Mets Merized Online » starting pitching Tue, 21 Feb 2017 15:20:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Mets May Not Acquire Starter Before Monday’s Deadline Fri, 29 Jul 2016 17:58:31 +0000 logan verrett

According to Chris Cotillo of on Twitter, the asking price for starting pitching is very high right now, and it may dissuade the Mets from making a trade before Monday’s deadline, instead choosing to rely on internal options such as Logan Verrett and Zack Wheeler.

Verrett, pictured above, has had mixed success this year as a spot starter, but has been more efficient his last three outings, allowing seven runs in 18.1 innings. Cumulatively this season, Verrett has a 3-6 record with a 4.12 ERA in 27 games (9 started).

As for Zack Wheeler, the young righty has yet to begin a rehab assignment, but is aiming for a late August return, but it seems to be very up in the air at this point. Wheeler hasn’t pitched in a big league game since the end of the 2014 season.

Another option the Mets could consider should they choose not to make a trade is prospect Gabriel Ynoa, who is 9-4 with a 4.52 ERA in 21 games started at Triple-A Las Vegas this season. Ynoa is currently ranked as the #20 prospect in the Mets system according to

A lot can happen between now and Monday at 4:00 PM, but as it currently stands, the starting pitching market is rather thin and team’s are asking for a lot in exchange for their starters. Just look at what the Marlins had to give up for Andrew Cashner and Colin Rea earlier today.

Cotillo also reports on Twitter that the Mets and Pirates have had preliminary discussions about bringing Jon Niese back to Queens, but nothing is imminent at this point.

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Pirates GM Regrets Walker-Niese Swap Fri, 15 Jul 2016 17:59:56 +0000 jon niese

The Jon Niese – Neil Walker swap hasn’t worked out so well for Pittsburgh, said Pirates GM Neil Huntington in some very frank comments on a local radio station Friday morning.

“In hindsight, maybe the two fringe prospects and trying to figure out where to re-allocate the money might have been a better return,” he told 93.7 The Fan, ”That’s where the results take us.”

“Given the thinness of the starting pitching market, given the dollars that we had available, we felt that that was our best return, and it has not played out that way, and that’s a challenge, we own that, we accept that.”

“At the time Jon was one of the better starting pitchers available on the market given what we typically can do in this revenue stream, and that’s the reality.”

Niese has certainly failed to perform up to expectations this year. He owns a 5.13 ERA in 101.2 innings with the Pirates this year, a full run above his 4.13 ERA in 2015. His WHIP has ballooned to a career-high 1.574.

Niese is still owed about half of his $9 million salary and a $500,000 buyout at the end of the year. The Pirates are currently shopping him, according to reports, altough he probably doesn’t have much value left.

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Week 15 Mets Pitching Review: Don’t Forget About deGrom Fri, 01 Jul 2016 18:03:39 +0000 jacob degrom

A review of the latest turn through the Mets starting rotation:




Earned Runs





Quality Start

Matz (7-3)








No (13/8)

DeGrom (3-2)








Yes (13/10)

Colon (6-3)








Yes (15/9)

Syndergaard (8-3)








No (15/12)

Harvey (4-10)








No (16/7)

Verrett (3-4)

 5.0  4  2(2)  1  4 4.08  1.45

No (5/2)

Best Start: With all the arm problems on display over the past couple of days, it’s easy to forget about Jacob deGrom‘s masterpiece against Atlanta on Saturday opposite apparent Met-stopper Julio Teheran, who has a 2.68
ERA in nine games against the Amazin’s over the past three years.

DeGrom got out of trouble, getting double plays in second, third and fourth innings, then escaped a bases-loaded jam in the sixth by getting Adonis Garcia to ground out. Basically his MO all year – produce quality starts and give innings to a team that refuses to provide any offensive support.

Granted, every Mets starter is getting a substantial lack of run support. However Neil Greenberg of the Washington Post points out that deGrom is getting

Just 2.9 runs in support per nine innings, the third lowest among NL starters qualifying for the ERA title. That’s resulted in New York losing three of the 10 quality starts deGrom has provided this season and a large reason why he is projected to finish the season with a 9-8 record.

We’re just a year removed from deGrom being the unquestioned ace of this team and doing this:


With Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz dealing with ‘bone spurs’ and Matt Harvey still a lingering question, the Mets will need more performances like the eight innings from deGrom if they’re to ride out this latest hitting drought.

Worst Start: While both Syndergaard and Matz squandered unexpected run support (which is sadly what any run support looks like these days), Thor was the one who claimed his arm was fine after falling apart in the third inning against Washington.

While his velocity was fine. Bob Kkapisch of The Record notes that his fastball averaged 99 mph and the changeup was 92 mph, but the slider, “only induced four swings and misses of the 21 he threw.”

As always, it comes down to location and that he gave up a season-high three walks in three innings, the most free passes he’s given up in a start since a five-inning outing last July in Washington. But in that one he only allowed one run and one stolen base. He allowed FIVE stolen bases in one inning on Monday.

There’s clearly something wrong with our Norse god, but what is the answer? I’m somewhat disappointed that Terry Collins didn’t use more spot starts from Logan Verrett and Sean Gilmartin to allow his young pitchers some extra rest after last season. But would extra rest have prevented bone spurs?

Best of the Bullpen: It’s been a shaky couple of weeks for the pen, especially with the need for extra innings thanks to a few disappointing starts from the starters. Since allowing a two-run homer in the eighth to blow a loss for Harvey, Addison Reed has appears three times, picking up a win and striking out five in 3.2 innings.

Next Best Thing: This schedule doesn’t get any easier going forward with four games against the Chicago Cubs to start July with reigning Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta scheduled to face 2005 Cy Young Award winner Bartolo Colon on Saturday.

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Week 10 Mets Pitching Review: Matz Keeps Rolling Tue, 31 May 2016 16:28:04 +0000 steven matz

A review of the latest turn through the Mets starting rotation:




Runs (Earned Runs)



ERA (Season)

WHIP (Season)

Quality Start?

Matt Harvey (3-7)








No (10/3)

Steven Matz (7-1)








Yes (8/7)

Jacob deGrom (3-1)








Yes (8/5)

Noah Syndergaard (5-2)








No (10/8)

Bartolo Colon (3-3

 6.0  7


 3  1



Yes (9/5)

Best Start: After the drama of the last three days against the Dodgers, it’s easy to forget that earlier this week Steven Matz continued his amazing start to the season. Did you know he’s 10th in the league with a 2.36 ERA that continues to go down with each start?

How about of the top 40 pitchers in the MLB when it comes to ERA, only three have walked less than 10 people. The first one dazzled on Sunday night (and as a fan of pitching, I’m shocked Dodgers coach Dave Roberts didn’t leave Clayton Kershaw to face Granderson in the 8th). The other two both wear Orange and Blue.

Noah Syndergaard (9 walks in 66.2 innings) is touted every time he touches the ball, but Matz has only walked 9 batters in 49.2 innings. He walked one on Wednesday afternoon in Washington, a game against a division rival and to determine the series. Granted, Bryce Harper didn’t start the game but he did come up in a pressure situation and harmlessly grounded out.

