March 30, 2014

Now it's for Real

Opening Day is just over 24 hours away, the team has arrived in New York and after a rough Spring Training physically and media wise the Mets are looking to turn the page and get off to a good start.  Traditionally the Mets have thrived in openers but they are looking down the barrel of my pre-season favorite to win the NL East and the howitzer that is the right arm of Stephen Strasburg.  Dillon Gee will toe the rubber for the Metropolitans and excuse me if this doesn't get my fan juices flowing.  I like Gee, a lot; he is a great middle of the rotation guy, excellent control with solid movement on his pitches.

Of course this should be Matt Harvey's start but Mr. John claimed that from us last summer.  I want to be excited, I want to get pumped up and jump around but for the first time in 34 years of life I have successfully tempered my emotions.  I have succumbed to rational thought and reason.  This season will be another in a seemingly long line of mediocre ones.  I would sign for 80 wins right now and take my chances that Harvey returns to form sooner than later, Wheeler finds more control and consistency and Syndergaard actually is Thor.

All these lovely dreams and desires aside reality sets in and you realize that Washington is poised to win the division, a Braves team without Medlen and Beachy is still more than formidable, Miami may just surprise all of us with their young talent and Philadelphia, while an aging veteran team, still knows how to play and will win their share of games on experience alone.

Where does this leave our beloved Metsies?  I'm not entirely sure but its time to man up, forget the excuses and talk about the youth that is yet to come.  No day but today, time to put up or shut up.  90 wins, 85 wins or 80 wins serious improvement on the whole needs to be seen this season or their may not be too many fans willing to show in 2015 for Matt Harvey part deux.

2014 prediction, 79-83, 3rd place in the NL East.

Happy Opening Day everyone!

March 27, 2014

How Will It End? (Part 4)

16.  Daniel Murphy's 2013 season statistics were as follows:

Hits          188
RBI           78
SO            95
BA            .286
Games     161

Which of his statistics will see the least change in the 2014 regular season for the Mets?  (Change is measured on a "numerical" basis, i.e., if BA improves to .296 and Hits drops to 168, BA is the correct answer.) (5 pts)

A. Hits
E. Games

17.  How many innings will be pitched in relief for the Mets in the 2014 regular season? (5 pts)

A. Fewer than 525
B. More than 525 but fewer than 580
C. More than 580 but fewer than 625
D. More than 625 but fewer than 710
E. More than 710

18. When will Zack Wheeler record his 10th win for the New York Mets in the 2014 regular season? (5 pts)

A. Before the All-Star break
B. After the All-Star break, but before August 1
C. On or after August 1, but before September 1
D. On or after September 1
E. He will not record 10 wins for the Mets in 2014

19.  When will Bartolo Colon record his 200th career win? (5 pts)

A. Before the All-Star break
B. After the All-Star break, but before August 1
C. On or after August 1, but before September 1
D. On or after September 1
E. He will not record his 200th win 2014

20.  Which of the following will occur in the 2014 regular season? (Select the best Answer) (5 pts)

A.  Matt Harvey will pitch in a regular season game
B.  A Pitcher will hurl a no-hitter for the Mets
C.  A Mets batter will hit for the cycle in a 9 inning game
D. A and B, but not C
E. A and C, but not B
F. B and C, but not A
G. A, B and C
H. None of the above

Tie Breakers

#1:  How many Wins will the 2014 Mets have in the regular season?  _________

#2:  How many ABs will the 2014 Mets have as a team in the regular season? _______

March 26, 2014

How Will It End? (Part 3)

11.  Who will play the most games in the regular season for the 2014 Mets? (5 pts)

A. Ike Davis, at first base
B. Lucas Duda, at any position
C. A person whose last name is Young, at any position
D. Ruben Tejada
E. Travis d'Arnaud

12.  In what place will the 2014 Mets finish? (5 pts)

A. First place
B. Second place
C. Third place
D. Fourth place
E. Fifth place

13.  Which combination of pitchers will have the highest win totals for the Mets during the 2014 regular season?  (5 pts) Tie goes to the first listed.

A.  Bartolo Colon and Vic Black
B. Jonathon Neise and Raphael Montero
C. Zack Wheeler and Noah Syndergaard
D. Dillon Gee, Bobby Parnell and Jenrry Mejia

14.  Which player(s) will lead the Mets in HRs in the 2014 regular season? (5 pts)

A. David Wright
B. Curtis Granderson
C. Ike Davis
D. Daniel Murphy and Chris Young (combined)
E. None of the above

15. Which pitcher will lead the Mets in innings pitched in the 2014 regular season? (5pts)

A. Noah Syndergaard
B. Zack Wheeler
C. Dillon Gee
D. Bartolo Colon
E. None of the above

Ike, Duda, Both To Be On Opening Day Roster

Both Ike Davis and Lucas Duda will be on the New York Mets Opening Day roster for the beginning of this season, according to Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News. From the paper:
Tuesday, Sandy Alderson confirmed that the Mets expect the much ballyhooed battle for the starting first base job to continue into the regular season.
“I would say right now, I expect both of them to be on the team,” the Mets GM said of Opening Day. “As to who is going to be playing first base, we haven’t decided.”
That was the most important decision to be made this offseason. After failing to find a trade partner for Davis, the Mets figured that the two players could duel it out in spring training, but injuries to both left the Mets in a quandary.

Two first basemen on the roster, neither of them a good option. Looks like, given the assumed platoon with Josh Satin to help with lefty/righty splits, it could be a three man revolving door situation at first base.

March 25, 2014

How Will It End? (Part 2)

6.  Which of the following will record the first regular season win amongst the Mets starting pitchers in 2014? (2 pts)

A. Jonathan Niese
B. Zack Wheeler
C. Dylan Gee
D. None of the above

7.  When will the 2014 Mets win their 40th regular season game? (2 pts)

A. Before June 16, 2014
B. On or after June 16, 2014 but before July 4, 2014
C. On or after July 4, 2014, but before the All-star game
D. After the All-Star game
E. They won't win 40 games

8.  How many Mets will be on the 2014 National League All-Star team? (2 pts)

A. Fewer than 2
B. 2
C. 3
D. More than 3

9.  Which statement best describes the managerial tenure of Terry Collins in 2014? (2 pts)

A. He will manage the Mets for the entire season, but be fired before the World Series
B. He will be fired before the All-Star break
C. He will be fired after the All-Star break, but before the end of the season
D. He will remain the manager through at least the first game of the World Series

10.  Who will be the first player on the Major League roster traded by the Mets during the 2014 regular season? (2 pts)

A.  A pitcher who does not start the season on the Opening Day roster
B. An infielder whose name is not Tejada or Davis
C. Tejada or Davis
D. Someone who plays an outfield position
E. None of the above

Public Opinion Souring On Matt Harvey

This opinion is not universal, but it is a spreading one about Mets' injured ace Matt Harvey. As he continues to publicly struggle with the team's front office at almost every turn, he is coming across as a prima donna type player, and it is reflecting in how people talk about him.

As was noted on here by our own staff ace and prima donna Rob Patterson,  Matt Harvey does love himself some Matt Harvey. It's to be expected; frankly, I don't think there are any professional athletes out there who aren't A-personality, uber-confident guys. It might be the only way to reach that plateau. However, for a guy who seems very concerned with his public perception, you would think his efforts to get his way would occur in a more behind the scenes manner. It seems, however, that the backdrop of this probably lost season looks as though it is going to be strife between the team and a young star.

Whenever Harvey returns, all of this nonsense is going to have dropped an extremely large extra layer of pressure on him to be just as good as he was before he went down. He may be the type to thrive in that atmosphere, and winning will make these disagreements all dissolve pretty quickly. Hopefully, that will be the case. However, a sluggish start or a drop in velocity or effectiveness, and this relationship could get even uglier, fast.

Mets Won't Be Alone In Honoring Kiner

When the Mets take the field this season, they won't be the only organization to honor the legacy of Ralph Kiner, who passed away this past winter.  The Pittsburgh Pirates, with whom Kiner spent more than seven seasons will wear the patch shown above this season.  During his time in Pittsburgh, Kiner was a six time all-star and seven time National League home run champion.  The Pirates retired his number in 1987, eight years after he was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Following his playing career, Kiner was the voice of the New York Mets, calling games from the franchise's inaugural season in 1962.  He call games each since since, doing guest spots as recently as last season with Gary, Kieth and Ron.  His more than fifty years with the Mets prompted the Mets to honor him with a patch as well.

