Mets Merized Online » time http://metsmerizedonline.com Tue, 21 Feb 2017 01:19:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.18 Update: Wright Made Roughly 30 Throws Today, Felt Good Afterward http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/wright-threw-a-baseball-for-first-time-since-last-june.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/wright-threw-a-baseball-for-first-time-since-last-june.html/#comments Sun, 19 Feb 2017 18:54:56 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=231425 david wright

According to manager Terry Collins, third baseman David Wright made about 30 throws at about 60-70 feet and took took 25 grounders today as eases his way back into playing condition. Wright also got into the cage and took batting practice, Collins said, but “still has a long way to go.”

Wright met up with reporters and told them that the plan going forward is to throw every other day and to increase the distance a little each time. ”It was fun, but there’s still a ways to go before I start to feel comfortable,” he explained. “Hopefully it will get better and better each day.”

Wright remains hopeful that he’ll be ready for Opening Day but was still non-committal. It was nice to see him go out and take outdoor batting practice with Yoenis Cespedes and Jay Bruce. And then he stuck around for a long time to sign autographs for fans with Matt Harvey and others.

Original Report – 10:20 AM

New York Mets third baseman David Wright threw a baseball on Sunday, indoors at Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie. It was the first time he threw a ball since last June before he had season-ending neck surgery.

When I probed to find out a little more regarding how Wright’s throwing went, I was told no cameras or reporters were allowed.

Wright, 34, did not participate in fielding practice with his teammates later in the morning on Sunday a few beat writers reported. Hopefully, we’ll get an update from Wright himself later today or tomorrow.

Last week, Wright admitted that he has tempered expectations for himself but still believes he can help the team which he believes is good enough to win a World Series.

“You’re talking about a back issue that affects the way I have to prepare before a game everyday. Hopefully the neck issue is resolved. There’s not really much that I have to maintain for that. The main focus now is getting my back ready for a long season.”

“This is a fun time to be a Met and I want to be part of this winning season that I think we are going to have. I think I really have some good baseball left in me.”

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Should Mets Plot New Course For Captain To Help Him Last The Season? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/should-mets-plot-new-course-for-captain-to-help-him-last-the-season.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/should-mets-plot-new-course-for-captain-to-help-him-last-the-season.html/#comments Wed, 15 Feb 2017 21:00:19 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=230763 david wright

Nine at-bats. Over David Wright‘s 13-year career with the Mets, he has only pinch hit nine times. Not shocking for a player that was once a perennial All-Star, but this shows that despite his injury history David Wright either starts or sits.

It is no secret that Terry Collins has a tough task ahead in trying to find playing time for all of his infielders. David Wright, if healthy, will be the starting third baseman because of his track record and more importantly his salary. Still, based on production alone it would be a hard to decide who would be the best fit to start at third base, David Wright, Jose Reyes, or even Wilmer Flores.

Wright had a rough go of it last year. Injuries kept him off of the field for all but 37 games. With 55 strikeouts in 164 plate appearances, Wright hardly resembled his old self. One could argue that his best attribute for the team is his leadership. It is crucial to the Mets’ success that their captain is with them for the entirety of the season. While it seems like a longshot that he can maintain his health, the best way to keep him on the field and off of the disabled list is well apportioned rest.

Before Wright got hurt last year the Mets were 28-19. In those 47 games, Wright started 36 times and pinch hit once. At that rate over 162 games, Wright would have started about 125 games last year. Coming into 2017, playing Wright that much is too ambitious of a strategy for someone with spinal stenosis and is also coming off neck surgery.

The Mets should strongly consider primarily bringing Wright off of the bench to pinch hit in clutch situations, specifically against lefties. Keeping Wright off of the field defensively will be the best way to preserve his career. Ideally he would become a designated hitter, but since this is not possible pinch hitting is the next best thing. There will be an adjustment period to learning how to get his body ready to come off the bench, but it has to be better for his back than all of the time spent at third base where sudden movements can cause injury.

With Jose Reyes being the team’s best lead-off hitter, the drop off in production would not be great if there is even a drop off at all. Wright should still start against all left-handed pitchers, and if available he can start all 10 games as a DH during interleague play. Last year the Mets faced a left-handed starter 37 times. With a few other starts throughout the year this could give him around 50 starts. If he can stay healthy and is frequently used as a pinch hitter, Wright would be looking at around 250 to 300 plate appearances. This is a realistic number that would keep him fresh and available throughout the year and into October.

The reality is depth at third base is no longer a problem for this team. Between Jose Reyes, Wilmer Flores, and even T.J. Rivera lurking in the minor leagues, the Mets have a plethora of suitable options that could play third base every day. David Wright will probably be remembered as the greatest position player in franchise history. Because of that he deserves the right to play everyday and he is most likely going to get that opportunity. Still, the most important thing is to keep the captain in the clubhouse, and playing off the bench would be a great way to do that.

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Syndergaard Adds 17 Pounds of Muscle Before Camp http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/syndergaard-adds-17-pounds-of-muscle-before-camp.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/syndergaard-adds-17-pounds-of-muscle-before-camp.html/#comments Thu, 09 Feb 2017 21:12:19 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=230840 noah syndergaard 2

One of the most common baseball cliches this time of year is the old “best shape of his life” descriptor. Sometimes it’s true and sometimes it’s all hype to feed an otherwise empty news cycle.

In a detailed profile of Noah Syndergaard written by Ben Reiter of Sports Illustrated, it is revealed that the old cliche might just be true for the young right-hander. According to Reiter, Syndergaard has put on 17 pounds of muscle this offseason, and trimmed his body fat percentage from 15.1 to 13.5. He is now 253 pounds.

If anyone thought Syndergaard’s ability to throw harder than any starter in the game was only a temporary phase, think again. According to Fangraphs’ Pitch f/x data, Syndergaard’s fastball averaged 97.9 miler per hour last year, almost one and a half miles per hour more than the next-fastest starter. Syndergaard’s slider and changeup were both faster than all other starters in the game.

Syndergaard, 24, posted a 2.60 ERA over 183.2 big league innings in 2016 striking out 218 opposing hitters.

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Niese Schedules A Workout, Could He Interest Mets On Minor League Deal? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/niese-schedules-a-workout-could-he-interest-mets-on-minor-league-deal.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/niese-schedules-a-workout-could-he-interest-mets-on-minor-league-deal.html/#comments Tue, 07 Feb 2017 17:28:59 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=230697 jon niese

According to Ken Davidoff of the New York Post, free agent left-handed pitcher Jon Niese will be working out on Wednesday in Florida for teams who may be interested in signing him.  At this time, it is unknown which teams will be attending the workout, however he was at Tradition Field on Monday training with his former teammates in Port St. Lucie.

Niese is coming off his worst season as a professional.  In 20 starts and nine relief appearances, he was 8-7 with a 5.50 ERA and 1.587 WHIP.  Despite his struggles, the Mets re-acquired him during the season not only due to a rash of injuries to the starting pitching, but also as an opportunity to move on from Antonio Bastardo.

In what will likely prove to be his last appearance for the Mets, Niese lasted just one-third of an inning after leaving the game with a knee injury and was replaced by rookie right-hander Robert Gsellman who ended up tossing a gem. Shortly thereafter, Niese had season-ending knee surgery.

There have been no indications as to whether the Mets will be attending the workout.  Presumably, the Mets would be uninterested in re-signing Niese after having signed Fernando Salas, Jerry Blevins, and Tom Gorzelanny last week. But if Niese were willing to sign a minor league deal, he could provide the Mets with some depth as a reliever, especially given that he’s a lefty.