Matz has been using pinpoint accuracy with his 93 MPH+ fastball to offset a quality curve and improving changeup. He’s everything a Mets fan could ask for and while history recently remembered the 1986 team, I think back to the first championship with a hard-throwing righty named Tom Seaver and a lefty named Jerry Koosman who in 1968 broke all the franchise records set by the Franchise a year earlier.

Koosman went 19-12 with seven shutouts, 178 strikeouts and a 2.08 ERA. He would have been the Rookie of the Year if not for some guy named Johnny Bench, but a year later he helped to earn an even better trophy. While we complain about the now, this year’s team is still on track to compete for that same trophy and with Matz on board and pitching well, they’re well-positioned to do just that.

Worst Start: There’s been more than enough said about Matt Harvey, so I’ll only say that I didn’t think his last start was that bad and Joe Trezza of wrote about the pitch selection being too similar to batters. I think this is more mental than anything physical…but at the end of the day, we’re focused on one of five starting pitchers for a team with the 3rd best ERA in all of baseball.

I’m more concerned with Thor losing a lightning bolt behind a batter and getting ejected without warning. Therefore the worst start actually goes to umpire Adam Hamari for too quick of a trigger.

Best of the Bullpen: This wasn’t a good week for just about everyone, but especially Jeurys Familia. I’ve never liked a closer entering in the 9th in a non-save situation, but the excuse that he needed work made sense. The results, both on Friday and Sunday were stunning.

The stat that jumped out to me the most was Familia had allowed 5 runs in his first 23 games and 6 runs in the last two. Stuff like that will jump your ERA to 4.07 and plummet the bullpen staff as a whole to sixth in the league with a 3.10 ERA.

Next Big Thing: While the White Sox is what’s right now, a 10-game road trip looms at the end of the week starting with a trip to Miami. Syndergaard returns to the mound on Friday for a scheduled start against the Marlins, who have always been annoying and feature a pretty potent offensive outfield. That’s followed by a visit to PNC Park in Pittsburgh, but there’s time to talk about that potential playoff matchup in the days to come.

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Who Has The NL’s Best Rotation? Thu, 31 Dec 2015 16:23:28 +0000 degrom harvey syndergaard

Scott Kazmir was part of one of the worst trade deadline deals in recent history. Let me refresh your memory (or pour salt in an old wound).

With the Mets six games out of first and in fourth place in the NL East, GM Jim Duquette sent the Mets’ first round selection and top prospect AND a minor pitching prospect to Tampa Bay for Victor Zambrano and Bartolome Fortunato.

Zambrano showed flashes of being a decent pitcher as a rookie in 2001, going 6-2 with a 3.16 ERA after a mid-season call-up. But SI’s Jeff Pearlman wrote how in 2003, Zambrano led the American League in walks, wild pitches and hit batsmen. Fortunato pitched in 15 games in 2004, two more in 2006 and hasn’t been heard from since.

Hindsight is always 20/20 and others like Ben Nicholson-Smith of MLB Trade Rumors have already questioned this trade, including a MMO Fan Shot from 2012, so I won’t go in depth on my dismay except to question why the team didn’t just bring him up to the majors…

Kazmir was decent in 2005, an All-Star in 2006 and led the AL in strikeouts (239) in 2007, starting 34 games with a 3.48 ERA and a 13-9 record. That was probably his best season before the 2014 campaign, when he went 15-9 with a 3.55 ERA for Oakland. Last year, he was traded to Houston and despite a 2-6 record with a 4.17 ERA while pitching in the band box known as Minute Maid Park, he’ll get credit for helping the Astros back into the postseason.

On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Dodgers announced the signing of Kazmir to a 3-year, $48 million contract. It means they’ve added another left-handed starter, joining Clayton KershawBrett AndersonAlex Wood and, if healthy, Hyun-jin Ryu for a southpaw quintet. But does the move make LA’s rotation one of the best in the arm-heavy National League? We all know what the Mets plan to trot out each day, but is it the best?

Using projected Wins Above Replacement (WAR), MLB’s Paul Casella ranked the Top 5 rotations of 2016 before Christmas with Mike Bolsinger as the Dodgers’ fifth starter. Based on FanGraphs’ prediction, this move nudges them ahead of the Washington Nationals with a projected combined WAR of 16.9. A lot of this is based on Kershaw being the best pitcher in baseball…and with five straight top-3 Cy Young Award finishes, it’s hard to argue against that.

It’s hard to argue against the Nationals, who will send out Max Scherzer on Opening Day. His 14-12 record doesn’t look great, but the 2.79 ERA, the 276 strikeouts versus just 34 walks in 228.2 innings is pretty impressive. has been projected to put up similar numbers since arriving in The Show in 2010. While many want to call him a bust, his career numbers (54-37, 3.09 ERA, 1.092 WHIP, six year total WAR of 14.0) speak to the contrary. Is 2016 the year he finally puts it all together?

Is 2016 the year the Cubs finally put it all together? The position players we heard of and saw first-hand as Mets fans. Granted, they were being swept on the biggest stage but you can’t deny the talent of 2015 Rookie of the Year Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Addison Russell, Kyle Schwarber and Jorge Soler. The pitching staff isn’t homegrown, but just as talented starting with Jake Arrieta, the reigning 2015 Cy Young winner. Adding the ageless John Lackey to a staff that already featured Jon Lester, Jason Hammel, and Kyle Hendricks is why many think this is the best rotation.

Both Casella and Victor Barbosa of Cheat Sheet put the Mets at No. 2. They admit the Mets have an impressive starting rotation, that Steven Matz could be a No. 2 starter elsewhere but is likely to be No. 5 on this team and will trot out “an ace-caliber pitcher at least once every series”. So why wouldn’t they be the best in the league?

There’s no good answer to that question. Jacob deGrom is considered the No. 1 starter thanks to a 2.54 ERA and a lovely 0.98 WHIP in 191 innings. I can see starting him in Kansas City, only so that the true No.1 can start Game 3 at Citi Field. Matt Harvey sat out a year and despite saying stupid things like any 26-year old, he still put up ace-like numbers (2.71 ERA, 1.02 WHIP).

Terry Collins should find a way to ensure Harvey and Noah Syndergaard are separated by Bartolo Colon. Imagine facing Harvey’s 96 MPH fastball, then Big Sexy’s pinpoint fastball at 90 MPH, followed by Thor and the thunder of a 100 MPH heater just “60-feet, six-inches away”.

It’s a frightening thought for opposing batters and an exciting one for those that root for the Orange and Blue.

So who do you think has the best rotation in the NL? I didn’t even mention San Francisco with 2014 World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner, Jeff Samardzija, Jake Peavy, Johnny Cueto and Matt Cain coming back from a flexor tendon strain that limited him to just 60 innings last year. Where do you rank the Mets against the rest of the Senior Circuit?


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MMO Roundtable: What Will Be the Key to Beating the Kansas City Royals? Tue, 27 Oct 2015 00:49:57 +0000 lorenzo cain

Here is the first of a new round of MMO Roundtable questions as we get set for Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday night.

What will be the key to beating the Kansas City Royals?

Brian Greenzang – The key to beating this Kansas City team will ultimately be just playing better fundamental baseball. This Royals team has only committed one error this entire postseason. They are focused, hungry and have unfinished business. The Mets cannot make fielding or mental errors in this series. They have to bring that strong desire to take what they believe to be theirs. The Royals are a beatable team, their pitching is nowhere near where the Mets are. The AL Champions though do possess a potent line-up who seem to thrive on fastballs, but so did the Cubs.

