Mets Merized Online » St. Louis Cardinals Mon, 01 Feb 2016 23:26:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 12 Teams Have Checked In On RHP Steve Cishek Including Mets Tue, 08 Dec 2015 02:38:28 +0000 MLB: SEP 14 Marlins at Phillies

Latest Update

Darren Wolfson of ESPN 1500 Radio is reporting that as many as a dozen teams have checked in with former Marlins closer Steve Cishek.

Cishek, 29, has been getting a lot of attention and generating a lot of buzz since he was non-tendered by the St. Louis Cardinals last week.

The New York Mets are reportedly one of the teams that have expressed interest. This is a player I’d love to see the Mets get.

December 5

The Mets “will cast a wide net” in searching for relief help, according to Marc Carig of Newsday, and one option they are now focusing on is former Marlin closer Steve Cishek.

Cishek, 29, was non-tendered by the Cardinals on Wednesday as he was due to earn close to $7 million dollars in arbitration – an amount that was driven by his dominant years as a closer in 2012 to 2014. During that span, he saved 88 games, pitching 198.2 innings and striking out 226 with a 2.72 ERA.

We recommended Cishek as a potential target for the Mets after he was non-tendered. He had a down year in 2015 and lost his closer role to A.J. Ramos before the Marlins traded him to the St. Louis Cardinals, but he finished the season very strong.

Cishek posted  a 2.31 ERA in 27 appearances for the Cards with one save, salvaging his season somewhat and finishing with a 3.58 ERA.

He could be a solid buy-low candidate for the Mets with a good chance to return to his previous form. He’d give our bullpen three relievers along with Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia that are experienced closers.

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Nationals Are Running Out Of Time As Mets Magic Number Improves To 25 Wed, 02 Sep 2015 16:48:11 +0000 USATSI_8775324_154511658_lowres

While a sizable contingent of Mets fans still cower in fear over the Ghost of September Past and another 2007 style collapse, the Mets Magic Number improved to 25 last night even though they lost 14-8 to the Phillies at Citi Field.

Credit the Washington Nationals who lost 8-5 in gut-wrenching fashion to the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night.

The Cards have won nine in a row over the Nats and the last two were epic come-from-behind victories off a Washington bullpen that has utterly imploded.

Still 6.5 games behind the New York Mets, the Nationals are running out of time to make up ground with just 31 games left to play in their schedule.

The decisive blow last night came from Brandon Moss who blasted a three-run homer to center field off Casey Janssen in the ninth with a warmed up Jonathan Papelbon sitting in the bullpen twiddling his thumbs in a must-win game.

Manager Matt Williams was widely toasted on social media and blasted on MLB Network for how he has handled the bullpen all season long but especially in the last two weeks and glaringly bad on Monday and Tuesday.

“Oh man, that’s one that hurts,” said right fielder Bryce Harper. “Had a great team on the ropes. Being able to win a game against the Cardinals is huge. They’re a great team over there. They capitalize on mistakes. It was terrible.”

Meanwhile the New York Mets keep motoring on and inching closer to their first postseason since 2006. Everything keeps breaking right for the Mets, and they can seemingly do no wrong.

chicken little

But oh wait… What about 2007? Oh my God, what about that? What if it’s all true!!! What if this whole season was just a big huge giant tease???

Hahaha… That I saw people acting like that last night was hysterical.

Maybe Matt Cerrone is right, he of course being the poster child for the Chicken Little contingent. Maybe this team is suddenly going to tank and reel off a 12-game losing streak. Maybe his Ghost of September Past is a real demonic entity and it’s all going to come crashing down beginning with last night’s loss? Hilarious…

That Jeff Francoeur trusts this team more than some actual Mets fans is funny.  “I heard people talking about the 2007 Mets, and whether this team would collapse like that, and I said, ‘Forget it, this pitching staff is completely different.”

Even Frenchy knows Ya Gotta Believe…

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Breaking Down Noah Syndergaard vs. St. Louis Cardinals Sat, 18 Jul 2015 09:38:18 +0000 noah syndergaard

Stat Line:  7 IP, 2 R, 5H, 6 SO, 1 BB

Despite the loss, Noah Syndergaard put together another strong performance last night against the National League leading St. Louis Cardinals.  Syndergaard stuck to his strengths by commanding his fastball low in the strike zone but he also displayed two characteristics not seen before.

In this article I will talk about two changes Syndergaard made last night in the way he threw his curveball and the use of his changeup.

Curveball Movement and Velocity

So far this season, Syndergaard threw a 12 to 7 curveball at 74 mph to 77 mph.  Last night, Syndergaard threw a harder and sharper curveball at 79 mph to 81 mph which looked more like a slider than a curveball.

The 80 mph sharper version of the curveball is more difficult to hit than its slower counterpart.  Although this version of the curveball doesn’t move as much over the total 54 feet that the baseball travels to home plate, it does break more in the last five feet to the hitter.  That last five feet of quick movement is what the adjective “sharp” refers to.  This late movement makes the pitch more deceptive to the hitter since the hitter cannot see the curveball break earlier in the pitches trajectory.

Additionally, Syndergaard showed progression in the use of his curveball, throwing his curve “backdoor” to lefties (curveball that starts off the outside corner and breaks around the plate to the outside corner).

Use of Changeup

Syndergaard’s changeup successfully kept Cardinals hitters off balance.  Although the changeup was only thrown nine times, Cardinals hitters took the change up for a strike six times and whiffed at it once.  The fact that the Cardinals took the majority of changeups for strikes shows that Syndergaard threw his changeup in the right counts where the Cardinals hitters were expecting a different pitch.

Looking Forward

In my mid-season review of the Mets pitching staff I noted the last step Syndergaard needs to make to become an MLB ace is to command a third pitch in the strike zone.  If he continues to throw his changeup ten times per outing at a 70% strike rate, we will see ace-like second half numbers.

Stat of the Night

Syndergaard had an extremely high whiff percentage of 21.2% with his fastball (percentage of swing and misses by opposing hitters to a particular pitch).  For comparison, Aroldis Chapman’s whiff rate with his 100+ mph fastball in 2014 was 19.2%.

Follow Chris Zaccherio on Twitter @ziography for more Mets pitching insight that goes beyond statistics.


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MMO Game Recap: Cardinals 3, Mets 2 Sat, 18 Jul 2015 03:28:08 +0000 curtis granderson

The Mets (47-43) were defeated by the St. Louis Cardinals (57-33) by a score of 3-2 tonight at Busch Stadium.

Curtis Granderson kicked off the second half of the season by hitting a lead off home run to give Noah Syndergaard a lead before he even took the mound. The last sixteen runs the Mets have scored have come via the home run.

Unfortunately for Syndergaard, the Mets offensive woes carried over from the first half, as the Granderson home run was the only support Thor would receive.

Noah was able to hold the slim lead until the sixth inning. Kolten Wong lead off the inning with a single, and advanced to third on a steal and a throwing error from Kevin Plawecki.

Matt Carpenter tied the game up for St. Louis, driving in Wong from third on a ground out to first base.

Jhonny Peralta hit a solo home run two batters later to give the Cardinals their first lead of the night, 2-1.

The next batter Jason Heyward tripled, but Syndergaard was able to strand him at third.

noah syndergaard

Thor finished his day going seven strong innings, allowing two runs on five hits, while walking one and striking out six. He falls to 4-5 on the season after getting slapped with a tough luck loss.

In the seventh inning, Terry Collins was ejected after arguing balls and strikes with home plate umpire Chad Fairchild. Collins was unhappy with the strike zone all night, and with Lucas Duda at the plate, he was thrown from the game.

What should have been a spark for Mets players, the quiet offense still couldn’t muster up any type of offense, a reoccurring theme of the season.

In the eighth inning, the Cardinals tacked on another run as Kolten Wong singled to lead off the frame, and came around to score on a double from Peter Bourjos.

Trevor Rosenthal shut the door out of the ‘pen for the Cardinals despite some adversity and the Mets getting the tying run to third, after Lance Lynn turned in seven strong innings, and Kevin Siegrist kept the Mets at bay in the eighth.

All I can say is, rest up and get ‘em tomorrow.

On deck:

The series continues tomorrow night with Bartolo Colon (9-7, 4.46 ERA) taking the ball for the Mets, and is opposed by John Lackey (7-5, 2.99 ERA). First pitch is at 7:15 PM.