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Intentional Walks, Strike Zone Changes Proposed By MLB To MLBPA http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/intentional-walks-strike-zone-changes-proposed-by-mlb-to-mlbpa.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/intentional-walks-strike-zone-changes-proposed-by-mlb-to-mlbpa.html/#comments Mon, 06 Feb 2017 19:36:28 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=230709 manfred-rob

Jayson Stark of ESPN reports that according to sources, Major League Baseball has made formal proposals to the MLB Players’ Union to raise the strike zone, as well as eliminating the requirement for pitchers to throw four pitches when issuing an intentional walk.

The first proposal would raise the bottom of the strike zone to the top of the batters’ knees, as opposed to “the hollow beneath the kneecap” as it’s been described since 1996. This move is no doubt an effort to increase offense in the game as umpires have seemingly been calling lower-than-normal strikes.

This rule would have a dramatic effect on gameplay, as it is engineered to create more balls in play and more baserunners. However, some believe that an umpire could have a similar strike zone that they do now, so many of those baserunners will get to first via walks because they’d take the same pitches at the knees as they did before.

The second proposal is an effort to decrease the time of game. When a pitcher wants to issue an intentional walk, they would no longer be required to throw four pitches before the batter is granted first base.

Stark writes, “Getting rid of the old-fashioned intentional walk would eliminate about a minute of dead time per walk. In an age in which intentional walks actually have been declining — there were just 932 all last season (or one every 5.2 games) — that time savings would be minimal. But MLB sees the practice of lobbing four meaningless pitches as antiquated, so eliminating them would serve as much as a statement as it would a practical attempt to speed up the game.”

These changes can not be implemented until they are voted upon by the MLB Players’ Union. While sources tell Stark the intentional walk rule is likely to be voted into practice for the 2017 season, the strike zone amendment is less likely as it helps batters but hurts pitchers.

Thoughts From The Author:

Leave the game alone. If a batter can’t hit a ball at his knees, he needs to change his hitting mechanics. The pitcher made a perfect pitch, he should be rewarded with a strike, not ball four. Second, as Stark said, eliminating the four pitches needed for an intentional walk would have a minimal effect on the length of games. Furthermore, it’s called an intentional walk for a reason. You are walking him, and the definition of a walk is four balls — Not a signal from the bench. The pitcher should have to make the pitches and literally walk him intentionally. If he throws it over the plate by accident, the batter can hit it (just ask Miguel Cabrera), and the possibilities of a wild pitch or stolen base loom as well. Leave the game alone.

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How Exactly Will Collins Work In Reyes? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/how-exactly-will-collins-work-in-reyes.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/how-exactly-will-collins-work-in-reyes.html/#comments Sun, 05 Feb 2017 17:57:02 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=230659 jose-reyes

Among Mets manager Terry Collins‘ more interesting decisions this season will be where he’ll play Jose Reyes. Shortstop? Third base? Second base? The outfield?

It has been a long time since Reyes played second – remember the Kaz Matsui fiasco? – and the outfield would be forcing the issue considering the Mets have a glut of outfielders already.

Satisfied with Asdrubal Cabrera at shortstop, the Mets brought back Reyes to play third when David Wright injured his back, and truth be told, despite some public relations heat the move paid off for the team. Well, Wright is healthy now – knock on wood and fingers crossed – so where does that leave Reyes?

Because the Mets don’t have a bonafide leadoff hitter outside of Reyes, it’s important Collins devises a rotation with his infielders to keep him fresh and sharp at the plate. But, how many games is enough?

We can assume Collins will rest Wright at least twice a week, and if he subs him for Neil Walker and Cabrera at least once, that’s four games, which should be enough. However, that’s not written in stone and leads to the question of much time will Wilmer Flores get.

It won’t be easy for Collins, but a rotation has to be made to juggle the priorities of giving Wright, Walker and Cabrera regular rest and keep Reyes sharp at the top of the order.

Because the Mets have older and fragile players in their infield – of which Reyes is one – Collins should have enough opportunities to juggle this properly.

Thoughts from Joe D.

Not so fast John. First of all, I do love the energy and the skill set Jose Reyes brings to the team even though it’s no longer what it used to be. He still has the speed and ability to wreak havoc on the basepaths, however let’s not kid ourselves, his days as a productive everyday player are unmistakably at an end.

To be honest, Reyes has no business batting against right-handed pitching anymore at this stage of his career. Last season, he hit just .239/.293/.372 in 205 at-bats with 42 strikeouts.

However, much like Wilmer Flores, the switch-hitting Reyes did most of his damage against southpaws last season, touting a .380/.456/.780 batting line albeit in just 57 plate appearances.

Unlike you John, I’m really intrigued by all this talk about Reyes getting some reps in the outfield this spring because I think it could really pay some nice dividends for the Mets if it works out.

With the well documented futility of Curtis Granderson versus left-handed pitching, pairing him in a platoon with Jose Reyes would give the Mets a potent combination at the top of the order if each player were to produce at their current career trends.

With Granderson’s .847 OPS vs RHP and Reyes’ 1.196 OPS vs LHP I can’t imagine that there would be more than 4-5 more productive tandems in the game. So yes, by all means, full speed ahead with this outfield experiment and let’s see if we can make this work.

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MMO Exclusive: Craig Breslow Says Mets Have Reached Out And They Appeal To Him http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/mmo-exclusive-craig-breslow-says-mets-have-reached-out-and-they-appeal-to-him.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/mmo-exclusive-craig-breslow-says-mets-have-reached-out-and-they-appeal-to-him.html/#comments Thu, 02 Feb 2017 21:00:53 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=230465 craig breslow

Free agent left-handed reliever Craig Breslow held a showcase last month to give teams a look at his new arm angle which has been getting a lot of buzz. The New York Mets had two officials at the showcase as they continue to look for a lefty to add to their bullpen.

From 2014 to 2016, Breslow went 2-10 with a 4.93 ERA (5.16 FIP), striking out 90 batters in 133.1 innings. It was after he pitched only 14 innings for the Marlins last year he knew a change had to be made.

With the help of a “Raspodo Device,” the lefty has worked at improving his craft since last season. The device, which he downloaded on his iPad, tracks velocity, total spin, spin efficiency, and tilt axis. The most important change in his mechanics has been the dropping of his arm angle, producing movement on his pitches described as “sick” by one scout.

Since 2005, Breslow has gone 22-29 with a 3.35 ERA (4.06 FIP). In 535.1 innings he has struck out 419 batters and walked 212. However, if he has reinvented himself, his past statistics might not speak much to his future success. He could end up being a very valuable reliever for a team willing to take a chance on him, possibly filling the role of a lefty specialist.

(MMO) Logan: Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me today. First of all, after being an good left-handed reliever for most of your career, 2014, ’15, and ’16 did not go as planned. Most chalked it up to age, but after last season, instead of retiring, you went back to the drawing board. Was that a hard decision to make, to retire or not?

Breslow: No, it was actually simple and straightforward. I still had the desire and passion to play as well as the drive to get better. I felt like I still had something left in the tank, I just recognized that what I had been doing, what I was used to doing to be successful wasn’t working anymore.

So rather than spend a ton of time pinpointing opportunities to tinker or hone very specific elements of my delivery, I kind of wiped the slate clean and relied on some feedback from members of some front offices, teammates, opposing hitters, about what I could do to be more successful – to add more deception to my delivery, to add more movement.

I ultimately came up with the idea of altering my delivery to throw with a much lower arm slot and then kind of using a scientific or analytical approach to measuring the differences or improvements.

Logan: You’ve historically been a fastball/slider/changeup pitcher. How have your mechanical tweaks affected each of those pitches? Have you tried throwing any new ones?

