Mets Merized Online » Ryan Dempster Tue, 06 Dec 2016 18:24:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Terry Collins Also Wants Mets To Follow “Red Sox Model” Fri, 15 Nov 2013 11:56:38 +0000 red sox

On Thursday night, Mets manager Terry Collins discussed the Mets offseason with reporters at a charity dinner in New York City.

According to Adam Rubin, Collins also expects the Mets to follow the “Red Sox model” — signing a bulk of middle-tier free agents rather than the biggest names.

“I’m sure that’s what the philosophy is going to be,” Collins said. “Again, that’s Sandy’s stuff. As I’ve always said: When I get to spring training, I’ll see what names are on the locker and try to do the best we can with it.

“I knew when I got hired here that there were some things that had to get done,” Collins said. “One was we had to clear some money, some of the contracts that we had. I know that we’re trying to build up the minor-league system. And it’s taken some time. But I think now we’ve got some freedom, some money to spend. We’ll see what it buys”

David Wright shared those exact sentiments the night before in a phone conversation with Marc Carig of Newsday.

“Let me preface this by saying that this is my opinion, and not anything that Sandy has told me, or anything that Sandy and I have talked about,” Wright told Newsday.

“It seemed like it worked for Boston last year. If you can get three or four — maybe not those marquee free agents — but three or four guys that are very good, solid, players I think it helps us fill more holes. And ultimately we become a better team because of it.”

When Collins was asked to describe his own responsibility this winter, he responded, “This is Sandy’s time right now.”

There are two main components of the Red Sox model that frequently get overlooked.

1. The Red Sox got tremendous bounce back seasons from their starting pitching:

Jon Lester improved from 9-14, 4.82 to 15-8, 3.75

Clay Buchholz improved from 11-8, 4.56  to 12-1, 1.74

Felix Doubront improved from 11-10, 4.86 to 11-6, 4.32

John Lackey, who missed the 2012 season went 10-13 with a 3.52 ERA

2. The Red Sox already had a strong core of players that included All Stars Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, David Ortiz and some of the pitchers I mentioned above.

The other thing is that the Red Sox got lucky with almost everyone of their free agent signings and trade acquisitions, and that’s something that would be difficult for the Mets or any other team to duplicate.

Shane Victorino, three years, $39 million
Ryan Dempster, two years, $26.5 million
Jonny Gomes, two years, $10 million
Stephen Drew, one year, $9.5 million
David Ross, two years, $6.2 million
Mike Napoli, one year, $5 million
Koji Uehara, one year, $4.25 million

A lot of things went right for the Red Sox and in a way it was the Perfect Storm.

Updated 11/15

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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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Spreadsheet Baseball Doesn’t Win Championships, Character Does Mon, 04 Nov 2013 15:22:35 +0000 gomes-big-7761.r

If you haven’t done so already, check out this article by Kevin Kernan of the New York Post. The veteran columnist shares an incident that took place in Spring Training when Red Sox starter Ryan Dempster asked teammate Jonny Gomes how he was doing and his response was: “Great, one day closer to the parade.’’

“Let that sink in for a second,” writes Kernan. “Here it was spring training, a time when players are focused on honing their individual skills for the long season. Yet Gomes, when asked about himself, talked about the Red Sox being one day closer, not only to a championship, but a parade the entire Red Sox Nation would take part in, the ultimate party day for fans and team.”

Of course Gomes’ words proved to be prophetic as the Red Sox did have their parade after winning their third World Series since 2004.

There’s a lesson to be learned here for the Mets (and Yankees) says Kernan who believes the Red Sox model last offseason was not just targeting mid-level free agents, but seeking out players with confidence and character. Players who wanted to win a championship so badly they’d do anything to help their team get one.

Now, more than ever, a player’s personality has to be taken into account, he boldly states. “It’s not just about wanting to win — after all, everyone wants to win. It’s about making a commitment to your teammates in doing whatever it takes to win, but also having the confidence to do what it takes to win a championship.”

He points to Shane Victorino as another player who rose to the occasion for the Red Sox.

