December 31, 2013

Prospect Profile: L.J. Mazzilli, 2B

With their fourth pick in the 2013 MLB Draft, the New York Mets selected L.J. Mazzilli, son of former Mets player Lee Mazzilli.

Mazzilli started the season playing with the Brooklyn Cyclones, joining second year shortstop Gavin Cecchini in the middle-infield.

Mazzilli is an offensive-minded second baseman who is a well-rounded player, although no tools will jump off the page at you. He has good speed and decent gap-to-gap power. He is the type of player who can provide a spark with his bat, so look for Mazzilli to hit at the top of the order, probably settling into the No. 2 hole.

Mazzilli has a nice, short, and compact swing which generates solid bat speed through the zone. There are some questions regarding his defense, which could ultimately determine if he becomes an everyday player, or a utility type. His range is excellent and is arm is solid for second base, so with his excellent baseball IQ, he should be able to work out any defensive inadequacies.

Due to his pedigree, his ability, and his work ethic, there is a better chance of Mazzilli making it to Flushing someday than there is of him washing out.

2013 Stats
2013 22 Brooklyn NYPL A- 70 273 24 76 12 4 34 3 22 53 .278 .329 .381 .710
1 Season 70 273 24 76 12 4 34 3 22 53 .278 .329 .381 .710
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 12/31/2013.

Mets Shouldn't Even Consider Santana For 2014

I love Johan Santana. He was a gamer for us when healthy. He was electrifying to watch. Whether it was striking guys out, diving for bunted balls or swinging out of his shoes at the plate, he kept you watching the game. Besides pitching the team's first no-hitter, he also got laid on a golf course. It would have been nice if we had won more with him here, but I appreciate everything he did for this organization.

Early in the offseason I was all for bringing Santana back. However, even if only for a minor league deal, the Mets do not need Santana back. Frankly, I don't think it would benefit either party. After the surprising signing of Bartolo Colon, the Mets currently have 4 rotation spots solidified. Coming back to camp this year will be Jenrry Mejia. I'd love to see him grab the 5th spot, especially after the way he performed in his short stint last season. However Mejia has failed to prove he can stay healthy.

You don't know what you're getting from Johan this year. He's missed most of the last 3 seasons. Between him and Mejia, there would be no guarantee in that 5th spot of the rotation. The Mets have proven to not promote players until it is fiscally beneficial or out of desperation. And in reality, this is the right thing to do considering the position they've been in the last few seasons. The last thing the Mets should do is start the clock on Montero or Syndergaard prematurely. As exciting as this offseason has been in regards to the Mets making some solid acquisitions, most level headed fans are probably not expecting the Mets to be serious contenders this year.

The Mets need stability. All they need is a low cost veteran pitcher to come in and compete and give them some starts. Maybe Mejia wins the job outright and you can keep this veteran in the pen as a long man spot starter or accept an assignment in AAA. Either way, it's time for the Met and the fans to get past the story and the nostalgia and just part ways with Santana. Johan should go find a team that will give him a legitimiate shot to make their rotation and a chance to win a ring.

2013 Mets Year End Recap

For the second time in as many seasons, the New York Mets posted only a 74 win season in 2013.  Identical years, with the lone exception being a third place finish atop the Marlins and Phillies, breaking a four year streak of fourth place finishes.  A successful season by no means, 2013 was not without excitement.  Here is a look back at the biggest stories of the past year.

Matt Harvey
The immergance of Matt Harvey as one of the best pitchers in baseball caught New York and the nation by storm.  Although, despite his new found fame he remained unrecognizable to some New Yorkers.  Plagued by little more than poor run support, Harvey didn't lose a decision until June 13th en route to being named the starting pitcher for the National League at the 2013 All-Star Game held at Citi Field where he promptly drilled Yankee Robinson Cano.  Harvey quickly accrued nearly 180 innings pitched before being shut down following his August 24th start due discomfort in his throwing arm that would ultimately lead to Tommy John surgery.  His finally stat line of 9-5 with a 2.27 ERA with nearly 10 strike outs per nine innings will leave Mets fans with fond memories, but ultimately anticipating his return in 2015.

The Sweep
As has been the case since the introduction of interleague play, the annual series with the Yankees wasthe most anticipated of the year. 2013 saw the expansion of interleague play limit the series to a split two game set in each ballpark. It didn't however limit the excitement, as the Mets surprised everyone by sweeping the season series for the first time. Although they mean nothing more than any other game in the standings, it was nice to have bragging rights over big brother on a rare occasion. 

2013 All Star Game
The mid-summer classic showcased Citi Field in only its fifth season.  In addition to Matt Harvey being named the NL starter, David Wright served as the NL captain of the Home Run Derby (which raised $529,000 for charity) which saw Oakland Athletics stud, Yoenis Cespedes, put to rest any notion that Citi's dimensions were too expansive.  Cespedes crushed 32 home runs to earn the win over Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals.  Despite the National League falling by a score of 3-0, Citi Field shined during a week's worth of activities that brought some rare, positive press the Met's way.

The Youth Movement Continues
The 2013 season twice offered the debut of a much anticipated prospect. Zack Wheeler's highlighted part of an exciting June 18th doubleheader in which the Mets swept the Braves. Although he didn't dominate all year, he showed flashes of the raw talent that made him so coveted by scouts across the game. Travis d'Arnaud followed to similar fanfare in late August after losing much of the season to injury. Despite having a freshman that was disappointing from an offensive standpoint, he showed excellent receiving skills which were well appreciated by those on the staff. 