Breslow: I would say lowering my arm slot has allowed me to throw what I would consider to be a true sinker. I’ve utilized this device called a Rapsodo machine which captures spin rate, vertical and horizontal movement, gives me 3D flight paths of the ball out of my hand so i can see quantifiably just how much the ball is moving and I’ve been able to add a significant amount of sink and tail to my 2-seam fastball and so i think that’s probably going to be the predominant pitch that I use.

Logan: Is movement the only aspect of your game you’ve been working on, or have you also focused on other aspects such as velocity, command, etc?

Breslow: Sure, velocity is something that will or has come along with overall improving my conditioning, my strength. I’ve done some weighted ball work, I’ve done extensive shoulder cuff work, and then I also think lowering my arm slot has created a more efficient delivery. i think using my body better, using my forces better, I’ve seen an increase in velocity.

Logan: You’ve always had about the same success against lefties (.250 batting average against) and righties (.244 BAA). With the current state of relief pitching putting such a high value on lefty specialists, have you made any adjustments specifically with that in mind?

Breslow: I kind of undertook this with the idea that I needed to be more effective against left-handed hitters. As a left-handed reliever, my bread and butter needed to be dominating left-handed hitters and so lowering the arm slot gives me a different look, gives me more deception and movement. Particularly facing lefties it allows me to throw more of a sweeping breaking ball, more of a true left-on-left kind of swing-and-miss breaking ball from that lower slot so I think that will be a much more effective pitch for me when facing lefties.

Logan: As a free agent there are many factors in choosing your new team; How good they are, how strong the leadership is, the location, etc. Which factors are you most considering during this process?

Breslow: I think all of those are legitimate factors. I think certainly having been on some very good teams, some World Series Champion teams and some teams that have struggled to win, winning is much more enjoyable at this point in my career so I definitely place a priority on that.

At the same time I recognize I’ve got some unique experiences and some veteran leadership qualities under my belt, I would certainly be looking for an organization that would allow me to kind of be my own person, be able to share with some younger guys some of my experiences, some of the things that I’ve learned the same way that guys have done for me.

Obviously location, finance, all of things are factors but i think with different organizations, different variables become priority.

Logan: My readers would probably waterboard me if I didn’t ask you this, have the Mets reached out to you?

Breslow: We’ve had conversations with the Mets, yeah. And obviously I recognize where they are in terms of competing it seems as though they have this sort of sweet spot to compete for a World Series Championship and that has obvious appeal.

Logan: Good to hear! Well one last question that’s not quite baseball related but is still very important. You founded the Strike 3 Foundation. Can you tell me about what it does and why you started it?

Breslow: Sure, so briefly we raise money and awareness for pediatric cancer research and treatment. My sister is a cancer survivor, she was 13 I was 11 at the time of her diagnosis and the impact that that had on my life was pretty significant.

I always thought I’d be a physician that I would kind of leave my mark on the medical community as a doctor but as I was able to establish my baseball career, I didn’t want to completely abandon this other thing that I had always felt passionately about and so the work that we do at Strike 3 allows me to stay connected to the medical world and medical community.

I feel like we’ve been able to fund some very meaningful research, I’ve gotten tremendous support from the baseball community. I think we’ve reached the point where we’re a sustainable organization, no longer strictly an event-drive fundraising-type organization, but one that can kind of sustain the long view and it’s something that I’m very proud of.

Logan: That’s wonderful. Well thank you so much for your time, I appreciate it. Keep up the good work!

Breslow: My pleasure.

If you would like to learn more about the Strike 3 Foundation and/or make a donation, click HERE

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Collins Says Mets Will Do Some Amazing Things In 2017 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/collins-says-mets-will-do-some-amazing-things-in-2017.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/collins-says-mets-will-do-some-amazing-things-in-2017.html/#comments Wed, 01 Feb 2017 12:30:53 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=230389 terry-collins

The Mets have never appeared in three straight postseasons, but according to Terry Collins, there is a first time for everything.

“We can do some amazing things,’’ Collins told Kevin Kernan of the NY Post. “Last year we showed so much character. Two years ago everything went our way. Last year we had to make it go our way. We’ve got some big pieces. You’ve got to say we’re a playoff team again. I want us to grasp those expectations that are in front of us, and run with them.’’

“I think this could be our most exciting year,’’ Collins said. “I just hope we don’t lose guys for three months. I told Dan [Warthen] the other day, wouldn’t it be exciting to see the guys go out and make 30 starts? We have the potential to have a Cy Young winner on this staff.’’ He continued, “Matt looks in great shape. His ability is still off the charts. He just lost his feel for both sides of the plate last year.’’

He compared the Mets to the World Series Champion Chicago Cubs (still getting used to typing that) saying, “The Cubs showed the value of athleticism. With Jose backing up that infield, you can give anybody a day off and not miss a beat, that’s important.’’

When most people around the league, even Mets fans, say the Mets can be contenders, they always add ‘if they can stay healthy’ at the end of their sentence. Collins knows this, saying, “The injury stuff was a huge subject but I am going to try to take that away early. Everybody’s healthy, let’s talk about being healthy. We are going to move on. Let’s figure out how to stay healthy.’’

The Mets haven’t added any new players, but will hopefully be getting more production out of players like Lucas Duda, David WrightNeil Walker, Matt Harvey, and others that missed a lot of time last year due to injury. They might also get increased production out of Michael Conforto, Travis d’Arnaud, and Jay Bruce, as well as benefit from a full season from Jose Reyes.

Terry Collins expects amazing things out of this team, and I do too. I am more excited about this team than any of the previous seasons, and let me tell you, that says a lot considering I am one of the most optimistic Mets fans you’ll meet. In my opinion, the Mets are one strong reliever away from being a team with no huge holes. If they sign Sergio Romo or Jerry Blevins, look out.

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Ignore The Noise, The Mets Are Going To Be Just Fine http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/ignore-the-noise-the-mets-are-going-to-be-just-fine.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/ignore-the-noise-the-mets-are-going-to-be-just-fine.html/#comments Sun, 29 Jan 2017 14:29:52 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=230233 gil hodges

Good Morning to all of you. As I sit here enjoying a fresh brewed cup of coffee I can’t believe that in 14 days and most likely less than that, pitchers and catchers will start reporting to Mets camp at Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie and a new season will suddenly be upon us.

It’s pretty exciting to say the least, but there’s still a lingering sense of some unfinished business that we need to take care of before we can head into a new season.

Some of the mainstream outlets have graded the Mets offseason at a C or D even though they they handed out the largest contract of the offseason to outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. And just this morning, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post tabbed the Mets as Losers this offseason:

“You reluctantly could swallow the Jay Bruce resolution, though Michael Conforto’s ceiling stands higher than Bruce’s, if that didn’t also handcuff the Mets’ payroll flexibility to strengthen their bullpen. And don’t forget their 2016 leader in innings pitched, Bartolo Colon, left for Atlanta, and the team is counting on its young (and talented, yes) arms to stay healthy and make up the difference.”

If you think Davidoff is off his rocker, Ben Berkon of Forbes definitely takes the cake with his insanely aggressive ignorance, saying:

“If anything, the Mets’ sudden faith in Bruce as a starter only upholds the organization’s questionable commitment to winning.”

Wow… I really don’t know where to begin…

i-believe-mets-clinch-fans

Look, I totally get the fact that Sandy Alderson may have misread the market for power hitting outfielders. But what general manager, agent or player didn’t misread this market? It was a freak thing that nobody saw coming. But let’s not get all butt hurt just because we’re stuck with a 30+ homer, 100+ RBI bat in the middle of our lineup.

