts are considered, it is unlikely that Young sustains his success. Even though Young has been a great addition to the team so far, I believe his success will be short lived.

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Rick Ankiel Elects Free Agency Thu, 13 Jun 2013 19:35:19 +0000 rick ankiel

Rick Ankiel has parted way with the New York Mets says Adam Rubin of ESPN New York. The 33-year old elected to become a free agent rather than accept a minor league assignment after being designated for assignment last week.

Ankiel was signed by the Mets exactly one month ago on May 13th after being released by the Houston Astros just four days prior. He batted .182 with 25 strikeouts in just 66 at-bats in his short time in Flushing.

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Is Sandy Alderson’s Message Getting Tired and Old? Tue, 11 Jun 2013 05:04:52 +0000 sandy-alderson

Sandy Alderson was a guest of Mike Francesa on WFAN on Monday afternoon and had a lot to say on a variety of topics which I summarized for you below. Before that, check out what John Harper of the Daily News had to say about Sandy’s latest version of “Cry Me A River”.

It was hard to tell if Sandy Alderson was baring his soul or throwing himself at the mercy of Mets fans during his WFAN interview with Mike Francesa on Monday…Alderson went so far as to describe his reaction to the 20-inning debacle on Saturday as “near-suicidal,” which made him sound more like a fan than a GM, but I doubt if it bought him much sympathy from the suffering masses. It’s tempting to say that a man who measures his every word so carefully would only admit to such an extreme emotion for PR purposes, but then again…

By the time the GM was finished assessing the current lack of talent on the roster, the task of turning the Mets into contenders by next year, in keeping with the Alderson blueprint, suddenly seemed like some fantasy.

It all sounded rather odd. I just hope it’s not a ploy to buy more time for this regime because whatever honeymoon Alderson has enjoyed, as the man hired to clean up the mess the Mets were in by the fall of 2010, is over this winter.

Yeah… Harper read my mind again… I didn’t buy Sandy’s last violin solo before the Winter Meetings when he told Francesa he was going to transform the roster, particularly the outfield, and put a contender on the field in 2013. He showed up with Duda, Cowgill and Byrd… Ahem…

I’m certainly not buying this latest concerto… His words are never met with action. They never have any real bite to them. Say what you want about Omar Minaya, but when he said he was committed to winning, he meant it. When he needed a center fielder he got Carlos Beltran, when he needed an ace he went after Johan, when he needed a righty bat he got Bay, etc. His choices didn’t always work out, but when he said he’d do something he went out and did it. I can respect that.

Sandy is different.

Everything always sounds staged and delivered with an impassioned plea for acceptance. He never makes me feel like things are getting better. Instead I’m always reminded of how bad things are and how he wishes they could be better… How awful the team is playing and how the players have all disappointed him… I mean give us some good news for once for crying out loud… Stop telling me how much my team sucks every six months…  Most of all, stop running to Francesa and using his soapbox twice a year, only to give us the same old sombering state of the team address.

Sandy’s a great guy… I think he’s personable, intelligent and I even enjoy his deadpan sense of humor… He’s a good guy… I’m just not buying what he’s selling and now it’s really getting old…

Sandy Alderson on WFAN with Mike Francesa

Winning vs Developing: Wins never become secondary and the reason is that none of us can stomach losses. We want to win games while we are developing players. The Players we need to evaluate will get some playing time and that’s evident with move we made on cutting Rick Ankiel. We felt that Kirk Nieuwenhuis needed to play here in the majors. And we also have to consider Wilmer Flores who we also want to see here at some point this season.

Josh Satin: Satin is a performer who has done everything we have asked of him. He’s a little older but definitely a solid player and he has earned this promotion. Whether he’s part of the future or not we will we’ll all find out because he is going to get that chance… And I hope he gets a good chance at first base.

When On WheelerZack Wheeler will start on June 18. You could speculate and be fairly comfortable that you will see him pitch that day.

Montero and Leathersich: Yes we have considered having them skip Triple-A. Rafael Montero pitched very well in his spot start with Vegas and is in the middle of an impressive run. Very soon we’ll decide to either leave him at Double-A or promote him to Triple-A. If we opt to leave him at AA you can infer that we will skip Vegas and bring him straight to the majors when the time comes. Jack Leathersich doesn’t throw any harder than Edgin does, but he has more movement and deception. That said, he does walk people and that’s a big concern at this point. But there’s no reason either one can’t come straight to the majors from Double-A. Those are two guys we are very high on, but there’s a little bit of caution because we remember Edgin came straight from Double-A.

Puello and Suspension: Cesar Puello has a little bit of a history and while very young ranked as high of 4-5 among our top prospects. He has always been a five tool guy and this year he has put it all together. We put him on our 40 man roster to protect him and those 5 tools of his. He is definitely someone we have our eye on, but we’re not gonna bring him up based on a month of great performance. If we thought there was something imminent we’d be concerned (about a possible suspension), but at this point it’s not a consideration.

