Mets Merized Online » White Sox http://metsmerizedonline.com Sat, 14 Jan 2017 17:30:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.17 Is it Time for the Mets to Go After David Robertson? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/is-it-time-for-the-mets-to-go-after-david-robertson.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/is-it-time-for-the-mets-to-go-after-david-robertson.html/#comments Thu, 22 Dec 2016 11:00:24 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=228331 MLB: Chicago White Sox at Houston Astros

With all of the current talk being of the New York Mets looking at making a trade for a center fielder, the team’s most glaring need continues to go unfulfilled.

Kristie Ackert of the NY Daily News was asked in her “Mets Mailbag” about the chance of General Manager, Sandy Alderson, making a legitimate run at acquiring Chicago White Sox closer, David Robertson.

It is no secret that the Metropolitans current closer, Jeurys Familia, could be facing a significant suspension next season. This obviously leaves a glaring hole in the team’s bullpen. Addison Reed is sure to fill in as needed in that closing role, but an addition of Robertson’s ilk could be just what this team needs to dominate in 2017.

Robertson, 31, has been a steady reliever in his nine-year MLB career. He has pitched to an overall ERA of 2.97 to go along with a WHIP of 1.20. Last season, Robertson appeared in 62 games, accumulating 37 saves while pitching to an ERA of 3.47 with a WHIP of 1.36.

He may not be as dominant as he once was but he has already shown his ability to pitch in New York. Robertson spent the first seven years of his career with the boys from the Bronx before joining the White Sox in 2015. He had his best seasons while a member of the Yankees.

The Chicago White Sox are a team who has openly stated their willingness to deal some of their stars as they look to rebuild. It is unknown what exactly they may be looking for in exchange for Robertson, but it is sure to include one of the Mets’ better prospects not named Amed Rosario to obtain the reliever.

Robertson has two years left on his current deal. He will make $12 million in 2017 and $13 million in 2018 before hitting the open market once again. If the Mets are willing to pick up a majority of the money left on that contract, it would surely bring the price down in terms of players needed to trade for the relief pitcher.

Alderson knows the team is in need of another reliever that can be used in the late innings of games, and as the big names come off the board one by one, Robertson looks more attractive by the day.

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Nationals Acquire White Sox Outfielder Adam Eaton http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/nationals-acquire-white-sox-outfielder-adam-eaton.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/nationals-acquire-white-sox-outfielder-adam-eaton.html/#comments Wed, 07 Dec 2016 22:08:59 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=227754 adam eaton

Per Jon Heyman on Twitter, the Nationals have acquired the services of Adam Eaton. The White Sox will get Lucas Giolito and minor leaguers Dane Dunning and Reynaldo Lopez according to Dan Hayes.

This deal sends the Nationals’ #1, #3 and #6 prospects to Chicago.

Original Post — 4:45

The Washington Nationals are close to a deal for White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton according to Ken Rosenthal on Twitter.

Eaton, 27, has been a very consistent player in his career. After being a backup outfielder in Arizona from 2012 to 2013, he went to Chicago and hit the ground running. In his three years with the White Sox, he has hit .290/.362/.422 with 29 home runs, 28 triples, and 47 stolen bases.

He finished 19th in MVP voting this season, after he hit .284/.362/.428 with 14 home runs, nine triples (most in the AL), and 91 runs scored while providing solid defense in the outfield. This season he played mostly right field, but still logged over 300 innings in center.

Eaton is owed $4 million in 2017, $6 million in 2018, and $8.4 million in 2019. He has options of $9.5 and $10.5 million in 2020 and 2021 respectively, each with $1.5 million buyouts.

The Nationals continue to be aggressive this offseason after previously missing out on Chris Sale and Wade Davis.

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Winter Meetings Day 2: Bruce Still A Tough Sell, Granderson ‘Not Available’ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/winter-meetings-day-2-bruce-still-a-tough-sell-granderson-not-available.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/winter-meetings-day-2-bruce-still-a-tough-sell-granderson-not-available.html/#comments Wed, 07 Dec 2016 11:00:53 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=227692 jay-bruce-3

According to Jon Heyman on Twitter, the Mets have deemed outfielder Curtis Granderson “not available.”

The Mets have been clear from the beginning regarding their intentions to trade Jay Bruce, and while he is easily a 30-home run guy, teams are far more interested in Granderson. It seems Sandy Alderson has become fed up with this and has made Granderson unavailable entirely, hoping that taking him off the market will increase interest in Bruce.

Rival executives see Bruce as a possible DH at this point, citing his diminishing defensive skills. However, he does still possess a strong throwing arm, so teams that desperately need a right fielder (i.e. Orioles or Mariners) could play him out there.

The Mets are keen on adding a solid reliever to the mix to set up Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia. They were talking to the Orioles about reliever Brad Brach, however talks hit two snags. The first snag is that the Orioles much prefer Curtis Granderson over Jay Bruce (as do most if not all teams), and the second snag is that the Mets refused to eat any of Bruce’s contract. Snags aside, the Mets and Orioles do still seem to be talking.

The Orioles are trying to bring back slugger Mark Trumbo, however if they fail to do so, they could look to the Mets for a solution to both their vacancy in right field as well as their lineup’s loss of power.

wade-davis-2

Speaking to reporters, Sandy Alderson said that he called a team about one of their relievers but it was someone who “only wanted to pitch if it was in the 9th inning.” There are two pitchers I reckon he could be referring to. The first of which is Royals’ Wade Davis, however he seems to be going to the Cubs in a deal that would send Jorge Soler to Kansas City.

Another reliever it could be is White Sox closer David Robertson. Robertson would be a phenomenal pickup. The White Sox match up very well with the Mets, who have recently said they are willing to deal prospects for a reliever.

Robertson, 31, has two years left on his contract and is scheduled to make $12 million in 2017 and $13 million in 2018. While that is expensive, if the Mets offer a good enough package, Chicago could eat some of that contract.

Since becoming the White Sox’s full time closer in 2015, he has saved 71 games with a 3.44 ERA. In 125.2 innings he has struck out 161 batters. While those 71 saves are impressive, that 3.44 ERA is very high for a closer. When he was the set-up man for the Yankees and Mariano Rivera he fared much better, as from 2011-2013 in that role he recorded a 1.91 ERA with 258 strikeouts in 193.2 innings.