I love Michael Conforto more than just about anyone on this planet and I do realize how keeping Bruce will impact his playing time. So what. That’s life. The fact of the matter is that if Conforto didn’t go all Jekyll and Hyde on us the Mets never would have traded for Bruce in the first place. He’s young and starting the season off in Las Vegas isn’t going to hurt him. Let’s see what happens.

In the meantime, the best thing that could happen is that Bruce busts out with a huge April and May and together with Cespedes propels the Mets to the top of the NL East.

Now as for this prevailing narrative that the Bruce situation has the Mets in a financial stranglehold, none of all this doom and gloom is measuring up to what I’m hearing.

On Thursday, I had a very good source tell me that the Mets were not out on Jerry Blevins and that the two sides were still very much engaged. Then on Friday, I heard that the Mets were one of the most aggressive suitors for Craig Breslow and that they also reached out to Joe Blanton.

Forgive me, but if the Mets were at their financial limit and at a spending freeze why would they be so active in the free agent market for these relievers?

Don’t believe everything Sandy Alderson says about staying internally to fill out the bullpen, this is how he always operates, it’s just GM-speak. The Mets are definitely working the market and trying to find the right fits for the pen. They are one of the most active teams in the relief market right now.

Don’t believe what guys like Ken Davidoff have to say about the state of the Mets. And let me just say that Ben Berkon is an idiot, plain and simple. I can’t believe he said what he did.

The Mets are going to be fine. By the time pitchers and catchers report I’m certain they’ll have at least one if not two solid additions to their bullpen. And however the Jay Bruce situation shakes out, either way it will not impact our ability to win 90+ games in 2017…  And with a little bit of luck we will go on to win the World Series… It’s going to be a fun and exciting season! LGM

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Boras Believes Conforto Should Start Season In Majors http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/230209.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/230209.html/#comments Sat, 28 Jan 2017 20:02:38 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=230209 michael conforto

The Mets have a glut of outfielders and that doesn’t appear to be changing any time soon with the news from earlier this week that the team intends to start the season with Jay Bruce as their starting right fielder.

Scott Boras, Michael Conforto‘s agent, disagrees with the notion that his client could potentially start the season at Triple-A Las Vegas.

“Michael has shown he has the talent level and is ready to establish himself in the major leagues,” Boras told the New York Post. “He’s conquered the minors, and now it’s time to let experience take its course.”

Conforto, 24 in March, broke into the majors with the Mets in July, 2015, shortly before the acquisitions of Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe from Atlanta, and stud outfielder Yoenis Cespedes from Detroit, in what was the major turning point of the season that saw New York appear in their first World Series since 2000.

In 56 games that year, Conforto hit to a .270/.335/.506 clip with nine homers and 26 RBI’s as well as clubbing two long balls in the World Series.

After picking up where he left off in 2016, Conforto hit the skids in early May and was eventually demoted to the minor leagues. He would earn a call-up later in the season, but still finished the year with a .220/.310/.414 batting line in 109 games.

2017 will be a telling year for Conforto, but with the outfield jam packed and Conforto still holding minor league options, he might be the odd man out to begin the campaign.

“I think we all know Michael is going to be a quality major league player,” Boras said. “When you’re productive, they’ll find a place for you. Nothing is set in January or February. The economics of the game place barriers often times that have to be exhausted. He’s a very good player and will be a principal part of the organization for some period of time.”

It remains to be seen what will happen between now and Opening Day. The likely starting point seems to be Triple-A Las Vegas, but I don’t think anyone doubts Conforto will be a quality player. Still, this is an awkward situation that can still be remedied if the Mets find a way to deal Bruce before the start of the season.

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The Most Untouchable Pitches in Baseball http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/the-most-untouchable-pitches-in-baseball.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/the-most-untouchable-pitches-in-baseball.html/#comments Thu, 26 Jan 2017 12:00:15 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=230145 jeurys familia

Mike Petriello, an analyst for MLB, has ranked what pitchers in baseball have the most dominant individual pitches in baseball. This was done with a simple barometer, that being what percent of the time that pitch was thrown and resulted in a swing and a miss. It did not take called strikes into account, nor did it take exit velocity on struck balls. Just one factor was used in its analysis: the old swing and miss.

Not surprisingly, many of the leaders were relief pitchers. Not having to throw a full nine innings (ha, I meant six, it is 2017) they are able to throw all out to every hitter. Some of the names that appeared at the top of each category were shockers.

Who would have thought Felipe Rivero, a left handed reliever on the Pirates, had at 58.3% percent the highest rate of missed bats on change ups thrown in 2016? Or that Nick Vincent, right handed reliever on the Mariners who struck out 65 in 60 innings, would have a higher percentage of swings and misses on four seam fastballs (37.2%) than Aroldis Chapman (33.3%)?

A few of the leaders were not surprising. Zach Britton, who was pretty much unhittable this year, was far better than his nearest competitor in swings and misses on sinkers (his ball ducked away from opponent’s bats 36.8% of the time, with Michael Lorenzen of the Reds next at 29.9%). Batters swung and missed 62.2% of the time at Ken Giles sliders, and while he struggled early in the year after May 1st he struck out 88 in 55 innings mostly on the strength of this one pitch.

Only one pitcher in baseball made two different lists, meaning he had two of the most untouchable pitches in all baseball, and that was our very own Jeurys Familia. It’s easy to see why he had 51 saves and threw to a 2.55 ERA when you look at the arsenal of pitches he had at his disposal. If he was throwing a four seam fastball and the batter swung 34% of the time the bat didn’t hit the ball. That was good for fourth in baseball, better than the aforementioned Chapman.

Familia was third in baseball in swings and misses when throwing his sinker. He was able to avoid contact with 26.1% of swings when he unleashed his sinker. Only two pitchers in baseball were better (Britton and Lorenzen). Familia’s dominance was clearly not a fluke. He has two of the best years ever for a Mets relief pitcher back to back. While it was a little disappointing to not see Thor on the list, Familia’s name appearing twice definitely bodes well for a continuation of his success in 2017 (at least, once his suspension is complete).

Pitchers and catchers are still weeks away, but hopefully with a full cast of stud pitchers the Mets will add some more names to the list next season.

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Best and Worst Trades By Every Mets GM http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/best-and-worst-trades-by-every-mets-gm.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/best-and-worst-trades-by-every-mets-gm.html/#comments Tue, 24 Jan 2017 16:00:45 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=229708 sandy alderson

The Mets are a team with a penchant for bad trades. Anyone who’s been a Mets fan for more than a couple of years would probably finish that sentence with a handful of notorious trade fans consider to be the worst. You know which ones I’m talking about.

But while the players involved in these trades are usually memorable, the guys who pulled the trigger on them are often forgotten. You typically don’t name-drop Bob Sheffing when you think of the Nolan Ryan trade. Or Joe McIlvaine in the Carlos Baerga trade. And even in the off cases where the Mets make a good trade, nobody goes out of their way to praise Steve Phillips for acquiring Mike Piazza.

But the Mets have had their share of ups and downs over the years, and virtually every one of the 12 GMs in team history have been there to experience a little bit of both. So with this being said, here are the best and worst trades by every GM in Mets history.

* Disclaimer: Some of these deals may have been spurred on by ownership or executives above the general manager’s pay grade. (Ex: Mike Piazza, Tom Seaver)

Sandy Alderson (2010-)

Best trade: Alderson’s best trade has to be shopping R.A. Dickey and Josh Thole to the Blue Jays for Noah Syndergaard, Travis d’Arnaud and two other minor leaguers in 2012. It’s not too often that you’re able to flip a knuckleballer in his late-30s for a legitimate ace and a solid starting catcher. He initially took some heat for trading a fan favorite in Dickey, but he was definitely vindicated here.

