Mets Merized Online » scott atchison Wed, 22 Feb 2017 02:46:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Mets Bring Back Jeremy Hefner Tue, 10 Dec 2013 22:53:20 +0000 jeremy hefner

The Mets have re-signed starting pitcher Jeremy Hefner, reports Anthony DiComo.

The deal is for a minor-league contract and will allow the Mets to retain control of Hefner at a reduced salary while he rehabs from Tommy John surgery.

Hefner will likely miss a good portion if not all of 2014.

Great move though, nice to see Hefner back…

Original Post

Jeremy Hefner being non-tendered doesn’t sit too well with me.  It has nothing to do with performance.  It’s the human element.

I know it’s hard to feel bad for someone who had a half-million dollar a year salary, but of the five players that were non-tendered by the team on Monday, Jeremy’s cut is the one that stings the most.

Justin Turner, Scott Atchison, and Omar Quintanilla were arbitration eligible and are of sound mind and body to be able to seek gainful employment in 2014.  Jordany Valdespin… well, what’s there not to say about Jordany. He needed to go.  He can be “The Man” somewhere else… if anyone will have him.

But then there’s Jeremy.

Had he been a veteran player who had already made his fortune in the game when he hurt his arm and was facing a year of unemployment – I wouldn’t feel bad.  I didn’t feel bad when the Mets non-tendered Mike Pelfrey – he had already made more than $14 million in the game.  But Jeremy?  He’s a pre-arbitration eligible player that played in the majors in 2012 and 2013 with just under two years of major league service time.

So what? Injuries happen all the time, right?

Here’s where the bleeding heart liberal in me kicks in.  Hmmm… he got hurt on the job.  So rather than keep him in the fold and pay him the minimum wage when he’s rehabbing the injury he suffered while in your employment, you fire his rear end while he’s not in any position to be able to find work.

Now maybe the Mets will sign him to a minor league contract for 2014 so they can keep a close eye on his rehab to see what he has for 2015.  Even if they throw him a bone and do that, i’m sure it wouldn’t be at a major league salary – so he’d be getting a pay cut for getting hurt on the job.  Oh, and because he’d be re-signed on a minor league contract – he’s not racking up the major league service time.

Maybe another team will look to sign him to a minor league deal so they can have him in their fold for when he’s ready to return to live action in 2015.  Maybe he’ll even get another team to sign him to a major league contract for next year so they have him under control going forward.  Or maybe he won’t get another shot because a whole new round of hungry youngsters moved up the ladder while he was away.  Regardless, it just doesn’t sit well…

button mr met man

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Mets Non-Tender Turner, Valdespin, Hefner, Quintanilla, Atchison Tue, 03 Dec 2013 01:54:08 +0000 jordany valdespin

The Mets announced they have non-tendered Omar Quintanilla, Jordany Valdespin, Justin Turner, Jeremy Hefner, and Scott Atchison.

Interesting purge by the Mets on non-tender day…

The 40 man roster is now at 35 players.

Original Post

Today is the non-tender deadline and all teams have until 11:59 tonight to decide which arbitration eligible players they will or will not offer contracts to.

For the Mets, they have ten decisions to make, but the way I see it only two players are on the bubble; Scott Atchison and Omar Quintanilla. I suspect both will be non-tendered though Quintanilla could survive the ax given how the shortstop search has completely backfired on the Mets and caught them off-guard.

Daniel Murphy stands to be the biggest winner nearly doubling his 2013 salary to $5.8 million dollars according to MLBTR.

Arbitration 1

Dillon Gee - $527,375 (2013) $3.4 million

Ruben Tejada - $514,701 (2013), $1.0 million

Justin Turner - $504,547 (2013), $800,000

Eric Young Jr. – $492,000 (2013), $1.9 million

Lucas Duda - $504,000 (2013), $1.8 million

Arbitration 2

Ike Davis - $3.125M (2013), $3.5 million

Daniel Murphy - $2.925M (2013), $5.8 million

Bobby Parnell - $1.7M (2013), $3.2 million

Omar Quintanilla - $527,375 (2013), $900,000

Arbitration 3

Scott Atchison - $700,000 (2013), $1.3 million

The Mets have a long history of avoiding arbitration hearings with players, so I’m sure they’ll spend the next few weeks negotiating and reaching agreements with the players they’ll keep.

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Mets Arbitration Predictions and Non-Tender Candidates Thu, 07 Nov 2013 18:02:38 +0000 MLB: New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies

MLB Trade Rumors posted their arbitration predictions today. Daniel Murphy stands to be the biggest winner nearly doubling his 2013 salary to $5.8 million dollars.

Guaranteed Contracts

David Wright – $11.0 million (2013), $20.0 million

Jon Niese – $3.0 million (2013), $5.05 million

Arbitration 1

Dillon Gee – $527,375 (2013) $3.4 million

Ruben Tejada – $514,701 (2013), $1.0 million

Justin Turner – $504,547 (2013), $800,000

Eric Young Jr. – $492,000 (2013), $1.9 million

Lucas Duda – $504,000 (2013), $1.8 million

Arbitration 2

Ike Davis – $3.125M (2013), $3.5 million

Daniel Murphy – $2.925M (2013), $5.8 million

Bobby Parnell – $1.7M (2013), $3.2 million

Omar Quintanilla – $527,375 (2013), $900,000

Arbitration 3

Scott Atchison – $700,000 (2013), $1.3 million

Assuming each player is tendered and these arbitration estimations from MLB Trade Rumors are correct, that’s about $24.5 million in raises without adding any new players.

The total payroll for these 12 players comes to $48.7 million.

If you’re wondering what players could be non-tendered and added to the free agent pool this offseason after the non-tender deadline on December 2, here is a list from MLBTR.

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Baxter Claimed By Dodgers, Carson To Angels, Henn and Burke Ourighted Thu, 17 Oct 2013 21:19:52 +0000 Robert Carson

The Mets 40-Man roster is now at 36 after the Angels claimed lefthander Robert Carson on waivers, the Dodgers grabbed outfielder Mike Baxter, and the team outrighted LHP Sean Henn and RHP Greg Burke.

