Mets Merized Online » Scott Kazmir Sun, 19 Feb 2017 23:34:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 A History of Mets No. 1 Overall Prospects Thu, 26 Jan 2017 15:00:16 +0000 amed-rosario

Amed Rosario is the Mets’ best prospect, according to Baseball America. He even graced the magazine’s cover recently, so there is little doubt that he will be the most watched minor leaguer in Port St. Lucie this spring. Well, aside from Tim Tebow.

But if history is any indicator, that might not be a good thing for Rosario or the Mets. Baseball America has long kept a list of the top prospects of each organization. Only four of these players became All-Stars with the Mets. Since there’s nothing going on with the team right now besides bloggers speculating about Jay Bruce, let’s take a look at the last quarter-century of Baseball America’s top Mets prospects, and see how they panned out.

2016- Steven Matz-  The book is still out on Matz, but a 3.16 ERA in 28 career starts is pretty encouraging.

2014-15- Noah SyndergaardThe crown jewel of the R.A. Dickey trade has quickly become the biggest star of the Mets’ young guns in the rotation. And that’s only partially due to his spot-on Twitter game.

2012-13- Zack WheelerIt’s crazy to think that just three years ago at this time, Wheeler was considered to be the best of the Mets’ pitching prospects. He showed potential when he pitched, averaging 9.1 strikeouts per nine innings in 2014. It’s too bad he hasn’t pitched since due to an extended recovery from Tommy John surgery.

2010-11- Jenrry MejiaThe Mets called up Mejia at just 20 years old in 2010, and after a couple of starts it was abundantly clear that he wasn’t ready. Injuries, poor play and– ultimately– several PED suspensions kept him away from the field. He ended up making history, but not the kind you want to make: He became the first-ever player to get banned by MLB for life due to PEDs, after failing his third positive test last year.

2008-09- Fernando Martinez- Remember when it was the biggest deal that the Mets got Johan Santana without having to trade Fernando Martinez?

Martinez was hyped up for years, but he never panned out in the majors. He played in just 47 games with the Mets from 2009-11, batting .183/.250/.290 with a 46 OPS+. In hindsight, they probably should have traded him

2007- Mike Pelfrey“Big Pelf” was drafted ninth overall in 2005, and was thrust right into the major leagues the next season. He was wildly inconsistent with the Mets; check out his stat lines from 2007-2011:

2007: 3-8, 5.57 ERA

2008: 13-11, 3.72 ERA

2009: 10-12, 5.03 ERA

2010: 15-9, 3.66 ERA

2011: 7-13, 4.74 ERA

His career with the Mets ended in 2012 after a season-ending elbow injury suffered in his third start of the season.

2005-06- Lastings MilledgeAnother high draft pick, Milledge was drafted 12th overall out of high school in 2003. He reached as high as No. 9 overall on Baseball America’s top prospects list, and was immediately billed as a five-tool prospect.

But Milledge’s potential never really translated in the major leagues; he played 56 games for the Mets in 2006 and 59 in 2007 before being traded to the Nats for Ryan Church and Brian Schneider. He was out of the majors for good by 2011.

2004- Scott Kazmir- Kazmir has won 108 games and made three All-Star appearances over his 12 years in the big leagues. But he never pitched for the Mets, obviously, thanks to one of the worst trades in team history in which the team traded him for journeyman pitcher Victor Zambrano in 2004.

2003- Jose Reyes- This one worked out, to say the least.

2002- Aaron HeilmanHeilman is obviously remembered for his worst moments– most notably letting up Yadier Molina‘s home run in the 2006 NLCS and countless blown holds and saves in big games during the following years. But he actually had some decent seasons as a reliever with the Mets: He posted a 3.27 ERA and 130 ERA+ from 2005-2007. Too bad nobody’s going to remember that.

1999-2001- Alex Escobar- Escobar is another guy who Mets fans were told minor league legends of for years. He’s the only player to take the No. 1 title three times, but Escobar’s MLB career was pretty forgettable– he played just 18 games for the Mets, all in 2001.

1998- Grant RobertsRoberts is best remembered being caught in a scandal when pictures of him smoking pot surfaced in 2002. His career went up in smoke soon after that; the Mets released him in 2004, leaving him with a 4.25 ERA in 76 career outings.

1997- Jay Payton- Payton’s rookie year with the Mets in 2000 helped catapult them to the World Series, as he batted .291/.331/.447 with 17 home runs and 62 RBIs. He went on to have a sold decade-plus long career in the majors.

1996- Paul WilsonWilson was drafted No. 1 overall in 1994 and was the poster-child for the “Generation K” trio of Mets prospects, along with Bill Pulsipher and Jason Isringhausen. None of the three accomplished much with the Mets, and only Isringhausen accomplished much at all during his MLB career. Wilson went 5-12 with a 5.38 ERA for the Mets in 1996, which was the only season he spent in the majors with them. He was eventually traded, along with Jason Tyner, to the Rays in the 2000 trade that bought Bubba Trammell and Rick White to the Mets.

1994-1995- Bill Pulsipher- Much like Wilson, Pulsipher entered the majors with much hype but left with little fanfare. He made just 46 big-league starts from 1995-2005.

1993- Bobby Jones- Jones was a staple on Mets teams of the 90s, and was one of the few players from the early-90s doldrums to play for the 1999 and 2000 playoff teams. He went 74-56 with the Mets from 1993-2000, and was named an All-Star in 1997.

1992- Todd HundleyHundley is often forgotten because of the guy who became the team’s starting catcher after him. But he put together some very solid seasons for the Mets, namely when he set a single-season club record with 41 home runs in 1996.

So if you’re keeping count at home, just one player on this list turned out to be a long-term star for the Mets: Jose Reyes, although Syndergaard, Matz, and even Wheeler could join him in that category someday. Ten of the 17 players on here did go on to have at least a somewhat productive big-league career: Hundley, Jones, Payton, Heilman (though I cringe putting him in this category), Reyes, Kazmir Pelfrey, Wheeler, Matz and Syndergaard.

Moral of this list: Amed Rosario, no matter what the experts are saying about him, is far from a sure thing.

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Dodgers Sign Scott Kazmir To Three-Year Deal Wed, 30 Dec 2015 20:58:17 +0000 Scott-Kazmir

The Los Angeles Dodgers just announced via Twitter that they have signed free agent LHP Scott Kazmir to a three-year contract. The deal is worth $48 million dollars in total for an average annual value of $16 million.

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports also adds that the deal includes an opt-out clause for Kazmir, allowing him to re-enter the free agent market again after just one season.

Kazmir, 31, is certainly no Zack Greinke, but he should lessen the blow quite a bit for the Dodgers. He will join a rotation that includes Clayton KershawBrett AndersonAlex Wood and Mike Bolsinger.

In 31 starts for the Athletics and Astros, the former Met went 7-11 with a 3.10 ERA and 1.208 WHIP in 183 innings pitched last season.

We are seeing more and more of these opt-out clauses in recent years. I hate them. In my opinion they have absolutely no benefit to a team. How about if teams got opt-out clauses on deals too, so we can cut bait when players have an awful season?

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Steve Chilcott: Because Without A Catcher You’ll Have A Lot Of Passed Balls Mon, 08 Jun 2015 14:30:17 +0000 steve-chilcott

There are certain names that make Mets fans cringe whenever they hear them. Scott Kazmir is one, as in “How can the Mets trade Scott Kazmir, maybe the best pitching prospect in all of baseball for Victor Zambrano, a mediocre 30-year old pitcher with arm trouble ?”

Remember Gregg Jefferies, who seemed to win Minor League Player Of The Year every season on his way to being fast-tracked to the Major Leagues. Only when he got there, he proved to be a player in search of a position who was despised by most of his teammates for his (alleged) selfishness and immaturity. Despite a fairly productive career with the bat after leaving the Mets, Jefferies fell far short of his goals of surpassing Ty Cobb and Pete Rose for the all-time hits record and has become more of a “whatever happened to…”.

But, old-time Met fans will always cringe at the mention of the name Steve Chilcott. For you younger fans who may not be up on early Mets history, let’s go back to 1966.

