Mets Merized Online » stolen bases Mon, 08 Feb 2016 04:41:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Mets Will Be More Cautious Running On Royals Mon, 26 Oct 2015 17:02:47 +0000 curtis granderson

The Mets so far this postseason seem to be running almost at free will. The team has swiped a total of nine bases thus far and have shown themselves to be much more aggressive on the basepaths than we saw in the regular season.

It is worth noting that seven out of those nine stolen bases have come against the Chicago Cubs. According to Anthony DiComo of, the Mets will not pursue the same aggressive strategy against the Kansas City Royals in the World Series.

“We went in there knowing that teams stole bases against the Chicago Cubs,” manager Terry Collins said. “So we picked out three or four guys that have the ability to steal bases, that if you get on, you get a green light.”

Curtis Granderson has swiped four bases so far this postseason, three of which came against the Chicago Cubs. The Grandy Man led the team overall in stolen bases over the course of the season with just 11.

There was a telling stat as to why the Mets attempted to take so many extra bases against the Cubs, as they ranked 29th in the league in caught-stealing percentage. On the other hand though, the Mets ranked 29th this year in stolen bases.

The Royals ranked 14th in caught-stealing percentage. Not elite, writes DiComo, but certainly good enough to give a team that runs as rarely as the Mets pause.

We now head to Kansas City where the Mets are going to need to play near perfect fundamental baseball. This team can not give up outs. The Royals play almost perfect fundamental baseball and don’t seem to cheat themselves in anyway.

That being said though, Royals catcher, Salvador Perez had allowed the second most stolen bases in the American League this year with 66. But he was also second in the league with the amount of runners he caught stealing at 29.

This is sure to be one great Fall Classic, and we only have one more day to go. First pitch is Tuesday night at 8:07 PM.

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Mets Minors: Wally Has Team Running To Another First Place Finish Sun, 23 Aug 2015 14:47:54 +0000 Wilfredo Tovar

‘Put on your running shoes’ could be the motto for Wally Backman’s Las Vegas 51’s this summer. The scrappy 2014 PCL Manager of the Year has used the running game as a weapon in leading his team to a possible first place finish in the Southern Division.

Las Vegas ranks fifth out of sixteen PCL teams in stolen bases this year, a huge leap over the previous two seasons when the club finished second to last in pilfering bases.

Second baseman Wilfredo Tovar symbolizes the running nature of Backman’s 2015 squad more than anyone else. He has stolen 30 bases, third best in the PCL and two behind Jonathan Viler and Darrell Sweeney, both tied for the league lead. Perhaps Tovar, long rated has the best defensive infielder in the Mets minor league system, decided he needed to emphasize another part of his game to finally get a shot in the major leagues.

Tovar’s 30 stolen bases represent pronounced improvement and a career high. The 24-year old infielder has swiped double digit bases in every minor league season since 2009, but never more than the 17 bases he robbed in that campaign. The deft fielding infielder is having another solid season in the batter’s box hitting .283 following a .288 season in his first Triple-A campaign.

Perhaps Brandon Nimmo’s brief stint in Las Vegas is indicative of Backman’s running emphasis this year for the 51’s. Nimmo who spent the lion’s share of his time in Double-A Binghamton in 2015 (68 games) did not steal a base for the B-Mets. In 22 games under Backman, the future Met outfielder has already swiped 5 bases.

Nine 51’s have stolen five or more bases this season with Darrell Ceciliani trailing Tovar with 16 and Matt Reynolds also reaching double-digit totals with a dozen. Dilson Herrera is one shy of the double-digit mark with nine stolen bags.

Wally has the 51’s running all the way to another regular season Pacific Southern Division title and perhaps another Manager of the Year award for his trophy case.

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Ranking the NL East Center Fielders Sun, 08 Feb 2015 22:47:07 +0000 denatd span

1. Denard Span (Nationals) – Span put together an outstanding 2014 campaign in which he was tied for the National League lead in base hits (184), tied for 4th in doubles (39), was 5th in stolen bases (31), 5th in batting (.306), 5th in runs scored (94), 18th in OBP (.355), 29th in extra base hits (52), 20th in total bases (254), and finished 19th in MVP balloting. In two years with the Nationals, he’s averaged 150 games played with a slash line of .290/.341/.398 with 34 doubles, 10 triples, 84 runs scored, and 26 stolen bases. He doesn’t have Lagares’ glove, but it’s looking like a really good trade that Washington made in November 2012 for minor league pitcher Alex Meyer.

2. Juan Lagares (Mets) – Mr. Gold Glove is the best defensive outfielder in baseball. Period. I know I’m not alone in this… if a ball is hit anywhere in the outfield and if you see Lagares anywhere in the picture, you’re shocked if he doesn’t catch it. Mere mortals are fools to run on his arm. He is a difference maker in the outfield. His bat hasn’t caught up to his All-Universe Glove yet, but he’s holding his own. He improved his batting average to .281 in 2014 from .242 his rookie season. His OBP improved by 40 points. He showed late in the season he can steal bases. He should be good for 30+ doubles in 2015. For those detractors that say he doesn’t hit enough, he hit .356 at AAA, .303 in AA, and .306 in High-A ball. I expect his future offense to be at least on par and 2015 will bring more improvement over last season. Juan is a keeper.

3. Marcell Ozuna (Marlins) – The 24 year old Ozuna showed us how dangerous he can be with his own cannon when he single handedly beat the Mets last June 20th when he gunned down two Mets at home plate. In his first full MLB season, he hit .269 with 23 HR and 85 RBI and is part of a very young and very dangerous Marlins outfield that may be giving the Mets fits for years. He’s the least heralded of the Marlins outfield starters and he still has to show he can replicate his 2014 season, but he has the potential to be one of the good ones that will command a lot of cash when it comes time for Scott Boras to negotiate his contact.

4. Ben Revere (Phillies) – Revere was a former first round pick of the Minnesota Twins back in 2007 that was acquired prior to the 2013 season for Vance Worley and Trevor May. He doesn’t have any pop, with just two home runs 1,905 MLB at-bats and just five in 1,878 minor league at-bats. He is fast, with 145 stolen bases in 493 MLB games, including 49 swipes in 2014, which was 4th in all of MLB. He hit .306 last season and was tied for the National League lead in base hits with 184. He’s not much more than a singles hitter that can stretch his singles into doubles by stealing bases at an 86% success rate. 162 of his 184 hits were singles and he only walked 13 times, the fewest among the 146 players who qualified for the batting title.

5. B.J. Upton (Braves) – What in the world happened to this guy? He hasn’t batted above .250 in six full seasons, but he was particularly awful the last two. In two seasons since becoming a Brave, he’s averaged 134 games played while batting .198 with 10 HR, 30 RBI, and 162 strikeouts. His .208 batting average in 2014 was 145th out of the 146 players who qualified for the batting title in MLB. He’s still owed $46 million over the next three seasons, with the Braves on the hook for all of it in what may be the worst contract in the game for all players not named A-Rod.

