Mets Merized Online » Ryan Braun Fri, 12 Feb 2016 22:15:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 It Always Comes Back To Mets’ Financial State Mon, 15 Jun 2015 14:33:39 +0000 Mets Cubs

Regardless of whether or not you think Sandy Alderson and the Mets need to make a big splash deal before this season’s trade deadline, here is some sobering information about the perception around the league regarding the financial state of the team.

In his latest piece for ESPN Insider, Buster Olney says that there is no indication that Mets ownership is going to provide the funds needed for the front office to make any needed upgrade to the roster.

“The Mets need to make it clear to other teams that they have the financial flexibility to make a deal, because the current perception of them in the market is that they will not be taking on salary during the summer.”

“This makes no sense, given the incredible opportunity they have right now and the shockingly subpar performance of the Washington Nationals.”

This is exactly what I’ve been trying to convey since the offseason and why I felt the need to call out a couple of Mets beat writers and Mets bloggers last week who write ridiculous articles saying: “Sandy Alderson needs to do something!” or “Do something, Mets!”

I love how some of these so-called insiders keep saying they talk to their baseball people and cite their sources about going after Ben Zobrist, Aramis Ramirez and even Ryan Braun, and yet never mention Mets ownership and their inability to increase payroll much beyond the current $100 million level.

They push out these half-cocked, half-assed conjectures with nary a mention of the team’s financial state.

Now I’m not saying that the Mets need to make a big splash move, I’m only saying that it’s ridiculous to suggest such a move while ignoring the current financial climate. It’s ignorant to consider one without mentioning the other.

While I am perfectly happy with seeing how the team does with Dilson Herrera and Travis d’Arnaud back in the lineup and Daniel Murphy less than a week away, the point here is this…

What if the team is racked with another devastating long-term injury or two, let’s say Lucas Duda and d’Arnaud again? It’s a crying shame that a big market team like the Mets would most likely be unable to do anything about it.

And that’s the sad part in all of this – not that the team needs to do something now – but that even if they needed to they probably couldn’t. And that’s the true reality of the situation.

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MMO Game Recap: Mets 14, Brewers 1 Sun, 17 May 2015 02:06:12 +0000 jacob deGrom

The Mets (21-16) defeated the Milwaukee Brewers (13-24) by a score of 14-1 Saturday night. Jacob deGrom had perhaps his best stuff all season tonight while Matt Garza had quite the opposite. The reigning NL Rookie of The Year pitched six innings while giving up one run, striking out six and walking one. He is now 4-4 on the year.

DeGrom helped his own cause in the 2nd. After a double by Eric Campbell and a walk drawn by Kevin Plawecki, deGrom slapped a base-hit up the middle and took advantage of the Brewers’ infield playing in. The hit drove in Campbell who was the only runner to score that inning after a 5-4-3 double-play off the bat of Wilmer Flores.

The Mets struck again two innings later. With runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out, Kevin Plawecki grounded  the ball to SS Luis Sardinas who fired home attempting to nab Michael Cuddyer trying to score. However, the throw was a bit wide of home plate and he was safe. DeGrom followed with his second base-hit of the game to load the bases for Wilmer Flores who promptly hit a grand-slam over the 370 sign in left-center field. That was his team-leading sixth home run of the year.

wilmer flores

The Metropolitans didn’t stop there. Singles from Curtis Granderson and Juan Lagares followed by a walk drawn by Lucas Duda set the stage for Cuddyer who ripped a two-run double down the left-field line. This was the last straw for Craig Counsell and he pulled Garza at this point. His successor didn’t fair better against Daniel Murphy, who laced a two-run double into right-center field. This was his 200th career double. He scored in the next at bat when Campbell lined a base-hit into right field. This inning ended only after scoring ten runs.

DeGrom gave up one earned run in the 6th on a sac-fly off the bat of Ryan Braun that scored Luis Sardinas.

The Brewers manager pulled a NBA-like move in the bottom of the 6th by pulling most of his starters including Carlos Gomez, Ryan Braun, Adam Lind and Aramis Ramirez.

Erik Goeddell pitched two scoreless innings in relief for the Mets. He is definitely one of the more underrated call-ups of the year thus far.

The only Mets starter without a hit got on the board in a big way in the bottom of the seventh. Kevin Plawecki hit his second home run of the year into the left field stands, a no-doubter. AND THAT WASN’T ALL! Curtis Granderson hit a two-run home run later in the inning, his 4th of the year.

Jack Leathersich finished things off for the Mets in the 9th.

TL/DR: The Mets torched Matt Garza.

The Mets will play the rubber game of this series tomorrow at 1:10 p.m. as Noah Syndergaard (0-1) makes his Citi Field debut against Wily Peralta (1-4).

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MLB, MLBPA Announce Changes to Joint Drug Agreement Fri, 28 Mar 2014 20:20:38 +0000 (Photo Credit: Noah K. Murray, USA TODAY Sports)

(Photo Credit: Noah K. Murray, USA TODAY Sports)

Major League Baseball and the players association announced changes today to their Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment program, lengthening suspensions for players caught across the board, likely in response to the PR nightmare the league experienced last summer.

Some of the notable changes are as follows:

  • First time offenders will now be suspended for 80 games as opposed to 50.
  • Second time offenders will now sit out an entire 162 games, and will not be paid at all for an entire 183 day league year. This is up from 100 games.
  • Players caught even just once will be subjected to extra testing for the rest of their careers.
  • Players testing positive will no longer be allowed to play in the postseason in that season.
  • Players will now have access to particular supplements that will not cause positive tests. These supplements will be supplied by teams.

Third time offenders will still be permanently banned from baseball.

All of this comes after a disastrous round of suspensions last season, which included Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun, and Jhonny Peralta. Peralta’s situation was especially controversial as he was, after he served his suspension, allowed to return to his team for postseason play. Under the new rules, this type of situation can’t happen again.

League drug policies have come under intense scrutiny over the past year, with many critics saying the punishments aren’t harsh enough. Before today, the league and union hadn’t updated their drug policies since 2006, and players like Ryan Braun (and presumably others) have evaded the system. This still may not be enough to stop drug use completely (only a lifetime ban for first time use can do that), but it may deter drug use at least a little bit more, and every little bit helps.

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A Little Advice for A-Rod Wed, 15 Jan 2014 11:00:55 +0000 alex rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez Plans To Appeal Arbitrator’s Decision

A-Rod, I have a little bit of unsolicited advice.

Just say, “My bad.”

You see, the American public is very forgiving. Fess up, take your medicine, and we’ll eventually come back around. Those that do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it – so what have we learned from history?

Jason Giambi said “My bad.” He took his boos and eventually, we stopped caring he was tied up in the BALCO scandal and he was even being considered for the Rockies manager position last year before he decided to keep on playing.

Barry Bonds did not say “My bad.” Look at him.

Andy Pettitte said, “My bad.” He was given a hero’s welcome.

Roger Clemens did not say “My bad.” He’s getting the Bonds treatment.

Mark McGwire did not say “My bad,” at first. He didn’t want to talk about the past. Then he fessed up, said “My bad,” and now he’s been welcomed back into baseball and is coaching in a Major League dugout. He won’t get into the Hall of Fame, but he’s not being run up a flagpole, either.

Rafael Palmeiro wagged his finger in front of Congress, then he got caught. He never said, “My bad.” We still don’t like him.