The Mets had the number one overall selection in the 2nd annual amateur draft and the choice clearly came down to two players. There was the star outfielder at Arizona State University, Reggie Jackson and a high-school catcher out of California by the name of Steve Chilcott.

Of course, Reggie Jackson went on to a Hall Of Fame career, while Chilcott never made the Major Leagues. There had been some speculation that the Mets had some question about Jackson’s character and associations, but at the time, most big league scouts were divided as to which of the two was a better prospect.

Steve Chilcott and Gil HodgesBased on a personal scouting report from Casey Stengel, probably combined with Casey’s philosophy that “if you don’t have a catcher, you’re gonna have a lot of passed balls”, the Mets went with Chilcott.

That wasn’t the first mistake the Mets made and it certainly wasn’t the last, but it was definitely among the biggest.

Anyway, I can say that I am probably one of the few people who actually saw Steve Chilcott play a professional game in New York City. No, not with the Mets or the Yankees, since Steve never made the big leagues, even though he got as close as Double-A and maybe a game or two in Triple-A with the Yankees organization after the Mets released him.

It was a special pre-game event at Yankee Stadium, a regular season league game between the Auburn Mets and Binghamton Yankees.

Binghamton’s Mickey Scott out-dueled Auburn’s Jerry Koosman, 1-0 in front of maybe 1,000 fans, most of whom thought they were arriving early for Big League batting practice.

But there were a handful of Met die-hards like myself who came out to see the Auburn Mets, and more specifically, to see the future of the Mets – Steve Chilcott.

Getting to see Jerry Koosman was, of course, a bonus. Koosman dominated New York Penn League hitters that season and after a quick jump to AAA the next season became a mainstay of the Mets’ rotation.

As for Chilcott, he hit a double down the rightfield line, almost a HR into the short right field seats of Yankee Stadium. But he also struck out a couple of times and looked pretty bad doing it. I was still sure that Chilcott would be starring for the Mets one day because that’s what all the “experts” said.

Little did I know that his appearance that day in Yankee Stadium would be the last chance I would ever get to see him play.


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MMO Game Recap: Athletics 6, Mets 2 Wed, 20 Aug 2014 05:18:23 +0000 dillon gee

The New York Mets (59-68) took on the Oakland Athletics (74-51) tonight at Coliseum for the first game of a short two game series, with Dillon Gee taking on Scott Kazmir.

What you should know:

The Mets got on the scoreboard first this evening, as Travis d’Arnaud launched his eleventh home run of the season, making it 1-0 in the top of the fourth inning.

Oakland answered back with four runs of their own in the bottom half of the fourth, topped off by a bases clearing triple by Coco Crisp, putting Oakland on top 4-1.

Dillon Gee would last 5.1 innings tonight, allowing four runs on eight hits while walking two and striking out four.

Scott Kazmir pitched six solid innings for Oakland, allowing one run on four hits while walking three and striking out six.

The Mets tacked on another run in the top of the seventh inning, as Anthony Recker hit a double down the left field line to score Wilmer Flores.

Gonzalez Germen, in his first appearance since being recalled in the wake of Bartolo Colon‘s placement on the bereavement list, surrendered a two-run home run to Josh Reddick in the bottom of the eighth inning, making it 6-2 Oakland.

Sean Doolittle came in to shut the door in the top of the ninth inning, striking out Anthony Recker to end the game.

travis d'arnaud

On deck:

The Mets look for the series tie tomorrow afternoon, with Zack Wheeler (8-8, 3.49 ERA) facing off against Jeff Samardzija (5-9, 2.96 ERA)

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MMO Game Thread: Mets at Athletics, 10:05 PM Tue, 19 Aug 2014 22:46:23 +0000 dillon gee

Tonight the Mets open a two game series against the Oakland Athletics in California. Dillon Gee (4-5, 3.69) faces former Met Scott Kazmir (13-5, 2.78) beginning at 10:05 pm.

In his last start, Gee got the loss in the Mets’ 4-1 defeat against the Washington Nationals on August 14th at Citi Field. He pitched 6.0 innings, allowing four earned runs and four hits, striking out three along the way.

The Mets are 8-7 vs. the American League this year (2-1 vs. Seattle, 2-1 vs. Texas, 1-1 vs. Oakland, 2-2 vs. the Yankees and 1-2 vs. the Angels). They are 154-143 all-time in Interleague play and their 519 winning percentage ranks fourth among NL clubs.

The Mets were held to four hits on Monday, the fifth straight game the team has finished with four hits or less, tying a franchise record. This was also done in 2004 and 1963. Since the Mets’ streak in 2004, no other major league team has had such a streak.

Starting Lineup

  1. Juan Lagares – CF
  2. Curtis Granderson – RF
  3. David Wright – 3B
  4. Lucas Duda – 1B
  5. Travis d’Arnaud – DH
  6. Eric Campbell- LF
  7. Wilmer Flores – 2B
  8. Ruben Tejada – SS
  9. Anthony Recker – C
Since the Mets are playing the AL West this year, the Mets start their 5th out west road trip tonight that will swing through Oakland and LA. Tonight they look to forget the last two games against the Cubs as Dillon Gee squares off against Scott Kazmir (which 10 years after the trade still has a bit of a sting).

Dillon Gee is 4-5 over 15 games and 95.0 innings has posted a 3.69 ERA this season. After a good start against Philly where he allowed 1 ER over 7.0 innings, his first good start since coming off of the DL, he allowed 4 ER over 6.0 innings against the Nationals in his last start. He missed Oakland earlier this season and in his career he has made only one start against the Athletics where he allowed 4 ER over 4.0 innings. The Athletics have the following numbers against him:

  • Crisp 1-3
  • Parrino 0-2
  • Gomes 0-0, BB

Scott Kazmir is in the midst of an excellent season where he is 13-5 with a 2.78 ERA over 24 starts and 149.0 innings. This is his lowest season ERA by far in his career. The month of August hasn’t been that good to him though as he has allowed 12 ER over 19.2 innings in three starts which is a 5.49 ERA. His worst start of the season was against the Mets where he allowed 7 ER over 3.0 innings. The Mets have the following numbers against Scott:

  • Granderson 3-10, 3B, HR
  • Murphy 2-5
  • E Young 1-4
  • d’Arnaud 1-4, HR
  • Campbell 1-2, 2B
  • Wright 1-2, 2B

Lets Go Mets!

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ESPN NY: Chris Young Could Be Cut When Lagares Returns Mon, 23 Jun 2014 14:20:29 +0000 chris young

Adam Rubin of ESPN NY writes that Juan Lagares‘ rehab tour has shifted to Double-A Binghamton, and the Mets are eyeing Thursday for the center fielder’s activation from the disabled list.

Rubin adds that a team insider acknowledged Chris Young‘s “days are numbered” with the organization, which is prepared to eat the remainder of this year’s $7.25 million salary. The internal debate at this point centers on whether to pull the trigger this week, but it’s definitely being seriously weighed, a source told

Young is hitting .201 with four homers and 17 RBIs in 179 at-bats this season.

Rubin adds that Collins could start Young against left-handers Scott Kazmir and Brad Mills during the two-game midweek Oakland Athletics series, which could be the ex-Diamondback’s last chance to save his job.

Read Rubin’s full article here.

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Oakland Athletics Could Emerge as Potential Trade Partner for Mets Mon, 17 Mar 2014 23:57:05 +0000 jed lowrie

With ulnar collateral ligament tears occurring at higher rates than the common cold, it seems like every team is holding their breath, hoping their projected rotation stays intact as opening day approaches. The Oakland Athletics’ Jarrod Parker is the most recent pitcher to eventually have to succumb to the knife of Dr. James Andrews.

With Jarrod Parker down for at least the 2014 regular season and A.J. Griffin slated to begin the season on the disabled list, the A’s seem to be in a bit of a pickle. Scott Kazmir is also shelved, albeit only for a few days, with tricep stiffness but you just never know with arm maladies anymore.

If you include Kazmir, the A’s are expected to go into the season with a starting rotation that could include names such as Sonny Gray, Dan Straily, Tommy Milone, Jesse Chavez, Drew Pomeranz, as well as Kazmir himself. Although Sonny Gray is a promising youngster with a seemingly bright future and the A’s can somewhat rely on Kazmir and Milone to put up respectable numbers, it seems they lack a go-to pitcher that can round out the rotation; a necessary asset for a borderline playoff caliber team to have.