After trading Chris Sale, the White Sox seemed to have turned their attention to trading David Robertson. Knowing Sandy Alderson, I think he knows it’s a good time to strike a deal, before his price is increased when Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen sign their big contracts.

Stay tuned for more updates.

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Red Sox To Acquire Chris Sale http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/red-sox-to-acquire-chris-sale.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/red-sox-to-acquire-chris-sale.html/#comments Tue, 06 Dec 2016 18:24:29 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=227660 chris sale

According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports on Twitter, the Red Sox have agreed to a blockbuster trade that will net them stud pitcher Chris Sale from the White Sox in exchange for the #1 prospect in baseball according to MLB.com IF Yoan Mocada as well as prospects RHP Michael Kopech, OF Luis Basabe and RHP Victor Diaz.

Rumors swirling from the Winter Meetings last night had the Nationals and White Sox making significant progress on a deal, and that Washington had an “80/20 chance” of acquiring the all-star lefty in the eyes of rival excutives, as Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweeted last night.

This is a huge sigh of relief for the New York Mets, as they won’t have to face Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Sale in a weekend series any time soon.

Sale, 28 on Opening Day, has spent the entirety of his seven year career with the White Sox, pitching to a 74-50 record with an even 3.00 ERA and 10.1 K/9.

Sale has appeared in five consecutive all-star games, and was the American League strikeout leader with 274 in 2015.

The southpaw will join a rotation that already includes reigning Cy Young winner Rick Porcello and five-time all-star David Price.

Moncada, 21, joined the Red Sox in 2015 after defecting from Cuba, and is oft considered the best prospect in baseball.

Moncada made debut for the Red Sox as a September call-up, appearing in eight games for Boston, going 4-for-19.

In two minor league seasons, Moncada hit to a .287/.395/.480 clip with 23 homers an 100 RBIs.

Kopech, 21 on Opening Day is the #67 prospect in baseball and the #5 prospect in the Red Sox system at the time of the trade.

Kopech was drafted in the first round of the 2014 first year player’s draft, and has topped out at 105 MPH on the radar gun.

The righty got as far as high-A ball last year, going 4-1 with a 2.25 ERA in 11 games started for the Salem Red Sox.

The other two prospects the White Sox are getting back in the deal for Sale are the #8 and #28 prospects in Boston’s system respectively.

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Featured Post: White Sox Could Deal Relievers Dan Jennings and David Robertson http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/featured-post-white-sox-could-deal-relievers-dan-jennings-and-david-robertson.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/featured-post-white-sox-could-deal-relievers-dan-jennings-and-david-robertson.html/#comments Tue, 22 Nov 2016 14:57:50 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=226851 MLB: Chicago White Sox at Houston Astros

( Photo Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)

The Chicago White Sox are reportedly on the verge of a fire sale as we approach the winter meetings that will take place beginning December 5 in Washington D.C.

MLB Trade Rumors takes a look at all the potential players that may be available to interested teams, some of which can notably help the New York Mets. Relief help could come in the form of David Robertson or Dan Jennings in a trade with Chicago.

Jennings is coming off a superb 2016 season. The left-handed reliever pitched to a 2.08 ERA while appearing in 64 games for the White Sox. He struck out 46 batters in 60.2 innings pitched with a WHIP of 1.40.

The Mets could also look at the former Yankee, Robertson, who pitched to a 3.47 ERA in 2016 while appearing in 62 games for the Sox. Robertson served as the primary closer for Chicago and picked up 37 saves last season.

Robertson would give the Mets another big power arm in the back-end of the bullpen, giving themselves practically three closers in any given game. He struck out 75 batters in 62.1 innings pitched last season while pitching to a WHIP of 1.36.

As the White Sox look to rebuild, they will be looking for players under control for years to come in return for any of their players. With the hot stove really beginning to heat up, it will be interesting to see if these two teams can connect on a deal.

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Stanton Out For The Season, Marlins Considering A-Rod and Gomez http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/stanton-out-for-the-season-marlins-considering-a-rod-and-gomez.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/stanton-out-for-the-season-marlins-considering-a-rod-and-gomez.html/#comments Mon, 15 Aug 2016 15:26:07 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=220519 Giancarlo-Stanton-Marlins1

Faced with the loss of Giancarlo Stanton for the rest of the season, the Marlins are considering both Alex Rodriguez (unconditionally released) and Carlos Gomez (designated for assignment) according to various reports.

MLB Network Radio’s Jim Bowden says it’s inevitable that the Marlins could sign Rodriguez to play first base, according to his sources.

Marlins team president Michael Hill confirmed interest in Rodriguez, though he’s unsure if A-Rod has a desire to continue playing this season.

“We’re going to look at everything,” Hill said. “There has been information out there about his situation. I have no idea what his interest level is to continue playing.”

“This team has played too well for too long. We’re right in the thick of this thing, and we’re going to do everything in our power to help in any way we can. If it’s him, if it’s someone else, we’re going to try to find a way to make it happen.”

Original Report – Aug 14

Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton will miss the remainder of the season with a groin strain, Don Mattingly told reporters this afternoon. Stanton was injured on the final play of last night’s 8-7 loss against the White Sox attempting to stretch a single into a double.

This is no doubt a huge loss for a Marlins team right in the playoff hunt, currently tied with the Cardinals for the second Wild Card spot.

Stanton is certainly having a down year by his standards, slashing .244/.329/.496 (117 wRC+) in 103 games, the worst showing of his career. However, he still has 25 home runs and remains a legitimate power threat. He leads Marcell Ozuna, who has 19 homers, for the team lead.

Stanton’s spot in right field will presumably go to the 42 year-old Ichiro Suzuki. Ichiro is having his best year since 2009, slashing .313/.389/.390 (113 wRC+) in 240 plate appearances. He recently picked up his 3000th big league hit.