Is Terry Safe: Anytime you hit a rough patch people speculate about players and staff, but this is about player performance and I don’t believe our staff performance has been bad. If its a player issue, then thats on me. I’ve been in situations where we change hitting coaches every year but I honestly dont think thats our problem. Terry is working his butt off and we are not considering changing anything.

Offensive Approach: We have too many players who don’t approach our hitting philosophy the way they should be. What I mean by that is putting yourself into hitting counts. When you have a preponderance of players who don’t follow that approach it becomes infectious. Right now we have too many players like that.

Having Hands Tied: It simply is not accurate. Not at all. I have said it time and time again. There has always been a willingness by ownership to spend money to help improve the team… If I chose to.

On Ike Davis: With respect to Ike Davis, we went about it as long as we could. In retrospect we should have done it sooner. He needs to get away from the voices in his ear. Hopefully the hitting environment in Las Vegas will be the right environment to turn it around, and that goes for Mike Baxter too.

First Base: Terry will have three options. Daniel Murphy can move to first base and we can play Jordany Valdespin everyday at second base. A second option will be to play Josh Satin at first base and leave Murphy where he is. Third but not likely would be playing Lucas Duda at first. We’ve told Murphy about first base and he understands that if we do move him, we’re not looking to shift him to first base permanently. But basically if we move Murph it gives us a chance to evaluate Valdespin who we need to look at closely. We also thought about Wilmer Flores and maybe that’s a move that will come later. But we need to get a longer look at Valdy.

Wilmer Flores: Flores is absolutely a prospect but what is his position? He’s got limited range, but we can live with that at second base because he does everything else at second base well. He has a good arm, is a good fielder and can turn the double play. He’s only 22. I wouldn’t preclude him from getting promoted sometime this season.

Outfield Plan: Short term we have to admit that Marlon Byrd is one of the few players we have producing. Cutting his playing time doesn’t make a whole lot of sense right now. In center field expect to see a somewhat even distribution of playing time between Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Juan Lagares. We need to find out about both of them We will see a more balanced allocation of playing time. We’ll also see what role Collin Cowgill will serve with his versatility to pinch run, bat off bench, etc.

Losing To Marlins: Losing to the Marlins was deeply frustrating… Watching your team go 0-for-19 with runners in scoring position can make you feel suicidal. We have to move forward, make whatever changes we feel are important, and keep our eye on what we’re trying to achieve. Losing to the Marlins was tough for us to take though, it was tough for the fans to take…

Patience is running thin with everyone from fans to players to Terry Collins. As I said when this whole dog and pony show first started in the fall of 2010, “I hope Alderson realizes this is New York and he better have something to show the fan base by the end of 2013. He’s got three years.” Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick,….

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Terry Collins, Sandy Alderson And Getting Our Priorities In Order Mon, 10 Jun 2013 13:51:57 +0000 collins alderson springEven though the beginning of the season started with low expectations, there is still a little bit of hope. Maybe we can be that team. Maybe we can do the unthinkable.

Well, after last night’s debacle and the recent stretch in general, I would say that hope is on life support and if nothing improves before the end of June, the chord will be pulled.

With that being said, the timing was right for the Mets to shake things up and shake them up they did. In almost one fell swoop Ike Davis, Rick Ankiel, Mike Baxter and Robert Carson were sent packing.

My biggest issue right now with the Mets is how the playing time was being distributed. While I agreed with cutting Ankiel to make room for Kirk Nieuwenhuis, I don’t agree with having Jordany Valdespin and Juan Lagares spending so much time on the bench. We need to see what they can do.

Lagares has hit decently over the past couple of games and defensively he has flashed the leather and a strong arm. Valdespin has had a few clutch moments and is toolsy, but still very raw. How do you polish up a player like that? You play him. So either send him down to Triple-A where he can play everyday or commit to starting him 4-5 times a week and continue to develop him. Maybe the best move for now is a demotion at least until we have more clarity after possibly trading Marlon Byrd at the deadline.

Apparently, Collins is starting to see the light as he claimed that Valdespin will start to get more playing time on Sunday, but we’ve heard him makes such claims before.

I hope that this time Collins means it, and not just with Spin, but with all the youngsters that now also include Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Josh Satin in addition to Spin and Lagares.

Heading into next season, the front office needs to identify what pieces need to be acquired and which current players can supplement our team’s core that for now includes Matt Harvey, David Wright and possibly one or two others.

Thoughts from Joe D.

Albin raises a big issue…

My biggest fear is that Terry Collins is only concerned with saving his job, and in his mind that means winning as many games as he can to keep the season relevant. Wrong approach… Realistically, he should be using the rest of this season to determine which players, if any, can serve a useful role in 2014 either as a core player or as a bridge until other prospects are ready to take over.