With the Oakland Athletics only coming in at number 26 on Keith Law’s organizational farm system rankings, it does not seem like they have the ability to address that need within the organization. This is where the Mets come in. With Jon Niese recently receiving the good news that his elbow is [apparently] fine and Ruben Tejada being Ruben Tejada, the Mets still seem to be in a position to deal some pitching to address the ever so obvious shortstop dilemma.

The news of Parker’s second Tommy John surgery may have added another potential trade partner to the mix. The A’s currently have Jed Lowrie as their opening day shortstop on the big club and Addison Russell polishing up his extraordinary tools in AAA, supposedly waiting to take over the reigns.

While it would be incredibly sweet for the Mets to swing a deal for’s number 12 ranked prospect, Addison Russell, the A’s would most likely demand a hefty package for their future All Star and shortstop heir. It would undoubtedly take at least Noah Syndergaard or Zack Wheeler to acquire him and, although I think Russell is worth it for an even swap of either of those two, it might take even more.

Lowrie is probably a more realistic option as he is in his last year of arbitration and set to hit free agency in 2015. With the A’s increased need for pitching, it may cause them to attempt to deal Lowrie earlier than they planned and rush Russell to the majors. If that is the case, the Mets should certainly be in contact with Billy Beane for a potential deal. The plethora of young, inexpensive arms the mets boast as well as a proven pitcher like Dillon Gee could appear very attractive to him at the moment.

I profiled Lowrie way back in December in a post that addressed potential trade routes the Mets could take to address their need at shortstop. He’s nothing spectacular on defense and he’s had significant trouble staying healthy in the past but he put up very impressive numbers last season, slashing .290/.344/.446 with 15 home runs in 154 games, which would automatically be an upgrade over anything the Mets would put out there this season. He’s also relatively inexpensive, if only for this season as he’s only making $5.25 million. If the Mets should make a deal,  they could try to extend him for a few seasons until they feel prospects such as Gavin Cecchini or Amed Rosario are ready.

Addison Russell is certainly the more attractive option here and I think the Mets should go all in for him if the opportunity arises and his price isn’t outrageous. However, in all likelihood, it will be  - due to his status as a potential All Star at a premium position. If Lowrie does become a realistic target before opening day or shortly after the season begins, the Mets have one more option to alleviate not only the shortstop dilemma, but answer the leadoff question as well. Regardless, it will certainly be interesting to see if the Athletics do, in fact, look to the trade market for a starting pitcher to replace Jarrod Parker.

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The Folly In Comparing General Managers Wed, 22 Jan 2014 23:33:35 +0000 Earlier today, our friend Matthew Cerrone at MetsBlog responded to a mailbag question from a reader who basically wanted to know why Omar Minaya gets so little credit for a team and farm system that is still essentially comprised of a majority of his players.

omar minayaIt actually led to a few emails steered in my direction asking me what my thoughts were on the subject and who was better between Sandy and Omar.

On the surface, it’s difficult to just look at historical results and then use them to compare Minaya’s six-year tenure with Sandy Alderson’s first three years. Just as it is difficult to compare baseball players from different eras, the same can be said about comparing general managers, even when they are only separated by three years.

For one thing, the circumstances and dynamics were incredibly different and you can arguably say they were diametrically opposed to each other. It is nearly impossible to draw similarities between a team that is rebuilding and one that considers itself to be one or two players away from the post season, and that’s essentially what you are doing by comparing our current and former GMs.

The hope is that Sandy will soon be in the same exact position that Omar was, and only then can we begin to draw comparisons.

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at New York MetsYou’ve seen me write on many occasions that I have yet to see Sandy trade for an All Star caliber player, and it’s true, he hasn’t done that yet. We’ve only seen Sandy trade away talented players for top prospects and he’s been remarkably good at it, netting such big names as Zack Wheeler, Travis d’Arnaud and more recently, Dilson Herrera and Vic Black.

On the flip-side, we’ve seen Omar go out and make trades for All Star caliber players like Johan Santana and Carlos Delgado, two players who were considered the best available at their positions at the time. But what we never got to see, was Omar trading a star player for a top prospect or prospects. You see the two dynamics, windows and short-term goals were completely different.

When Omar was the GM, the Wilpons had a brand new ballpark coming that they thought was going to sell-out everyday for the next 5-6 years. They demanded star attractions no matter what the cost, and Minaya was the perfect man for the job. The fans wanted stars too, and he was there to provide them. Within one year of the Phillips/Duquette era – a rock-bottom era with a farm system in shambles that had just traded away their only top ranked prospect in Scott Kazmir – the Mets were back in business. The winning business.

madoffOf course that ballpark never became the cash cow the Wilpons thought, and then soon after, all hell broke loose when the images of Bernie Madoff being led away in handcuffs were splattered on front pages everywhere. Now we had a win-now team that had no money and no way out. What happened next was inevitable.

Enter Sandy Alderson who was brought here to help free up some money by trading away his best assets, and lets give him credit for getting top value for what we traded. I’m not so sure any other GM could have gotten more. But Sandy was here to slash payroll, and slash he did.

Because of all the financial turmoil and an impending one-billion dollar lawsuit, Sandy had no flexibility for three of his first four offseasons. But he stayed true to his vision and his patient approach and rode out the storm. As fans, we rode out that storm with him.

It has now brought us to this point where we are today, and we’re now seeing Sandy try his hand at spending in free agency for the first time since he arrived. He’s spent close to $100 million already with his biggest acquisitions; Curtis Granderson, Bartolo Colon and Chris Young, all brought here to supplement a young core that this front office believes will contend for a wild card in 2014. We all hope they’re right.

confused bruceBut getting back to the point of this post – which was comparing Sandy to Omar – I hope you are intelligent enough to see the futility of such an endeavor.

I hope you can understand that just like you can’t compare hitters from the Deadball Era to those of the Steroids Era, the same holds true when comparing general managers. It’s a fruitless task that in the end only proves to be a considerable waste of time.

Instead, understand that every GM, good or bad, had nothing but the best interests of their teams at heart. Everything they did was because they truly believed it was best for their teams. And all of them desperately wanted to win – regardless if their teams ultimately did win or not.

Omar Minaya and Sandy Alderson were the perfect GM’s for the tasks that were given to them. Both GMs were good tonics for the team at the time and for the fan base as well.

Anyway, that’s the way I see it.


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OK, So What Exactly Is The Real Plan Again? Mon, 23 Dec 2013 16:06:11 +0000 Sandy Alderson 2Oscar Wilde, who would have loved modern baseball for all its hubris and wonderful folly, is quoted as having said, “One’s real life is often the life that one does not lead”. On this rather uneventful Monday, with the new year, 2014, just around the corner, an analogous baseball corollary to the Wilde quote comes to mind: “Does a GM’s real plan ever happen?”.

Clearly, the GM of the Mets professes to be a man guided by a distinct baseball philosophy, one that has presumably helped forge his real plan for the Mets, and yet despite all his condescending lecturing to the dimwitted fan base who, in his words give or take, are beyond such subtleties he seems to violate the implementation of its precepts at every turn. Put another way, with apologies to Mr. Wilde, will this GM’s real plan ever happen?

As many supporters of the GM point out whenever ‘the plan’ is even remotely held up to the light, the work he has done to make the farm system relevant again is notable, although most of this improvement is almost entirely the result of two very good trades he made, and another that fetched two prospects with some promise, one who is counted on in the bullpen in 2014. Still, the purchase from the two very good trades, Wheeler, Syndergaard, and d’Arnaud, were all jewels of other farm systems, and were cleaved from these teams for immediate gain, not the promise of tomorrow, a crucible that often ends poorly for the more desperate of the two sides. No doubt the GM did well in these trades, very well indeed — on paper. Such is the almost mystical allure of high end prospects in baseball — who, strictly by the percentages, too often fail to live up to the advanced billing in the big show.