Expect more purging as the Mets must make room for Ike Davis, Josh Edgin, Matt Harvey, Jeremy Hefner, Jenrry Mejia, Bobby Parnell, Scott Rice and Johan Santana who must all be activated from 60-day disabled list and placed on the 40-man roster.

So technically, the Mets now have 44 players which means four more heads to roll.

With Halloween around the corner, this is perfect timing for some tricks or treats…

Original Post

Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports on the impending 40-man roster crunch the Mets will soon face after the World Series.

The Mets’ 40-man roster actually will be full even before the club adds farmhands eligible for the Rule 5 draft or signs any free agents this winter to major league deals.

That’s because eight players finished the season on the 60-day disabled list, where they did not count against the 40-man roster: Ike DavisJosh EdginMatt HarveyJeremy HefnerJenrry MejiaBobby ParnellScott Rice and Johan Santana.

So the Mets, in essence, finished the season with 48 players on the 40-man roster.

Rubin adds that because the Mets only have eight free agents, the 40-man roster will be full once the players are activated from the 60-day DL no later than five days after the World Series.

David AardsmaTim ByrdakPedro FelicianoFrank FranciscoAaron HarangLaTroy HawkinsDaisuke Matsuzaka and Johan Santana will all become free agents after an exclusive, but short, negotiating window.

Who is the most likely to go?

You can be sure that Robert CarsonSean HennZach Lutz, and Mike Baxter may be the first to go. Guys on the bubble will include position players Kirk NieuwenhuisJordany Valdespin and Andrew Brown. and reliever Scott Atchison.

Prospects the Mets will have to protect from the Rule 5 draft include Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz, Darin Gorski, Jeff Walters and Cory Vaughn among others. They will need to be added to the 40-man by Nov. 20.

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A Mets Penultimatum Sun, 29 Sep 2013 12:30:53 +0000 METS FANS STRESSED SADPhew, the protected pick is safe! That’s some great managing by Terry Collins – now the Mets won’t lose a draft choice when they make the big run on free agents and true major league talent that has always been promised for the historic winter of 2013-14.

Scott Atchison, who I still maintain looks great for 57, helped assuage the fears of those fans who still have faith in what this front actually says. They know that this is go time for Sandy Alderson, the moment for him unveil the big missing pieces in “The Plan” and with the green light from ownership, finally work to lead the league in the most important advanced statistic of them all, WOL.

Wins over losses.

Also known in certain scouting circles as VAD – victories against defeats – this crucial statistic shows with incredible arithmetic certitude a baseball team’s improvement year over year and provides a precise and measurable metric of a management group’s performance. If we hone in on this season’s performance and run some advanced regression analysis in Metsmerized’s famed sabermetrics lab (based in Corona, I’ve heard – but that’s just a rumor – I’m new in these precincts and some secrets are understandably closely guarded) we get this incredible result:

Mets after 161 games in 2012: 73-88

Mets after 161 games in 2013: 73-88

The formula is complicated and you’ll have to trust our analysts (but I will tell you that it’s been confirmed by Greg Prince of Faith and Fear in Flushing, which says a lot), but those results yields a WOL/VAD result that looks like this after 161 games for each of the last two seasons:

2012 WOL/VAD: minus-15

2013 WOL/VAD: minus-15

Alderson and his lieutenants (otherwise known as the “dream team” just three years ago) will undoubtedly be parsing these critical numbers in the coming weeks, performing more of their famed “evaluation” of these remarkably consistent numbers – right after handing a two-year extension to their field general, Mr. Collins.

Only one more game for the three-year evaluation portion of the Alderson Era, of course. We’ve heard that this off-season, it all changes. A massive infusion of talent, spending on free agents, and a return to the pursuit of winning would key the cooler months, leading to a team transformed in Port St Lucie come late February. All the big contracts are off the books – and heck, one wasn’t even offered to the greatest shortstop in team history, a crucial spot not surprisingly that remains a gaping maw on the Mets two years after the infamous “box of chocolates” negotiation.

But letting bygones be bygones – hey did you see R.A. Dickey won his 14th game, two more than any Mets pitcher? – the front office is clearly set to make runs at multiple major upgrades through free agency and clever trades. You know the names: Shin-Soo Choo, Hunter Pence (oh, wait a minute), Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki, Bronson Arroyo, Carlos Beltran (only the greatest offensive tenure in Mets history), Stephen DrewJacoby Ellsbury, Curtis Granderson – heck maybe even a run at Robinson Cano, or Cuban defector Jose Abreu. Somewhere between two and four proven bats for the everyday lineup and a veteran arm to help bridge the gap till the youngsters are fully ready – or Matt Harvey returns from the eventual Tommy John surgery all the arm chair medicos seem to insist he’ll need, contra the ignorant and ill informed Dr. James Andrews.

Mix those proven players with keepers David Wright, Daniel Murphy, Juan Lagares and hopers like Travis d’Arnaud and Wilmer Flores – along with the young starters – and you might be able to turn that WOL/VAD from -15 (or more accurately, the -14 or -16 it will be after Piazza Day) to a +15 and post-season berth. As Joe D. pointed out, it’s all about “acquiring and developing talent” and “managing payroll.”

Today is the penultimate game in Sandy Alderson’s contractual penultimate year. There are big things on the way.

And if not, there are some other key metrics to study – like these.

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Torres Spins Quality Start, But Mets Offense Falters In 4-2 Loss To Milwaukee Sat, 28 Sep 2013 02:04:34 +0000 torres


The Milwaukee Brewers (72-87) defeated the New York Mets (73-86) by the score of 4-2 tonight at Citi Field.

For all the hell I gave you in the beginning of the year, Carlos Torres… I respect the work you’ve put in for this team in 2013. A depth signing turned into a guy who really put in some solid hours for the Mets, finishing the year with a 3.44 ERA in 86.1 innings across a mix of work out of the pen and in spot starts. He turned in one more quality start for the Mets today, going six innings and allowing three runs.

He was taken deep twice in the first inning for two of his four hits allowed, but he really didn’t seem phased and breezed through the next five innings without allowing a run. The only other Milwaukee run crossed the plate when Martin Maldonado crushed a pitch off Scott Atchison for a solo home run in the seventh.

