Mets Merized Online » Scott Hairston http://metsmerizedonline.com Fri, 02 Dec 2016 22:21:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.16 Mets Pitching Is The Key To Beating Preseason Projections http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/02/mets-pitching-is-the-key-to-beating-preseason-projections.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/02/mets-pitching-is-the-key-to-beating-preseason-projections.html/#comments Thu, 06 Feb 2014 14:15:57 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=147264 Even if it´s tough to believe for Mets fans, the reason for rather modest projections for 2014 is the lack of trust that analysts have in the – mostly unproven – Mets pitching staff.

The Fangraphs ZiPS projection is a good indicator for that. The entire projected opening day pitching staff (i.e. rotation of Niese – Colon – Wheeler – Gee – Mejia) projects to combine for a mere total of an 8 fWAR. Which is by far the worst projected pitching staff in the divisision, well behind the Marlins & Phillies (both 13 fWAR), Braves (20 fWAR) and Nationals (21 fWAR).

wright murphyMeanwhile, the Mets´ projected offense is a lot closer towards contender status at a combined 19 fWAR, well ahead of the Marlins (12 fWAR) and Phillies (15 fWAR) and barely behind the Braves (20 fWAR) and Nationals (23 fWAR).

And if you look back into the rear view mirror (something all projection systems heavily rely on), the Mets offense averaged 634.5 runs between 2012 & 2013 – with very similar rosters except for Marlon Byrd replacing Scott Hairston and the C position being in flux and CF traditionally unsettled. The Phillies averaged 647 runs (in a hitter friendlier park), the Marlins averaged a terrible 561 runs, the Nationals 693.5 and the Braves 694. So, the Mets were 60 runs away from leading the division in runs scored. Since 1 win takes 10 runs scored or not allowed, the Mets were about 6 wins away on offense from contending for the division crown.

Meanwhile, the pitching was a lot further away at an average of 696.5 runs allowed.

The Nats – on average – allowed 610 runs while the Braves merely allowed 574 runs. So, the Mets were between 86.5 and 122.5 – thus on average 104.5 runs or 10+ wins – off the league lead. Even the Marlins (685 runs allowed) were better and the Phillies – in a much tougher homepark – allowed only 714.5 runs on average – 28 more than the Mets staff´s averaged.

Scott Hairston (2012) & Marlon Byrd (2013) now get replaced by Curtis Granderson while Travis d’Arnaud takes over at catcher for Josh Thole (2012) and John Buck (2013). CF remains unsettled but now features Juan Lagares & Chris Young as the main options instead of the revolving door of 2013 and Kirk Nieuwenhuis & Andres Torres in 2012. The rest of the roster essentially returns, though it appears only one of Duda & Ike Davis will play regularly. All in all, if d´Arnaud is better than Buck & Thole were, while the CF also produce more, expecting the 2014 Mets to score at least 650 runs seems reasonable and thus a gain of 1 or 2 wins as it is, not expecting any breakouts from Ike or Tejada or regression from Wright and Murphy.

zack wheeler 2But it all comes down to the pitching. If the Mets staff gives up 695 or more runs again – and thus on average 100 more than the Nats & Braves figure to give up – they won´t make up the difference. If the Mets give up 50 runs less by pitching better, that´s good for 5 wins and a .500 season overall (650 RS vs. 645 RA). If the Mets give up 100 runs less by pitching much better – both in the rotation and bullpen – they would make up another 5+ games and would project to end up right around 86 or 87 wins. And if you happen to like the depth that the Mets will finally have on both their pitching staff (Montero, Syndergaard, young relievers, etc) and offensively (mainly Flores but also some fringy outfielders like Nieuwenhuis & MDD), the upside may even be a little higher compared to the 2012 and 2013 teams that both lacked quality depth behind the regulars.

To summarize, the Mets figure to have a middle of the pack offense in 2014 and going forward. Which isn´t too bad, considering that Citi Field plays about neutral to slightly pitcher friendly. If the pitching remains below average like it has been in 2012 and 2013, the Mets won´t crack .500 and certainly won´t contend. If the young arms perform and the veterans remain solid, this is the big area of upside – both rotation & bullpen – where the Mets could improve significantly.

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MMO Flashback: Grady Sizemore Is Still Out There – A Risk The Mets Should Take? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/mmo-flashback-grady-sizemore-is-still-out-there-a-risk-the-mets-should-take.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/mmo-flashback-grady-sizemore-is-still-out-there-a-risk-the-mets-should-take.html/#comments Thu, 07 Nov 2013 17:58:00 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=98869 I wrote a piece last October questioning whether the Mets should take a shot on Grady Sizemore. He should be fully recovered from knee injuries now, and could be signed on a minor league deal.

Why not take a shot?

I’m not talking about making Sizemore the main signing this off-season, I’m talking about taking a shot on a player that could be had relatively cheap, and potentially be this year’s version of Marlon Byrd.

The Mets seem comfortable going with Juan Lagares in center field in 2014, which is good, because the Mets could slot Sizemore in left field, and not put the added strain of playing center on his knees. 

I’m not convinced Eric Young Jr. should be handed the starting left field job and be the leadoff hitter in 2014, so why not bring in Sizemore and have him compete for a corner outfield spot—especially after seeing EYJR’s salary is going to triple this season.

The Mets probably won’t be in a position to bring in two big bats for the outfield, and unless they flip a couple of players to gain a second big bat, Sizemore could be a nice, low-risk, high-reward signing this winter. 

Original Post – 10/16/12

This is not breaking news – the Mets are in need of a lead off hitter and outfielders as we move towards the 2013 season. Some people may be ready to close the door on Grady Sizemore‘s career, but there is still value there. We are still talking about a player that was on his way to super stardom before some injuries side tracked his career.

After missing the entire 2012 season, Sizemore should be fully healed, rested, and ready to finish what he started a few seasons ago. There isn’t a team in a better position to take a risk on Sizemore than the New York Mets.

Many people will scoff at my last statement and argue that the reward isn’t worth the risk in Sizemore’s case. They will argue he’s too injury prone. Seriously…who cares at this point? Beggars can’t be choosers. With the outlook of the Mets outfield in 2013, adding Sizemore would bring Mets fans a glimmer of hope, and add another player with superstar potential to help David Wright out (pending him re-upping with the team).

The bottom line is the Mets are going to have to take some risks if they want to be able to get competitive again, and fast. The Mets are a Moneyball team now, right? Well, if my memory serves me correctly, one of the main story lines in Moneyball was that they went after a player in Scott Hatteberg, who other teams were avoiding due to injury risk, because they saw value there. Even Billy Beane, lord Moneyball himself, understood that there has to be some sort of risk involved if you are ever going to achieve greatness.

Signing Sizemore on the cheap screams Moneyball.

It’s time for the Mets to start taking a some calculated risks. Sizemore may be a risk, but oh the reward the Mets would receive for taking that risk if Sizemore is even 2/3 the player he was in 2008. Cleveland seems ready to finally part ways with Sizemore who is a free-agent this off-season. MLBTradeRumors.com reported in August that two scouts said that Sizemore is worth signing if there isn’t much guaranteed money at stake. Hopefully one of those scouts was from the New York Mets.

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Mets Victimized By Long Ball Again In 6-3 Loss To Nationals http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/mets-victimized-by-long-ball-again-in-6-3-loss-to-nationals.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/mets-victimized-by-long-ball-again-in-6-3-loss-to-nationals.html/#comments Wed, 11 Sep 2013 04:21:38 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=128985 gee

910mets

With the Tragic Number at 2, the “Playoff Push” is in serious jeopardy… The Mets (64-79) lost to the Nationals (75-69) Tuesday night by a score of 6-3.

Dillon Gee got the start for New York and quickly put himself in a hole, giving up a run in each of the first three innings, including a pair of home runs. The Mets started slowly against Washington’s Jordan Zimmermann, but got a run in the 4th on an RBI single from the red-hot Justin Turner.

After Gee gave up another run in the 6th, the Mets made it a ballgame when Matt den Dekker drove in a pair of runs with a liner over the shortstop’s head, cutting Washington’s deficit to 4-3. However, the Mets were unable to get the one final run they needed to tie it up, as Wilson Ramos nailed the potential tying run twice at second base (catching MdD stealing in the 6th and nabbing Eric Young in the 7th). Scott Hairston put his former team to bed with a home run off of Byrdak, and the Mets were on their way to yet another loss.

Let’s start with the negatives. Dillon Gee had a rare weak start, finding himself unable to settle into a groove. Gee ended up with 6.1 innings of 4-run ball with five strikeouts, nine hits allowed, and no walks.

Can somebody tell the Nationals that they are not playing in Yankee Stadium? They have been treating Citi Field like a bandbox these past 2 days, while the Mets have been unable to find the power stroke.

Did I mention that Justin Turner was red-hot? Well, he’s also probably out for the season, after leaving the game with a leg injury. It looked like a hammy or something similar… and with that usually meaning 2-4 weeks on the DL, why rush him back?