Previous Editions

NL East First Basemen

NL East Second Basemen

NL East Shortstops

NL East Third Basemen

NL East Left Fielders

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Wright Closing In On Some Career MLB Milestones Fri, 06 Feb 2015 19:41:08 +0000 david wright by NY Post

Third baseman David Wright is already the Mets franchise leader in a number of offensive categories ranking first all-time in hits (1,702), runs (907), doubles (375), and RBI (939).

However, as the Mets captain enters the 2015 season, he’s closing in on a few MLB career milestones that might help pave the way to Cooperstown some day after his playing days are over.

Assuming he’s healthy and returns to form, Wright finds himself just 93 runs away from 1,000, 20 home runs away from 250, 61 RBIs away from 1,000, nine stolen bases away from 200, and 98 hits away from 1,800.

Wright has been working hard with Mets fitness adviser Mike Barwis at Port St. Lucie, and is dedicated to putting 2014 behind him..

“For me, personally, last year sucked,’’ Wright told Kevin Kernan of the NY Post. “When you have a passion for something and you fail at it, I want to make sure that never happens again. If I do what I’m capable of doing, we’re a different lineup.”

“I fully expect us to be in the playoffs. It’s not coming out here and boasting, but I think where we stand right now, we’re a much better team than we were last year and in years past. You win with young, dominant pitching and we have quite a bit of that, and offensively, we are going to be better than we have been.”

(Photo: NY Post)


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Sources: Everth Cabrera Not A Consideration For Mets Sat, 06 Dec 2014 14:08:52 +0000 MLB: San Diego Padres at Minnesota Twins

While Everth Cabrera is very much available, and while the Mets are still reportedly looking for an upgrade at shortstop, team sources told ESPN New York that he is not a consideration.

On Friday, Kristie Ackert of the Daily News reported that several teams have legitimate concerns about Cabrera’s “checkered” past including the Mets.

Cabrera became a free agent after the San Diego Padres cut ties and non-tendered him on Tuesday. It’s believed that mounting concerns over his legal issues led to that decision. He is scheduled to be arraigned Monday on charges of driving under the influence of marijuana and resisting arrest.

The former All-Star was also suspended 50 games for his involvement in the Biogenesis, and previously faced domestic violence assault charges against his wife which were eventually dismissed.

December 4

Before yesterday’s deadline, San Diego non-tendered shortstop Everth Cabrera, who was once considered a core player and future star for the Padres. Cabrera made $2.45 million in 2014 and was eligible for arbitration.

Cabrera, 28, has missed significant time the last two seasons due to a Biogenesis suspension, hamstring injuries, and off the field issues. He was arrested on Sept. 3 for suspicion of driving under the influence of marijuana, but the charge was later reduced to resisting arrest, a misdemeanor.

In 2013, Cabrera was selected as an all-star, batted .283 with a .355 on-base and .381 slugging, and was leading the league in stolen bases with 37 at the time of his suspension. In addition to that, he also led the National League in stolen bases in 2012 with 44.

This past season, his numbers weren’t nearly as good as he batted  just .232/.272/.300 over a span of 90 games. However, Cabrera is worth taking a chance on, as he brings solid defense to a position the Mets are looking to improve in, and would be a solid leadoff hitter who can wreak havoc on the base paths.

“I made some bad moves,” Cabrera said last evening. “But I know I can do a lot of things in this game. I’ve thought, ‘What am I doing? That’s not Everth Cabrera. What happened with Everth Cabrera?’ Now I’m hungry to be one of the best shortstops in the game, to be a better player, to work harder, to be better every single day.”

Despite his issues, Cabrera is still a worthy target for the Mets. His defense alone makes him an immediate upgrade at shortstop, but his plus-speed could give the Mets a potentially solid leadoff option.

Is he a risk? Yes. But at the very least, Cabrera won’t cost a ton of money, won’t require draft pick compensation, and still has loads of potential at a relatively young age.

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David Wright vs. George Brett: The Royal Treatment Wed, 22 Oct 2014 14:08:44 +0000 david wright

David Wright has taken a lot of knocks over the last several months and undeservedly so… He’s a player on the decline. He’s always getting hurt. He’s washed up.

There was another MLB star Third Baseman who is currently in the Hall of Fame that has a similar statistical profile to Wright through their age 31 seasons. Like our captain, this HOF player missed a lot of time during his age 30 season to the disabled list and played in only 123 games. He also missed 29 games while on the DL during his age 31 season, playing in just 104 games. In his age 30-31 seasons, this HOF Third Baseman played in just 227 games, compared to David’s 246.

This other Hall of Fame Third Baseman is George Brett. David has played 11 seasons, getting called up in 2004. Brett appeared in 12 MLB seasons through his age 31 season (including 13 games in August/September 1973 and the strike shortened 1981 season).

Wright vs. Brett through age 31 seasons:

                                        David Wright                             George Brett

Games Played                      1508                                          1462

Batting Average                     .298                                           .314

Base Hits                               1702                                          1783

Runs Scored                           907                                            894

OBP                                       .377                                           .368

Slugging                                 .494                                           .500

Doubles                                  375                                             362

Triples                                     26                                               103

Home Runs                            230                                              163

RBI                                         939                                              866

Stolen Bases                          191                                              131

All Star Games                        7                                                  9

Is Wright washed up? No. Did he have a very uncharacteristic season? Yes, he was hurt. Brett’s age 31 season also was below his career norms when he was recovering from an injury that kept him from starting the season on time. He only hit .284 with 107 hits.

David will be fine.

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AFL Week 1 Recap: Nimmo and Reynolds Hit The Ground Running Sun, 12 Oct 2014 06:49:02 +0000 matt reynolds

We are five games into the Arizona Fall League season, and here’s a recap of week one’s action for the Mets.

Brandon Nimmo is off to a great start as the left fielder for the Scottsdale Scorpions. In four games, he’s batting .333 (6-18) with three doubles, two runs scored and two RBIs. He’s struck out six times and has yet to draw a walk. Nimmo picked up an assist on a strong throw to the plate on Thursday, but committed his first error in left on Saturday. Nimmo will likely start next season right where he left off in Binghamton.

Matt Reynolds had a big game on Saturday, blasting a go-ahead, two run homer for a 7-6 Scorpions win. The 23-year old shortstop also doubled, singled and scored two runs after an 0-for-7 start to the AFL season. Reynolds batted .343/.405/.454 with six homers and 20 stolen bases this season between Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Las Vegas. He has a good chance to make the opening day roster with a good spring and depending on what the Mets do this offseason.

L.J. Mazzilli is 1-for-6 in two games with a pair of walks and one error. The 23-year old second baseman had a solid season in 2014, batting .301/.361/.464 with 11 home runs, 14 stolen bases, and 79 RBIs in 505 at-bats between A, A+ and AAA.

Rob Whalen made his first AFL start on Saturday and struggled in his three innings of work. The 20-year old right-hander allowed three runs on three hits and two walks while striking out three.