The Mets didn’t really show much offensive prowess out there tonight, although they did scatter eight hits. Their only extra base hits were doubles, one by Lucas Duda and another by Daniel Murphy. Murphy’s hit was his 38th double on the year, so he’s just two away from 40 doubles in a season — a nice little number. Turner had a two-hit game out there, including an RBI single that accounted for half of the Mets run production. Juan Lagares brought in the other run with a sacrifice fly.

Gonzalez Germen picked up four outs cleanly, including a strikeout, after Pedro Feliciano picked up an out of his own. This game was pretty much an open-and-shut case, as the Mets only had three at-bats with RISP the entire game. There are only two games left in the season now, with Aaron Harang on the mound tomorrow and Jon Niese toeing the rubber on Sunday for the finale.

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Wright Goes Deep, Bats Come Alive In Mets 6-4 Victory Sat, 21 Sep 2013 02:27:45 +0000 wright 221 homers

The Mets wasted no time getting things going in the top of the first. Eric Young doubled to lead off the game. Young stole third and was driven in by Daniel Murphy, and before Cole Hamels had recorded an out it was 1-0. David Wright then clubbed a homer to the opposite field and it was 3-0 before the Phillies had an at bat.

After a quiet second, the Amazins struck again in the third when Andrew Brown singled in Murphy to expand the lead to four.

Dice-K looked strong through three, but returned to familiar form in the fourth. Darin Ruf doubled down the line, clearing the bases and cutting the Mets’ lead to two. Hamels then helped himself out, grounding out to first base and bringing in Ruf.

After six, Dice-K was done. He actually had an okay line: 6 IP, 4H, 2ER, 3BB, 6K. He was relieved by Scott Atchison, who tossed a scoreless seventh.

The Mets added one more in the seventh off a Josh Satin single.

Vic Black and Pedro Feliciano combined for a perfect eighth and LaTroy Hawkins earned his eleventh save of the season in the Mets’ 6-4 victory, their 69th of the year.

For Wright it was his 221st career home run, passing Mike Piazza for second on the Mets’ all-time homer list behind Darryl Strawberry, who has 252.

The series continues tomorrow at 7:05. Dillon Gee will take the bump and face off against Tyler Cloyd.

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D’Arnaud Gives Mets 1-0 Walk-off Win Against Marlins Sun, 15 Sep 2013 21:53:26 +0000

travis d'arnaud

Struggling catcher Travis d’Arnaud delivered a two-out single with the bases loaded to give the Mets a 1-0 walk-off win in 12 innings on Sunday at Citi Field.

Dillon Gee started and pitched 7.1 shutout innings, scattering six hits and two walks while striking out eight. The bullpen followed up Gee’s brilliant performance with a tremendous effort as Pedro Feliciano, Scott Atchison, LaTroy Hawkins, Gonzalez Germen, and Vic Black combined for 4.2 scoreless innings as Black would get the win. Germen struck out five batters in his two innings of work.

The Mets were flat offensively and defensively all day until D’Arnaud, who had been struggling at the plate this season, came up with a bases-loaded single and his first career walk-off hit. TDA also made a nice throw to gun down Justin Ruggiano who tried to steal third base in the sixth.

Lets face it, it was two of the National League’s worst teams facing off in a meaningless game, but there was still some satisfaction in watching the Mets overcome some bad baseball and win this one in extras.

The Mets are off on Monday as they get ready for a three-game set with the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday night at Citi Field. Zack Wheeler will take the mound and oppose former Met prospect Yusmeiro Petit at 7:10 p.m.

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Mets Knock Around Haren Around For Seven Runs In 11-3 Win Sun, 01 Sep 2013 02:19:45 +0000 zack wheeler

Perhaps this is the start of a trend — Wheeler Day will bring us the happiness that Harvey Day did for a little bit and we can all be happy with that. Wheeler took the mound tonight and pitched a solid game against the Nationals, holding them scoreless through five innings and striking out three batters overall. His only real damage came in the bottom of the sixth, when the Nationals took advantage of a single and a walk — his only one issued in the game — to get two runs across the plate. A sacrifice fly and a soft liner did the deed, but overall, it was another good start for Zack Wheeler. Locating his pitches and keeping his walk rate low is a big key to his success and lately he’s been sticking to that like white on rice. Wheeler’s overall line was 6.2 IP, 5 H, 1 BB, 2 ER, 3 K. Wheeler induced nine Pedro Feliciano finished the seventh for him, and although Aardsma allowed two hits in the eighth, he got out of his self-made jam. Scott Atchison finished the game by allowing a run in a shaky ninth inning.

Of course, it’s a lot easier to pitch when your offense hands you an 8-0 lead by the end of the second inning, and the Mets were just locked in offensively the entire game. Eric Young, Daniel Murphy, Josh Satin, and Juan Lagares each had three hits, while Travis d’Arnaud picked up his second straight multi-hit ball game with a pair of singles. Each of Young, Murphy, Lagares, and Quintanilla drove in a pair of runs for the Mets in this offensive explosion, where they totaled a season-high 17 hits.

The only disappointing moment on offense came on an apparent oblique injury to Ike Davis. Hopefully Davis comes back soon, but oblique injuries can be tricky and he could miss the rest of the season.

In any case, the Mets banged out 11 runs without the benefit of a homer and handed Wheeler win his 7th win of the season as he lowered his ERA to 3.36. It wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t mention the fact that Young/den Dekker/Lagares outfield is one of the best defensive alignments the Mets have seen in a long time — and Lagares picked up an OF assist by gunning down Harper as well.

With this win, the Mets secure a series win over the Nats and look for the sweep tomorrow. Jon Niese will take the mound for the Mets tomorrow at 8:05 as he tries to build on the complete game shutout he fired against the Phillies in his last start. Newly acquired Vic Black should join our pen tomorrow as part of September call-ups.

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Harvey Speaks To Halladay, Doctor Says Surgery Can Be Avoided Thu, 29 Aug 2013 13:30:14 +0000 matt harvey

Matt Harvey was in no mood to talk to reporters yesterday, telling a group of them, “I’m good” after they approached him wanting to know more about his tweet heard ’round the world. The injured ace, who is hoping to avoid Tommy John surgery, was diagnosed with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament, but tweeted Tuesday that he’ll be back on the mound next April.