Ryan Braun stood at a podium, said he didn’t do it, threw a poor guy under a bus, stomped on him a little bit and smiled for the cameras. Then he got caught again, said “My bad,” a bunch of times and he’ll get booed for a while, but eventually even what he did will all be water under the bridge for him, too.

You see, Alex – we’re not naive. We know that players are taking banned substances. Players have been cheating in some way, shape, or form since the game was first played. We know there are guys on all of our favorite teams that are taking stuff that haven’t been caught yet. Heck, two Mets were caught in the same scandal you were. We just signed another one this offseason. Bartolo Colon said “My bad,” and he got a two year contract. Jhonny Peralta said “My bad” and he got $53 million this offseason.

We know guys are cheating. That doesn’t make it right. It still makes it wrong. I don’t like that it’s in the game, but if you’re going to get caught, just fess up to it, take your punishment, and move on with life.

What we really, really, really don’t like is being lied to and treated like we’re stupid. That’s what we don’t like about Barry. That’s what we don’t like about Roger. That’s what we don’t like about Rafael. That’s what we don’t like about you.

So do yourself a favor. Stop acting indignant and making a federal case out of it. Just take your lumps, take your suspension, collect the millions more you’re still going to make, and stop paying the lawyers. Take out a full page ad in the Daily News with your picture that just says, “My bad.”


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A-Rod Suspended For 2014 Season, Plans To Appeal Sat, 11 Jan 2014 18:57:25 +0000 alex rodriguez

Arbitrator Fredric Horowitz  has decided to reduce Alex Rodriguez‘s suspension to 162 regular season games as well as the entire postseason, costing the disgraced Yankees star the majority of his $25 million salary for the 2014 season.

Horowitz’s decision to not uphold the full 211-game ban that came down in August was expected, however the ruling to ban Rodriguez for the entirety of next season remains as the largest performance enhancing drugs-related suspension in baseball history.

In a lengthy statement, Rodriguez stated that he intends to continue to fight the ban by seeking an injunction from a federal court.

“The number of games sadly comes as no surprise, as the deck has been stacked against me from day one. This is one man’s decision, that was not put before a fair and impartial jury, does not involve me having failed a single drug test, is at odds with the facts and is inconsistent with the terms of the Joint Drug Agreement and the Basic Agreement, and relies on testimony and documents that would never have been allowed in any court in the United States because they are false and wholly unreliable.”

“This injustice is MLB’s first step toward abolishing guaranteed contracts in the 2016 bargaining round, instituting lifetime bans for single violations of drug policy, and further insulating its corrupt investigative program from any variety defense by accused players, or any variety of objective review.”

“I have been clear that I did not use performance enhancing substances as alleged in the notice of discipline, or violate the Basic Agreement or the Joint Drug Agreement in any manner, and in order to prove it I will take this fight to federal court,” he said. “I am confident that when a Federal Judge reviews the entirety of the record, the hearsay testimony of a criminal whose own records demonstrate that he dealt drugs to minors, and the lack of credible evidence put forth by MLB, that the judge will find that the panel blatantly disregarded the law and facts, and will overturn the suspension.”

“No player should have to go through what I have been dealing with, and I am exhausting all options to ensure not only that I get justice, but that players’ contracts and rights are protected through the next round of bargaining, and that the MLB investigation and arbitration process cannot be used against others in the future the way it is currently being used to unjustly punish me.”

“I will continue to work hard to get back on the field and help the Yankees achieve the ultimate goal of winning another championship. I want to sincerely thank my family, all of my friends, and of course the fans and many of my fellow MLB players for the incredible support I received throughout this entire ordeal.”

The MLB Players’ Association released a statement saying they disagree with the decision but respect the process.

“The MLBPA strongly disagrees with the award issued today in the grievance of Alex Rodriguez, even despite the Arbitration Panel’s decision to reduce the duration of Mr. Rodriguez’s unprecedented 211-game suspension. We recognize that a final and binding decision has been reached, however, and we respect the collectively-bargained arbitration process which led to the decision. In accordance with the confidentiality provisions of the JDA, the Association will make no further comment regarding the decision.”

Fifteen players in all were suspended for connections to the Biogenesis scandal including Rodriguez. Twelve received 50-game bans, one received 100-games and Ryan Braun was slapped with a 65-game suspension. Rodriguez was the only player to appeal.

ESPN’s Wallace Matthews reports that even though Rodriguez is not allowed to play in 2014, he still plans to attend Spring Training and believes the Yankees can’t stop him from doing so.


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Ryan Braun Holds A Press Conference, Says Nothing Wed, 27 Nov 2013 05:51:03 +0000 braun

I just finished reading the full transcript of what Ryan Braun said in his press conference with reporters this morning. A media session that lasted 30 minutes and yielded anything of substance. You can read the full Q&A here, but don’t expect much in the way of answers to the questions that were posed to him.

Why did you lie?

“Obviously I’ve been through a lot and as I expressed in my statement that I felt was pretty lengthy and specific, I got into a lot of details at that point. I’m not really going to go into any further details. I’m deeply remorseful about what happened. I wish I had the ability to go back and change things and do things a lot differently, but unfortunately I can’t do that. All I can do is move on and try to do everything in my power to earn back peoples’ trust and respect and support. I don’t anticipate being able to earn back everybody’s support, but I certainly intend to do everything in my power to do that and I won’t stop trying.”

What was worse in your opinion, using PEDs or lying about it after the fact?

“As I’ve stated, the goal for me is just being able to move forward. I’m not going to get into too many specifics about what happened other than saying I’m extremely remorseful. I wish that I could go back and change things but I don’t have that opportunity to do that, so I’m just going to do everything in my power to move forward.”

Have you apologized to Dino Laurenzi, Jr., or made any payments to him?

“I have not made any payments to him. I’ve had some really productive and positive conversations with him. The Laurenzi family was actually gracious and kind enough to have my fiancée Larisa and I over to their house for dinner last night, and we had some really good conversation. We’ve made amends and I think we’re both excited to be able to move forward and put this behind us.”

Knowing you got away with a positive test, why did you have that news conference in Maryvale where you lied and essentially threw Laurenzi under the bus?

“I’m not really, again, going to get into too many specifics. I wish that I hadn’t done the press conference. It was a big mistake. I deeply regret having done it, and a lot of the things that I said that day. But again, all I can do is move forward, and in an effort to do that I’m not going to get into too many specifics. I really don’t think that it does anything too positive or productive for me, the team, the game of baseball or anybody else. And in an effort to move forward, I’m not going to discuss that subject.”

Why have you waited so long to come forward and talk?

“I’ve actually been in town a few times. I don’t do the Twitter or Facebook or any of that stuff to alert anybody that I’m here. I think today was just kind of an opportunity that we understood there would be some media here, so I wanted the opportunity to speak to you guys. It wasn’t about waiting or anything like that. Like I said, I’ve been here a few times. I think this is the first time that everybody’s been aware that I’m here.”

That’s understood. But when suspensions were handed out, other players spoke and had news conferences. You didn’t. Why did it take you this long to come forward?

“I think because it was an ongoing investigation I wasn’t allowed to say very much at that time. Basically based on what I had learned from both Major League Baseball and the Players Association it wasn’t in anybody’s best interest for me to make any statements at that time.”

What was the injury that you referred to in the statement?
“Again, I’m not going to get into the specifics and continue to go backward. I’m moving forward and I’m not going to get into too many specifics on that.”

Don’t you think you owe everybody to talk about the specifics?