Terry Collins knows he has an expiring contract, right? Collins made a baffling move, putting in Lefty Specialist Tim Byrdak in to face Lefty Killer Scott Hairston. The result? A game-sealing 2-run shot to left.

But on the bright side, the youth movement was in effect tonight. Vic Black looked solid in his Citi Field debut, tossing a scoreless innings. Travis d’Arnaud broke a hitless spell with his 3rd career multi-hit game, and threw a bullet down to 2nd base to wipe Ian Desmond off the basepaths.

Matt den Dekker drove in 2 runs with a single in the 6th and swiped a bag (although he was also caught stealing in this game).

Did the Mets lose? Yes. Have we been losing night after night with no end in sight? Yes. It is frustrating… for me, for you, for the players, and for the ownership. But night after night, we see something that shows that some of the pieces for a successful future are in place… it is now up to the front office to build upon these blocks.

The Mets will face off against the Nationals again tomorrow, with Zack Wheeler (7-4, 3.38 ERA) facing off against Dan Haren (8-13, 5.23 ERA) at 7:10 PM.

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Duda Is Rewriting The Mets Plan At First Base http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/duda-is-rewriting-the-mets-plan-at-first-base.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/duda-is-rewriting-the-mets-plan-at-first-base.html/#comments Thu, 05 Sep 2013 14:12:03 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=128618 lucas-duda

The great thing about baseball is how it shifts your opinions on players from Point A to Point B and then back to Point A again. Always evolving, always transforming and always wonderfully unpredictable. It’s sort of like real life that way.

I remember all the jokes, all the griping and all the complaining when Omar Minaya first signed journeyman pitcher R.A. Dickey and yet six months later he was one of our favorite players (no doubt he used his Jedi mind tricks on us). Same thing occurred with other players like Scott Hairston and more recently Marlon Byrd. That’s why I always find it so silly when people fight so vehemently with each other about these signings. I mean, go ahead and complain about the signings, but why actually fight about it knowing how unpredictable baseball can be?

I bet if you asked 100 Mets fans in July if the Mets should go with Lucas Duda at first base in 2014, about 90 of them would have jumped up and screamed, “No freaking way!”

I bet if you asked those same people today, it would be more like 50/50.

Suddenly, after only a week’s worth of games at first base to replace the injured Ike Davis, the lumbering former left fielder is starting to change some minds about him.

Hey, even Sandy Alderson called him out in an interview on WFAN back in June, and then three days ago he was back on WFAN singing his praises…

In Wednesday’s 5-2 win over the Braves, Duda went 3-for-5 with a home run and fell a triple short of the cycle. He is now hitting .371 (13-for-35) with one homer and four RBIs in 11 games as a first baseman this season.

As a matter of fact, if you took Duda’s .817 OPS this season and put it up against all first base qualifiers in the National League, he would rank sixth in between Allen Craig and Adrian Gonzalez.

Duda credits the switch to first base for his transformation at the plate of late. “I’m much more comfortable at first,” Duda said. “That takes the pressure off.”

I’ve never actually been on the Lucas Duda bandwagon per se, but I certainly find myself wondering more and more about the possibility of bringing him back as our first baseman next season. And that’s coming from one who has been advocating we trade Duda for most of this year.

Again, baseball is so beautiful that way…

little league baseball kids

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Cafardo: Byrd Interest Is Picking Up, But The Price Is Very High http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/cafardo-byrd-interest-is-picking-up-but-the-price-is-high.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/cafardo-byrd-interest-is-picking-up-but-the-price-is-high.html/#comments Tue, 30 Jul 2013 16:33:56 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=126096 Updated 12:15 PM

There seems to be growing interest on Marlon Byrd according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe:

But reports are rampant that the price is high and Mets would have to be blown away to trade Marlon Byrd.

Original Post 9:00 AM

An American League club that has spoken with the Mets was told the New York club would need to “win” the trade in order to part with Marlon Byrd, reports Adam Rubin of ESPN New York. So it is entirely possible, given the Mets’ demands, that Byrd remains a Met after Wednesday’s 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline, he concludes.

“If something presented itself we would consider it,” a team official told Mike Puma of the New York Post. “But we haven’t been presented with anything. We’re just sitting tight. … We’re not motivated to move anybody. It’s hard to go to people. They have to come to you. It’s better to be asked to the prom than have to ask somebody.”

marlon byrd

The Mets are 6-6 since the All-Star break after last night’s 6-5 victory over the Marlins and are 12 1/2 games behind the Braves in the NL East, but still view the idea of a potentially strong finish to the season as more favorable than trading away top talent just for the sake of making a deal.

The Mets official added, “We’re in a really good spot. Unless you’re going to be knocked over, you don’t make a trade. You have A, B and C prospects. If you are going to get a ‘C’ prospect for somebody what does it really do?””

How many times can you read or hear the same things? Since as far back as May, there’s been grumblings of trading Byrd and discussions about what we could get for him. But from the things I’ve heard all along and from different people connected to the Mets or are close to the situation, it’s always been clear that the Mets have no inclination to trade their right fielder. None. That stance has never waffled.

A week or so ago, we bounced around the idea of trading Byrd between myself and my co-writers here and it was pretty much a mixed bag.

Should the Mets trade or keep Marlon Byrd?

Daniel – Trade him, but only if they can get something worthwhile. I think Sandy Alderson is capable of doing that. Marlon Byrd just doesn’t make sense on this team going forward. If Scott Hairston has taught us anything, it’s that no matter what Byrd winds up with statistically, Alderson isn’t going to want to give him the money he wants in free agency. The Mets might as well get something out of him now.

Satish – This shouldn’t even be a question, but Alderson’s probably too scared to take the heat. Byrd is probably our most valuable trade piece that we’d actually part with at the deadline. This team wasn’t built to succeed and we need to capitalize on the fact that we have an opportunity to get a new prospect here. Aardsma could also be a tradeable piece. It’s a shame that we’ve come to this point, but Alderson made this bed of nails, and he better not be afraid to sleep in it.

Joe S. - They should definitely listen to offers as he’ll probably look to cash-in next year with how he’s played this season.

Gerry - Trade him only if they can get a good piece back

XtreemIcon – Keep. Byrd won’t net anything that would significantly impact the future. His production far outweighs his potential return and there’s been several reports about his positive clubhouse presence. That can’t be overlooked on a young team. If he’d be amenable to a one-year extension with the understanding he’d be a 4th outfielder/platoon/occasional starter next season, I’d sign him right now.

Andre - I´d say keep him unless someone offers a Top 100 in Baseball prospect for him. Beyond exceeding expectations with the bat, Byrd seems to have emerged as a natural leader for this mostly young group of players who seems to enjoy his time here. Considering the looming 40-man roster crunch, getting someone´s 2nd or 3rd tier prospect(s) for Byrd doesn´t make a lot of sense when there may not even be room for your own prospects such as Eric Goeddel or Francisco Pena among others after the season.

Tommy - This team will not be competitive going forward and if they can get something useful for him, they must do so.

Eric – Should they trade him? Yes. WILL they? I don’t know. Sandy held onto Scott Hairston last year, and Byrd is a similar candidate. While he’s flashed some nice leather and a healthy power stroke, his OBP is pretty low, and he wouldn’t be much more than a 4th OF on a contender. The question is how much teams will pay for that.

Matt B. - As much as I like him, he probably has more value now than he will ever have, and he’ll probably never duplicate this production, if they can get a prospect for him I’d do it. He’s not part of the future, and obtaining him cost us nothing so if they can further shore up the future by flipping him it’s a no-brainer. Helping the younger players is what the coaching staff is for. Thing is there don’t seem to be a lot of contending teams with big holes in the OF, so it’s a long shot that they trade him, but I think they will try.

Barry - Should the Mets trade or keep Marlon Byrd? What offers will they get ? Not for a c-level prospect (like the Cubs got for Hairston), that’s for sure.

David - Even though Byrd is having a career year, what will the Mets actually get for him, the verdict is still out on his breakout season and no team is going to give up much for a player that only once put up these numbers. Keep Byrd, allow him to finish the season. The Mets will not pick up another bat to hit cleanup and actually make a difference. Byrd is a keeper for a team that needs his bat.

Robert P. - Sell Sell Sell!!! Byrd has been great and was a great get by Sandy Alderson, but he’s got too many years on him to be part of the organization’s long term plans. Cash in while his value is high.

Connor - It all depends on the return. If they can get a top prospect for him, they should trade him. If not, it’s better to have the veteran leadership around the clubhouse than it is to have a C+ prospect.

* * * * * * * *

We have a cross-section that leans toward trading him under the right circumstances here. But the thing of it is, the Mets want to be blown away and I can’t blame them. I think Byrd has more value to the team in 2014 than anything another team will likely offer them.

Then there’s the thing Sandy Alderson probably fears most… Perception. He keeps talking about living and dying with each win and loss this season, and how the time for losing is at an end, right? How will it look if he trades one of his two most productive players this season?