2013 Offseason
The Mets surprised the masses late this year by investing nearly all of the money that came off the books via the departures of players like Johan Santana and Frank Francisco.  Depsite a slow start, the Mets revamped their outfield through the addition of bounce back candidate, Chris Young, and managed to ink former Yankees slugger, Curtis Granderson, to a four-year deal.  The team wasn't finished though.  In an effort to plug the hole left by the injured Matt Harvey, the Mets signed veteran starter Bartolo Colon to a surprising two year deal which was almost unanimously lauded by baseball insiders as a sign that the Mets are back on track and interested in winning.  Despite having much more work to do, the Mets will finish 2013 a better team on paper than that which took the field this past summer.

Matt Harvey Is Everywhere

Photo from @AnneV
This is Matt Harvey in Bangkok with his Sports Illustrated model girlfriend Anne V. So long as the guy in the orange toga is administering some type of blessing to his throwing arm, I have no issue with this trip.

December 30, 2013

Newsday: Tejada Likely Mets 2014 Shortstop

Marc Carig of Newsday had this to offer of the bleak outlook for the Mets hope to upgrade their shortstop position:

But as the new year approaches, the Mets seem prepared to begin the 2014 season with Tejada as their starter at shortstop. The about-face has been brought on by a market that has presented few alternatives.
The Mets remain in contact with Scott Boras, the agent for shortstop Stephen Drew, according to a person with knowledge of the talks. But the source likened the situation to the Mets' pursuit of outfielder Michael Bourn late last winter. Bourn ultimately landed with the Indians, but not before the Mets made a serious run at signing him, mostly because he had lowered his asking price as the season drew near.
Drew remains the only free- agent shortstop who would be a clear offensive upgrade over Tejada, who hit .202 with no homers and 10 RBIs in 208 at-bats. But the Red Sox reportedly have interest in bringing back Drew, who hit .253 with 13 homers and 67 RBIs and helped Boston win the World Series...
Carig goes on to list the weak chances and weaker market for the Mets to improve at short through the trade market.

Let me lead most fans in saying, "Crap." Short was a massive hole last year in the lineup, and this team still needs to see boosts at this position and first base if it plans to make any noise in the 2014 season. Given the Mets tenuous relationship with Scott Boras, the Drew signing has always been a bit of a long shot. I'm still pulling for it to happen, but the longer this goes on the more I feel it's a lost cause.

December 28, 2013

All Is Quiet On The Mets' Front

As 2013 winds down, the roster Sandy Alderson appears to be putting together for the 2014 warrants a hard look.  Will it look little like the punchless offensive group that toiled in Flushing last year? Will it be better?  Can it be worse?  Unfortunately, comparing the rosters from 2013 and as currently constituted doesn't give one much hope of a playoff run.  Here's what we can expect from the 2014 Mets.

Last year's opening day outfield of Lucas Duda, Colin Cowgill and Marlon Byrd will be replaced by a revamped Curtis Granderson, Juan Lagares and Chris Young trio.  Eric Young, Jr. Is in the mix as well.  By reputation, and assuming Lagares doesn't regress the way some second year players do, this group should perform much better than the cast that began the 2013 campaign.  One can expect much improved defense and power.  They will strike out in droves, but run production should increase. Pitchers will love throwing fly balls to them, especially at Citi Field, where outfield defense is key.  Overall: an upgrade; how significantly still remains to be seen.

The infield, other than David Wright, is in disarray.  The loss of John Buck aside, it appears to be the same group as last year.  Without picking up a major league shortstop, Ruben Tejada is the default option there. Daniel Murphy had a solid 2013 season at second base, with defensive skills vastly better than what most people expected.  He has some pop in his bat and it would be great to see him hitting with protection in the lineup.  He never walks, however, and his on-base numbers are awful for a guy who finished at the top of league in hits. Trade rumors have swirled around Murphy all winter.  He would be a nice trade chip for a back of the bullpen type, if the Mets were not so desperate for his offensive production. More troubling is this: if he stays with the Mets, who leads off?  First base is the biggest question mark on the team.  The Mets have waited for Ike Davis to fulfill his potential for three years, only to be disappointed by the results.  His swing is flawed, but not to the depths of what was displayed last year. It's clear that much of his underwhelming performance is in his head.  Mets fans greatest fear is that he moves on to another team, where he blossoms into a superstar. His defense is more than adequate and if the choice is between Ike and Lucas Duda, who is the same offensive player but a liability in the field, Ike gets the nod.  Travis d'Arnaud is going to get an opportunity to demonstrate that he is an every day Major League Baseball player.  On balance, no realistic talent evaluator thinks that both Davis and Tejada improve much beyond last year and Buck provided quality innings behind the plate with surprising production with the bat that won't be replaced in 2014.  Overall: worse than last year.

The pitching is going to be a strength for the Mets for many years to come.  The addition of Bartolo Colon has two potential benefits. He may well be a solid pitcher - especially with the move to the National League and the expansive ballpark he now calls home. Teaching the younger pitchers to trust their superior stuff and throw strikes could make them an even better starting staff than last year's group that finished sixth in baseball in quality starts. Niese and Gee have to mature and demonstrate that they are veterans, rather than young arms.  Wheeler can be as special as any pitcher in the game - and he doesn't seem to be surprised by his early success.  That quality may prove his best asset.  The fifth starter, probably Jenrry Mejia, whose pitches are electric, has to be durable.  That starting five could be solid.  They might also be fairly pedestrian. That's where Noah Syndergaard and/or Raphael Montero (probably in June or July) will come up to the big club.  The loss of Harvey for the year is a kick in the stomach.  Without him, the most likely candidate to step into the role of Ace is Wheeler.  A less talked about loss is Jeremy Hefner being on the shelf. For a time last summer, he was among the teams's most reliable starters.  The addition of Colon as a fourth or fifth starter would have been fabulous.  Expecting him to be an All-Star is not realistic.  The starters performed well last year.  A repeat would be most welcome. Overall: as good as last year is about all that can be expected.