“Yeah, I completely understand where you guys are coming from and a part of your job is to ask those questions, but I hope that you guys can understand and respect that in an effort to move forward that I’m just not going to continue to discuss that stuff.”

What about the 2011 NL MVP award? Does this revelation invalidate that award?

“Like I said, I’m continuing to move forward. I think that’s all I can do. I’m not going to go back and discuss the things that have happened in the past. In an effort to do that, I’m not going to discuss that.”

The Brewers gave you that huge contract extension in 2011. Will you now take a pay cut?

“The Brewers have been incredibly supportive, the entire organization. My teammates, everyone has been incredibly supportive. I can’t thank Mark Attanasio enough for his support. I fully intend to do everything in my power to be the best player and person that I can be moving forward.”

Two years ago you said you thought the drug testing policy was fatally flawed. Do you still feel that way now?

“Like I said, I greatly regret having done that press conference at all. My opinion on a lot of those things has definitely changed.”

What would you say to Robin Yount?

“Robin and I have had a great relationship. I enjoy my conversations with him and I don’t think that our relationship would change much.”

Did you apologize to him?

“I look forward to seeing him. I think I’ll definitely see him in spring training, I think he’s out in Arizona quite often. I look forward to having some conversations with him.”

… Thank goodness those Braun to the Mets trade rumors were BS…. Don’t think I could handle another drama queen in Queens… Especially a liar and a cheat…

Read all of it here.

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Mets Still Looking For Power Bat, Jeff Wilpon Actively Involved In Baseball Dealings Wed, 27 Nov 2013 01:28:36 +0000 Nelson-Cruz

Free-agent outfielder Nelson Cruz had to be heartened by Jhonny Peralta‘s $53 million deal, as Cruz is the better of these two Biogenesis-connected players, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

It shouldn’t come as a shock that, according to sources, Cruz is said to seek about $75 million over four years. And it shouldn’t come as a surprise, either, that there are plenty of interested teams, among them the Mariners, Athletics, Mets and his old Rangers team. The Phillies are another that showed early interest but would probably have to trade someone to make room now. (Cruz’s agent Adam Katz declined comment on any and all.)

It doesn’t appear that the suspensions have done anything to bring down any of these player’s value. Remarkably, the millions being tossed around reflects a spending frenzy that will often happen when the demand far outweighs the supply. Power hitters are in short supply and teams are willing to turn a blind eye to a player’s PED use – especially if those players have proven track records of performance.

As for the Mets, Sandy Alderson said today that he’s still in search of a power bat, and Cruz as well as Curtis Granderson should be able to fill that need nicely. Heyman said that the Mets are continuing to pursue both sluggers, however most analysts say it’s unlikely.

Heyman slipped something into his article that was also worth noting. While reporting that there was no negotiations between the Mets and the Brewers for Ryan Braun, he said, “Mets owner Jeff Wilpon, didn’t even appear to be aware of it, and he’s actively involved in baseball dealings.”

Actively involved in baseball dealings… Man that just sent a chill down my spine…

So while most are focusing on what Heyman had to say about Cruz today, I instead find myself wondering just how much is Jeff Wilpon impacting this Mets offseason?

What exactly is his role in all of this? How big of a hand did he have in that Chris Young deal? And most importantly, could he really be the one calling the shots?


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What’s Up With Braun? Click. Tue, 26 Nov 2013 19:10:32 +0000 MJS MJS brewers15, nws, sears, 6

When asked by Jon Heyman if he had checked in with the Brewers to discuss Ryan Braun, Mets GM Sandy Alderson joked and said, “If you could count a four-word sentence as checking.”

When Heyman pressed for more details, Sandy replied that the entire extent of his discussion with the Brewers slugger was, ”What’s up with Braun?”


That’s it, that’s the entirety of all the hubbub.

There was no discussion, no negotiation, and certainly no talk of swapping Ike Davis.

Braun is not available. Neither is Tulowitzki. Neither is Stanton.

Can we please suspend all this nonsensical chatter about players who are not available and that we can’t afford and discuss realistic options and possibilities instead? Can we?

Original Post 11/21

Since my interview yesterday with Brew Crew Ball’s Noah Jarosh who weighed in on the now famous (or infamous) Ryan Braun for Ike Davis trade rumor generated by SNY MetsBlog’s Matt Cerrone, things have reached a fever pitch.

Cerrone stated matter of factly that “there is a better chance the Brewers trade Ryan Braun for Ike Davis than deal Norichika Aoki, according to people familiar with the team’s thinking.”

He then added, “Braun is guaranteed $113 million over the next seven seasons, and buzz from Milwaukee suggests they’ll pay a good chunk of it to force a change of scenery.”

The problem here is that after a day of reaching out to several writers in Milwaukee, there is no such buzz. Everyone we asked all responded the same and called the rumor many things but mostly “laughable” and “weak.”

Let me share Noah’s original quote from my interview with him yesterday:

If anybody reported that seriously, they should probably be required to give off at least 10 credible sources. There’s no way the Brewers trade Ryan Braun this offseason. He is way, way too valuable at this point still and there is no chance the team would receive fair value for him.

Even if the Brewers wanted to trade him (they don’t), GM Doug Melvin is smart enough that he wouldn’t take a deal for below-average value.

Braun for Ike Davis is laughable, unless the Brewers are getting something like Wheeler and another top prospect or a healthy Harvey thrown in. If Mets fans think that’s way too much, that just shows why Braun won’t be moved.

Of course Noah is spot on. Can you imagine the Brewers not only trading “Braun for Davis,” but also asking them to “eat a sizable chunk of his contract?”

Preposterous. I would expect more from SNY. I would expect more from Matt Cerrone.

I reached out to Matt yesterday afternoon and asked him if he was now a news source and journalist, but he declined to comment. Too bad, I really wanted to get his backstory on this.

“With great power comes great responsibility.”

The danger of having as large a soapbox as Matthew Cerrone is that you also run the risk of the “Pied Piper Effect”.

Whatever he says is swallowed whole by tens of thousands who hang on every word he says. You know the old saying, “If you repeat a lie often enough it begins to sound like the truth.”

And wouldn’t you know it – about a dozen other Mets sites and a half-dozen more mainstream sites ran with the Braun/Davis rumor and either took to their keyboards to post on it or left about 600 comments mostly saying “the Mets gotta do this trade!”

I’m sure they all believed in the veracity of it, even though they ignored everything about that rumor that made it patently false and wholly unrealistic. It came from Matt Cerrone so it must be true.

It says a lot when Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors makes no mention of it on his great site. No doubt that he did his due diligence, made some calls, and saw there was nothing real or tangible there.

Even Adam Rubin who was asked his thoughts on this trade last night by our own Ed Marcus, responded by laughing and then saying,

“Sorry, I’d rather not comment on some internet sourced rumor.”

This morning, Noah Jarosh gave some more in depth thoughts to his readers at Brew Crew Ball.

Oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear dear dear. Poor, sweet, Matthew Cerrone. I understand page views are important. I do. We, the viewers, are the product being marketed to those advertisers. I love page views! But oh my god you aren’t going to get more page views by making stupid articles like this.

Stop making fans who read your site stupider by writing about inane things like this. Whoever these people familiar with the Brewers thinking are, next time they come up to you, just pretend you’re listening while writing about something that might actually have a grain of truth to it.

You can read his full post here and I’m quite sure that once you’re done you’ll get this Braun for Davis nonsense out of your heads.