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Breaking Down Jacob DeGrom vs. St. Louis Cardinals Fri, 22 May 2015 14:27:03 +0000 DeGrom, Jacob

Jacob DeGrom doesn’t like to be overlooked or over shadowed by his other two young rotation mates Matt Harvey and Noah Syndergaard.  Over the past two weeks, Harvey and Syndergaard have been taking the spotlight away from the 2014 National League Rookie of the Year with their 96+ mph fastballs and high strikeout count.

Here are the top three reasons deGrom dominated the Cardinals hitters on Thursday afternoon:

Fastball Velocity:

That 97 mph fastball that we saw thrown to Kolten Wong on the third pitch of the game was seen nine more times during the course of deGrom’s outing.  You may be saying to yourself, he has always been a mid-90’s guy.  To some degree that is correct but he traditionally sits at 94 to 95 mph during the course of his starts and will touch 96 mph a few times during the course of a game.  In yesterday’s start, he was consistently throwing 95 to 96 mph, occasionally reaching 97 mph.  Now you may be asking, what is the importance in a one mph difference in his fastball?

Any professional or even some collegiate hitters can tell you that after the 94 or 95 mph threshold, each mph after that is significantly harder than the previous mph.  In simple terms, seeing a 96 mph is noticeably different than seeing a 95 mph fastball, seeing 97 mph fastball is noticeably different than seeing 96 mph fastball and so on and so forth.  Conversely, seeing a 93 mph fastball is that much different than a 92 mph fastball.

Additionally, there are many starters around the MLB that consistently throw 93 to 95 mph and touch 96 mph but there are far less that can consistently throw 96 mph and touch 97 to 98 mph (look outside the Mets rotation, we are completely spoiled).

Command of Fastball, Slider and Changeup:

DeGrom’s command of all three pitches was the best we’ve seen from a Mets pitcher since Harvey’s first start of the season against the Washington Nationals.  When a pitcher has the ability to command three pitches it allows their pitch selection to effortlessly fall into place as he was able to throw any one of his three pitches in any count to any hitter.

Additionally, deGrom was usually ahead in the count due to him command dictating called and swinging strikes early in every at-bat.  This makes it even easier for him to choose any pitch on any count because he knows that even if he misses with an off-speed pitch, at worst he will be even in the count.

His command was so good yesterday that I don’t even need to reference any specific at-bat.  In all the innings he threw a changeup (four of the eight innings pitched), DeGrom threw each of his three pitches for a strike.  In every inning yesterday, he threw at least his fastball and slider for a strike.

Movement and Speed Differential with Fastball

Although deGrom was throwing harder, he didn’t lose his small two-seam run or movement on his fastball.  The fastball may only break an inch or two but due to the velocity and how late the movement occurs, it helps him create weaker contact and induce more swing and misses.

DeGrom also varied velocity on his fastball, essentially giving him two different pitches for the price of one.  His “go to” fastball was 94 to 95 mph which was placed low and away to nearly every batter he faced during the course of the game to get ahead early in at-bats.  Once he reached counts of 0-2 or 1-2, he ramped up his fastball to 96 and 97 mph, locating it either low and away from the batter or chest high over the plate to induce a swing and miss.

The strategy of varying fastball velocity is one that should be stressed to younger pitchers.  Whether they are young in the MLB or young in little league, it’s an extremely easy and safe way to gain a strikeout pitch as opposed to trying to learn or gain another off-speed pitch in their repertoire.

Just for fun, deGrom showed a cutter in the first inning against Matt Carpenter and third inning against Wong.  If the Cardinals hitters didn’t already have enough problems, he placed one more pitch in the minds of two of the best Cardinals hitter’s early in the game.

Stat of the day:  In comparison to my stat on Jon Niese’s bad outing in Tuesday night’s game against the Cardinals where Niese only threw 12 of 25 first pitch strikes, deGrom threw a first pitch strike against 20 out of the 25 Cardinal batters he faced yesterday.


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MMO Game Recap: Mets 5, Cardinals 0 #DeGromination Thu, 21 May 2015 20:12:08 +0000 jacob deGrom

The Mets (24-18) defeated the St. Louis Cardinals (27-14) by a score of 5-0, splitting the four game set.

Jacob deGrom had one of the best outings of his young career, which saw him pitching eight innings of one-hit ball, striking out eleven batters, and retiring the last twenty-three Cardinals to face him.

His opposition, Jaime Garcia, pitched a solid game as well, and kept the Cardinals in the game going seven innings, allowing two runs on five hits and striking out three.

Garcia walked the first batter to face him in each of the first three innings, but it wasn’t until the fourth that the Mets got into both the run and hit column.

With the bases loaded and one out, John Mayberry singled to drive in the run, but the Mets failed to really break the game open as Eric Campbell grounded into a double play the next at-bat to end the inning.

lucas duda

Lucas Duda continued his hot-hitting against lefties today, as he counted for four of the Mets five runs. In the bottom of the sixth, Duda launched a solo shot off of Garcia to right center field, and did it again in the bottom of the eighth against Randy Choate, almost to the exact same spot. It was the only pitch Choate would throw, and it was a big blow as that was a three-run shot.

Against my personal wishes, Jacob deGrom was pinched-hit for in the eighth and was relieved in the ninth by Jeurys Familia, who despite letting up a two-out single to Kolten Wong, sealed the win for the Mets.

Despite the Cardinals tagging the Mets for nineteen runs in the past two ballgames, and the Mets only putting up a meager nine runs in the series, the Amazin’s will take the split and make their way to Pittsburgh to face the Bucco’s this weekend.

Game ball:

Jacob deGrom gets the game ball today for obvious reasons, as he was in top form today, looking exactly how he did in his Rookie of the Year campaign in 2014.

On deck:


Noah “Thor” Syndergaard (1-1; 3.18 ERA) takes on Gerrit Cole (5-2; 2.40 ERA) for the start of a three-game weekend series against the Pirates tomorrow night at PNC Park. First pitch is at 7:10 PM.

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Breaking Down Jon Niese vs. St. Louis Cardinals Wed, 20 May 2015 15:20:17 +0000 jon niese

Finishing Line:  5 IP, 8 R, 8 ER, 11 H, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HR

Defining Pitches

First Inning:

Early in the first inning, Jon Niese showed poor command of his fastball as he gave up a single to Peter Bourjos followed by a RBI double to Randal Grichuk, both on fastballs that missed low and over the plate.

Later in the first inning, Niese showed off his greatest trait as a pitcher in his moxie during a grueling ten pitch at-bat against Yadier Molina.  On the eighth pitch of Molina’s at-bat, Niese threw 2-2 fastball chest high and on the inside corner of the plate which Molina barely fought off as he fouled the pitch into the umpire face guard.  That fastball was the perfect pitch in that situation for the following three reasons:

  1. The previous seven pitches that Niese threw to Molina in this at-bat were thigh level or lower.  By throwing a fastball chest high and inside, it forces Molina to change the eye level that he had become comfortable or had become accustomed to during this at-bat.  Additionally, throwing the ball inside puts the ball closer to Molina’s eyes, making it naturally more enticing for Molina to swing at the pitch.
  2. Given the situation with one out and base runners on first and third base, Molina was probably guessing that Niese would keep the ball low in the strike zone to induce a ground ball double play.
  3. The chest high fastball would potentially set up Niese’s next pitch if needed, which would be an off-speed pitch located low and away in the strike zone in an attempt to induce a ground ball double play.

The next pitch was a curveball located low and away in the strike zone, which Molina was able to foul off.  Two pitches later, Niese ended up forcing Molina into that ground ball double play on a low and away fastball.

Second Inning:

With one out and base runners on first and third base, the St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Michael Wacha came to the plate.  The third pitch of Wacha’s at-bat was not only poor execution by Niese but poor pitch selection, classifying this as the worst pitch of the night for Niese.

Wacha looked awful on his first two bunt attempts against Niese’s curveball, as he missed the first curveball completely for a “swinging” strike and popped-up the second curveball into the backstop.  On the third pitch of the at-bat, Niese threw a change-up low and over the plate which Wacha was able to bunt into play for a sacrifice bunt RBI.