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MMO Game Thread: White Sox vs Mets, 1:10 PM http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/06/mmo-game-thread-white-sox-vs-mets-110-pm-2.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/06/mmo-game-thread-white-sox-vs-mets-110-pm-2.html/#comments Wed, 01 Jun 2016 14:56:54 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=213662 jacob degrom

Wednesday, June 1, 2016 • 1:10 p.m.
Citi Field • Flushing, N.Y.
RHP Miguel Gonzalez (0-1, 4.50) vs. RHP Jacob deGrom (3-1, 2.81)
SNY • WOR 710 AM • ESPN 1050 AM

The Mets and White Sox find themselves playing the rubber game this afternoon after the bullpen failed to hold the lead for the Amazins. The Mets were cruising for most of the game last night until the 6th inning. Steven Matz, who was dicing the lineup up until that point, allowed 3 runs and didn’t make it out of the inning. Syndergaard then pitched a solid inning, before Robles blew the game and the Mets’ bats couldn’t retake the lead.

Jacob deGrom is 13-7 with a 1.92 ERA in 29 starts at Citi Field. His 1.92 home ERA is the third-lowest in the majors since 2014 among pitchers with at least 150.0 innings, trailing only Clayton Kershaw (1.65) and Jake Arrieta (1.69).

Note: Yoenis Cespedes asked for and received the game off today. Not injury related just fatigue. He as played every game in May, batting .262 (27-103,) with 17 runs, 5 doubles, 8 homeruns, 14 RBIs, 12 walks, and 22 strikeouts.

Mets Lineup

  1. Curtis Granderson, RF
  2. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
  3. Michael Conforto, LF
  4. Neil Walker, 2B
  5. James Loney, 1B
  6. Juan Lagares, CF
  7. Ty Kelly, 3B
  8. Rene Rivera, C
  9. Jacob deGrom, RHP

White Sox Lineup

  1. Adam Eaton, RF
  2. Jose Abreu, 1B
  3. Todd Frazier, 3B
  4. Melky Cabrera, LF
  5. Brett Lawrie, 2B
  6. J.B. Shuck, CF
  7. Tyler Saladino, SS
  8. Alex Avila, C
  9. Miguel Gonzalez, RHP

Jacob deGrom will try to put everything back together today. Jacob is 3-1 over 8 starts and 48.0 innings with a 2.81 ERA while recording 37 K’s. After several starts in a row of average to below average starts, deGrom rebounded with a strong outing his last time out going 7.0 innings holding the Dodgers to 1 ER while striking out 7. Jacob has never faced the White Sox before but has faced a couple of batters on other teams:

  • Rollins 1-8
  • Frazier 0-2

Miguel Gonzalez is in the midst of his first season with the White Sox after four with the Orioles. Gonzalez is 0-1 over 5 starts and 28.0 innings with a 4.50 ERA. In his last three starts he is 0-1 over 17.0 innings striking out 14 with a 4.24 ERA. Miguel has never faced the Mets before but has faced several players while they were on other teams:

  • Granderson 1-17, 2B
  • Cabrera 3-13, 2B, HR
  • Cespedes 6-13
  • De Aza 4-7, HR
  • Rivera 1-7
  • Walker 2-3

Let’s Go Mets!

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MMO Game Thread: White Sox vs Mets, 1:10 PM http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/05/mmo-game-thread-white-sox-vs-mets-110-pm.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/05/mmo-game-thread-white-sox-vs-mets-110-pm.html/#comments Mon, 30 May 2016 14:54:54 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=213470 matt harvey

Monday, May 30, 2016 • 1:10 p.m.
Citi Field • Flushing, N.Y.
LHP Jose Quintana (5-4, 2.22) vs. RHP Matt Harvey (3-7, 6.08)
SNY • WOR 710 AM • ESPN 1050 AM

The Mets try to get back on track as the White Sox come to town for a Memorial Day matinee. Yesterday the Mets were able to claw their way back in the 8th inning to tie the game at 2-2 vs Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers, but Jeurys Familia was ineffective in the ninth and the Mets eventually lost 4-2.

The Mets have lost two straight and are 6-4 in their last 10 games. They are 13-6 in their last 19 games at Citi Field, and 14-10 at home overall this season.

The big story for today is, will Matt Harvey be Harvey? The word on the street is the Mets’ staff found a mechanical issue in his extended bullpen session and worked on it. The numbers are ugly is season at 3-7 over 10 starts with a 6.08 ERA.

The Mets have only faced the White Sox seven times in team history, the fewest number of games vs. any major league team. New York is 3-4 vs. Chicago, including 1-1 in Queens.

The Mets will wear specially-designed jerseys that incorporates camouflage in the Mets logo and numbers. They will also wear a special camo NY hat. Authenticated items from today’s game will be auctioned off at MLB.com/Auction to benefit Welcome Back Veterans.

Mets Lineup

  1. Juan Lagares, CF
  2. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
  3. Yoenis Cespedes, LF
  4. Neil Walker, 2B
  5. Wilmer Flores, 1B
  6. Alejandro De Aza, RF
  7. Rene Rivera, C
  8. Ty Kelly, 3B
  9. Matt Harvey, RHP

White Sox Lineup

  1. Adam Eaton, RF
  2. Jose Abreu, 1B
  3. Melky Cabrera, LF
  4. Todd Frazier, 3B
  5. JB Shuck, CF
  6. Brett Lawrie, 2B
  7. Jimmy Rollins, SS
  8. Alex Avila, C
  9. Jose Quintana, LHP

Its been a while since Matt Harvey faced the White Sox. In 2013 he pitched a one hit, complete game shutout with 12 K’s against them. The White Sox have the following numbers against Harvey:

  • Rollins 5-22, 2 2B, 2 HR
  • Frazier 2-9
  • Jackson 1-4
  • Cabrera 1-3

The Mets draw Jose Quintana today who is 5-4 with a 2.22 ERA over 10 starts and 65.0 innings of work on the season. He’s been more human in his last two starts going 0-2 over 12.1 innings with 7 ER and 13 K’s. He’s never faced the Mets before but he has faced a few Mets batters while they were members of other teams:

  • Cabrera 2-19
  • Cespedes 9-15, 2 2B, 3B, 4 HR
  • Granderson 1-4, HR
  • Walker 0-3

Let’s GO Mets!