That he doesn’t get that is a big problem. That him and the front office still think it’s about winning games this season, is a huge problem. Listening to Collins and Sandy Alderson talk about results yesterday tells me they don’t have their priorities in order.

2013 is not about results. If it were, then shame on Sandy Alderson for the way he handled the offseason – he gets a big Fail. This season is about development and evaluating players. At some point they have to stop half-assing this rebuild process. The sooner they can do that, the faster this team can become relevant again.

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Mets To Promote Josh Satin, Collin Cowgill, Josh Edgin To Replace Davis, Baxter And Carson Mon, 10 Jun 2013 13:08:44 +0000 ike-davis

Updated by Satish Ram at 7:45 PM:

Adam Rubin is reporting that first baseman Josh Satin, center fielder Collin Cowgill and lefthanded reliever Josh Edgin will be promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas to replace Ike Davis, Mike Baxter and Robert Carson who were all optioned to Triple-A after today’s 8-4 loss to the Marlins.

Satin will be added to the 40-man roster to fill the empty spot left when Rick Ankiel was released yesterday.

That means within the last 24 hours, Satin, Cowgill, Edgin and Nieuwenhuis were all added to the MLB roster.

Let’s go youth movement!

Thoughts from Joe D.

No surprise here. As I speculated earlier there was no chance that anyone was coming from Double-A Binghamton and that these three were your likely suspects.

Of the three, the only one I look forward to watching is Josh Satin who I’ve been calling for since mid-April. I can assure you he will outproduce Ike Davis simply because he’s a more disciplined hitter than Ike was and he knows how to get on base.

I don’t foresee much success for Cowgill or Edgin unfortunately, and I’m not sure any of this will change anything or have a significant impact on the standings.

Original Post

Sandy Alderson has announced that the Mets have optioned Ike Davis, Mike Baxter and Robert Carson to Triple-A Las Vegas following today’s brutal 8-4 loss to the Marlins.

“At some point you just have to say to yourself this is not in his best interest,” Sandy Alderson said about Davis’ demotion. “I was one of his biggest supporters. I just felt at some point we’ve got to get him out of here. Hopefully he’ll be back in a short period of time. But he needs to go there. He needs to be able to play every day. He needs to be able to work on his swing without worrying necessarily about the outcome. We think it’s in his best interest.”

“It’s tough to sit through 30 innings and score not even a handful of runs,” Alderson said. “It’s been frustrating for everybody. I’m sure it’s frustrating for the fans, too. But we’ve got an off-day tomorrow and we’ve got to pick it up on Tuesday.”

Corresponding moves are expected to all come from Triple-A Las Vegas, but will not be announced until Monday. If true that means no Jack leathersich or Robert Carson.

David Wright (courtesy of ESPN New York) added this:

“When you’re struggling the way we’re struggling, changes come — whether you like it or not,” Wright said. “That’s the name of the game. I think what every player, what every front office, what every coach strives for is consistency. But you can’t have consistency when you are a dozen or so games under .500.”

“You keep getting asked about the Marlins and teams you should beat,” Wright said. “I think I said it the other day: Teams are probably looking at us that way, where you’ve got to come in here and beat us. So we can’t look at any other team that way.”

This team is an absolute joke right now. This should have been done a month ago when the season was still relevant, not now when they are floundering and playing worse baseball than the Miami Marlins – if that is at all possible.

These moves come a day after Rick Ankiel was released and let’s call this what it is – an act of desperation by the front office..

Davis has been in a season-long funk that has suffocated the offense and sucked the life out of it. He will not be replaced at first base by Lucas Duda or Justin Turner – so look for Josh Satin to get the call.

This could also open the door for Wilmer Flores, but unless he’s given an everyday job, I doubt it. Look for either Andrew Brown or Collin Cowgill to replace Baxter. Both players have already disappointed this season with the Mets forcing their own demotions to Triple-A, but lets face it folks – the cupboard is bare.

Will Josh Edgin replace Carson? Probably, but he’s had a rough go of it in Binghamton and Vegas since being demoted himself. Edgin was one of the first relievers to get axed from Sandy’s 2013 bullpen.

This team sucks right now… We’ve gone from bad to worse… They can’t do anything right…

I will keep updating this post with more of my thoughts throughout the night…

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Ankiel Signing Proved To Be A Big Waste Of Time Sun, 09 Jun 2013 10:35:00 +0000 kirk nieuwenhuis

The Rick Ankiel era has come to and end with the Mets. The veteran center fielder has been designated for assignment and can choose to accept the assignment to AAA or elect free agency. My guess is the latter.

Taking his place will be Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who is already on his way to the big league club after his recent tear with Las Vegas. The 25-year old slugger has ten hits in his last ten games in Vegas, which includes three home runs and two doubles. And he has slammed eight home runs over his last 16 games. Overall he has an .836 OPS in 36 games with Vegas including ten home runs, 18 RBI and 33 runs scored. He will be a welcomed addition to the team and we hope to see a carryover effect from his recent hot performance.