In this situation, Niese didn’t need to be crafty or deceptive against Wacha, as Wacha is a young pitcher with little experience butting in the MLB.  Due to this fact, we know that Wacha is not a good enough bunter to make an in-bat adjustment to all of a sudden gain the ability to get a bunt down against a curveball.

Additionally, inexperienced bunters such as Wacha, have the tendency to pop up a bunt against a curveball due to the natural reaction they have of dropping the barrel of their bat as the curveball begins to make its movement down and inside.  A pop-up in this situation would result in an out with no advancement by the base runners and could have led to a double play if the Met who caught the pop-up was able to quickly throw it behind one of the base runners for a force out.


Niese is a pitcher whose success relies heavily on locating his fastball which is the catalyst to the rest of his pitching success as it allows him to mix up pitch selection by throwing more off-speed pitches.  In last night’s game he showed very poor command of his fastball, consistently missing over the plate even on pitches that resulted in outs (see Matt Holiday’s fifth inning line out to center).  Niese’s poor fastball command continually put him behind in counts as he threw first pitch fastballs for a called ball against nine of the 25 Cardinal hitters he faced.

Unfortunately for Niese, he doesn’t have a sharp enough curveball or change-up to create swing and misses to get back ahead in the count and in turn is forced to throw more fastballs.  Additionally, he doesn’t throw his fastball hard enough to get poor located fastballs over the plate past opposing hitters.  These fastballs become more predictable by the hitters and as a result get hit more often and hit harder into play.

A positive for Niese was his pitch selection when he was able to get deeper into counts with two strikes besides the Wacha at-bat noted above.

Against stronger hitting teams like the Cardinals, Niese will not be able to get past the middle innings without his fastball command.  For Mets fans, do not overreact as most MLB pitchers have one or two games like this per season where the pitcher just doesn’t have their best repertoire of pitches and command coupled with facing an above average hitting team.

Key Stat

First pitch strikes:  Out of the 25 Cardinal batters that Niese faced he threw only 12 first pitches strikes or balls in play.  For those who don’t believe in the importance of first pitch strikes please take this into consideration:  Thus far in the 2015 season, the Cardinals hitters are batting .207 when behind in the count as opposed to .325 when they are ahead in the count.


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MMO Game Recap: Mets 3, Cardinals 2 Sun, 29 Mar 2015 19:49:00 +0000 lucas duda

The New York Mets defeated the St. Louis Cardinals by a score of 3-2 in Jupiter on Sunday.


Dillon Gee started and delivered a strong seven inning performance, allowing just two runs, scattering seven his, walking two and striking out three.

Lefty Dario Alvarez relieved Gee, faced one lefthanded hitter and struck him out. Zach Thornton got two quick outs to end the eighth.

Sean Gilmartin struck out two in the ninth and Erik Goeddel picked up the last out.


Lucas Duda went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI singles against lefthanded pitching. In fact, LHP Randy Choate walked David Wright to pitch to Duda who made him pay, driving in the tying run at the time.

Curtis Granderson had a nice game, going 2-for-2 with a pair of doubles and two runs scored.

The Mets scored the third go-ahead run on Ruben Tejada run-scoring fielder’s choice.


Bobby Parnell hit a batter and walked a batter in a scoreless minor league inning on Sunday. He tossed 16 pitches.

Anthony DiComo points out the Mets have a .706 Grapefruit League winning percentage and a +47 run differential since March 12.

On Deck:

The Mets will host the Marlins at Tradition Field on Monday at 1:05 PM. Rafael Montero will get the start for the Mets.

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MMO Game Thread: Mets vs Cardinals, 1:05 PM Fri, 27 Mar 2015 14:55:34 +0000 matt harvey

It’s Matt Harvey Day! Literally. The Mets ace turns 26 today. Harvey is slated for 80 pitches today as the New York Mets take on the St. Louis Cardinals at 1:05 PM in Jupiter. He will be opposed by right-hander John Lackey.

Manager Terry Collins plans to bat Harvey eighth this afternoon. He is considering consistently using the pitcher in that slot this season, according to Adam Rubin. Curtis Granderson would lead off, followed by David Wright and Lucas Duda, while Juan Lagares bats ninth.

Upcoming Starting Pitchers: Saturday – Jacob deGrom, Sunday – Dillon Gee, Monday – Rafael Montero, Tuesday – Jon Niese, Wednesday – Bartolo Colon

Here are today’s Starting Lineups:

New York Mets

  1. Curtis Granderson, RF
  2. David Wright, 3B
  3. Kirk Nieuwenhuis, CF
  4. Michael Cuddyer, LF
  5. Wilmer Flores, SS
  6. Travis d’Arnaud, C
  7. Eric Campbell, 1B
  8. Matt Harvey, RHP
  9. Danny Muno, 2B

St. Louis Cardinals

  1. Peter Bourjos, CF
  2. Jason Heyward, RF
  3. Matt Holliday, LF
  4. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  5. Yadier Molina, C
  6. Mark Reynolds, 1B
  7. Scott Moore, 3B
  8. Ty Kelly, 2B
  9. John Lackey, RHP

Enjoy the game and Let’s Go Mets!

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MMO Game Thread: Cardinals vs Mets, 1:10 PM (SNY) Fri, 20 Mar 2015 16:47:41 +0000 bartolo colon

Bartolo Colon and the New York Mets will host the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday at Tradition Fielf in a 1:10 PM matchup.(SNY)

Colon will be opposed by Cards right-hander Michael Wacha. Cory Mazzoni and Buddy Carlyle are also scheduled to pitch for the Mets.

It looks like Bobby Parnell will not pitch Friday after all. The Mets closer is now scheduled to pitch in Saturday’s minor-league game at Tradition Field instead. He last pitched in a game almost a year ago.

Daniel Murphy feels better after leaving the game Thursday with a tight hamstring. He is not in Friday’s starting lineup as the Mets give him some time to heal.


  1. Curtis Granderson, rf
  2. David Wright, 3B
  3. Lucas Duda, 1B
  4. Michael Cuddyer, DH
  5. Kirk Nieuwenhuis, LF
  6. Wilmer Flores, SS
  7. Johnny Monell, C
  8. Matt den Dekker, CF
  9. Daniel Muno, 2B


  1. Matt Carpenter, 3B
  2. Jon Jay, CF
  3. Randal Grichuk, LF
  4. Mark Reynolds, 1B
  5. Scott Moore, DH
  6. Tony Cruz, C
  7. Stephen Piscotty, RF
  8. Ty Kelly, 2B
  9. Pete Kozma, SS

Enjoy the game and Let’s Go Mets!

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Mets Win A Pair: Flores, Grandy, Cuddyer All Homer Thu, 19 Mar 2015 21:16:30 +0000 wilmer flores john mayberry

The Mets played two split squad games today, and came away with a victory in both matchups.  The Mets defeated the Houston Astros at home in Tradition field by a score of 3-1, and the Mets other squad won by a score of 7-2 against the St. Louis Cardinals in Jupiter.


Dillon Gee was solid in his start against Houston, but not spectacular. He allowed no runs and two hits in 3.2 innings. However, he walked two and did not record a strikeout.

Rafael Montero yielded the games only run on a double by Jonathan Villar in the 7th inning. Montero pitched 3.2 innings and struck out two batters.

Jack Leathersich and Sean Gilmartin, who are auditioning for a spot on the Opening Day Roster, both struck out the only batter they faced.

Carlos Torres tossed a perfect 9th inning and picked up the save.

Jon Niese got the start against St. Louis and was impressive. Niese struck out six batters in 4 innings and allowed just one run.

Dario Alvarez, Zack Thornton, Scott Rice and Chase Bradford all had scoreless appearances out of the bullpen.


Michael Cuddyer homered again today against Houston in the first inning off of former Met Collin McHugh. Cuddyer now has three home runs this spring.

Curtis Granderson also went deep today with an opposite field home run during the fourth inning. Granderson finished the day going 1 for 2 with a walk.

Travis d’Arnaud added to the Mets 2-0 lead in the 6th with a RBI ground rule double off of Josh Fields.

Wilmer Flores continued his torrid spring with another great day at the plate. Flores homered off of Cardinals’ starter Jamie Garcia in the second inning.  His batting average now stands at .406, and he has hit two home runs and 7 RBI in 32 at bats.