“In what I consider the most important statistic of them all — RBIs. Victorino hit .429 against the Rays in the Division Series and dropped to .125 in the ALCS and .154 in the World Series. But during the postseason he drove in a Papi-like 12 runs — three in the ALDS, five in the ALCS and four in the World Series. Only David Ortiz drove in more with 13.”

Kernan stresses that there is no new “philosophical’’ approach that’s going to make a difference for the Yankees and Mets. They just have to do a better job of evaluating the market and they just can’t be “looking at an iPad screen of numbers” to decide who’s the best fit. They need to add players that hunger’ for the prize more than the next guy.

“Spreadsheet baseball does not win championships.”

Incidentally, this was the Red Sox model last offseason:

Shane Victorino, three years, $39 million
Ryan Dempster, two years, $26.5 million
Jonny Gomes, two years, $10 million
Stephen Drew, one year, $9.5 million
David Ross, two years, $6.2 million
Mike Napoli, one year, $5 million
Koji Uehara, one year, $4.25 million

Have at it…

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Who Will Be The Mets’ Biggest Free Agent Splash This Offseason? Tue, 22 Oct 2013 14:29:50 +0000 stephen drew

Is shortstop Stephen Drew “that” guy?

The financial handcuffs are finally off and Sandy Alderson apparently now has the wherewithal and flexibility to attack this offseason like he’s never had before.

If there’s a player out there that can help this team and improve the Mets in any particular area, money will not prevent Sandy from pursuing that option like it has in the past. Or so that’s the message the Mets are trying to convey this Fall and Winter… Whether or not you choose to believe it is purely up to you…

I was wondering what some of our writers thought about that, and who they thought would be the biggest splash we make this offseason that would improve the team.

Satish – Wow… do I let my pessimism run free here? My gut says LaTroy Hawkins, but I think we’ll go out and get Stephen Drew or Jhonny Peralta.

Kirk – I think in the end the biggest splash you may see from the Mets is the signing of a mid-rotation pitcher to hold us over while Matt Harvey makes his way back. Maybe a guy like Josh Johnson who is looking to prove his health and is willing to accept a one-year, incentive laden deal in order to do so. Another option would be someone like Matt Garza on a multi-year deal. He offers solid upside despite his late-season trouble in Texas which unlike Citi Field becomes a launching pad in the late stages of the summer.

Xtreem – That depends on the market, but I think they’d make the biggest play for Shin-Soo Choo.

DrDooby – I do believe the Mets have a real shot at Choo, Carlos Beltran or Jacoby Ellsbury – but could be involved in a heavy bidding war with a handful of more short term oriented teams. I do believe that the front office does see both the fit with one of these three players aligning with a need to show the public that the Mets will be serious players again, even below the “all-in” status of past years. As for who “WILL” be, I believe and have repeatedly stated that Bronson Arroyo would be a perfect fit in the current situation. 2-year-contract of about $25 million (comparable to what Ryan Dempster signed for last winter) – and provide a veteran stabilizer who takes the ball every 5th day for the otherwise young & fragile Mets staff.

Tommy – I think the biggest signing the Mets will make will be a mid-level bat with power, such as Jhonny Peralta or Nelson Cruz. In terms of signing a big name, Tim Lincecum could be on the way, although his popularity has exceeded his production the last 2 years.

Joe D. – As for me, a month ago I would have said Jose Abreu, fresh off of Sandy’s comments saying that his goal this offseason was to add a power bat and a first baseman. Obviously, that ship has sailed. I think the Choo, Ellsbury and Beltran ships will drift away from the Mets as well. I imagine that bringing back Marlon Byrd and hoping for him to duplicate his 2013 season would be right up the Mets’ alley for a number of reasons, the least of which would be the PR value and all the fluffy feel good stories that would accompany his signing. This is how the Men in Black operate these days. On the pitching front, I’d like to see them pursue a better class than they have in the last three seasons, but I wouldn’t rule out a simple one-year fix with Daisuke Matsuzaka or Aaron Harang. Shortstop is where they’ll likely exert their greatest effort and Stephen Drew could be that guy who becomes their biggest splash. Drew hasn’t played more than 125 games since 2010, but he’s coming off a somewhat solid season in which he batted .253/.333/.443 with 13 home runs and 67 RBI. I wonder how those numbers will play out at Citi Field? Nevertheless, Drew’s my pick for the biggest splash you’ll see the Mets make this offseason.