On the flip side, Ankiel struck out in his last three ABs with the Mets after coming into the 20-inning affair at Citi Field as a pinch hitter. He finished his Mets tenure with a .182 batting average and a .602 OPS in 66 at-bats while striking out 25 times.

The worst part of this Ankiel signing was that my biggest fear was realized… That he would take away playing time from younger players like Juan Lagares and Jordany Valdespin.

We should be playing our younger players regularly so they could be evaluated as we navigate through another lost season whose only goal should be to focus on 2014 and beyond.

The Ankiel signing made absolutely no sense at all and in the end wound up being a huge waste of time and money.

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Marlins Come Out On Top In 2-1 Marathon Win Over Mets Sun, 09 Jun 2013 00:25:59 +0000 matt harvey

The Miami Marlins scratched out a run in the top of the 20th inning to break the 1-1 deadlock and beat the Mets 2-1 at Citi Field tonight.

Matt Harvey started for the Mets and was solid for seven innings until he was removed with what the team initially diagnosed as “lower back tightness.”  The righthander gets his fourth straight no-decision after allowing just one run on six hits with no walks and six strikeouts. The Marlins’ only run off Harvey came in the fourth inning on a sacrifice fly by Chris Coghlan.

Shaun Marcum was just as solid despite getting tagged with the loss. The veteran tossed seven scoreless innings of relief before tiring in his eighth inning of work and allowing the Marlins to score the game-winner. he allowed five hits, walked none and struck out seven. It was the longest relief stint from a Met reliever in 30 years.

The bullpen as a whole was outstanding with Brandon Lyon, Bobby Parnell, LaTroy Hawkins, Scott Rice, Greg Burke, and David Aardsma combining for five scoreless innings of relief.

The only Mets run came in the second inning when Juan Lagares drove in Ike Davis with an RBI single. Lagares  in the second inning. After that there was nothing but a whole lot of awful offensively…

The Mets were a franchise worst 0-for-19 with runners in scoring position and left 22 men on base. They had plenty of chances to score the go-ahead and squandered prime opportunities the eighth, ninth, and tenth innings.

The good news? Rick Ankiel has been designated for assignment, more on that in an update by my wingman Satish…

The Mets and Marlins will hook up again tomorrow as Jon Niese (3-5, 4.40) will face Tom Koehler (0-4, 3.70) at 1:10 pm in the Sunday finale.

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Lagares Still Not Playing, Ankiel Batting .194 Wed, 05 Jun 2013 11:00:28 +0000

Last Saturday, Terry Collins told reporters that he would start giving center fielder Juan Lagares some starts against righthanded pitching. Three games and three righthanded starting pitchers later, Lagares still sits idly on the bench.

Instead, Collins keeps going with Rick Ankiel, who has now seen his batting average fall to .194 and is 1-for-his-last-31. The 34-year old has found the perfect manager in Collins, who is intent on sticking with veterans – even bad ones like Ankiel – over a promising younger player with upside.

When asked at what point it would become counterproductive for Lagares to remain in the majors while playing so sparingly, Collins responded:

“We’ve already reached it and passed that point. In a perfect world, Juan Lagares would be in the lineup somewhere. If not here, then certainly in Triple-A.”

Look, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Lagares is a world-beater. But how can you call up the 24-year old and then have him languishing on the bench? How does that benefit the kid or the team?

If this was how it was going to be then I would have rather just kept Collin Cowgill up here and let him be the one wasting away on the bench.

Lagares was having a great season and had a team high .347 batting average for Triple-A Las Vegas before the Mets front office interrupted.

If this is an example of the much-ballyhooed renewed focus on player development I think we’re in trouble.

(Photo by Gordon Donovan)

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Time To End The Charade: Let The Kids Play Mon, 03 Jun 2013 12:02:54 +0000 mets spring lockerroon clubhouse

Following the Mets’ embarrassing 11-6 loss to the Marlins on Sunday to cap a sweep at the hands of the team widely branded the worst in the league, reporter Adam Rubin tweeted a sage assessment, to wit:

“Mets brass should spend off-day contemplating whether they want to be a 100-loss team with prospects gaining experience or vets annoying fans.”

For a team that is clearly not built to contend this season, it makes absolutely no sense to waste the opportunity to develop players from their system and instead apportion playing time to aging role players who, at best, may provide bench strength in the future but provide little value to the franchise as regulars. As exhilarating as the sweep of the “pseudo” Yankees may have been, it should be regarded merely as a high point in what is almost assuredly a “developmental” season, to be kind, and a “lost” season to be less so.  As much of the expanded roster of the Mets has been apportioned to players at the transition point between “prospect” and “suspect,” it would certainly seem to make more sense to play them at the major league level and at least get a better sense of whether or not they have anything to offer for the long run than to leave them at AAA while a group of, well, re-treads are trotted out to do their best.