I can’t say that I blame him for shunning the press after SNY and other media outlets decided to mock him for his optimism and poke fun at him all day… “Maybe he’s delusional”, Matt Cerrone of MetsBlog quipped.

Mets manager Terry Collins told reporters that Harvey is in good spirits after talking to other pitchers who had similar injuries and decided against surgery. That includes former Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay of the Phillies.

“It just sounded similar to what I had,” said Halladay. “I was talking to Terry Collins, and he asked if I’d talk to Matt. We just talked a little bit about some of the strengthening stuff I did. It sounded to me that it’s very similar to what I had.”

“I shared that with him and what I went through. Dr. James Andrews had told me that they felt like at some point they would have to go in and repair it. That was eight years ago, and I’ve never had an issue since.”

Halladay has won 16 or more games six times since he opted against surgery and finished in the top five in Cy Young voting for six straight seasons, actually winning the second Cy Young of his career in 2010.

Collins or Harvey didn’t reveal which other pitchers they spoke to who also successfully let the UCL tear heal on its own and went on with their careers.

The reaction to Harvey’s tweet was addressed by Sandy Alderson as well yesterday, ”There is some possibility that surgery can be avoided,” Alderson said. “There is still some possibility that surgery will not occur and Matt will decide to do something else. We’re going to wait three weeks and test it, to see if he’s hurting.”

Scott Boras, who represents Matt Harvey, also agreed saying that is depends on how big or small the tear is and for now it’s too early to tell.

“When you’re talking about the term ‘partial tear,’ you’re talking about 5 percent to 95 percent. You have to get in and get the specifics and get more information medically before we can really make a determination as to what we’re dealing with. There’s a lot of swelling in there now. … I’ve had situations with no surgery.”

The one thing the drama queens, pessimists, and shock-bloggers won’t tell you, is what one sports surgeon told me yesterday after I reached out to get some outside opinions.

“The fact that there is no shooting pain and no mention of soreness or pain in the elbow itself, would indicate a very small tear. When your UCL ligament goes or ‘pops’ you know it… you feel it.”

“So far, based on what you’re telling me, all they know is that this player has a sore forearm which could be a precursor and indication of something worse or more significant like a UCL tear. But the fact his soreness is limited to just the forearm and not the elbow, bodes well for a small tear that can heal on its own with appropriate rest, rehab and strengthening exercises for the surrounding area in that elbow.”

“From what you’ve told me, the diagnosis itself sounds very preliminary and mostly inconclusive. It’s certainly not enough to say surgery is a slam dunk. Better imaging will give the doctors a clearer indication as to the extent of the tear and if it’s small enough, there’s no reason why he cannot avoid surgery and pitch to the same level as he was pre-injury.”

The Mets said no decision will be made until Harvey is re-examined in a few weeks after the swelling subsides.

Original Post 8/28

I’m officially in 2014 mode, what about you? Actually, I have been for some time now, but the Matt Harvey news and the purge that followed clinched it for me.

Speaking of Harvey, God bless that poor kid. After the news broke about his torn UCL, my heart went out to him and I tweeted him the following:

Matt Harvey responded to the overwhelming outpouring of prayers and hope with the following:

I responded back to him with yet more optimism and also a warning:

Then 30 minutes later, this from MetsBlog:

Matt Harvey will be ready April 1?

Umm, what’s that? April 1? So, does this mean he isn’t having surgery? Or, maybe it means he thinks he isn’t having surgery? Or, maybe he’s delusional? I can’t wait to find out more…

Wow, delusional?

What is there to find out?

This is about a kid whose entire world was turned upside down after spending the last 18 months sitting on top of it…

He’s thanking his fans while showing some optimism, likely more for his own good than for ours…

What kind of reporting is this? Better yet what kind of show of support is this for our team’s most valuable asset and player who has thrilled like no other from the first day he burst onto the scene?

I hope to High Heaven that Matt Harvey never saw that post on MetsBlog calling him out for showing a little optimism… Calling him delusional…

This post is to commend Matt for his message of hope and wish him well as he faces one of the toughest decisions of his life…

Matt, do whatever your heart tells you to do… It’s gotten you this far already… Don’t stop now…

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Gee Hurls A Gem, Bats Come Alive In Mets’ 6-1 Victory Mon, 19 Aug 2013 21:14:43 +0000 dillon gee

Dillon Gee and the Mets made their one-day stop in Minnesota today to settle some unfinished business, and the outcome was a good one to say the least.

The Mets struck first against Twins’ starter Kyle Gibson. Eric Young Jr. led off the game with a single, and after subsequent singles by Daniel Murphy, Ike Davis and Andrew Brown, the Amazins held a 1-0 lead.

The Twins may have threatened in the bottom of the frame, if not for an incredible leaping catch (the first of a few) by magic man Juan Lagares.

The Mets struck again in the second, after another hit parade led to Young’s single which scored Lagares and brought the score to 2-0 after two.

juan lagares marlon byrd

After a quiet third, the Mets decided to knock Gibson around some more. After they loaded the bases without surrendering an out, Omar Quintanilla made up for a prior base-running mistake by smacking a single and bringing home Travis d’Arnaud. Evan after an unfortunate line-out double play hit by Young, Murph’ continued the scoring by smacking a line drive single to make the score 4-0. That would be it for Gibson. His final line: 3.2 IP, 10H, 4ER, 2BB, 2K.

Gee ran into some trouble in the sixth when he faced runners on the corners with one out. However, an amazing double play turned by Davis and Quintanilla extinguished the threat.

The silence continued until the seventh, when with two outs Wilmer Flores punched the ball to right field to score Marlon Byrd, giving the Mets a solid 5-0 lead. d’Arnaud would strike out to end the threat.