I have written about strikeouts as it relates to this GM’s team building philosophy, and many dissenting posters on MMO, in response, have used the adage, or some proximity of it, that simply measuring strikeouts in a vacuum is a relic of the past. They proclaim new baseball metrics are the order of the new day, as if baseball has really changed much through a century or so. True, of course — the greatest home run hitters of all time also hold the records for the most strikeouts. More runs still win games, not WAR calculations. But the point wasn’t that. Still isn’t about strikeouts. Never was. Its about inconsistency, incompetence, blatant manipulation, and cynical disregard for the truth or some combination of all four to executing a plan promised from day one. You know who else suffer these same maladies — used car salesmen, swamp land salesmen, and just about anybody on Wall Street dialing for dollars. You can just never pin them down.

The GM of the Mets could sign the most notorious strikeout hitters of all time for all I care about strikeouts, if he said the plan from the start was to sign guys who strike out and hit home runs and drive in runs. Davey Johnson (and one presumes Frank Cashen who built the teams) thrived on good pitching and the three run home run, and it served him / them very well. The point here is that the current GM, in his first interview and each time asked since, has consistently said that striking out so much was an issue on the Mets that he intended on repairing. Curious then that the Mets strike out far more now than Minaya’s last team in 2010, a very bad one, who were eleventh best, at 6.76 strikeouts per 9 innings, and scored a total of 656 runs. In stark contrast, the Mets were fourth worst in striking out in 2013, with 8.54 strikeouts per 9 innings, and scored 619 runs.

chris-young-baseball-hq-4_3Even more telling, the 2006 Mets scored 834 runs, and were fourteenth worst in strikeouts, with 6.61 per game — the kind of effective strike out / run producing ratio that I believe the current GM is aspiring to. Ask Matt Harvey if he could have used a few of those runs from 2006, or even 2010. These aren’t straw man stats, as some accuse numbers of being when they don’t quite fit into the agenda. Three years later, where’s the systemic roster fixing? Where’s the implementation of this GM’s real plan? Maybe he needs to consult with his predecessor to get some pointers on the practical relationship between striking out and producing more runs. When you have both like the Mets have the past three seasons, and will most likely again next year — high strike outs, poor run production — something is fundamentally wrong with the execution of the plan. Will Granderson and Young change this dynamic? On the surface, they certainly don’t seem to fit into the GM’s so-called plan, unless you jam them in and hope for a better outcome than logic suggests.

Would Shin-Soo Choo, who is a sabermetric marvel who does happen to strike out his fair share, leading off for the Mets for what the GM spent on Granderson and Young be a more natural fit for the GM’s stated long term plan? Would it be more aligned to his team building philosophy? A career .389 OBP, and 162 game averages of 20 home runs, 81 RBI and 94 runs with a lifetime .288 BA says yes, resoundingly. He fits the GM’s stated philosophy, fits a cogent long term baseball plan, and at the same time works within the owner’s payroll constraints. Its far more fun right now to imagine Choo raising up a World Series trophy in 5 years with a young pitching staff fully developed than, well, whoever the Mets replace stopgaps Granderson and Young with. Choo could have been the first player signed in that plan, the long term plan, that has the Mets challenging for championships in years 3 to 7 of his contract.

An aside. I read a number of the posts on MMO when the Choo signing with Texas was announced. I was amazed — stunned, really — at how many fans professed relief that Choo wasn’t signed by Mets. Bullet dodged. Nothing but a polished turd. On and on went the rollicking back slapping, as if the Mets couldn’t use a player of this caliber on their roster right now, and as if it was actually their money that would pay this player. Further, this notion that Choo will be too old at the end of this contract, while Granderson, at virtually the same ages in his four year contract, will not be is so disingenuous one would have to be drunk on the Kool-aid to believe otherwise.

USATSI_7400954_154511658_lowresWhy is Choo too old, and Granderson is not, when the ages match? Again, its gross revisionism for agenda sake, and nothing more, because the argument collapses on its own weight. Moreover, Choo has better lifetime stats, and the main point, he’s more of a metrics guy, who should age better than a home run hitter in a huge ball park. And guess what? One will be 36 at the end of his contract, and the other will be, wait for it … 36. So if one is too old, they both are, if Granderson is a great sign, then so too is Choo — but that might be a tad too logical for some tastes. Yankee fans don’t seem fazed by having so many long term contracts, some worse than others. Yes, players signed to long term contracts break down, and get old. To the Yankees, its almost a collective yawn, “So what? Who’s the big free agent this winter? Tanaka — go get him!”.

The way they have spent this off season should turn Mets fans green with envy. The Yankees would have loved to have signed Choo, who appears to have taken less from Texas. Along with Beltran. And Ellsbury. And McCann. Maybe Tanaka, if his team grants permission. Imagine these guys on the Mets. You get the picture. Yet some Mets fans are ready to hold a parade down the canyon of champions for their GM — who has actually spent less than what came off the books. Insert here all the blithering rhetoric about net gross revenues this or that, and severe debt repayments. The Yankees paid for their stadium, too, which at $1.5 billion was twice what Citi Field cost to build — what about the Yankees debt? Who’s paying that off — yes, the Yankees, albeit, like the Mets, with tax and other concessions. Even this plaint about the Mets / Wilpon’s great debt repayment is a shill’s ploy to deflect the real issue that perhaps the Wilpons are diverting baseball money to their real estate business.

Which segues nicely to the Colon signing, which has been universally hailed by the fan base on MMO — albeit curiously with similar stipulations and equivocations shading each ringing endorsement, as if something deep inside is screaming for them to hedge their assessments of Colon — just in case it blows up. Yet everything about this signing screams hypocrisy — and double speak — from the GM. He won’t sign a relief pitcher, LaTroy Hawkins, a stunning physical marvel who hits the weight room instead of taking PEDs as a shortcut to hard work (what a concept?), who brought class and high level performance to the Mets, when, frankly, it has been in short order recently with this GM’s signings. Yet for an extra million dollars he is determined by this GM to be too much of a risk at this age. This makes sense? Rod Serling anyone?

bartolo colonOf course, before the howling starts, from a purely baseball standpoint you can make a case for Colon, more so if you close your eyes, pinch your nose and completely eliminate a conscience from the process. He should, rather amply at that, be able to bridge the Harvey gap, unless, of course, whatever fountain of youth PED use provides is, in fact, actually flushed from his system and he pitches to his age, and previous arm and shoulder ailments.

But however this gets spun around on its head, there remains the intractable reality that the same GM who unceremoniously let Hawkins walk away, signs a player who a season ago was banned for PEDs, and who in the 5 seasons before he was caught cheating won only 22 games, total, and only averaged 84 innings per season. Hawkins is precisely the epitome of the type of player who deserves to be financially rewarded, the kind a fan base can embrace for integrity and honor and relentless class and really rally around, and Colon is quintessentially the opposite, as undeserving as they come, seemingly wholly lacking in anything remotely called a moral compass, seemingly cut from the same ilk who must confuse picking up a needle to actually exercising. Yet, somehow, and I swear I can hear Rod Serling’s voice right now, Colon fits the GM’s plan and Hawkins doesn’t. Colon, the cheater, gets the big contract, and Hawkins, who plays by the rules, gets dumped. For a lousy million dollars savings. Is this the real plan — or have we, indeed, entered the Twilight Zone?

Moreover, is anyone out there wondering how a superior GM, Billy Beane, who had a choice between Colon, his own player who he watched win 18 games for him, and Scott Kazmir, and he took Kazmir, same years, just about the same money? Hmmm — I wonder why. What did Beane know? What could Beane no longer abide about Colon? That clean, he’d break down? Or dirty, he didn’t want him anymore? Think about it next time you think Colon was the wiser choice over Scott Kazmir. Its difficult to comprehend, but the Mets have missed out on Kazmir twice now. One presumes the GM watched Kazmir mow down the Mets last year, so dominating them — and so easily striking them out — it was truly cringe-worthy embarrassing to watch.

Except for a few brave, strident voices in the posts on MMO, where is the groundswell of outrage for this signing — moral, ethical, even baseball-wise? Can Mets fans boo ARod and Bonds and the cheaters like them, and applaud Colon, just because they think he can win a few games next season for their team? That is implicitly the definition of hypocrisy, and if the moral high ground is to be so arbitrarily depreciated for the sake of winning baseball games, than doesn’t that say more about the GM’s code of ethics and team building fidelity, than it does for a starving fan base, who are being force fed these moral dilemmas? Colon comes with a hefty price tag that is measured in more than dollars, and the implications and compromises can only be ignored if we willingly turn our backs on his past indiscretions for a narrow, short term benefit. Is the impeachment of a player’s market viability through failing drug tests and being banned merely only another MoneyBall opportunity to exploit for this GM, regardless of the stench? Clearly Beane didn’t want him, under any circumstances, and that is truly damning. Is this the real plan?