The bullpen can't be worse than last year and could be another strength.  Parnell's injury situation makes any prediction of greatness dicey.  Vic Black, who Alderson plucked from the Pirates for Marlon Byrd, looks like a winner.  From there it's a group of hard throwing youngsters, Josh Edgin, Gonzales Germen and Jeurys Familia, along side some soft-tossing lefties, Scott Rice and "Perpetual" Pedro Feliciano.  Given how well the starting pitching did last year, the bullpen was a significant reason for the team's poor record - especially at the beginning of the season.  Improvement, however slight, should translate to wins.  Overall: hope springs eternal and it should be better.

The bench is stocked with Josh Satin, Eric Young, Jr., Anthony Recker and some combination of Matt den Dekker/Kirk Nieuwenhuis.  Non-tendering Justin Turner reduces the flexibility of this group, but Satin is reportedly trying to fill that role by practicing at both infield and outfield positions.  His bat, which is fairly good, especially against lefties, and his ability to play first make him almost a lock to be with the team on opening day.  Last year's bench was actually pretty good - speaking more to the quality of the starters they replaced than their actual production. Overall: a bit of a drop off from last year, but not noticeably so.

Prediction: a game better each month for each of the six months of the season puts this team at right around .500.  Two games better per month, and 86 wins (and at least in the discussion for a Wild Card) is possible.  The bullpen will be key.  This team isn't going to score eight runs a game.  Holding onto leads and keeping the team in games that are close will be the only way to see this kind of improvement.   Much more than that isn't going to happen.  

The is a guest post by Denis Engel.

Are The Mets Out On Drew?

Late this week, Mets special assistant J.P. Ricciardi appeared on WEEI 93.7 FM radio in Boston to discuss the team's situation at shortstop.  He had the following to say about the notion of Tejada starting on Opening Day in 2014:
"He's a young player...a lot of young players who get to play at the big league level early in their career, a lot of them don't realize how hard it is to play every day. A lot of them don't realize what it takes to play every day. I think in Ruben's case, he got a lot early in his career and I think he's starting to realize that he has to work a lot harder than he has in the past, and he has. To his credit, he really has. But as a young player, they get to the big leagues, some things happen for them and they forget how tough it is to stay there. I think he's at that stage in his career. I think next year he's going to be a better player than he was this previous year.”
Many Mets fans will read this and panic, but I think this is a situation where they need to read between the lines.  Ricciardi 100% believes everything he has said here, and to a point I do also.  I do believe Tejada is better than the player we saw in 2013 and I do believe the Mets are genuinely prepared to enter 2014 with him as their starting shortstop if they have to, but I still don't believe that is a certainty.

Ricciardi also had this to say about the shortstop market in general:
“Sometimes there's just supply and demand and I think right now there's just not a lot of demand for shortstops...Sometimes there's a lot of opportunities for free agents, but sometimes the market is a little bit of a stonewall. I think in this case there's a lot of shortstops that are already in place.”
This is the portion of the interview that I believe fans should really pay attention to. He is on the radio in Boston discussing the market for a position of interest for both the Mets and the Red Sox. I don't believe Stephen Drew is the ideal fit for the Mets going forward, but I don't feel that anything Ricciardi said in this interview indicates that the Mets are out on him.

It is total speculation, but I don't think Ricciardi takes this interview if the Mets were out on Drew.  I think this is a direct effort to downplay the team's interest and with any luck, further reduce his value in the market.  If the Red Sox are preparing to make a one-year, take it or leave it offer to Drew as has been rumored, that may leave the door open for the Mets to sweep in with a modest two-year offer that will upgrade the shortstop position immediately, while maintaining payroll flexibility long term.  Sandy Alderson 101 if we've ever seen it.

The market for Stephen Drew is still developing, and as it continues to trend downward I believe there is increasing opportunity for the Mets.  The Mets are coy in their pursuit, but you would be foolish to think they're not pursuing.

December 27, 2013

Ike Davis Humorously Still Being Shopped

Well, this has been the same since the Winter Meetings. Sandy Alderson has been very successful in getting as much out of teams as possible when trading away talent, but teams seem to be on to how significantly damaged the goods of Ike Davis are. Eduardo Rodriguez is a high upside pitching prospect in the Orioles organization, and would be an extremely high price to pay for a first baseman with Ike's spotty history. It would be great if Alderson found a way to do it.

At this point, the options for moving Ike are growing slimmer. If we plug the hole at shortstop, I would be much more amenable to giving Davis one more chance to straighten himself out, especially since he would have the chance to do so further down in the lineup.

A Zack Wheeler And Daniel Murphy Bromance?

I'm beginning to notice...

...a bit of a theme... most of the pictures...
...I've seen from the Mets this winter.

I think this is a terrific thing. Search both of their names and you'll find many more pictures of these two doing promos, TV shows, and interviews together. I hope this is just the start of a cohesive, fun to watch team progressing. If the clubhouse, which already has two top notch character guys in David Wright and Curtis Granderson, can add some bonding between other young players, it could go a long way towards creating a winning atmosphere.

All pictures from Mets social media.