The most obvious example of this is the present Met outfield. I do not question the hustle or professionalism of players like Marlon Byrd or Rick Ankiel, but it is abundantly clear that by giving the majority of starts to them in an effort to remain competitive, Terry Collins and the rest of the Met organization are retarding the progress of the younger outfielders on the roster.

The rationale behind bringing Juan Lagares up to spend the vast majority of his time on the bench is apparently linked to his vaunted defensive ability. Yet, if there is no greater design on this season (like, let’s say, winning a playoff spot), what value is there to letting his skills stagnate by not playing regularly? Surely the team would do better to provide major league exposure and experience to its younger players like Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Lagares than to its veteran fill-ins. Even running erratic but somewhat unknown quantities like Collin Cowgill and Andrew Brown out to see what they-can do with a few hundred at-bats would probably be worth more from an organizational perspective than letting them put up inflated numbers in the PCL. Clearly the team as presently comprised is not delivering offensively at anything close to a truly competitive level, so what is there to lose by letting the younger guys have a shot at it? I for one would gladly put up with a load of strikeouts, missed cutoff men, and other developmental flaws in team play if I thought there was something to be gained for the longer-term good of the franchise.

If the Mets as an organization can have the courage to accept that the “placeholder” strategy currently in place is not worth continuing, they can re-tool with pieces already in the organization and likely lose little in the way of on-field success but gain significantly in terms of developmental progress.  This could have a beneficial effect on the overall system as well, opening slots for up and coming players and possibly accelerating their timeline to the majors.  The strategy that was implemented for the 2013 season is understandable, based on what we all know and suspect about the team’s budget, but adopting one that more fully embraces “the future now, “ rather than a makeshift construct designed to buy time until more prospects are deemed ready makes far more sense at this point. I say enough of the pretense of respectability. Let’s let it all hang out and see what the younger guys can do.

bleed orange & blue  button

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Series Preview: Here Come The First Place Atlanta Braves Fri, 24 May 2013 19:41:08 +0000

Mets vs. Braves Series Preview

The Mets begin what will be a very tough three-game series against the Braves tonight at Citi Field, weather permitting.

The Braves are on fire right now and pulling ahead in the division at 28-18, four and a half games in front of the second-place Nationals. They are 7-3 in their last ten and are one of six teams in the NL (and one of 11 in all of baseball) to have a winning record on the road. They are going to be a tough team to beat.

The Atlanta pitching has been what has carried them, but recently, the offense has stepped it up as well. Over their last seven days, the offense is hitting .273/.353/.448, compared to .245/.322/.418 on the season. This is all happening while the Upton brothers are cooling down. B.J. has not been able to hit all season and he is currently batting .155 on the year and Justin has hit just .239 this month with two home runs, after hitting 12 in the month of April. Evan Gattis, of all people, has been their leading home run hitter (along with Dan Uggla)  this month with four. Freddie Freeman has also stepped up, leading the team in hits with 21.

While the offense has come and gone, however, the one thing that has remained constant for Atlanta has been their bullpen, which is third in baseball with a 2.79 ERA and tied for first with a 1.14 walk. Despite some injuries to some key pieces, the Braves have kept their strong bullpen, led by Craig Kimbrel, together. Just like the last time these two teams met, this should be a hard-fought battle with some very close games.

Pitching Matchups

Game 1: Jeremy Hefner, RHP (0-5, 5.00 ERA, 45 IP, 6.0 K/9, 3.6 BB/9) vs. Kris Medlen, LHP (1-5, 3.02 ERA, 56.2 IP, 6.0 K/9, 3.5 BB/9)

Medlen’s win-loss record does not at all tell the story of his season. Despite being 1-5 on the season, he has actually been very good. It was difficult to expect him to match his magical run last season in which he posted a 1.57 ERA in 50 appearances (12 starts). One major concern though is his walk rate, which is uncharacteristically high this season at 3.5 batters per nine innings. That’s unusual for Medlen, who, throughout his minor league career and most of short time in the majors, has walked somewhere around 2.1 to 2.3 per game. Another thing to note is his strikeout rate, which is down almost two full strikeouts per nine innings over last season, and a strikeout and a half below his career average.

Medlen career vs. Mets: 15 G, 1.58 ERA, 45.2 IP, 37 K, 12 BB

Game 2: Dillon Gee, RHP (2-5, 6.04 ERA, 44.2 IP, 6.6 K/9, 3.4 BB/9) vs. Mike Minor, LHP (5-2, 2.78 ERA, 58.1 IP, 7.9 K/9, 1.9 BB/9)

Minor, a former top pitching prospect, has had only a so-so career on the mound. The 25 year-old has a career ERA of 4.11 after shooting through the minor leagues out of the University of Vanderbilt. Minor posted a 4.12 ERA last season in 30 starts, his first full season with the Braves. He hasn’t lived up to expectations, but Minor has settled in as a decent fourth or fifth starter.