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Check Out Last Year’s Off-Season Grades On Jays, Red Sox, Angels Fri, 04 Oct 2013 16:39:17 +0000 One of our readers, Rob Aguilar, sent me a link to February’s Off-Season Report Cards by the Sporting News. His point, as he indicated in his email, was that nobody was gloating over the Red Sox model before this past season began. Anyway, it’s funny looking back and reading these three particular capsules in hindsight.


Toronto Blue Jays: A

When general manager Alex Anthopoulos finally made his move, he didn’t mess around. The impact was felt all the way to Las Vegas. When Anthopoulos convinced the Miami Marlins to make their salary dump in Canada, the Blue Jays became favorites to win the World Series.

What a dump it was, with the Blue Jays acquiring one of the game’s top shortstops in Jose Reyes, two proven starters in Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson, and speedy second baseman Emilio Bonifacio. The deal was expensive—the Blue Jays took on nearly $150 million—but Rogers Communication can afford it.

Dealing for R.A. Dickey put the odds even more in the Blue Jays’ favor. I would have added a plus to their grade if Anthopoulos hadn’t given cheater Melky Cabrera a $10 million raise.

josh hamilton

Los Angeles Angels: A

Having a local TV deal that brings in $150 million a year sure is nice. It allowed owner Arte Moreno to nab the top player on the free-agent market for the second consecutive year. Josh Hamilton, armed with a five-year, $125 million contract, should fit nicely hitting cleanup behind Albert Pujols.

The Angels also brought in a new closer, Ryan Madson, and remade the bottom of their rotation by acquiring Tommy Hanson, Joe Blanton and the underrated Jason Vargas.

stephen drew walkoff

Boston Red Sox: C

No team overpaid more free agents. The Red Sox overextended for a shortstop, Stephen Drew, one starter, Ryan Dempster, two outfielders, Shane Victorino and Jonny Gomes, and a backup catcher, David Ross. Only the Mike Napoli signing looks reasonable, and they needed nearly all winter to complete that.

There is good news, though. The six signings combined will cost around $100 million, or about $40 million less than what they threw at Carl Crawford two offseasons ago. The Red Sox fared better on the trade front, acquiring All-Star closer Joel Hanrahan from the Pirates.

Based on what players are saying, Boston’s best move was hiring John Farrell to replace Bobby Valentine as manager. Of course, most players would have considered a statue an upgrade over Valentine.

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The Red Sox Model and the Audacity of Hope Fri, 04 Oct 2013 15:07:33 +0000 jeff wilpon

New York Mets COO Jeff Wilpon said the 2014 budget has already been discussed, and Sandy Alderson said he could have enough resources at his disposal to offer a $100-million contract, which seemed unthinkable last year at this time.

Alderson also said it is conceivable the Mets’ payroll could be even smaller next year. Their payroll this season – excluding what they owed Jason Bay – was $88 million. The Mets will have roughly $40 million coming off the books, which leaves them financial flexibility should they choose to use it.

“Would it be the right player?’’ Alderson said. “And, would it be prudent to do it, even for the right player? Factor in what’s left to do the kind of things we want to do. But is it out of the question? It’s not out of the question.“Will we do it? That’s more of a strategic question than a resource question. At this point, it’s not a matter of resources.’’

No, it is not. It is a matter of using those resources wisely, which they did not do with Shaun MarcunFrank Francisco and Brandon Lyon to name a few.

The outfield must be upgraded from an offensive standpoint, and the elite options are Shin-Soo ChooJacoby Ellsbury and Nelson Cruz.

However, are any of them worth $100-million? Are any of them truly elite? Will any of them be a difference maker? Probably not.

In addition to the outfield, the Mets are looking to upgrade their bullpen, shortstop, first base and with Matt Harvey probably out, there’s a need to add one or two starters.