Mets In Dwindling Group Of Stephen Drew Contenders

From on Stephen Drew:

Let's say Stephen Drew is unsigned a few weeks from now. What a hammer the Red Sox have. They don't necessarily need Drew but still could make good use of him. They can offer him a one-year deal, take it or leave it. If he balks, they'll take the draft pick when he finally signs with another team.- Peter Abraham, Boston Globe
This sounds like a pie in the sky scenario from a Boston news source. It is terrific, in theory, to offer a shortstop a one year, take-it-or-leave-it offer in a vacuum. In the real world, however, it becomes much more likely that even the suitors who had dropped out on him re-enter the mix if the price becomes that low. Combining this type of speculation with multiple reports that the Mets would consider going to at least two years leaves room to think of the Mets as a serious option for Drew's services.

Obviously, the signing of Drew, a 30 year old career .264 hitter, would fill a massive gap in the Mets lineup and move them that much closer to contention. He is not a superstar, but again, solving the Mets has less to do with bringing in superstars than it does with plugging the holes with competent major league talent and letting the young stars develop.

December 26, 2013

David Wright To Marry Today

The hearts of female Mets fans everywhere will officially break this afternoon when Mets team captain David Wright will take the plunge and wed long time girlfriend, Molly Beers.  Wright first acknowledged the relationship publicly when his contract extension was announced last winter.  They announced their wedding date in August and will marry this afternoon in California. Today, he will be off the market, forever.

Another Stephen Drew Suitor Falls?

There may be a serious silver lining in the news that the Rakuten Golden Eagles have chosen to post Masahiro Tanaka.  It's logical to think that this may prevent the New York Yankees from bidding on shortstop Stephen Drew.

Last weekend you may recall reports that Scott Boras approached the Mets regarding Drew, whose market has gradually diminished. Once expected to command a four-year contract in the neighborhood of $60 million dollars, Drew may now have to settle for only two-years and around $25 million. Such a drop in asking price may have seen him reenter the Mets price range. 

The Yankees were thought to be one of the few other teams interested in Drew, but only in a backup capacity. With the organization intent on maintaining a payroll under $189 million and expected to make an all out attempt at the expensive Tanaka, it stands to reason that they can no longer afford a $12 million dollar backup shortstop. 

If the Yankees drop out of the running (which isn't confirmed), that leaves only one other major contender in the Boston Red Sox, who themselves added another shortstop last week by acquiring Jonathan Herrera.  Does that dull their pursuit of Drew?  That remains to be seen, but it's very realistic to think that the Mets may be the last partner at the dance. 

Now the question becomes will the Mets increase their anticipated payroll to make it happen?  Currently sitting at an estimated $83 million dollars, the team's payroll would approach $100 million if Drew is acquired when combined with some minimal bullpen renovations.  That's a number no one envisioned for the Mets in 2014, but as his market falls Drew should receive major consideration to fill the Mets infield needs. 

Mets Will Not Pursue Tanaka

There was one bit of news over the Christmas holiday as its been learned that the Rakuten Golden Eagles will release their star pitcher Masahiro Tanaka through the new MLB posting system.  The 24 year old pitcher went 24-0 last season with a stingy 1.24 ERA.

At the bare minimum, the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers are expected to post the $20 million dollar maximum needed to negotiate with Tanaka. Other clubs are also expected to be in the mix. The New York Mets however, are not expected to be in that group per a report by Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal. 

Projections have varied, but Tanaka is expected to receive contract offers exceeding $100 million dollars despite having never thrown a pitch in the majors.  Even if the Mets had the financial capabilities to bid on Tanaka, I expect this is not the type of risk Sandy Alderson would prefer to take, so this news shouldn't surprise anyone. 

December 25, 2013

Happy Effing Holidays!!


We here at Effing Mets hope that you enjoy the day with your loved ones!
We'll be back full-time tomorrow!
Merry Effing Christmas!!

December 24, 2013

Ex-Met Justin Turner May Sign Elsewhere, Soon

It should come as no surprise, but Justin Turner won't have any trouble finding a job after the Mets chose to non-tender him this winter.  As reported above by Cotillo, multiple teams are interested in his services, despite the Met's ridiculous claims that he didn't hustle. Turner's ability to play multiple infield positions while swinging a respectable bat will quickly find him a spot on the bench somewhere in a part-time role.

Carlos Beltran and the Mets

Let me clearly state this. Carlos Beltran is one of my favorite all time Mets player. I will say it again, Carlos Beltran is one of my all time favorite Mets. He is arguably the greatest outfielder to don the orange and blue. Suck on that Darryl Strawberry.

His tenure with the Mets had its share of ups and downs, mostly ups in my opinion. Met fans will always recall his whiff against Wainwright but anyone with any sense won't make that his legacy. His departure wasn't ideal, but at that point the Mets weren't going anywhere and the trade for Wheeler helped cement the future of the organization.

So, after his half season with the Giants he signed a two year deal with the Cardinals. He made the world series. His two outstanding seasons with the red birds landed him a three year contract with the over zealous Yankees at the ripe age of 37 and only making 2 million less per year than he was making in his prime with the Mets. You are probably asking what my problem is? Well here goes...

In his press conference he slighted the Mets. BIG time. I get it, he feels like he was the target and I would agree for the most part. What I don't understand is why wait until he signs with the a$$ hats across town? Why not blow this up two years ago when signing with the Cardinals? Carlos has always taken the high road with ANYTHING in his career. Why wait until now? This organization paid him a kings ransom. They paid him so much that he is able to set his family up for generations and even allowed him to build up the baseball world in his country with his academy.

Baseball is a business as Carlos has a firm grasp on that. In any business the top paid dogs are always a target. That is how is has been and will be. It pains me to say it but two words Carlos. Shut up.

Prospect Profile: Amed Rosario

Bio: 6' 2" 170 lbs from the . Age 18.
Drafted: Undrafted. Signed as an international free agent on 7/2/12 from Santo Domingo Centro, Dominican Republic by the New York Mets. His $1.75M signing bonus was the largest ever given by the Mets to an international free agent.