Matsuzaka Expected To Make The Team

A day after frustrating their fan's by sending Wilmer Flores packing to the minors, the New York Mets are set for a repeat performance on Tuesday when its believed they will tap Daisuke Matsuzaka as the fifth starter in the rotation. Matsuzaka has spent the spring in a pseudo-competition with Jenrry Mejia, however the writing has been on the wall for most of the spring that it was Matsuzaka's position to lose.  According to ESPN's Adam Rubin, Daisuke's strong outing on yesterday should have locked up the role.

The Mets have until noon today to informed Matsuzaka whether or not his has made the team out of spring training.  If they choose instead to send him to the minors, they would be forced to pay him a $100,000 roster bonus for doing so.  I'd like to think that that sum of money has no bearing on the Mets decisions making process, but we can never tell nowadays.  As a result, it is believed the Jenrry Mejia will open the season in AAA Las Vegas where he will pitch out of the rotation and wait his turn with the big league team once again.


This is one of those instances where I hate the outcome, but I understand the reasoning.  Jenrry Mejia isn't going anywhere, however if the Mets were to send Daisuke to the minors, not only would they have to pay him the $100,000 to do so, but he could also opt out of his contract and go elsewhere in late May.  As a result, the Mets rotation depth could suffer.  By having him throw in the majors, they put Matsuzaka on display for the rest of the league every fifth day.  If he pitches well, its likely that he could find himself on the trade block this summer in order to make way for the likes of Rafael Montero and/or Noah Syndergaard.  If he spends the season pitching in the minors, no such trade value exists.  It sucks... I get why fans will be upset, but it is what it is.

Vote Effing Mets!!

The boys over at The Daily Stache have slapped together an all-things New York Mets March Madness Bracket.  Today is the second round of the Mets Blog bracket, where Effing Mets will look for its second consecutive upset.  Last week, you folks got us over the hump against Ed Kranepool Society.  Today, a much taller task as we look to knock off Amazin Avenue.

If you've got the free minute and like what we do here, follow the jump (<<< click that) over to The Stache and give us a vote!  Its all in good fun, but lets face it.. like most Mets fans we're sore losers.  Thanks for your vote!

Mets Morning Highlights

A compilation of highlights from Daisuke Matsuzaka's outing which likely earned him the 5th starter role:

A scary moment as Matsuzaka plunks Steven Piscotty in the head with a changup:

Daniel Murphy sends a two-run double into the right field corner:

Travis d'Arnaud pokes a bloop single into right-center field for an RBI:

March 24, 2014

How Will It End? Predictions for a Season 2014 (Part 1)

How Will It End?
Predictions for a Season 2014

Select the Best Answer.  Point values (as indicated) are tallied to determine the winner.  Tie breaker(s) will be used in the event of a tie in the order they are listed.  There will be 20 questions.  Follow the posts!  Play along (send your responses before Opening Day to or just keep track on your own.

1.  Which statement best describes Noah Syndergaard's promotion to the 2014 Mets' Major League roster?  (2 pts)

A. He will be on the roster before June 1
B. On or after June 1 but before 2014 All-Star game
C. After 2014 All-Star game
D. Not promoted to Major League roster for the Mets in 2014

2.  Which statement best describes Raphael Montero's promotion to the 2014 Mets' Major League roster?  (2 pts)

A. Before Noah Syndergaard
B. After Noah Syndergaard
C. Not promoted to the 2014 Major League roster for the Mets, regardless of Syndergaard's status
D. Traded to another franchise before any promotion to Major League roster for the Mets

3.  Bobby Parnell's regular season saves total will be: (2 pts)

A. Equal to or higher than David Wright's home run total
B. Less than David Wright's home run total but greater than one
C. Zero

4.  Which statement(s) will be true? Select the best answer.  (2pts)

A. Chris Young's strikeout total plus home run total will exceed his games played plus his stolen bases for the Mets at the conclusion of the 2014 regular reason
B. David Wright will play in more games for the Mets than Daniel Murphy does for the Mets during the 2014 regular season
C. Both A and B
D. Neither A nor B

5.  Who will hit the first regular season home run for the 2014 New York Mets? (2 pts)

A. Daniel Murphy
B. David Wright
C. Curtis Granderson
D. None of the above

Stay tuned for Parts 2 through 4.

Matt Harvey Will Rehab in NYC...and Also in FL

According to Adam Rubin Matt Harvey will begin his rehab assignment with the club in Queens. Once he is ready for live hitting, he will return to Florida. Per the CBA the Mets really couldn't do anything to prevent him from it and Harvey was kind enough to let the world know the rules to the media.

"After talking with my agent and the Players' Association and going over the CBA rules as a player, you have rights," Harvey recently said. "I want to do what's best for the the organization and best for the rehab process. For me, I've made it clear where I stand"

Well Matt, yes you have made it clear where you stand. But the reporter could have had a typo on the piece about what's best for the organization when in reality it reads like what's best for you. Also reads like he is too good for Florida. It's nice to know he is working very hard not only on his rehab but understanding his rights as a player.

I have to say I just don't get what is going through this guys head. Yes, he is a young superstar with a year and a half under his belt but why is it he seems to just want to go against the grain? Does he think this will do him any favors with the organization? If I owned a team and had this kind of crap going on constantly I am not sure what I would do. Pander to it? Or let him rehab, come back, ride him like a mule Dusty Baker style and trade him right before he finally blew again. His personality combined with Scott Boras is a bad mix.

Just for kicks, I looked up top pitchers returning from Tommy John and a few to name were Wainwright, John Smoltz, Chris Carpenter. I don't recall hearing this kind of noise telling the media what THEY were going to do and all were well into their careers. But I guess the argument is that they aren't the same personality. Still though, all had quite a bit more resume under their belts.

In the end, as another write on this site posted: Matt Harvey cares about Matt Harvey.
Follow me: @jwil25

Effing Mets On MTR Radio

This morning I did a quick spot on MTR Radio with James Flippin where we discussed a variety of things.  Topics included: Wilmer Flores, Jenrry Mejia, the first base situation and finally my expectations for the 2014 season.

You can listen to the show in its entirety by viewing the podcast HERE.  My segment begins a little more than nine and a half minutes in and is immediately followed by Mark Healey, the owner of Gotham Sports and previously of Sirius/XM Radio.  Thanks to James for inviting me on, I had a blast!

A Case For The Mets Batting The Pitcher Eighth

Last week the Mets decided to bat the pitcher, Zack Wheeler, in the 8th spot. This was the first game the Mets weren't using the DH, so it was the first time they had a chance to do this. Terry Collins said he would think about doing this more often. There seemed to be a lot second guessing about it on twitter. It's happening again in today's game against St. Louis.  Honestly, I could care less if the Mets incorporate this tactic during the regular season. However, I don't think it is the worst thing in the world for a team who has struggled to score runs the last few seasons.  He's why...

There was this guy who used to play for the St. Louis Cardinals, Albert Pujols.  Don't know if you heard of him (Sarcasm).  Either way, he was the best hitter on the planet when he was in his prime for quite a few seasons.  Now although you look at him, his skills and stats and would assume he would be the clean-up hitter, Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa batted him third most of the time.  LaRussa's reasoning was that because Pujols was his best hitter, he wanted to guarantee he got an at-bat in the first inning, to try and  increase his chances of getting an early lead.  He also believed that Pujols would pick up more plate appearances as the season went on.  Not by a lot, but enough that he felt he was maximizing his potential. It makes a ton of sense.  Now by having Pujols bat third, you maximize his at bats by a handful, however you slightly lessen his impact as a run producer.  Why? Because the pitcher, which more often than not is an automatic out, would be batting 3 spots ahead of him.

To try and counter this, LaRussa started batting the pitcher 8th, in order to have 3 guys batting in front of Pujols that were capable of getting on base.  Essentially this made Pujols a clean-up hitter while batting third.  Pretty good tactic if you ask me.  Now I'm not going to present you numbers to show how effective this was over the course of time, because I don't have them, nor do I have time to look them up. The reason I even know this about LaRussa is because I watched an interview where it came up and it stuck with me.  The only thing I'll say is that the Cardinals won a hell of a lot of baseball games, Pujols put up monster numbers and the Cards have two World Series trophies to show for it. Those are all the numbers I need.