The only run surrendered by Gee was unearned on the shoulders of Murphy, who made his second error of the day on a very routine backhand ground ball. Gee bore down though, and induced Pedro Florimon to fly out to Lagares in center. Gee lasted two more outs in the eighth, and was pulled for Scott Rice. Gee had a hell of a day:

7.2 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 K

Pulling him with one out in the eighth really didn’t make much sense to me (I don’t think anyone really felt the game was in danger). However, Rice got his job done and the eighth was over.

Gee has been on fire for the past two months. Since June 29th, he’s 4-1 with a 2.35 ERA and 41 strikeouts.

The smackdown continued in the ninth, when renaissance man Marlon Byrd crushed a solo homer to left field to change the scoreboard for the final time: 6-1.

Scott Atchison tossed a scoreless ninth, and the Mets snagged their 57th win of the year.

The Mets come home to face the Braves tomorrow at 7:10. Zack Wheeler (5-2, 3.43 ERA) will face Brandon Beachy (2-0, 4.50 ERA).

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Mets Bullpen Has Risen To The Occasion This Season Fri, 16 Aug 2013 16:13:14 +0000 gonzalez germanAfter 3-4 consecutive seasons of bullpen failures and a couple of unsuccessful revamps and overhauls by Sandy Alderson in 2011 and 2012, it looks like the Mets have finally turned a corner and figured things out this season. In doing so they’ve also uncovered a few potential keepers for 2014 and beyond, some of them developed through our system and others who were key acquisitions straight from the scrap heap.

One such find has been Gonzalez Germen, who recorded the final six outs in last night’s 4-1 win against the San Diego Padres to notch his first major league save. It was a big moment for Germen who plans to give the game ball to his mother. Germen stepped in for LaTroy Hawkins who was unavailable due to a sore groin. Hawkins too, has been a key cog in this now very effective bullpen.

Since July 1, the Mets pen has a 2.10 ERA (30 earned runs/128.2 innings), ranking third in the majors. New York’s pen has a 1.83 ERA (seven earned runs/34.1 innings) this month, the sixth-best mark in the majors. The pen’s 3.64 overall ERA, ranks 15th in the majors after two straight seasons of ranking 29th in 2011 and 2012.

Even more telling is that Met relievers have stranded 141 of 189 inherited runners, the fifth-best percentage (74.6) in the majors. The Mets’ bullpen has been coming into games in critical spots and have done a great job of limiting the damage and stranding runners. It’s time to give Sandy Alderson his due for a job well done this season.

The Mets bullpen has endured losses to their close Bobby Parnell who was in the midst of the best season of his career, and also losing second-year reliever Josh Edgin was a significant blow as well. Since his return from the minors, Edgin led the bullpen in BAA and WHIP.

Some player performances of note are that of Scott Rice, who leads the team with 61 appearances and has surprised everyone while limiting opposing batters to a .224 average and posting a 3.34 ERA in his rookie season. The 32-year old late bloomer, has held lefthanded batters to a .162 average and has allowed just one home run all season in 45.1 innings pitched. Boom…

Scott Atchison was another scrapheap signing and all he’s managed to do is post a 3.34 ERA and 1.23 WHIP in 31 appearances since joining the Mets.

As a reliever, perhaps the best performance of this season belongs to Carlos Torres whose 0.65 ERA is the best mark among all relievers in the game. His 0.87 WHIP ranks fifth in the NL and he has 5:1 strikeout to walk ratio.

So while not everything has gone perfectly for the Mets this season, there have been some very notable bright spots and certainly the bullpen has been one of them.

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Wheeler Punches Out A Dozen Batters In 4-1 Mets Win Fri, 16 Aug 2013 05:20:25 +0000 metspads

I have to say, Zack Wheeler might have had a little pitch count trouble tonight, but he found his groove and mowed down the Padres for six spectacular innings of one-run ball in this 4-1 Mets victory. The Mets rotation is really starting to put the MLB on notice. With Wheeler starting to blossom and the Mets Minors housing names such as Rafael Montero, Noah Syndergaard, and Gabriel Ynoa — who will eventually join forces with bullpen arms like Jeff Walters, Jack Leathersich, and Jeurys Familia… well. Be scared, NL. Be very scared.

In any case, Wheeler found the strikeout gods and prayed to them pre-game because he set down a career-high dozen men on strikeouts. After finishing the fifth with 99 pitches, Collins sent him out for the sixth inning — for reasons unknown — where he finished the game on 115 pitches. His 115th pitch was a 94 MPH fastball, too. He struck out two in his final frame. He allowed seven hits, which was why I said a few times on Twitter that he wasn’t at his “sharpest” but the results don’t lie. Juan Lagares may have saved him with a throw that was perfectly accurate from center field to gun down a runner early on, too. He is such a joy to watch in the outfield.

For all the heat I give Eric Young on defense, he covers a lot of ground and literally saved a run by knocking a home run ball back into play in the third. He turned a home run into a triple, and Wheeler followed that up with a pair of strikeouts to end the inning. The adrenaline was pumping for me as a fan.

His only earned run allowed crossed the plate on a sacrifice fly. It left the game at 1-1 after an earlier Josh Satin RBI single. Wheeler walked just one batter, which is huge, especially after walking no batters in his last start in ‘Zona. He would receive a no-decision, but he’s now 4-0 on the road with an ERA floating around 2.00. He’s really coming into his own as a pitcher. Scott Atchison backed him up with a perfect inning of relief after.

The Mets would rally for two runs in the top of the eighth when Marlon Byrd went to the opposite field and hit a ball over the right fielder’s head, plating two for the good guys. John Buck blasted a solo home run for insurance for the Mets in the top of the ninth. Gonzalez Germen danced in and out of trouble for two scoreless innings of work for the save — the first of his career.

By the way, for those keeping tabs on the Mets new promotion — the current standing is at 15% off after a dozen from Wheeler and three from Germen. The promotion, for those of you who don’t know, is that the Mets will cut ticket prices for a series later on by 1% for each strikeout the Mets pitchers earn in this four-game series with the Padres. Unfortunately, Jon Niese, Jenrry Mejia, and Matt Harvey have yet to start in this series…are we looking at 50% off?

Jon Niese will start tomorrow in Game Two of the series.