William Botchway – Much like the Mets did during each of the four games against the Cubs, score early and often. Kansas City’s biggest weakness is their starting pitching. Between Yordano Ventura, Johnny Cueto, Edinson Volquez, and Chris Young, they don’t have a starting pitcher that strikes fear into my heart. However, their bullpen is freakishly good, and once they are brought into the game, any offensive barrage will likely end soon. In a lot of ways—as is to be expected—the first three innings of the first game can set the tone for the rest of the series. Jumping on Ventura in Game 1 forces Ned Yost to stretch out his bullpen a lot more than he would have wanted, possibly tiring them slightly for the remaining games, and putting the Mets in pole position.

Andre Dobiey – Try to minimize mistakes in the field and on the basepaths. And, most of all, Harvey, deGrom, Syndergaard, Matz and Familia need to keep doing what they have been doing. If the Mets keep allowing an average of less than 3 runs per game in this series, they will almost certainly win the World Series. Execute and mix up the pitches.

wade davis

Michael Mayer – I think the key to beating the Royals will be getting to the KC starters early and often. Royals bullpen is one of the best in the game but the starters can be hit and the Mets need to take advantage of that. The starters for the Mets will do their job and keep the team in every game. Someone else on the offense is going to have to step up.

Logan Barer – The Kansas City Royals are very different than the Cubs. The Cubs hitters, with the exception of Anthony Rizzo, were swing and miss guys. They put their all into every swing and had a “hey, I missed that one but I’ll knock the next one outta here” mentality. The Royals, however, are adept at working up pitch counts, putting the ball in play, and using their speed to manufacture runs. Arguably the Mets’ best asset is their starting pitching. The key, in my opinion, is to keep that pitch count down so Harvey, deGrom, Syndergaard, and Matz can get into at least the 6th and hopefully beyond. Addison Reed, Tyler Clippard, and of course Jeurys Familia are the only relievers in our ‘pen that I have confidence in. Getting the ball to them, if not directly to Familia, is immensely important. Pound the zone, keep the ball down, and make the plays in the field.

Matt Fritz – I believe the key to beating this Royals team is to jump on them early, much like the Mets did in their previous two series’ against the Dodgers and Cubs. While Yordano Ventura, Johnny Cueto, Edinson Volquez, and Chris Young is a solid pitching rotation for them, it doesn’t scare me nearly as much as their dominant bullpen. Wade Davis has three saves this postseason while only allowing three hits in 6.2 innings pitching. Relief pitcher Kelvin Herrera has also been impressive by allowing just one run on five hits and striking out 16 in 8.2 innings. It’s also imperative the Mets keep the speed of the Royals of the bases. Guys like Lorenzo Cain and Alcides Escobar can change an inning just with their legs. Look no further than Eric Hosmer‘s single in the bottom of the 8th inning of Game 6 of the ALCS.

Gerry Silverman – The Royals lineup will present a real challenge because of their exceptionally low strikeout rates and tremendous talent for hitting the best fastballs (#1 in BA against pitches of at least 95 mph). Accordingly, the key to defeating them will lie in the Mets’ pitchers command of secondary pitches to get outs. Fortunately, this very quality is what makes the Met staff so outstanding. I expect the game plan to vary somewhat from that employed against the Cubs, but obviously adjustments will have to made as the action unfolds. Should be quite interesting.

Stephanie Sheehan – Score early. Just as they did against the Cubs, jumping out to an early lead not only allows for leverage in our own starting pitching, but it automatically puts the opposing team in the mentality that they need to dig themselves out of a hole, which is going to be incredibly tough against the Mets’ young arms. The Royals have the best bullpen in the game, with a number of pitchers who throw 95+ mph. Not only that, but the Mets didn’t score all that much against the Cubs’ or Dodgers’ bullpen; the bulk of their runs, especially in the NLCS, came in the first inning. Scoring early and scoring often will allow the starting pitching to relax a little bit and pitch their game; something that I believe is crucial, particularly since this is all four starters’ first time in the postseason, let alone the World Series.


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Cespedes and Wright Say Mets Starters Can Steal The Show Fri, 09 Oct 2015 12:00:23 +0000 noah-syndergaard-matt-harvey-jacob-degrom-pittsburgh

Third baseman David Wright had some sage advice for teammates Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey and Steven Matz on Thursday. He says that if the four of them can stay within themselves and pitch to their abilities, they each have a chance to steal the show and distinguish themselves as bonafide stars on the National stage like their counterparts Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke.

“This is how you become household names, is you have success in the postseason,” the Mets captain said. “You look at what they’ve done all year and you prove that you’re that type of guy, that’s how you become a household name. They certainly have the stuff, they certainly have the makeup, all the tools to do it.” (Newsday)

“They just need the stage,” Wright said. “And I think that they have that stage now, so I wouldn’t be surprised at all if these guys become household names shortly.”

Mets slugger Yoenis Cespedes also had some words of wisdom for our Four Horsemen and he also pulled no punches on Thursday, telling ESPN Deportes‘ Marly Rivera that he ranks his team’s starting pitching ahead of the Dodgers.

“I would say in quality, in just pure talent, our pitching is superior to theirs,” Cespedes said. “Whether things go well for us or not, that is another matter. But in terms of ability, our pitchers are so young, with great arms, a very good pitching staff. I think what they have to do is believe in themselves and get it into their heads that they can do this, and things will work out.”

As for Kershaw and Greinke, Cespedes said: “They are pitchers of great ability, but they still have to throw the ball. The strike zone does not get any bigger…they are pitchers, like any other pitcher. You have to do your job to the best of your ability. But, like them, we also have some great pitching.”

pitching stats

The above chart comes from Mark Simon of ESPN Stats and Info and it provides amazing evidence on just how evenly matched both pitching staffs are.  So if you think the Dodgers have a significant advantage over the Mets in pitching because they have a couple Cy Young caliber studs… Think again. This is why you play the games.


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Fred Wilpon Lets Collins Know He’s Watching ? Mon, 09 Mar 2015 22:50:27 +0000 wilpon collins

After the Marlins trounced the Mets 13-2 on Monday, president and owner Fred Wilpon called Terry Collins into his office for a 20 minute closed door meeting.

I thought nothing of it myself when I heard about it, considering how close the two are. But after reading quotes from Collins via Adam Rubin on ESPN New York, maybe there’s more than meets the eye.

“He just wanted to talk about the club, which he loves to do,” Collins said. “He loves to talk baseball. But he’s not mad at all.”

Collins said the two discussed areas of concern with the team, including the high number of walks (now 36 in 61 innings) as well as unimpressive lefty relief.

“He likes to come in and just run through the roster — talk about, ‘Hey, what are you looking at right now?’” Collins said. “He’s got great passion. He wants to win so bad. … I said, ‘Listen, you’re going to like what’s going to come out of here.’