I'm not gonna sit here and compare David Wright to Pujols.  But David is the Mets best hitter. Regardless, he's already slotted in the 3 hole.  So is it terrible to throw a guy who isn't an automatic out like the pitcher is in the 9 hole, so that Wright (INSERT NOT CLUTCH JOKE HERE) has the opportunity to have more guys in front of him to drive in?  It's worth a shot in my eyes.  Of course this will be second guessed every time the pitcher is batting with 2 outs and runners on, when you could have had a position player hitting.  But this strategy isn't about strengthening the bottom of the order, its about helping get more productivity from the top and middle of the line-up.  By trying this, I don't think the Mets have much to lose.

Matsuzaka Somehow On Verge Of Making Rotation

Despite an extremely strong Spring Training from Jenrry Mejia, it seems as though the Mets are leaning towards using Daisuke Matsuzaka as their fifth starter for at least the beginning of the regular season.

From the link to Adam Rubin's ESPNNY blog:
There are business factors perhaps influencing the decision. Those factors potentially include the organization being able to delay Mejia’s arbitration eligibility by a year if he remains in the minors for the first month of the season. 
A resolution should be known soon. The Mets would need to pay Matsuzaka $100,000 on Tuesday at noon to retain him if they do not guarantee him an Opening Day roster spot by then. 
This is why fans get so frustrated with this Mets team. Every decision is influenced by "business factors", which is a nifty code word for trying to find a way to maximize the profits from every scenario while paying par less attention to putting the best possible product on the field. Matsuzaka is a known quantity, and at that a quantity known to not be all that good. With the "90 wins" talk and the relegation of the Opening Day start to Dillon Gee with Jon Niese's injury, it seems as though this staff could use the infusion of a young, talented arm in Mejia, but the team sees dollar signs. Again, competing can wait when there is money to be saved.

Wilmer Flores Sent To MiLB Camp

Despite the pleas of many within the team's fan base, Wilmer Flores will not assume the shortstop role from Ruben Tejada.  After an early injury scare this spring, Tejada's 2014 campaign got off to a very rocky start, committing more errors than he had hits during the early going.  Despite better play of late, Tejada has clearly worn out his welcome amongst Mets fans, who had hoped against hope that Flores would be named the starting shortstop.  Instead he will head the Vegas where he will play both shortstop and second base according to ESPN's Adam Rubin.  Its not unlikely that we will see Flores in Queens in the near future, but it won't be March 31st.

Mets Morning Highlights

Jenrry Mejia dazzles against the Washington Nationals as he makes a push for the 5th spot in the rotation:

As you may have seen here last night, Murphy fires between his legs to get Bryce Harper at first:

Andrew Brown drives home Curtis Granderson to tie the game at one:

Curtis Granderson launches a two-run home run onto the berm in right to put the Mets ahead for good:

March 23, 2014

Highlight: Murph Goes Between His Legs

This is just stupid! Daniel Murphy makes a between the legs throw to nail Bryce Harper at first on what would have been a perfect drag but base hit. Good for Murphy, who returned to the lineup yesterday after nursing a minor leg injury for much of the spring.

Mets Are Getting Healthy

You can save this post and call me out for jinxing them later, but the Mets are a week away from leaving camp without a major injury.  That's not to say they haven't had their scares.

What was supposed to be a month long battle for the first base job, both Ike Davis and Lucas Duda missed multiple weeks due to leg injuries.  Having just returned to the lineup this week, they'll now race to be ready for opening day as it appears both could break camp with the team.  What once looked like a marathon for the position, now appears destined to be a sprint.  My money is on Davis regardless of how he plays this week.

The other major scare that everyone has had to take notice of is what appears to be an ongoing problem with Jon Niese.  The southpaw had the short route to the Opening Day start, but pain in first his shoulder and more recently his elbow earned him a pair of trips to New York for MRIs.  Instead he is set to open the season on the disabled list, but more so due to a lack of conditioning, than injury.  In fact, its is rumored that he'll be prepared to go for his first turn in the rotation.

Save a minor bruise to Daniel Murphy and that's about it for the Mets.  He returned to the lineup today, and looks as though he will enter the season healthy as well.  This all bodes well for the Mets who will need all hands on deck if they hope to sprint out of the gate this year.  With the lofty goal of 90 wins hanging over their heads, the Mets cannot afford to stumble early.  It looks as though they'll be healthy, but whether they're up for the challenge remains to be seen.

March 21, 2014

Would Drew Be Ready To Play?

Less than two weeks from the start of the season and the Mets have yet to resolve their shortstop dilemma. Everything I read seems to indicate that the Mets' front office would prefer to make a trade for a young, controllable shortstop if that opportunity presents itself. In any event, free agent Stephen Drew provides a palatable backup plan. My question now remains when would he be ready?

Having remained unsigned, Drew has gone without the normal seasoning that leads up to the typical 162 game campaign. He hasn't had the benefit of real game situations to shake a winter of rust. More importantly. He hasn't faced Major League pitching in five months. 

If the Mets are forced to resort to signing Steven Drew, will he then have to report to Port St. Lucie for extended spring training? Such a situation could force Tejada into the everyday lineup for the first few weeks of the season..exactly what the Mets are trying to avoid. 

I'm not sure if this would be the case and I'm not saying it should impact the Mets' decision making process if it is. However, I think its a question worth asking.

O M Gee.. On Opening Day

In ten days when the Mets open the season against the Washington Nationals and their ace, Stephen Steasburg, they will do so with Dillon Gee on the mound.  Gee will become the twenty-third pitcher to start on Opening Day in franchise history. 

Under the circumstances I'm fine with this. The logical choice for the gig is Jon Niese, who in addition to being injured has done little to earn the honor besides being the most tenured Met in the rotation.  Had it been my decision. I probably would have tapped Zack Wheeler because I believe it would have created more excitement. With that said, Gee turns in a quality start more often than not and despite not being the sexy pick, is more deserving than the other options. 

March 20, 2014

Daniel Murphy The Latest Injury Victim

It's like the entire roster is composed of wet cardboard.

Just as Ike is making his way back onto the field, which really isn't worth getting excited about anyway, Murph is out with a bum leg. This is continued soreness from a few days ago, when Murphy was described to have "tweaked" the leg.

At the very least, the team is being proactive enough to get injured during the preseason instead of waiting until April.

March 19, 2014

Matt Harvey Cares About Matt Harvey

Consider this a public service announcement: Matt Harvey isn't resigning with the New York Mets. The writing is already on the wall. Fans should make peace with it ahead of time. If it isn't the inability of the Mets to give him the $200 million dollar contract he covets, it will be the already developing rift between he and the organization.

As I'm sure you've heard by now, Harvey recently brushed off the organization's wishes that he lay low in the media. The next thing he intends to brush off is their wishes that he'll spend the season rehabbing in Florida. Does it really matter whether he throws from 90 feet..then 120 feet..then from a mound in New York as opposed to Florida? No. What matters are his motives.

What does New York City have that Port St. Lucie, Florida doesn't?  How about night life? Models? Most importantly, the New York media. Harvey's demand to rehab in New York has more to do with maintaining his lifestyle and his brand than it does about baseball. That may be fine for those of you who feel he's earned the right to rewrite the rule book, but I suspect it will be those same folks who'd line up to crucify him for a lack of concentration if he struggles upon his return. 

Matt Harvey justifiably shot to superstardom, but he's let it go to his head.  As it stands now, he has pitched just 237 innings, has a grand total of 12 career wins and a surgically reconstructed elbow to his name. There is no telling what he'll have left when he toes the rubber next spring (or later this summer if he has his ill-advised way).  My issue here isn't the idea of Harvey taking advantage of every luxury he's earned in the year and a half he's been in the bigs. It's the hope that he'll avoid the scrutiny that accompanies the growing pains associated with Tommy John surgery.

I expect this post and others remotely like it to be nearly unanimously rejected because its critical of the team's new crowned prince. I remember the backlash over a journeyman knuckleballer with a calm demeanor and an expansive vocabulary.  Fans who think the Mets needs to stop slandering their own are 100% correct.  Its a vicious cycle that needs to be stopped before it causes anymore damage, but this isn't the same.  The team isn't trying to protect itself in this instance, its trying to protect Matt from himself.