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Matz and Syndergaard Have Been Baseball’s Best 1-2 Punch http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/05/matz-and-syndergaard-have-been-baseballs-best-1-2-punch.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/05/matz-and-syndergaard-have-been-baseballs-best-1-2-punch.html/#comments Fri, 27 May 2016 14:00:57 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=213047 matz thor syndergaard

We are almost two months into the season and, as always, people have begun taking a look at the statistics and leader-boards. As such, several writers have taken a crack at announcing who they think is the “Best 1-2 Combo” or “Best 1-2 Punch” at the top of rotation around the major leagues.

I have seen many worthy candidates suggested for that title:

But despite all of the articles and debate, there is one notable combo that I’ve noticed has been left out of the discussion:

MetsNoah SyndergaardSteven Matz

It’s not the duo that many of us expected to emerge as the co-aces at the start of the year (although I did predict Syndergaard would lead the staff), but Syndergaard and Matz have been fantastic so far in 2016. And the best part? There’s no reason to doubt it’s sustainability.

I did a custom search on Fangraphs to take a closer look at these twelve pitchers.

individuals

To nobody’s surprise, it’s Clayton Kershaw and… everybody else, which is why you’re seeing articles about the “Best 1-2 Punch” rather than “best pitcher,” which would be a thoroughly boring article.

Kershaw paces all of the major leagues in WAR, ERA, WHIP, FIP and just about every other important stat you can imagine, including innings. But things become far more interesting when we make the comparison by team.

If you take the same twelve pitchers and sort them by team and by FIP, there is an unexpected leader: Syndergaard and Matz of the New York Mets.

top 1-2.JPG

The Mets lead in K-BB%, GB%, FIP and xFIP. They trail only the Cubs in ERA and only the Nationals in strikeouts per nine innings. They place 4th in this group in WAR, although that is primarily a function of the fact that they have the fewest innings of the bunch — the Mets have 17 starts from this duo while the other couplings have 19 or 20. Syndergaard has yet to make his tenth start and Matz missed one turn in the rotation.

This is just a snapshot of the present and not a promise of the future, but it is easy to see the Mets duo continuing on this torrid pace, while some of these other pairs are outperforming what we might expect of them. For instance, Cueto and Strasburg are each veterans beating their career ERAs by about one run. Even though Strasburg’s emergence looks sustainable, it’s likely that Cueto is more of a 3.25 ERA pitcher than a 2.38 ERA pitcher. Other pitchers are wildly outperforming their peripherals, most notably Quintana who has a 0.14 HR/9 and is beating his xFIP by over a run, and Hammel who has a 2.17 ERA despite a K-BB% which is actually worse than league average. Even Arrieta, as great as he is, is probably closer to his FIP (2.71) than his ERA (1.72).

As for the young Mets, Syndergaard alone has staked a claim to “best pitcher, non-Kershaw division” by placing 2nd in FIP, 2nd in K-BB%, and 3rd in WAR in this group. Matz, for his part, has pitched to a microscopic 1.13 ERA/2.15 FIP with a sterling 23.2 K-BB% since his one disaster inning in his first start on April 11th.

There is a good argument to be made for most of these duos, although I would probably rank the Dodgers (Kershaw/Maeda), Mets (Syndergaard/Matz) and White Sox (Sale/Quintana) a little ahead of the rest, with the Nationals (Strasburg/Scherzer) as potential spoilers if Scherzer gets back on track.

Nonetheless, you’ve got to be impressed with Syndergaard and Matz, who lead in two other categories I forgot to mention: average fastball velocity (their average of 95.8 mph is more than 2 mph faster than the Cubs) and lowest salaries.

The future is bright in Flushing. It’s time these two Mets pitchers got their due.

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White Sox Dropped The Ball On LaRoche Situation http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/white-sox-dropped-the-ball-on-laroche-situation.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/white-sox-dropped-the-ball-on-laroche-situation.html/#comments Fri, 18 Mar 2016 18:51:01 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=207909 laroche

Being a father while being a big leaguer must be extremely difficult. You are effectively on the road nine months out of the year and often miss the formative years of your own children. That’s why we hear stories about how players like bringing their kids around whenever possible. There are the stories of Ken Griffey, Jr. and Barry Bonds hanging around their Dad’s clubhouses. There was Dusty Baker‘s son acting as the bat boy during the 2002 World Series. Now, we have the story of Adam LaRoche and his son Drake.

LaRoche has historically had his son hang around during Spring Training. His son would get his own locker allowing him to spend precious time with his dad.  With LaRoche’s job as a baseball player, this is making up for lost time. After Spring Training is over, LaRoche is on the road the rest of the year. He goes from city to city. He plays night games and gets home late. This is his best chance to spend quality time with his son. While you normally can’t put a price on that, LaRoche did. He determined this was worth more than $13 million dollars.

Before signing with the White Sox last year, Robin Ventura told LaRoche he would have no problem with Drake hanging around the clubhouse. In fact, Drake had his own locker during the regular season so he could even join his dad during home games. At no time was Adam’s son a distraction.

In fact, here is a quote from White Sox ace Chris Sale on that as told to Bob Nightengale of USA Today:

“Drake is honestly one of the best kids I’ve ever met,’’ Sale said. “You can ask anybody, anybody, that’s ever played with Adam. I think that’s another part of the issue. We’re not talking about some guy and his kid. We’re talking about Adam LaRoche. Same thing with Drake.”

Drake-LaRoche-and-Adam-LaRoche-Getty

“This kid is wise beyond his years. He’s mature beyond his years. And quite honestly, he was a blast to have around. For lack of a better term, he was our team mascot. He brought just as much energy to this clubhouse as anybody. And it’s a hard pill to swallow for someone outside the clubhouse to tell us what’s going to happen.”

That didn’t prevent the White Sox front office from asking LaRoche to only bring his son around half the amount of time. Instead, LaRoche decided to retire. He would rather retire than spend less time with his son.

The front office decision did not sit well with the players. As Karl Ravech said on Mike & Mike this morning, the White Sox players threatened to boycott yesterday. They were not going to take the field for practice. They were not going to play in Spring Training games. It wasn’t until Robin Ventura interceded that the disgruntled players finally agreed to go out there for practice and play in Spring Training games.

“We were rolling,’’ Sale added. “We had positive energy in here. Nobody saw anything as a distraction until all this happened.