Worst trade: A year before the Syndergaard trade, Alderson traded Angel Pagan to the Giants for Ramon Ramirez and Andres Torres. Torres and Ramirez both lasted just one season with the Mets while, Pagan became a key contributor to two Giants championship teams.

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Omar Minaya (2004-2010)

Best trade: Minaya acquired Carlos Delgado from the Marlins in 2005 in exchange for Mike Jacobs, Yusmeiro Petit and Grant Psomas. Neither of the three players he traded away became MLB stars, and Delgado had a 121 OPS+ with the Mets.

Worst trade: Most of Minaya’s bad moves were free agent signings, not trades. But his most costly trade came when he traded Heath Bell and Royce Ring to the Padres for Jon Adkins and Ben Johnson. Bell, who had a 4.92 ERA with the Mets from 2004-2006, made three consecutive All-Star games with the Padres from 2009-2011. Adkins pitched in one game for the Mets and Johnson played in just nine.

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Jim Duquette (2003-2004)

Best trade: There isn’t much to chose from here since Duquette was with the Mets for such a short period of time. And that short period of time wasn’t a particularly good one. But you’d have to consider his best, I guess, to be when he acquired Kris Benson (Anna’s husband) and Jeff Keppinger from the Pirates for Ty Wigginton, Jose Bautista (Yes, that Jose Bautista. He was a Met for about an hour) and Matt Peterson. Benson was serviceable with the Mets, and he was later traded for John Maine, so that’s what makes this trade so good(?) over the long-term.

Worst trade: Scott Kazmir. Need I say more?

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Steve Phillips (1997-2003)

Best trade: There’s no question about it: It’s the Mike Piazza trade. The Mets acquired Piazza in 1998 from the Marlins in exchange for Preston Wilson, Ed Yarnall and Geoff Goetz. That’s a pretty good return on investment.

Worst trade: Phillips traded starting pitcher Kevin Appier to the Angels in 2001 to acquire Mo Vaughn. While Vaughn wasn’t as bad as many Mets fans remember (108 OPS+ as a Met), his career was finished due to injuries by early 2003. Appier, on the other hand, went 14-12 with a 3.92 ERA in 2002, and was a key contributor to the Angels’ World Series championship team that season.

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Joe McIlvaine (1993-1997)

Best trade: McIlvaine acquired Bernard Gilkey in January of 1996 for Yudith Ozorio, Erik Hiljus and Eric Ludwick. Ozorio never played in the majors, and the other two played in the bigs only sparingly. Gilkey, on the other hand, had a short-lived spree of success for the Mets in the mid-90s. This included one of the best seasons in team history in 1996, when he batted .317/.393/.562 with 30 home runs and 117 RBIs.

Worst trade: In 1993, Carlos Baerga became the first second baseman since Rogers Hornsby to put together back-to-back seasons of 200 hits, 20 homers and 100 RBIs. He put up borderline Hall of Fame numbers from 1990-1995, batting .305/.345/.454 while averaging 16 home runs and 84 RBIs a year.

Then, in 1996, the Mets acquired Baerga for Jeff Kent and Jose Vizcaino. Baerga became one of the biggest busts in Mets history, lasting just two seasons. Kent became the best power-hitting second baseman of all-time (albeit not with the Indians) and Vizcaino was a solid big-league starter who put together some decent years with Houston. This trade definitely did McIlvaine in as general manager.

brett saberhagen

Al Harazin (1992-1993)

Best trade: Harazin’s best move in his short, forgettable time as GM was acquiring Bret Saberhagen and Bill Pecota for Kevin McReynolds, Gregg Jefferies and Keith Miller. Saberhagen often gets dumped in with fellow big-ticket acquisitions of the time Bobby Bonilla and Vince Coleman, but unlike these two Saberhagen was about as good as advertised. He went 29-21 with a 3.16 ERA in four years with the Mets.

Worst trade: Harazin didn’t make any egregious trades per se, since he was only in charge of the team for such a short period of time. But he was the Mets’ GM during “The Worst Team Money Could Buy” 1992 season, which saw the Mets go 72-90 despite having the highest payroll in baseball– then 59-103 the following year. His worst move overall would have to be signing Bobby Bonilla to a then-record $29 million contract.

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Frank Cashen (1980-1991)

Best trade: Two trades stand out when recalling the Mets GM’s building of the 1986 team. The first of which is the Keith Hernandez trade, when he acquired the former MVP from the Cardinals for Neil Allen and Rick Ownbey in 1983. The latter trade took place ahead of the 1985 season, when the Mets got Carter from the Expos for Hubie Brooks, Mike Fitzgerald, Herm Winningham and Floyd Youmans. There is little reason to believe the Mets could have won the 1986 World Series without these trades.

Worst trade: Cashen is often remembered as the greatest GM in Mets history, but the end of his tenure was far worse than the beginning. This was on full display during the 1989 season, when he traded for Juan Samuel of the Phillies. In doing so, he sent Lenny Dykstra and Roger McDowell, two key contributors to the 1986 team, to Philadelphia.

Samuel had averaged 20 homers and 50 steals a year from 1984-1987, but was coming off a down year in 1988 in which he batted just .243/.298/.380 and was performing at a similar level in 1989 when the Mets traded for him. Samuel played in just 86 games for the Mets, while Dykstra found new life (possibly from PED’s) in Philadelphia and McDowell pitched another six solid seasons in the majors.

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Joe McDonald (1975-1979)

Best trade: McDonald’s tenure didn’t have many highlights. But he was able to cross the paths of both Mets championship teams in a 1978 trade that sent Jerry Koosman to the Twins for minor leaguers Jesse Orosco and Greg Field. Orosco famously recorded the final out of the 1986 World Series, and appeared in more games than any pitcher in MLB history.

Worst trade: The Midnight Massacre. McDonald sent Tom Seaver to the Reds in 1977 for Doug Flynn, Steve Henderson, Dan Norman and Pat Zachry. The names really speak for themselves.

Bob Sheffing (1970-1974) 

Best trade: Sheffing helped energize the 1973 run by acquiring Rusty Staub from the Expos for  Tim Foli, Mike Jorgensen and Ken Singleton. Staub played four seasons in his first stint with the Mets, batting .276/.361/.428 with a 123 OPS+.

Worst trade: In 1971, Sheffing traded Nolan Ryan and three other players to the Angels for Jim Fregosi. Ryan accumulated 5,221 of his record-setting 5,714 strikeouts after leaving the Mets. Oh, and not to mention the seven no-hitters.

Johnny Murphy (1968-1970)

Best trade: Murphy’s time with the Mets was cut short when he died of a heart attack in 1970. But he made a huge impact on the 1969 World Series team, perhaps none more obvious than the midseason acquisition of Donn Clendenon from the Expos in 1969. Clendenon was the Mets’ starting first baseman after the trade, and was named World Series MVP after batting .357 in the Fall Classic.

Worst trade: After the 1969 season, Murphy traded Amos Otis and Bob Johnson to the Royals for Joe Foy. Otis made five All-Star teams with the Royals, with whom he played the next 14 seasons. Foy played in just 99 games for the Mets.

tommie agee

Bing Devine (1967)

Best trade: Devine helped engineer the trade that sent Tommie Agee and Al Weis to the Mets for Buddy Booker, Tommy Davis, Jack Fisher and Billy Wynne. The Mets couldn’t have won the Series in ’69 without that one.