This isn’t 2011 anymore and things change. If he hung onto Scott Hairston last season when it was more prudent to trade him and sell high, why would he trade Byrd now and give fans the perception that after three years this team is still selling? That 2014 will be another punted season? That four years in and we’re still willing to trade established players for prospects who are 2-3 years away? What does that say about the plan?

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Yankees Land Alfonso Soriano From Cubs http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/yankees-land-alfonso-soriano-from-cubs.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/yankees-land-alfonso-soriano-from-cubs.html/#comments Fri, 26 Jul 2013 14:37:24 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=125847 soriano

According to ESPN’s Jim Bowden, Major League Baseball has just approved the trade of Alfonso Soriano from the Cubs to Yankees. Bowden said that Soriano officially waived his no-trade rights and the trade is now official.

The Cubs will pay roughly $17.7 million of the approximately $24.5 million left on Soriano‘s contract, and that they are considering several low-level minor league pitching prospects in return.

Soriano returns to the Yankees, with whom he made his major league debut as a second baseman in 1999. He was traded to the Rangers as part of the Alex Rodriguez deal in 2003. After a year of playing outfield for the Nationals, he signed with the Cubs in 2007 and has primarily played left field.

The Yankees are desperate for power and the Cubs, who are in sell-mode,are looking to move any of their veterans.

Soriano, 37, has hit .254/.287/.467 with 17 home runs in 93 games this season with 48 runs, 51 RBI and 10 stolen bases.

The Cubs have already moved Matt Garza to the Rangers on Monday and have previously moved Scott Feldman and Scott Hairston. Theo isn’t messing around…

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Featured Post: Lets Not Go Chasing Rainbows… Stay The Course http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/lets-not-go-chasing-rainbows-stay-the-course.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/lets-not-go-chasing-rainbows-stay-the-course.html/#comments Thu, 25 Jul 2013 13:11:16 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=125696 wright bat

This morning, I found myself motivated to chime in on a subject that has befuddled me all season long. What are we?

You’re talking about 60-something games left, so it’s going to be an uphill battle. It’s not just catching them, it’s you’ve got to pass other teams.

We were awful for a good portion of the year and we’ve been pretty damn good lately, but we dug ourselves such a hole that ‘pretty good’ is not going to cut it.

We’ve got to be real good. It’s going to be a tremendous challenge, but there’s not one person in here who doesn’t think we can do it, and it depends on if we continue to improve. – David Wright

After reading these comments by Wright this morning, I got the sense that some fans want to suddenly divert from the plan and march toward a very unlikely playoff spot. Of course we all want to win, but what does that mean exactly? And by that I mean in the context of this season and all the seasons still to come.

It’s important to note that what David Wright said is something that we’d expect him or any other team leader to say regardless if their team is five games back, 10 games back, or 20 games back. This is their competitive nature speaking and it’s great to hear, but as fans is that what you really want?

Shall we do what we did in 2005 and ditch the plan and go balls to the wall for the playoffs when there is so much more work to be done?

Has the rebuild, which was never really a full rebuild as the one Theo Epstein has going in Chicago, ended?

Are we now at the forefront of that dynasty we were told about that will bring years and years of sustainable success?

Of course not.

The New York Mets are still in rebuilding mode and after investing three years into this plan I’m not ready to toss it into the wood pile just yet

This team, as I see it, needs a shortstop, at least one outfielder if not two, and most likely a first baseman as well. I don’t want to see Terry Collins going on some wild and crazy “win-now” strategy that will have all the kids shuffled off to the side because we need to win some extra meaningless games that may have us finishing third instead of fourth. Sorry, but there’s no real joy in that for me.

I’ve been reading some of the posts on MetsBlog lately and I’ve got to say I’m pretty alarmed. They teeter back and forth everyday with every Mets win or loss. One day they hear the Mets are going to trade Bobby Parnell and Daniel Murphy, then we have these Giancarlo Stanton rumors, trading or not trading Marlon Byrd, and in the last three days there have been several posts about “if the Mets can do it”. Do what exactly?

What is the message over there? And if it’s all legitimately being spoon-fed to them by the front office as the official “Mets insiders”, why is their message so convoluted?

No.

I’m sorry, but my stance is no. The only thing this team has to do is stay the course.

If someone bowls us over for 35-year old Marlon Byrd, you trade him.

If someone offers a power bat for the outfield in exchange for 29-year old Bobby Parnell, you trade him.

There are no, ifs, ands or buts.

If making these trades weakens the team for 2013, but puts us closer to the goal of sustainable success you do it.

That’s what I signed up for when I put my trust in Sandy Alderson.

It will be sad to see Marlon Byrd go, but we do what we have to do, to get us closer to that brass ring. For all I know, next season Byrd can go pfft like Scott Hairston did this season. Remember all the tears some of you wasted on him this past Winter?

No.

We should not be buyers to bolster a pretend Wild Card chase in 2013. I don’t care what the Mets insiders are saying over there, we need to stay the course.

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Rangers Land Matt Garza From Cubs For Four Prospects http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/rangers-land-matt-garza-from-cubs-for-four-prospects.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/rangers-land-matt-garza-from-cubs-for-four-prospects.html/#comments Mon, 22 Jul 2013 21:53:22 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=125538 MLB: Chicago Cubs at Milwaukee Brewers

Chicago Cubs pitcher Matt Garza was traded Monday to the Texas Rangers for four prospects, the team confirmed.

The Cubs and Rangers finally worked out the details of a trade that will send third baseman Mike Olt and right-handed pitchers C.J. Edwards and Justin Grimm, plus a player to be named, to the Cubs in exchange for the veteran right-hander.

One of the players could be right-hander Neil Ramirez, or other players if the Cubs choose to pick someone else.

The deal is pending physicals for the players involved.

After missing the first two months of this season, Garza has gone 6-1 in 11 starts with a 3.17 ERA, including 5-0 with a 1.24 ERA in his last six.

With five starters on the disabled list — left-hander Matt Harrison, right-handers Yu Darvish, Alexi Ogando, Nick Tepesch and Colby Lewis — the Rangers needed a top-of-the-rotation type starter to contend in the American League West.

Texas is two games behind the Oakland Athletics in the division to begin the second half of the season.

The Cubs have already traded outfielder Scott Hairston, who was dealt to the Washington Nationals, right-hander Scott Feldman, who was sent to the Baltimore Orioles, and right-handed reliever Carlos Marmol, who was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

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Alderson Doesn’t Expect To Fill Significant Needs At Deadline http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/alderson-doesnt-expect-to-fill-significant-needs-at-deadline.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/alderson-doesnt-expect-to-fill-significant-needs-at-deadline.html/#comments Mon, 22 Jul 2013 21:45:01 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=124763 sandy aldersonEchoing what he told us last week, Mets GM Sandy Alderson said today that there is no movement on the trade front as of yet.

He does not expect to fill any significant needs before the deadline.

Last week, Alderson said not to expect any sweeping changes before the deadline.

This shows a measured approach by someone who is walking a tightrope right now.

I still believe he will not pull the rug out from under the team while they are playing well, despite the fact he’s done that in the past.

He realizes the need to work on the fan’s perception of him and that he means it when he says he wants to win. Last week, Jeff Wilpon said that he expected the Mets to be in a better place and much more competitive after three years under Alderson, but still believes in him.

We’ll see what happens, but I’m sticking to my guns and maintain that Marlon Byrd will still be with the Mets on August 1st.

Original Post 7/16

Sandy Alderson spoke to reporters today and Adam Rubin of ESPN New York summarized what he had to say about the upcoming trade deadline, where he sees the team now, and what the offseason holds.

To begin, he does not foresee any sweeping change coming to the Mets before the July 31 trade deadline, but it is impossible “opportunities may present themselves” between now and then.

“I don’t see it looking substantially different, but one or two players can make a difference one way or the other. So I just can’t predict that. But I think we are in a position these days where we’re thinking more inquisitively than we have in the past.”

Alderson values Byrd as between Carlos Beltran and Scott Hairston as far as a potential return goes, but sounded cool on moving him.

“Marlon maybe is a little more of an everyday guy, which makes him more central to what we’re doing. We don’t have anybody we have to move,” Alderson said. “…it has to be a material advantage in talent for us to do that. Is that going to happen? I don’t know.”

He suggested there have not been substantive trade discussions yet, mostly probing.

“The bottom line is I don’t know what the market is going to say.”

Regarding the offseason, Alderson said the Mets will be in position to spend this winter, although fewer and fewer marquee free agents are becoming available in recent years, so taking on contracts via trade may be the route.

We’ve heard this before about free agency and my go-to line has always been that paying market value is not in their DNA.

My predictions:

1, Marlon Byrd and Bobby Parnell are still with the Mets on August 1.

2. Daniel Murphy could be on the move, but don’t expect more than a bullpen arm.

3. Mets will show interest in some of the top end free agents this winter, but nothing will transpire.

4. Mets will try to trade for a top shelf MLB player, but the competition will be stiff and if a bidding war ensues they’ll look to acquire mid-level players instead.