“I mapped out the next four days of who’s playing and who’s not and days off. … And he asked me about a couple of spots that have been a concern. I said, ‘Yeah, they’re still a concern. We’re going to bear down on those areas.’ But I said, ‘For the most part, you’ve got to like what our starting pitching can do. And [Jeurys] Familia is throwing good, [Vic] Black is throwing good. So there’s some positives. We’ve just got to stop walking people, especially in spring-training games.’”

Wilpon also vowed to be around much more this spring training.

“He expects it to be a much better team. There’s no doubt about that,” Collins said. “He told me two weeks ago, ‘Look, I’m going to be here a lot — a lot,’ where, in the past, he’d come in and he’d be gone for a week or 10 days.”

I mean that’s good I guess, but if there’s no accountability – and there hasn’t been in years – what does it really mean?

Knowing this would go widely reported, could it just be some more showmanship? Putting on some false bravado for a weary fan base?

Hey, if it’s one thing I know, these owners know how to play to an audience and oh how they’ve mastered the art of spin. Couple that with some ownership friendly media members and their own blog and cable network and… voila.

I don’t know what to make of this so I won’t make more of it than some of my other fellow bloggers will, I’m sure.


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Rockies Sign Free Agent RHP Kyle Kendrick Tue, 03 Feb 2015 22:54:17 +0000 kendrick
Free agent RHP Kyle Kendrick has agreed to a one-year deal worth $5.5 million with the Colorado Rockies, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

Only a two hours ago, Jayson Stark of reported that Colorado was looking to add another starting pitcher, and indicated Kendrick and Dillon Gee as possibilities.

Original Post 3:30 PM

The Rockies are still in the market for a starting pitcher according to Jayson Stark of ESPN. He says Colorado still maintains interest in Kyle Kendrick and that Dillon Gee is still an option.

It was believed that the Rockies’ pursuit for a starter ended last week when they acquired right-hander David Hale from the Atlanta Braves, so not sure what to make of this rumor. But where there’s smoke there’s fire, right?

On Monday, a team source told Anthony DiComo that the Mets have nothing in the works and are nowhere close to trading Gee or any other starting pitcher. But obviously, that could change quickly as long as there’s a team with a need.

Yesterday, during an appearance on MLB Network, Sandy Alderson said that “things will probably work themselves out in spring training” and I’m of the belief that a deal for Gee can still materialize before the season begins.

Sandy also repeated that “if somebody has to move to the pen for a period of time, that would be acceptable to us.” I don’t think that it will get to that point, and I believe our GM was merely posturing.

The Mets had discussed a deal for Gee with the Rockies during the Winter Meetings but talks never gained momentum.

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5 Things We Learned From Sandy Alderson Tue, 03 Feb 2015 19:00:26 +0000 Sandy-Alderson-New-York-Mets1

Sandy Alderson was a guest on MLB Network’s High Heat hosted by Chris Russo on Monday, and said a few things worth mentioning.

1. Wilmer Flores: “Speaking of shortstop, there’s been a lot of conversation about whether or not Wilmer Flores can play the position. You know looking at Cal Ripken, he didn’t play shortstop professionally until he was promoted to the major leagues. And Ripken was not a prototypical shortstop either like a Mark Belanger, so maybe that’s a good sign for Wilmer Flores.”

2. Jacob deGrom: “Jason [Jacob] had a great year last year, I think unexpected, and we expect him to be just as good this season. But if you look at his minor league career, he really improved from year to year in spite of the promotions he was experiencing. He continues to evolve and I don’t see any reason why he can’t be as good or better.”

3. Matt Harvey: “As far as Matt is concerned, he is doing all the right things. He seems to be in very good shape and in a very good frame of mind. We’re very excited to have him back, it’s like adding a top quality pitcher to our rotation this year.”

4. Starting Rotation: ”Right now we feel very good about the fact that we’re eight or nine deep going into the season and always need extra starting pitching. Things will probably work themselves out in spring training. Hopefully we don’t have an injury, but we do have some flexibility in the pen so if somebody has to move to the pen for a period of time, that would be acceptable to us. Again, having the depth at Double-A, Triple-A will be something that not only will give us some comfort this year but also allows us to do some planning for 2016 and 2017.”

5. High Expectations: “We have quality players at every position. One of the reasons we’ve been fairly quiet is we’ve got players with the potential to improve us by 10 games, which is what we need. So we’re comfortable going into spring training and excited actually to see those players and see what kind of step forward they take, and whether that can translate into 10 or 12 more games for us in the win column.”

16 more days until pitchers and catchers! LGM

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Mets In Enviable Position To Break Starting Pitching Mold Tue, 18 Nov 2014 17:00:33 +0000 wheeler harvey

The issue of innings caps for Met starting pitchers in 2015 would be mitigated if the Mets thought forward and initiated a six-man starting pitching rotation.  For many, the idea of a six man starting pitching rotation is too revolutionary and defies what is believed to be standard protocol in most baseball circles.

Yet, the number of starting pitchers major league teams employ has gradually grown over the years.  In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s pitchers sometimes started 50 games in a season needing only two days of rest between starts.  When rest days increased to three days an additional pitcher was added to the starting rotation.  Four-man pitching rotations were vogue as baseball headed into its expansion years in the 1960’s. Then due in great part to Mets pitching coach Rube Walker, the rotation stretched again, this time to five, as innings pitched replaced games started in the definition of a starting pitchers workload.

A six-man rotation might rankle baseball traditionalists, but with the depth of potential starting pitching in the Mets system, they are perfectly positioned to start the 2015 season with six starters.

Why use six starters?  With a stockpile of young pitching talent, 2015 is the year the Mets should challenge for a spot in the postseason. Baseball is tipping toward strong power pitching, exactly where the Mets rebuild is centered. Rather than speculate all season long about pitch counts and the potential of shutting down young starters in the rotation, guys like Matt Harvey, returning from elbow surgery, or Jacob deGrom, who faced limited innings in the just finished season, or perhaps even Noah Syndergaard, who might be transitioning from a minor league innings count to a major league workload, Mets starting pitchers could pitch uninterrupted from the start of the season to the finish.

An added day of rest would also help the aging Bartolo Colon, and Jon Niese – who often suffers from tired arm syndrome – would benefit as well. It couldn’t hurt Dillon Gee, who has dealt with his share of injuries throughout his career. There’s a good chance that one or two of these veterans won’t even be here next season, but that brings Rafael Montero into the picture – another youngster whose innings will be limited.

Conceivably, moving to a six man rotation might allow the Mets to amp up the expectation that pitchers regularly work into the seventh or eighth inning of games. This would lessen the load on the bullpen and allow Terry Colons the luxury of mixing and matching his relief pitchers.

Detractors will emphasize the fact that the best pitchers in your rotation will actually have five or six less starts a year.  Who would you rather see pitch, Matt Harvey or Dillon Gee (?) they will counter. That’s a valid argument.

In fact, it would be foolhardy to consider stretching a starting pitching rotation from five to six, if you didn’t feel you had a wealth of quality starting pitching.  Evaluating the Mets, I do believe they have that kind of starting pitching depth.  In using a six man rotation, the Mets can keep someone like Syndergaard on the big league roster rather than return him for another round of pitching at Triple-A, a less than motivating outlook for a promising young pitching prospect.

An additional benefit would be a pitching-rich starting rotation that could easily transition to a five man plan should a starter suffer an injury or simply under-perform.  Using a six-man rotation gives the Mets an advantage and  positions the team with the flexibility to adjust and adapt to the changing events that impact a 162 game regular baseball season.