Worst trade: The Mets traded Ken Boyer Sandy Alomar Sr. to the White Sox for Bill Southworth and J.C. Martin. Although Boyer was past his prime, Alomar played another decade in the majors and was an All-Star in 1970.

George Weiss (1962-1966) 

Best trade: Weiss, who was the Yankees’ GM from 1947-1960 (A pretty good era in Yankees history), joined Casey Stengel in joining the expansion Mets after they were forced out after losing the 1960 World Series. He didn’t have much success with the Mets, but made his mark when he bought in Jerry Grote from the Astros for Tom Parsons. Grote made two All-Star teams and would remain the Mets’ starting catcher until 1977.

Worst trade: The Mets honestly didn’t have much talent to trade away at this time. But the worst would have to be trading Felix Mantilla to the Red Sox for Pumpsie Green, Tracy Stallard and Al Moran. Mantilla went on to become an All-Star with the Sox in 1965.

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Yordano Ventura, Andy Marte Killed In Separate Car Crashes http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/yordano-ventura-andy-marte-killed-in-separate-car-accidents.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/yordano-ventura-andy-marte-killed-in-separate-car-accidents.html/#comments Sun, 22 Jan 2017 17:24:11 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=229890 yordano ventura

According to several different sources, including Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports on Twitter, Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a car crash early Sunday morning in the town of Juan Adrian in the Dominican Republic.

Ventura, 25, was a hard-throwing righty with loads of potential.

In a statement issued by the Royals in regards to the death of Ventura, Senior VP of Baseball Operations and General Manager Dayton Moore had the following to say:

“Our prayers right now are with Yordano’s family as we mourn this young man’s passing. He was so young and so talented, full of youthful exuberance and always brought a smile to everyone he interacted with. We will get through this as an organization, but right now is a time to mourn and celebrate the life of Yordano.”

After signing with the Royals in 2008 as an international free agent, Ventura peaked as the Baseball America’s 26th ranked prospect in baseball in 2013.

2014 saw Ventura pitch in the first and statistically best season of his career.

The young righty started 30 games for the Royals, pitching to a 14-10 record, with a 3.20 ERA, finishing sixth in American League Rookie of the Year voting.

Eerily, Ventura’s stand-out moment came in the 2014 World Series. After learning of fellow Dominican Republic born Oscar Taveras’ death, also in a car crash, Ventura fired seven shutout innings against the San Francisco Giants to force a game seven.

Though the Royals went on to lose, Ventura was able to capture a World Series ring the next year in 2015 against the Mets, despite losing the one game he started.

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In a separate car accident in the Dominican Republic on Sunday, former big league infielder Andy Marte was killed.

Marte’s agency, J.M.G. baseball had the following to say on Twitter:

“Words can’t express the emotions from the loss of our client Andy Marte. Gone too soon. A great person on and off the field.”

Marte, 33, broke into baseball with the Atlanta Braves in 2005, before playing for the Cleveland Indians from 2006-2010.

In 2014, Marte returned to the bigs, appearing in six games for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

This is the second and third time in five months that the baseball world have lost precious, young lives after Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident in September.

Our hearts here at MMO go out to the families of both Yordano Ventura and Andy Marte during this very tragic and hard time.

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Athletics Sign Alejandro De Aza To Minor League Deal http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/athletics-sign-alejandro-de-aza-to-minor-league-deal.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/athletics-sign-alejandro-de-aza-to-minor-league-deal.html/#comments Fri, 20 Jan 2017 18:43:37 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=229791 alejandro de aza

The Oakland Athletics have signed free agent OF Alejandro De Aza to a minor league deal with an invitation to Major League Spring Training, the team announced on Friday.

De Aza, 33 in April, spent 2016 with the Mets appearing in 130 games, and hitting a meager .205/.297/.321 in a semi-reserve role.

Before the Mets were able to sign Yoenis Cespedes, the plan was to have De Aza and Juan Lagares split time in center field, but after New York inked the stud outfielder, De Aza was mitigated to a lesser role.

The nine-year veteran has bounced around in his career, also spending time with the Marlins, White Sox, Orioles, Giants and Red Sox.

However, his best years came in Chicago, and more specifically in 2013 when the outfielder appeared in 153 games, clubbing 17 homers, driving in 62 runs and hitting at a .264/.323/.405 clip.

With the Mets resigning Cespedes and not yet having traded Jay Bruce, the outfield is beyond crowded, so De Aza’s fate with New York was sealed long ago.

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Raines, Bagwell, Pudge Are Your 2017 Hall of Famers http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/bagwell-raines-pudge-are-your-2017-hall-of-fame-class.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/bagwell-raines-pudge-are-your-2017-hall-of-fame-class.html/#comments Wed, 18 Jan 2017 23:03:56 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=229647 Griffey and Piazza_1994 SI Cover Reshoot

2016 saw one of the all-time Met greats in Mike Piazza get into the baseball Hall of Fame in his fourth year on the ballot, receiving 83 percent of the vote.

In addition to Piazza, Ken Griffey, Jr. received 99.3 percent of the vote, almost unanimously, and got in on his first year on the ballot.

Coming up just short last year, Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines as well as Ivan Rodriguez who was appearing in his first ballot, have been voted in to this year’s Hall of Fame class, all polling in over the 75 percent threshold.

Vladimir Guerrero fell just below the 75 percent mark in his first year on the ballot, and Trevor Hoffman just missed for the second year in a row.

Hall of Fame Class of 2017

jeff-bagwell

Jeff Bagwell

Bagwell spent the entirety of his 15-year career with the Houston Astros, rarely getting injured and regularly appearing in all 162 games a season, which he did four times. 

In his seventh time on the ballot, the four time all-star finally prevailed and leapt over the 75 percent threshold that is required to gain entry into the Hall.

Bagwell, the 1991 Rookie of the Year, received the National League MVP award in 1994, as well as earning three Silver Slugger awards and one Gold Glove award.

Bagwell clubbed 449 homers and drove in 1,529 runs in his accomplished career, and hit to a .297/.408/.540 clip.

Bagwell also stole 202 bases, including 31 in 1997 and 30 in 1999.

Tim_Raines

Tim Raines

Tim Raines, appearing in his 10th ballot for entry into the Hall of Fame, finally got enough votes to be eternally enshrined in Cooperstown. 

Raines bounced around to a few different locations in his 23-year career, but spent a majority of time with the Montreal Expos, as well as making stops with the Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics, Baltimore Orioles and Florida Marlins.

Raines appeared in seven straight All-Star Games from 1981-1987, where he lead the league in steals in four of those campaigns.

The three-time World Series champion, Raines was also the National League batting champion and Silver Slugger award winner in 1986, and received the MLB All-Star Game MVP in 1987.

For his career, Raines was a .294/.385/.425 hitter, with 170 homers and 980 RBI’s, while clipping 808 bases and accumulating 2,605 hits.

BMANGIN1270-575x394

Ivan Rodriguez

Pudge was one of the best catchers in baseball for over two decades, spending the first half of his career with the Texas Rangers, before making a stop in Florida to win a World Series with the Marlins in 2003, then appearing in four straight all-star games for the Detroit Tigers before finishing his career bouncing around with the Yankees, Astros, Rangers again and the Nationals.

Rodriguez appeared in ten straight all-star games with the Rangers from 1992-2001 and the aforementioned four in a row with the Tigers for a total of a whopping 14 all-star appearances.

Rodriguez was a two-way player, earning 13 career Gold Glove Awards and seven Silver Slugger Awards as well as the American League MVP Award in 1999.