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Making The Case For Trading Marlon Byrd http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/making-the-case-for-trading-marlon-byrd.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/making-the-case-for-trading-marlon-byrd.html/#comments Sat, 20 Jul 2013 02:45:16 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=125295 I want to welcome our newest writer to the MMO family; Jacob Resnick. Jacob was the 2011 SNY Mets Kidcaster and in 2012 was a correspondent for the show Kid’s Clubhouse on SNY and has now brought his talents to the Mets blogosphere here on MMO. Be sure to say hello and give him a MetsMerized welcome as well as a follow at @Jacob_Resnick. Without further ado, here is Jacob’s post on the case for trading Marlon Byrd, which you can also find on his personal blog, Mets Mumblings. – Clayton Collier

byrd  hr 2

On July 31st, 2012, Sandy Alderson made the decision to keep outfielder Scott Hairston in New York. The pros were obvious. Hairston was a monster against left handers, with a BABIP around .300 and an OPS just near .870. When he wasn’t starting (in fact he started 32 more games against southpaws than righties), Hairston emerged as one of the more reliable bats off the bench, hitting .255 with the same amount of pinch-hit home runs (5) as Jordany Valdespin. It was obvious that Hairston was a part of Alderson’s future due to the fact he wasn’t moved, even though the Amazins found themselves 12 games out and all their playoff hopes all but washed away.

Hairston ended up with eight homers in the second half compared to 12 in the first. He also managed 11 less RBI though he did see his AVG rise from .249 to .276. The Mets ultimately let Hairston walk after the year as Hairston took two years and $5 million from the Chicago Cubs.

byrd catch

The Mets inked veteran Marlon Byrd to a one year, $400K contract on the 1st of February to possibly be Hairston’s replacement. If Byrd happened to make the team, he would play his first games since June 8th with Boston. He had been suspended on June 25, 2012 because of testing positive for a banned substance. Byrd’s best days arguably came with the Texas Rangers where he hit 40 home runs and drove in 212 runs over three seasons.

Not only did Marlon make the Opening Day roster, but he found himself roaming right field during game number one. Byrd got off to an average start in April but has since kicked it up hitting six homers in June while driving in 16 runs. He’s also hitting .319 in just 47 at-bats in July. Byrd has been one of the top offensive Mets this season but is also getting it done in the field with six outfield assists on the campaign.

byrd hr

Marlon has been talked about as a potential candidate to be moved by the end of the month and I find that a completely logistical move that the Mets can make, and here are 5 reasons why:

1.  The Mets currently find themselves 10.5 games out of 1st place, so playoff chances don’t look too great. This means the Mets can pretty much qualify as a team who can trade away expiring talent and come away with young talent

2.   Only two current division leaders have right fielders who are hitting above .300 and only one of them have over 10 home runs. An example of a team with dismal right field production are the Atlanta Braves whose Jason Heyward is struggling to stay above .220 and is getting by with 21 RBI and 7 HR. The Dodgers are another contender whose Andre Ethier only has 5 HR at the midpoint.

3.   The Braves have the 18th best farm system in baseball which is as low as it is due to call ups from  2012. The Dodgers are not hesitant to move minor leaguers as they acquired Ricky Nolasco for three prospects this past week.

4.    Byrd is open. Marlon in a recent interview with Mets Merized Online said he would love to stay with the Mets but is going to go with whatever Sandy Alderson thinks is right.

5.   Sandy obviously learned that Scott Hairston should have been moved at the deadline and I think he will jump at the opportunity this time around.

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2012 Mets Castoffs Have Not Had Much Success In ’13 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/2012-mets-castoffs-have-not-had-much-success-in-13.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/2012-mets-castoffs-have-not-had-much-success-in-13.html/#comments Thu, 11 Jul 2013 16:48:43 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=124363 Scott Hairston

Former-Met Scott Hairston was dealt on Monday to the Washington Nationals after struggling mightily with the Cubs in 2013. While in hot pursuit of free agent outfielder Michael Bourn, Chicago swept Hairston out from under the feet of the Amazin’s front office, forcing Sandy’s “What Outfield?” Mets into the spotlight. Many, myself included, criticized Alderson for allowing the veteran to walk, especially on such an inexpensive deal. However once spring arrived and a new season was underway, it became quite clear that the Hairston that produced 20 home runs for the Mets in 2012 was unable to do the same in Wrigley.

Scott Hairston represents just the tip of the iceberg in a laundry list of now-former Mets who have struggled in their respective new homes after parting ways with New York this past winter. In fact, outside of Jason Bay who has 11 homers with the Mariners, almost every 2012 Met no longer with the team has found themselves in less than desirable spots since their departure from Queens.

r.a. dickey

When R.A. Dickey was traded to the Toronto just before Christmas, he was widely regarded as the final piece that put the new-look Jays over the top as the favorite in the AL East, yet to this point, he has failed to put up numbers even close to his 2012 Cy Young Award winning season. Going 8-9 with a 4.77 ERA, Dickey has become one of the many top-tier acquisitions that has yet to live up to expectations in 2013.

Also coming over in the Blue Jays deal was the catching duo of Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas. A pair known for a combined sub-par performance in their respective Met careers, leading many to believed they truly belonged in Buffalo rather than Flushing. Ironically, that is exactly where they ended up in 2013, pairing up once again behind the plate, only this time with the now Toronto-affiliated Buffalo Bisons.

St Louis Cardinals v New York Mets

Mike Pelfrey‘s roller coaster Met career came to a conclusion this past winter when he was non-tendered rather than going to arbitration. The 2005 first-round pick was signed by the Minnesota Twins to a one-year, $4 million deal; a bargain. Pelfrey, coming back from Tommy John surgery, has since struggled to regain any sort of command, pitching to the tune of a 5.36 ERA over 15 starts.

ramirez032113

Angel Pagan was dealt to the San Francisco Giants on the night of December 7th in return for RHP Ramon Ramirez and outfielder Andres Torres. Both were expected to play prominent roles in the 2012 season for the Mets, however as both were unable to rise to the occasion, they were let go by the Amazin’s and promptly re-signed by the club that traded them just one year ago. After posting an ERA north of 11, Ramirez was granted his unconditional release and is currently in the Rays minor league system. Torres, although not exactly swinging the bat well with a .661 OPS, has managed to find himself regular time in San Francisco, starting in place of Pagan, who is out for the year with a hamstring injury.

jon rauch mets

Jon Rauch was one one of the more reliable arms for the Amazin’s out of the ‘pen in 2012, however took his talents to South Beach for the 2013 season. His tenure with the Marlins was not long lived as he was released after posting a 7.56 ERA in just 15 outings.

Starter Chris Young signed a minor league deal with the Washington Nationals, and after going 1-2 with a 7.88 ERA in Triple-A Syracuse, found himself out of a job.

A number of the Mets core performers of 2012 were not renewed for this year, and now at halfway through this season, it appears that Sandy Alderson made the right move in choosing to let them walk. While purging what turned out to be the right players, Alderson has also brought back guys like Jeremy Hefner who have contributed positively to the 2013 squad. Now if only he could get an outfielder…

Alderson

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Nationals Acquire Scott Hairston From The Cubs http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/nationals-acquire-scott-hairston-from-the-cubs.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/nationals-acquire-scott-hairston-from-the-cubs.html/#comments Mon, 08 Jul 2013 20:45:46 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=124183 Scott Hairston (Photo by Jim Mancari)The Washington Nationals acquired Scott Hairston on Monday from the Chicago Cubs for minor league pitcher Ivan Pineyro.

Chicago general manager Jed Hoyer said on a conference call there are “players to be named (later) on either side,” but they “will not affect the balance of the deal.”

The Cubs signed Hairston to a two-year deal in the offseason to platoon in right field, but he struggled, batting .172 with eight home runs and 19 RBI.

Just last week, the Cubs also traded pitchers Scott Feldman and Carlos Marmol along with catcher Steve Clevenger, and there are rumors circulating that starter Matt Garza could be traded too.

Pineyro, 21, is 6-3 with a 3.24 ERA in 15 starts at Class-A and was named to this year’s South Atlantic League All Star Team. Going into this season, Hagerstown pitching coach told MLB.com, that if Pineyro continues to pitch the way he has been, he will be a big league pitcher.

I’m surprised the Cubs did this well considering that Hairston was having such an awful, awful season… The other negative is that the Nationals are also saddled with his $2.5 million salary for the 2014 season…

It also begs the question that if Theo Epstein could get a prospect like Pineyro for Hairston now, I wonder what the Mets could have gotten when Hairston was the team’s second best slugger behind Wright last season?

And then of course, what could the Mets get now for Marlon Byrd?

(Photo Credit: Jim Mancari)

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Expect A Very Quiet Trade Deadline For The Mets http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/expect-a-very-quiet-trade-deadline-for-the-mets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/expect-a-very-quiet-trade-deadline-for-the-mets.html/#comments Sun, 07 Jul 2013 20:27:13 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=124090 sandy aldersonAccording to what a team insider told Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, with the July 31 trade deadline three weeks away, they may not be buyers or sellers and will instead stand pat.