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Sandy Alderson Sees A Lot Of Reasons For Optimism Mon, 03 Nov 2014 04:42:31 +0000 New York Mets Sandy Alderson at Citi Field

Sandy Alderson was a special guest of MMO’s John Bernhardt Tip-Off Show on Friday. He had some interesting things to say about a variety of topics regarding the Mets and their minor league system. Rather than post the entire interview in it’s entirety, I wanted to break it up into several parts so that each of his insights get the attention they deserve.

John (MMO) – Despite only a 79 win season in 2014, we feel that the Mets took some positive steps forward this season. What were some of the silver linings you saw this season that bode well for the Mets future?

Sandy (NYM) – “We only won 79 games, but it was a five game improvement over the last two years, and looking at some of the peripheral numbers, we might have been a game or two better than that. I think individually, there’s a lot of reason for optimism…”

“To begin we had Matt Harvey who didn’t play one inning, but his rehab was uneventful, thankfully, and we expect him to be back and that should be a huge plus for us. Jacob deGrom and his emergence this season was big story. He’s a strong rookie of the year candidate and what a terrific year this was for him. And of course at the minor league level, players like Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz and Rafael Montero all had very good seasons. So all of this bodes well for our starting pitching depth.”

John (MMO) – The bullpen was certainly a bright spot and that was very exciting to see.

Sandy (NYM) – “The bullpen was far better than any of our bullpens in recent years and it’s all built around young pitching. Mejia, Familia, Black, Edgin… So both our starting pitching and bullpen already look to be strong for us next year, and I think that’s very encouraging.”

“Position wise, we have Travis d’Arnaud who improved tremendously in the second half of the season at the plate. We expect him to improve both offensively and defensively next season. Lucas Duda had a breakout season, Daniel Murphy was an All Star and we have Dilson Herrera behind him.”

“But Wilmer Flores, who was someone who was completely written off as a shortstop, came in and proved to be very capable there. David Wright had a poor season, but that only means the potential for improvement is great. Juan Lagares is terrific defensively and he hit .280. If he can supplement his offensive production with a little more on-base and a bit more power, he could be a very special and terrific player.”

Curtis Granderson certainly has room for improvement and was very up and down. But when he was up he was terrific and a great addition to the team. Obviously, in left field we need to improve, but one of the things that’s encouraging for me is that we no longer have multiple, multiple, holes to fill.”


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Free Agency Officially Began This Morning Thu, 30 Oct 2014 15:38:57 +0000 wilpon alderson

And away we go. With the World Series now concluded after the San Francisco Giants  defeated the Kansas City Royals 3-2 in Game 7, the Hot Stove Season officially kicked off at 9:00 AM this morning.

All players with no contractual obligations for 2015 officially became free agents this morning. For the Mets it’s a very short list that includes Daisuke Matsuzaka, who may be returning to Japan, and Bobby Abreu, who announced his retirement last month.

MLB teams have until Monday to inform their eligible players if they are getting a qualifying offer of $15.3 million dollars. The player then has seven days to decide whether to accept or reject it. If the one-year offer is rejected by the player, the team then receives a draft pick the following June if that player signs elsewhere.

Among free agent players the Mets may kick the tires on, you have shortstops Asdrubal Cabrera and Jed Lowrie, while outfielders Melky Cabrera, Nelson Cruz, Chris Denorfia,
Josh Willingham, Emilio Bonifacio, Colby Rasmus, Nori Aoki, Michael Cuddyer, Nick Markakis, Alex Rios and Yasmani Tomas, might be some of the names that will get varying degrees of buzz.

Of course, buzz is one thing and for the Mets’ reality is something altogether different. Both Jeff Wilpon and Sandy Alderson already hinted that there would be no significant free agent additions this offseason and each cautioned against a spike in payroll, so most of these names fall into the “look but don’t touch” category.

My guess is that Cuddyer for two years will be as good as it gets for the Mets assuming they aren’t outbid by another team. But the trade market should be buzzing with activity for the Mets as Sandy seeks to improve the team using a surplus of starting pitching and possibly moving Daniel Murphy as well. Should be a fun Winter to follow the team’s progress.


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Mets Proving Pitching Alone Can’t Get It Done Thu, 12 Jun 2014 20:38:22 +0000 jacob degrom

After another solid outing by Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom (0-3), who went 5 2/3 innings giving up three runs on nine hits while walking one and striking out four, and was still denied his first big-league win, Ken Davidoff of the Post claims that the mets are a prime example of why starting pitching is not enough to make a successful team.

It’s all par for the Mets’ course — not only for this season, but also for the two years preceding 2014.

With 41 quality starts (a minimum of six innings pitched and maximum of three runs allowed) in 65 games, the Mets rank fourth in the National League with a 63.7 percent quality-start rate. The Reds jumped ahead of them Wednesday with their 41st start in 64 games, putting them at 64.1 percent. Nevertheless, the Mets’ record now stands at a woeful 29-36.

Last year, the Mets tied Cincinnati for the second-highest quality-start ratio, 58 percent, in the NL. That got them a 74-88 mark, tying the Brewers for the 10th-best (and fifth-worst) record in the NL. And in 2012, the Mets led the NL with a 62-percent quality-start rate, which left them at … 74-88 (sound familiar?), 12th-best and fifth-worst.

The Mets have seen an increased amount of close losses, defeats in which the starting pitching performed dutifully only to be let down by the squad’s lacking offense and subpar relief pitching.

Davidoff adds that it has become clear for the Mets that starting pitching can keep you in the game, but by itself it simply isn’t enough to take the victory.

Davdioff does have a point, with last night’s loss the Mets now have a major-league leading 23 losses by two runs or less. Their pitching staff is keeping them in these games, giving them every opportunity to drive in a few runs and steal the victory, but it is becoming increasingly clear that they just don’t have the ability to get that done. The Mets are hitting .226 with RISP, the sixth worst in the league.

mmo presented

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Wright Benched, d’Arnaud Demoted, Collins Tells Team To Put On A Happy Face Sun, 08 Jun 2014 13:38:17 +0000 terry collins

The Mets held a team meeting before last night’s game only to see his team suffer a devastating loss after one of their worst offensive and defensive displays of the season. They’ve now lost five straight and find themselves six games under .500 and two games away from the NL East cellar.

The Mets squandered an initial three run lead, left 12 runners on base, went 3-for-18 with runners in scoring position. and committed several key errors including a costly miscue by David Wright that extended the sixth inning and allowed two Giants runs to score.

“Just a stupid play by me,” Wright said, looking frustrated. “I fielded the ball, was going to go to first, and then changed my mind at the last second and tried to throw it to second. Just dumb. Just flat-out dumb. … It’s easy to point fingers at some of the things that happened later in the game, but we had a play to get out of an inning and cut off their momentum and I made bonehead play and feel poorly about that.”

The Giants eventually won the game in the bottom of the ninth inning when Angel Pagan struck out to begin the inning, but reached safely when the pitch in the dirt was misplayed by Anthony Recker and his throw to first was late. Hunter Pence scored Pagan with a game-tying double. He then advanced to third on a fly out and after an intentional walk, Michael Morse won it with an RBI single.