“We could go after the perfect player, at the perfect price and for the perfect number of years,’’ Alderson said. “And, we won’t sign anybody.’’

Alderson said the Mets could spend, but won’t spend just to make a splash. The Mets have not been active in the free-agent market in Alderson’s first three years – they only spent $5 million this season – and this year’s spending depends on the market.

“The bottom line is yes, it’s conceivable we won’t sign a player,’’ Alderson said. “But look, we have to be realistic about the marketplace, so I’m hopeful we’ll get some things done.

“It’s great to say, well, we have financial flexibility, and then blow it on players’ deals that don’t work out and put yourself right back in the same situation you were in before. At the same time, at some point, you’ve got to go for it. Having flexibility is great, but at some point, you’ve got to put yourself on the line.’’

Thoughts from Joe D.

david wright jeff wilponOne of the things the Mets front office has been very good at, is molding many in the fan base to look at success from a dollars point of view rather than by wins and losses.

One of the cheesiest lines that often gets used whenever the Mets are outbid on a productive player or when the front office bails as they so often do, is the new standby of. “Well, we’d still win just 78 games with or without that player” or the other Alderson Era classic, “Who cares, that player is not a difference maker.”

I see those two lines at least 3-4 times a day in our comment threads and everytime I do I think with a smile, “Wow, Sandy has his base well conditioned.”

The latest trend is this notion that the Mets will utilize a Red Sox model this offseason. Poppycock… If only that were true…

You see the Red Sox don’t have this mindset of targeting a “difference maker” like the front office and most Met fans do. Not at all. Instead, the Red Sox simply upgraded at various positions in one fell swoop. That is why they are playing in the post season while the Mets watch on TV. Again.

The Red Sox didn’t go after Troy Tulowitzki, they went after a barely above average option like Stephen Drew and paid him $9.5 million for one year. They didn’t go after an elite option in the outfield, they went after a player with declining skills in Shane Victorino and gave him a three year deal worth $39 million dollars. They also gave Jonny Gomes a two year deal for $10 million and paid Ryan Dempster $27 million for two years.

Most of those deals may look good in hindsight, but a year ago none of them would have appealed to this front office or the majority of this fan base. Lets call a spade a spade.

I see people arguing today that Carlos Beltran shouldn’t get a two year deal worth $28 million… Really? You want Stephen Drew for two years and $20 million?

While a scant few of you would say, yes, bring them on. The majority is simply saying, “Not worth it.”

So lets cut this pretense of using the Red Sox model because the truth is if you want a Red Sox model you’d need to fire our front office and hire their front office – or employ their intense focus on winning to get it done. And the fact of the matter is that this entire organization and most of its fan base is still too hung up on accounting and ledger book decisions – which suits the Wilpons perfectly fine.

bleed orange & blue  button

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Why Mets Need To Add A Veteran Starting Pitcher; Top Three Options Thu, 26 Sep 2013 12:28:21 +0000 Seaver-Koosman-Matlack - Copy

“Offense wins fans, pitching wins championships” is the old adage – and it remains true, considering the recent success of the San Francisco Giants, a team that has won 2 World Series in 3 years built around strong, mostly young & homegrown starting pitching and a solid but unspectacular and somewhat patchwork caliber offense. Generations of Mets fans grew up with the Mets being known around Baseball as an organization built around pitching. Seaver – Koosman – Matlack – Ryan or Gooden – Darling – Fernandez – Cone were exciting young frontline pitchers that helped the team to multiple playoff appearances and the two only World Series titles in franchise history. Once David Cone was traded in late 1992, the Mets´ got off track a bit. And even the 1999, 2000 and 2006 playoff teams were mostly known for their strong hitting, helped by a good veteran bullpen but somewhat sabotaged by merely ordinary rotations that ultimately weren´t good enough to deliver another World Series title.