The Mets scored two runs in both the 7th and 8th innings to put the game against St. Louis out of reach. Alex Castellanos had an RBI triple to put the Mets up 4-2, and Flores added to the damage with a sac fly to increase the lead. Prospect T.J. Rivera drove in the two runs in the 8th with an RBI single.

On Deck:

The Mets next game will be tomorrow at 1:10 against the St. Louis Cardinals. Bartolo Colon will start for New York, and will face off against Michael Wacha. The game will be televised on SNY.


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MMO Game Thread: Mets vs Astros, Mets at Cardinals, 1:05 PM Thu, 19 Mar 2015 16:25:47 +0000 wright Lagares

The New York Mets return to action with a pair of split-squad games on Thursday.

Dillon Gee gets the start facing ex-Met Collin McHugh and the Houston Astros at Tradition Field at 1:10 PM in a game that will be televised on SNY.

Jon Niese and the rest of his squad travel to Jupiter to play the St. Louis Cardinals. He will be opposed by left-hander Jaime Garcia in a 1:05 PM matchup that will be televised on MLB Network.

The Mets sent pitching prospect and MMO favorite Akeel Morris to minor league camp on Thursday, leaving 46 players still in big league camp. The 22 year old righty went 4-1 with a 0.63 ERA in 41 relief appearances with Low-A Savannah last season, and an amazing 89 K to 22 BB ratio in 57 IP.

Here are today’s lineups:

Tradition Field


  1. Juan Lagares, CF
  2. Curtis Granderson, RF
  3. Michael Cuddyer, LF
  4. Travis d’Arnaud, C
  5. Kirk Nieuwenhuis, DH
  6. Brandon Allen, 1B
  7. Ruben Tejada, SS
  8. Matt Reynolds, 2B
  9. Daniel Muno, 3B


  1. Jose Altuve, 2B
  2. Marwin Gonzalez, DH
  3. Colby Rasmus, LF
  4. Luis Valbuena, 3B
  5. Jed Lowrie, SS
  6. Jonathan Villar, CF
  7. Dan Johnson, 1B
  8. Hank Conger, C
  9. Alex Presley, RF

Jupiter, Florida


  1. Wilmer Flores, SS
  2. Daniel Murphy, 2B
  3. David Wright, 3B
  4. Lucas Duda, 1B
  5. John Mayberry, RF
  6. Eric Campbell, DH
  7. Matt den Dekker, CF
  8. Anthony Recker, C
  9. Alex Castellanos, LF


  1. Matt Carpenter, 3B
  2. Jason Heyward, RF
  3. Matt Holliday, LF
  4. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  5. Yadier Molina, C
  6. Mark Reynolds, DH
  7. Matt Adams, 1B
  8. Kolten Wong, 2B
  9. Peter Bourjos, CF

Enjoy the games and Let’s Go Mets!


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Carlos Beltran Signed With Mets 10 Years Ago Today Tue, 13 Jan 2015 17:04:53 +0000 On January 13, 2005, ten years ago today, the Mets signed free agent  Carlos Beltran to a seven year, $119 million dollar contract.

I can’t recall a greater Mets player who was as under-appreciated as Beltran was when he was with the Mets, despite always giving it everything he had and delivering countless big hits and big plays.

“He had a couple of monster seasons for us, and was a huge reason why we made it as far as we did in 2006,” Wright said of his former teammate. ”We came a couple runs from making the World Series, and we don’t get close to that without Carlos.”


The following is where Carlos Beltran ranked in Mets franchise history after he was traded

Batting average: .280 (12th)
On-base percentage: .369 (6th)
Slugging percentage: .501 (5th)
OPS (on-base plus slugging): .870 (5th)
Runs scored: 548 (8th)
Hits: 877 (13th)
Total bases: 1,566 (10th)
Doubles: 208 (6th)
Triples: 17 (17th)
Home Runs: 149 (6th)
RBI: 557 (6th)
Bases on Balls: 446 (9th)
Stolen Bases: 100 (11th)
Extra-Base Hits: 374 (6th)
Sacrifice Flies: 37 (7th)
WAR (Position Players): 32.2 (2nd)
Offensive WAR: 27.8 (5th)
Defensive WAR: 4.4 (3rd)

Here are our Top 5 Beltran Moments…

5. The First Win As A Met – April 10, 2005

Setting the scene: For the first moment on this list, we head all the way back to Beltran’s first win as a Met. The Mets started the Pedro Martinez-Carlos Beltran era 0-5 under rookie manager Willie Randolph, and were on the verge of being swept out of Atlanta. Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz were locked in a pitcher’s duel, with Smoltz striking out 15 Mets.

What Happened: Up came Mr. Beltran in the 8th Inning with the Mets down 1-0, and Jose Reyes on base. Beltran took Smoltz deep for a 2-Run HR that not only put the Mets ahead for good, but knocked Smoltz out of the game. With Smoltz out, the Mets were able to get to the Braves bullpen for 4 more runs, including another Beltran RBI in the 9th. Pedro Martinez picked up the complete game win.

4. Tie-Breaking 2-Run HR, 2006 NLCS Game 1 – October 12, 2006

Setting the Scene: Tom Glavine and Jeff Weaver of the St. Louis Cardinals were locked in a 0-0 pitching duel in the first game of the 2006 NLCS. In the 6th Inning, Paul Lo Duca singles with two out to keep the inning alive for Beltran.

What Happened: Beltran drilled a 2-2 offering from Weaver to right-center, giving the Shea Apple a reason to come out and shine. It would be the only runs the Mets score that night, as the Mets took Game 1 from the Cardinals 2-0.

Beltran would hit two more HR’s in Game 4, tying Babe Ruth for most post-season HR’s against the Cardinals. The series would end on a sour note for the Mets and especially Beltran in Game 7. However, the Mets would never have gotten to Game 7 without the magnificent 2006 season that Beltran put up.

3. “We’re Going Home” – May 23, 2006

Setting the Scene: The Philadelphia Phillies took an early lead, and despite the best attempts of the New York Mets, the Phillies continued to hold on to their lead. Jose Reyes tied the game with a 2-Run HR in the 8th, and the Mets and Phillies carried an 8-8 score into extras. Ryan Madson pitched 7 Innings in relief to take the game to the 16th Inning.

What Happened: Carlos Beltran led off the bottom of the 16th with a solo, walk-off HR. That’s it. Game over. The SNY call of the game is memorable for Gary Cohen proclaiming We’re going home after the game ended after midnight.

2. The Catch Up Tal’s Hill – July 7, 2007

Setting the Scene: On the Saturday before the All-Star Break (and the luckiest day to play the slots), the Mets and the Houston Astros played a 3-3 tie deep into extras. The Astros and the Mets frequently threatened to score, putting men on base in every inning except the 13th.

What Happened: The Astros put men on at the corners with two out. The runner on third is the only one that matters. Luke Scott steps in to pinch hit and drills the Joe Smith pitch 420 ft…to straightaway center. Carlos Beltran got an excellent jump on the ball, ran over 50 feet, and made a stunning, over the shoulder grab, while running up the hill and falling down, to save the game. Beltran, who was the top defensive CF in the National League for a stretch, had the defensive play of his career here.

Three innings later, in the 17th, Beltran drove in Jose Reyes to score the go-ahead run amidst all the usual boos from the Houston fans. David Wright would follow with an insurance run, and the Mets won 5-3 after 5 hours and the most thrilling game of the 2007 season.

1. Home Run Derby At Shea Stadium – August 22, 2006

Setting the Scene: The Mets open up a 1-0 lead on the St. Louis Cardinals with a solo HR from Carlos Delgado, before Albert Pujols smacks a 3-Run HR and a Grand Slam in back-to-back innings to give the Cardinals a 7-1 lead. Carlos Delgado answered Pujols’s Grand Slam with one of his own(his 400th career HR) in the bottom of the 5th. Jose Reyes scored in the 6th to pull the Mets to 7-6.

What Happened: Jason Isringhausen came in to close the game. After retiring Reyes, he gave up a single to Paul Lo Duca. Up stepped Carlos Beltran with the power to end the game with one swing…which is just what he did. Beltran turned one over the right-field wall to walk the Mets off the field with an 8-7 win in maybe the most thrilling game of the 2006 season.


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MMO Fan Shot: What Run Differential Doesn’t Tell You Tue, 13 Jan 2015 14:25:01 +0000 MLB Opening Day at Citi Field

An MMO Fan Shot by Joey D.