Julian Hilario has yet to allow a run in two appearances. In 4.0 innings he’s allowed just two hits and a walk while striking out three. The 23-year old righty had a rough season for St. Lucie in 2014, posting a 5.79 ERA in 33 appearances spanning 51.1 innings.

Dario Alvarez, 25, had a tough first week in the AFL. The lefthanded reliever has allowed three runs in two appearances. He’s let up four hits including a home run in three innings pitched, walking two and striking out two.

Paul Sewald, 24, has a 13.75 ERA in two appearances, allowing three runs on seven hits and two walks in two innings pitched.

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Mets Want Juan Lagares To Steal More Bases Wed, 03 Sep 2014 12:16:31 +0000 juan lagares scoresWith a 4 for 4 performance on Tuesday night in Miami, Juan Lagares did something he had never done in his major league career. Batting out of the leadoff spot, he collected 4 hits. For the Mets front office, this was likely the second most impressive feat of the night. First were his 2 stolen bases.

According to ESPN’s Adam Rubin, the Mets want Lagares to be more aggressive on the base paths and are force feeding him steal signs throughout the game. Terry Collins has fully bought into the philosophy:

“You can’t play center field like he plays it, with that first step, and not be able to be a good baserunner — because this guy is daring, he’s got a great first step, he’s got great speed when he gets it going. But what we’ve got to do is get him to top speed faster. He shows it in the outfield. That’s why I say there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be able to do it” (Rubin, ESPN).

It all makes sense for the Mets. Lagares obviously shows explosive speed in the outfield so if he’s able to lengthen his leads and get solid jumps, he should be able to start swiping bags. If he is able to add stolen bases to his already impressive overall game, Lagares could become an ideal leadoff hitter for the Mets in the future.

“I know I can run a little bit.” said Lagares. “In the beginning I had a couple of injuries with my hamstring. That’s why I didn’t try to over-run. But now I feel 100 percent. I want to take advantage of that. I think if you’ve got the speed, it’s just about working to steal bases.”

Lagares has stolen 2 bases twice in his career. The last time he did it was on July 26th, 2013 against the Washington Nationals. In that game, Lagares went 3-4 with 3 runs scored and the 2 stolen bases. The Mets won that game 11-0. Maybe the Mets are on to something here. When Lagares has run in the past, good things have happened. For the rest of September, I hope we see a lot from the Mets center fielder.

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Herrera Drives In Four, Scores Two, Now Batting .346 Sat, 23 Aug 2014 05:21:57 +0000 dilson-herrera-in-the-cage

Dilson Herrera had another great game tonight for Binghamton who beat Akron by a score of 12-3. Herrera finished 3-for-3 with two doubles, four RBIs, two runs scored and a walk.

ESPN’s Keith Law had heaps of praise for the Mets’ 20-year-old second baseman prospect  in an online chat.

Herrera is capable of becoming an above average, every-day, big-league second basemen, and maybe more, he revealed in his weekly chat. He continued, saying “If he ended up on a few All-Star teams, I wouldn’t be shocked.”

Between Single-A and Double-A this season, Herrera has hit .320 with a .378 OBP while hitting 12 home runs and driving in 65 runs. Add in 22 stolen bases and some sound defense up the middle and he has had an incredible all-around season.

Herrera was acquired in the trade that sent John Buck and Marlon Byrd to the Pirates last season. The Mets also received Vic Black in the deal that is now looking like one of the best we’ve seen from Alderson thus far.

Barring injury, I would expect Herrera to start next season in Las Vegas and he could earn a call to the majors sometime late in 2015.

It is also important to note Herrera’s age and production in context of his peers. He is 4.7 years younger than the average hitter in the Eastern League. And yet his age has not held him from being among the top offensive players in the league thus far.

His production in Binghamton has dwarfed his St. Lucie production. So far in Binghamton, he is producing at a .344/.417/.574 clip with nine homeruns and eight stolen bases while driving in 46 runs. Keep in mind that he has played in 14 less games in AA as well.

All things considered, age, position, and offensive production, I believe Herrera has the potential to be a star in the majors, and he will significantly affect the Mets’ decision-making when it comes time to re-sign or part ways with Daniel Murphy.

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The Other Side To Travis d’Arnaud’s Game Sun, 20 Jul 2014 15:16:19 +0000 Travis d'Arnaud

Travis d’Arnaud has been one of the keys to the Mets’ suddenly revamped offense in the last three weeks and for his hard work, the young catcher seems to have found a home in the fifth spot of the batting order.

“He’s swinging the bat very, very well. He’s been driving in runs. He’s been hitting some homers,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “Therefore, he protects.”

It’s amazing to see the transformation with d’Arnaud going from a sheepish and passive hitter who lacked confidence, into one of the team’s top run producers at the plate since his return from Las Vegas. It’s been fun to watch him.

However it hasn’t been all wine and roses for the rookie catcher who has experienced some hard to ignore defensive lapses.

On Saturday, he was charged with two passed balls in the Mets’ 6-0 loss to the Padres, giving him eight passed balls this season, the most among all qualified MLB catchers,.

“D’Arnaud said the first one he was a little careless, he took his eye off it,” catching instructor Bob Geren said. “The other one, it extremely cut more than usual. It was kind of a weird pitch from Edgin.”

D’Arnaud does get high marks for framing pitches, but Keith Hernandez brought up an interesting point. During last night’s broadcast he said that d’Arnaud is so invested in framing pitches that he has lapses in his other principle duties as a catcher.

Hernandez attributed Saturday night’s passed balls to him trying too hard to frame the pitch which often puts you in a vulnerable position when you have to  block pitches. He wondered if this focus on framing is serving him or the team well when the return is one and sometimes two extra strike calls per game.

Additionally, in other defensive metrics, d’Arnaud has a 3.83 Catcher’s ERA which ranks 51 among MLB catchers, and his Defensive WAR is -.10 for the season.

As for holding baserunners, d’Arnaud has allowed 29 stolen bases this season and has a .237 caught stealing percentage which ranks 41st in the majors.

Taking a page from Keith Hernandez, I wonder if the framing pitches also keeps d’Arnaud from being in the best position to guard against stolen bases in a play that requires split-second execution?

I don’t know the answer, but it certainly makes for a great debate on a Sunday afternoon.

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Murphy Among The Elite At Second Base Wed, 14 May 2014 17:04:40 +0000 daniel murphy

Daniel Murphy continued his offensive onslaught on Tuesday night, blasting a three-run homer to help defeat the Yankees 12-7 in the Bronx. He is now batting .320 after a productive two nights at Yankee Stadium.

“He’s gotten hot, and when he gets hot, he is a good hitter,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “He’s got power, he’ll hit to all fields.”

As I wrote yesterday, Murphy is currently among the elite at second base and his .840 on-base plus slugging is bested only by the Phillies’ Chase Utley.