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The Mets Bullpen Showing Signs Of Toughness And Ability Sat, 10 Aug 2013 19:16:52 +0000 bobby parnell

In a major blow to an already battered roster, the Mets lost their closer, Bobby Parnell, and relief pitcher Josh Edgin to injury within one week of each other. With the later addition of all-star third baseman David Wright to the disabled list, the Mets appeared to be on the brink of destruction. What else would you expect? A team that fails to play .500 ball when completely healthy was playing without one of their top pitchers (Niese), closer, reliever and captain. Yet somehow the team recently managed to pull off a three game sweep of the Colorado Rockies and instill a glimmer of hope in the eyes on their fans.

In an interesting article by Dan Duggan in Newsday, Duggan points out that over the last month the New York Mets bullpen has become one of the strongest components of the team. After pointing out that the pen blew four saves during the first month of the season and had an ERA of 5.09 (the second worst in the league), he then counters by saying that they have thrown their way to an impressive 2.10 ERA since July.

I was shocked to see the extent of the bullpens efficiency as of late, so I decided to take a look into when it all started to come together.

It is worth noting that while the bullpen has shown a stark increase in proficiency, their recent work was only enough to lower the season ERA to 3.70, a statistic that has earned the mediocre rank of 16th out of all major league teams and ninth in the national league.

In the month of May, the bullpen had a 3.99 ERA, bad enough to rank 23rd in the majors and 13th in the National League. During this time they let up 35 earned runs, which tied them for 10th most out of any team in baseball. In June, the bullpen threw its way to a 4.16 ERA with 39 earned runs allowed, worse than the month prior but still good enough to advance to the 20th ranked monthly ERA in the league, and 10th in the NL. If we follow these statistics into July, we can see the vast improvements that have been made. The bullpen pulled in a 2.19 ERA for the month and ranked third in the entire league. The 23 earned runs they allowed during this month was good enough to rank them ninth in the entire league and fifth in the NL.

So far, at the time of this writing, seven games into the month of August, the Mets rank fifth in the league with a bullpen ERA of 1.69, trailing only the Royals, Rangers, Athletics and Braves. It seems something is happening for the Mets bullpen, considering their stark increase in productivity, and their consistent production even with the loss of Parnell and Edgin.

The Mets bullpen has even managed to pitch its way to a 1.20 ERA over the last nine games.

It’s a glimmer of hope in the midst of a despondent last few weeks.With David Wright injured and the teams offensive capabilities seemingly crippled, someone needed to step up or it seemed the Mets were destined for another end of year flounder. It appears that the under appreciated members of the Mets bullpen are doing just that.

latroy hawkins

LaTroy Hawkins deserves much of the praise. He took the center stage and successfully closed two games as part of the Mets series sweep of the Colorado Rockies this past week. His two saves this season ranks as the most he’s had since 2009 when he racked up eleven for the Houston Astros.

With his two latest achievements, he raised his career saves number to 90, an accomplishment that spans 19 years of professional ball. It’s contributions like these that the Mets need going forward. While Hawkins has nearly 20 years of experience, I think that the work he has done as of late deserves acknowledgment. It’s not every day that a 40 year old reliever can step into a role he hasn’t played consistently for over four years. But when Parnell was suddenly injured, he did just that.

Now, by no means am I saying that this is the surefire call sign of a world series champion, but the bullpens recent ability to produce at a relatively high level is a sign of promise. And while I feel that this bullpen is nothing more than a placeholder for future prospects, it’s certainly has made for some entertaining baseball.

Note: The Mets bullpen faltered last night. Scott Atchison stepped in to close and gave up a walk-off home run to Paul Goldschmidt in the bottom of the ninth inning. However, prior to this blunder, the bullpen appeared strong, coming out and pitching 3 shutout innings while giving up only one hit.

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Harvey Dazzles, Strikes Out Ten In 5-0 Win Over Phillies Sun, 21 Jul 2013 20:34:10 +0000 matt harvey


On the strength of a scintillating performance by ace Matt Harvey backed by three home runs, the Mets beat the Philadelphia Phillies by the score of 5-0 this afternoon at a sun-drenched Citi Field.

Harvey dominated the Phillies all day and held them to just three hits and never letting a batter advance past second base. His fastball hit triple digits on a few occasions and stayed in the 98-99 mph range all day. Batters were overmatched by his heat as well as his biting curve and slider. Harvey struck out the side in both the third and fifth innings and totaled ten Ks in his seven scoreless innings of work. It was his sixth double-digit strikeout game of the season and eighth of his career. Amazing…

Recently activated reliever Scott Atchison, slammed the door behind Harvey with two more scoreless innings to complete the shutout.

The Mets scored all five runs on a pair of back-to-back homers by Marlon Byrd and David Wright in the first inning, and then Juan Lagares had the big blast – a three-run homer in the fourth, his second of the season. Byrd now has 17 home runs for the season, while Wright is two behind with 15 dingers.

Lagares has turned it on since Collins has given him some semi-regular playing time and he is batting .387 in his last 11 games with nine ribbies. Lagares matched a career high with three RBIs and it comes on the heels of Saturday’s three-hit performance.

I am running out of great things to say about Matt Harvey. It was amazing to see the standing ovation he received as he walked off the mound. He continues to rollover the competition like a bulldozer and has become an unstoppable force when he takes the mound. Just looking at the expressions on the faces of the batters he strikes out, and watching their knees buckle is a sight to behold. His performance today lowered his ERA to 2.23 for the season – good enough for the third in the National League. He leads the NL with 157 strikeouts and has only walked 27.

Harvey also set a new franchise record today and surpassed Jerry Koosman (2.39) for lowest ERA (2.38) through 30 games (minimum 100 innings).

On Monday, the Mets will host the first-place Atlanta Braves for four games. Dillon Gee (7-7, 4.32 ERA) opposes right-hander Julio Teheran (7-5, 3.35) and first pitch is at 7:10 PM.

Harvey Pitching 6/28

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

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

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

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

2013 report cards

Terry Collins  C-

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

Sandy Alderson  C-

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

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

First Base  D-

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

Second Base  B-

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

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

Shortstop  C-

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

Shortstop? What shortstop?