Scouting Report:
Upon being signed, Mets front office man Paul DePodesta described Rosario as "extremely athletic, very instinctual and highly intelligent." However, its important to remember that he is very young.  He has great tools, which include above-average speed and an above-average arm, along with enough power that should make him a threat on both sides of the game.  There is a consensus that he will need to completely rebuild his swing, but he already drives the ball to right-center field with efficiency.  Despite this and the fact that his defense reads need to improve, he has plenty of time.

2013 Stats:
Kingsport (A): 212 AB, 22 R, 51 H, 8 2B, 3 HR, 11 BB, 43 SO, .241 BA, .279 OBP

Named the best prospect in the Appalachian League in 2013 by Baseball America, scouts seem to be split on the youngster, with some projecting him as the answer at shortstop long-term, and others seeing an eventual move to the outfield.  His talent is raw, but everyone does seem to agree that he has the tools of an eventual major leaguer.  Whether that means an above-average shortstop or average outfielder is something that will take years to work through.

What's Next:
At only 18 years old, Rosario will spend years developing his game before it will translate to the big league level. He won't see a full season of baseball in 2014, as he stands to open the year in extended spring training, with an eventual move to the New York Penn League.  If you want something to watch this year, pay attention to his strike out rate.  As his pitch recognition skills improve, that should drop and his average should rise.

Twitter: N/A

December 23, 2013

Mets Claim Ryan Reid To Add To Bullpen Mix

In a move that could add depth to the team's bullpen, the Mets have claimed 28 year old right-hander Ryan Reid from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Reid's major league career consists of seven appearances during the 2013 season, during which he pitched to a 1.64 ERA in just 11 innings pitched.

Reid's four pitch repertoire consists of a fastball, sinker, slider and change-up.  His fastball comes in at an average speed of 93 mph.  Reid is not lock of make the pen out of spring training, but the Mets need to address the bullpen.  If they're not prepared to spend significant money there, stockpiling arms is another perfectly acceptable route to go.

Reid was designated for assignment by the Pirates on December 13th.

The Mets Are Back In Black... Maybe

Adam Rubin tweeted out today that the Mets still have black on their uniform list for 2014. Don't get me wrong. I love the traditional Mets pinstripes and grey uniforms with the blue hat. I also really enjoy the blue alternates. But I am a fan of the black. I always have been. I was sad when they got rid of the black.

I think the black is a nice change of pace. I agree that the Mets got a little black heavy during that period of time when it was in the rotation. But I think that if worn every now and then (Once or twice a month maybe), it's a nice way for the team to acknowlege and important time in Mets history in which the black was a feature color. A whole generation of Mets fans were raised on black jerseys. And when you see many highlights of the memorable moments in Mets history from 1998-2008, they are in black.
The black makes for some good outer wear too. I'm big into wearing bright flashy colors, so I love rocking blue and orange. But every now and then, you gotta dial it down a notch. So while most of my wardrobe from April through october consists of Mets gear, there's only so much blue a man can wear before people think you only own 3 shirts. I have and love my black dugout windbreaker. And I've always loved the black hat.

I think fan support for and against the black is split down the middle. So I am glad the Mets are at least considering it because it shows that they don't base how they dress or how they run their franchise solely on the opinion a few induviduals who feel like they are the voice of the fans. Bottom line is the fans are going to watch this team regardless. If they win the World Series this year**, they could wear hefty garbage bags for all anyone could care. No one forces you to buy black apparel. Based on the last few years, from here on out only the colors blue and orange will be synonomous with the Mets brand. But remember the old saying, once you go black, you don't go back.


Holla at your boy on Twitter @GetsThruBuckner

Guest Post On Lucas Duda: Mets On My Mind

Lucas Duda could be the New York Mets’ best option to start at first base next year. Even though he has not played a full season, his OBP and OPS statistics look promising. He has raw power too. But most importantly to General Manager Sandy Alderson, he comes cheap.

Duda, 27, made his Mets debut in September 2010 and is set to make roughly $2 million next season. This is nearly $3.5 million below the average salary of a Major League Baseball first baseman. His ceiling is lower than fellow first baseman Ike Davis, but the front office is pushing to trade Davis.

2014 is an opportunity for Duda to shine. At 6’4” and 255 pounds, he is a lumbering presence at the plate, yet his confidence has come into question throughout his career. Duda has said that he is most comfortable on offense when playing first base but he was underwhelming at that position this past season. He batted .223/.352/.415 in 2013 with 15 HR and 33 RBI through 384 plate appearances.

His best stretch of baseball was in 2011 when he posted a .292/.370/.482 slash line with 10 home runs and 50 runs batted in through 347 plate appearances. The low average he has had over the past two seasons would be more acceptable if he were a 30 home run hitter.

Duda needs to find a balance between taking pitches and being aggressive in favorable counts. He is a soft-spoken man of few words who tends to take pitches when he should be swinging. Thirteen of his 15 home runs were solo shots aside from one two-run homer and a three-run blast in September, which means that he only drove in 15 runs without the long ball.

Plate discipline is his Duda’s upside. His career on-base percentage is .342 with a .352 OBP and .767 on-base plus percentage last season. However, his OBP was only .329 in 2012 through 121 games, the most he has played in one season.

A walk only drives in a run when the bases are loaded, and his running game is slower than molasses. The Mets sent Duda down to the minor leagues in 2012 after a prolonged slump. He is seldom clutch in key situations; he had an anemic .145 batting average with runners in scoring position last season. That is worse than 566 other hitters in 2013.