While I expect the Mets to take a significant step forward this season, I have to disagree with the case many make for the Mets based on their run differential last season.

Run differential numbers are useless because of the missing nuts and bolts that are hidden behind it. I will refer to the St. Louis Cardinals who put up equivalent marks as we did in run scoring, runs allowed and fielding. They won 90 games playing a tougher schedule, eleven more wins than we had. Why was that?

It’s because tallying accumulated runs mean very little. I’ve been saying this often of late but it needs to be repeated. Bobby Ojeda said he doesn’t care about the total amounts of runs scored/allowed, it’s the how and when that’s important.

The Mets’ run production was not consistent. They would bunch many of their runs into a few games. They were not reliable to score enough on a day-in and day-out basis, and to churn out runs against tough pitching. Do we forget all the times we were cursing because they lost a tough low scoring game? How often they stranded runners in scoring position? How many times a starter would walk off the mound after a fine performance with either a no decision or being on the losing end to show for it? All those one run losses?

The Cardinals did not have that type of problem. That’s why one has to look beyond the numbers. They had what it took to produce runs proficiently throughout the long 162 game schedule. They would put the ball in play to make things happen, not take pitches hoping to get a better one later in the count. They would move runners along, make productive outs, get the runners in when they needed them.

That run differential had it where the Cardinals should have been an 83 game winner this past year and the Mets an 82 game winner. The Cardinals won 90 and we won just 79 because of what was behind those numbers, or lacking in the Mets’ case.

A Pythagorean explanation would be that the Cardinals got too many breaks and were too lucky and the Mets weren’t lucky at all. But is that really the case and were the Mets really on par with the Cardinals offensively last season? The Cardinals had seven regulars who had a 2.0 WAR or better last season. The Mets had four. The Cardinals had five everyday players with a 110 OPS+ or higher last season. The Mets had Duda and Murphy.

This is why there is such a divide between the saber supporters and those like me who could be called traditionalists. It’s not so much the numbers or the stats, it’s the misuse of that information to make a case for something that isn’t.

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This Fan Shot was contributed by MMO reader Joey D. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 25,000 Met fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to us at Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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Red Sox To Sign Justin Masterson Thu, 11 Dec 2014 17:26:43 +0000 MLB: Detroit Tigers at Cleveland Indians

According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Red Sox have agreed to sign free agent right-hander Justin Masterson.

Masterson, 28, spent last season splitting time between the Cleveland Indians and St. Louis Cardinals. In 28 games (25 starts) he compiled a 7-9 record with a 5.88 ERA.

For his career, Masterson owns a 60-72 record, with a 4.24 ERA, 3.89 FIP and a 1.387 WHIP.

The deal is for one year and $9 million dollars, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

It has certainly been a busy week for the Red Sox

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Braves Trade Jason Heyward To The Cardinals For Shelby Miller Mon, 17 Nov 2014 17:32:40 +0000 jason heyward

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports is reporting that the Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals have agreed on a trade that sends OF Jason Heyward and RHP Jordan Walden to the Cardinals in exchange for RHP Shelby Miller and RHP Tyrell Jenkins. He also noted that there are more pieces involved in the trade.

Jason Heyward (25) will be a free agent after the 2015 season. Acquiring him gives the Cardinals a much needed, temporary bat in right field. Look for the Cardinals to try to lock him up in a long term contract sometime during the season. The perennial gold-glover produced a .271/.351/.384 clip last year with 11 home runs and 58 RBIs.

Jordan Walden (27), known to Mets fans as the reliever who jumps off the mound when he throws, had a 2.88 ERA in 50 innings pitched out of the bullpen in 2014. He also struck out 62 batters during that span. Walden will not become a free agent until 2017 at the earliest.

 Shelby Miller (24) will be a free agent in 2019 at the earliest. He was 10-9 last year with a 3.74 ERA while striking out 127 batters in 183 innings pitched. 

Tyrell Jenkins (22) is the only prospect in the deal. He pitched in High-A ball last season for the Palm Beach Cardinals, going 6-5 with a 3.28 ERA in 72 innings pitched while striking out 41 batters.


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Cardinals Prospect Oscar Taveras Dies In Car Accident Mon, 27 Oct 2014 01:02:55 +0000 MLB: Spring Training-Miami Marlins at St. Louis Cardinals

Sad news out of St. Louis….

According to Brian Mejia, the agent for Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras, the young outfielder has passed away after he and his girlfriend were involved in a car accident in Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic.

Taveras, just 22, was called up to the big league club at the end of May this past season, and hit .239/.278/.312 in 234 plate appearances. He also had a crucial home run for the Cardinals in the NLCS just two weeks ago

The promising  young outfielder was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2008 by St. Louis and was projected to be a stud outfielder of the future for the Cardinals after he slashed .320/.376/.502 cumulatively over six minor league seasons.

“Obviously, we have deep condolences to his family. We are still waiting for more details before issuing a full statement,” stated Cardinals GM John Mozeliak.

Our condolences are with the family and friends of Oscar and the St. Louis Cardinals organization during this difficult time.


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Las Vegas 51′s George Greer Hired By Cardinals Thu, 16 Oct 2014 23:14:24 +0000 george greerLas Vegas 51′s hitting coach George Greer has been hired by the St. Louis Cardinals a source told ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin this evening. It is not yet known what position Greer will hold with the Cardinals.

Former major leaguer John Mabry is currently the Cardinals hitting coach and was recently praised by manager Mike Matheny.

“John Mabry seemed to take a lot of heat as we were pushing through the season” he told Jenifer Langosch of earlier this month.

“Some of those results weren’t there, which is really ridiculous. Fortunately, he stayed with what he knew was right, and the guys continued to work to improve and nobody was doing the major overhauls, like we were talking about, for no reason, just to appease people in the outside.”

Greer has spent eight seasons with the Mets and just finished his second year as the AAA hitting instructor. He previously served in other positions within the system at lower levels.

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Young Fans Are Being Denied Great October Baseball Mon, 13 Oct 2014 18:00:58 +0000 kolten wong

Last night the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants played an incredible baseball game. There were big hits, huge strikeouts and some of the most heads-up baseball I’ve seen in a long time (see Matt Duffy running the bases). A few minutes before midnight, after the Giants tied the game in the 9th inning, Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong launched a game winning home run into the right field stands.

It was another incredible moment in a postseason that’s been chock-full of them.

Despite these amazing games, many have taken to social media to voice their frustration with the timing of Major League Baseball’s playoff calendar. With games ending at or after midnight, it’s conceivable that while adult baseball fans are soaking in the intensity of the playoffs, kids are asleep and have to rely on SportsCenter during breakfast the next morning to see what happened.

What’s fascinating is that this isn’t a new occurrence. Playoff baseball games have always started around 8:00 PM. In 1986, the National League Championship Series featuring the Mets and the Astros, had games starting all over the place. Game one in Houston started at 7:30, ending at 10:26 PM. Game three, back in New York, started at 12:20 PM and ended in the middle of the afternoon (3:15 PM). Game four, also in New York, started at 8:20 PM, which is later than most of the East Coast games this year have started. That game ended at 10:43 PM.

As you can see, the start times for playoff games haven’t changed all that much. What has changed is the length of the games. Major League Baseball wants to hold onto the “prime time” slot for the cable networks but with the games getting longer and longer, it’s becoming a detriment to baseballs most important demographic. Kids under the age of 15. These are the future players, consumers and fans of baseball and they are being alienated.

The key change for baseball of course is the length of games. By 2000, the last time the Mets won the National League Championship, games were already getting quite long. Game two against the Cardinals in 2000 lasted almost four hours. This year, games lasted an average of about 3 hours, up over 30 minutes compared to 30 years ago according to The New York Times.

This is the challenge for baseball. How do you take a sport that naturally takes a long time to play and make it easy to watch for kids? The answer is simple and it has nothing to do with making the games shorter. It’s just about sliding the start times up. Games are always going to run late, especially when you have competition at the level it’s been at in recent years. But moving the start times up to 7:00 PM instead of 8:00 PM means that games are ending on this side of midnight.

Rob Manfred is going to spend the entire offseason figuring out ways to speed up baseball. While this is a noble cause, I’ll be the first to say that I don’t want or need baseball to be faster. Playoff baseball is exciting in a way that no writer could ever script into a movie. There’s drama that roughly three hours does justice for. I don’t need baseball to be faster. I just need the games to start earlier so that kids of all ages (and sleepy adults of all ages) can begin to enjoy moments like Wong’s game winner last night each and every night of October.