Pudge hit to a .296/.334/.464 clip in his established career, smacking 311 long balls and driving in 1,332 runs while racking up 2,844 hits.

Near Misses

vladimir guerrero

Vladimir Guerrero

Vlad, the man who never saw a pitch he couldn’t swing it, just narrowly missed getting into this year’s class of Hall of Famers with 71.7 percent.

Guerrero played 16 seasons in MLB, spending a majority of his career with the Montreal Expos and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, while making stops in Baltimore and Texas in the last two seasons of his career.

Guerrero clubbed 449 homers and accumulated 2,590 hits in his career, while hitting at a .318/.379/.553 clip. For someone who swung as freely as Vlad, the slugger never struck out more than 95 times in a single season.

Guerrero was a nine-time all-star, as well as winning eight Silver Slugger awards, and winning the American League MVP crown in 2004.

hoffman

Trevor Hoffman

The long-time San Diego Padres Closer, Hoffman was one of the elite closers in baseball for almost two decades, but unfortunately fell just below the threshold with 74 percent of votes.

The seven-time all-star locked down 601 games in his 18-year career, leading the National League in saves twice and taking home the Rolaids Relief Man of the Year two times as well.

Hoffman’s second time on the ballot has him falling just under the 75 percent threshold and will have to try again next year.

Honorable mentions who missed: Edgar Martinez (58.6 percent), Roger Clemens (54.1 percent), Barry Bonds (53.8 percent), and Mike Mussina (51.8 percent).

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Vegas Puts Mets at 18-1 Odds To Win World Series http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/vegas-puts-mets-at-18-1-odds-to-win-world-series.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/vegas-puts-mets-at-18-1-odds-to-win-world-series.html/#comments Sat, 14 Jan 2017 17:30:31 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=229246 i-believe-mets-clinch-fans

Las Vegas put out their odds to win the World Series in 2017 and not surprisingly the Cubs are overwhelming favorites to repeat as champions, at 15-4. The Red Sox follow that at 11-2. Rounding out the top five are the 2016 American League Champion Indians (8-1), the Nationals (10-1) and the Dodgers (14-1). The Mets, coming in 8th at 18-1 odds, also trail the Astros and Giants (15-1 each).

Note: all odds were derived from VegasInsider.com, and while different sites had different specific odds the Mets were generally between 14 and 18 to one and the Cubs were heavy favorites in all.

Vegas usually has an excellent handle on team’s chances and clearly of all top teams the Mets are the hardest to gauge. There are just too many variables in the starting rotation to make an accurate guess as to where the team will wind up in 2017.

The Mets, for the most part, return an offense which was below average all the way around in 2016. The Mets were 25th in batting average and 26th in runs scored in 2016 and have added no players to improve on those numbers. Instead, they are relying on bounce back year from key underperformers in 2016 (Travis d’Arnaud and Michael Conforto) and hope that other players will be able to stay on the field long enough to contribute (Lucas Duda, David Wright).

Their bullpen has many more questions than answers. The fantastic AddisonReed/JeurysFamilia 8th to 9th inning will be returning, but there is little doubt that Familia will serve some kind of suspension to start the 2017 campaign (think in the neighborhood of 30 games). Fernando Salas and Jerry Blevins, the only other consistent arms in the pen from last season, remain unsigned.

There is no left-handed specialist currently on the roster who has had any major league success over a season, and right-hander Hansel Robles showed flashes of potential and other periods of wild inconsistency. Will some pitchers who has success as starters toward the end of the year be converted to the bullpen (Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman?). The bullpen is still a work in progress and hopefully Sandy will have answers to those questions by the time spring training comes around.

So the strength of this team is not with the bats or the depth of the bullpen. It’s with five arms, four of which are coming off injuries. Most of the talk this off season has been positive and the hope is all will be ready by spring training. The Mets need to be cautious with them, but at the same time accept that this window when these pitchers (and the amazing Noah Syndergaard) are under our control is narrow.

In order to challenge the Cubs (and Nationals) we will be relying on these arms. If Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler can come close to putting together 100 starts between them that 18-1 bet will look pretty good.

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Travis d’Arnaud, Mets Avoid Arbitration With One-Year Deal http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/travis-darnaud-mets-avoid-arbitration-with-one-year-deal.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/travis-darnaud-mets-avoid-arbitration-with-one-year-deal.html/#comments Fri, 13 Jan 2017 16:00:17 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=229395 travis-darnaud

The New York Mets have avoided arbitration with catcher Travis d’Arnaud on a one-year deal worth $1.875 million according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag Sports. He was projected to make $1.9 million by Pace Law School.

D’Arnaud, 28, is coming off his worst season as a pro, posting a .629 OPS and 69 OPS+ in 276 plate appearances with just four home runs and 15 RBI.

Defensively, his caught stealing percentage took another hit as 61 baserunners were successful against him and only 17 were caught stealing. And he hardly ever had to catch Noah Syndergaard. He lost that privilege as soon as Rivera arrived. Travis has been rated as one of the best pitch framers in baseball the past few seasons.

Time is running out for the one time top catching prospect as he now enters his prime years having failed to establish himself as an everyday catcher. Even after returning from the disabled list last season, he saw himself losing more and more time to backup catcher Rene Rivera.

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2017 Top 30 Prospects: #10 Tomas Nido, C http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/mmo-top-30-prospects-10-tomas-nido-c.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/mmo-top-30-prospects-10-tomas-nido-c.html/#comments Fri, 13 Jan 2017 15:00:38 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=229342 Photo: Ed Delany

Photo: Ed Delany

#10 Tomas Nido

Ht: 6’0”  Wt: 200 2016 Level: High A advanced St. Lucie Mets

B/T: R/R  Age: 4/12/94 (22) Age Dif: -0.7

Acquired: Drafted 8th round in 2012 out of Orangewood Christian School, FL

Last year: #74

MiLB Statistics: 90 G, 344 AB, 38 R, 110 H, 23 2B, 7 HR, 46 RBI, 19 BB, 46 K, .320/.357/.459

Tomas Nido finds a good time to shine.

Nido began his career at Kingsport in the Appalachian League for the Mets in 2012, then spent consecutive seasons in Brooklyn in 2013 & 2014 before heading to full season A-ball in 2015 in Savannah where along the way Tomas appeared to struggle offensively. His best statistical season occurred during his second stint in Brooklyn reaching a high of a .277 AVG, .325 OBP and only a .660 OPS. Tomas followed that up in his first trip to full season ball by posting a .259 AVG and .284 OBP at the Low-A level in 2015. Then came 2016.

With the St. Lucie Mets Tomas had a career year in every statistical category which concluded with a Florida State League batting title hitting with his .320 AVG.  All while maintaining a strong defensive showing behind the plate throwing out 42% of would-be base stealers.

All of a sudden Nido jumped into consideration for top prospect status and ultimately leading to the Mets front office decision to place him on the 40-man roster at the end of 2016 or risk Tomas being taken in the Rule 5 draft. The question is where does Tomas Nido and his ongoing development take him?

Perhaps one thing to take into consideration that since turning pro in 2012, Tomas career high games played in a season stands at 90, with a career high of 344 AB which both occurred last season. It was reported throughout the 2016 season that he Mets were being cautious with his innings behind the plate. Nido was scheduled to play in the Arizona Fall League, but never ended up playing and was taken off the roster mid-season. However, looking deeper into the statistics, Tomas got stronger throughout the season as evidenced from his .347 AVG and .878 OPS in the second half.

Nido also hit an incredible .405 with three of his seven total home runs in the month of July, arguably the hottest time of the year next to August in South Florida, while playing in 19 total games during the month. Also of note; against opposing lefties, Nido hit .361 with a .420 OBP.