After dabbling with Murphy in the cleanup spot last month, Collins has kept Murphy in the two-spot since April 29 and the Irish Hammer has responded.

“I’m seeing the ball pretty well, not trying to do too much,” said Murphy. “And I don’t think it’s an accident that I get more pitches to hit with as well as David’s swinging the bat.”

Lets get that extension paperwork started…

May 13

Second baseman Daniel Murphy was the first one to embrace Ruben Tejada after Sunday’s 5-4 comeback win over the Philadelphia Phillies.

“We just needed a win,’’ said Murphy, who blasted a huge two-run homer in the ninth to bring the Mets within one.

After a solid campaign in 2013, Murphy is well on his way to even bigger things in 2014 and has already amassed a 1.4 fWAR for the season.

With another three hits in yesterday’s contest, Murphy has raised his average to .317, which ranks third among all second basemen in the majors behind Chase Utley and Dee Gordon.

Murphy leads the Mets in almost every offensive categories including hits (46), doubles (12), runs (25), and On-Base Percentage(.367). His .822 OPS is also tops on the team and third best among all MLB second basemen.

Remarkably, Murphy has just 19 strikeouts representing a 12.0 strikeout percentage to lead all the regulars on the team – most of them who strikeout more than twice as much.

What is most surprising about Murphy is the job he’s done defensively at second base. While he’ll never win a gold glove at the position, his range, glove work and instincts at second base have improved so much, it’s no longer the concern it used to be and I’d go as far as saying he’s transformed himself into an average defender.

Back in February, Murphy told reporters that he was open to signing a contract extension with the Mets, however nothing seems to be in the works at this time.

Murph has been on tear of late, batting .375/.444/.648 in his last 11 games with two homers, a triple and seven doubles in 54 plate appearances. 

He has become such an integral part of this team and a leader in the Mets clubhouse. I couldn’t imagine this team without him.

Presented By Diehards

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A Free Agent After Next Season, Should Mets Offer Murphy An Extension? Wed, 30 Apr 2014 13:37:16 +0000 daniel murphy

One of the unsung heroes of Tuesday night’s 6-1 victory over the Phillies was second baseman Daniel Murphy who went 3-for-5 with a run, RBI and his sixth stolen base of the season.

“We’ve played well,” Murphy said. “This would be a good way to start the road trip.”

With the win the Mets are now four games over .500 for the first time since July 14, 2012, and their 15 wins in April are their most since 2007.

It was Murphy who put the Mets on the board when he delivered a two-out, RBI single to plate shortstop Ruben Tejada.

The three hits raised Murphy’s average to .304 for the season and extended his hitting streak to 10 games.

His stolen base extended his streak of consecutive successful steals to 28, only five away from matching Kevin McReynolds for the franchise record.

What is most surprising about Murphy is the job he’s done at second base. While he’ll never win a gold glove at the position, his range, glove work and instincts at second base have improved so much, it’s no longer the concern it used to be and I’d go as far as saying he’s transformed himself into an average defender.

Murphy is coming off a solid 2013 season that produced a .286 batting average, 38 doubles, 13 homers, 78 RBI, 92 runs scored and 23 stolen bases. He finished in the National League’s top ten in base hits, doubles, runs scored and even stolen bases.

Back in February, Murphy told reporters that he was open to signing a contract extension with the Mets.

“You see an organization heading in the direction that we’re heading, it’s an exciting time. So you always want to be a part of that. …But I do want to be a part of the solution.”

This past Winter, Murphy and the Mets avoided arbitration and agreed to a $5.7 million contract for the 2014 season.

However, with only one more year of arbitration left, Murphy becomes a free agent after next season. 

What do you think? Should the Mets offer Murphy a three-year extension?

I love everything about Murphy; his intensity, his focus, his desire to win. He’s far from perfect, but he fits perfectly on this team. I wouldn’t be the least bit opposed to offering him a three-year deal in the $25-30 million range.

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Around the Diamond – Left Field Thu, 30 Jan 2014 16:00:10 +0000 As we continue our Mets Around the Diamond feature, we now come to Left Field.

During the Mets’ 52 year history, there have been 25 everyday left fielders. Not so bad compared to center and right field.

cleon jonesThe following are the ten players who have played the most games in Left Field for the Mets in franchise history.

10 – Benny Agbayani (2000-01). Benny played 234 games in Left (198 starts). In 2000, he batted .289 with 15 HR and 60 RBI.

9 – Frank Thomas (1962-63). Frank played 253 games in Left Field (251 starts). In 1962, he hit had a solid season for the Mets, batting .266 with 34 HR and 94 RBI.

8 – Jason Bay (2010-12). Hard to believe that Jason played in 280 games in Left (267 starts) for the Mets, isn’t it? In 2011, he hit .245 with 12 HR and 57 RBI.

7 – John Milner (1972, 1976). John played in 283 games in Left (271 starts). He was also in the top 10 in games played at First Base. In 1976, he hit .271 with 15 HR and 78 RBI.

6 – Bernard Gilkey (1996-98). Bernard played 363 games in Left (347 starts). In 1996, he hit .317 with 30 HR, 117 RBI, and 108 runs scored.

5 – Cliff Floyd (2003-06). Cliff played 443 games for the Mets in Left (437 starts). In 2005, he had his best season for the Amazins, batting .273 with 34 HR and 98 RBI.

4 – Steve Henderson (1977-80). Hendu played 482 games in Left Field (480 starts). In 1980, he hit .290 with 8 HR, 58 RBI, and 23 stolen bases.

3 – George Foster (1982-85). George played 617 games in Left (610 starts). In 1984, he hit .269 with 24 HR and 86 RBI.

2 – Kevin McReynolds (1987-91, 1994). McReynolds played 758 games in Left (732 starts). In 1988, the underrated Met hit .288 with 27 HR, 99 RBI, and 21 stolen bases.

1 – Cleon Jones (1968-71, 1973-74). Cleon played 800 games in Left (717 starts). In 1969, he hit .340 with 12 HR, 75 RBI, and 94 runs scored.

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Around the Diamond: The Straw That Stirred Right Field Tue, 28 Jan 2014 17:41:16 +0000 darryl strawberry

No other position has seen more turnover at the starting spot for the Mets than Right Field. In 52 seasons, they have seen 33 different players who would be classified as the “primary” player at the position. Darryl Strawberry was the man for eight of those seasons. The other 44 seasons saw 32 different players. The last 16 seasons have seen 15 different regular right fielders for the Mets.

The following are the top eleven players to have regularly manned right field for the Mets.

10 – Alex Ochoa (1996-97) – 170 games (132 starts). In 1996, Ochoa hit .294 with 4 HR and 33 RBI.

10 – Carl Everett (1995) – 170 games (136 starts). In 1995, Carl Everett hit .260 with 12 HR and 54 RBI.

9 – Jeff Francoeur (2009-10) – 192 games (183 starts). In 2011 (with the Mets), Frenchy hit .311 with 10 HR and 41 RBI.