Alderson must be decisive next season about whether Duda is a full-time first baseman or just a stopgap until they are able to make an upgrade. He needs to play as close to 162 games in 2014 as possible in order for the front office to truly assess his value. Some of his statistics are impressive on paper but he has not shown the gumption to thrive under pressure.

If Mets Only Go One Year On Drew, Why Bother?

With the news yesterday that Scott Boras is trying to reengage the Mets on free agents Kendrys Morales and Stephen Drew, there has been significant speculation as to whether either could actually end up in Flushing.  The Mets have said without reservation that they are uninterested in the services of Morales.  They remain however at least lukewarm on Stephen Drew.

Drew would represent an definitive upgrade at shortstop.  He is a quality defender and would increase the team's power production from the position immediately.  As a result, just like they were at the Winter Meetings two weeks ago in Orlando, the Mets would be interested in Stephen Drew on the right deal.

According to Kevin Kernan of the NY Post, Stephen Drew is in search of a three-year deal, while the Mets would go no longer than a two year committment.  The boys over at MetsBlog speculate that the Mets could go as little at one year, if possible.  That simply doesn't make sense.

Although signing Drew is an upgrade at the largest hole remaining in the Mets daily lineup, he wouldn't come without risks.  Most specifically, injury risks.  Drew hasn't played in more than 124 games in any season since 2010.  Thats a difficult pill to swallow for a team looking to avoid the type of lost contracts the Mets had to wait out (See: Bay and Santana).  However on the contrary, the Mets can put an exclamtion point on their offseason if they were to find a way to make this work.

I don't envision a scenario where Drew signs for just one year, unless his market is just that flat that he wants to playout 2014 and go in search of the payday again next winter.  I expect it to take two years..and quite possibly a third year option.  Unless money is soley the prohibitive issue, its tough to see an objection.  The Mets have no one waiting in the wings for years to come, but with Drew in the everyday lineup, they do have a capable backup in Ruben Tejada.

When the offseason started, there was no one who thought Drew could find his way to the Mets.  He isn't a perfect fit, and although he will cost the Mets their third round pick in next summers draft, he will sure up the lineup and the defense up the middle. 

A one year deal would find the Mets right back in the same spot next winter, devoid of a shortstop with a much more plentiful, but more expensive free agent crop.  On only a two or three year deal, he allows the team to maintain payroll flexibility in the long term.  Again, he's not perfect, but his remains the organization's best option at this point in time.

All-Time Mets/Yankees Team

Spurred on by the announcement of Carlos Beltron in pinstripes, the NJ Star Ledger posted its all-time lineup of players who've played for both the Mets and the Yankees.  The only criteria to make the team was that players must have suited up for both clubs.  Here's who made the cut:

Yogi Berra (Yankees: 2,116 games; Mets: 4)

First base:
John Olerud (Yankees: 49 games; Mets: 476)
Second base:
Willie Randolph (Yankees: 1,694 games; Mets 90)
Third base:
Robin Ventura (Yankees: 230 games; Mets: 444)

Tony Fernandez (Yankees: 108 games; Mets 48)

Darryl Strawberry (Yankees: 231 games; Mets: 1,109)
Rickey Henderson (Yankees: 596 games; Mets: 152)
Gary Sheffield (Yankees: 347 games; Mets: 100)

Starting pitcher:
Doc Gooden (Yankees 67 games; Mets: 309)
Relief pitcher:
Jesse Orosco (Yankees: 15 games; Mets: 372)

Armando Benitez (Yankees: 9 games; Mets: 333)
This is pretty cool and brings back memories both good and bad.  For my money, the Yankees can keep the likes of Willie Randolph (despite his managerial success) and Armando Benitez.  I'd also be willing to bet that before his three year contract with the Yankees is over, Carlos Beltran could suplant Gary Sheffield on this list.
What do you think?  Did the Ledger miss anyone?

December 22, 2013

Boras Reaches Out To The Mets On Morales And Drew

In a bit of a reversal in roles, super-agent Scott Boras has been reported to have reached out to Mets ownership regarding his biggest two remaining free agents.  The discussion is bring reported by Jerry Crasnick of
Crasnick also reports that the Mets have minimal interest in Morales, who has served primarily in a designated hitter role the past two season in the American League. I recently discussed the reasons for which I didn't think Morales was a fit for the Mets, but basically what it comes down to is that he is an unproven entity in the field at this point, and may not provide a significant upgrade of a either Ike Davis or Lucas Duda.  Furthermore, he wouldn't be a long term solution for the Mets at first base.

Drew on the other hand is a different story, as shortstop remains the teams weakest link.  Crasnick believes that price remains an issue for the Mets, who have already spent $85 million on the roster this winter.  There were reports that Drew would chose to go back to the Boston Red Sox, however they recently addressed their shortstop needs and may no longer be in the market.  That could pave the way for Drew to land in Flushing on a somewhat more team friendly deal.

Long story short, it remains to be seen if the Mets have any real interest in Stephen Drew.  It's also a very real possibility that Boras is trying to drum up interest in the slugger in an effort to increase his market.  One thing is certain at this point.  Drew remains a better fit for the Mets than Morales, but in either case the Mets may have to exceed their predetermined budget to make either move happen.

December 21, 2013

One Time Mets Target, Choo Signs With Texas

If you were in search of any additional evidence that this winter's free agent market is absolutely nuts, free agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo just signed a 7-year, $130 million dollar deal with the Texas Rangers. You may recall that late this past summer, many baseball experts predicted that Choo would sign a deal in the 5-year, $80 million dollar range. Shows how much they knew...