“You can’t give good teams more than three outs,” Terry Collins said after the game. “If you do, you’re going to get burned by it. We didn’t make a couple of plays tonight that we have to make to give us a chance to win.”

Collins told his team before the game, “We’re still in striking range, the world is not coming to an end just yet so we have to keep our heads up and realize, hey let’s go win four or five in a row. ”

“Put a smile on when you walk through the door, what a great life we lead.’’

Travis d’Arnaud wasn’t smiling as he walked out the clubhouse door, learning that he had been demoted.

As Kevin Kernan of the NY Post pointed out this morning, the Mets have many problems at the plate and Travis d’Arnaud is just one of them. From a rookie, you only can expect so much, and because the more veteran bats haven’t produced, d’Arnaud’s shortcomings became magnified.

“He’s a rookie,’’ one Mets official said of d’Arnaud, “the other guys have to step up.’’

The Mets are 28th in the majors extra-base hits and 28th in total bases. They have had 40 quality starts, the second most in the majors, and for all that starting pitching, they own a 28-34 record.

Wright is angry. He’s frustrated. When he heard on Friday that Collins planned to rest him on Sunday, the Mets captain confronted his manager and said no way are you taking me out of this lineup right now. However, he was overruled.

“I’m not sure if it’s a day off or more,” said Wright. “It’s probably a benching at this point.”

It appears to me that Collins is quickly beginning to lose control of his clubhouse. There is a lot of dissension in the ranks and the team is starting to look very lifeless at times.


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Niese Is A Solid Choice For Mets MVP In April Thu, 01 May 2014 17:43:09 +0000 jon-niese

It was nice to see Jon Niese get some recognition in the New York Post today, who named him the Mets MVP for the month of April. His only competition as I saw it was Dillon Gee who also turned in a superb first month of the season. Mike Puma writes:

In each of his five April starts, Niese worked into the sixth inning and allowed three runs or less. That included three straight starts to conclude the month in which he allowed only one run. Overall, he is 2-2 with a 2.20 ERA.The Mets couldn’t have asked for a better start to the season by the left-hander, who had his spring training curtailed by arm soreness that twice necessitated an MRI exam.

When I think back to Spring Training and Niese flying to New York once for an MRI on his left shoulder, and then again for an MRI on his left elbow, it’s amazing to see how far Niese has come along since then. I must admit I had my doubts when the Mets lefty began the season on the DL.

“It was tough to work through it but I’m glad I did it,” Niese said. “I took my time. I didn’t try and be a hero and rush to be an Opening Day starter. I took my time and made sure I was ready. And that’s worked out.

“I put my ego to the side. I wanted to get my arm right now. This year I want to go through the whole year and stay healthy.”

Since coming off the disabled list, Niese has pitched better than anyone could have imagined. Both his ERA and 1.04 WHIP are career bests.

Now in his fifth full season season in the rotation, you tend to forget that he’s still only 27-years old.

His name often comes up as a potential trade chip in the Mets blogosphere, but given the lack of any other capable lefthanders in our system – that could replace him in the rotation this season – I’m not so sure that would be a good idea. Especially with the team playing winning baseball for the first time in six seasons and fueled mostly by the strength of their starting pitching.

Presented By Diehards

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Series Preview: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Fri, 11 Apr 2014 16:00:25 +0000 mike-trout

It has been a helter-skelter start to the season for the New York Mets. After starting 0-3, having been swept by the Nationals, with the bullpen looking like it could be one of the worst of all-time, the Amazins have won two consecutive series, and the bullpen has been a strength. The starting pitching has been a consistency through the first nine games, as has the inconsistency of the team’s bats. After a win in Atlanta on Thursday night, in a game with an inconvenient start time considering the Mets had to travel to Anaheim to play on Friday, the team finds themselves 4-5 in the standings. There are six games remaining on the current road trip, beginning with three this weekend against the Angels.

The Angels

Like the Mets, the Angels got off to a disastrous start at home, losing their first three games to the new-look Mariners. They then embarked on a six-game road trip, where they faced new division rival Houston, followed by Seattle again. By winning four out of six on the trip, they find their record on pace with the Mets at 4-5. Perhaps the biggest news of the early season for Anaheim was the injury to Josh Hamilton, who will miss 6-8 weeks after hurting his thumb sliding head first into first base. He was off to a scorching hot start at the plate. If Mets fans thought before their recent run of success that their bullpen had concerns, the Angels ‘pen has been serving up home runs at a league worst 2.63 HR/9 rate. With superstars Albert Pujols and Mike Trout, there is plenty of offensive potential in the Angels’ lineup, but the bats haven’t quite woken up from their winter slumber. As a team, the Angels rank fifth worst in the AL in strikeout percentage at 21.6%. Nine games into the season, the Angels and Mets have very different talent on their rosters, but similar issues.

2014 Lineup

  1. Kole Calhoun RF
  2. Mike Trout CF
  3. Albert Pujols 1B
  4. Raul Ibanez DH
  5. David Freese 3B
  6. Howie Kendrick 2B
  7. Chris Iannetta C
  8. Erick Aybar SS
  9. J.B. Shuck (vs L) / Collin Cowgill (vs R) LF

Key Injuries

Interesting Notes

  • Since 2007, the Halos are 84-44 in interleague play, best in baseball during that time.
  • 28 of the Angels’ 41 runs allowed have come with two outs, with 23 of those coming against Seattle.
  • Starting slow has been a habit since Pujols joined the Angels. The team is 13-22 over the past two Aprils.
  • Albert Pujols needs 6 home runs to reach 500.

Pitching Probables

Friday (10:05): RHP Dillon Gee (0-0, 4.50) vs. LHP Tyler Skaggs (1-0, 0.00)
Saturday (9:05): LHP Jon Niese (0-1, 3.18) vs. RHP Jered Weaver (0-2, 6.00)
Sunday (3:35): RHP Bartolo Colon (1-1, 2.08) vs. LHP C.J. Wilson (1-1, 4.61)


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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.

Presented By Diehards

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MLBTR Posts Their Mets Offseason Outlook Mon, 07 Oct 2013 17:41:35 +0000 As part of their Off-Season Outlook Series, MLB Trade Rumors rolled out their review and outlook for the New York Mets today. Here are some portions of their report

On Payroll & Spending

Sandy AldersonThe Mets opened 2011 with a $142.8MM payroll, only to drop into the low-$90MM level over the last two years. The team has the capacity for a big budget (at least in the long run), particularly now that it can finally pay Santana and Bay the last money owed on their ill-fated deals. And with the fallout from owner Fred Wilpon’s involvement in the Bernie Madoff scandal apparently easing — Wilpon said earlier this year that his family’s financial distress was “all in the rearview mirror” — it could be time to rev up the spending. On the other hand, the team’s poor performance of late has driven down revenues, and things could be less rosy than Wilpon has suggested. A recent look by Howard Megdal suggests that the long-promised wallet opening may still be restrained.