I think we have a responsibility to our readers to be up front and straightforward.

If you’re going to post that the Brewers would trade for Ike Davis and eat a sizable portion of Braun’s contract as well, back it up with some quotes or names or links.

You can’t just fling a peanut butter sandwich on the wall and hope it sticks. There are many who do this and get away with it all the time – usually small mom and pop blogs that are trying to get some attention. But MetsBlog should be above this sort of behavior.

Blogs like ours should be held to higher standard. We have a responsibility to our readers who expect a lot more from us. They entrust us with providing them accurate reporting as well as strong and passionate opinions about our team.

This heavy handed response by me and others is not a knock on your opinion, God knows I tick my own readership off all the time with my own opinions. But when it comes to the “reporting news part of our jobs”, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it.

Yesterday, you did it the wrong way, and many Met fans and bloggers ran with a rumor about Braun that was not credible according to everyone I spoke to who who covers the Brewers on a daily basis.

Our readers deserve better than that.

And so today we have this:

  • The Brewers say they do not intend to trade OF Ryan Braun, according to multiple reports. However, “Keep an eye on him in the future,” writes Andy Martino.
  • The Brewers do not intend to trade Braun, who has a partial no-trade clause, according to the team’s GM writes Ken Rosenthal.
  • A team source discounted the idea of the Mets trading for Braun, who would likely cost Noah Syndergaard writes Mike Puma.

And so it goes…

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Reversal Of Fortune: From Ryan Braun To Chris Young Sat, 23 Nov 2013 13:00:47 +0000 chris-young

One can’t get a louder denial of the irresponsible and totally bogus report of the New York Mets discussing Ryan Braun than today’s announced deal for Chris Young. That’s the restaurant equivalent of thinking about Morton’s for dinner, but settling for McDonald’s.

Actually, the best thing that could happen to the Mets is Young failing his physical to void the one-year, $7.25 million deal. You read that correctly. That’s a lot of money for a career .235 hitter with a .315 on-base percentage.

The 30-year-old Young played with Arizona for seven years before being traded to Oakland last winter.

Ready for this?

Young hit .200 with 12 homers and 40 RBI in 335 at-bats. And, that on-base percentage Sandy Alderson likes so much? Try .280, with 93 strikeouts and only 36 walks. Young averages 148 strikeouts every 162 games.

Alderson said he could live with a lot of strikeouts if the hitter makes up for it with run production and a high on-base percentage. His 12 homers is hardly worth the trouble.

The Mets would like Juan Lagares to play center, but that’s Young’s natural position. However, it shakes out that as of now the Mets’ outfield is Young, Lagares and Eric Young. Now, don’t tell me you don’t have the warm and fuzzies.

Frankly, if Chris Young is the best the Mets can do, I’d rather they go with Matt den Dekker, or teach Wilmer Flores to play left field, or sign the pitcher Chris Young to play the outfield.

Please tell me this isn’t it for the Mets in the free agent market. I know they aren’t players for Shin-Soo ChooJacoby Ellsbury or Nelson Cruz. I knew all along none of those would happen. But, paying Chris Young $7.25 million is shopping at a thrift shop and still overpaying.

Alderson projects at least an $87-million payroll for 2014, which is ridiculously low for a team in New York. Conversely, the Yankees are desperate to get under $189 million.

As of now, the Mets have $32.5 million earmarked for three players: David Wright ($20 million), Chris Young ($7.25 million) and Jon Niese ($5 million).

According to an ESPN report, they also have a projected $23 million for arbitration eligible players: Daniel Murphy ($5.1 million), Ike Davis ($3.82 million), Bobby Parnell ($3.725 million), Dillon Gee ($3.55 million), Eric Young ($1.9 million), Lucas Duda ($1.8 million), Scott Atchison ($1.3 million), Ruben Tejada ($1 million) and Justin Turner ($800,000).

Assuming those numbers play out, the Mets have a payroll of $62 million after allotting the minimum $500,000 for the remaining 13 spots. That leaves roughly $25 million for any additional spending – assuming he won’t hold some back for mid-season spending as he has in the past.

And to think, one prominent blogger actually thought Braun was a possibility.

not typical metsmerized

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Adam Rubin Talks 40-Man Roster, $87M Payroll, Braun Rumor, Peralta, More… Thu, 21 Nov 2013 05:03:25 +0000 Adam Rubin of ESPN New York shared his insights on the Mets Hot Stove season on the Shots From Shea podcast on Wednesday. A great podcast featuring our own Ed Marcus and the great Steve Keane from the Kranepool Society.

Some of things that were discussed included the Mets being in the New York market and not being able to afford two players earning $100 million, at the same time which will keep them out of the loop on most free agents at least for the foreseeable future.

He thought it was telling that that the Mets meeting with Robinson Cano led to so much joking, and that there should be nothing wrong with a New York market team meeting with a talented guy like Cano.

Also covered were the tonight’s 40-Man Roster moves. Adam believes that Jeff Walters could make an impact in the Mets bullpen next season and is very high on Cory Mazzoni.

Rubin says even if the Mets are keeping spending somewhat limited, they still need to do a better job of of signing better players and identifying the right talent. Frank Francisco has been the highest paid Met under this new regime and the Mets cannot afford to make mistakes like that.

He believes that Jhonny Peralta is high on the Mets wish list, but wonders if his price would be to high for them and force them to look in another direction. If they shy away from Peralta they may just end up with Ruben Tejada at shortstop again or Rafael Furcal who is not even close to being the Rafael Furcal he was before the injury.

Rubin also agreed with me that the Ike Davis for Ryan Braun trade rumor made no sense whatsoever and that’s why he stays away from internet sourced rumors. Even if Braun really was available, Rubin said, there’s no chance that they would do it for Ike Davis, and it totally goes against what Sandy just said about not having two $100 million players.

Anyway, listen to Adam Rubin talk Hot Stove with Steve Keane of the Kranepool Society and our own Ed “Rusty” Marcus by clicking here for Shots From Shea podcast.

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MMO Exclusive: Brew Crew Ball On Davis/Braun Swap, Trading Aoki, Re-Signing Hart Wed, 20 Nov 2013 19:18:17 +0000 MJS MJS brewers15, nws, sears, 6

We had a little stir this morning in our comment threads over something that was reported at MetsBlog regarding a post entitled, Brewers more likely to trade Ryan Braun than Norichika Aoki. The article leads off like this…

There is a better chance the Brewers trade OF Ryan Braun for Mets 1B Ike Davis than deal OF Norichika Aoki, according to people familiar with the team’s thinking.

I was hoping for a link to something that supported that statement and after a 15 minute search I finally gave up. Instead, I decided to reach out to one of the top Brewers bloggers I knew, Noah Jarosh of the great SB Network site Brew Crew Ball. I knew he would know the scoop…

I sent Noah the quote and asked him what the”buzz” was in Milwaukee regarding what MetsBlog reported, and his response was very clear cut.

He was also kind enough to answer a few other questions I had about Norichika Aoki in general, his thoughts on Ike Davis, how the fans feel about Ryan Braun now that the dust has settled, and whether Cory Hart will be re-signed.

Please enjoy the interview…

Is there anything to the Davis/Braun quote or is this pure speculation by the writer?

If anybody reported that seriously, they should probably be required to give off at least 10 credible sources. There’s no way the Brewers trade Ryan Braun this offseason. He is way, way too valuable at this point still and there is no chance the team would receive fair value for him.