Every take I see is that there’s no bad guy in this situation.  I disagree. When the players show a united front here, it’s the front office that’s the bad guy. We can have an honest debate as to whether children belong in the clubhouse at all. We can have an honest debate as to whether LaRoche’s son was in the clubhouse too frequently. However, the front office made a very poor decision here.

First, the front office caused the retirement of their first baseman. Second, it almost caused a team mutiny. Third, it undermined the manager who is in charge of the clubhouse. There is no scenario in which you can look at this decision and say it was the right decision.

Strange enough, the only good thing that arose from this situation was seeing how well Robin Ventura handled the situation. He kept control of the team and the clubhouse with an angry team on the verge of a boycott. He showed himself to be a strong leader who is respected by his team.  Seeing this, maybe the front office should’ve allowed Ventura to handle this whole situation. They didn’t, and now they are down a first baseman.

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Padres Sign Alexei Ramirez To 1-Year Deal http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/padres-sign-alexei-ramirez-to-1-year-deal.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/padres-sign-alexei-ramirez-to-1-year-deal.html/#comments Thu, 14 Jan 2016 13:43:55 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=204257 alexei-ramirez

The Padres and 2014 All-Star shortstop Alexei Ramirez have agreed to a one-year deal according to to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (Twitter).

Ramirez, 34, had a down year in 2015, hitting only .249 with 10 home runs. However, he did hit .277 after the All Star break which is more in line with his career numbers.

In his career, Ramirez is a .273/.310/.399 hitter over eight seasons with the White Sox, and averages about 30 doubles, 14 homers and 18 stolen bases a season. He’s won two Silver Slugger awards at shortstop.

Many thought Ramirez to be a target for the Mets earlier this offseason, but Sandy Alderson opted to give a two year contract to Asdrubal Cabrera instead.

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Free Agent Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera Close To Making A Decision http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/free-agent-ss-asdrubal-cabrera-close-to-making-a-decision.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/free-agent-ss-asdrubal-cabrera-close-to-making-a-decision.html/#comments Tue, 01 Dec 2015 18:43:33 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=201216 asdrubal cabrera

Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reports that three teams are in the mix for free agent shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, who is expected to make a decision within the next week or so.

On Monday, Efrain Zavarce reported that the Mets were one of five teams interested, but it’s not clear whether they are in that final three Cotillo is referencing. There certainly hasn’t been any buzz about it in Mets circles.

November 30

According to Venezuelan reporter Efrain Zavarce, the Mets are among five teams that are interested in free agent shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera. Zavarce says that the Yankees, White Sox, Royals and Angels have also expressed interest.

Cabrera, 30,  can play both shortstop and second base, and he has been linked to the Mets many times in the past. He batted .265 with 28 doubles, 15 home runs, and 58 RBIs in 551 plate appearances this year for the Rays, and he also posted a 104 wRC+ and 2.2 WAR in 143 games.

As his career .267/.329/.412 triple slash line shows, he provides solid production and power from his position. Since 2011, he’s belted double digit home runs in every season.

However, considering he is below average defensively, is he really that much of an upgrade for the Mets? They are already getting very similar production from Wilmer Flores, who is five years younger and produced a 95 wRC+ and 1.9 WAR in 137 games this year with 22 doubles, 16 homers and 59 RBIs.

Cabrera started 136 games at shortstop this season, where he posted a -6.0 UZR, -10.4 UZR/150 and -7 Defensive Runs Saved. Those marks were almost identical to 2014.  At this point in his career, a move to second base is long overdue.

During the GM Meetings, assistant General Manager John Ricco recently went on the record saying the Mets are comfortable with what they currently have at shortstop.

“We got to the World Series and [Wilmer Flores] and [Ruben Tejada] were a big part of what we did,” Ricco said.

With a thin market at shortstop, Cabrera is expected to sign a 2-3 year deal worth about $9-10 million annually. Should the Mets look hard at him this offseason, or are they better off spending their money elsewhere?

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Colon Has Been A Godsend For The Mets http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/05/colon-has-been-a-godsend-for-the-mets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/05/colon-has-been-a-godsend-for-the-mets.html/#comments Wed, 06 May 2015 13:33:40 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=180895 bartolo colon

Bartolo Colon just gets it, doesn’t he? After all those years wearing an Angels, Yankees, Indians, Expos, White Sox, Red Sox and A’s uniforms, he’s certainly learned the formula for success.

Or as Terry Collins puts it, he’s learned to be brave, fearlessly attacking the strike zone and daring hitters to take their best shots. And most of the time he leaves them looking inept and clueless.

“He has to be brave,” Collins told reporters. “He thinks, ‘If you’re going to beat me, you have to swing the bat.’ Hitting is not easy, and he goes about it that way.”

In six starts this season, Colon is 5-1 with a 2.90 ERA and 0.94 WHIP.

Getting “up there” in age and experience, Colon has thrown in two of the pitcher friendliest ballparks over the past four seasons.

On pace to exceed the numbers of his Cy Young wining 2005 season 10 years ago, Colon is leading the majors in wins alongside teammate Matt Harvey and King Felix over in the American League.

Compared to Fenway and Yankee Stadium, O.co and Citi are safe havens for the guys on the mound. Still, let’s not discount his amazing control and placement, having not allowed a walk in nearly four complete games worth of innings pitched.

“The most important thing for me is being confident about it and knowing what I’m doing,” Colon said through an interpreter. “The team needed a game like today. It was really important for me to perform the way I did. I had that in mind. We needed a win and needed me to pitch a good game.”

Combine location of where the ball crosses the plate and where it lands in the no-man’s lands of Citi’s outfield and O.co’s foul territory, our boy is going to win some games. Check that, a lot of games, even as he approaches his 42nd birthday this month.

With 209 career wins under his belt, Colon will look to take more advantage of his surroundings while riding his solid pitching and team support to stay atop the MLB rankings for starting pitchers.

The Mets are lucky to have him, and the rest of the staff can only benefit from having him around to throw a pitching clinic every five days.