Like it or not, Matt Harvey should spend the season in Port St. Lucie with the rest of his teammates rehabbing from whatever ails them.  What will almost assuredly be another very long summer in the big city doesn't need to become the Matt Harvey show. The question remains will he have it any other way?  Will he do what's best for the team or what he thinks is best for Matt Harvey?  If he chooses the latter.. You can rest assured it's already the beginning of the end.

Questions? Comments? Let me know at @RobPatterson83

March 18, 2014

Mets are in on Rollins

According to a secondary source from the Phillies' camp that they have received calls from the Mets on shortstop Jimmy Rollins.

Rollins, 35, has played at least 154 games in 10 of his last 13 seasons. Mets fans know very well he is a threat on the base paths as well as being able to hit for an acceptable average.

Rollins is due $11 million through the 2014 season, with a vesting option for the 2015 season.

I know he's rubbed our faces in the mud a few times over the years, but who wouldn't give up a low-level prospect for a guy like that?

Syndergaard, Montero Demoted

Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal is right: the move to send these two down to the minors should surprise nobody. While there have been rumblings that Syndergaard was not ready yet and that Montero still needed some fine tuning, we all know the real reason behind these moves. The Mets are looking to save another year of service and get one more cheap year of these young pitchers under team control. It makes sense, in the long run, but it's tough to swallow before the season has even started that the Mets refuse to put their best team on the field because of money.

March 16, 2014

Beware the Ides of March

Granted its one day past the Ides, but as a life long baseball fan I have become accustomed to people over emphasizing spring training performances both good and bad.  This year of course is no exception, will Niese be ready?  Who plays center field?  Hey EY Jr.'s OBP looks good!  Tejada has more errors than hits!?!

Granted some bench roles and bullpen spots will be won and lost, trips to minor league camp and players being optioned are common place.  So why don't we follow suit and over emphasize some of the Mets current predicaments.

Josh Edgin was sent to the minors, sorry Josh, you can't pitch like crap and only hit 88 MPH and expect to be with the big club.  At least there is a level of seriousness here that the team is asserting, perform or we will find someone who will.

The bullpen may be better off than expected.  Parnell needs to get his velocity up but he looks healthy, Black has the goods but needs the control and consistency to go with it.  Rice was solid last year and the addition of the veteran Valverde should be the glue that keeps this thing together.

Jon Niese, is he hurt or is he out of shape?  I didn't care for hearing Niese's response after his MRI stating he didn't work that part of his shoulder over the off season.  Hey Jon, you have been with the team long enough to know what to do to be prepared for ST let alone the regular season.  Bronson Arroyo throws all year long and he does nothing but pitch 200 innings and win 10-15 games yearly, pay attention!

Ike or the Dude?  Well here is the classic "holy shit" moment.  The hope was that one of these guys would step up and grab the job by the balls, however, they both got hurt and are relegated to minor league side games where they can DH only.  Not very helpful when you play in the National League boys.  The sad part here is the team could just sign Kendrys Morales, who will hit better than the two combined but lacks the defensive prowess and on a team with some defensive deficiencies we can afford no more.

The starters should be the teams strength, even sans Harvey, look for Wheeler to take steps forward and hope Gee can continue his solid pitching from the second half of last year.  Colon is a professional and should win more games than he loses.

The one thing that needed to be addressed this year was the offense and may I say mission NOT accomplished.  Wright and Granderson are pros in every sense of the word and I do not subscribe to the theory that you are merely replacing Byrd's production with Granderson's addition.  No pitcher in the league was saying, "I have to pitch to Wright cause I don't want face Byrd."  Grandy will prove different and Murphy is a really good hitter who should get more respect.  Mikey F. from the FAN called him a soft .300 hitter last year, he had 191 hits on a team bereft of offense.

Chris Young needs to justify his $7.25 million and I'm playing Juan Lagares hands down in center.  The problem this leads to is who leads off?  You can play EY Jr. in left and have him lead off but then who sits?  Having outfield options is great but not when it compromises your ability to have an everyday (Jose Reyes) lead off man.  This lineup doesn't look particularly deep especially since C. Young, d'Arnaud and whatever 1B and SS we have are huge question marks.

While there are still two weeks before a real game is played and trades and/or signings can still happen as it is right now I would worry that this rendition of the Mets will be much like last years, not enough runs to win games.  Too often the bases are loaded or we have second and third with less than two outs and we fail to score.  That's not good enough, it wasn't last year and it will not be this year.

Et tu, Sandy?

Mets Starting Pitchers At A Glance

Here's a quick look at how the Mets starting pitching options have fared in the Grapefruit League thus far this spring...

Zack Wheeler: 1-1, 8 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 SO, 0.84 ERA, 10.2 IP
Wheeler has had a strong spring thus far.  Control issues appear to be the biggest threat to his young career, but they haven't been a major concern.  He looks as though he's set to cruise into his sophomore season.
Bartolo Colon: 0-1, 12 H, 7 ER, 2 BB, 1 SO, 7.27 ERA, 8.2 IP
The crafty veteran's stats probably won't make many Mets fans feel secure about Colon's acquisition.  However, both he and Mets management appear happy with his progression.  Defense will be key when Colon is on the bump, but he's been as advertised so far.

Dillon Gee: 0-0, 9 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 SO, 1.69 ERA, 5.1 IP
Coming into the season on his first significant salary raise, Gee has been fairly hittable this spring.  However, he's managed to limit the damage on the scoreboard, something he's always been good at.

Jon Niese: 0-0, 6H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 0 SO, 18.00 ERA, 2.0 IP
Battling shoulder issues and dead arm once more, Niese is currently the biggest question mark in the Mets rotation.  His trip to New York for an MRI may not have raised additional concerns, but his first spring outing was ugly.  Niese brushed off the bad start, but its a fair guess that the team brass will be paying plenty of attention to his second spring start today.

Daisuke Matsuzaka:  0-1, 11 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 7 SO, 3.52 ERA, 7.2 IP
Dice-K is the leader in the clubhouse when it comes to the competition for the fifth spot in the rotation.  His performance thus far may even warrant it.  He hasn't been spectacular, but he has been consistent.  That's about all you can ask from your fifth starter.

Jenrry Mejia: 0-0, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO, 0.00 ERA, 2.0 IP
For some reason likely tied to maintaining rotation depth early in the season, Mejia has been on the outside looking in all Spring.  He appears destined to start the year in the Las Vegas rotation.  Nonetheless, if he doesn't go north with the big league team, he'll be there eventually as the season progresses.


Good or bad, these statistics are all the result of small sample sizes.  Fans shouldn't get too high or too low on anyone at this point.  My main concern is for Jon Niese, but that's based more upon a feared injury than his performance.  The Mets have options for the rotation so if these guys can't get it done, they have others who can fill in if necessary.

Has A New Stephen Drew Suitor Developed?

If you've been wondering why Scott Boras would continue to have his client, Stephen Drew, sit out the majority of spring training, you may now have your answer.  The Detroit Tigers have now lost their starting shortstop, Jose Iglesias, for much of the upcoming season due to shin injuries.  That may open the door for Stephen Drew to not only sign a contract, but also land with a contender.

This could throw a wrench in the Mets plans if they had planned to sign Drew at the last minute if Ruben Tejada can't get his spring turned around.  There have been multiple reports that the team continues to monitor Drew's situation, despite source's on Drew's side saying that the union is unlikely.  Such a union may not be even less likely, as starting job with a contending team would almost certainly be more attractive than the same role in Queens.

Mets Morning Highlights

David Wright gets the Mets started yesterday with a two-run double in the first inning:

There's been a Wilmer Flores sighting with this two-run home run:

Eric Young with a "hustle double" to plate the Mets 7th run yesterday:

David Wright flashes some defense to round out today's highlights:

March 15, 2014

Nick Franklin Not On Mets' Front Burner

For all the talk recently about the possibility of the Mets acquiring Seattle second baseman, Nick Franklin, this report my Nick Puma of the New York Post is a bit curious. Puma cites a source, who told him that the team hasn't had any meaningful discussions with Seattle about Franklin since December. Of course, there is no indication that Seattle is imminently prepared to deal Franklin. It was anticipated that the Mariners would likely wait until late in Spring Training to move Franklin for fear of an injury. Those days are approaching, so its completely possible that things will heat up fast in this area.