Even if the Brewers wanted to trade him (they don’t), GM Doug Melvin is smart enough that he wouldn’t take a deal for below-average value.

Braun for Ike Davis is laughable, unless the Brewers are getting something like Wheeler and another top prospect or a healthy Harvey thrown in. If Mets fans think that’s way too much, that just shows why Braun won’t be moved.

As one of the most prominent Brewers’ sites, do you have an opinion on Ike Davis?

I, personally, am a fan of the Aoki for Ike Davis rumors. I think that it fits both teams pretty well. Davis is obviously risky, but I like his potential and I like that he looked good after his brief minor league stint in 2013. The power is obviously there, and I think playing outside of New York could help. So, yes, I do like Ike. BUT, I wouldn’t give up much for him. Like I said, he’s a risky bid and is in arbitration. The Brewers already have a guy like that in Juan Francisco. Why give up a key component of the roster for something you might already have?

How do Brewers fans feel about Braun, are they a forgiving fan base?

Brewers fans are fairly forgiving I think. There was obviously a lot of outrage when Braun was first suspended, but as time has gone on (and Packers season has started) that has died down some. There have been plenty of people who have renounced Braun and say they won’t buy his jersey, etc. etc. But I think on opening day, he’s going to get a standing ovation. When he ends up looking like the same old superstar, I think the majority of “outraged” fans will go back to rooting for the guy.


Ultimately, do you think that the Brewers will trade Aoki?

I don’t think the Brewers will end up trading Aoki. Like I said, Doug Melvin is a pretty smart guy, and he has done very well in trades. He won’t trade Aoki unless he thinks he is getting an excellent value for him. I’m not sure he’ll get that at this point. With the Brewers not saying whether they will play Khris Davis or Ryan Braun at a different position, I think the odds are that the Brewers will keep Aoki as either the fourth outfielder or in a semi-platoon with Davis. I’d put 65-35 odds on Aoki staying.

Finally, will the Brewers re-sign Corey Hart or is he pretty much gone?

Hart is closer to 50-50. He says he’ll take a discount to stick with Milwaukee, and maybe he will. But how big of one, when several other teams are knocking at his door? The Brewers probably have around $10 million to work with this offseason. They don’t have a ton of holes, but they have enough that they need to be frugal. If the Brewers can negotiate Hart down to a number they like, I think he stays. But if the Red Sox/Mets/Rangers/etc make a hard push and are not too turned off by his knees, the Brewers can’t afford to match their offers in all likelihood. Power is becoming increasingly rare in the MLB, and Hart has more of it than most free agents on the market. It’s still early to tell what the demand will be for him.

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PED Users Are Good Options For Cost Conscious Teams Like The Mets Thu, 14 Nov 2013 16:27:56 +0000 nelson-cruz-texas-rangersThe 2013-2014 offseason features a deep class of quality talent ripe for the picking of any team willing to spend.

Based upon GM Sandy Alderson’s comments at year’s end as well as the Mets reported discussions, it appears clear that the major focus is to acquire at least two position players: a shortstop and an outfielder.

Conveniently enough, there are two free agents on the market capable of filling each of those positions with great success, and could very well come at significant discount.

The only issue; both of these candidates are fresh off of 50-game suspensions for their involvement with Biogenesis PED scandal.

Jhonny Peralta and Nelson Cruz would be attractive additions to a New York lineup in desperate need of consistent production. Posting an OPS of .815 and .833 respectively in 2013 prior to serving their suspensions, the pair would provide a significant bolster to a squad that managed a team OPS figure of .672. The only Mets to eclipse those numbers put up by Peralta and Cruz were David Wright (.904) and Marlon Byrd (.848), who has since signed with the rival Philadelphia Phillies.

joel peraltaThe question is not their ability to perform, but rather whether fans would be comfortable rooting for one of or both of these confirmed PED-users if brought to Flushing; and we all know what the overwhelming response would be: So long as they can produce, the common fan no longer cares.

Have baseball fans become desensitized to steroid-usage in MLB? Ten years ago, those caught doping were ostracized by baseball. Fans instead of cheering, had the standard of not wanting a cheater on their favorite team.

In 2013, that seemed to change. Alex Rodriguez had a roaring ovation from the Bleacher Creatures upon his return. Mets fans were thrilled to have Marlon Byrd in right field everyday, who despite having a legitimate reason for his positive test, served a 50-game suspension in 2012. Cruz was welcomed back to an offensively starved Rangers lineup, being penciled into the lineup for Game 163 after serving his time. Peralta who was used over rookie phenom Jose Iglesias on multiple occasions this past postseason, was hailed as an October hero in Detroit; not exactly facing the same public scrutiny of the 1990s or early 2000s.

mike troutIn contrast, the players throughout the game were overwhelmingly vocal in condemning the actions of their co-workers, both opponents and teammates alike. They called for stricter penalties; Mike Trout went on Boomer and Carton calling for a one-and-done MLB policy, meaning a first time offender would receive a lifetime ban. Ryan Dempster struck Alex Rodriguez with a pitch under the lights of Fenway presumably for his ongoing debacle with MLB as well as for ratting out the likes of Ryan Braun and teammate-Francisco Cervelli to draw the spotlight off of himself.

The cultures of fan bases and players alike have gone in opposite directions.

The common fan is no longer bothered by their team adding a presumed-former PED user; in fact, the presumption that said user could come at a reduced cost makes them appealing.

With the front office looking to find solid major-league talent in a cost effective method, the aforementioned free agent pair–in particular Peralta–has piqued the interest of the organization. Mets fans appear to get that, and are more than open to have a former steroid user play for ‘their team’, if it means competitive baseball.

How times have changed.

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Brewers Unlikely To Trade Norichika Aoki Mon, 11 Nov 2013 16:18:39 +0000 Norichika+Aoki

Andy Martino reports that the Milwaukee Brewers are unlikely to trade outfielder Norichika Aoki, according to a major-league executive familiar with the situation.

This disputes what Joel Sherman reported on Friday and actually makes a lot more sense to me…

Worse yet was the notion that if they would trade him, they’d do it for Ike Davis…

Cough, cough, cough… Ain’t happening…

Original Post 11/9

Joel Sherman of the New York Post speculated that Norichika Aoki could be available from the Milwaukee Brewers considering the emergence of Khris Davis and the return of Ryan Braun from his suspension. Milwaukee has openly stated that they would like to add a left-handed power bat at the first base position — which of course brings to mind the disappointing Ike Davis.

Enter all the incredulous ponderings and meanderings of how the Mets should jump all over this purely hypothetical musing from Joel Sherman.

“Mets have got to do this trade!”

“I’ll drive Ike to the airport!”

“He’s a poor mans Choo, do it!”

“This is a win-win for the Mets!”

The funny thing about this apparent Davis-for-Aoki swap at is that the Mets are also looking for a left-handed power bat at first base, and the front office has already decided that Ike Davis is not that guy.

But somehow we’ll be able to convince the Brewers to trade a player who can bat leadoff and who’s set to earn less than half of what we owe Davis, purely out of the goodness of their hearts? Gimme a freaking break…

The Mets have been trying to pawn Ike Davis since two trade deadlines and one offseason ago entering this one. Guess what? No takers…

Do you think any team would have interest in Davis now that he’s set to earn $4 million after the worst season in his career and quite possibly the most disastrous season by any starting first baseman in the major leagues this year?