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MLB Commissioner Defends Naming Fred Wilpon Finance Committee Chairman http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/mlb-commissioner-defends-naming-fred-wilpon-finance-committee-chairman.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/mlb-commissioner-defends-naming-fred-wilpon-finance-committee-chairman.html/#comments Sun, 25 Jan 2015 22:22:12 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=173441 saul katz and fred wilpon

I wanted to update this post with some quotes via the New York Times from incoming MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred.

Responding to criticism over naming Fred Wilpon chairman of the MLB Finance committee, Manfred said:

“I understand the whole Madoff thing, but before and since, Fred Wilpon was an extraordinarily successful businessman.”

Manfred said the committee Wilpon will chair deals with two issues, executive compensation and a central office budget. “Obviously, to be a successful businessman, you have to know how to budget.”

“If you really understand which committees do what, I don’t see it as an issue,” Manfred said.

“He understands how the budget process in baseball has worked, and he’s more than qualified to fill that role.”

January 19

If any of you were hanging onto a slim hope that new MLB commissioner Rob Manfred would somehow be the antithesis to Bud Selig who turned a blind eye as Mets owner Fred Wilpon skirted the rules and nearly bankrupted a big market franchise, think again.

Bill Madden of the Daily News reports there was a lot more happening at last week’s owners meeting in Arizona than just a farewell party for Bud Selig.

New head honcho Rob Manfred announced a complete overhaul of major league baseball’s hierarchy and among the new restructuring he named Mets owner Fred Wilpon the new chairman and head of the MLB Finance Committee.

In what was his first major decision as the 10th commissioner of baseball, Manfred showed that the commissioner’s office will continue to have the same close and binding relationship with Fred and Jeff Wilpon – just as it had for nearly a quarter of a century under Bud Selig.

Wilpon, who allegedly lost about $700 million in the largest Ponzi scheme in American History – the second time he was embroiled in a massive Ponzi scheme – was nearly forced to sell the team three years ago and is still on uncertain financial footing.

Fox guarding the henhouse copy

What makes Manfred’s decision so bizarre is that Fred Wilpon admits to not being the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to financing, and in fact, Wilpon’s entire defense case in the trial brought on by trustee Irving Picard was based on his ignorance of how the convicted Bernie Madoff oversaw his investments as well as his role in team finances. His entire defense was based on ignorance of his own team’s finances.

Wilpon used Madoff to run the team’s finances and turned a blind eye as he negotiated deferred money into players’ contracts and then used that money to invest in high-yield fraudulent investments to make money for themselves before paying players.

The trustee, Irving Picard, also alleged at the time that the Wilpons had enriched themselves over many years of profitable investing – even outpacing the S&P 500 by 6-8% – while ignoring repeated warnings that Madoff was fudging the numbers, was fabricating false quarterly and annual statements that showed huge fictitious gains and balances, and even internal complaints from their own employees that he was committing fraud.

In addition to the millions lost in the Madoff affair, the Wilpons are currently buried waist deep in nearly three quarters of a billion dollars in debt between the team and the SNY Network which broadcasts the team’s games. A huge portion of that debt – a reported $600 million – is actually due in June of this year.

The MLB Players Association has recently opened an investigation looking into financial inconsistencies regarding offseason workouts being held at the team’s complex in Port St. Lucie. A team consultant is leasing space and then charging players who participate in a voluntary training regimen fees ranging between $1,000-$4,400 dollars.

It’s mystifying and completely logic-defying that Manfred would tap Wilpon for such an important chairmanship – one that on the surface would require someone who was supremely qualified in the areas of corporate finance and investing.

It just goes to show that the old adage is true — It’s not what you know, but who you know. Sadly, in his first official act as commissioner, Manfred looks to continue years of Selig cronyism under the guise of the best interest of the game.

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Shortstop Update: Alexei Ramirez, Starlin Castro, Xander Bogaerts Off The Market http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/12/shortstop-update-alexei-ramirez-starlin-castro-xander-bogaerts-off-the-market.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/12/shortstop-update-alexei-ramirez-starlin-castro-xander-bogaerts-off-the-market.html/#comments Tue, 09 Dec 2014 19:37:43 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=171418 alexei ramirez

Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times confirms what many already suspected that the White Sox are not trading shortstop Alexei Ramirez.

White Sox GM Rick Hahn was never very motivated in trading Ramirez unless a team was willing to overpay.  “It’s certainly not something we’re pursuing on our end.”

Yesterday, the Cubs informed the Mets that Starlin Castro was not available. The 24-year old All Star hit .292 with 14 home runs and 65 RBI in 2014.

Xander Bogaerts is also off the market according to Jon Heyman and Bob Nightengale. Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters in San Diego on Monday, “Xander is going to be a very good player for us for a long time.”

The shortstop trade market continues to dwindle for the Mets.

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White Sox To Sign David Robertson; Close to Acquiring Jeff Samardzija http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/12/white-sox-to-sign-david-robertson-close-to-acquiring-jeff-samardzija.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/12/white-sox-to-sign-david-robertson-close-to-acquiring-jeff-samardzija.html/#comments Tue, 09 Dec 2014 06:35:56 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=171374 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v New York Yankees

The White Sox have signed closing pitcher David Robertson to a four year deal worth $46 million, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today via Twitter.

Just two days ago, Daily News columnist John Harper, said in an article that the Mets should do something “eye-popping” and sign Robertson, but that won’t be happening now as he’ll be taking his talents to Chicago.

Robertson, 30 in April, was still being considered to be brought back by Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, even after signing southpaw Andrew Miller last week to a four year, $36 million deal. He spent most of his career up until last season setting up Mariano Rivera in the Yankees bullpen, before taking over closing duties himself in 2014.

Last season, he pitched to a 3.08 ERA with a .192 BAA, 1.22 WHIP and 2.68 FIP while recording 39 saves and striking out 96 batters in 63 appearances.

In a separate report, it looks like Jeff Samardzija will also be heading to the White Sox in a deal that is nearing completion with the Athletics. The White Sox are making a lot of noise this offseason.

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White Sox Shopping For Top Right-Handed Starter http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/12/white-sox-shopping-for-top-right-handed-starter.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/12/white-sox-shopping-for-top-right-handed-starter.html/#comments Thu, 04 Dec 2014 18:20:20 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=171114 scherzer

The White Sox may be open to trying to keep All-Star Max Scherzer in the AL Central, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. as they look to add a “top” right-handed starter.