8 – Bobby Bonilla (1992-93) – 229 games (226 starts). In 1993, Bobby-Bo hit .265 with 34 HR and 87 RBI.

7 – Roger Cedeno (1999, 2003) – 238 games (189 starts). In 1999, he hit .313 with 4 HR, 36 RBI and 66 stolen bases.

6 – Joe Christopher (1964) – 263 games (244 starts). In 1964, he hit .300 with 16 HR and 76 RBI.

5 – Jeromy Burnitz (2002) – 290 games (262 starts). In 2002, Burnitz batted .215 with 19 HR and 54 RBI.

4 – Joel Youngblood (1979-80) – 309 games (244 starts). In 1979, Youngblood hit .275 with 16 HR and 60 RBI.

3 – Ron Swoboda (1967-70) – 434 games (372 starts). In 1967, Swoboda batted .281 with 13 HR and 53 RBI.

2 – Rusty Staub (1972-75) – 535 games (531 starts). Rusty had some solid years for the Mets and in 1975 he batted .282 with 19 HR and 105 RBI.

1 – Darryl Strawberry (1983-90) – 1,062 games (1,022 starts). A former number one pick, in 1987, Darryl hit .284 with 39 HR, 104 RBI, and 36 stolen bases.

Presented By Diehards

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Around the Diamond: Center Field Mon, 27 Jan 2014 19:19:43 +0000 mookie wilson

In the Mets’ 52 seasons, there have been 26 different Center Fielders who could be classified as the “primary” player in any given season.

As we continue this series, who were the ten Mets who have played the most games at each position, we now look at center field. (seasons as the primary in parenthesis)

10. Don Hahn (1973-74) – 268 games in Center (188 starts). In 1974, Don hit .251 with 4 HR and 28 RBI.

9. Cleon Jones (1966-67) – 268 games in Center (235 starts). Cleon played more games in Left Field than any other Met, but he also made the list in Center. In 1966, he hit .275 with 8 HR and 57 RBI.

8. Jim Hickman (1962-64) – 268 games in Center (246 starts). In 1963, Jim hit .29 with 17 HR and 51 RBI.

7. Angel Pagan (2010-11) – 278 games in Center (268 starts). In 2010, he hit .290 with 11 HR, 69 RBI, and 37 stolen bases.

6. Brian McRae (1998-99) – 282 games in Center (257 starts). In 1998, he hit .264 with 21 HR, 79 RBI, and 20 stolen bases.

5. Lenny Dykstra (1986-88) – 493 games in Center (392 starts). In 1986, he hit .295 with 8 HR, 45 RBI, and 31 stolen bases.

4. Lee Mazzilli (1977-79) – 572 games in Center (547 starts). In 1979, he hit .303 with 15 HR, 79 RBI, and 34 stolen bases.

3. Tommie Agee (1968-72) – 591 games in Center (544 starts). In 1969, he hit .271 with 26 HR and 76 RBI.

2. Carlos Beltran (2005-09) – 723 games in Center (719 starts). In 2006, he hit .275 with 41 HR and 116 RBI.

1. Mookie Wilson (1981-85) – 907 games in Center (816 starts). In 1982, he hit .279 with 5 HR, 55 RBI, and 58 stolen bases. And then there was that little ROLLER up along first….

Presented By Diehards

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Juan Lagares, The Center Of Attraction Mon, 27 Jan 2014 15:30:36 +0000 As if you needed any further proof of the exciting promise and the great things to come from Juan Lagares in 2014, I present you with this video acknowledgment of the aforementioned. I bestow a hearty hat tip to Ryan for emailing it to me.

What an amazing compilation showcasing Lagares’ emerging power, natural speed, gifted glove and powerful arm.

Lagares, 25, is coming off a solid campaign in Winter Ball that saw him bat .342/.379/.412 with 16 RBIs and five stolen bases in 114 regular-season at-bats.

During the 2013 regular season, Lagares finished with a .242/.281/.352 batting line, four home runs, 21 doubles, six stolen bases and 34 RBIs. Like fellow rookies Travis d’Arnaud and Wilmer Flores last season, there’s plenty of room for improvement at the plate, but the potential is clearly there.

On defense, Lagares might just be the best in baseball. His 15 outfield assists ranked second in the National League last season. No small feat when you consider that he didn’t start playing everyday until after the All Star break.

According to John Dewan, author of The Fielding Bible, Lagares saved 11 runs last season with his arm, one less than MLB leader Gerardo Parra.

Despite not drawing nearly enough walks, Lagares showed improvement as he became more comfortable at the plate and as Sandy Alderson noted this Winter, “Juan is trying to adapt. It’s very important to look at things below the surface,” the Mets GM said.

“A lot can be predicted about a hitter based on when he hits in the count, early in the count or late in the count. You probably remember from last year, he was behind in the count all the time. He’s trying to make adjustments, mentally. It’s not about drawing walks, it’s about getting into hitter’s counts.”

Alderson also pointed out Lagares’ ability to get his bat on the ball.

“Another thing is that Lagares has a knack for making contact, even behind in the count. There’s not a lot of power there right now, but he definitely made an improvement as the season went on.”

Anyway, enjoy the video, think good things about our Mets, and get ready for Spring Training as pitchers and catchers report in only 20 days.


Presented By Diehards

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Juan Lagares Named MLB’s Top Dominican Rookie Thu, 23 Jan 2014 18:22:45 +0000 future stars lagares

Mets center fielder Juan Lagares was named Major League Baseball’s top Dominican Rookie by a panel of Dominican sports writers.

Lagares, 25, is coming off a solid campaign in Winter Ball that saw him bat .342/.379/.412 with 16 RBIs and five stolen bases in 114 regular-season at-bats.

During the 2013 regular season, Lagares finished with a .242/.281/.352 batting line, four home runs, 21 doubles, six stolen bases and 34 RBIs.

It’s exciting to see Lagares get so many accolades this offseason. While speaking about whether Lagares can improve at the plate in 2014, Sandy Alderson had this to say about him…

“Juan is trying to adapt. It’s very important to look at things below the surface. A lot can be predicted about a hitter based on when he hits in the count, early in the count or late in the count. You probably remember from last year, he was behind in the count all the time. He’s trying to make adjustments, mentally. It’s not about drawing walks, it’s about getting into hitter’s counts.”

“Another thing is that Lagares has a knack for making contact, even behind in the count. There’s not a lot of power there right now, but he definitely made an improvement as the season went on.”

I believe Lagares is going to break out in a big way this season offensively. It should be fun to watch.

(Edited at 1:20 PM)

Presented By Diehards

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Curtis Granderson Is About To Join An Exclusive Club Sat, 07 Dec 2013 17:39:02 +0000 Mets Yankees

I am on board with Curtis Granderson becoming an outfielder for the Mets over the next four seasons.  But not everyone is.  So I decided to generate a chart that lists all the players in baseball history who have produced 200 doubles, 200 homers, 80 triples and 100 stolen bases in their respective careers.