In watching Tomas play in St. Lucie what I saw was an extremely aggressive hitter who was willing to go out of the zone and still be able to make consistent solid contact on the ball. Tomas has quick bat speed and uses his aggression to attack at any time in the at-bat thus not allowing the opposing the pitcher to take control. He shows line drive power with an ability to strongly turn on balls in and out of the strike zone. His aggression also accounts for the 19 total walks in the entire 2016 campaign. It will be interesting to monitor the adjustments that he will make at the next level in his overall offensive approach to the game.

Mike M adds….

The jump from basically being prospect irrelevant to a top 10 guy in the organization may have some skeptical on Nido, but it’s not just the offense that has skyrocketed his potential. Nido improved in every way on defense as well. I talked to a handful of pitchers that he worked with this year and each one raved about his ability as a receiver and how he helped them slow down the run game.

While the walks did slightly improve for Nido in 2016 (5.1% compared to 3.6% in 2015) that still remains a concern going forward with his approach at the plate. The good news is that he cut down on his strikeouts immensely (11.4% in 2016, 25.7% in 2015), but will that carry over to Double-A if he stays as aggressive?

2017 Outlook:

Overall, Tomas has seemingly come out of nowhere offensively, earning his 40-man roster spot, and should look to presumably head to Double-A Binghamton to start the 2017 season in what many refer to as the Show Me level of competition. Tomas will play out the entire season as a 23 year old so I would not necessarily expect any further advancement in the coming year beyond Double A.

2017 MMO TOP 30 PROSPECTS

1. Amed Rosario, SS

2. Dominic Smith, 1B

3. Robert Gsellman, RHP

4. Thomas Szapucki, LHP

5. Desmond Lindsay, OF

6. Justin Dunn, RHP

7. Gavin Cecchini, INF

8. Brandon Nimmo, OF

9. Andres Gimenez, SS

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Ron Hunt: The Mets’ First Real All Star http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/ron-hunt-the-mets-first-real-all-star.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/ron-hunt-the-mets-first-real-all-star.html/#comments Fri, 13 Jan 2017 11:00:02 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=229207 Ron Hunt

As is still the case today, every team gets to send at least one player to the All Star Game. In 1962 and 1963, the Mets sent Richie Ashburn and Duke Snider respectively, although both were well past their prime. But in 1964, for the first time, a Met was selected to start in the All Star Game and that was second baseman Ron Hunt.

Because the game was played at Shea Stadium (a game I attended, I even remember paying $2.10 for a general admission ticket), you might think the fans stuffed the ballot to get one of their hometown favorites into the game, but in 1964, voting was done not by the fans but by the players.

Hunt had to beat out Pete Rose of the Reds who was rookie of the year in 1963, ahead of Hunt who finished second, the Pirates’ Bill Mazeroski who was regarded as one of the best second basemen of all time and is now in the Hall of Fame, and the Cardinals’ Julian Javier among others.

For those too young to remember, Hunt, who was acquired from the Braves before the 1963 season for cash following a solid season in the AA Texas League, fit all those cliches applied to players who didn’t have great tools like power, speed, defense or a sweet swing. No, what Hunt had was grit, toughness, a dirty uniform, and a do-anything-to-win attitude.

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Although it wasn’t until after leaving the Mets that Hunt turned getting hit by a pitch into an art form setting records in that category, Hunt was clearly the first Met that fans could legitimately be proud of. Yet Hunt didn’t even start the 1963 season as the Mets’ second baseman. Rather it was Larry Burright who had come over from the Dodgers. Hunt soon seized his opportunity and held the job.

But it seemed to me that the front office didn’t appreciate Ron the way the fans did. In fact, less than 2 weeks after the 1964 All Star Game, the Mets purchased Bobby Klaus from the Reds and immediately installed him at second base, supplanting Hunt who moved over to third. I don’t know what Hunt thought about it but Mets’ fans were shocked.

The Mets could certainly use all the help they could get, but second base was the only position where the Mets were seemingly set. Actually, the Reds had briefly replaced Pete Rose with Klaus, so Bobby must have had some amazing scouting reports that didn’t translate to big league success.

In a short time, Hunt and Klaus switched positions although Klaus never hit enough to really earn any spot in the lineup. He did fill in for Hunt when Ron was injured in 1965, hit under .200 and that was it for his career.

Meanwhile, Hunt continued to be a bright spot on terrible Met teams (All Star again in 1966) until he was traded away along with Jim Hickman in the Tommy Davis deal in November of 1966. Ron went on to have a solid big league career most notably with the Giants and Expos and his knack for getting hit by pitches has become his legacy but Mets fans will always remember him as the team’s first young star.

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Mets Avoid Arbitration, Settle With Lucas Duda At $7.25MM http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/mets-avoid-arbitration-hearing-settle-with-lucas-duda-at-7-25mm.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/mets-avoid-arbitration-hearing-settle-with-lucas-duda-at-7-25mm.html/#comments Thu, 12 Jan 2017 22:00:18 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=229343 lucas duda

The New York Mets have settled with arbitration eligible first baseman Lucas Duda for $7.25 million for the 2017 according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag Sports. The Pace Law School projected that Duda would get $7.315 million. 

Lucas Duda was limited to just 47 games in 2016 due to a stress fracture in his lower back. He opted for rest instead of surgery and actually returned for a couple of games at the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be fully recovered by spring training.

While it may have been injury related, Duda was in the midst of the worst season of his before landing on the disabled list. His .302 on-base percentage and .714 OPS were both career lows.

The powerful Duda has a .243/.343/.449 career slash line in seven seasons with the Mets. In 2014-2015, he averaged 30 doubles, 28 home runs, 82 RBI and a 133 OPS+.

Duda made $6.725 million during the 2016 season. He will be a free agent following the 2017 season.

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Ten Things We Learned From Sandy Alderson Today http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/ten-things-we-learned-from-sandy-alderson-today.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/ten-things-we-learned-from-sandy-alderson-today.html/#comments Thu, 12 Jan 2017 18:34:31 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=229315 sandy-alderson

At Citi Field today, New York Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson met with team beat writers to discuss the state of the team.

Here is what Sandy had to say courtesy of Adam Rubin of ESPN:

1. Sandy feels fairly comfortable with the right-handed options for the bullpen as he mentioned Rafael Montero, Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman and Gabriel Ynoa as candidates for relief.

2. He called the current Mets payroll tolerable and that the Mets signing a reliever didn’t hinge on trading Jay Bruce.

3. He is unaware of when MLB will make a decision regarding a possible suspension for Jeurys Familia, but the team is planning for the possibility that they will be without his services for some period of time.

4. The Mets aren’t prepared to sever ties with pitcher Jenrry Mejia just yet, because he’s still under team control but they don’t have to pay him while he’s suspended.

5. Even though Tim Tebow was not among the minor leaguers invited to major league spring training, Alderson said he’ll be around, too frequently for some and not frequently enough for others.

6. Alderson disputed what Wally Backman said about him being blackballed by the Mets GM.

7. He doesn’t foresee the Mets adding a position player to the roster before spring training unless it’s on a minor league deal. (I guess we’ll see an in-season trade for Kelly Johnson again).

8. The Mets have put a hard deadline of 1 p.m. ET on Friday for negotiations with arbitration eligible players. This is a change from the past with the Mets now becoming a file-and-trial team.

9. T.J. Rivera should get exposure to the outfield (more, played nine games there in Triple-A last year) and Michael Conforto could see time at first base during spring training.

10. It would be difficult to trade Curtis Granderson in part because he can play center field.

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