Third Base  A

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

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

Catcher  C+

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

Left Field  C-

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

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

Center Field  C-

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

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

Right Field  B+

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

Starting Rotation  B+

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

Bullpen  C

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

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

Bench  C+

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

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


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El Dramatico: Valdespin Goes Loco In Clubhouse Mon, 15 Jul 2013 01:31:31 +0000 jordany valdespin

So it only took a matter of hours before what really happened in the clubhouse after Jordany Valdespin learned he was demoted, began to leak out.

Jorge Castillo of the Star-Ledger has the scoop…

When manager Terry Collins informed Jordany Valdespin that the Mets had decided to option him to Triple-A Las Vegas Saturday night, the exuberant utilityman snapped in anger in the visitors’ clubhouse at PNC Park, yelling furiously while his startled teammates looked on, according to two people who witnessed the episode.
The witnesses requested anonymity to speak freely on the matter.

Bullpen coach Ricky Bones had to calm Valdespin down, according to one witness.

“He’s not helping himself,” one person said of Valdespin. “Everyone gets upset when that happens. But you just need to shut up and pack your bags.”

“He still doesn’t get it,” another witness of Saturday night’s outburst said.

And the legend of El Dramatico lives on…


Original Post 9:00 AM

It’s been inevitable for more than a month, but the Mets finally pulled the plug on Jordany Valdespin after Saturday’s game and demoted him to Tripe-A Las Vegas to make room for reliever Scott Atchison will join the team today.

Valdespin had not started a game since June 22 and has failed to produce in a reduced role as a pinch-hitter. I thought Spin was going to get demoted after his week long audition that saw him go 3-for-23, but perhaps the injury to Justin Turner bought him some extra time and spared him.

Valdespin was reportedly teary-eyed and stunned when he was told the news after Saturday’s loss to the Pirates.

“I was surprised, yes,” Valdespin said. “But that’s baseball. They say I will go down and play every day after the All-Star break. I’ll keep working hard.”

“This happens in baseball. You don’t know what they’re thinking. You don’t know what they thought. The only thing you know is how you play baseball. They said start playing. I’m not playing here. I don’t know what’s going on.”

Valdespin struck out in his final appearance for the Mets for now. He takes with him to Vegas, the distinction of having the second most pinch-hit home runs in team history.

His memorable Met moments this season were a dramatic pinch-hit home run against the Marlins that earned him a punch-pie to the face by John Buck, and a not-so-dramatic home run against the Pirates that resulted in a plunking that was condoned by his teammates and manager.

Will we see him again with the Mets? It’s tough to say… But at 25, I doubt we’ve heard the last of him. I just don’t see it happening with the Mets.

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Solid Effort By Torres Wasted In Mets 4-2 Loss To Bucs Sun, 14 Jul 2013 11:46:03 +0000 carlos torres

The New York Mets lost their second straight game to the Pittsburgh Pirates by a score of 4-2 tonight in front of a packed house at PNC Park.

The Mets actually got on the board first, scoring a run in the fourth inning on a walk by Marlon Byrd followed by an RBI-double by Kirk Nieuwenhuis. They came back in the fifth and scored their second and final run of the game when Byrd came through in the clutch again, this time with an RBI-single to drive home Daniel Murphy.

Despite scoring a run, that fifth inning proved critical for the Mets. Eric Young was tagged out at home for the first out, and an opportunity to blow the game wide open with runners on second and third and one out went by the wayside, largely due to a critical strike out by Ike Davis who went 0-for-4 to lower his average to .166 for the season. Meanwhile, Josh Satin continues to ride the pine…

Carlos Torres made his first start for the Mets and was in control through his first very sharp four innings until the Pirates finally broke through with a run in the fifth. Overall he allowed five hits and a run in five innings, while walking none and fanning five. Not a bad outing at all.

Andrew McCutchen tied the game at 2-2  with a solo homer in the sixth off David Aardsma who had relieved Torres. However it was Greg Burke who yielded the most damage, allowing two more Pirate runs to score in the seventh that sealed the 4-2 victory for the Pirates.

The Mets offense was woeful tonight and was just 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position while leaving ten men on base and striking out ten times.

Eric Young (16), Daniel Murphy (10) and David Wright (15) each stole a base in the game, but the captain saw his 12-game hitting streak come to an end.

Note: Immediately after the game, the Mets announced that Jordany Valdespin would be optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas and reliever Scott Atchison would be activated from the disabled list. Valdespin batted .189 with four home runs and 16 RBI in 143 plate appearances with the Mets this season.

The Mets will look to salvage the final game of their three-game series with the Pirates tomorrow with Dillon Gee opposing top pitching prospect Gerrit Cole at 1:35 pm.

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Atchison Leaves Game With Sore Right Groin Wed, 19 Jun 2013 02:13:31 +0000 Before today’s game the New York Mets placed infielder Justin Turner on the 15-day disabled list due to an intercostal strain and subsequently activated reliever Scott Atchison.

AtchisonHowever, when Atchison came in to pitch the bottom of the 7th inning, he appeared to injure in his leg while tossing his warmup pitches.

Atchison was immediately pulled from the game and replaced by Brandon Lyon.

The Mets are calling it a sore right groin.

The ailing Atchison was returning to the lineup for the first time since being removed from his appearance in St. Louis on May 13 due to numbness in his fingers. It turns out the 37-year-old reliever was suffering the effects of a bone spur in his throwing arm. The growth was placing pressure on a nerve and causing inflammation in his elbow. Although he has been reactivated, the spur is still present and may need to be removed in the future. Atchison has opted to pitch through the spur on top of the presence of a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament.

As for Turner, who was batting .266 in 44 games played this season, he was in the throes of a 8-50 slump before injuring his side during batting practice. After a few days with no improvement, he was administered a cortisone shot and placed on the DL.

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MMO Featured Post: On The Cusp Of Respectability, What Should Mets Do Now? Mon, 17 Jun 2013 11:28:56 +0000 sandy aldersonI was gratified to read Sandy Alderson’s recent comments regarding a strategic shift in the Mets’ front office. Specifically, his statement to the effect that he feels that it would be worthwhile for the team to begin to add established major league talent to supplement the roster indicates to me that major decisions have been made with respect to the limitations of the organization in its present state.