“The White Sox are in the market for a veteran right-handed starter, and with some payroll flexibility remaining after two key moves, they appear to at least be considering even the top guys — Max Scherzer, James Shields and Ervin Santana, plus trade possibilities such as Jeff Samardzija and others.”

Heyman believes the White Sox are a long shot for Scherzer which may have them look at other available veteran starters. Their goal is to go into 2015 with a formidable 1-2 punch along with ace Chris Sale.

If they look to the trade route, unless the Mets are willing to deal Matt Harvey or Jacob deGrom (which they’re not), they don’t seem to have the caliber of pitchers the White Sox are looking for. The Mets are more focused on moving one of their 4-5 type starters in Gee, Niese and Colon.

Other top right-handed starters who could interest them are the Reds’ Johnny Cueto or Mat Latos, or the Nationals’ Jordan Zimmermann, writes Heyman.

The White Sox have been fielding offers on shortstop Alexei Ramirez, who’s of interest to the Dodgers, Yankees and Mets, but are not actively shopping him according to GM Rick Hahn.

In the end I feel Alexei remains in Chicago, and if they fail to sign Scherzer they’ll aggressively pursue and eventually sign one of Santana, Samardzija or Shields.

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Latest On SS Alexei Ramirez: White Sox GM Not Pursuing A Trade http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/11/latest-on-ss-alexei-ramirez-white-sox-gm-not-pursuing-a-trade.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/11/latest-on-ss-alexei-ramirez-white-sox-gm-not-pursuing-a-trade.html/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 18:33:32 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=169480 alexei ramirez

The Los Angeles Dodgers are are aggressively pursuing White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez in trade talks, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports.

The Dodgers certainly have outfielders to move in any trade but have high a price tag on Matt Kemp, Nightengale adds.

As for the Mets, ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin believes that the Mets and White Sox have yet to have any conversations about Ramirez, disputing an earlier report by Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago.

Adding to the mixed messages is White Sox GM Rick Hahn, who doesn’t sound very motivated in trading Ramirez unless a team was willing to overpay. “It’s certainly not something we’re pursuing on our end.”

November 18

Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago reported last week, that the White Sox have heard from numerous major league clubs about the availability of shortstop Alexei Ramirez, and the Mets, Yankees and Dodgers are among the teams that have checked in.

Levine added that the Mets have been “the most aggressive in their pursuit of a shortstop over the past 12 months.”

“General manager Sandy Alderson has had his top scouts looking at shortstops such as Ramirez, the Cubs’ Starlin Castro and free agents Asdrubal Cabrera and Hanley Ramirez extensively this past season. The Mets also have exactly what the White Sox are looking for if they agree to move Ramirez.”

The White Sox covet right-handed power pitchers and Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero are reportedly at the top of that list, says Levine.

Ramirez, 33, is owed $10 million in both 2015 and 2016 (club option) and batted .273/.305/.408 last season. In 158 games he hit 15 home runs with 74 RBIs and 21 stolen bases. He leads all American League shortstops in base hits and RBIs since 2009.

(Updated 11/18)

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Braves Enter Yasmani Tomas Sweepstakes http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/11/braves-enter-yasmani-tomas-sweepstakes.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/11/braves-enter-yasmani-tomas-sweepstakes.html/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 15:51:10 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168409 yasmani tomas cuba

The Atlanta Braves have jumped into the mix for 24-year-old Cuban free agent Yasmani Tomas, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. He is scheduled to hold a private workout for Braves scouts and officials in the coming days

Heyman says that the Braves could qualify as a surprise team and that they recently made room in the outfield by trading Jason Heyward. New Braves president of baseball operations John Hart has long loved power hitters, as folks may recall from his Cleveland and Texas days, adds Heyman.

The Padres have also ramped up interest in Tomas, while the Phillies have backed off until they can clear enough room on their payroll to sign him. Only a week ago, several reports suggested that a deal was imminent.

November 13

Cuban outfielder Yasmani Tomas is flying to the United States on Friday to meet with his agent, Jay Alou Jr., reports Jorge Arangure of Vice Sports, who believes a deal now appears imminent and could come as soon as this weekend. He adds that Alou is still planning to meet with four GMs in the next two days as the very active pursuit for Tomas comes to its conclusion.

Peter Gammons of MLB Network also reported that the San Francisco Giants are being urged by special assistant Felipe Alou to sign Tomas as a third baseman. The Phillies are still in the hunt and are trying to clear some money to get a deal done. The Royals are also considered to be in the picture.

November 9

Joel Sherman of the New York Post makes the case that the Mets should sign Cuban slugger Yasmani Tomas.

Sherman says that signing Tomas would instantly energize the fan base and would show that ownership is indeed willing to spend when the time is right.

The Mets have been asking their fans to be patient for four years while a slew of prized young arms worked their way to the majors. That time is now.

He also points out that while Tomas could be a risk, it’s a risk worth taking given that the recent track record of righty Cuban power hitters — Yoenis Cespedes, Yasiel Puig, Jose Abreu — has been excellent. One scout who watched his workout likened Tomas to Albert Belle.

If it were possible to sign him, and I’m not saying it is, an added benefit would be pulling the rug out from under the Phillies who are the favorites to sign Tomas.

So what do you think, should the Mets sign him?

November 5

Confirming what has been a growing buzz, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports is hearing from more and more sources that the Philadelphia Phillies are still extremely interested in signing free-agent Cuban outfielder Yasmani Tomas.

The Phillies sent one of the larger contingents to see Tomas during his first showcase, and they were the first MLB team to have him attend a private workout.

It seems pretty clear that given his young age and the state of the team, the Phillies are looking at his 70 rated power and seeing Tomas as not only a youth infusion but potentially a 30 homer bat as well. And after years and years of a sold out ballpark, they’ve got the money to spend.

Tomas has been linked to with varying degrees of seriousness to the Dodgers, Padres, Phillies, Twins, Rangers, Giants and Tigers.

It was interesting to note that multiple executives with teams interested in Tomas say that, if he were a free agent, he would be a $15 million per year player, making a 5-year, $75 million contract for 23-year-old reasonable. However, because he is not attached to a draft pick, and will be the subject of a bidding war, Tomas could easily top that.