Mets Can Still Pay Ike To Go Away

As spring training nears it's end, the Mets still have some internal decisions to make. One decision could be whether or not to retain the services of Ike Davis. Having spent the winter trying to trade him with no success, it was reported that the team could simply cut Davis and pay him 1/6th of his salary. That date, according to ESPN's Adam Rubin, has now passed. However, the team can still get out cheap if they want to, but making the same decision on or before March 26th and cutting him a check for 1/4th of his salary ($860,655.74).

The Mets have very little to go off of in making their decision.  Davis has now been hobbled by a calf injury for the majority of the Spring.  The team had hoped to get Davis close to 100 at-bats this pring in an effort to see if his swing had improved.  No such trial period exists at this point.


I'd be surprised to see the Mets cut Davis.  I don't think the team would limit its depth at first base just to save a little under $3 million dollars.  Doing so would leave the position to Duda, who has no proven track record at first in the major and has been known to make trips to the disabled list.  With Davis still having a minor league option, the team doesn't have to run the risk of passing him through waivers should the time come that he can't stay in the major league lineup again.  Finances aside, they still control his destiny so to speak.   If he can get back on the field in the next week and stay there, not only do I expect him to stay with the team, I expect him to be the Opening Day first baseman.

March 14, 2014

Ruben Tejada: By The Numbers

They say numbers don't lie and while I don't believe that's always the case, here is a raw, yet brutal look at Ruben Tejada.

-.9:  Tejada was nearly a game worse than an average replacement player in 2013 (WAR).

0:  The percentage chance Tejada should enter the season as the Mets starting shortstop.

1:  The number of hits Tejada has posted thus far this spring in 15 at-bats.

2:  The number of homeruns Tejada has hit..ever.

3:  The number of errors Tejada has committed in just six games this spring.

42.5:  The average number of days Tejada has spent on the disabled list the past two years.

114:  The highest number of games Tejada has played in any one season.

$1.1 Million:  The amount Tejada will be paid by the Mets this season whether he starts or not.


Look, I like Tejada more than most.  I genuinely believe he's much better than the .202 campaign he put up in 2013.  Between 2011 and 2012, Tejada hit .287 over 792 at-bats.  I'm inclined to believe that isn't a fluke.  That was Tejada at his best.  A singles hitter who plays average defense.  The Mets shouldn't be looking to start that type of player, assuming he returns to form (which looks unlikely).  My guess is the past 12 months have shattered Tejada's confidence.  The team has been hard on him and his performance has suffered.  He may never recover, but even if he does he shouldn't be the team's starting shortstop in 2014.  Its that simple.

Maybe Travis d'Arnaud Doesn't Suck

This was the result of a discussion regarding which young pieces the Mets should be willing to part with in order to trade for a good, young shortstop. When asked if I would throw d'Arnaud in on a trade to get one, I barely hesitated, 2013 still very fresh on my mind. It is then that Doug scolded me for my insolence.

And Doug might be right. There is a distinct possibility that I am looking at way too small of a portion of TdA's body of work. To me, he looked a bit lost at the plate last year, beyond even a rookie struggling to adjust. There didn't seem to be a problem with his approach but just his performance, as he was not making good contact and was not driving the ball almost at all. To me, it looked like he was in way over his head. Hopefully, the comfort level he'll find in this being his second year will alleviate a bit of that.

Doug went on to say that d'Arnaud looks much better this Spring Training, and because of the multitude of day games, most of the Mets baseball I have consumed thus far this March have been on the radio. Like many fans, the last visual I have of the young catcher is last year.

So Doug has inspired me to take a new, unbiased look at d'Arnaud. There must be a reason he consistently ranks as highly as he does in prospect reports. Perhaps I'm just still so scarred from all of the "can't miss, sure thing" prospects that have made their way through the Mets system and failed miserably. Fernando Martinez, all of Generation K. It can be tough to be optimistic about a young player with that kind of track record. But, in the interest of fairness and not having any other options, I will be blocking 2013 out of my mind when I watch d'Arnaud this year, and will judge this season on it's own merits.

Let's hope Doug's right.

Lucas Duda Will Be Back In Action Today

For the first time since March 3rd, Lucas Duda will see game action.  This according to a report by ESPN's Adam Rubin that Duda will DH during today's game.  It appears that Duda will get at least a one game head start on Ike Davis, who also has been hampered by injuries thus far this spring.

You'll recall that Duda has been the favorite for the first base roll all winter under the assumption that Ike Davis would be traded.  That never came about, and Duda finds himself with another uphill battle to earn the starting gig and/or remain on the Opening Day roster.  His best hope however is that Davis remains hobbled and cannot compete, otherwise its unlikely Duda can steal the starting first base spot with less than three weeks until the start of the season.

Duda has only appeared in three games this spring.  He has two hits in seven at-bats, one of which was a home run.

Mets Make More Cuts

The New York Mets have started their morning off with another round of cuts, optioning Jeff Walters and Jacob deGrom to Minor League camp.  Both pitchers had strong springs.  Walters appeared in four games, throwing 3.2 innings en route to a 2.45 ERA. deGrom also appeared in four games so far this spring.  He threw 7.1 innings during which he gave up on one earned run and struck out seven on his way to a 1.23 ERA.

deGrom was theoretically in the discussion for the fifth spot in the rotation all winter, but once camp commenced there was little chance he would ever land the job.  His name has come up in potential trade discussions.  If he does remain with the team, he will return to AAA Las Vegas where he was strong last season.  He will likely make his major league debut for the Mets at some point this season if he remains with the organization.

March 13, 2014

The Shortstop Issue........

The Shortstop Dilemma

I have to say “dilemma”, as Sandy HATES “situation” apparently.

So, before I spend a TON of words on this, let me say this…fans? 2014 is NOT going to be good. It’s just not. What do we know so far…………..

1. Harvey is OUT this year, despite him being Superman on twitter
2. Noah is NOT breaking camp with the team, despite being the second best SP option right now
3. 1st base is as convoluted and as mysterious as the end of the first season of Twin Peaks (look it up youngsters)
4. The Mets BEST option in CF AND leadoff is looked at as a 4-5th OF….all hail Eric Young JR!!!!
5. Who the HELL is manning SS???

While 1-4 are dumbfounding, #5 is what is on every fans lips…..

So let’s take a look at the options.

Status Quo part 1, Ruben is our guy
Let me channel Seth Myers here…….or the Miz if you are a WWE fan……….



Look, I am 42 years old, that’s OLD kids, but I am pretty confident that I could play a more competent SS than RT right now. And knowing that, even in HS, I could not hit a curveball, let alone stand in the box V. a 70mph fastball, I still think I am the better option. “Sink or Swim” has already happened. It is time to cut ourselves free of the Ruben Tejeda era. He can’t hit, hell, he can’t take a walk. And his defense has been awful.

Let’s give Flores a shot
Up until Tuesday, I was all for this. Limited range? Yup, who cares. Might bobble here and there? SURE! He will hit though. Look, I am not discounting this scenario as a whole. I THINK it could be a worst case scenario for the better. Flores is NEVER going to be Omar or Ozzie….or the kids of them….or the genetically spawned mirrors………but. And it is a BIG but, if he can hit, and get on base, lets say .280/.360….is It worth it? I am thinking……well, maybe…..

Trade for Nick Franklin
Another guy that, yes, has shown attributes that he can handle the SS job, but can he do so day to day? Scouting says (copyright Daniel Bryan) NO NO NO!!! But….I actually think he can. If you are an offense first SS, its ok if your range is not of an OZZIE level. Can you pick it? Can you move a BIT? And then, back end, can you put up something respectable from an AVG and an OBP standard. I think Nick can, but that is not my ultimate choice…

Trade for Chris Owings
This is a tricky one, as who knows if it is he or Didi that is available? BUT…..if it is Owings…..i am offering up anything on the farm whose first name doesn’t start with “Noah” nor end with “Syndergaard”. Everyone else? I love you, but you are in the mix. Plawecki, Nimmo, DeGrom…….MONTERO….yup, sorry, you are in the discussion. NOW, Arizona is not bereft of SP prospects, so Matz, DeGrom (and certainly the untouchable Thor) are probably not bandied about…..but top position prospects, where the Mets are kinda short, MIGHT be. But guess what? It is it for Chris Owings… I don’t care. Anyone, short of Noah, is on the table with AZ if that is an option. That includes KP, Nimmo and BS…..they are all far enough away that the Mets can reload.