Too many of this GM’s previous free agent signings who have already played for the Mets share this in common: low character, low production, high fan frustration level, high cost, and the same GM who handed them the pen when they signed their contracts. Yet the GM keeps going back to the very same foul-smelling well for more. Will Colon, the admitted cheater, join this group? Will advanced age, lack of conditioning, lack of dietary discipline, past injuries and presumably no longer taking PEDs to cheat his way through next season lead to a total and early collapse? If Tejada was called fat and out of shape by this GM last season, what does that make Colon? And what message does it send to Tejada and any other young player who decides to skip training, eat everything in sight, and when injured or not playing well, cheat, because their so-called mentor did, and look where it got him, after all? Has the GM given his tacit consent for cheating, for taking expedient short cuts through illegal means whenever the greater good — winning baseball games — is in the balance? But never mind, goes the hue and cry by the majority. Byrd turned out okay. And if Colon needs to use the needle again to get through next year, that’s his business – wink, wink, wink. This is baseball not Boy Scouts. So much noise about nothing, right? He did win 18 games last year, after all, didn’t he? Gees, shut up already. I’m tired of reading this puke. Bang another drum, hunh?

Here’s the opportunity that was missed…

shin-soo choo

– Choo in right, leading off (high OBP, high run production, and at 7 years, a part of the long term solution)…

– The big-hearted Kazmir on the mound (much more of a prototypical MoneyBall signing than Colon, much more cosmically appealing to Mets fans who rued him being traded away, and someone who sacrificed and worked very, very hard to get back into the game the right way, and who, like Dickey, is an inspiration for all athletes, pro or not)…

– And Hawkins (the definition of a professional athlete, and the man that the GM should be saluting as the penultimate example of a professional baseball player to the younger pitchers, not Colon), who in a very young bullpen would have been a much needed anchor.

– Hell, with some payroll creativity and a true $90 million payroll, he could even have reasonably fit Granderson into this haul, too — a terrific player, of high moral character.

Strangely, these players, this plan, this roster, more closely approximates what the Mets GM’s plan should have looked like if he was being faithful to his own stated plan in the first place.

It is philosophically aligned to a baseball ethos of honor, commitment and integrity, it adheres to a short term plan and a sustainable long term plan, the total salaries are within the constraints of the budget this year and for the next seven years, and to a player, not just two out of three, their character is unimpeachable.

You know, the kind of players you thought this GM, purportedly a man of impeccable character, and a team building visionary, would have brought to this franchise when he finally implemented his real plan — not some makeshift, on the fly, reactionary, stick this square peg into that round hole, this spooks us, that spooks us, the markets too hot, too cold, non-existent, over-ripe, keep looking under the rocks, scour the suspended lists, the injury lists, pinch another penny abomination the GM calls a plan.

And then he’s heralded for all the money he has spent so far this off-season and how wisely he spent it. Now that’s a special genius, and I bow to it.

bleed orange & blue  button

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The Mets Should Trade For Brett Anderson Tue, 03 Dec 2013 16:53:15 +0000 It’s no secret that the Mets are in the market for a starting pitcher this winter. All talks to this point have surrounded their pursuit of free agent arms but their reluctance to overpay has seen them sit idly by while most of the top arms are finding their destinations. With talent on the market diminishing, the Mets need to expand their search to the trade market.

The ideal situation would have been to find that affordable starter to contribute while holding their trade chips for a potential big splash to help the offense. This is looking more unlikely with each passing day while a major shake-up is still very much in need.

Yesterday the A’s agreed to a two-year deal with Scott Kazmir, creating a sudden abundance of starting pitching in Oakland. The most likely trade candidate is 25-year-old left-hander Brett Anderson. Anderson’s career record of 26-29 and ERA of 3.81 doesn’t do him enough justice.

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Detroit Tigers

Anderson had Tommy John Surgery in June of 2011 and showed tremendous promise in his 2012 return. However after posting a 2.57 ERA in his six starts in 2012, a foot injury derailed his 2013 season and Anderson ended up with a 7.23 ERA over five starts.

Anderson isn’t flashy on the mound, but does a nice job to induce a high percentage of groundballs with an effective slider, changeup combination. He isn’t a bargain as he will be owed $8 million in 2014 with a $12 million club option in 2015. However, a strong argument can be made that $20 million over two years to a promising 25-year-old lefty is far more efficient than any of the contracts handed out to starting pitchers this winter.

I believe that the Mets and A’s could come to an agreement on a deal sending Ike Davis and Wilmer Flores to Oakland in return for Anderson. Anderson would slot nicely in the middle of the rotation and has the upside to provide long-term value.

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Baltimore Deals Closer Jim Johnson to Oakland Tue, 03 Dec 2013 05:00:08 +0000 Jim+Johnson

O’s Deal Johnson A’s

The Oakland A’s have acquired righthander Jim Johnson from the Orioles for second baseman Jemile Weeks, reports Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

The Orioles let teams know they were willing to listen to trade offers for Johnson who is one the top closers in the league. Johnson is expected to earn as much as $10.8 million in arbitration. That’s more than the entire Mets bullpen combined.

Billy Beane gets himself a closer and starter all in a day’s work. Johnson, 30, led the American League in saves with 50, and tied Atlanta’s Craig Kimbrel for the Major League lead. In 2012, Johnson had 51 saves giving him 101 over the last two years – the best mark in the Majors. (11/29)

doug fister

Nats Get Doug Fister From Tigers

The Washington Nationals have acquired starting pitcher Doug Fister in a trade with the Detroit Tigers for infielder Steve Lombardozzi, left-hander Ian Krol and minor league lefty Robbie Ray.

Fister, 29, went 14-9 with a 3.67 ERA in 33 games last year in his third season with the Tigers. Fister was tied for the American League lead in getting batters to ground into double plays. He allowed 0.6 home runs per nine innings, second best in the AL.

“This is an exciting day for the Washington Nationals,” said Washington GM Mike Rizzo in a statement. “We feel we’ve added a talented, young veteran to our starting pitching corps. Doug is battle-tested through playoff experiences, and the depth he brings to our staff is exceptional. We are thrilled to welcome him aboard.”

Great deal for the Nats and what a way to bolster the rotation as he promised fans after the season. The Tigers will replace go with Drew Smyly in the rotation in place of Fister.

scott kazmir

A’s Signs Scott Kazmir

The A’s and Scott Kazmir have reached an agreement on a two-year, $22 million contract, according to Jim Bowden of ESPN.

Kazmir, 29, pitched for the Indians last year, going 10-9 with a 4.04 ERA. He was particularly impressive in the second half with Cleveland, going 5-5 while lowering his ERA from its first-half level of 4.60 to 3.38. Along the way, Kazmir brought his strikeouts up while lowering his walks. Kazmir won’t require the A’s to sacrifice their first-round pick.

The $22 million deal is $1 million shy of Tim Hudson‘s two-year, $23 million deal with the Giants. Beane set out to add a starter to the rotation and he completed his mission before the start of the Winter Meetings.

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Hot Stove News: Nationals Acquire RHP Doug Fister From Tigers Tue, 03 Dec 2013 02:32:29 +0000 doug fister

Nats Get Doug Fister From Tigers

The Washington Nationals have acquired starting pitcher Doug Fister in a trade with the Detroit Tigers for infielder Steve Lombardozzi, left-hander Ian Krol and minor league lefty Robbie Ray.

Fister, 29, went 14-9 with a 3.67 ERA in 33 games last year in his third season with the Tigers. Fister was tied for the American League lead in getting batters to ground into double plays. He allowed 0.6 home runs per nine innings, second best in the AL.

“This is an exciting day for the Washington Nationals,” said Washington GM Mike Rizzo in a statement. “We feel we’ve added a talented, young veteran to our starting pitching corps. Doug is battle-tested through playoff experiences, and the depth he brings to our staff is exceptional. We are thrilled to welcome him aboard.”