For the record, Curtis Granderson’s first double for the Mets will be the 200th in his career.  When he gets it, he will join this group of players in the 200 double, 200 homer, 80 triple, 100 steal club.  See if you recognize any of the names listed below.


1 Hank Aaron 3298 12364 2175 3771 624 98 755 2297 239 .305 .374 .555 .929
2 Willie Mays 2992 10881 2060 3283 523 140 660 1903 336 .302 .384 .557 .942
3 Dave Winfield 2973 11003 1669 3110 540 88 465 1833 223 .283 .353 .475 .827
4 Robin Yount 2856 11008 1632 3142 583 126 251 1406 271 .285 .342 .430 .772
5 George Brett 2707 10349 1583 3154 665 137 317 1596 201 .305 .369 .487 .857
6 Paul Molitor 2683 10835 1782 3319 605 114 234 1307 504 .306 .369 .448 .817
7 Joe Morgan 2649 9277 1650 2517 449 96 268 1133 689 .271 .392 .427 .819
8 Andre Dawson 2627 9927 1373 2774 503 98 438 1591 314 .279 .323 .482 .806
9 Steve Finley 2583 9397 1443 2548 449 124 304 1167 320 .271 .332 .442 .775
10 Johnny Damon 2490 9736 1668 2769 522 109 235 1139 408 .284 .352 .433 .785
11 Vada Pinson 2470 9644 1365 2757 485 127 256 1169 305 .286 .327 .442 .769
12 Babe Ruth 2457 8297 2156 2842 495 135 710 2193 123 .343 .475 .691 1.167
13 Roberto Alomar 2379 9073 1508 2724 504 80 210 1134 474 .300 .371 .443 .814
14 Goose Goslin 2287 8658 1482 2735 500 173 248 1619 175 .316 .387 .500 .887
15 Rogers Hornsby 2241 8115 1574 2916 539 169 301 1460 135 .359 .435 .579 1.014
16 Lou Gehrig 2164 8000 1888 2721 534 163 493 1997 102 .340 .448 .633 1.080
17 Curtis Granderson 1187 4438 780 1157 199 80 217 606 122 .261 .340 .488 .828
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/7/2013.

Thirteen of the players listed above are in the Hall of Fame.  Three others (Steve Finley, Johnny Damon, Vada Pinson) had outstanding careers that warranted Hall of Fame consideration.  The 17th member of that group – once he legs out his first two-bagger for the Mets – is Curtis Granderson.  And if he gets that double before his 13th game with the team, he will have joined that exclusive club before playing in his 1,200th career game.  Everyone else on the list played in at least 2,164 games.

Granderson already has as many triples and just seven fewer homers than Roberto Alomar, who is one of the players on the list.  In addition, Granderson’s on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS (.340/.488/.828) are all higher than the numbers put up by Hall of Famer Andre Dawson (.323/.482/.806). And his .488 slugging percentage is higher than ten of the 16 other players on the list.

Many home run hitters can produce doubles.  But they don’t usually don’t have the speed to leg out triples or steal bases.  Similarly, great triples hitters who also steal bases aren’t usually among the league’s best power hitters.  That’s why only 16 players have ever produced 200 doubles, 200 homers, 80 triples and 100 stolen bases in their careers.  That’s also why all but three of those players have their plaques hanging in Cooperstown.

Curtis Granderson is about to become the 17th player to reach those career marks.  And now he has four years to add to those numbers as a member of the New York Mets.  Get used to it, Mets fans.  Come March 31st, you’ll be cheering for a very special player.

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This Day In Mets Infamy With Rusty: Hope For The Best, But Expect The Worst Edition Sun, 10 Nov 2013 15:41:10 +0000 fansI have been a Mets fan since my birth 41 years ago, and in that time I have seen more than a handful of highs – and more than my share of lows. I have lived through Frank Taveras and Alex Trevino, Bob Bailor and Bruce Bosclair, Rich Rodriguez and Tony Tarasco, and now Lucas Duda and Ruben Tejada.

This is why whenever somebody looks at me cross-eyed when they find out that I am indeed a Mets fan I summon the old credo:

“I’m a Mets fan – I hope for the best, but I expect the worst”

That being said I am trying to stay positive this hot stove season because I have to think that ownership understands that they are at a crossroads. Because of the Madoff scandal, this team has seen it’s payroll shrink from its $150 million dollar apex to the $90 million dollar level when this season opened on April 1st.

Both Ownership and General Manager Sandy Alderson are on the record saying they have money to burn and they intend on importing better talent than in previous seasons. I hope against hope that they aren’t paying lip service to the fans, and maybe I will be less skeptical when I see the first “big” acquisition – whether a free agent signing or trade – announced. But right now I will try to check my apathy at the door.

The thing that makes me feel a bit skeptical is that the general feeling out there is that the Mets may only be able ( or willing) to spend upwards of $40 million on new talent which would bring the payroll up to around the same $90 million give or take. Teams can win with that kind of payroll, but this team has a serious lack of talent on the big league level with the exception of a handful of players. With this alleged $40 million you definitely wont be able to afford a Ellsbury – or even a Choo, Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if Marlon Byrd will command – and get a 3-year, $40 million dollar contract coming off the season he just had.

The rumors that are circulating out there and say that the Mets aren’t interested in any of the three available Dodger outfielders makes me just scratch my head. I feel like the Mets have the money and want to buy the Kobe beef, but they may once again settle for the 2 day old chuck roast that has been reduced for a quick sell.

For now, I’m not really jaded – more like confused – and I can only hope that by the time the Mets are set to open Spring Training come February, they will have imported some much needed talent that will be impactful not only in 2014, but for many years to come.

But once again my mind reverts back to that old credo:

I’m a Mets fan – I hope for the best, but expect the worst.

And with that said…..


Mets alumni celebrating birthdays today include:

Outfielder from ’75-’77, Mike Vail is 62 (1951). One has to wonder what might have been if he didn’t shatter his ankle while playing a pickup game of basketball during the  ’75 offseason.

Mets general manager from ’04-’10, Omar Minaya is 55 (1958) Although I am not one of Minaya’s biggest fans I am thankful that he was able to get the Mets back into contention within 2 years of his hiring. It is the simple fact that he sacrificed the future by making some ill advised trades and draft selections that have partially put this team in the situation it is currently in.

Utility infielder from the ’92 season, Junior Noboa is 49 (1964).

One of the biggest goats in Mets history, Kenny Rogers  is 49 (1964).

Outfielder from ’93-’98, Butch Huskey is 42 (1971). Lets face it, Huskey was Lucas Duda before Lucas Duda ever picked up a bat.

Right fielder from the ’06 and ’07 seasons, Shawn Green is 41 (1972). Yes by the time the Mets obtained the “Hebrew Hammer”, Green was on the downside of his career. He still managed to hit a combined .284 with14 homers and 61 ribbies, and he absolutely raked in the ’06 postseason.