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It’s Tough to Snooker Sandy in a Trade Fri, 15 Aug 2014 17:37:20 +0000 Long before becoming General Manager of the Mets, Sandy Alderson was the longtime General Manager of the Oakland A’s. He took over the helm of the A’s after Billy Martin was fired after the 1982 season in which the A’s went 68-94 and finished 5th in the American League West. During his run with the A’s, his teams appeared in three straight World Series from 1988-1990, winning the whole thing in 1989. They also won the American League West in 1992. He was at the helm for 15 seasons before the Moneyball Man, Billy Beane, took over.

Under Alderson the A's struggled initially but ended up World Series Champs in '89.

There is a lot of anticipation as to what Sandy will do during the offseason. Will he trade Daniel Murphy? Will he trade for a big bat? Will Bartolo Colon stay or go? Will he trade away some of the big prospects? One thing’s for sure – he likely won’t get beaten in a trade.

Does Sandy’s history of trades give us any indication as to what he will do this offseason? When he’s pulled off deals in seasons past, what did he get in return? What does 20/20 hindsight tell us about what he did during his A’s run? Sandy didn’t make many bad trades.

On December 6, 1982, the A’s traded away two players, Tony Armas and Jeff Newman to the Boston Red Sox. Armas was a 28 year old slugger who finished the season hitting .233 with 28 HR and 89 RBI. Armas would go on to play four seasons with the Red Sox before leaving as a free agent following the 1986 season and in 1984 led the American League with 43 HR and 123 RBI. Jeff Newman was a 34 year old catcher who hit .200 in 83 games for the Red Sox over two seasons. In return, the A’s received Third Baseman Carney Lansford, who was entering his age 26 season and was coming off two seasons where he hit .300 including an AL batting title in 1981. Lansford would go on to play 10 seasons with the A’s over which he hit .288 and is 10th all time on the A’s career hit list with 1,317. The A’s also received Gary Hancock, an outfielder who played 152 games for the A’s over two seasons and right handed pitcher Jerry King who never made it to the majors. Sandy made a good trade on this one.

December 7, 1983 – Sandy traded Rusty McNealy and cash to the Montreal Expos for Ray Burris. McNealy never had a base hit in the major leagues. The 33 year old Burris pitched 211.2 innings for the A’s in 1984, going 13-10 with a 3.15 ERA before being traded after the season. Another good trade for Sandy.

December 5, 1984 – Rickey Henderson, Bert Bradley and cash were traded to the Yankees in exchange for Tim Birtsas, Jay Howell, Stan Javier, Eric Plunk, and Jose Rijo. Bert Bradley never pitched again in the majors after being sent to the Yankees. Henderson was entering his age 26 season and was a four-time All-Star that had led the American League in steals the previous five seasons and spent 4+ seasons in New York before being traded back to the A’s in 1989. Tim Birtsas made 25 starts for the A’s in 1985, his best season, and played 5 seasons in the majors with the A’s and Reds without doing much else afterward. Jay Howell played three seasons with the A’s and was a two-time All-Star for them in 1985 and 1987 while collecting 61 saves. Stan Javier went onto a 17 year MLB career, but during his first stint with the A’s never did better than his 1988 season when he hit .257 with 2 HR, 35 RBI and 20 stolen bases in 125 games. Eric Plunk had a 14 year MLB career and appeared in 3+ seasons with the A’s before being sent back to the Yankees as part of the trade that returned Henderson to the A’s with his best work for the A’s coming in 1989 when he appeared in 23 games out of the pen with a 2.20 ERA and 1.01 WHIP before a midseason trade. Jose Rijo pitched three seasons for the A’s before being traded after the 1987 season, going 17-22 with a 4.74 ERA in 72 games with 49 starts while with the A’s. Sandy lost this trade, however it should be noted that the A’s were a team in rebuilding mode after having finished under .500 the previous three seasons and this trade will be discussed further in this post.

December 7, 1984 – Ray Burris, acquired a year earlier was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers along with Eric Barry and a PTBNL (Ed Myers) for Don Sutton, who was entering his age 40 season. Sutton made 29 starts for the A’s before being traded before the end of the season, going 13-8 with a 3.89 ERA in 194.1 innings. Ray Burris pitched 3 more seasons in the majors, his lowest ERA was 4.81. Neither Barry nor Myers ever made it to the majors. While Sutton didn’t last a full season with the A’s, Sandy got the better part of this trade.

December 8, 1984 – Sandy traded 27 year-old reliever Bill Caudill, who was coming off an All-Star season with the A’s in which he went 9-7 with a 2.71 ERA and collected 36 saves to the Toronto Blue Jays for Dave Collins, Alfredo Griffin and cash. Caudill had one more good season in his arm and made his las MLB appearance in July 1987. Collins was coming off a 1984 season in which he hit .308 and led the American League with 15 triples at age 31. He hit .251 in 1985 and was traded after the season. Griffin played three seasons for the A’s and played in 468 games, including winning a Gold Glove at Shortstop in his first season in Oakland. Sandy won this trade.

March 24, 1985 – Sandy traded two prospects that never appeared in the majors, Ed Puikunas and Dan Winters to the San Francisco Giants for a 36 year old Dusty Baker. Baker played two seasons for the A’s and in 1985 he hit .268 with 14 HR and 52 RBI. Sandy won this trade.

September 10, 1985 – With the A’s out of the race Sandy traded pending free agent Don Sutton to the California Angels for two PTBNL (Robert Sharpnack – the Angels 2nd round pick in the 1985 draft and Jerome Nelson – the Angels 3rd round pick in the 1985 draft). While neither of the prospects ever made it to the majors, one can’t argue that it was a bad trade. Sandy turned a 40 year old free agent-to-be-pitcher into two high draft pick prospects. This was a good trade.

November 13, 1985 – After a poor 1985 season, Sandy traded Dave Collins to the Detroit Tigers for Barbaro Garbey. Collins was released by the Tigers after the 1986 season after the outfielder hit .270 with 1 HR and 27 RBI in 124 games. Collins would continue to play 4 more seasons in the majors as a pinch hitter. Garbey was a 28 year old outfielder / first baseman who hit .257 with 6 HR and 29 RBI in 86 games for the Tigers and was released by the A’s in Spring Training prior to the start of the 1986 season. While Garbey never made it through the spring, I’ll call this a push as it was a trade of two major league players that neither team had a use for.

December 10, 1985 – In a splash trade for Sandy, he acquired Joaquin Andujar from the St. Louis Cardinals for Tim Conroy and Mike Heath. Andujar was coming off back-to-back 20 win seasons for the Cardinals in which he went 41-26 while logging 1021.2 innings over the previous four seasons. Tim Conroy was a 26 year old lefty that had an unspectacular career with the A’s and went 8-13 with an ERA north of 5.00 in two seasons with the Cardinals. Heath was a catcher entering his age 31 season that hit .205 in 65 games for the Cardinals before being traded in August. While this would seem like a small price for a dominant pitcher and this looked like a steal for Sandy, let us not forget Joaquin’s meltdown in game seven of the 1985 World Series in which he was ejected by umpire Don Denkinger (who was the umpire that blew the famous call at first base in Game 6) and smashed up a toilet in the Kansas City clubhouse with a baseball bat. He was facing a suspension from Peter Ueberroth for dealing drugs to Cardinals teammate Lonnie Smith in 1982. A one-year suspension was handed down in February 1986, which was later reduced to community service and making anti-drug donations. Joaquin made 26 starts for the A’s in 1986, going 12-7 with a 3.82 ERA and lasted one more season on Oakland, going 3-5 with a 6.08 ERA in 13 starts in 1987. Despite a diminished Andujar, given the very little Alderson and to give up to acquire him, the 1986 season made this trade a win for Sandy.