Once upon a time, Choo was the top offseason target of the New York Mets. He was without question the ideal player to fill both their outfield and lead off needs. However the Mets were immediately out of the race when Choo's agent, Scott Boras, was reportedly seeking at a deal in excess of $100 million.

Ultimately, it will be $130 million for Choo.  It should be noted that he turned down a seven-year, $140 million dollar offer from the Yankees.  However, there is speculation that he will take home more money due to a lack of state income tax in Texas, with one source reporting that the Yankees bid would have to have exceeded $147 million to match up with that of Texas.

You may be thinking, if they Mets spent like the big market team they supposedly are, then why couldn't they make something like this happen. To some extend you're right, but contracts like this inevitably turn into an albatross.  Choo will be 38 years old before this contract expires.  That's a very dangerous deal for the Rangers, but there are in "win now" mode and the Mets most definitely aren't, yet.

Daniel Murphy Interviewed On WOR, And It's Just Awful

This is the downside to having your baseball team broadcast by a non-sports station. Daniel Murphy is really doing his best in this interview, but it is just inane. This lady, Joan Hamburg, clearly did not sign up for baseball player interviewers when she got this job. This sounds like Daniel Murphy having the requisite awkward Christmas conversation with his great aunt.

This will probably be the first of many terrible and awkward interviews by the news talk personalities at WOR with Mets players. If that is the case, here's hoping Matt Harvey at least comes on to pitch Qualcomm.

Effing Mets Poll: How Many Games Will This Team Win?

With the current additions to the roster, how many games will the Mets win in 2014?
69-74: They haven't added enough talent to make a difference
75-80: They've improved, but they're a long way from contention
81-86: They've plugged some holes, and are close to meaningful baseball
87-92: They've added pop to the lineup and a solid pitcher, this will be a good year
93-98: I experiment with recreational narcotics before participating in web polls
Poll Maker

December 20, 2013

Mets With Interesting Announcements To The 2014 Summer Concert Series

The Mets announced on twitter that they have added two more artists to their summer concert series.  I wouldn't necessarily share this type of information on this particular blog, however the nature in which I learned of the artists made me laugh.

50 Cent will perform live at Citi Field on June 14th.

Jay Horwitz posted this picture to twitter with a note that he was 
looking to recruit for his "J-Unit Crew".

Austin Mohone will perform live at Citi Field on September 27th.

Jay Horwitz posted this picture to twitter with a note that he 
will be growing his hair out to ensure that there are two 
heart throbs at Citi Field that day.

Basically, Jay Horwitz is losing his mind, but its been fun to watch and I wanted to share these two gems with you.  Furthermore, I wanted to let you know that while I have no clue who Austin Mahone is, I advise you to avoid Citi Field on Sept 27th unless you want to endure twenty or so thousand screaming teenage girls.

Valdespin Signs Minor League Deal With The Miami Marlins

Jordany Valdespin is finally gone for good, having signed a minor league deal with the Miami Marlins. Valdespin was non-tendered last month following a variety of issues on and off the field in recent years.  If he can get out of his own way, he could probably be a decent ballplayer.  However, I think its safe to say thats unlikely.

More importanty, I finally get to use this photo that Valdespin posted to his Instagram account last winter...while still a member of the Mets.  Here's to hoping the Mets plunk him the first time his comes to the plate for the opposition.  They won't..but I still hope they do.

Mets Employees Get All Star Rings

In a post to twitter, Jay Horwitz posted this picture, stating that ownership gave one to every employee to worked the All Star game last summer.

Cool gesture, considering all the money talk we often hear about the Wilpons.  With that said, these are probably glorified high school rings.  Lets all just hope that this isn't the only ring David Wright receives in his time with the Mets.

Beltran Is Justly Critical Of The Mets

This morning Carlos Beltran  was officially introduced by the New York Yankees.  During his introduction press conference, the top inevitably turned towards his previous time in New York with the Mets.  His comments were less than flattering...

Regarding his departure from the Mets:

"The organization tried to portray me as the bad apple.  It 
hurt me and my family." 

"You've got to blame someone.  You've got to blame the guy
making the most money.  That's baseball."

"When someone is trying to hurt you in a personal way...
Then its personal.  Now we have trouble."

You'll recall that he and team were at odds over how to treat his barking knees, the year prior to his departure from the Mets.  You'll also recall that he missed the now infamous trip to Walter Reed Medical Center in DC (something I took an issue with).  His time with the Mets, especially at the end wasn't without controversy.

There will be folks to liken this to Curtis Granderson's swipes at the Yankees during his own introductory press conference.  Don't.  This wasn't playful.  There was not coy smile involved.  Beltran hold legitimate angst towards the Mets organization.  You may not care about his opinions, but you should.  Beltran is one of the most vanilla personalities in baseball.  He lets his play do the talking, the way it should be.  For him to make these comments, which are well out of character, this is something he's carried with him for some time.

Let this serve as a lesson to the Mets, who have continued to bad mouth players as they've walked out the door.  More recently than Beltran, the team publicly criticized RA Dickey after his trade to the Toronto Blue Jays.  Just this winter the team leaked a bogus explanation that the reason Justin Turner wasn't tendered a contract was a lack of hustle.

Whether or not you agree or disagree with any of what the Mets have said, its bad business.  It looks bad to other incoming players that if things don't go well, their reputation could be thrown under the bus.  Now we'll await a reply from the team's front office, because while they should certainly keep their mouths such, history says they won't.

One More Reason To Hate The Phillies

This is an unacceptable atrocity. Philadelphia continues to be a virtual sewage treatment plant for sports and fans. This video is so bad it makes me want to intentionally vomit on another fan at a baseball game.

This is why people hate you, Philly.