Rubin says that Mets officials are expected to keep tabs with the Colorado Rockies about Carlos Gonzalez and the Los Angeles Dodgers about Andre Ethier. But given the tight nature of the NL West standings, those players very well won’t get traded anywhere, much less to the Mets. And there is no indication Giancarlo Stanton gets traded, either.

He also likens the Marlon Byrd situation to how the Mets handled Scott Hairston last season, preferring to keep him and stay somewhat competitive despite demand from other teams.

There’s been blog speculated rumors of trading Daniel Murphy or Bobby Parnell, but there’s no indication at all that the Mets would move either of them. Shaun Marcum doesn’t seem like an attractive option for a team trying to bolster a post season run. Plus his incentive bonuses worth $4 million doesn’t help his case as does a bum back and shoulder that leads to numbness and tingling in his fingers.

At a ticket holder event at the end of June, Sandy Alderson practically promised a big move before the All Star Game – but it’s looking more and more like he was referring to picking up Eric Young off waivers which he did three days later.

I think it will be a quiet trade deadline for the Mets and that their big move will come in the offseason when teams are more amenable to trading what the team covets most – a young, proven power hitter with 2-3 years of team control.

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Cubs’ Players Wish Dads ‘Happy Father’s Day’ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/cubs-players-wish-dads-happy-fathers-day.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/cubs-players-wish-dads-happy-fathers-day.html/#comments Sun, 16 Jun 2013 13:00:15 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=122167 Baseball has been uniting father and son since the inception of the game in the 1850s.

So on this Father’s Day, we are grateful to the many dads out there who taught us how to play America’s pastime.

With the Chicago Cubs in town for this past weekend’s series, a few of the visiting players shared their memories growing up learning the tools of the trade from their fathers.

Scott Hairston (Photo by Jim Mancari)

Scott Hairston (Photo by Jim Mancari)

Following in Dad’s Footsteps

As the son of a Major Leaguer, former Met and current Cubs’ outfielder Scott Hairston recalls always being at the old Comiskey Park to watch his dad, Jerry Sr., play. Jerry Sr. spent 13 of his big-league seasons with the Chicago White Sox, so Scott grew up in Naperville, Ill., and always wanted to play for a Chicago team.

“My dad was a huge influence on me obviously being a baseball player,” Hairston said. “With his direction, the discipline I received from him made me the man I am today. I love my father, and I appreciate all the hard work he’s done to raise us five kids.”

Even though Scott is now a veteran, he finds that he calls his dad often to discuss the game. He said that his father is someone he can turn to in good times and bad times, and that’s important since the game of baseball has many ups and downs.

“My dad is always there for me,” Hairston said. “Everybody needs somebody to talk to. It helped me because my dad played a lot of years. What he’d been through, chances are I’ve been through.”

Teaching Work Ethic

Hairston’s teammate and fellow outfielder David DeJesus – who was born in Brooklyn – also has great memories of learning the game from his father. The family moved to Manalapan, N.J., and the first thing that David’s father, Heryk Sr., did was built an outdoor batting cage for his three sons: David, Michael and Heryk Jr.

David DeJesus (Photo by Jim Mancari)

David DeJesus (Photo by Jim Mancari)

Heryk Sr. never played organized baseball growing up in Puerto Rico, but he could tell from an early age that his sons had talent. In addition to the batting cage, the kids also took at least 400 swings per day – left-handed of course – in their basement. Heryk Sr. hung a blanket from the ceiling and stacked mattress pads behind it so his sons could get their work in. These sessions were often videotaped so the family could all review the tapes later on in the evening.

Heryk Sr. laid the foundation for David, and for that David is very grateful.

“The most important aspect was the work ethic,” DeJesus said. “Sometimes as a young high schooler, you don’t really want to go and hit. At five o’clock every day when he got home and the garage door went up, that’s when we knew we were going to the baseball field to go practice. It gave me that work ethic to work hard every day.”

Heryk Sr. was in the ballpark for all three games of the series and was able to spend some time with his son. David now has his own son, three-year-old Kingston, who loves baseball. David hopes his son’s interest in baseball continues to grow so he can share the same experiences he had with his father.

Baseball Comes First

Of all the stories these Cubs’ players shared, first baseman Anthony Rizzo has the best one. He spoke of the time his brother, John Jr., was making his first Holy Communion in Florida. However, with Anthony’s dad John Sr. as the ringleader, the family didn’t exactly make it through the whole ceremony.

Anthony Rizzo (Photo by Jim Mancari)

Anthony Rizzo (Photo by Jim Mancari)

“He (John Sr.) snuck me out of there to go play a game,” Rizzo said. “From the Communion, we went straight to the field.”

John Sr. was able to be with his son at the 2013 World Baseball Classic while Anthony played for Team Italy. Rizzo said he and his father further bonded as he represented his Italian heritage.

Rizzo’s dad coached him all throughout Little League, through travel ball and right up until high school. Rizzo said that John Sr. served as a vital mentor in his path to the big leagues.

“He’s shaped me as a person,” Rizzo said. “Whether I do good or bad, it doesn’t matter as long as he knows I’m happy and as long as our family is happy.”

John Sr. was also at Citi Field the entire series, and the two got to spend some more quality time together.

Happy Father’s Day

It’s great to see that even players who reach the big leagues never forget where they came from. Each one of these players’ dads played a major role in helping their sons achieve their baseball dreams.

They each had some final thoughts to pass along to their dads.

“I love you, that’s it,” DeJesus said.

“Happy Father’s Day,” Rizzo said. “I hope he enjoys it. I hope to have another 50 or 60 Father’s Day’s with him.”

“Thanks Dad for being there for me and directing me during the course of manhood and being a baseball player,” Hairston said. “That appreciation will never die as long as I’m living.”

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Mets Never Made Hairston Any Offer http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/mets-never-made-hairston-any-offer.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/mets-never-made-hairston-any-offer.html/#comments Fri, 17 May 2013 16:34:05 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=119174 scott hairstonAdam Rubin of ESPN New York writes a column about how the Mets went about building their current outfield which started with a joke and ended with a joke in my opinion.

Rubin spoke with Scott Hairston who dismissed rumors that the Mets had made him an offer, but understood the situation and respected Sandy Alderson’s decision.

“There were times where I wasn’t sure what they wanted to do, so I waited. But as a player you can only wait so long, so I knew I had to move on and I had to move forward, and that’s just the way it was.”

Hairston, who was clear he wanted a two-year deal, did not get any offer from the Mets. Not even one year.

“There were reports that it happened, but the Mets never made me a one-year offer,” he said.

For what it’s worth, Hairston is off to a slow start and is batting just .125 in 48 at-bats with three home runs. But on the flipside, his replacement Collin Cowgill has already been demoted to the minors.

Read Adam Rubin’s full article here.

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Memorable Mets Moments: Eric Valent Hits For The Cycle! http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/memorable-mets-moments-eric-valent-hits-for-the-cycle.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/memorable-mets-moments-eric-valent-hits-for-the-cycle.html/#comments Mon, 06 May 2013 20:37:03 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=115693 Hitting for the cycle has always been one of the more singular batting feats in baseball. It is a relatively rare occurrence but not one that guarantees anything in particular for the team of the player who achieves one beyond a mention on the sports page. Granted, it involves getting four hits (a good thing) with three being for extra bases (a very good thing), but from a pure baseball perspective one could propose that if a batter had four singles in a game, he might well provide a greater benefit to his team than a cycle would, provided those singles occur with runners in scoring position.

In other words, a cycle is a feat we regard with admiration primarily because it is COOL. It is so COOL that it even has a more refined version, the so-called “natural” cycle (single, double, triple, home run in order). This unique quality allows a cycle to actually transcend the game itself, remaining COOL even if your team loses the game in which it occurs, kind of like a consolation prize.

At this point in baseball history, only two teams remain cycle-less: the San Diego Padres (who also hold the distinction of being the only franchise not to have recorded a no-hitter) and the Miami Marlins whose relative youth as a franchise functions as something of an excuse. By way of contrast, the Red Sox have pulled off the feat an impressive twenty times.

eric valentSeven Mets had achieved the cycle prior to the day in July, 2004 when Eric Valent got one of his infrequent starts, spelling regular left fielder Cliff Floyd in a game against the Montreal Expos. Valent was a 27 year-old outfielder/first baseman who had been a late first round draft pick by the Phillies in 1998. After a couple of uneventful cups of coffee with the Phils, he was dealt to the Reds for catcher and future Met Kelly Stinnett in August of 2003. That winter, he was left off the Reds’ 40 man roster and was selected by the Mets in the Rule 5 Draft.

The Mets timing was fortuitous, as Valent was about to turn 27, the apparent “magic” age for certain players when whatever baseball skills they possess coalesce long enough to produce some evidence to support their place on a major league team. The 2004 season would mark Eric’s high water mark as a player as he produced a respectable .267/.337/.481 slash line in 270 AB’s spread out over 130 games. He would hit all of his big league homers that season, including one that day in Montreal.