All eyes will be on GM Sandy Alderson, who is entering the last year of his contract, to see how aggressively he pursues impact free agents. Alderson has estimated that the club has around $55MM committed next year (including arbitration-eligible and pre-arb players), and says it could add something in the realm of $40MM more, though Megdal has questioned those estimates and the potential impact that much room could have. The Harvey injury — which will have an impact on the team’s shopping list — could either provide reason for a conservative approach or a ready excuse for the same. Either way, Alderson has indicated that the Mets will be even more disinclined to deal from their young pitching and will likely be forced to open the wallet for a free agent starter.

On Starting Pitching

Niese, Gee, and Zack Wheeler are safe bets for the 2014 rotation, but the club’s other options all come with question marks. Internal possibilities range from Jenrry Mejia, who is coming off bone spur surgery, to spot starter Carlos Torres, to minor leaguers Rafael Montero, Jacob deGrom, and (perhaps less likely) Noah Syndergaard. There is enough youth and uncertainty in that group to make a veteran acquisition a likelihood.

The club could look at another incentive-laden, one-year deal for a veteran hoping to re-establish value, as the club did last time around with Shaun Marcum, and hope for better results. Or the Mets could look for more of a sure thing at a higher cost; for instance, rumor has it that a Bronson Arroyo signing could make sense for both club and player. Of course, even a limited-upside pitcher like Arroyo will command a substantial commitment; Dierkes recently pegged his market value at two years and $24MM. In addition to Arroyo, MLBTR has recently profiled several other starters — Scott Feldman, Scott Kazmir, and Paul Maholm – who could make sense for the Mets.

Acquiring Offense

carlos beltranAny dollars spent on starting pitching will eat into the payroll space that the Mets hoped to utilize on an impact bat. After reportedly trying and failing to land Wil Myers and Justin Upton last year, the club is said to covet Shin-Soo Choo.

Though Alderson managed to cobble together a surprisingly effective outfield unit this year, the club already traded its best performer, Marlon Byrd, who was set to hit the open market at age 36. The fielding exploits of 24-year-old Juan Lagares made the Mets especially happy to have missed on Michael Bourn, suggesting that Lagares a solid bet to man center.

New York seems to like the mid-season pickup of Young, but hopes to use him in a reserve role. They could also move him to second base in the event of a Murphy trade. Duda has had success at times at the plate but is a defensive liability in the outfield. Other options, too, lack appeal: Kirk Nieuwenhuis has hit in the minors but not the bigs; Mike Baxter has always been viewed as a reserve; the tumultuous Jordany Valdespin may not even see Spring Training after his PED suspension; and Cesar Puello seemed to be applying his tools in Double-A until he, too, sat out 50 games after the Biogenesis scandal.

A deal for an on-base machine like Choo makes sense, but the Mets don’t wish to exceed four years, which will likely make Choo too pricey. There are other established slugging corner outfielders on the market, of course, including Curtis Granderson and former Met Carlos Beltran. Then, there is the PED-tainted Nelson Cruz, who could be a budget target of multiple teams hunting for pop. But each of these players is 33 or older, has defense or injury concerns, and will benefit to some degree by the market-setting $90MM extension just inked by Hunter Pence. If the Mets do decide to chase after top talent, the team will not have to sacrifice its first-round pick to sign free agents who declined qualifying offers.

Mets Infield

wilmer floresIn the infield, Wright is a certainty at third base. Murphy is likely to man second base again, though the team will reportedly listen to trade offers for him. Despite shaky defense, Murphy doubled his 2012 home run and stolen base output this year. With two years of control remaining, he could be an extension candidate, though his net production has been marginal enough that he probably does not profile as a sure thing beyond 2015. The most interesting potential replacement at the keystone — Wilmer Flores, who only recently turned 22 — may not be suited for the position. And despite mashing in his first go at Triple-A, Flores has struggled mightily in his first taste of big league action.

That leaves shortstop and first base, both of which pose interesting dilemmas. The aforementioned Duda received a late-season chance to stake a claim on first base duties, but early promise gave way to a late-season swoon. If Duda cannot earn a starting gig, his remaining option does leave the team with some space to develop him further before making an all-or-nothing call. Davis’ huge promise faded this year with performance and injury issues. Entering his second year of arbitration eligibility, the 26-year-old isn’t likely to be non-tendered, but he or Duda could be traded this winter.

Josh Satin hit lefties well enough to make him a platoon option for whichever lefty swinger earns the bulk of the playing time at first. It would be somewhat surprising to see the Mets play in the free agent market at first, but the club could always elect to change course if it fell in love with a player like Cuban first bagger Jose Dariel Abreu.

At short, the Mets have two highly questionable in-house options coming off of sub-.600 OPS years. Quintanilla is a non-tender candidate after failing to grasp his chance at a starting role this year. And Tejada will now work back from a broken fibula after an already-poor campaign. Collins says that the job is Tejada’s to lose going into the spring, but Alderson has cast doubt publicly on Tejada’s work ethic, saying that the team “need[s] to see a commitment to improvement.” Turner has provided consistently average offensive production and defensive flexibility at a low cost, but is not an everyday option at short.

This presents a serious void that could be fixed via free agency or trade. Jhonny Peralta and Stephen Drew are probably the most promising options; of course, the former carries the scarlet letter of Biogenesis while the latter should be in a position to get multiple years after a roughly 3-win season at age 30. Alexei Ramirez is an obvious trade candidate, but his bat is declining at age 32, making the $20.5MM left on his deal look risky. Another possibility, Asdrubal Cabrera, has youth on his side and finished strong in 2013, but he has just one year of team control remaining at $10MM. And though it is popular to speculate on the Rangers’ Elvis Andrus and Jurickson Profar, there is no indication that either could be had for less than a major haul, and Andrus is guaranteed $15MM annually for the foreseeable future.

Some Final Thoughts

MLBTR points to the bullpen as the one aspect of the team that “seems to have most of its pieces already under contract.” That and third base are the two true areas of least concern.

Second base should be included, but with all the rumors floating around, I can’t guarantee that Murphy will still be here even though he’s the second best legitimate bat the Mets have.

You would think the Mets would be set with d’Arnaud behind the plate, but even Sandy expressed concerns about his toughness and whether he endure the rigors of an entire season. He said getting a top backup catcher for him was a top priority in case he misses any time.

The Mets theoretically have $40 million to spend, but I’m betting they won’t cross the $25 million threshold. Maybe I’m wrong, and maybe I’ll change my mind as the offseason evolves, but for now that’s my gut feeling.


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These Mets Could Fight Their Way Out Of Mediocrity Sat, 20 Jul 2013 14:00:23 +0000 ya gotta believe

Stephanie was in an optimistic mood after last night’s game, believe it or not, and it wasn’t due to the post-game Nas concert… This is her first full-length piece that isn’t a Player of the Week, enjoy her collection of thoughts after the game and play nice in the comments… (Satish R.)

Jeremy Hefner has never fared well against the Phillies. It’s just one of those weird baseball things, but the stats actually back it up, too. But bare me with here and do a little speculating. There’s no arguing that Hefner just didn’t have his best stuff last night, and that happens to even the best of pitchers. But say that after he came out of the game, Burke doesn’t give up the Michael Young homer. Let’s say he was able to retire him, and the next two batters as he did, and the score would be 8-0. Maybe that somehow compels Terry not to replace him with Edgin, and the Chase Utley homer never happens — so the score stays at 8-0. I know I sound completely irrational, but hang with me for a little bit. Now, that all being said, perhaps the Mets offense was able to do exactly what it did tonight. The David Wright ninth inning home run would have capped off a brilliant comeback, and all of a sudden people are chirping about how much fight this team has.