David Wright Is Getting Old

It will be difficult to miss today regardless of what version of social media you fancy, but team captain David Wright turns 31 years old today.  Now in everyday life, your early thirties represent little more than possibly the start of parenthood or the expansion of your career.  Baseball however is another story.

Since bursting onto the scene ten years ago, Wright has put together a healthy baseball resume that features a career average of .301, more than 220 home runs and seven all-star selections.  He has essentially become Mr. Met and the face of the franchise, having even been made team captain.

Now, on the downside of thirty and just a year into the eight year contract he received last winter, today should serve as a reminder that the clock is ticking.  There has been no noticeable drop off in Wright statistics to date, but those days are coming.  If the Mets are seriously looking to build a contender around him, a desire they apparently explained when convincing him to sign his extension, the window will start closing soon.

Wright stands to be the leader in nearly every offensive statistical category by the end of his career.  He will be regarded by many as the best player to ever strap on the blue and orange.  However, with only one playoff appearance under his belt, he is still chasing the thing he covets most, a ring.  David Wright isn't old, but he's getting there and the Mets had better act fast before it sneaks up on them too.

Is Pittsburgh The More Likely Destination For Ike Davis?

This thing seems like its going to go on forever.  The Mets have had Ike Davis dangling over the trade market for months now, and he still resides firmly in Queens.  The market for the slugger hasn't been without interest, but Sandy Alderson has requested a premier pitching arm in return and to date no one has budged.  Some question whether anyone will, but there is still plenty of time for things to develop.

Leading up to and throughout the week of the Winter Meetings, Ike Davis rumors landed almost exclusively on the doorstep of the Milwaukee Brewers.  Sandy Alderson met with Doug Melvin on multiple occasions in Orlando, but his request for Tyler Thornburg left talks stranded.  In the time since, there hasn't been much movement on either side, with the exception of Melvin inferring that the Brewers may look elsewhere.

There is however increasing chatter that the Pittsburgh Pirate may become more of a player for Davis.  After losing their first baseman, Justin Morneau, to free agency, the Pirate have a very large hole to fill.  There seems to be increasing pressure on the organization to make an impact move in an effort to maintain momentum from last year.  You'll recall that 2013 was the first winning season for the Pirates since 1992.  That's not a fact that's lost on their fans and not a realm of thinking they would like to reenter.

Sandy Alderson hasn't been without his own particularly high set of demands for Pittsburgh either, having requested Nick Kingham, who Baseball America ranks as their fifth best prospect.  Although that may not be a move that the Pirates have any desire to make, their farm system is deep.  They may also be more inclined to pay more for Davis due to public pressure. The Pirates have no desire to go backwards in 2014.

Will Ike Davis be traded?  I still think the correct question is when will he be traded. Where will he go?  I think that answer is getting cloudier by the day.

December 19, 2013

Fox: MLB Could Allow Head Protection For Pitchers

In an article from Jimmy Traina on Fox Sports, pitchers may be allowed to wear protective hats as early as next season.

From the article:
"They're coming," McCarthy said of the headgear. "From everything I know they'll be available this year. I don't believe they're going to be mandatory. Actually, I'm almost certain they won't be mandatory...
He said the headgear would look like a hat but would be able to protect a pitcher from serious injury...
McCarthy, as you might remember, suffered a serious injury when took a line drive off the side of his head during a game in 2012 when he was with the A's..."It should be strong enough and capable enough that literally if I got hit by the same exact ball I would have been able to keep pitching in that game," McCarthy said.
This is terrific. Seriously. We equip the catchers and batters to protect themselves, and now pitchers will be afforded the same type of protection. It was a matter of time and numbers before a prone pitcher after delivering a pitch was killed or maimed by a line drive. Let's hope this moves us off that path.

More importantly: not everyone who plays baseball does so in the majors. Hopefully, MLB moving to this will push Little League and other youth baseball programs to make this type of hat available to pitchers in their leagues.


The Best Catcher In Mets History?

The Mets Twitter account is run by an intern, I'm assuming. Still, they should have a cursory knowledge of the sport they are tweeting about. Todd Hundley isn't even in that picture!

Seriously, though, I know Mets fans love Gary Carter. But we aren't going to have a debate about who the greatest catcher in Mets history is, are we? It would be nonsensical. I understand there could be some banter about offensive value contrasted with defensive value, but nothing I couldn't laugh off dismissively as I built the Mike Piazza Shrine And Museum.

Let's not bring the copious amount of statistics into this argument that would support the inane one-sidedness of this conversation. 100 more home runs? 46 point difference in career batting average? It's insane. It's not that I'm being cruel and belittling Carter's accomplishments in the game. it's that Mike Piazza is that much better.

On top of that, Piazza gets a terrible rap as a defensive catcher. He couldn't throw out runners. That was all. He was not some massive liability behind the plate. He fielded his position well, and pitchers performed well throwing to him. From Bill James Online:

The most important part of a catcher’s job is handling his pitchers and in this area Piazza was superb. Here is one of the most telling statistics. In his career behind the plate, pitchers had a 3.80 ERA when Piazza was catching. If you look at all the other catchers who caught the same pitchers in the same year that Piazza did, they allowed a 4.34 ERA. That’s a major difference, much more important than a few extra bases stolen. (In fact, Piazza’s catcher ERA of 3.81 includes the run value of any extra stolen bases he allowed.)
 So there, the myth of Piazza being bad defensively is disspelled.

Or, to sum the argument up more concisely: Mike Piazza can be argued as the best catcher of all time. Carter cannot.

Disagree? Well, you're wrong but feel free to plead your case in the comments or on Twitter. I can be insulted and slandered under @kmflemming.