What I find hilarious about this nonsense is that Aoki actually has a higher slugging percentage than Davis. Aoki also has a 6.5 fWAR over the last two seasons compared to a 1.0 fWar for Ike.

Trading Davis for Aoki saves the Mets about $1.5 million in 2014 and he provides a .350 on-base percentage leadoff man,” Sherman writes.

Great, but what exactly do the Brewers get out of it? What’s their incentive?

The other thing to consider is Aoki himself and what exactly he does to improve the Mets assuming the Brewers would jump all over Ike Davis…

Do we really need to lock down another position with a player who will give this team literally no power and is a god awful base stealer?

Aoki, who turns 32 in January, hit .286 with a .356 on-base, 20 doubles, three triples, eight home runs and 37 RBI last season while stealing 20 bases and getting caught 12 times. He accumulated those 31 extra-base hits over 674 plate appearances. Is your mouth watering?

What are the odds we get 15 home runs and 120 RBI from an outfield of Eric Young Jr, Juan Lagares and Aoki?

What this team needs is a corner outfielder of the likes of Curtis Granderson or Nelson Cruz… We don’t need Aoki… And even if we did, the last thing the Brewers would want in return is a first round bust like Ike Davis who couldn’t hit his way out of a paper bag.

not typical metsmerized

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Cuddyer Among Some Good Outfield Options For Mets Wed, 23 Oct 2013 15:55:47 +0000 michael-cuddyer-rockies

Could Michael Cuddyer join his best friend David Wright in Flushing?

As we continue our quest for a winning team, we look at acquiring an outfielder.  To begin with, it sounds easier than it really is.  In July, teams traded their players – Alex Rios, Michael Morse, Justin Maxwell – because their chances of competing were slim.  So, you trade today for a shot at tomorrow, theoretically.

However, trading a star player is not easy.  Remember the Keith Hernandez trade?  People were shocked that St. Louis would trade away a player of that caliber.  Teams have difficulty not only in matching up, but most teams take the fan base reaction into account when subtracting from the major league product.

While looking for a trade, it was taken into consideration that a team would not trade unless they:

  1. Improved their overall product
  2. Had quality depth to replace what was subtracted
  3. Want to improve one area more than they are weakening another

What teams have excess outfielders, and who are they?

- Kansas City Royals: Lorenzo Cain and Justin Maxwell

- Colorado Rockies: Michael Cuddyer

- Cleveland Indians: Drew Stubbs

- Milwaukee Brewers: Norichika Aoki

- Oakland A’s:  Steve Smith

- Los Angeles Dodgers:  Andre Ethier

- Los Angeles Angels: Peter Bourjos or Mark Trumbo

Notice, no Carlos Gonzalez, no Matt Kemp, no Ryan Braun. The reason is that those players aren’t easy to replace.

Here’s the problem:  the Mets, and every other team, want to hold onto their best players and only trade from excess.  That’s how the James Shields trade was made last year, that’s how the R.A. Dickey trade was made as well.

We want Kemp, but so does L.A, and they “can” afford his contract.  So, to the fans that think they want to dump the contract, for the Dodgers and their $225 million payroll, $21 million isn’t a problem.

We want CarGo.  OK, but how would Colorado replace him?  They would ask for Harvey/Wheeler and then some; proven player for proven player.  No thanks.

We, um I, want Braun.  Milwaukee would have to be very overwhelmed.  For those people that say the fans of Wisconsin want him out: time heals all wounds, and a nice hot streak can help quiet some of those disgruntled fans.

Before suggesting scenarios, the definition of a fair deal is one that neither side is in love with, but both are willing to do.

Also, the Mets want to hold onto their young pitching.  Therefore, what is left to use?  Daniel Murphy or Wilmer Flores?  Lucas Duda, Josh Satin, or Ike Davis? How many teams are breaking down the doors asking about them? Unless we want to give up some of our little quality, what can we expect to get?

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This Fan Shot was contributed by MMO reader, TexasGusCC. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 22,000 Mets fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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Braun Calls Season Ticket Holders To Apologize Fri, 06 Sep 2013 15:23:34 +0000 braun

I thought you might find this interesting.

According to CBS 58, suspended Milwaukee Brewers Outfielder Ryan Braun is calling Brewers season ticket holders to apologize.

“Hey there’s a guy on the phone claiming to be Ryan Braun, it’s probably one of your buddies messing with you.”

That’s exactly what Kelly’s Bleachers owner Pat Guenther thought Thursday afternoon.

He picked up the phone thinking it’d be a joke.

“Hey Pat this is Ryan Braun,” Guenther recalls.  “Right then and there I knew it was his voice based on interviews I’ve seen on TV. I knew damn well it was his voice.”

So he did what anyone in the service industry would do.

“I said what can I do for you? He said, I messed up, in a nutshell, I messed up. I just want to reach out and say I’m sorry. I cut him off right there. I said you know Ryan, I think you’re an amazing athlete and this speaks volumes to your character to reach out to a small business owner like myself and let us know that you are going to do better.”

Guenther’s bar  is a popular hangout for Brewers fans.  He’s also  been a season ticket holder for more than 20 years.

“Who hasn’t made a mistake? People move forward. I think that’s what Ryan is trying to do. He’s moving forward. He has no other option. Be better, help his ballclub win games and win the hearts of Brewers fans like he has for many, many years.”

The Brewers confirmed the team provided Braun with contact information for some season ticket holders at his request.

Surprising move by Braun and the Brewers, though I wonder what kind of an impact it will make on season ticket sales.

Braun was suspended 65 games by Major League Baseball earlier this year for using performance enhancing drugs.

The former MVP issued a written public apology a few weeks later, but CBS says he has yet to step back in front of cameras to answer questions from the media.

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The Curious Case Of PED’s Thu, 08 Aug 2013 21:29:33 +0000 gary keith ron sny

With the revelations of the Biogenesis investigation by MLB coming to the forefront this week, just about every sportswriter has put in his or her two cents regarding this story and how performance enhancing drugs plays into professional sports in general.  Even broadcasters are getting into the mix now.  The other night during the Mets/Rockies game, Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez touched on the issue in a way that really hasn’t been by most sportswriters.  It doesn’t come as a shock to me since SNY’s Emmy winning team of Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling are arguably one of the finer broadcasting teams in professional sports today.

Gary, playing devil’s advocate, described how both sides see the issue of PED’s.  One side taking the majority stance that there’s no place for PED’s in Major League Baseball. The prevalent idea is that if players are found to have used them, heavy consequences should follow, with the ultimate penalty being banishment.  The other side, which I found interesting in how Gary described it, was how some take a more “Libertarian” approach regarding PED’s, stating that if a player is willing to risk his health then it’s on the player.  There was a brief pause when Keith Hernandez, in a rare moment seemed totally engaged in the conversation, chimed in and said as I paraphrase, “You can’t say it’s a matter of being Libertarian if what you’re doing affects others negatively”.

After listening to Hernandez huff and haw all season long when the team would head into extra innings or deal with an unfortunate rain delay, it was nice to see Keith the curmudgeon not chomping on the bit to tell everyone to get off his lawn.  It was a brief moment but one that made me smile and I’m a Libertarian.  The funny thing about Libertarians is that we usually get attacked from all ends of the political spectrum for being what others claim to think we all are.