When Sandy Alderson & Co. took over almost 3 years ago, the plan was to “develop the pitching” and “buy the bats”. That plan figures to remain in place and the Mets right now – arguably – have the deepest pool of young pitching up & down their organization, highlighted by Matt Harvey starting the 2013 All Star Game for the NL and top prospects Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero facing each other in the Future´s Game this past July. Zack Wheeler is one of the most promising young arms in the majors. Jenrry Mejia looked great during his 5-start cameo and with Jon Niese & Dillon Gee the Mets also control two very solid semi-young arms who have been successful on a consistent basis for several more years. So, with all sorts of obvious holes offensively, wouldn´t the smart money say to focus on addressing those needs instead of adding more pitching – possibly expensive – when you already have several high end options ?

No. While adding offense will have to be an obvious priority, if the Mets are serious about trying to win in 2014 without losing focus regarding their long term plans, adding a legitimate veteran starting pitcher this winter makes all the sense in the world.

Consider these numbers…

Matt Harvey (if healthy which remains a HUGE if):

2012: 169 IP combined between AAA and majors

2013: 178 IP

Zack Wheeler:

2012: 149 IP between AA and AAA

2013: 168 IP between AAA and majors (100 IP in majors)

Jenrry Mejia:

2012: 108 IP combined between a bunch of levels

2013: 51 IP combined between a bunch of levels (27 IP in majors)

Rafael Montero:

2012: 121 IP combined between Low A and Hi A

2013: 154 IP combined between AA and AAA + another 6 IP or so in the playoffs

Noah Syndergaard:

2012: 103 IP in Low A

2013: 117 IP combined between Hi A and AA + another 6 IP or so in the playoffs

Jon Niese:

2012: 13-9, 3.40 ERA, 190 IP in 30 GS

2013: 8-8, 3.74 ERA, 137 IP in 23 GS with maybe one more start left

Dillon Gee:

2012: 6-7, 4.10 ERA, 109 IP in 17 GS

2013: 12-10, 3.54 ERA, 193 IP in 31 GS with one start left

So, as of today, the Mets have seven legitimate candidates to pitch in the 2014 rotation at some point under contract. Only Gee & Niese have ever reached 190 IP in their careers (once).

None of the other candidates has ever reached 190 IP and none of them are likely to exceed it even in a best case scenario in 2014 considering the policy of not letting pitchers exceed a 30 IP bump and concerns about their health.

So, if the plan is to contend in 2014, that could be sabotaged by pretty much all SP candidates other than Dillon Gee and Jon Niese to be facing some sort of IP cap in 2014. And with Matt Harvey being a big question mark, Mejia never having completed a full healthy season and Syndergaard unlikely to be allowed to proceed far beyond 150 IP and thus not being a realistic candidate for an extended major league look in 2014, this puts enormous pressure on Zack Wheeler & Rafael Montero, plus Niese & Gee, the latter both having battled significant shoulder issues in recent years.

For that reason, a veteran rotation piece is needed. And fortunately, while lacking high-end pitching, this winter´s free agent pitching market is rather deep in solid veteran pieces. You can pretty much rule out Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana, three quality, albeit volatile # 2/3 caliber SP in their primes who figure to receive contracts in the Edwin Jackson (4-years, 52.0 million) to Anibal Sanchez (5-years, 80 million) range. Not a fit as the Mets seem to have a shot at a very good rotation with no limitations by 2016 and should not hand out a long term contract for any pitcher now. Since the Mets already have a bunch of high risk / high reward arms that also rules out volatile former aces like Josh Johnson, Tim Lincecum or Scott Kazmir who could certainly pitch great for 15 starts or totally collapse even if all 3 figure to receive shorter term contracts due to their checkered history. Disappointing former top prospects turned back-end starters like Mike Pelfrey, Edinson Volquez or Phil Hughes could be worth flyers for a good pitching coach to fix – but not for a team looking for stability. That also pretty much eliminates the idea of hoping for one final comeback season from former aces like Roy Halladay, Johan Santana or Chris Carpenter. Even in a best case scenario, they won´t provide 30+ starts and 190+ IP.