Minor career vs. Mets: 7 G, 5.63 ERA, 38.1 IP, 28 K, 13 BB

Game 3: Shaun Marcum, RHP (0-5, 6.59 ERA, 27.1 IP, 6.6 K/9, 2.6 BB/9) vs. Julio Teheran, RHP (3-1, 3.99 ERA, 49.2 IP, 5.4 K/9, 1.6 BB/9)

Teheran is trying to ressurrect his status as a future star for the Braves. He is finally getting his first chance at a full-time role this season. He struggled badly last year in Triple-A, unable to strike guys out and finishing with a 5.08 ERA in 26 starts. That terrible year brought him from #4 on Baseball America’s top 100 list to outside the top 30. This year has been better for him in terms of ERA and actual results, but his strikeout rate is down (although so is his walk rate), which is a bit concerning. It’s still too early to tell what the Braves have in Teheran.

Teheran career vs. Mets: 2 G, 5.63 ERA, 8 IP, 5K, 4BB

Series Notes

The Mets have scored three runs or fewer in 12 of their past 16 games.

Matt Harvey was upset about the way he pitched in his last outing, a 7-4 Mets loss to the Cincinnati Reds at Citi Field. he got a no-decision after Rick Ankiel tied the game late with an RBI triple. That allowed Harvey to maintain his perfect 5-0 record, with five no-decisions in 10 starts. He is one of five undefeated pitchers in baseball with at least five wins.

Ike Davis snapped a streak of 12 consecutive plate appearances without reaching base when he drew a walk in the second inning Wednesday. He has one hit in his last 38 at-bats. Marlon Byrd is hitting .307 (12-for-39) with three home runs this month. He’s five hits shy of 1,100 for his career.

Hefner is 0-1 with a 8.53 ERA (six earned runs in 6 1/3 innings) in his career against the Braves, spanning two appearances (one start). His last start against Atlanta was Sept. 8, when he went 2 2/3 innings and gave up five earned runs on eight hits.

Left fielder Justin Upton, who was acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks on Jan. 24, is tied with Baltimore’s Chris Davis for the MLB lead in homers with 14. Upton became the first player in major league history to homer five times in his first five games with a team, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

The Braves have a 2.79 bullpen ERA, narrowly behind the San Francisco Giants (2.77) and Pittsburgh Pirates (2.78) for the MLB lead. Craig Kimbrel notched his 100th career save on May 9, becoming the second-youngest to reach that plateau (24 years, 348 days). Only ex-Met Francisco Rodriguez (24 years, 246 days) was younger.

Zack Wheeler is expected to make 2-3 more starts for Triple-A Las Vegas and then join the Mets according to a high-ranking team official, confirming what Sandy Alderson said earlier in the week.

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3 Up & 3 Down: The Bar Is Now Open Edition Thu, 23 May 2013 11:33:47 +0000 david wright

Last week I read an article here on MMO, and at the end of the article Joe D. added his comments. Joe was explaining that MMO is not a site that is going to sugarcoat things. We’re going to give it to straight. We’re passionate about the Mets, but we’re not going to insult your intelligence. Joe’s last sentence was “we serve hard liquor here“.

Those five words have inspired this edition of 3N3. As we approach the quarter-post of the season, I want to take a step back, and look at 3 positive things, and 3 negative things that we have seen so far. My intent is not to bash the team, but to give my honest assessment. So here we go.

3 up

1. Captain America: David Wright, is one of the few legitimate offensive threats this team has. Besides what he brings to the plate, David Wright is everything a baseball player should be. He plays hard every game. He loves getting his uniform dirty. He’s great handling the NY press corp. He’s just the real deal. One concern I have with David, is I would like to him go to the mound when the starters are struggling. He used to do it with Pelf, and I think he should do it more. He is sixth in the NL with a .403 on-base percentage and is ninth with a .320 mark vs. righthanded pitchers. Wright is also hitting .444 (16-36) with RISP, tied for the third-best mark in the National League.

2. Murphy Keeps Hitting: Other than David Wright, and perhaps the newly acquired Rick Ankiel, Daniel Murphy is the only genuine MLB hitter in the lineup. Like Wright, Murph comes ready to play on a daily basis. He’s done everything the organization has asked him to do from playing in left, then moving to first, and finally settling at second base. Hard work has now established him as a pretty good second baseman. During all that confusion, Murphy continued to hit. Going into yesterday’s game he was is 15-for-his-last-36 (.417) and had at least one hit in nine of his last 10 games, batting .400 (16-40) with two home runs and five RBI over that clip. He has 13 doubles, tied for the seventh-most in the NL. It’s a pleasure watching a Daniel Murphy at bat.