Facing Expos starter Rocky Biddle, Valent collected a single in the second inning and a double in the third. He then homered off reliever Sunny Kim, launching a shot that clanked off one of the speakers suspended from the roof of Olympic Stadium. That left him a triple short of achieving a cycle, generally regarded as the toughie of the bunch.

When he came to the plate in the top of the seventh, the Mets had opened a substantial lead in what would end up a 10-1 win for Al Leiter. Consequently, a discussion on going for a three-bagger had preceded his next plate appearance.  Mets coach Don Baylor had told Valent to expect third base coach Matt Galante to be “waving” him on anything hit down the line or in the gap.

When his subsequent at-bat produced a liner into the right field corner, “I just kept going when I hit it” Valent would say after the game

“When I hit the ball in the corner like that, I knew I was going to third. I just wanted to hit the ball hard. It was cool. There aren’t a lot of guys that can say they hit for the cycle, no matter how long they play. It’s a lot of luck.”

By virtue of that statement to MLB.com, we can trace an awareness of the cycle’s aforementioned “coolness factor” to the players themselves.

Of the ten Mets who have hit for the cycle (the most recent being Scott Hairston on April 27th of last year), Valent could be said to tie with infielder Mike Phillips of the 1975 team for “least likely.” After a few more desultory appearances with the Mets the following season, he was out of baseball, but in the record books. That moment of his career at least, was pretty cool.

Mets Who Have Hit For The Cycle

April 27, 2012, Scott Hairston at Colorado

June 21, 2006, Jose Reyes vs. Cincinnati

July 29, 2004, Eric Valent at Montreal

Sept. 11, 1997, John Olerud vs. Montreal

July 3, 1996, Alex Ochoa at Philadelphia

Aug. 1, 1989, Kevin McReynolds at St. Louis

July 4, 1985, Keith Hernandez at Atlanta (19 innings)

June 25, 1976, Mike Phillips at Chicago

July 6, 1970, Tommie Agee vs. St. Louis

Aug. 7, 1963, Jim Hickman vs. St. Louis

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Cowgill Optioned To Triple-A, Andrew Brown Called Up And Is With The Team http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/cowgill-optioned-to-triple-a-andrew-brown-called-up-and-is-with-the-team.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/cowgill-optioned-to-triple-a-andrew-brown-called-up-and-is-with-the-team.html/#comments Fri, 03 May 2013 18:50:23 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=117256 andrew brown

Updated on May 3 at 2:40 PM

The Mets have selected the contract of OF Andrew Brown from Triple-A Las Vegas and added him to the 40 man roster, the team announced.

The 28-year old was batting a sizzling .367/.440/.622 to go along with 13 doubles, three triples, and two home runs. He was leading the team in several different offensive categories including 27 RBI and 61 total bases.

To make room for him, the team optioned Collin Cowgill to Triple-A which is exactly what I figured would happen.

Cowgill batted just .157 with a .467 OPS in 51 at-bats after being named the Mets everyday center fielder on Opening Day. Maybe he’ll have better luck at the Black Jack tables.

Original Post May 2, 2013

According to what a source told Adam Rubin, the Mets will be promoting right-handed hitting outfielder Andrew Brown from Triple-A Las Vegas, where Brown was tearing it up at the plate.

Rubin says that Brown will be on hand for tonight’s game against the Braves in Atlanta.

Ironically, in our Mets Minors Report yesterday morning we wrote:

Andrew Brown went 3-for-5 last night with a home run, double and 3 RBI as he continued his “Seriously, call me up to the MLB team” tour.

The 28-year old was batting a sizzling .367/.440/.622 to go along with 13 doubles, three triples, and two home runs. He was leading the team in several different offensive categories including 27 RBI and 61 total bases.

They will have to make room for him on the 40 man roster and I’m betting Collin Cowgill will get the boot as I’ve been suggesting the past week and a half.

Brown probably won’t set the world on fire, but he’ll certainly be an upgrade over Cowgill and Mike Baxter. As one of our readers wrote yesterday, he has a chance to do what Scott Hairston did for us last season.

One thing to note is that Josh Satin took over for Andrew Brown in the outfield during last night’s game for the Las Vegas 51s. He’s another player the Mets could use right now and his ability to play first base, third base and outfield could pave the way for another roster move in the very near future.

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Leaving Collins’ Fate Up In The Air Can Blow Up In Sandy’s Face http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/leaving-collins-fate-up-in-the-air-can-blow-up-in-sandys-face.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/leaving-collins-fate-up-in-the-air-can-blow-up-in-sandys-face.html/#comments Wed, 20 Mar 2013 15:05:55 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=106698 terry collins spring 2

Post Updated on 3/20

I caught this transcript on MetsBlog this morning. They were comments made by Sandy Alderson who was a guest on the New York Post’s baseball podcast. The subject was Terry Collins‘s lame duck status and the possibility of a contract extension in the future:

“Well, I want Terry to be the manager. He and I have a great rapport. I think he does a great job with the players. They believe in him. I just felt that going into this season with the disappointment of the last couple – and I don’t mean that in not getting into the playoffs – more about how we played in the first half and the second half – a lot of that has to do with personnel. It doesn’t have to do with leadership. It has to do with the depth of the personnel and injuries and whether or not you can overcome those.

Often it’s not about the manager, but about what depth you have in your system.  We have more and more depth to draw on and I think we’re seeing that. But I think in part for that reason – and in part for the desire just to see how the team continues to develop – this is the best thing for the Mets. It doesn’t mean Terry won’t be with us long term, and it doesn’t mean he’ll be judged on wins and losses either.”

You all know my feelings on this as we’ve discussed this quite often over the last 3-4 months. I think having a lame duck manager in this town is a big mistake. I believe Alderson is being naive and as usual he likes to be reactive rather than proactive. He takes that approach with every decision he makes and is never out front on anything. He loves to wait things out. Sometimes it works, sometimes it fails.

I would love to see him get a dose of his own medicine when he enters his own lame duck season and hope the Wilpons leave him flapping in the wind, if only to show him how it can undermine one’s authority and ability to make decisions based on the long term because you are mostly worried about the short term.

Collins inherits a 74 win team that has a weakened rotation and outfield. His rotation lost a 20-game winner that accounted for more than 25% of the team’s wins last season and his spot in the rotation has been taken by Shaun Marcum. Scott Hairston, who was no great shakes mind you, was still the second best slugger on the team in 2012 and he was replaced by Collin Cowgill.

The bullpen, as always is a crapshoot, and the de facto closer for now is Bobby Parnell who hasn’t succeeded in that role in the past, and in fact may be a downgrade to Frank Francisco if you can believe that. The rest of the pen is a rag-tag group of scrap heap signings, journeymen and just one youngster with loads of potential who may wind up getting burned out by June if he indeed becomes the only lefty in the pen. I’m talking about Josh Edgin.

Collins will do what he can to survive. During his tenure as Mets manager, he’s lost half an All Star team worth of talent with nothing to show for it at the major league level – it’s all simmering in the minors with some pieces still years away.

You gotta feel bad for the guy….

Post Updated on 2/16

Collins is the final year of his contract, which he originally signed in November 2010.

According to Ken Davidoff of the New York PostWally Backman isn’t looking to take Terry Collins’ job as manager of the Mets, but his goal is definitely to manage in the big leagues.

For now, Backman is focused on what he’s being paid for and that is to mange the Triple-A Las Vegas 51′s this season.

As I said before, and you can read below, I thought it  was naive for Alderson to think Collins’ lame duck status wouldn’t become an issue. Here is what he said last week:

“I think it will only be an issue if Terry makes it an issue or I make it an issue,” Alderson said. Wrong answer Mr. Alderson, this isn’t something you can sweep under the rug and pretend it goes away.

Backman may have just made it an issue:

“I know that his contract’s coming up, and he knows it. Everybody knows it. It’s a tough spot for him and, really, for me.”

Alderson did little to extinguish what Backman said by telling Davidoff on Saturday, that he believes Backman is capable of managing in the big leagues right now.

Yep… This is going to be a big issue – like it or not.

Original Post 2/2

Last night, Sandy Alderson revisited the subject of Terry Collins, who is in the final year of his contract and heads into this season as a lame duck.

“I think it will only be an issue if Terry makes it an issue or I make it an issue,” Alderson said. “I hope we don’t let the media make it an issue, although it’s a question that I’m sure will be asked, especially early in spring training.”

“But I’ve talked to Terry. I think he’s comfortable with his situation. And I know that whatever happens this season, there will be a fair evaluation at the end.”

This is not that different from what he said right after ringing in the new year:

“Look, it would be disingenuous to say, no, it won’t be an issue. Sometimes it becomes an issue. I think it’s a function of whether Terry makes it an issue, or the club makes it an issue, or the media makes it an issue. I understand the possibility it could become something. I hope it doesn’t.”

I think Collins is eventually going to be the fall guy for 2013 even though he was dealt a bad hand. The truth is that he’s never gotten the opportunity to manage a team that can contend for a title, and when he was able to get the team to play above themselves, he had the rug pulled out from under him.