Some other notables include:

The New York Mets signed free agent utility outfielder, Carlos Mendoza on November 10, 1992.

The Atlanta Braves signed reserve outfielder,  Esix Snead of the New York Mets as a free agent on November 10, 2004. Snead played parts of 2 seasons with the Mets, compiling a .308 batting average with one homerun, 3 rbis and 4 stolen bases in 18 games.

The Mets granted middle reliever, Shingo Takatsu  free agency on November 10, 2005.

The New York Mets signed free agent middle reliever,  Raul Valdes on November 10, 2006.

The Philadelphia Phillies  signed utility infielder,  Wilson Valdez of the New York Mets as a free agent on November 10, 2009.

When a Queens donut shop owner discovered that his morning supply of fresh-baked donuts had all been robbed and called the police, the two officers that responded looked at each other and said, “Gotta go to Mo’s.” Thirty minutes later the caper was solved as Mo Vaughn was cuffed and taken into custody – covered in powdered sugar. (Guest Mo Vaughn joke by Joe D.)

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Time For Some Brave, New, Bold Moves For Mets Thu, 07 Nov 2013 14:41:41 +0000 sandy-alderson

He is the best man who, when making his plans, fears and reflects on everything that can happen to him, but in the moment of action is bold.  ~  Herodotus

The moment of action for New York Met General Manager Sandy Alderson is now. It is time for Sandy to fly against his better nature, to throw caution to the wind, and take his own bold approach to fixing the Mets.

Rules are guidelines to give us structure, but in dire times rules are made to be broken. Sandy, be a lion, throw caution to the wind, and dare to employ a different dynamic in improving the Met roster.

For three years, our Met GM has worked diligently retooling our minor league system with an emphasis on stockpiling young pitching prospects. Other than the captain, all our high paid former stars are gone, and we’ve been told that unlike other Hot Stove campaigns, this year there is money in the kitty to spend.

It’s time to throw out the old baseball playbook and rebuild our team with a roster that plays to the vastness of our home at Citi Field. With few true power options available through free agency, and an understandable reluctance to exchange a bevy of coveted young pitching arms for even a single credentialed major league slugger, why not build around speed?

I realize modern baseball sabermetrics have rendered the value of speed to the baseball scrap heap. But, a potent argument can be made that it’s time to shuck off the modern trend in favor of a lineup based on pitching, defense and speed. Paraphrasing E.F. Hutton, ‘lets do things the old fashioned way.’

Everyone knows a murderer’s row team brings throngs of fans to the park. But more available money or not, we lack the resources to rebuild our roster around homerun power. Besides power, the next offensive quality to ignite a fan base is speed. That was part of what started Met fans love affair with a young shortstop named Jose Reyes.

Think about it. Fans love to see athletic speed- burners hustling on the base paths to add another base. It’s not simply about stolen bases. It’s turning would- be double plays into fielder’s choices, forcing opposing infielders to hurry throws turning would-be infield outs into infield errors. It’s baserunners who stir up a ruckus turning would-be outs into base hits, singles into doubles, and doubles into triples. It’s about athletic outfielders running down balls in the outfield and making dazzling defensive plays to choke off rallies.

Speed is athletic. Speed is dynamic. Speed is energizing. And, speed doesn’t have a bad day. It’s the root of a mental toughness that can define the way a baseball team approaches the game.

So, what is Sandy to do. First and foremost, don’t fear promoting some young arms to plug up holes in the pitching staff. This will direct precious resources to finding speedy position players through free agency. Young pitching options are especially the case in the bullpen. Vic Black, Jeurys Familia, Jeff Walters, possibly Cory Mazzoni should all compete for possible bullpen slots with legitimate chances to make the squad.

It was disheartening to read that already Jenrry Mejia’s potential role in the starting rotation was being minimized. What’s the kid to think? He is elevated to the big team at the end of the season and simply dazzles in the starting rotation. In five starts, the youngster complies a sparkling 2.30 ERA, striking out 27 batters while walking only 4, with a 1.171 WHIP.

“I’m sorry, kid, you’re not ready yet, we believe you need more seasoning in Vegas,” simply seems disingenuous. The kid has earned a chance. All the other young kids are watching. Let Mejia continue to prove he belongs in Flushing as a part of the starting rotation. That, too will save additional resources for a speed shattering plan.

If we must go out and bring in a starting rotation place holder acquire them by trade. It pains me to say this because when he played in Binghamton he was my favorite B-Met, and on the parent squad he has always done whatever he was asked without complaint and with enthusiasm. But, in a plan to fly with the wind, Daniel Murphy becomes expendable as an exchange for a place holder starting pitching option.

eric young

How can that be? Who will play second base. No, not Wilmer Flores, I’m thinking Eric Young Jr. Don’t shut me off just yet. EY becomes a valuable asset in a lineup built around speed. Recently, I read a piece by Scott Fergunsen that used a new statistic he had created that he tabbed Scoring Positive Percentage. SPP measures how often a player gets himself in scoring position or scores himself whether via a hit or stolen base. To find an SPP, Scott simply adds a players stolen bases, doubles, triples, and home runs and divides by their number of plate appearances.

Measured against all the lead-off batters in the major leagues in 2013, Eric Young Jr.’s SPP was second best in the National League, trailing only Starling Marte. Young bested Shin-Soo Choo, Matt Carpenter, Carl Crawford, Denard Span, Norichika Aoki and all the rest.

When Fergunsen dug below the surface level of the baseball numbers, he concluded Young performed for the Mets far better than most people think. He was a sparkplug at the top of the Met batting order, a tough kid who provided a much needed energy boost to the lineup, and he was very effective when he led off a game or an inning during the game. Those situations equaled 40.2 percent of his bats with Young hitting .313 with a .387 on-base-percentage and a 10 percent walk rate. That batting average and walk rate in these situations ranked 3rd best in the NL.

And, Fergunsen notes that Young’s lead-off stats in general (leading off an inning or game or hitting with nobody on base and 1 or 2 outs) are pretty fine. In those cases, he hit .277 with a .349 OBP and a 9.2 base-on-ball percentage.

It was a stretch of 50 at bats representing 12-percent of Young’s plate appearances that skewed his overall statistics. I’m sure most every Met fan reading this post can remember that stretch well. Young hit only .095 over that span with a .357 OPS. Ouch. But, as Fergunsen notes, for 88 percent of his time at the top of the order, Eric Young performed well earning him a shot at returning to the top of the order next season.

Well, why can’t EY do that playing left field with Daniel Murphy still at second base you ask. Because a bold Sandy Alderson, a GM building a dynamic, lightning fast running machine will be bringing in Rajai Davis to play left field.

Toronto Blue Jays v Tampa Bay Rays

What? You’ve lost all your marbles you scream? Hear me out. Davis is a free agent who played for Toronto last summer. With speed our new premium, Davis could be the best base stealer in baseball. Last season he swiped 45 bases, one less than his SB total in 2012. Davis was only caught stealing 6 times in 2013.