3. The Real Deal: I’m not the type of guy to go gaga over any young inexperienced player, but man Matt Harvey is surely something special. More and more I keep hearing from long time fans how Harvey reminds them of Tom Seaver. Harvey is 5-0 record with a 1.93 ERA, fifth-best in the league. Entering yesterday, he’s allowed three runs or less in 16 consecutive starts, the fifth-longest streak in franchise history. His starts are becoming an event, and he may be the only Met All-Star this year.

3 down

1. Davis & Duda Are Duds: To me, the two greatest disappointments on this team are Ike Davis & Lucas Duda. We all heard how Ike isn’t sick this spring, or recovering from injury, so he should get off to a good start. We all heard how this is a make it or break it year for Lucas Duda. These two guys are horrible.

Ike Davis: has a .149 batting average, four home runs, nine RBI. Why is he still on the big club? I simply don’t understand how a GM can look at how this team is doing nothing on offense and yet allow Davis to waste a roster spot. It’s mind boggling.

Lucas Duda: Has a .226 batting average, eight home runs, 14 RBI. Even worse for Duda is that he’s a horrible outfielder. Every time the ball gets hit in his direction I hold my breath. Just awful, awful, awful.

I laugh every time Gary Cohen tells us Davis & Duda are Terry’s “big bats”. If that doesn’t make you reach for the mute button, nothing will.

2. Gee & Hefner, the 40% Void: Dillon Gee and Jeremy Hefner, 2/5 or 40% of the Mets starters are a combined 2-10 this season. Hefner is 0-5 with a 5.00 ERA, while Gee is 2-5 with a 6.04 ERA. Even more frightening is who knows how deep into the game these two can or will go? Both Gee & Hefner have had nine starts this season, Hefner has thrown 45 innings, and Gee 44.2. That averages out to about five innings per start. it’s just not good enough.

3. Sandy, We’re In New York: Like pretty much everyone else, I was excited when the Mets named Sandy Alderson their new GM. He was a respected guy in big league circles – surely he’d get us back to winning in no time. Not quite. He’s done nothing to improve the major league roster and his only accomplishment? Signing Wright to a $142 million deal that will keep the captain floating in Benjamins until the year 2020. But what else as he done? What has he done to make people want to go to Citi Field? In three years has he acquired one major league impact player? One player in three years that you would call a keeper? I now believe his focus was never about building a winner and only to pad the Wilpons’ pockets. and that is a shame. Met fans deserve a competitive team. Instead we have what amounts to a AAA team that has gotten considerably worse each year during Sandy’s tenure.

There it is… For the most part, this team heading into the Memorial Day weekend and then the Subway Series, has been a major disappointment. What are you drinking? We’re in for a long hot summer… First round’s on us…


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Mets Swept After Ike Davis Blunder Ignites 7-4 Reds Win Wed, 22 May 2013 22:14:05 +0000 matt harvey

Ike Davis’ troubles at the plate and in the field continued as he botched two plays at first, one in which opened the door to the Reds’ three-run ninth inning in Wednesday’s 7-4 loss. With the Mets being swept, they fell to a season-high ten games below .500. Matt Harvey did not have a great start, but came away with another no-decision.

ON THE MOUND: Harvey gave up four runs on nine hits in 6.1 innings. …. Bobby Parnell gave up three runs on three hits in the ninth inning.

AT THE PLATE: Davis walked twice, and in a comment that says it all about the kind of season he is having, Terry Collins said it might be a good sign. … Daniel Murphy had three hits and Rick Ankiel doubled twice and tripled. All other Mets combined for three hits.

IN THE FIELD: Davis hesitated on a ground ball up the line in the seventh and a run scored. He let another get by him in the ninth to let another run score and opened the door for two more. Unbelievably, Collins said Davis isn’t carrying his slump to the field.

THEY SAID IT: “It just typifies everything that’s happened.’’  Collins on Davis’ fielding adventures in the ninth inning.

BY THE NUMBERS: 17-27 record to fall season-high ten games below .500.

ON DECK: Mets off Thursday, then begin a three-run series against Atlanta Friday at Citi Field.

Thoughts from Joe D.

Well obviously Matt Harvey didn’t have his best stuff, but let’s not kid ourselves either – the Cincinnati Reds are a great team. He’s a gamer, he’ll come roaring back next time out. What sucks more to me is that for the next four games our chance of winning are less than half of when Harvey is on the mound. Yeah…

Ruben Tejada looked really good out there today and could be on the verge of getting back into a hitting groove. His play in the field has been spectacular in this homestand.

Murphy being Murphy… He’s just awesome…

Boy does this team need a day off….

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Featured Post: Keep Daniel Murphy In The Leadoff Spot Tue, 21 May 2013 20:50:56 +0000 daniel murphyIt doesn’t matter that Daniel Murphy hit the game-winning homer Sunday afternoon, or that he’s the Mets’ hottest hitter, he should be in the leadoff spot going forward for the Mets.