Here is the deal in a nutshell…..this year, 2014, is going to be a breeding ground… year, with Harvey back, Wheeler a full year of work, Noah being Noah, Montero filling in the 5th spot……

Be patient Mets fans….and hope we find Jose’s replacement…….


Mets Still Have Time To Address Shortstop

There are now 18 days until Opening Day and I'm fairly certain most Mets fans can come up with at least 18 reasons why Ruben Tejada shouldn't be the team's starting shortstop when March 31st arrives.  The good news is that the Mets still have a few different directions they can go if they decide (and they should) an upgrade is necessary.

The player we've heard about most in recent weeks is Nick Franklin.  He is likely the odd man out up the middle in Seattle.  However questions loom about his ability to play shortstop, with some saying he would be a defensive downgrade from Tejada.  Still, he represents a quality offensive boost that would likely come at the cost of one of the organizations non-elite young arms.  It still may be a steep price to pay for a player who likely won't be able to stick at the shortstop position long term.  Could the Mets shift him to second, assuming Daniel Murphy becomes to expensive for the team's tastes?  Sure, but its a complication they would probably like to avoid if possible.

The other trade option would be the eventual loser of Arizona's Didi Gregorius vs. Chris Owings competition.  Each is believed to be a major league shortstop.  Of the two, my guess would be that the Mets would prefer Owings, but they may not get to choose.  If I were to lay a bet, it would be that this is the first avenue the Mets pursue in the coming weeks.  Yes, it would be the most expensive route in terms of talent (assuming the package going back would include Kevin Plawecki and another young arm), but it also sets the Mets up with a sure shortstop option for years to come.  This would be a significant trade with the Mets for the first time letting go of some of the talent they've spent years stock piling.  However, if you're looking for a young, controllable, surefire shortstop..this is where they need to look.

Finally, as has remained the case all winter long, Stephen Drew remains available.  The free agent shortstop reported turned down a one-year/$9.5 million dollar offer from the Mets, who appear set to avoid a multi-year deal with him at all costs.  Still, he is the most established shortstop available and would instantly upgrade the team's defense up the middle and fortify the lineup.  He may even be a lead off candidate.  However, I still believe he is the front office's backup plan.  If they are unable to work out a trade elsewhere, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Mets cave and offer Drew the two or three year deal he covets.  I just hope it doesn't come to that.

There is still time to address this need.  Whether you think the Mets front office is genuinely interested in doing so is another argument for another time.  I'm inclined to think they're more than open to the idea, having done little to squash the rumors that have linked them to all three parties.  In any event, the trade options listed above fit inline with the organizations thinking over the past few years.  Young, controllable talent who can remain in the fold for years to come.  Unfortunately, those trades can't happen until decisions are made by the other teams involved.  Nonetheless, Opening Day is coming..and so too are the answers to these questions.

Lagares Has Hit All Spring

The ongoing gripe about the future or Juan Lagares with the Mets has been his bat.  There has been no question that Lagares is amongst the best defensive center-fielders in baseball, but criticism of his offense is what has landed his roster spot in jeopardy. 

The Mets have given Lagares every opportunity to put his offense on display this spring.  Today, he is tied with Chris Young for the team lead in at-bats, with twenty-five.  He has made the most of them.  Lagares is also tied for the team lead in hits (due in part to his elevated number of at-bats), with eight.  In fact, Lagares has reached safely in six of the eight games his played in, posting a .320 average in the process.  Still..questions linger.

Lagares has managed just one extra base hit thus far this spring.  He has also continued to strike out at a rate north of 20%.  That too, paired with the fact that he's drawn only one walk and the same criticisms that landed his role in jeopardy still remain.  However, Lagares has shined in the field.  He's made several acrobatic plays in center-field and has a could outfield assists to his credit already.

If the Mets are going to sit the youngster in an effort to insert Eric Young Jr. into the leadoff spot, Lagares is not making the decision easy for them.  Perhaps that in and of itself is a good sign for the young defensive wizard.  He has risen to the challenge, and while there is really not reason to think he will hit .320 all year, Lagares is hitting and that can't be taken away from him.


I know I've said this before, but Lagares has hit for a high average at every level coming up through the minor leagues.  Obviously that doesn't mean he's going to replicate that at baseball's highest level, but I'm inclined to believe he's better than the .242 average he put up in 2013.  Its impossible to ignore what he brings to the game defensively.  He plays center-field effortlessly and has an arm the match.  Still he will have to prove his offensive worth going forward.  Lagares is still my Opening Day center-fielder and in my opinion should be an everyday player for the Mets this season.  Should the Mets make an addition at shortstop, his cause could be aided.  However for now, his fate remains in the hands of the Mets brass who appear enamored with the idea of Eric Young Jr. batting lead off, and that remains his biggest hurdle.

Today Could Be Syndergaard's Last Grapefruit Appearance

When he toes the rubber this afternoon, Noah Syndergaard could be making his last appearance with the big league squad until some time later this summer. He's expected to split today's game against the Nationals with expected fifth starter, Daisuke Matsuzaka.  As a result, Syndergaard will likely pitch at least four innings.

To date this spring, Syndergaard has thrown five innings during which he has allowed three hits and two runs while walking three and striking out five.  His first outing was much more impressive than his latest, as he struggled with command.  Nonetheless, Syndergaard appears very close to major league ready having show impressive stuff against major league hitters in the past few weeks

There was some home amongst fans that he would break camp with the team, but that has always remained unlikely.  The most likely scenarios sees Syndergaard arrive with the Mets in either late June or early July following the passing of the Super-Two deadline.  This ensures that the Mets maintain control of the young hurler as long as possible.  Syndergaard too seems resigned to the fact, having told the NY Post:

“I know it’s inevitable. With the finances and everything, I understand it’s a game,
 but it’s also a business.”

Until then, Syndergaard will be shipped to AAA Vegas where he can cut his teeth in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.  He is yet to pitch at the Triple-A level, so this is the logical next step.  The tougher competition should better prepare him for his eventual promotion to Queens later this season.
Unfortunately, today's game is neither televised nor broadcast on the radio, so if you're looking to follow the outing the internet will be your best bet.  The Mets are expected to make additional cuts on Monday.  While it is not certain, that could be the day Syndergaard is sent to minor league camp for the remainder of Spring Training.

Mets Morning Highlights

There's been a Ruben Tejada sighting at Spring Training:

Taylor Teagarden cuts down the runner trying to steal second:

March 12, 2014

Dan Warthen Taken To Task For Use Of Racial Slur

The Mets latest public relations nightmare is a racially oriented one.  In a dinner time post to the Wall Street Journal, reporter Stu Woo described an exchange in the Mets locker room in which the team's pitching coach, Dan Warthen, used the term "chinaman".  As it read's, Warthen recently used the term to describe the Daisuke Matsuzaka's interpreter, Jeff Cutler.  Warthen then approached Cutler and jokingly apologized for using the term to describe him, as oppose to apologizing for using the term in general.  Cutler is of Japanese descent. 

All of this occurred in front of Woo, who is a Chinese American.  When Woo approached the team's Director of Media Relations, Jay Horwitz, he was promised a meeting with Warthen in the team's dugout this morning.  That meeting never occurred, with Warthen declining to address the issue.  Tonight's story was the result.

Now the the story has gone public, the Mets have released the following statements:

"On behalf of the entire organization, I apologize for the insensitive remarks made
 by one of our staff members.  the remarks were offensive and inappropriate and the
 organization is very sorry." ~ Sandy Alderson

"I apologize for the thoughtless remarks that I made yesterday in the clubhouse.
  They were a poor attempt at humor but were wrong and inappropriate in any
 setting.  I am very sorry." ~ Dan Warthen 

Its difficult to see Warthen losing his job over this, especially with the start of the season drawing near.  Nonetheless, this is the type of story that will follow him for some time and could serve as a distraction tot he team for the next few days.  