I understand that Davis is 33 years old, a questionable time for guys who depend on their legs. Yet, in the past five seasons, with only one of those campaigns as a bonafide regular, Rajai has stolen 216 bases. And using Scoring Position Percentage, Davis goes off the charts at 19.4 percent.

The most appealing fact for Sandy could be that Davis should come cheap. The speedster earned $2.5 million last season and deserves an uptick, but he is on record saying his top priority is gaining a chance to play everyday. His hypothetical 8 year professional averages based on a 162 game schedule have him hitting .268 with 53 stolen bases, scoring 69 runs with a .316 OBP next season. In 2009 for Oakland in 390 at-bats, Davis hit .305, stole 41 basis and had a .360 OBP. The following year, his only full season as a starter with over 500 at-bats, Davis hit .284 with 51 stolen bases and a .320 OBP.

Davis’s is a right handed batter who rakes against left-handed pitching hitting .319 with an .859 OPS last summer. His numbers dipped dramatically against right handed pitching, but Davis is eager to prove all that will change with a chance to play everyday. An average defender, Davis gets a jump after a ball slowly, but depends on his blazing speed to make up the difference. With Juan Lagares in centerfield, Davis would man the left field corner spot in a remake that capitalizing on speed.


A bold Sandy Alderson remake will target a pure power hitter to play the opposite outfield corner slot, Curtis Granderson of the Yankees. And, yes, the Grandy Man is part of the speed equation makeover. Granderson’s 10 year, 162 game stolen bases hypothetical is 17 swipes for next year, and I certainly believe 15 is well within range. Extremely athletic, Granderson has stolen 20 bases or more 3 times in his career, the most recent in 2011 for the Yankees.

Alderson would need to pull out all the stops to snare Granderson. As an anchor in the middle of the lineup, Granderson would be the legitimate power threat the Mets need. In the two seasons before his injury plagued 2013 lost season, Granderson slammed 84, home runs, the most in baseball. Many Met fans will scoff attributing that number to playing in HR friendly Yankee Stadium, but 37 of those long balls came on the road.

Sandy will need to open up Fred Wilpon’s wallet to bring in Granderson, the signature piece of his winter wheeling and dealing. Granderson earned 15 million for the Yankees this season. Sandy would need to be prepared to overpay for the linchpin of a busy winter of Hot Stove play. Wine him. Dine him. Offer healthy contributions to his Grand Kids Foundation, his efforts to immerse inner city kids with educational and baseball opportunities. Bring in David Wright to pledge that side-by-side they will become the faces of a new baseball power in NYC. That and perhaps 55 millions dollar over 4 years could get it done.

And, imagine the glee of Met fans if Sandy could bring to Citi Field one of the Yankees’ major pieces. It might erase some of that lingering sting of having to endure Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry and David Cone clad in pinstripes.

Get it done, yes, but is Sandy, done? Not yet. With every indicator leading Met fans to believe the front office has abandoned hope that Ike Davis can be the first baseman they craved, word has Lucas Duda slotted in at first base. This is not acceptable. Trade them both, even if its to get prospects or fillers to stockpile for a potential injury replacement in the rotation or another arm for the bullpen.

james loney

In their place, Sandy needs to pursue and sign James Loney. The free agent first baseman had a signature year as the full time first baseman for Tampa Bay the past season. With 598 at-bats he hit .299 with a .348 on-base-percentage and a .430 slugging percentage. Loney scored 54 runs, totaled 85 RBI’s, nailed 33 2Bs and hit 13 balls out of the yard. These are decent statistics and amazingly close to his 8 year average 162 game hypotheticals (.285 BA, 62 R, 31 2B, 13 HR’s, 80 RBI’s, .285 OBP, .421 SLG). And Loney is only 29 years old.

Loney is an above average defensive first baseman, a guy Joe Torre calls a defensive plus. His strikeout rate is fairly low, in fact he had fewer strikeouts than any Met players this season other than Eric Young Jr. and Omar Quintanilla, and they both batted 200 fewer times than Loney.

Additionally, only Daniel Murphy had more RBI’s this season than Loney. His RBI total this season was only topped by David Wright and Ike Davis in 2012. David Wright was the only Met to total a higher on-base-percentage than Loney this summer, and only Wright and Marlon Byrd had a higher slugging percentage.

My gut tells me Loney has matured and is ready to realize a performance uptick even better than his numbers this year. He was more selective at the plate this summer, swinging at fewer pitches off the plate. He has good line drive potential with the ability to occasionally pull a long ball over the fences.

If the price is right and the coffers still have available funds, I would consider trying to bring back Marlon Byrd. He would be a great right handed bat, provide clubhouse leadership and be a safety mechanism if Rajai Davis proved he could not handle righthanded pitching. The Mets might consider chasing Tampa Bay relief pitcher Jesse Crain. I think he might be a solid bullpen addition and guess what, he’s only 32 years old. Now that’s a novel idea for a Met reliever.

And, one last point to make. The Sandy Alderson Met make over I propose would be wildly popular with the fans. Baseball fans like the physical power, grace and athleticism that comes with speed. Speed equates to hustle, and hustle to attitude and earned swagger, something our most recent additions of Mets have been sorely lacking. And, a fast aggressive team plays into the strengths of an old school manager like Terry Collins.

When you look at a proposed speed enhanced line-up, I think you might agree Met fans could rally around this gang.

  1. Eric Young, 2B – 50-60 SB, 5 HR
  2. Juan Lagares, CF – 12-15 SB, 8-12 HR
  3. David Wright, 3B – 15-20 SB, 20-25 HR
  4. Curtis Granderson, RF – 15-20 SB, 35-45 HR
  5. James Loney, 1B – 5 SB, 10-15 HR
  6. Rajai Davis, LF - 50-60 SB, 5-10 HR
  7. Travis d’Arnaud, C – 5 SB, 8-12 HR
  8. Ruben Tejada, SS – 8-12 SB, 2-5 HR

Note: You could keep Daniel Murphy to play first rather than Loney and use the saved free agent money to get a starting pitching fill-in, but I’m feeling a bold make-over might be in order.

Finally, the new additions in a new, brave, bold, Sandy Alderson baseball world are high character guys, players the fans would love to cheer for. In no time at all Eric Young has become a fan favorite. His passion for being a Met and his ability to win games with his feet resonate with Met fans. Young chats with fans on Twitter and signs
autographs freely.

Joe Torre calls James Loney a good personality for any clubhouse. “You’re going to love having him around,” notes the managing legend speaking to any perspective takers. Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos calls Rajai Davis a good teammate, a guy who is easy to like. And, everyone knows Curtis Granderson has a big personality, a humble guy popular with the fans, teammates, and the media. Granderson is one of the most amiable players in the game, and a guy Met fans would love to see wearing orange and blue.

Go make your mark on the baseball world, Sandy. The blueprint is here for you to follow. Be the game changer we know you can be. Let the howling begin.

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