What the Mets need is a durable veteran who can be had on a shorter term contract of maybe two years. And that leads us to three names that could fit:

# 1 RHP Bronson Arroyo, age 36

2012: 12-10, 3.74 ERA, 202 IP in 32 GS

2013: 14-11, 3.60 ERA, 197 IP in 31 GS with one start left

Arroyo is a durable # 3 caliber SP who has pitched quite well in the pitcher unfriendly confines of Cincy. He could provide stability and is showing absolutely no signs of declining in spite of topping 195+ innings for 8 straight seasons. While he has been a steady force for the Reds, Cincy figures to move on thanks to the emergence of Rookie sensation Tony Cingrani who will join a strong staff headed by Mat Latos, Jonny Cueto, Homer Bailey and Mike Leake.

# 2 RHP Ricky Nolasco, age 30

2012: 12-13, 4.48 ERA, 191.0 IP, 31 GS

2013: 13-10, 3.72 ERA, 198 IP, 33 GS with maybe one start left

Nolasco is well known to Mets fans after anchoring the Miami Marlins staff for several years before being acquired by the LA Dodgers. He also takes the ball every 5th day and keeps the team in most games.

# 3 RHP Hiroki Kuroda, age 38

2012: 16-11, 3.32 ERA, 219 IP, 33 GS

2013: 11-13, 3.31 ERA, 201 IP, 32 GS

After a long & solid career in Japan and emerging in his 30s as a fine SP for the LA Dodgers, Kuroda has been the most consistent and best SP for the Yankees over the past two seasons. Considering their rotation woes, they´ll probably try to bring him back. But just maybe, the Yankees will consider getting a bit younger after their disappointing 2013 season, so Kuroda might be available.

Last winter, similar veteran pitchers signed contracts of 2-years, 26.5 million $ (35-year-old Ryan Dempster with BOS) and 3-years, 33 million $ (34-year-old Kyle Lohse with MIL). Hiroki Kuroda himself signed a 1-year, 15 million $ deal with the Yankees. The three veterans listed here all figure to end up in that range. More dollar value on a shorter term or less dollars in a longer term deal. Realistically, a 2-year, 26.5 million $ contract – similar to the one Ryan Dempster signed with BOS – figures to suffice. Sure, that´s a lot of money. But the Mets should finally be able to spend thanks to their current payroll projection of barely 50 million $. Signing any of these three to a 2-year contract in that range will neither keep the Mets from eventually extending Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler & Co. a few years down the road nor from addressing their hitting needs either.

While nurturing a potential rotation for the ages, it would give the 2014 Mets one likely reliable constant to build their staff around short term. And with better than anticipated health, it could enable the Mets to make a blockbuster trade eventually for a superstar player such as Troy Tulowitzki or Carlos Gonzalez if they get moved. Enormous starting pitching depth can never hurt. And with all due respect to fragile scrap heap pickups like Shaun Marcum, Aaron Harang, Dice-K Matsuzaka or Chris Young, the Mets need a stabilizing force and not another lottery ticket.

baseball glove bench

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Surprise, Surprise. A-Rod Gets Plunked In Return To Fenway Mon, 19 Aug 2013 15:12:12 +0000 ArodX

I rarely post anything that isn’t Mets related, but I hope people had a chance to watch yesterday’s game between the Yankees and Red Sox in Fenway Park. Another chapter was written into one of the most storied rivalries in sports.

In the second inning, Alex Rodriguez walked to the plate engulfed in a tidal wave of boos to face Ryan Dempster. Fans started chanting “You’re-a, chea-ter.” Dempster set the tone by throwing the first ball behind Rodriguez’s legs, causing the Yankees slugger to fall to the ground. Three pitches later, Dempster pegged Rodriguez in the elbow. Umpire Brian O’Nora then issued warnings to Dempster and both benches. Manager Joe Girardi was then ejected for justly arguing about why Dempster wasn’t thrown out and why his team was issued a warning.

But revenge is a dish best served in center field. Later in the sixth inning, Rodriguez took Dempster deep to centerfield for a solo home run. It was A-Rod’s 649th career home run, but it had to feel a bit more significant given the circumstances. Rodriguez took a second or two to celebrate on top of home plate. The Yankees went on to win 9-6.