Because of Murphy’s high on-base percentage, batting him leadoff is something I have advocated, and I’m glad Terry Collins was thinking outside the box enough to make the move.

He gets on base, because he can hit,’’ Collins told “And, when he’s swinging good, he can get some walks. We’ve got to get some people on ahead of David [Wright]. That’s for sure.’’Notice how Collins didn’t mention getting on base ahead of Ike Davis, but I guess he couldn’t say that with a straight face.

Murphy is the seventh Met to hit leadoff this young season, and of the previous six, is there one who you can note with conviction that will be here next year?

Ruben Tejada (12 times), Jordany Valdespin(10), Mike Baxter (eight), Collin Cowgill (seven),Justin Turner (two) and Kirk Nieuwenhuis (one) have all appeared without much success at the top or the order. Mets leadoff hitters have hit a major league low .179 with a 29th ranked .238 on-base percentage.

Collins was non-committal on how long he’ll use Murphy leading off, but considering he’s a .300 hitter with a .337 on-base percentage, he doesn’t have better options.

With their leadoff hitters and Davis, the Mets have two slots in the batting order hitting less than .200, and overall they have four positions in their regular lineup hitting below .240.

Collins thought about Murphy hitting first during spring training, but then he had to come up with a center fielder and decide what to do with Tejada. Meanwhile, Murphy, because of his willingness to take a pitch, also seemed suited to hitting second.

“I thought about it in spring training, to be honest, whether or not to lead Murph off,’’ Collins said. “We’ll just see how it goes. It might be something we’ve certainly got to consider as we get deeper into the season, because he can hit.

“He gets on base. If he does that, certainly we’ve got to keep our options open with Murph being the leadoff hitter.’’

Murphy hitting first seems the way to go for now, but slotting him there doesn’t alleviate all of Collins’ concerns. Rick Ankiel can be an answer defensively in center field, but the outfield remains subpar.

The Mets now need a No. 2 hitter, but because Tejada insists on hitting fly balls, he’s not an ideal fit there.

Let’s face it, currently Murphy and Wright are the only hitters in the lineup who are reliable.

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Can The Mets Turn This Sinking Ship Around Before It’s Too Late Tue, 21 May 2013 17:56:45 +0000 david wrightI am as optimistic as anyone wants to be when you think that the Mets can turn this ship around, put together a run that can make this team worth watching again. When you go through years of not much promise, you just hope that maybe, just maybe this year could be different. I thought that in the first two weeks of the season when we had a good start and then just as fast as we started, the team started to spiral out of control. Injury to Travis d’Arnaud pushed plans to the side of having him man the backstop, Jon Niese going quickly from Ace to struggling to get a win and a bullpen that has had a hard time getting anyone out and actually even holding a lead. Not to mention the many struggles that Ike Davis has had this season which has Mets fans wondering if he will ever recapture his stroke.

We wonder nowadays if the team will ever score more than 5 runs a game, which they have not done in the last 15 games or who will be in the lineup for each game and will those players actually produce. Rick Ankiel must have read my last post, “Will Ankiel Answer the Mets Need for Their Powerless Outfield?” Since joining the team, he is hitting .304, 2 HR in 7 games, but the verdict is still out on this move and it will take sometime to see if the move was worth the money spent. Without including Ankiel’s numbers the Mets five outfielders combined are hitting .224, 16 HRs, 50 RBIs, which I am sure that Ankiel can top that alone if he continues to get comfortable at the plate.

The team may not have the talent us fans have been accustomed to watching and as the players are aware, Mets fans are very passionate about their team, which Terry Collins recently eluded to when he went after the fans in the media.

He chose to take out his frustration on the fans recently by saying, “They (fans) have no idea what goes on in there. They have absolutely no idea what it means to be a professional teammate at this level.” That may be true to some extent, but it doesn’t mean that we don’t see the writing on the wall. It doesn’t mean that we are not educated baseball fans, plus we feel we understand the game better than most that actually play the game. We may be fooling ourselves, but we just want what other successful teams and organizations have, and that is a chance. A chance to watch our team go out each day and play the game the way it is supposed to be played.

I hope other fans feel the same way I do, but I can do without all the drama. If you have a good player on the team, play him and if you don’t care to then don’t, but make a right decision and leave it out of the news. Give the fans hope that maybe just maybe this team, our team will turn it around. This is baseball, a game we all grew up loving and some playing and we just hope that ownership gets the concept that in order to keep the fans happy, you have to put together a team worth rooting for. They won’t win all the games but have something to build on.

In a recent NY Daily News article, Collins actually said he regret his remarks about the fans, “Of course I regret the choice of words. I certainly respect the New York fans; they’re the most knowledgeable fans I’ve ever been around.” See Collins even admits how smart we are and he goes on to say “They know the game. They know the people.”

We know what we expect and we know that unless there is some sort of hope, this ship will continue to sink and when it finally goes down, usually the captain goes down with it and I am not referring to David Wright.

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