If this team really is geared for a championship run beginning in 2014, I doubt very much that Collins will be around to see it. I’m pretty certain that he will be cast aside for a younger and newer model, never having an opportunity to reap the rewards of the confidence he’s instilled in some of the team’s younger players.

As for this becoming an issue or not, I think it’s naive to think it won’t be.

We’ve had dozens of instances like this in the past with the Mets, Yankees, Jets, Giants, Knicks and Rangers, and it always becomes an issue in this town. This isn’t southern California.

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MMO Featured Post: Can The Mets Win The WAR in 2013? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/mmo-featured-post-can-the-mets-win-the-war-in-2013.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/mmo-featured-post-can-the-mets-win-the-war-in-2013.html/#comments Mon, 04 Mar 2013 03:07:19 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=108795 The New York Mets ended up winning 74 games during the 2012 season. Their Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey was traded and their most productive outfielder, Scott Hairston, has departed as well.

The farm system may be in much better shape, and their projected 2014 payroll will be in the bottom of the majors for now – potentially opening a lot of financial flexibility going forward. However, is doom and gloom in store for the 2013 edition of the Mets? Or can they win the WAR?

While I´ll acknowledge that Wins Above Replacement is a somewhat flawed method of measuring talent – especially considering the flaws of defensive stats in this metric – it is still a sound way to judge a team overall.

So, the question is, what kind of an impact have this offseason’s transactions had on the team’s WAR compared to 2012? And how will it evolve in 2013?

Let’s examine the situation, and for those of you wondering, I’ll be using Baseball Reference’s version of WAR to conduct my analysis.

harvey

2013 Rotation: Net Gain 0.5 WAR

RA Dickey and his 5.6 WAR is gone, as are Chris Young (0.7 WAR) and Mike Pelfrey (0.9 WAR). In all likelihood, Chris Schwinden and his -0.6 WAR won´t return either. So, overall, 6.6 in WAR have to be made up and accounted for – a daunting task indeed.

Newly acquired Shaun Marcum posted a 1.3 WAR in 2012 and a 2.9 WAR in 2011. Splitting the difference, let´s assume his 2013 WAR will  2.1 as one member of this rotation.

The rest will have to be made up in-house.

Matt Harvey posted a strong 1.6 WAR in one third of a season. Since I very much believe in him, let´s assume he doubles his 2012 totals (tripling it would seem a bit outlandish). So, there´s a 3.2 WAR and thus a gain of 1.6.

Jonathon Niese had a 3.2 WAR in 2012. Let´s assume he matches that again this season and doesn´t take a step forward. Thus,.no change.

Dillon Gee posted a 0.8 WAR in 2012 while missing almost half the season. Let´s say he´s 100% back and almost doubles his previous total to a 1.5 WAR in 2013.

That leaves Johan Santana and his 0.1 WAR for 2012.

Santana’s WAR through June would was closer to 2.0 prior to his collapse over his final ten outings of the season. Let´s assume, he pitches to a modest 1.0 WAR for half the season and then gets replaced by Zack Wheeler for the other half who does half as well as Matt Harvey did in his debut. Overall, we can expect a 1.8 WAR from both of them combined.

Finally, we have Collin McHugh who made a few starts and posted a -0.9 WAR in 2012, thanks to a couple of atrocious outings late in the year while due to fatigue. Let´s assume he performs at a 0.0 replacement level.

Taking all of that conservatively projected data into consideration along with the historical data leads us to this conclusion.

The Mets needed to make up for the loss of 6.6 in Wins Above replacement.

When you calculate Marcum’s 2.1 WAR, plus the net gains of Harvey (1.6 WAR), Gee (0.8 WAR), the 1.7 WAR we could get from the Santana and Wheeler combination, and McHugh (0.9 WAR), it results in a total net gain of 7.1 in WAR.

So, overall, the rotation gains half a win vs. 2012.

bobby parnell

2013 Bullpen: Net Gain 4.5 WAR

The Mets had one of the worst bullpens in the league in 2012.

Frank Francisco – in an injury riddled season posted a – 0.7 WAR and now seems DL bound for an extended period of time. Jon Rauch, Ramon Ramirez and Tim Byrdak (due to injury) are all gone from the 2012 cast and overall they combined for a 0.0 WAR last season. Manny Acosta and his -1.2 WAR is headed to Japan. Miguel Batista and his -0.2 WAR will write his poems for the Braves in 2013.

Meanwhile, the Mets have brought in Brandon Lyon (1.2 WAR in 2012), RH Scott Atchison (1.7 WAR in 2012), Pedro Feliciano (0.0 due to missing the season), Aaron Laffey ( 0.2 WAR) and LaTroy Hawkins (- 0.1 WAR). I´ll assume only Lyon, Atchison and Feliciano land a spot and replace Rauch – Ramirez – Byrdak. Conservative as I am, I´ll pencil in Lyon & Atchison for half as good a season and Feliciano as neutral. Gain: 1.5

Acosta is replaced in-house by either Jeurys Familia or Greg Burke. Since I like the latter ones quite a bit, I´ll project them as a +0.8 WAR reliever combined. Gain: 2.0

Finally, Josh Edgin posted a – 0.1 WAR in 2012 in his brief debut. Blessed with a power arm, he does modestly decent and finishes with a 0.4 WAR overall. Gain: 0.5

FF returns at some point and remains a disappointment. But instead of – 0.7, only is a – 0.2 reliever in 2013. Gain: 0.5

Parnell repeats his 2012 season as the new Mets closer.

Adding everything up, the bullpen turns from atrocious to a solid average. Yet, an overall gain of 4.5 Wins.

Tejada surprised many with his quality offensive production in 2012

2013 Infield: Net Gain 3.5 Wins

Most of the 2012 Infield is back. David WrightRuben TejadaDaniel MurphyIke Davis combined for a 10.5 WAR in 2012 – in spite of Murphy learning a new position,  Ike being limited by valley fewer, Tejada missing an extended stretch of time, and Wright being almost unprotected in the lineup most of the season.

The average age of the four regular infielders entering 2013 is 26.5 and thus pretty close to the prime years for a baseball player. Let´s assume Wright regresses slightly from 6.7 to 4.5, however Tejada improves from 1.9 to 2.5 over a full season, Murphy´s defensive improvements over the 2nd half of the season last to bring his WAR up from 1.2 to 2.0 while Ike finally has the break-out we´ve all been expecting and plays defense like in 2011 and 2010 to post a 3.0 WAR vs. 0.7 in 2012. Overall, that´s a gain of 1.5 Wins from these 4 players.

The backup infielder Cedeno (+ 0.3) is replaced by Hicks (-0.1) or Quintanilla (+0.5). Splitting the difference, this remains unchanged.

At Catcher, Josh Thole (- 0.1) gets replaced by John Buck (0.4 WAR in 2012) for a gain of half a win.

Backups Mike Nickeas (-0.7) and Rob Johnson (-0.2) are replaced by Anthony Recker (0 WAR in 2012) and Rookie Travis D´Arnaud. Being very conservative, I´ll give the latter two a combined 2013 WAR of merely + 0.6. Still, overall, that´s a 1.5 WIN gain vs. the terrible 2012 backup combo.

Adding things up, the catching improves by 2 Wins, the Infield by 1.5 wins for a total of + 3.5 wins.

mike baxter card

 2013 Outfield: Net Gain 3.0 Wins

Ah, the outfield. A collection of rejects and suspects that has lost Scott Hairston (+ 1.5) and Andres Torres (+ 1.2) and Jason Bay (- 1.3 WAR in 2012). Total loss: 1.4 WAR.

Among newcomers, Collin Cowgill (+ 0.3 in limited action in 2012) figures to double his AB for a total WAR of + 0.6. Marlon Byrd (- 0.5 in 2012 but 1.7 in 2011) and Andrew Brown (-0.1) are competing for a spot. Let´s assume, overall they post a 0.4 WAR, so the new guys combine for 1.0 WAR.

That leaves things up to returnees.

Lucas Duda combined disappointing offense and horrible defense in RF for a – 1.4 WAR in 2012. With an easier assignment in LF and a better offensive approach, he emerges as a modestly solid player to post a 0.6 WAR – for a 2 WAR gain overall.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis had his ups & downs and finished with a 0 WAR in 2012. At age 25, he´s poised for modest improvements and an expected WAR of a conservative 1.4 – which is still below average for a CF but certainly realistic.

Finally, Mike Baxter and his 0.3 returns to RF. He probably is what he is and remains unchanged.

Still doing the math, the outfield gains 3.0 Wins overall and “improves” from atrocious to well below average in 2013.

Overall Net Gain 11.5 Wins

Now of course, it only February 26 and a couple of the players here may change for a myriad of reasons as Spring Training battles are waged in St. Lucie, but we have a good case here to believe the Mets as currently constructed can out produce what they did in 2012. Even with the key losses of R.A. Dickey and Scott Hairston.