I’m not saying Gary Cohen was attacking Libertarians so much as he was simply trying to state a point, albeit a bit awkwardly. Not all Libertarians are cut from the same cloth.  Most teeter on the political spectrum depending on the issue – but in the end we all share the same edicts of individual liberty and freedom but, with respect to the law. Libertarians are not Anarchists.  Therein lays the difference between those who say PED’s should be allowed in professional sports and those who disagree, and no it’s not because of arbitrary drug laws.  It’s about fairness.  It’s about the law.  Sometimes laws are in place that we all don’t agree with but, that’s life in a democracy.

steroids peds

The idea of simply taking a drug that could, with the emphasis on could, make you better at what you do for a living is a tempting idea in spite of being morally suspect not to mention with the potential of being physically damaging.  In professional sports, especially Major League Baseball, it’s a misnomer to think that sticking a needle in one’s ass will turn a Felix Millan into a Ted Williams. With stringent drug testing now in place, including testing for Human Growth Hormone (HGH), Major League Baseball is now one of the better examples of a professional sport trying to keep itself as clean and legitimate as possible.  How can the quest for legitimacy be a bad thing is beyond me?

When it comes to the use of PED’s in professional sports, many Libertarians, some of which I have a great deal of respect for, have said that PED’s, like other illegal drugs, shouldn’t be banned from professional sports no more than cocaine should be illegal for you or I. Nick Gillespie, the editor-in-chief of Reason magazine and, seems to think most sports writers are hyper moralistic on the issue of PED’s as he stated in a recent article regarding Ryan Braun.  I have a feeling that he’s not much of a sports fan especially based on how he views the majority of sports writers. Not well if you read his article.

But with all due respect to Nick Gillespie or even the great Greg Gutfeld, whom I’m told was very disappointed to find out that purple unicorn’s weren’t allowed at Churchill Downs; PED’s affect not just the players that take them.  They also take away jobs from those trying to do it clean.  Take this which was tweeted by former major league pitcher Dan Meyer:

Hey Antonio Bastardo, remember when we competed for a job in 2011. Thx alot. #ahole

So, does this mean Dan Meyer should just shut the hell up, have a Coke and a smile? Should he just tip his cap to Bastardo (yes, that’s really his last name) shake hands and let bygones be bygones?  I’d be just as pissed as Meyer if I were in his shoes. I understand, but not totally agree with the logic that if PED’s and drugs in general weren’t illegal, the stigma which draws people to them in the first place would decline.

Sure in an academic hypothetical arena that may be possible but do I really want my daughter to be able to one day to walk into a 7-11 to buy a Slurpee and have an HGH power bar sitting next to the Twizzlers?  While we’re at it, put the cocaine pixy sticks next to the Sweet Tarts.  Sorry but the old curmudgeon in me says no to such a grand experiment.  I guess I’m not a real Libertarian huh?

The blasé attitude some have regarding allowing PED’s into professional sports stems from the idea that they believe that fans don’t really care how the players do the sometimes incredible feats that they do.  I disagree.  In a perfect world, I don’t even want to have this discussion with my daughter but when and if I do, I want to tell her that her favorite player(s) did it clean.  Let there be a level playing field and then let individual talent take over.  I look at it this way, would you be fine with allowing kids to take their iPads with them while taking their SAT exams?  Fair or unfair; you decide.

People often forget during this whole controversy with these players being caught taking PED’s, that PED’s are illegal unless prescribed by a physician for an actual medical condition, you know like dwarfism.  The last time I checked Eddie Gaedel hasn’t suited up in a few years and if he did I have a feeling Brian Cashman would’ve tendered him a contract by now.

Now get off my lawn!

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Good Riddance Jordany Mon, 05 Aug 2013 17:53:42 +0000 While everybody in the sports world is focused on Alex Rodriguez today, the Mets universe just imploded with news that not one but TWO New York Mets will be suspended by MLB for 50 games.

Look, we all knew that Cesar Puello was involved. It was just a matter of time, and I still contend to this day that since the Mets knew that he was involved they didn’t feel rushed to promote Puello. With Puello, it is what it is.

But what’s this? Jordany Valdespin, suspended for 50 games? Say it ain’t so. The most polarizing bench player in all of baseball, using…PED’s? I guess you could say that Jordany Had A Bad Day?

You know, I am sick and tired of hearing Valdespin’s name even associated with the New York Mets. I’m all for giving a guy a second chance – I’ll give Byrd a second chance, I’ll give Puello a second chance, heck I even gave Ryan Braun a second chance. Valdespin has had more chances than any .219 career hitter deserves.

From the day he posed wearing a Miami Marlins caps, I was done with him. (Hey now we know where he got that hat right?)jordany valdespin

He is the poster child for everything that is wrong with professional athletes today. He’s a young, arrogant player with minimal talent who thinks he deserves it all.

With regards to PED’s, I do not believe they will ever leave the game until the players themselves police it. Peer acceptance is critical for athletes. It’s up to the leaders in the clubhouse to show these players that their involvement with PED’s is unacceptable. Perhaps the Mets found out about Valdespin sooner than we think, which could explain some recent happenings? If that is the case, then bravo to the Mets.

I hope this is the last I ever hear of Jordany Valdespin in a Mets uniform. He’s a subpar player who apparently needs PED’s just to achieve that label. He has been nothing but trouble for this franchise, and today was the final nail in the coffin.

He’s brought nothing but problems to this franchise, and created such a divide among players and even fans. I’m tired of the countless excuses in favor of Jordany, and conspiracy theories surrounding how the Mets treat him.

I hope the Mets respond by cutting Valdespin, and forcing him to go find another team with his shiny MLB resume. Be sure to use the whole “I never got a chance,” story – GM’s will love that.

Following the Pirates/Plunking incident Valdespin tweeted (in translation) “They criticize me to lower my self-esteem but I’m going straight to the top. I was not born to lose.”

Valdespin you’re right, you weren’t born to lose – you became a loser with years of practice. Good riddance.

Author Note: In January of 2013, I wrote about the Biogenesis scandal here at MMO. The original list that was first reported included Nelson Cruz, Bartolo Colon, Melky Cabrera, Yasmani Grandal, Gio Gonzalez and Alex Rodriguez.

When this new broke, I honestly was only surprised about one name – Gio Gonzalez. I didn’t accuse Gonzalez of anything, I responded to the report and while I still believe Gonzalez used poor judgment, MLB has cleared him which means I owe Gonzalez an apology, so I was wrong and am sorry (now Gio can sleep at night I am sure).

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Could Braun Be A Fit For Mets Outfield In ’14? Tue, 30 Jul 2013 16:26:31 +0000 braunKudos to Milwaukee owner Mark Attanasio for his immediate gesture to Brewers fans in the wake of the 65-game suspension of Ryan Braun. But, will it end there? Could the Brewers want to clean up their mess by trading Braun? And if so, could the Mets be a fit?

Yes, Braun got off on a technicality the first time and Major League Baseball has had it in for him since. It was only a matter of time before they nailed him. Could it also be a matter of time before the Brewers decide to cut ties with Braun?

The Brewers’ best player lied to his teammates, management, fans and anybody he spoke to about performance-enhancing drugs. The quotes from players and supporters – including Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers – have been venomous.

With Braun gone for the season and the Brewers stagnant on the field, the team will give each fan who shows up at Milwaukee’s 12 home games in August a $10 voucher good for food, merchandise and future tickets.

“This is an investment in our fans and an investment in our brand, to do what we can do to mitigate a trying summer,’’ Brewers chief operating officer Rick Schlesinger told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “We were finalizing something like this to give back to our loyal fans just as news of Ryan’s suspension hit. Mark decided he wanted to make a dramatic impact that would cost more money.’’