March 30, 1986 – Just prior to the start of the 1986 season, Sandy traded four players to the Milwaukee Brewers to acquire right handed starting pitcher Moose Haas, who was entering his age 30 season. Prior to the trade, Haas had a record of 91-79 with a 4.03 ERA over 10 seasons in Milwaukee and was coming off an 8-8 season with a 3.84 ERA in which he made 26 starts and threw 161.2 innings. Haas had become expendable as rookie pitchers Bill Wegman and Juan Nieves made the Brewers rotation out of spring and Alderson landed the Moose by trading soon-to-be 26 year old catcher Charlie O’Brien (who would play 15 seasons in the majors as a light-hitting backup, but at the time had all of 16 MLB games under his belt), former Oakland 1981 first round pick Steve Kiefer (who hit .192 in 105 MLB games), minor leaguer Michael Fulmer (who was out of baseball after the 1986 season), and lefty minor leaguer Peter Kendrick (who was coming off two solid minor league seasons with sub 3.00 ERA’s, but never made it to the majors). In exchange for four non-impact players, Sandy got two seasons out of Haas. In 1986, Haas went 7-2 with a 2.54 ERA in 12 starts while battling injuries, making just four starts totaling 14 innings after May 16th. In 1987, Haas would make 9 starts before making his final MLB appearance on June 19th. It wasn’t a bad trade, but given Alderson only got a good month and a half out of Haas, I’d call this one a draw.

dennis eckersleyApril 7th, 1987 – Just before opening day in 1987, Alderson pulled off a steal, acquiring future Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley and Dan Rohn in exchange for three players who never made the major leagues – infielder Brian Guinn, right handed pitcher Mark Leonette, and outfielder Dave Wilder. The 32 year old Eckersley was coming off a 6-11 season with a 4.57 ERA in 32 starts for the Cubs in 1986. Eck would transform to a dominant reliever that propelled him to Cooperstown, saving 320 games for the A’s over 9 seasons, making 4 All-Star teams, winning the Cy Young and MVP in 1992 and was a key part of three straight A’s World Series teams, including the 1989 championship team. This was a major win.

August 29, 1987 – The A’s were tied for first place in the American League West when Sandy made a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers to acquire Rick Honeycutt for a player to be named later (Tim Belcher). At the time of the trade, Honeycutt was 2-12 with a 4.59 ERA in 115.2 innings for the Dodgers. Down the stretch he appeared in 7 games for the A’s, going 1-4 with an ERA of 5.32 while making 4 starts. In 1988, he would make 55 appearances out of the bullpen before re-signing with the A’s as a free agent after the 1988 and 1992 seasons and again prior to the 1995 season after spending one season in Texas. Tim Belcher would go on to pitch 14 seasons in the majors including 5 seasons with the Dodgers, during which he would appear in 138 games, making 119 starts with a record of 50-28 and an ERA of 2.99 in 806 innings. Belcher finished 3rd in Rookie of the Year balloting in 1988 and 6th in Cy Young voting in 1989 while throwing 230 innings and leading the National League with 8 shutouts. Honeycutt found a home in Oakland and was an important setup man for the A’s World Series teams. This trade was a win for both sides.

August 30, 1987 – In another stretch run trade, Alderson acquired right handed pitcher Storm Davis from the San Diego Padres in exchange for two players to be named later. Davis made 5 starts for the A’s in 1987, going 1-1 with a 3.26 ERA and made another 64 starts in 1988-89 with 35 victories, including a 19-7 season for the 1989 World Series winning team before departing as a free agent. In exchange, Sandy gave up left handed reliever Dave Leiper who made 69 appearances out of the pen for the Padres and first baseman Rob Nelson who hit .178 in 76 career MLB games. This was a win for Alderson.

December 8, 1987 – After the 1987 season, Alderson traded two parts of the Rickey Henderson trade from three years earlier (Tim Birtsas and Jose Rijo) to the Cincinnati Reds for 36 year old Dave Parker. While his best seasons were behind him, Parker played two years for the A’s, appearing in 245 games while hitting .261 with 34 HR and 152 RBI. Birtsas pitched for three years out of the pen for the Reds. Rijo was unspectacular with the A’s, but shined with the Reds, posting six straight sub-3.00 ERA seasons for the Reds and 87 victories over the next seven seasons. While Rijo went on to bigger and better things with the Reds and was a key starter for the Reds 1990 championship team that swept the A’s in the 1990 World Series, the trade was one that could be considered a win for both teams. Dave Parker, after all, did lead the 1989 World Series winning team with 97 RBI.

December 11, 1987 – In a three team trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets, the A’s acquired Bob Welch and Matt Young from the Dodgers. Welch went on to pitch the final seven seasons of his MLB career with Oakland, earning 96 of his 211 career victories. Welch made 104 starts for the back-to-back-to-back World Series teams, going 61-23, including 27-6 with a 2.95 ERA en route to a 1990 Cy Young Award. Matt Young went on to pitch one unspectacular season with the A’s. What the the A’s give up? The Dodgers received shortstop Alfredo Griffin, who was on the downside of his career and Jay Howell, who had five excellent seasons in the Dodgers bullpen and was the closer in for the 1988 Dodgers team that defeated the A’s in the World Series. The Mets received from the A’s pitcher Kevin Tapani (who only pitched 3 games for the Mets before the Mets flipped him in the Frank Viola trade) who went onto a 13 year MLB career and 143 victories and Wally Whitehurst who appeared in 163 MLB games over 7 seasons. While, like the Parker trade, Sandy traded away a player that would later go on to be a key component of the team that defeated the A’s in the World Series, he acquired Bob Welch and this was a definite trade win.

rickey hendersonJune 21, 1989 – After having traded Rickey Henderson away following the 1984 season, Alderson re-acquired the Man of Steal from the New York Yankees in exchange for Greg Cadaret, Eric Plunk, and Luis Polonia. Cadaret pitched well for the 1988 team and had a 2.28 ERA out of the pen for the A’s before he was traded and went on to make 188 appearances out of the bullpen for the Yankees from 1989-1992. Eric Plunk was traded for Henderson once and was traded once again and made 115 appearances for the Yankees from 1989-1991. Luis Polonia hit .313 for the Yankees in 66 games in 1989 before being traded again the next April. What did Ricky do for the A’s? He hit .294 after the trade while stealing 52 bases in 85 games and helped the A’s win the World Series in 1989. He was the American League MVP in 1990 when he hit .325 with 28 HR, 61 RBI, 65 stolen bases and led the American League with 119 runs scored and a .439 OBP for the American League Champions. In was a minor price to pay and the re-acquisition of Rickey was a big win.

May 13, 1990 – Sandy flipped light hitting outfielder Stan Javier to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for a 35 year old Willie Randolph. Willie would go on to make 80 starts at second base for the 1990 American League championship team hitting .257 with 1 HR and 21 RBI. Javier didn’t have a place to play in an A’s outfield that included Rickey Henderson, Dave Henderson, and Jose Canseco and even though Randolph didn’t do a tremendous amount with the 1990 A’s, Alderson did turn a spare part into a veteran leader for a pennant winning team, so I would count this one as a win.

August 29, 1990 – The A’s were 6.5 games up in the American League West when Sandy made two separate transactions for the postseason roster. Harold Baines was acquired from the Texas Rangers for two players to be named later. Baines hit .266 in 32 games down the stretch and was an All-Star for the 1991 team. The two players he gave up were right handed pitcher Joe Bitker, who appeared in 15 MLB games, and right hander Scott Chiamparino who also appeared in 15 MLB games. This was another win for Sandy.

August 29, 1990 – The other trade made by Alderson on August 29th involved the St. Louis Cardinals. Willie McGee was a pending free agent after the 1990 season and was traded by the 6th place Cardinals who were 16 games out of first place. Despite being traded, Willie had enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title in the National League and was the NL batting champ in 1990, hitting .335. In 29 games with Oakland, he hit .274 with 0 HR and 15 RBI before departing as a free agent to sign with the Giants. McGee scored 3 runs in 3 games in the ALCS versus Boston, but hit .200 (2 for 10) with 1 run as the A’s were swept by the Reds in the World Series. For the rental, Sandy gave up corner infielder Stan Royer who appeared in 89 MLB games, reserve outfielder Felix Jose who played three seasons for the Cardinals and was an All-Star in 1991, and right handed pitcher Daryl Green, who never appeared in the majors. While Sandy gave up a future All-Star, the A’s didn’t have room for Jose and McGee did play a role in the pennant wining team, although wasn’t a difference maker. This one was a push.