All included, the 2013 Mets gain 11.5 wins vs. their 2012 counterparts. Please note that these projections do not include monster-breakouts for anyone. Just gradual improvements which you´d expect for generally young players and no crippling injuries.

Adding 11.5 wins to a total of 74 wins in 2012, you get to 85.5 wins. Not good enough to beat the Nationals for the division and probably behind the Braves as well. But certainly good enough to challenge the Phillies for 3rd place in the NL East and thus compete for the second Wild Card in the NL. And if players such as D´Arnaud, Wheeler, Ike or Duda really happen to break out in a big way, there´s upside for an even higher total. But let´s stop dreaming and “only” look at a glass that could be a lot closer to “half full” than people realize.

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This Is How The Mets Can Win 85-90 Games in 2013 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/02/this-is-how-the-mets-can-win-85-90-games-in-2013.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/02/this-is-how-the-mets-can-win-85-90-games-in-2013.html/#comments Mon, 18 Feb 2013 18:37:31 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=108375 mets spring training 2013 Wally Backman leads workout

Almost everyone is going to pick the Mets to finish fourth in the division. That’s a given. They are looking up and down at team rosters, and giving their projections based on the players on those rosters. A roster is simply a list of names. It can’t tell you if a player is going to have an up year or a down year, it can’t tell you if a player is going to get injured or not, nor can it tell you if the guys on that roster have the heart and determination it takes to win baseball games. So while the analysts make their predictions based on names on a roster because those names are associated with better baseball ability, there is really no telling what can happen over the course of a 162 game season.

dickey-mets

But who will replace Dickey’s wins???

Another flawed way to try and determine whether or not a team can win a specific number of games is by looking at the starting rotation, trying to project how many wins each pitcher will have, and then adding them up. Another major mistake is asking oneself who is going to replace the twenty wins that R.A. Dickey tallied in 2012.

This way of thinking is so fundamentally flawed that I don’t even know where to start. While pitching is very important, let’s not forget that there are still eight guys on that field playing the game. Dickey did not win twenty games by shutting out twenty opponents, his other teammates actually contributed as well. In fact, trying to ask where the Mets will get those twenty wins from is a waste of time. It’s safe to say that the average wins that the ace of a team gets is 17 in a season. That would mean the Mets really are only looking at making up three games at most from losing Dickey, not twenty.

Sticking with the pitching projections, if you add up all their predicted wins from the starting rotation you can’t forget to add all the wins that the bullpen accumulate throughout a season. Any wins that the many potential call-ups and spot starters accumulate also have to be included. But this really is a waste of time when trying to determine how many wins the Mets will garner in 2013.

So how can the Mets win 85-90 games in 2013?

The same way teams have been winning games for over a century: with solid pitching, good defense, getting on base, and timely hitting. It doesn’t matter who is on the roster if the team can’t accomplish those things.

The Mets have to break the game down incrementally into it’s simplest form: innings. They have to treat each inning as if it is a mini-game. The goal is to win more innings than your opponent. Baseball games are nine innings for a reason; if your team wins five innings, and your opponent wins four, you win the game. It really is a best out of nine series. The Mets have to take the season inning by inning, and then when all those innings are added up, it should translate in the win column. Met prospect Jack Leathersich actually said as much to Joe D. just last week in his interview with him.

Halfway through 2012, the Mets found themselves ranked in the top ten of the MLB Power Rankings.

Halfway through 2012, the Mets found themselves ranked in the top ten of the MLB Power Rankings.

How easily we forget that in 2012, the Mets were on pace at one point in the season to win over 80 games. They were winning games with solid pitching and timely hitting. That’s the classic recipe for winning baseball games. The Mets were ranked as high as ninth in the MLB Power Rankings and Mets fans started to believe that there could be a playoff run in the future. However, after the All-Star break, the team never did get back on track. I’m sure one of Terry Collins‘ goals in 2013 will be to get off to a hot start like the Mets did in 2012, but this season, keep his team motivated and finish the season just as strong as it starts.

Everyone complains about how awful the Mets outfield looks now, but did it honestly look much better before the 2012 season? Maybe a tad, but let’s not kid ourselves. Did you ever consider the Mets outfield in 1969 and more recently in 2000?

Scott Hairston had a great year, but nobody anticipated that. Aside from Hairston the Mets outfield was equally as awful in 2012. Who is to say that the Mets won’t get another outfielder to step up in 2013? Maybe this year the Mets will have two surprises instead of one. One of the great things about having a lot of youth in the outfield is that these guys will play hard because they want to stick with the team. That means the potential of one or two of the young guys stepping up in 2013 is actually promising. And while the outfield may still be a question mark, the Mets infield has the potential to be one of the best in the entire National League.

Travis d'Arnaud (NY Times)

The Mets also received virtually no offensive output from the catcher position in 2012. In 2013, this trend should change. Travis d’Arnaud should be arriving some time in May, and should easily be able to out-perform the Mets catchers from 2012. He will inject at least fifteen home runs into the lineup over the course of the season, and the healing process for the fans that were heart-broken when Dickey was traded will begin.

If the analysts projections were correct every year, then what would be the point of playing the season out? They could all save us a lot of time and hand out trophies based on rosters. However, this is not a contest for putting together the best roster on paper, this is about winning ball games. The Mets can win over 85 games in 2013 if they stick to the winning formula: solid pitching, good defense, getting on base, and timely hitting.

While one prominent Mets site has Policed the situation, concluded his investigation, and determined that there is no evidence to suggest that the Mets can replace those 20 wins from Dickey, I say this Mets team is still innocent until proven guilty.

There is a lot to look forward to in 2013 as Mets fans. There are some exciting young prospects waiting in the wings and if the Mets stay healthy, they are going to sneak up on a lot of teams this year. This is going to be an exciting season of Mets baseball.

2013 New York Mets Prediction:

88-74, 2nd Place N.L. East

bleed orange & blue  button

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Mets Matters: What About “That” Guy? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/02/mets-matters-what-about-that-guy.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/02/mets-matters-what-about-that-guy.html/#comments Tue, 12 Feb 2013 22:05:51 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=107885 that Guy

For better or worse, Michael Bourn fell off the New York Mets radar Monday when he agreed to a four-year, $48 million deal with the Cleveland Indians.

Mets/MLB beat writer Anthony DiComo suggests, if history is any indication, Sandy Alderson committed an error.  DiComo wrote:

The 11th overall Draft pick has a bizarre history of busts relative to the picks around it. Of the 48 players in history taken 11th overall, only five have amassed more than 10 Wins Above Replacement (WAR), according to Baseball Reference … 17 of the 48 players never made the Majors …

Couldn’t that be said about the eighth pick? How about the six pick? Or, the 12th pick? DiComo’s logic is founded on coincidence, not any legitimate connection that the 11th pick is cursed. If there is truth in this logic, there is legitimacy in black cats, walking under ladders and idea that a Billy goat holds the key that unlocks the Cubs future hopes of winning a World Series.

Nonsense.

Metsmerized Online writer Connor O’Brien takes a more common sense approach, claiming the Mets suffered from “lack of preparedness.” Alderson was “too passive,” he wrote. The Mets GM needs to be “more aggressive.”

To those three claims: Maybe. OK. I guess.

Doesn’t Alderson’s inaction reflect a consistency in his approach? Since 2010 the Mets GM has systematically dismantled and rebuilt the organizational infrastructure. In are: J.P. Ricciardi and Paul DePodesta. On the field, Ruben Tejada, Ike Davis, Lucas Duda, Matt Harvey, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Jenrry Mejia, Josh Edgin, Jordany Valdespin, Zack Wheeler (eventually), Travis d’Arnaud (soon). Out are: Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes, Francisco Rodriguez, Angel Pagan, R.A. Dickey, Scott Hairston, Mike Pelfrey. (these lists are not exhaustive)

Younger, talented, building success from within, or as the Mets GM said, “We’re going to strive for consistency, but above all, excellence.”

This was the promise, right?

“I’ve always had a preference for holding on to our own talent and seeing how far it can go,” Alderson told the media at Citi Field in November 2010. “If it succeeds and realizes its full potential, we benefit. If it doesn’t, I think we’ve still made the right decision in terms of our fan base.”

Instead of analyzing decisions we can’t control, how about we ask a really intriguing question: Who will the Mets select as the 11th overall pick in the June 2013 MLB Draft? Imagine being that guy!?

The good news: That guy will be fresh out of high school (or college) and he will have the distinct honor of calling himself a first round pick in the MLB June Draft. There’s a story for your grandchildren one day.

The bad news: Will that guy have to live in the shadow of Alderson’s decision to keep the draft pick instead of signing a legitimate MLB center fielder? Will he feel pressure? New York alone has wilted the careers of both young and established veteran ballplayers, but this scenario will create a new level of expectation for No. 11.

The jury is out – and will be for a couple years – on whether or not Sandy Alderson made the right call on letting Bourn slip away for the price of a first-round draft pick.

Still, I wouldn’t want to be that guy. Would you?

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