Great deal for the Nats and what a way to bolster the rotation as he promised fans after the season. The Tigers will replace go with Drew Smyly in the rotation in place of Fister.

scott kazmir

Beane Signs Former Mets Top Prospect

The A’s and Scott Kazmir have reached an agreement on a two-year, $22 million contract, according to Jim Bowden of ESPN.

Kazmir, 29, pitched for the Indians last year, going 10-9 with a 4.04 ERA. He was particularly impressive in the second half with Cleveland, going 5-5 while lowering his ERA from its first-half level of 4.60 to 3.38. Along the way, Kazmir brought his strikeouts up while lowering his walks. Kazmir won’t require the A’s to sacrifice their first-round pick.

The $22 million deal is $1 million shy of Tim Hudson‘s two-year, $23 million deal with the Giants. Beane set out to add a starter to the rotation and he completed his mission before the start of the Winter Meetings.

*Aug 08 - 00:05*

Twins Sign Hughes To Three-Year Deal

The Twins have agreed to a three-year, $24 million deal with Phil Hughes according to LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune who cites an anonymous source. A source with knowledge of the talks tells Neal that the Twins are expected to announce the deal after Hughes passes his physical.

When the free-agent meat market opened, Phil Hughes was a pitcher the Mets were very interested in, however, a month into the Hot Stove season and they bowed out on the former Yankees starter. The 27-year old was young and his flyball rate made him a perfect fit for Citi Field. Poor Metsies, those big 2013 spenders, they’re on the outside looking in again… Predictably… Well… Predictably for some… (11/30)


Cano and Yankees Still $100 Million Apart

According to a report by Ken Davidoff of the NY Post, during last week’s meeting with the Yankees, free agent Robinson Cano was seeking a nine-year contract for between $250 and $260 million. The source told the Post the Yankees countered with a seven-year deal for between $160 million and $175 million, putting the two sides nearly $100 million apart. The two sides are scheduled to speak again on Monday.

Davidoff says that the Yankees have been adamant they won’t sit and wait for Cano to fully navigate free agency, with so many other holes to fill. The Yankees have already held discussions with free-agent outfielders Carlos BeltranShin-Soo Choo and Jacoby Ellsbury and infielder Stephen Drew. (11/30)

"<strongHanley Ramirez” src=”×218.jpg” width=”350″ height=”218″ />

Hanley Dodging Free Agency?

The Dodgers are discussing an extension with Hanley Ramirez reports Dionisio Soldevila of ESPN Deportes. Ramirez, 29, is under contract for next year, but he has had ongoing extension talks with the Dodgers,

“We are negotiating something, but we are going step by step,” Ramirez said while declining to discuss the salary and length of a potential deal. The shortstop/third baseman is currently completing a six-year, $70 million deal he signed while with the Marlins.

Last season, Ramirez slashed at .345/.402/.638 with twenty home runs and ten stolen bases in 336 plate appearances. Despite missing time with injuries he posted an incredible 5.1 WAR ranking 25th among field players according to MLBTR. (11/30)


O’s To Deal Johnson?

The Orioles are willing to listen to trade offers for closer Jim Johnson, according to Buster Olney of ESPN. One of the top closers in the league, Johnson is expected to earn as much as $10.8 million in arbitration. That’s more than the entire Mets bullpen combined.

The Baltimore Sun reports that after talking to people within the organization, the trade talk for Johnson definitely has more legs than previous reports that the Orioles were open to dealing shortstop J.J. Hardy or catcher Matt Wieters this offseason.

Johnson, 30, led the American League in saves with 50, and tied Atlanta’s Craig Kimbrel for the Major League lead. In 2012, Johnson had 51 saves giving him 101 over the last two years – the best mark in the Majors. (11/29)


Way To Go Joe

The Angels made it official and announced that they have signed free-agent reliever Joe Smith to a three-year deal worth $15.75 million.

Smith, 29, had a 2.29 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 54 strikeouts in 63 innings last season. Over the past three seasons, the former Met sidewinder has compiled a 2.42 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in 197 innings in the 2011-13 seasons. He’s also been very good at stranding inherited baserunners the past two seasons, allowing only 15 of his 70 inherited runners to score. (11/29)


Oh Ricky You’re So Fine

According to Chris Cotillo of the MLB Daily Dish, the Minnesota Twins have reached an agreement with free agent right-hander Ricky Nolasco. The deal is for four years and $48 million, with a 5th year option for $13 million with a $1 million buyout.

While pitching for the Marlins and Dodgers, Nolasco posted a solid 3.70 ERA, 1.21 WHIP in 199.1 innings with 165 strikeouts and 45 walks allowed.

The Twins have been on the hunt for two pitchers and in the 30-year old Nolasco they get one with a solid track record. That said, he could be very pricey and some project a four-year deal in excess of $50 million dollars.

When this offseason started, Sandy said he had about 25 pitchers on his wish list. I would have to think that list is down to 17-18 now. (11/28)

justin morneau

Morneau To The Rockies?

Troy Renck of the Denver Post is reporting that Colorado Rockies are ever so close to landing first baseman Justin Morneau. Morneau, a former MVP, had a disappointing season after slashing at .259/.323/.411 in 635 plate appearances. But the new trend is to target players like him who are coming off a bad season. That was why the Mets went hard after Chris Young. Morneau has missed a lot of time to injuries over the last three seasons.

The Mets lose a potential trading partner in Colorado who may have been a good landing spot for Ike Davis. There’s not that many teams in search of a first baseman this season, so this one may sting a little bit for Sandy. But I’m sure there’s at least 3-4 teams who will be intrigued by his power potential. (11/28)


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Joe Smith Signs With Angels For Three Years Sun, 24 Nov 2013 03:08:37 +0000 joe smith

Update 11/23 at 9:45 PM

Free agent reliever Joe Smith just signed with the Los Angeles Angels on a 3-year deal worth a little more than $15 million, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

Read my thoughts on Joe Smith from an earlier post below…

Original Post

Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that the Indians were not expected to retain Joe Smith.

Smith, as most of you know, is an ex-Met who was traded away in the J.J. Putz deal. Smith has developed into one of the premier relievers in the American League over the last few years, with a 2.42 ERA in 197.0 innings over his last three seasons. He has also finished 45 games for the Indians and allowed just ten home runs. Right-handers have a career batting average of just .218 against him — while lefties are only faring a little better at .248.

He’s seeking a three-year deal worth about $15 MM and considering he’s just 29, he seems like a reliever that I would take a gamble on.

Here’s the added benefit to that, however — Smith is basically a constant at this point, so you have some margin of error with Jeurys Familia/Jeff Walters/Jack Leathersich/Vic Black.

In the present scenario, as much as I think they’ll all succeed, this would put the Mets in a scenario where they do not HAVE to succeed, and then one of them could be used a trade chip for a big deal down the line.

What do you all think?

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Mets Have Shown Interest In Hughes, But Not Entertaining Idea Of Kazmir Wed, 13 Nov 2013 18:04:26 +0000 Phil Hughes

Here are two different pieces of news from yesterday, both involving the Mets interest in the pitching market…

  • According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, the Mets are not seriously considering a reunion with former first round pick Scott Kazmir. Kazmir, who is coming off a solid season with the Indians, is looking to after a multi-year deal and the Indians are unwilling to give him one. It’s likely the Mets will be hesistant as well, so I wouldn’t expect anything on that front. Kazmir went 10-9 last year with a 4.04 ERA in 158.0 innings pitched. He struck out 162 batters over that span.
  • On the flip side, the Mets have shown interest in Phil Hughes, according to Andy Martino of the Daily News. His source stated that there was “some level of interest” and not nearly as much as in Curtis Granderson. If I had to venture a guess, I would not expect anything much on that front either. It seems like the Mets are just sending out feelers in every direction, as Alderson does every offseason. Hughes isn’t exactly the most desirable free agent out there this winter as well, as even though he’s enjoyed some success in the past, he’s coming off a season where he went 4-14 with a 5.19 ERA. He surrendered 24 home runs in 145.2 innings pitched.