July 26, 1991 – After three straight World Series appearances, the A’s found themselves in third place and 5 games out when Sandy pulled the trigger to acquire 31 year old Brook Jacoby to play third base and fill the void left after a New Year’s Eve snowmobile accident cost incumbent third baseman Carney Lansford all but 5 games of the 1991 season. In 56 games for Oakland, Jacoby hit .213 with 0 HR and 20 RBI before going back to the Indians as a free agent in the offseason. In exchange, Alderson gave up their former 1987 first round pick outfielder Lee Tinsley who never appeared in the majors for Cleveland, but did play in 361 major league games over 5 seasons and minor league pitcher Apolinar Garcia. While the A’s didn’t give up much to acquire Jacoby as a rental, the void wasn’t filled. This one is a push.

July 31, 1991 – The A’s were still 5 games out when Sandy made another move to acquire Ron Darling from the Montreal Expos for left hander Matt Grott (who pitched in 2 MLB games) and right handed pitcher Russell Cormier, who never made it to the major leagues. Darling went 3-7 with a 4.08 ERA in 12 starts down the stretch and returned to the A’s as a free agent for the final four years of his career. For the 1992 AL West division champs, Darling went 15-10 with a 3.66 ERA. This was a win.

August 31, 1992 – The first place A’s were up 6.5 games in the division when they traded 28 year old Jose Canseco to the Texas Rangers. At the time of the trade, the 1992 All-Star and former American League MVP was hitting .246 with 22 HR and 72 RBI. The A’s got back pending free agent outfielder Ruben Sierra (whom later re-signed in the offseason and went on to be an All-Star in 1994), pending free agent Jeff Russell (who appeared in 8 games out of the pen before departing signing elsewhere after the season), and right handed starting pitcher Bobby Witt who made 63 starts for the A’s before departing as a free agent after the 1994 season. With the hindsight of the steroid era, this trade is definitely interesting. The A’s had a comfortable lead in the pennant race when they traded away a player who was second on the team in RBI and a former MVP in his prime for two rental players and a back of the rotation starter that pitched all of one inning for them in the post season. Even knowing what we know now about Jose Canseco, this one is a loss.

November 17, 1992 – The A’s record took a nosedive from 96-66 in 1992 to 68-94 in 1993. That offseason, Sandy traded light hitting shortstop and former 1988 Rookie of the Year Walt Weiss to the Florida Marlins in exchange for Eric Helfand and a player to be named later. Helfand hit .171 in 53 career MLB games, all with the A’s. The PTNBL was Scott Baker who pitched in 1 MLB game. Walt Weiss went on to start 153 games at short for the Marlins and 8 more MLB seasons. To be fair, Weiss’s replacement at short, Mike Bordick, did outproduce him offensively. Still, given the return Sandy received for Weiss, this one is a loss.

January 14, 1993 – Prior to the 1993 season, the A’s traded away incumbent DH Harold Baines to the Orioles. Baines went off to hit .313 for Baltimore in 1993 with 20 HR and 78 RBI. The A’s received reliever Bobby Chouinard, who appeared in 111 MLB games and pitcher Allen Plaster who never appeared in the majors. This was another loss.

July 31, 1993 – The A’s were well out of the pennant race when Sandy traded Rickey Henderson yet again. The Blue Jays traded for the outfielder who was a pending free agent and Rickey hit .215 in 34 games for the World Series champs. The Blue Jays sent right handed pitcher Steve Karsay who had an unspectacular career with the A’s and a PTBNL (Jose Herrera) who appeared in 141 games for the A’s over two seasons. Even though they didn’t get anything spectacular in return, they got something in return for a pending free agent. This was a win. Oh, and Rickey re-signed with the A’s in the off season.

July 28, 1995 – The A’s were 13 games out in the pennant race when Alderson shipped Ruben Sierra, who was hitting .265 with 12 HR and 42 RBI to the Yankees along with right handed pitcher Jason Beverlin (7 MLB appearances) in exchange for Danny Tartabull. Tartabull was traded in the offseason and out of the majors two years later. Sierra played 20 MLB seasons until 2006 and was flipped a year later by the Yankees for Cecil Fielder. Tartabull hit .261 in 24 games for the A’s. Sandy lost this one.

January 9, 1996 – After the death of A’s owner Walter A. Haas, Jr. in 1995, new ownership ordered Alderson to slash payroll. Starting pitcher Todd Stottlemyre, who had signed as a free agent the previous season and earned $2.05 million in 1995 was traded to the St. Luis Cardinals for outfielder Allen Battle (who hit .192 in 47 games for Oakland), pitcher Carl Dale (who appeared in 4 MLB games), pitcher Jay Witasick (who pitched in 29 games for the A’s before being traded and pitched 12 seasons in the majors), and Cardinals 1994 first round pick pitcher Bret Wagner (who never played in the majors). Stottlemyre would win 35 games for the Cardinals. Loss for Sandy.

January 22, 1996 – Danny Tartabull was dealt to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for Andrew Lorraine (who appeared in 12 games with a 6.37 ERA for the A’s in 1997 and 59 MLB games) and career minor league outfielder Charles Poe. Tartabull went on to hit .254 with 27 HR and 101 RBI for the Sox in 1996 and was out of the majors after 1997. Another loss for Sandy.

February 13, 1996 – 40 year old Dennis Eckersley was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals and went on to save 66 games over the next two seasons and was the closer for the Cardinals, who lost in the National League Championship series. The A’s received Steve Montgomery, who would pitch 12 games for the A’s and 72 games in his MLB career. Loss.

January 27, 1997 – Before the 1997 season, Sandy brought back Jose Canseco whom he had traded away four and a half years earlier. In his one season back with Oakland, he hit .235 with 23 HR and 74 RBI. All the A’s gave up in return was starter/reliever John Wasdin (who had a career 5.28 ERA) and cash. Win for Sandy.

June 27, 1997 – The A’s were 14 games out in the race when the A’s shipped Geronimo Berrora to the Orioles. Berrora hit .290 with 36 HR and 106 RBI for the A’s in 1996 and was hitting .310 with 16 HR and 42 RBI in 73 games before being dealt. The A’s got back Jimmy Haynes who made 71 starts with an ERA of 5.40 over three seasons for the A’s and a PTBNL (Mark Seaver). Seaver never appeared in the majors. Berrora’s career quickly fell apart, hitting only 2 home runs after the 1997 season. Berrora was the DH on the AL East winning Orioles. Even though Haynes didn’t have a great run, the monumental fall of Berrora after 1997 makes this one a win for Sandy.

July 31, 1997 – In his last major trade as General Manager of the Oakland A’s, Sandy Alderson traded away Mark McGwire to the St. Louis Cardinals. McGwire went on to hit a tainted 70 home runs in 1998 to break Roger Maris‘ record. The A’s received three players in return – Eric Ludwick (6 appearances for the A’s and 31 in his MLB career with an 8.35 ERA), T.J. Mathews (who would have an 8 year MLB career as a middle reliever, including 5 years and 210 appearances with the A’s and a career 3.82 ERA), and Blake Stein (who made 21 starts for the A’s with an ERA of 6.60 and pitched in 117 MLB games over 5 seasons). Despite what we now know about McGwire, this was a major loss.

That’s 19 trade wins, 9 trade losses, and 4 trade ties.

By and large, Sandy was always a winner when it comes to making trades as the A’s GM. He didn’t come up on the losing end often, however it can’t help to be noticed that his trend did start to shift and he came up on the losing end more often once he was ordered to cut payroll. When he wasn’t hampered by payroll, his record was stellar when it came to trades. His biggest losses when his hands weren’t tied involved trading Rickey Henderson when the team was in rebuilding mode and trading away Jose Canseco when he was in his prime.

Even with the “loss” in the Henderson trade when looking at that trade in a bubble, this trade helped shape the A’s World Series teams. While only Jay Howell performed well while a member of the A’s, the later acquisition of Dennis Eckersley allowed for Howell to be flipped as part of the acquisition that landed Bob Welch. Two other parts of the Henderson (Tim Birtsas and Jose Rijo) trade were later flipped to acquire Dave Parker. Eric Plunk was later part of the acquisition to re-acquire Henderson. The fifth player, Stan Javier, was later flipped for Willie Randolph, another starter on the 1990 World Series team. So even the “loss” of that trade later turned into a key starter, a top RBI man, and a starting second baseman for their championship caliber teams.

All in all, not too shabby.

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