I didn’t understand why Dempster wasn’t warned after the first pitch. His intent was crystal clear. It also put the Yankees at a disadvantage because any retaliation would have gotten C.C. Sabathia ejected immediately. That wound up being moot. It also seemed ill-advised given how close the race in the AL East is. Dempster could have been tossed and the bullpen might have been taxed for their West Coast road trip.

It seemed like this was just a personal vendetta from Dempster, but it’s a microcosm of how most players feel about Rodriguez in general. For the Yankees, the beaning seemed to fire them up. It may be a rallying point for a seemingly indefensible situation.

At any rate, A-Rod should get used to it. Getting drilled is the least of his worries these days.

What are your thoughts?

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Hits & Misses: Local Boys Making Noise, We Want Mike, Mets Bullpen Outperforming Rotation? Sun, 22 Jul 2012 14:30:28 +0000 According to MetsBlog, since July 6, a span of 11 games, the Mets have pitched to a 5.99 ERA over 97 2/3 innings. Mets starting pitchers have pitched to a 6.93 ERA, the bullpen has pitched to a 4.42 ERA over that span. So yes, the worst bullpen in baseball is now out-performing our starting rotation. Not surprisingly, the Mets are 2-9 over those 11 games. Hey, you all know the deal… It was our starting pitching that carried us through what was a pretty kick-ass run all things considered. But as I’ve been saying since we first lost Gee, if we don’t find a way to continue that same level of pitching, it’s over. The losing will continue because our offense isn’t good enough to score 5+ runs per game. Wright can’t do it alone. And no, I’m not being negative, some of you just need to get real.

That said, I’m not totally against pursuing players at the deadline as long as they can help this year AND beyond. Sandy Alderson is a genius as most of you know and that concept is not over his head, right? I do love the way Alderson always says things in Lawyer-Speak. Alderson told reporters yesterday that “the presumption is we will be buyers before the deadline, but the next 7-10 days will dictate what we will actually do,” LOL, I knew ther would be a ‘but” in there somewhere.  Anyway, you all know what I’ve been saying about this, the Mets are buyers in words, but sellers in actions. The Mets needed help two weeks ago and they can hardly afford to wait 7-10 more days for it. The teams that also need help have already made moves, right now we are just passive bystanders.  Poor Terry…

The Braves are talking to the Red Sox about Jon Lester, I always loved Lester. If they get him, Wren will sign him and the Braves will start looking like they did during the Glavine/Maddux/Smoltz era. Plan B is Zack Greinke or Ryan Dempster which would be like Plan AAA+++ if the Mets were really serious about being buyers in light of the Santana and Gee setbacks. Pssst, they’re not buyers, they’re just Harvard lawyers.

Good news. Mike Baxter is getting close to a return. As soon as the Mets activate him, we’ll have a real bona-fide outfielder on the roster. Whitestone Mike went  2-for-3 with two singles, a run scored, one RBI and one walk for Double-A Binghamton last night. We could use some of that in Flushing right now. Hurry up already Mike, the team is ten games under .500 without you.

Our two untouchables, Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler, were very touchable this weekend as both were torched and beat up pretty good. Even the best pitchers can have a bad day, but it was ironic that they both pitched their worst performances of the season a day apart and in the midst of all this debate about each of them being ready to pitch in the majors. Ummm… No they’re not. Shake it off guys and go back out there and give it that old college try…  Uhh, high school try for you Wheels.

I got some minor stuff for you. MMO friend Cory Mazzoni was placed on the DL yesterday with a thumb injury. It’s nothing major I’ve been told. We love Cyclones pitcher John Mincone and yesterday he said he loves MMO. “Love all your work over there!” Well we love all his work too as John is one of the most impressive players and someone to keep an eye on in Brooklyn. Speaking of impressive, Steve Matz is back with a vengeance and a little bird told me that he could soon team up with fellow New Yorker Mincone where he’ll be wowing the crowds at MCU Park. That would be pretty awesome if it happens. Matz, 21, is hitting mid to high nineties on the radar gun consistently and he’s a lefty. Keep telling yourself that.

Have a great day and know that I appreciate your continued support.

Matz hopes to return healthy sometime this season.

STEVE MATZ: He’s throwing hard, and coming at ya.

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