“Tomas’ best attribute is his power, a trait that is in short supply in today’s game. Only 14 players hit 30 or more home runs in 2013, and fewer might reach that threshold this year.  Tomas has 70 raw power on the 20-80 scale,” wrote Baseball America’s Ben Badler, “So he profiles as one of those rare 30+ home run bats.”

I don’t like this year’s free agent class one bit, but Tomas is someone that the Mets should be looking at. And by looking I mean more than just a passing glance. The experts endorse him, scouts are impressed, and executives and GMs are in hot pursuit. That’s quite telling.

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An Incremental Upgrade At Shortstop Is Not Worth Trading Syndergaard or Wheeler http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/11/an-incremental-upgrade-at-shortstop-is-not-worth-trading-syndergaard-or-wheeler.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/11/an-incremental-upgrade-at-shortstop-is-not-worth-trading-syndergaard-or-wheeler.html/#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2014 03:36:29 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=170137 alexei ramirez

One shortstop that seems to be high on many a Met fans’ wish list is Chicago’s Alexei Ramirez, and it’s been widely reported that the Mets have already been in contact with the White Sox for their All Star infielder. Ramirez batted .273 last season with a .305 on-base, 15 home runs and 74 RBI. He’s an excellent defender as well, but are you willing to give up Noah Syndergaard or Zack Wheeler to get him?

Let me ask you something… How much more offense would Alexei Ramirez provide next season over the Mets’ incumbent shortstop Wilmer Flores?

Brian Mangan tackled that very question over at MetsBlog and concluded that giving up seven years of our number one prospect in Syndergaard to acquire Ramirez simply is not worth the incremental upgrade we would get out if it.  And he’s right.

“Flores is projected to be a pretty good shortstop next year. FanGraphs projects that he will have the 12th best OPS among shortstops, while being worth 2.0 WAR. Meanwhile, Ramirez is projected to put up only a .679 OPS with a 2.3 WAR, due in part to his excellent defensive skills.”

“Ramirez is a fine player, but he provides such a small upgrade over Wilmer Flores that he will not be worth what it costs to acquire him.”

Honestly my friends, as I look at those 15 home runs, 74 RBI and .305 OBP that Ramirez posted last season, I’d be terribly shocked if Flores didn’t blow those numbers out of the water in 2015 with 600 plate appearances.

Ramirez is 33 and has a career 92 OPS+ over seven major league seasons. In what we can all agree was a rough rookie season for Flores who was used so sporadically, the 22-year old posted a 90 OPS+ in 2014.Is it that much of a stretch to believe Flores will easily top that and likely best Ramirez as he continues to improve and gain more experience?

One Sandy Alderson bopped Terry Collins off the side of his head and told him to start playing Flores everyday over Ruben Tejada, we really saw what Flores was capable of. Check out the results…

Over his final 96 plate appearances of the season. Flores posted a .791 OPS with four home runs and 13 RBI.

Conversely, over his final 96 plate appearances of the season, Ramirez posted a .569 OPS with two home runs and ten RBI.

Want to give up Zack Wheeler or Noah Syndergaard for one, maybe two years, of that?

If the White Sox were willing to swap Ramirez for one of Dillon Gee, Bartolo Colon. or Jon Niese, I’d be more receptive to Alexei. But that’s not happening.

Sandy Alderson has often stated that he is willing to begin the season with Wilmer Flores at shortstop. So am I. An incremental upgrade at shortstop shouldn’t have to cost us 6-7 years of a potential top of the rotation starter.

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15 Years Later, The Grand Slam Single Still Endures http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/15-years-later-the-grand-slam-single-still-endures.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/15-years-later-the-grand-slam-single-still-endures.html/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 04:44:18 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168114 robin ventura

One of the players I most enjoyed covering was Robin Ventura for those two years he played for the Yankees. In a clubhouse full of stars and egos, Ventura was a voice of calm, reason and humorous relief.

I enjoyed stopping by his locker to shoot the breeze for a minute or two, talking about things other than baseball. Very smart, clever and possessing an insight on numerous issues. When there was the inevitable blow up or moment of absurdity, Ventura was always there to put it into perspective with a quip as short and hard-hitting as his swing.

Once I asked him about his fight with Nolan Ryan, and his response was he knew he had made a mistake halfway out to the mound, but couldn’t turn around. You’ll even notice in the video he slowed down.

Was it an embarrassing moment? Yes, but years later he handled it with humor. He even joined with Ryan to autograph photos of the brawl.

When I covered the Orioles and he was with the White Sox, I’d make time to go over to his clubhouse for a few moments. He was accessible to anybody who would take the time to ask a question.

Ventura loved his time with Mets which included the 2000 NL Championship and of course the World Series loss to the Yankees.

“It was a great time,” said Ventura, who played for the Mets from 1999-2001. “We enjoyed it as a family just being there. The Mets were very good to me. There’s part of it going back, seeing a lot of faces that you’re friends with and happy to see.”

robin ventura grand slam single

His signature moment as a Met will always be the Grand Slam Single which happened 15 years ago today. It’s a a great memory and one that still gives many Mets fans goosebumps.

That night is one of the greatest team displays of enthusiasm outside of winning a championship I have ever seen. That, and the Piazza post 9-11 homer. Both were amazing to watch.

Ventura wasn’t a five-tool player, but was consistent and clutch. With a runner in scoring position you wanted him at the plate because he’d usually make contact.

Ventura was a .267 lifetime hitter and only once hit over .300, that being .301 in 1999, his first season with the Mets. Considering his 66-game hitting streak in college, I always wondered if he thought he should have hit for a higher average. He also hit 32 homers with a career-high 120 RBI in his first year with the Mets.

What the Mets wouldn’t give for a player with that production now.

Ventura had three solid years with the Mets, who, during that span had arguably one of the best defensive infields in history. Few balls got by Ventura, Rey Ordonez, Edgardo Alfonzo and John Olerud.

Both Olerud and Ventura would later play for the Yankees. When they left the Yankees, I always believed I’d see both of them again managing in a major league dugout. I’m still waiting on Olerud.

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