This was impressively stupid by Warthen and inexcusable.  It was also 100% avoidable.  Failing to address the issue only compounded the problem and should have never been allowed to happen.  The Mets really shouldn't have to deal with this type of stuff year in and year out, but nonetheless here we are..again.

Mr. Met Has Weird Interactions On Twitter

Mr. Met joined Twitter yesterday, which in and of itself was silly. However, his joining prompted some... odd tweets from other team mascots on Twitter. Some of the exchanges:

Slider, the Cleveland Indians mascot, had to put his two cents in.
Yikes. Mr. Met forced to defend his wife's honor on social media. Not the end of it, however, as Mr. Met would take the offensive. In a discussion about facial hair with Bernie Brewer, Mr. Met lobbed a hand grenade in the direction of the Reds mascot/nightmare fuel, Mr. Redlegs (real creative, Cincinatti).
Kudos to the intern who is running this account, as it is already infinitely more fun and creative than the official Mets team account.

Mets Have Three Players Out Of Options

In an afternoon post to MLB Trade Rumors yesterday, it was determined that the Mets have three players who have less than five years of service time, and who are out of minor league options.  As a result, these players would need to pass through waivers if the Mets wished to demote them to AAA Las Vegas.  In that instance, the Mets would run the risk of losing them if they are claimed by another team. Those players in question are Ruben Tejada, Eric Young Jr. and Carlos Torres, all of whom appear destined to head north with the team with camp breaks later this month.

To date, Ruben Tejada remains the front runner for the starting shortstop gig.  His role however probably the least secure of the three.  He has not had a strong spring to date and has battled a sore hamstring. With the Mets seemingly in the market all winter for an upgrade, Tejada would quickly find himself on the bench if they pull the trigger.

Young Jr. also finds himself the front runner for a starting spot, although that designation comes with significant controversy and is likely because of his perceived ability to lead off.  That said, even if he doesn't start, he is almost certainly the first man off the bench in late game situation.  His spot on the roster is firm.

Finally, Carlos Torres is expected to make the team out of the bullpen as the long man.  He has pitched well this spring and shined in the role last season.  He can also spot-start if necessary.  However, bullpens are always in flux and relieves are often struggle at some point during the season.  That, combined with the fact that the Mets' farm system is going to graduate a few young arms this summer and Torres is the most likely of the three to find his way to the waiver wire during 2014.

Interestingly enough, two players who aren't on this list are Ike Davis and Lucas Duda, meaning the Mets can demote whomever doesn't end up with the starting first base gig.  This gives the team a bit of flexibility, as they won't have to worry about losing there "depth" at first base no matter who they decide is the better fit early on. 

Murphy Back In The Lineup Today

Daniel Murphy will return to the lineup today. In doing so he will play in only his second game of the spring.  Murphy has been nursing a lower leg injury (shin or ankle depending on which report you believe), which occurred last Friday when he slid hard into second base.

In an early morning post by ESPN's Adam Rubin, Murphy is in the lineup ahead of David Wright and Curtis Granderson. He will look to stay healthy and get on track towards Opening Day, which is fast approaching.

Mets Morning Highlights

Josh Satin got the Mets started early with this solo shot.

Juan Lagares doing Juan Lagares things!

Kirk Nieuwenhuis rocks a three-run homer to dead center field.

Zach Lutz puts the Mets up for good.

March 11, 2014

Hey Mets, Enough With Tejada

I know I post sporadically. I have a lot going on right now so I write when I can. I'm on twitter everyday tho so I get a lot of venting done there. But this just irks me  so much that I have to squeeze this post in from my phone. I'm done with Ruben Tejada. I've been done with him since opening day 2012. I don't like him. I never liked him. I believe the Mets oversold his potential so that fans wouldn't hate them so much for letting Reyes go. He's just not that good.

The guy is lost. He couldn't catch the flu right now, let alone a baseball. He also can't hit himself out of a paperbag. I don't buy that he was out of shape last year and that this offseason camp is going to make a huge difference. You know why? Because last year he couldn't field ground balls hit directly to him. And he still can't. 

I don't want to hear the "Oh but 2011 and 2012" arguments. We've seen this movie before from players all over the league. Guys start off well and just lose it. It happens. It could be from the league catching up to them due to overexposure, or it could be mental. Either way, Ruben Tejada does not have a place on this team anymore. It's time to cut the cord. 

Keith said it best yesterday during the broadcast, that if you're in the doghouse, you better have the attitude that you're going to show the naysayers that they're wrong. He's not doing that. I don't think he's capable of doing that. I think he's just happy to be here. I could be wrong, considering I don't know the guy. I don't like to question people's mental states and intentions, but he doesn't seem like that guy from what I can tell.  That's not a guy I want on my team. 

I don't care if it's Tovar or Flores or Drew or Franklin. If Ruben Tejada is the everyday shortstop com March 31, I'm gonna be pissed. I try to have an upbeat outlook with this team as best I can. But when I see them trotting a guy out there who just doesn't seem like he has the desire to be a better player, or is just not a good player, then it's hard for me to have hope in a team, whether it's false hope or not. I have always been against booing players on my own team, no matter who or what the reason would be. The Mets and Tejada are pushing me to the edge. 

A little roller up along first... Behind the bag. It @GetsThruBuckner. Here comes Knight and the Mets win it! 

You see what I did there?  Say hi on Twitter. 

Nick Franklin Answers So Many Mets Questions

It appears the day is nearing when the Mets and Mariners will once again discuss displaced infielder, Nick Franklin.  Seattle has been monitoring the Mets spring, even doubling the number of scouts in attendance at yesterday's game.  While it remains a mystery exactly what Seattle will eventually ask for in return for Franklin, its becoming clear that the Mets are going to have to part with decent talent.  Whether the front office likes it or not, Franklin is becoming more and more important to the Mets as the spring progresses.

Questions linger as to whether or not Franklin can stick at shortstop long-term.  Scouts question both his range and his arm.  However, its becoming ever apparent that Ruben Tejada may not be up to the task either.  After a dismal defensive effort last season, he already has two errors this spring and doesn't look as though a return to form is imminent.  Its entirely possible that Franklin's questionable defense may be an upgrade to Tejada's in 2014, but that's not where the Mets stand to improve if they're able to acquire his services.

Nick Franklin managed 12 home runs and 45 runs batted in over the course of his rookie campaign, despite a terrible slump to end the year.  Of the three FanGraphs projections that have Franklin playing 100 games or more in 2014, the average projection has him with a .250/14/60 stat line. If you prefer a sabermetric approach, those same projections average him to be a 2.5 WAR player next season.  Whatever approach you prefer, these are numbers Ruben Tejada can only dream about.

Swapping Franklin for Tejada may also provide the team with a leadoff option.  If that were the case, the urge to play Eric Young Jr. over the much more defensively sound (and quite possibly offensive equal) Juan Lagares will be stifled.  What does that mean?  The Mets would not only upgrade their offense with Nick Franklin, they can also field their optimum defensive arrangement as well.

Last but not least is the long-term outlook.  Franklin does not project as though he is the shortstop of the future, but he isn't eligible for arbitration until 2017 and remains under team control through the 2019 season.  AKA.. he's cheap.  If he proves valuable enough to keep around, he could replace the increasingly expensive Daniel Murphy if the team chooses to go after a more adept shortstop at some point in the future. 

Nick Franklin gives the Mets options.  He can play either position up the middle, instantly bolsters the team's bench by shifting Tejada there, and he can do so without negatively impacting the team's payroll.  If the Mets can make all of that happen without grossly overpaying in a trade, its a move they have to make in the coming weeks.  Franklin may not be the answer next year and beyond, but he provides so many answers in 2014.

Ike Davis Still A Week From Returning

According to Anthony Rieber of Newsday, Ike Davis is still at least a week away from returning the Grapefruit League action.  This news comes after Davis arrived at camp yesterday wearing a walking boot in an effort to immobilize his ailing calf.  The Mets had hoped to get him close to 100 at-bats this spring, however to date he has only appeared in two games and seen just six at-bats.  As Opening Day nears, the organization may struggle to get Davis even 50 at-bats.  That doesn't bode well for a guy who can ill afford a slow start this season.