We’ll keep you updated…


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Talks Between Twins and Bronson Arroyo Heating Up Wed, 13 Nov 2013 05:20:46 +0000 Talks are heating up between the Twins and veteran right-hander Bronson Arroyo according to Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press. The Twins are now going over Arroyo’s medical records and they have already discussed guarantee language with his representatives.

On Monday, Arroyo told reporters that the Giants, Phillies, and Twins had contacted his agents, but that no offers have been made.

The Twins have been interested in Arroyo from the start, and there id mutual interest from both sides in getting something done. Arroyo has a history with Twins special assistant Wayne Krivsky. He was the Reds general manager who brought Arroyo to Cincinnati in March 2006, sending outfielder Wily Mo Pena to Boston in a two-player deal that proved to be very one-sided.

Arroyo, 37, is one of the most durable starters in the game, tossing 199 pr more innings for nine straight seasons. He has averaged 13.2 wins and 210 2/3 innings in that span.

The Twins continue to monitor the market for a handful of other free agent starters, having previously expressed interest in right-handers Phil Hughes and Ricky Nolasco and lefty Jason Vargas.

Reports have also linked them to right-handers Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez along with lefty Scott Kazmir, among others, as they attempt to bolster the game’s worst starting rotation.

The Mets were reportedly interested in Arroyo.

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Josh Johnson or Scott Kazmir? Who’s The Better Option For The Mets? Sat, 26 Oct 2013 15:27:03 +0000 The market for starting pitching is noticeably thin and old. Teams have made it a top priority to lock up their young pitching talent and as a result the only familiar names on the market under the age of 30 are Phil Hughes and John Lannan. The Mets are in the advantageous position to retain the majority of their pitching staff that finished fifth in the league in quality starts. The situation that the Mets will likely address is to find temporary solution that can bridge them between Opening Day 2014 and the return/arrival of Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, etc.

Yesterday the Giants set a precedent by signing Tim Lincecum to a 2-year, $35 million contract. Is he worth it? Probably not. But the fact that my answer was “probably not” rather than “no” is enough to warrant a significant amount of money these days.

scott kazmir

Two of the higher-end, more intriguing names on the market are Scott Kazmir and Josh Johnson. Both are appealing for a variety of different reasons including their reputations, past accomplishments and willingness to sign a short-term contract.

The most recent word on Kazmir is that his agent will look to negotiate with Cleveland before exploring the open market. Earlier this month, Johnson had minor elbow surgery to remove bone spurs but will be ready to pitch come spring training. The report is that he would be willing to sign a one-year contract while he attempts to rebuild he value.

The main difference between the two free agents is the current state of their value compared to the value that they have established over the course of their careers.

Returning to professional baseball on a minor league contract, Kazmir posted his best numbers since 2007. His fastball velocity climbed back up to 92.5 mph as opposed to 86.5 mph where it sat during his previous stint in the majors. Despite his recent success, his unpredictable career path indicates that it would be in his best interest to lock up guaranteed money for as many years as he can.

In the case of Johnson, it would benefit him to seek a short-term opportunity to rediscover his form. His first season in Toronto happened to be the worst of his career, posting a 6.20 ERA. Johnson is routinely plagued by injury and has failed to reach the 20-start plateau in three out of the last six seasons. An effective and healthy stint could eventually allow him to maximize his value as a free agent by age 31 or 32.

josh johnson

Historically, Johnson has the edge in terms of raw stuff as he was once a dominant pitcher that notched a 2.64 ERA over 70 starts between 2009 and 2011. Despite pitching to underwhelming numbers the last two seasons, Mets fans know how talented Johnson is based on his 8-2 record and 2.58 career ERA against them.

At a common age of 29, Johnson has experienced an overall decline in velocity over the last five seasons while Kazmir experienced a sudden boost back up toward his career high.

From a superficial standpoint, the appeal of Kazmir surrounds his controversial trade to Tampa Bay at the 2004 trade deadline and what it represents to the Mets organization. Whereas Johnson is a former nemesis of the Mets that brings the stature of an overpowering pitcher.

The fact that Kazmir is a left-handed, fly ball pitcher may be more conducive to what the Mets are looking to add this off-season. With all of their right-handed arms (particularly among their top prospects) the thought of adding another lefty to balance out the rotation could spark their interest.

However, the potential that Johnson offers cannot be ignored. A new approach offered from the Mets coaching staff could give them exactly what they are looking for out of a replacement starter next season.

In the end, the Mets would not be alone in their interest in either pitcher. Both pitchers are certain to be commodities on the open market that is characterized by a deficiency in dependable arms.

The fact Kazmir is a relatively young left-hander and Johnson has a strong track record combined with high demand means that it will likely take a two-year offer or one-year plus an option to lock up either one.

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Giants Ink Lincecum To A Two-Year, $35 Million Deal Wed, 23 Oct 2013 13:53:17 +0000 tim lincecum

What a difference three days makes…

The Giants and right-hander Tim Lincecum agreed to a two-year, $35 million deal Tuesday, pending a physical. Lincecum, a two-time Cy Young Award winner, was days away from becoming a free agent for the first time, but the Giants were able to get a deal done before that could happen.

Lincecum, 29, is 89-70 in seven seasons with the Giants with a 3.46 ERA. He was 10-14 last season with a 4.37 ERA and threw his first career no-hitter.

Talk about getting things done, the Giants locked up their two marquee free agents before they could hit the market. Right fielder Hunter Pence signed a five-year deal during the season’s final weekend.

Brian Sabean has two World Series to his credit in the last four years.

Original Post 10/19

In the world of interesting but unsurprising, Andrew Baggarly of reports that Tim Lincecum will likely test free agency this winter. The Giants have tried their best to keep him in San Francisco on a two-year deal, but it all seems to have gone for naught.

It is very likely Lincecum will get tendered a qualifying offer contract — $14.1 million — and he will decline it. Man, if my job had a qualifying offer of $14.1 million…

Once a dominant ace, “The Freak” has two Cy Young awards on his mantle from 2008 and 2009. He posted ERAs of 2.63 and 2.48 — and struck out over 250 batters in each of those seasons. However, his ERAs in 2012 and 2013 have been 5.17 and 4.37 respectively, a horrid comparison to the ace-quality performance he used to deliver.

A lot of this is likely related to his drop in fastball velocity, but man, it was such an abrupt shift for him. He also saw his HR rate spike even though AT&T Park ranked 30th and 28th in ’12/’13 for home runs given up, respectively. He worked out of the bullpen during the Giants’ 2012 post-season, and I think more than a few potential suitors might be looking at him as a back-end of the bullpen option. Hell, he could even close.

Seattle is the most likely landing spot. Remember, if Lincecum declines the qualifying offer, any team not in the first ten draft picks will have to surrender their first-round pick to sign him. I think that will go a long way in determining how interested teams really are in him — a team like Seattle has no reason to worry. There’s a definite fit there because it is his hometown and a pitcher’s park at that. Baggardly notes in his piece that the Mariners had a scout sent to his last start as well.

The Mets have had this weird draft pick pattern since Sandy’s been here… 13th in 2011, 12th in 2012, 11th in 2013, and 10th in 2014. With the 10th pick, they could sign a free agent that turned down a qualifying offer and have their pick protected —  but I doubt they’d shell out the money to sign Lincecum. I also think teams like the Yankees might stray away from him considering the loss of a draft pick. He’s not a guy that I would surrender a first-round pick for at this point in his career, anyway.

I would pay attention to this whole business of qualifying offers, however. If the Mets were actually to make some big free agent signing, this would hypothetically be the best year. Certain players will be more accessible to the Mets because of this new CBA. The Mets will, however, likely be more interested in guys like Johan Santana and Bronson Arroyo to fill out their rotation.

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What is the ONE Thing the Mets Must Do This Offseason Wed, 23 Oct 2013 13:52:00 +0000 sandy aldersonFor all my fellow Mets fans, opinions have been flying fast in the blogosphere, twitterverse, and any other media I may have forgotten to mention. And all this is occurring before the World Series has even started! No Free Agents can change teams right now, no player has been tendered, yet you would think from some of us Met die-hards that the offseason is already a failure.