Based on their current attendance figures, it is estimated the Brewers will give their fans roughly $3.6 million in vouchers, or effectively a good chunk of the remaining $8.5 million they were to pay Braun this year. Instead of pocketing the money, the Brewers are giving it to their fans.

This is no cheap gesture.

What happens when Braun returns is anybody’s guess. He might be booed or Brewers’ fans could forgive and forget. It remains to be seen how strained his relationship with ownership and management might be. His presence could also create a clubhouse divide. There are not a lot of people happy with Braun now, including those players mentioned in the Biogenesis case. By taking a punishment without appeal, it gives credibility to Tony Bosch, which could hurt the defenses of other players.

Schlesinger spoke of the Brewers’ brand. Currently, that brand is mostly Braun, and the wonder is if they want to continue with that considering the potential of stress and negativity.

Could that strain lead to an eventual trade, and would the Mets be interested? Braun is a talented player, but with a positive test – albeit tainted – there’s the question of his true talents. It must be that way with any player linked to steroids.

Braun to the Mets is intriguing on many levels. He would be a huge upgrade, but what is his value? The asking price can’t be as high if Braun were clean. What would it require to get him in terms of talent, and would the Mets risk it based on his PED history? Would the Mets, or any team that wanted Braun, know what they are getting? The Brewers must be asking the same question if they opt to keep him.

Braun signed a five-year, $105-million contract extension from 2016-2020, and an option for 2021. That’s reasonable money for what Braun has produced, but it must be asked whether that production is he or the juice.

It would be a significant gamble by the Mets because of the length of Braun’s deal and the chance of paying for damaged goods. The Mets don’t have to look any further than across town to see what the Yankees are going through with Alex Rodriguez.

Going after Braun could generate a negative buzz around the Mets, but that’s better than no buzz.

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With Byrd: Witch-Hunt Is The Word Thu, 25 Jul 2013 17:50:48 +0000 Steroids, and all PED’s have become such a staple in sports that now headlines are made less on accomplishments but more on accusations.

Jeff Pearlman, who I will preface by saying is very open in terms of his communication and is never one to shy away from his opinion, wrote a piece recently about his trip to Citi Field.

In his blog, Pearlman writes the following:

“Here’s the thing: Why isn’t anyone questioning Byrd’s season? Why are we all so accepting of a slugger who’s so clearly full of (expletive)? Is it really believable that a guy goes through a pretty mediocre career, then gets caught using drugs, then gets suspended, then returns (presumably clean—though I’m uncertain why we presume such things) and … is better than ever?”

He goes on to say:

“I don’t know, for a fact, that Marlon Byrd is cheating. I suspect (strongly) he is, but I don’t know. But where, oh where, are the questions? We in the media are so quick to jump all over Ryan Braun, because it’s easy and most of the heavy lifting has been done on our behalf. Yet, simultaneously, we speak of Bartolo Colon’s Oakland rebirth—one year after he, too, was suspended. We hail Byrd as a Comeback Player of the Year frontrunner … when he was coming back from being a fraud.”

Here’s the thing about Marlon Byrd that isn’t said in his piece.

When Byrd was suspended last year for using PED, his performance was at an all-time low in his career. He had 0 power, he was barely maintaining a big league job. Maybe Byrd should get his money back for whatever he took in 2012? After his suspension, Byrd went to play in the Mexican League to work on getting back into the big leagues.

Pearlman also says,

“Now, however, with the decline of print and the mass layoffs at papers nationwide, the guy covering the Mets or Orioles or Padres or Cubs or Blue Jays is (generally) 24 and fresh out of college. He can turn a quick phrase, and is filled with ambition, but doesn’t know how to ask the tough questions; how to dig beneath the surface.”

He must have missed MMO’s own Daniel Nelson’s piece when he interviewed Byrd, and Byrd responded about his current numbers by saying,

“I remember after last year and my positive test, any numbers that I put up now or anything good, people are going to be skeptical. People are going to make comments. It’s part of the game. There’s nothing I can do. I made my mistake last year so I try to move on because I lived through it. It’s one of those things where I continue to work and try to get better and hopefully put together good seasons.”

Question asked, and answered.

The problem with the steroid era to me is less about MVP awards being tainted, and more about how we the fans, and the media evaluate performance. It’s impossible for Marlon Byrd to just be having a career power year in your 30’s without PED’s being a factor right?

Remember that time in 1973 when a 30 year old Davey Johnson had 66 career HR in 995 games and then hit 43 HR in 157 games for Atlanta and everybody asked the “tough questions” about whether he was taking something?

Yeah, neither do I (okay fine, I wasn’t born yet).

Nobody ever finds HR power later in their life without the help of illegal drugs right? Right Raul Ibanez? Right?

Look, nobody will surprise me with regards to PED usage. It could be true about Byrd, I think it should be up to Major League Baseball to police the usage and enforce strong penalties to those who get caught.

It shouldn’t be my job as a fan to doubt every ball that gets hit or every pitch that gets thrown. What’s the point in watching if you’re going to sit and doubt everything?

I’m sorry but I am not going to do that. I’m not going to doubt Chris Davis, Jose Bautista, Raul Ibanez or Marlon Byrd unless their current performance is proven to be enhanced by drugs.

So Byrd got caught last year, that doesn’t mean he’s doing anything in 2013. I don’t see anybody pounding the pavement accusing guys like Andy Pettitte or David Ortiz based on their connections to scandals.

Pearlman wouldn’t believe Byrd if he provided test samples anyway, so how can Byrd defend himself fairly? He can’t. That’s a witch hunt.

Byrd is right, there is nothing he can do but hopefully stay clean and perform. It’s a shame what sports have become, it’s turned more into a witch hunt rather than a celebration of performance.

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Kemp Wants The MVP Award That Braun Cheated Him Out Of Wed, 24 Jul 2013 17:20:12 +0000 matt kemp

Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, who finished runner-up to Ryan Braun in voting for the 2011 National League Most Valuable Player award, thinks the suspended Milwaukee Brewers slugger should be stripped of the honor.

Braun finished with 388 points and 20 first-place votes, to 332 and 10 for Kemp. Major League Baseball attempted to suspend Braun following a positive test that October for elevated testosterone, but the penalty was overturned by an arbitrator who ruled Braun’s urine sample was handled improperly.

Braun agreed Monday to a 65-game suspension for unspecified violations of baseball’s drug rules and labor contract.

According to an AP report, asked Tuesday whether the award should be taken away from Braun, Kemp responded: “I mean, yeah, I do,” pausing and adding, “I feel like it should be, but that’s not for me to decide, you know?”

Kemp said people feel “betrayed” by Braun.

“I’m disappointed,” Kemp said. “I talked to Braun before any of this happened, we had conversations and I considered him a friend. I don’t think anybody likes to be lied to and I feel like a lot of people have felt betrayed. That’s not just me, that’s the whole Brewers organization, a lot of his teammates. I think a lot of people feel that way.”

Jack O’Connell, secretary-treasurer of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, said the award vote was final.

“The decision was already made. He won it,” O’Connell said in an email Monday.

Kemp got screwed over by Braun. The fact that Braun accepted that award “after” he manipulated his way out of a suspension on a technicality shows the contempt he had for the game he professes to love.

What Braun loves is money. Lots of money. He’s A-Rod in a Brewers uniform.

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