Davis' chances at retaining the first base job remained unaffected because Lucas Duda has been battling an injured hamstring.  That may chance, with Duda expected to return to game action either Wednesday or Thursday.  If Duda produces, he may quickly leapfrog Ike into the everyday first base role.  Regardless, the Mets appear destined to enter the season with far more questions than answers at the position.

Wilmer Flores To Start At Shortstop Today

If Wilmer Flores is going to make a late run at the Opening Day roster, today's the day he needs to start his push.  Flores will finally see a long awaited start at shortstop, as the Mets continue to search for answers at the position.  Thought to be too slow for the position in recent years, Flores' offseason body transformation has some within the Mets hoping for increased range at the position.

Flores has done little else to justify going north with the team thus far this spring, other than not being named Ruben Tejada.  In nineteen at-bats, Flores has only two hits and is still searching for his first extra-base hit.  He has however been flawless in twenty-three chances in the field.  That's not an honer that Tejada can claim, as he's made two errors in just seventeen chances.

Flores remains a long shot at shortstop, but if you've been preaching that he should get a chance at the position, your day has arrived.  Its unlikely that he will shine defensively, meaning his bat will have to provide his strongest argument.  So far, its remained dormant.  If things don't change in short order, he will be headed to Vegas in a few weeks time.

Mets Morning Movies

This first clip should give you a solid chuckle to start your morning as a young man neglected his fatherly duties for a brief second and.. well you'll see.

The final clip is the send off that Giancarlo Stanton gave Jack Leathersich riiight before he was demoted back to minor league game. Wow!

March 10, 2014

Ike Davis In A Walking Boot: Twitter Reacts

Mets' Nonexistent First Base Competition

As the Mets entered spring training, one of the areas they hoped to obtain some clarity in was the future of the first base position.  They returned the former first baseman of the future, Ike Davis, and the recently trimmed down Lucas Duda.  The two were set to do battle this spring in an effort to win the starting first base role.  This haven't exactly gone as planned.

The team declared an intention to get Ike Davis as many as 100 at-bats prior to opening day, with the hope of fending off the slow starts that have derailed his previous two seasons.  So far this spring, he's had six.  Dual calf injuries, apparently caused by some errant weight lifting have now cost Davis more than a week of spring training.  Gone too is any hope of him getting 100 at-bats.

One thing that isn't gone is the likelihood that Davis will come out of camp with the first base gig.  Lucas Duda has only managed seven spring at-bats himself, hobbled by a hamstring injury of his own.  This is unfortunate, as Duda had hoped to separate himself and could have forced the Mets' hand had he really outperformed Davis this spring, after a winter full of extra work.

The Mets know less now than they did at the beginning of camp about the future of first base.  If both players were healthy, the outside chance of trading the loser of the competition remained.  Those hopes appear to be dashed at this point.  Neither's return to the lineup is imminent and as the calendar turns to the middle or March, the Mets have to be growing concerned.

Zack Wheeler Continues Strong Spring

It difficult not to get caught up in the short sample sizes of spring training, but Zack Wheeler continued his thus far impressive campaign yesterday against the Atlanta Braves.  Wheeler pitched three innings for the second time this spring.  Although Sunday's outing was not as economical as his first (50 pitches vs. 40 pitches), Wheeler is yet to give up a run this spring.  More importantly, he hasn't hurt himself, walking just one batter to date.

This was an area of concern in Wheeler's freshman campaign, with 4.1 walks per nine innings pitched.  He was often able to limit the damage last year, but a high number of walks will eventually catch up to him.  The Mets would like to see Wheeler improve his command in 2014, as there is no denying his arsenal of pitches.  Wheeler will have the hype to himself for the first half of the season, with Matt Harvey out of the lineup and Noah Syndergaard awaiting promotion.  That will be his time to shine.  So good!

Parnell Returns A Day Early

If you decided to take in yesterday's afternoon game between the Mets and the Braves, you got to see more than a spring training victory.  You also go to see the return of team closer, Bobby Parnell.  Originally scheduled to throw a side session on Sunday and make his first Grapefruit League appearance today, Parnell talked his way on to the mound yesterday.  The result?  Parnell threw one inning, giving up one hit and an unearned run.

Parnell was seemingly happy with the outing, stating after the facts:

"I thought it went well. I felt like I was in the zone, especially there at the end. I think
 it went really well."

Terry Collins echoed that statement:

"To see him out there for the first time and really see him let loose. He's been a 
little tentative in the pen. I understand it. But he threw the ball great. Those last 
five or six, he let go good."

How Parnell responds today is actually more important than the results of his return.  Sunday's appearance was his first in a game setting since a neck injury ended his 2013 season last July.  Parnell is expected to be ready for opening day, a positive note for an otherwise questionable bullpen.  The key will be seeing how responds after each outing, monitoring his velocity and also being able to work on consecutive days later this spring.

March 9, 2014

Good Defense, Good Offense: Pick One and Go With It

One of the more infuriating aspects of the current roster configuration for the Mets is the front office's inconsistent emphasis on the offensive/defensive capabilities of the players on the field.  This inconsistency will, in the long term, cost the Mets games and until an organizational philosophy is identified and implemented, the franchise will continue to wallow in mediocrity.

When the Mets signed Chris Young in the offseason, a significant selling point was that in the spacious outfield that is Citi-Field, the ability to cover a lot of real estate was vital to his acquisition. His recent offensive struggles were downplayed.  Little mention of his .200 BA found its way into management press statements. There was the stated "hope" that he could recapture earlier career glory in the power/run production department, but the major reason for his signing was that he could "go get it" in the outfield.  Young's signing was followed quickly by Curtis Granderson, another great glove in the outfield, so that the young pitching staff could look out into the cavernous outfield confident that with Granderson, Lagares and Young, fly balls would go to die.

Then Spring Training started and Lagares, the best defender of the three, seems to be the odd man out in favor of Eric Young, Jr., whose glove is far below the standard Lagares set last year.  EY brings spark to the lineup, but he is a significant downgrade defensively.  Outfield isn't even his natural position.

The opposite appears to be the case in the infield. If Reuben Tejada is the everyday shortstop, a significant reason is the "hope" that he performs to the level he displayed earlier in his career, i.e., .284 BA and solid .360 OBP, rather than his range and arm strength at shortstop - which are pedestrian at best.  But if the team wants offense and is willing to sacrifice defense to get it, why not give the job to Wilmer Flores, who everyone knows will hit major league pitching?  Daniel Murphy has improved dramatically at his current defensive position, 2B, but the real reason he's in the lineup is that he is close to a .300 hitter.  Terry Collins seems wedded to Lucas Duda at 1B, based on his offense, but the man can barely catch a thrown ball - let alone a hot smash down the first base line.

In the first World Series win for the Mets, it was clear that the organizational philosophy was pitching and defense first.  Hold the opposition to two runs or fewer and try to scratch out wins with timely hitting.  Watch the highlights of that World Series and you will see that most of them are with the Mets in the field.  (Agee made two plays in Game 3 - saving 5 runs - that if you haven't seen lately, you should look at again.  Swoboda's Game 4 layout catch was the best play he ever made.)  In 1986, it was just the opposite. They had great strikeout pitching, but the players in the field were there to hit the ball.  Anyone who remembers Kevin Mitchell playing shortstop knows he was in the game because he drove the ball with a bat in his hands. Strawberry was average at best in the outfield.  Backman could barely make the throw from second to first on double plays. Mookie Wilson could run like the wind, but he couldn't make a strong throw on a bet. Ray Knight was a butcher at 3B.  They committed errors that cost the team runs, but they could all hit.

In the late nineties and 2000, the Mets were known as a team that did not beat itself.  In 1999 they set a record that still stands: the team gave up only 20 unearned runs all season long. Granted, they could hit, but what set them apart was incredible defense (only 27 errors) and they won games because of it.

Neither philosophy was right or wrong. Both ways can achieve winning baseball.  It's wonderful if your team has players that can be great offensively and with the glove (David Wright), but those are rare players. What the current Mets have to decide is whether they are going to be a team that plays tight defense and sound fundamental baseball to try and score enough runs to win or if they will sacrifice in the field and rely on strikeouts and home runs to put games in the win column.  Right now, they lack any identity and all appearances are that we are in for another long season.