But since those home runs did happen, and the score was 13-8 in all actuality after 9 instead of 8-8, the Mets were instead tabbed as teases and the losers who always put together late efforts that amounted to too little, too late. Instead of tweeting “LOLMets” and letting my mood drop, I sat back and thought about this. The fact that our Mets, who struggle so badly scoring at home, were able to pull together 8 runs, is a very good sign — especially when we take note of the guys who were getting hits. Ike Davis went 2-for-4, John Buck went 2-for-5 and Juan Lagares went 2-3 after coming in as a pinch hitter. Small sample size? Obviously, but these are the guys that we need to see start hitting, and it needs to start somewhere.

The amazing thing, and somewhat disappointing simultaneously, is that eight runs might have been enough to take a win during any other Hefner start — or rather, any other start recently for that matter. Harvey can only dream of his team pulling together run support like that! If the Mets want to get to .500, offense is crucial. They’ve already gotten everything they could have asked for out of their starting pitching. Mix what you saw tonight from the offense plus what you’ve been seeing from the starting pitching and you see a team very capable of fighting their way back to .500 — maybe even beyond. I know that the Mets aren’t going to start averaging eight runs a game or something outlandish like that, but they have the potential to start producing. Don’t let one bad start by Hefner — which, for all intents and purposes, he was probably due for — change your perception of what he’s given to the team the eight or so starts before last night. He’ll most definitely pull himself together and give you the kind of effort he has been for the past month in his next outing, which is all you could possibly ask from him.

My point, though? Last night’s game was actually a POSITIVE sign. Not trying to beat a dead horse here, but the fight in this team IS real, and it is so important! Being in an 11-0 hole and coming back to score eight runs shows incredible determination. They were well aware of their position, but not one player hung their head and said “Why bother? It’s over.” They racked up hits, got on base and were one Josh Satin swing away from being right back in the game.

That’s the kind of play that the Mets could give you this second half — and that’s what could allow them to hit .500 again. The ol’ Yogi Berra “It ain’t over till it’s over” line is what the Mets need to live by, and they need to stop at nothing to let people know that. Last year, it seemed like they had all given up by August, but not this year. By August, you could see a team busting its butt every game to climb back to .500. Call me crazy, call me unreasonable, call me delusional. All I’m saying is that the Mets have been playing very good ball as of late, and take away one bad starting pitching performance from a guy who has NEVER faired out well against the Phillies and you’ve got something here.

I never like to throw in the towel. Ya gotta believe!

ya gotta believe button

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Cardinals vs Mets: Spin At 2B Leading Off, Murphy At 1B Batting Cleanup Tue, 11 Jun 2013 21:20:29 +0000 jeremy hefner

St. Louis Cardinals vs. New York Mets

Michael Wacha (0-0, 5.40) vs. Jeremy Hefner (1-5, 4.36 ERA) 

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Starting Lineup

  1. Jordany Valdespin 2B
  2. Omar Quintanilla SS
  3. David Wright 3B
  4. Daniel Murphy 1B
  5. Lucas Duda LF
  6. Marlon Byrd RF
  7. John Buck C
  8. Kirk Nieuwenhuis CF
  9. Jeremy Hefner SP

Game Notes

Prior to tonight’s game, the Mets will select the contract of infielder Josh Satin from Las Vegas (AAA) of the Pacific Coast League, and recall outfielder Collin Cowgill and lefthanded pitcher Josh Edgin from Las Vegas.

Satin, 28, was hitting .305 (67-220), with 14 doubles, nine home runs and 32 RBI in 59 games for the 51s and will wear #13. Cowgill hit .268 (33-122) with five home runs and 12 RBI in 32 games with Las Vegas. He made New York’s Opening Day roster and hit .157 (8-51) with two home runs and eight RBI in 19 games for the Mets.

Edgin made the Mets’ Opening Day roster, compiling an 0-1 record and a 9.64 ERA (10 earned runs/9.1 innings) in 11 games. He has been with Binghamton (AA) of the Eastern League and Las Vegas, and compiled a 2-0 record and a 6.75 ERA (14 earned runs/18.2 innings) in 16 minor league games.

Over his last eight starts, Jeremy Hefner has recorded a 3.60 ERA (20 earned runs/50.0 innings). Hefner has walked 13 and struck out 41 during that span. Hefner has tossed six quality starts in those eight starts…He also has five starts of 6.0 or more innings allowing two or fewer runs, second on the team behind Matt Harvey, who has nine such starts.

The Mets last six home victories have come in the club’s last at-bat, the longest such streak in franchise history. The streak dates back to April 24 with Jordany Valdespin’s walk-off grand slam vs. Los Angeles, Mike Baxter had walk-off hits on May 7 vs. Chicago-AL and May 9 vs. Pittsburgh. Ike Davis delivered an eighth-inning two-run single on May 26 to beat the Braves. Daniel Murphy’s eighth-inning RBI single beat the Yankees on May 27 and Lucas Duda had a walk-off single on May 28…Overall, New York is 12-19 at home this season.

Omar Quintanilla extended his hitting streak to seven games on Sunday and is hitting .353 (12-34) with two doubles, one triple, one home run and three RBI over that span.

Daniel Murphy hit his fifth home run of the season on Sunday. He had six home runs last year and six in 2011. Murphy had a career-best 12 home runs in 2009. Three of Murphy’s five home run have either tied the game or given the Mets a lead.

Over the Mets’ last 20 games at home, dating back to April 25, the club is hitting .199 (135-680). They are 5-15 in this span and are averaging 2.3 runs (46 total) per game.

Zack Wheeler will make his major league debut at Atlanta on June 18, likely in the matinee of a day-night doubleheader, with Matt Harvey handling the evening duty. Wheeler’s final Triple-A start has been moved back a day to Thursday at Las Vegas to place him on the proper rest for his major league debut against the Braves.

Game Preview

The Cardinals come into town as they face the new look Mets. After Sunday’s game, the Mets demoted Baxter, Carson and most prominently, (part of the core according to Alderson) Davis. In their place the Mets have called up Satin, Cowgil and Edgin. Anyway, Jeremy Hefner looks to continue the Mets streak of starting pitching while the Mets bats look to continue their collective soul searching against Wacha.

Jeremy Hefner is 1-5 over 64.0 innings this year with a 4.36 ERA so far this season. In his last three starts he has allowed 6 ER over 19 innings which is a 2.84 ERA. In that same stretch he has struck out 19 batters. Earlier this season he faced the Cards allowing 3 ER over 6 innings of work. The Cardinals have the following numbers against Hefner:

Wigginton 2-4
Beltran 0-2
Craig 1-3, 2B
Freese 1-3
Holliday 1-3

The Mets bats will get a crack at Michael Wacha who is 0-0 in his first two starts in his major league career. Over his first two games he has a 5.40 ERA from allowing 7 ER and 12 hits over 11.2 innings of work. In the same stretch he’s walked 1 vs. 10 strikeouts. Not surprisingly, he hasn’t faced the Mets in his career and anyone on the Mets roster.

Lets Go Mets!

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