When trying to assess the strategy of the post-Minaya/Madoff Mets, I have always found it a bit of a puzzler to try to put a finger on when the “money” element of the so-called “Moneyball with money” approach that had been heralded as the defining element of the Alderson/DePodesta/Ricciardi regime would kick in.

Like many, I’ve regarded Sandy’s assertions that the majority of the team’s spending restraint has been his decision alone with a bit of skepticism; after all, part of a general manager’s job is to manage perceptions about the organization as well as its personnel.

Choosing to convey to the world at large that you have accepted the necessity of a period of mediocrity while the team rebuilds is OK, but attempting to maintain the Mets’ role as a big market team along with affording the Wilpon family a degree of mystery as regards their financial strength has resulted in a variety of mixed messages to the fan base. Aiming for the team to remain competitive enough to sustain interest while doing what is necessary to revitalize a barren farm system is an admirable goal, but clearly one that requires a lot of gambles to pay off. Not surprisingly, the results have been desultory, to say the least.

If the team is now ready to rebound from its largely moribund performances of the past few seasons, we should expect that any infusion of new talent to the roster will properly address the weaknesses that are evident to anyone watching. At the same time, we have to hope that the strengths that the team does possess are not unduly compromised by any personnel shuffling that the future may hold.  Still, I would expect that most of us are ready to have some eggs broken if the resulting omelet becomes a breakfast of champions. Let’s take a look at how the promised makeover could take shape:

OFFENSE: The team’s run production has been deplorable. Other than Murphy, Wright, and the surprisingly resurgent Byrd, there hasn’t been a dependable bat to be found, leaving the lineup bereft of the elements that can generate enough runs to allow even a pitcher of Matt Harvey’s meager support requirements to win consistently. The time has come to make a judgment on the very legitimacy of some of these player’s claims to a major league roster spot. This would appear to be the case now with Valdespin, who has been given an audition at second base to see if he can inject some life into the top of the order. So far the results have been disappointing, but the sample size is pretty small. With a player like that, it might never really happen or you could have a scenario similar to what has occurred with Carlos Gomez, now a world-beater years after being merely a piece in the Johan Santana trade. I’m not sure if anyone has the patience to see if ‘Spin’s tools have a chance of translating into a consistent offensive force before his lapses on the field and in the clubhouse become too great an issue to abide. Regardless, it might well be that he is being showcased with the intention of returning Murphy to the spot he has worked so hard to master.

What has really jumped out at me this year is the inability of the “supporting” bats, that is, the 5-6-7 hitters, to get a big hit with any regularity when the game is on the line.  Even as the team struggles to hold down the opposition thanks to the as-always porous bullpen (we’ll get to them in a bit), there have been instances in game after game where “half rallies” have been staged, with runners getting on only to be left high and dry. There has been no spate of 3-run homers, bases-clearing doubles , or even timely bloops despite what seems to be regular opportunities for the lower part of the lineup. With most of these at-bats seeming to fall to John Buck and Lucas Duda, one is acutely aware of the former’s severe dropoff after his blazing start and the latter’s propensity for restricting his power displays to times when the bases are empty.  It is clear that if the heart of the order is reasonably healthy with Wright and Murphy, the lungs and liver are showing signs of distress. Duda is still young enough and shows sufficient potential for me to want to see if he can step his game up as the season progresses, but to be frank, Buck is just killing them at this point.  As we likely won’t be seeing Travis D’Arnaud before rosters expand in September, I think Terry Collins would be better off running Anthony Recker out there three times a week if only to give Buck some much needed rest. Ultimately, what we need to see is another legitimate bat find its way into the order behind the 3-4 slots so that somebody starts knocking those runners in. The most obvious spot for this to happen is first base, so the clock is ticking as far as Ike and a possible non-tender later this year.

BULLPEN: Boy, is this getting to be a tired topic or what? Now that Dillon Gee has largely regained his form, the rotation has been one of the few strengths of the team. Still, even if you get a quality start on a regular basis, you can’t have the bullpen cough up a couple of runs as often as this one has and stand a chance of winning with the anemic offense just described. It might be overwork (certainly in the case of Scott Rice), but there are other flaws in the design of the Mets’ pen that can’t be traced strictly to frequency of use. One of these is the seeming inability to get a strikeout when it’s needed. Despite ranking 6th in the league in relief innings pitched, the Mets’ pen is ranked next-to-last in strikeouts. The amount of contact permitted to the opposition has led to a bullpen ERA that is the highest in the league. Mr. Leathersich can’t get here soon enough, but in the meantime, reinforcements must be found in the form of anyone who can miss some bats for a change. I’m hoping that the return of Scott Atchison and possibly Pedro Feliciano can address this need to a degree, but clearly an emphasis on power arms is needed.

Looking farther ahead, if we anticipate a lineup that will eventually be bolstered by the addition of legitimate bats at catcher, the outfield, and first base (not too tall an order, eh?), and yet another makeover of the bullpen, the legitimate resources of the starting staff could be given a chance to make their presence felt in the form of ACTUAL WINS.  This ain’t gonna happen overnight, but I’d love to see something start happening soon.

(Photo Credit: Gordon Donovan)

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Atchison To Continue Rehab, No Timetable For Return Tue, 04 Jun 2013 01:18:31 +0000 Scott Atchison, Matt Holliday

The Mets released a statement on their official website with an update:

Scott Atchison was seen today in Florida by Dr. James Andrews for continued discomfort in his right elbow. Dr. Andrews concurred with Mets physicians on the diagnosis of, and a treatment plan for, a bone spur in the elbow. Scott will recommence his throwing program on his return to Port St. Lucie. There is no immediate timetable for his return to the Mets in New York.

Before hitting the DL, Scott Atchison had appeared in 19 games. He pitched 18.0 innings to the tune of a 4.50 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP. The Mets pen feels like a wreck right now, so any veteran help could definitely be useful. On the topic of veteran help, David Aardsma has been effective during his stint in Vegas (7.0 IP, 3 SV, 5 H, 1 ER, 10 K) and could be on his way to Flushing soon.

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