Lets all take a deep breath, I mean, Sandy Alderson hasn’t even had time to officially decline Johan Santana‘s 2014 option for $25M, pay the $5M buyout, and move on to Free Agency. There was significant debate about whether the Mets should have chased Cuban slugger Jose Dariel Abreu, who eventually signed with the White Sox for a six year $68M deal. In my opinion, this deal will come back and bite the ChiSox where the sun don’t shine; I mean, giving a guaranteed $11M a year to a guy who has never hit higher that Double A pitching? No Thank You. In fact, I doubt that over the course of the six years that Abreu even hits one Home Run per million dollars he’s paid (for those that can’t do math, that’s 68 HR’s).

Then there was the news last night that the Giants signed Tim Lincecum to a two year $35M deal. Wow! A guy who is clearly in decline, who’s ERA was nearly 5 in 2013, and who’s average fastball speed has decreased two miles an hour gets $17M PER YEAR to continue that mediocrity. Most of the early reaction from Giants fans and media has been that this is a massive overpayment, and not only that, but this deal just drove up the price of every other medium, used to be somewhat useful, starter the Mets might have interest in this offseason (see Josh Johnson and Scott Kazmir).

So, no matter your view of this front office (and count mine on the slightly positive side), they will have their work cut out filling all the holes while staying under what looks to be a team budget of roughly $85M (You can complain about that budget if you want, but it is what it is). So, as you would do in any business, you prioritize. You make the case for which positions on the diamond have the greatest need while accepting those that can be updated next year (or later). If I were Sandy Alderson, my list would look something like this:

  1. Outfield (Right Fielder)
  2. Shortstop
  3. Starting Pitcher
  4. Outfield (Left Fielder/ 4th OF)
  5. First Base
  6. More Pitching

If there is one thing that simply must be done to have even a chance of competing in 2014, its that the Mets obtain a power hitting Outfielder who provides the Mets with an OPS threat that will never be confused with their OBP. This won’t be easy, but there are options out there and this is simply what Sandy Alderson and company must spend the bulk of their dollars on, even at the expense of quality options in other areas. Shortstop is another key area, and there is a possibility that signing someone like Jhonny Peralta could address both concerns, as he played a decent LF for the Tigers in the playoffs. Also, it might be a pipe dream, but perhaps Ruben Tejada rededicates himself to the craft, and becomes the Tejada of 2012, which wasn’t too shabby.

Some readers might be disappointed to see First Base listed so far down the list, but lets think about this for a second. If Sandy obtains a power hitting outfielder, and another one who makes contact and gets on base, we can assume that the budget (again, it is what it is) is near tapped. Then I can live with Lucas/Ike/Josh batting 7th in that lineup.

I am expecting a decent offseason from this front office, I know I am in the minority in that sentiment, but I really believe there will be at least one blockbuster trade that the Mets are a part of.

addicted to mets button

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Alderson: Second Opinion On Harvey Will Determine “Quality and Number” Of Starter They Will Target Mon, 09 Sep 2013 16:28:33 +0000 harveyMets righthander Matt Harvey will have his sore right elbow examined by Dr. James Andrews this week for a second opinion to help him determine if he should opt for Tommy John surgery as the Mets team doctors initially advised.

Manager Terry Collins said before Sunday’s game confirmed the news, but added that no date has been set yet.

Harvey was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Aug. 27 with a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament. Last month, he said via twitter that he was planning on being back from his injury on April 1. But of course if reconstruction surgery is required he would likely miss all of next season.

Harvey, who started for the National League in the All-Star Game at Citi Field this year, was 9-5 with a 2.27 ERA in 26 starts this season. He was leading the league in strikeouts at the time he was injured.

Sandy Alderson said that the decision on whether or not to have surgery will be totally up to Harvey, and that the team can only advise him on the best course of action and not much else.

Over the weekend, Alderson was a guest of Jim Duquette and Jim Bowden on ESPN New York Radio and talked about the importance of this second opinion.

“Until we get that opinion and some confirmation of the exact extent of the injury, I don’t think we’ll have any update,” Alderson said.

What I found newsworthy was that Alderson also told Duquette that the “Mets were already considering adding a veteran pitcher this off season,” and that the Harvey decision will “now obviously impact the quality and number” of that veteran acquisition.

In regards to his off-season plans, Alderson still insisted he has money to spend in free agency, but the big question that remains unanswered is how much will they spend. He also said acquiring offense will be on the agenda this offseason.

Getting back to Harvey, I was surprised to learn that the Mets were planning to add a veteran arm for the rotation and that they would expend their limited resources on an area few saw as a concern with a projected top four of Harvey, Jon Niese, Dillon Gee and Zack Wheeler, plus Jenrry Mejia, Jacob deGrom and Rafael Montero and a few others to choose from in a Spring Training battle for the number five spot.

Obviously, given the uncertainty of the situation, the Mets will now need to add that veteran starter. As soon as we get some clarity on that second opinion from Dr. Andrews, we’ll know whether we’ll be targeting the Chris Capuanos and Shaun Marcums of the world, or someone significantly better.

There’s going to be a lot of drama this offseason where the Mets are concerned and it’s going to be fun following along and seeing how it all unfolds.

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Honestly, Despite The Mets Loss, I Was Happy For Kazmir Last Night Sat, 07 Sep 2013 14:50:29 +0000 scott kazmir

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t happy for Scott Kazmir last night. I’ve always been one of those old school fans that quickly forms a bond with our players and look at them as part of my extended Mets family. I hate to see the Mets lose, but last night wasn’t as painful. I sort of felt like a proud father watching Kazmir pitch the game of his life, even if it came against the team I love.

For one moment in time, I saw the Scott Kazmir I had always imagined him to be – that dominant fire-balling lefthander with the no-hitter stuff.

I didn’t realize that since we dealt Kazmir away at the 2004 trade deadline, that he had never faced the Mets until last night. Considering his on-again/off-again season and career, Friday night’s 12-strikeout gem seemed like a message to Jim Duquette – one that arrived nine years too late – but better late than never.

In 24 starts this year, Kazmir has a 4.36 ERA and 2.77 K/BB ratio in 130 innings for the Indians this year after missing most of the last two seasons with arm woes. The numbers seem somewhat pedestrian, but not bad for his role as a middle of the rotation starter.

It’s been quite the roller-coaster ride for Kazmir ever since the Mets selected him with the 15th overall pick in the 2002 draft. He was ranked among baseball’s top ten prospects every year up until the day he was traded.

Last night the one-time Met phenom had his moment in the sun or moon if you will… And I was very happy for him…

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Kazmir Shuts Down The Mets In 8-1 Loss To The Tribe Sat, 07 Sep 2013 02:19:33 +0000 metsindi

There are losses that can be blamed on a single player, and some even on human error — but others are just disappointing team losses where you get outplayed in every facet of the word. These happen every now and then and they’re unpleasant to watch. Tonight, sadly, was one of those games. Zack Wheeler had a streak of consecutive quality starts broken tonight while former Mets prospect Scott Kazmir mowed down the Mets lineup in an 8-1 defeat to the Indians.

Wheeler’s problems tonight stemmed from perhaps the one issue he had in the minor leagues: walking batters. He walked five batters over five innings of work, and allowed five hits in the same span. He was charged with three runs, only two of them earned, and he struck out three. The unearned run crossed in the second, as an in-direct result of a Wilmer Flores throwing error. All in all, Wheeler did a nice job dancing out of the trouble he put himself in over the course of the game, so I can take solace in the fact that he was pretty composed out there. Gonzalez Germen followed with two innings of work and allowed one run.

On the flip side of the ball, Scott Kazmir struck out twelve through six scoreless and allowed just four hits. It was that kind of night for the Mets offense, who managed only a seventh inning solo home run by Justin Turner to get on the board. The deciding blow against us, however, was made when Nick Swisher crushed a grand slam in the bottom of the eighth — saddling both Tim Byrdak and David Aardsma with two earned runs each. Byrdak was the one who surrendered the home run.

You try to put these kind of games behind you and move on to the next one. The Mets are really looking like they’re heading towards a protected draft pick, which really isn’t the worst possible outcome if the Mets plan to actually make a big splash this offseason. Time will tell, however. Jon Niese takes the mound for the Mets tomorrow after a so-so outing his last time out, where he was pulled after a cramp.

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