Mets Done Adding to MLB Roster

According to multiple reports, the Mets are unlikely to add Stephen Drew and are probably not going to sign another major league contract. To me, that sounds about right. While we have what looks to be a projected roster, I’m curious to see how things pan out this spring.

With the recent signings of John Lannan and Daisuke Matsuzaka to minor league deals, it now appears that all of the pieces of the puzzle will be filled this spring. There are the expected competitions this season, like who will start at first base and the fifth rotation spot. And then there’s the unexpected. For instance, who will set up Bobby Parnell? Will it be Vic Black like we all assume?

If anything, I would have liked for the Mets to add a shortstop. Ruben Tejada was a decent replacement in the first year without Jose Reyes, but last year was a disappointment. The organization and the fans have called his work ethic to question on multiple occasions. I wouldn’t be surprised if Omar Quintanilla got another legitimate shot.

The question I do find myself asking is what about Juan Lagares? The Mets still have Eric Young, Jr. and they signed Curtis Granderson and Chris Young. Does EY move to his natural position (second base) or does Lagares become a fourth outfielder and a late-inning defensive replacement? If Lagares proved anything this winter, he’s worth a look as the starter and is so much more than a late-inning defensive replacement. Besides, Endy Chavez will always be my favorite late-inning defensive replacement.

I like the direction this team is headed in for this year. Okay, it’s obviously not a playoff team. But any improvement from 74-88 is improvement enough in my book. I’m cautiously optimistic for young players like Jenrry Mejia and Wilfredo Tovar to have big years. I can’t wait to see Zack Wheeler’s development in the absence of Matt Harvey.

2014 is poised to be the Year of the Youngins. And let’s face it: I’d rather see products of my farm system (which was recently ranked the sixth best in baseball) go out there and learn from every game and every out than say a team like our crosstown rivals. They will remain unnamed for the purposes of both this blog and my sanity. I feel good about this year. But, I also felt good about last year and we went 74-88.

Oy vey.

 

Merry Mets-mas!!!

The Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks will face off in this year’s Superbowl. Peyton Manning will be able to say “Omaha” as much as he wants.

But Jessica, this is a Mets baseball blog. But Reader, the Superbowl means we are that much closer to baseball. And let’s face it, now that we know the two best teams in football are going to the big game, hasn’t everybody already moved on to baseball anyway? I know I have.

I was ecstatic to find out that my dad and my twin brother are coming down for a spring training game this year. My younger brother, who, God love him, has the spring schedule on his kitchen wall, is already planning when he is going to the game. As for me, I’m more of an autograph seeker. My record is nine in two days (including David Wright, Daniel Murphy, Terry Collins, and ’86 hero Mookie Wilson), so I guess you can say I have a knack.

But I’m not just excited about autograph prospects. I’m excited about prospect prospects, namely Noah Syndergaard. Syndergaard was recently named one of the Top 3 prospects in the MLB, and not just pitching prospects. All the prospects. We can expect to get a good look at Syndergaard this spring, before he goes to AAA, on the same track as Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler. The Mets expect to limit Syndergaard to 160 IP, and hopefully by then, I can spell Syndergaard without having to backspace on my keyboard.

It’s very possible that Syndergaard is used in relief in order to get him more big league innings, something akin to what the Cardinals did with Michael Wacha last season. One scout likened Syndergaard to his recovering teammate, Matt Harvey. Yup, you read that right. Two Matt Harveys. And that has me not only excited for this year, but also for 2015, when the rotation is at its full potential.

Okay, I get it. It’s not easy being a Mets fan. We lost our best pitcher to Tommy John surgery. We’re still paying Bobby Bonilla. But look on the bright side. We still have Zack Wheeler, and our rotation is only going to get better. Also, we actually have an outfield this year. Like, a real, live actual outfield that isn’t pieced together from the Las Vegas 51′s. And that outfield doesn’t include Jordany Valdespin.

So, Merry Mets-mas, Mets fans. Merry Mets-mas.

Bartolo Colon the Opening Day starter?

Sandy Alderson recently spoke at Chaminade High School and said that Bartolo Colon could get the ball on March 31.

The rotation is pretty much set with Colon, Dillon Gee, Jon Niese, and Zack Wheeler. The organization expects to fill the fifth spot in spring training. That could come from a player on a minor league contract or from a player within the organization. Knowing that we can’t expect to see Noah Syndergaard until July, I would hope that Rafael Montero or Jacob deGrom get the first shot.

But back to Colon as the Opening Day starter. His numbers alone have earned him a spot in the opening series. Last season for the Athletics, he went 18-6 with a 2.65 ERA while striking out 117 over 190.1 innings. Colon signed a 2-year, $20 million contract with the Mets during the Winter Meetings.

If Matt Harvey wasn’t injured, this decision would be easy. Give Matt the ball on Opening Day. And while I like Colon for the opening series, I don’t think he should get the ball Opening Day. I hope I’m not the only one that shares the sentiment that Niese and Gee would earn the first chances to try out for the Opening Day spot.

Last season, Jon Niese was the Opening Day starter and went 6 2/3 innings, allowing two earned runs on four hits. The Mets continued their streak of being awesome on Opening Day by winning 11-2. He certainly earned another chance to get the ball March 31.

Those who support Dillon Gee certainly have a compelling argument. Gee has battled back from season-ending surgery in 2012. Last year, he led the team with 12 wins and was one of the only players to make it through the entire season injury free. In 32 starts, he posted a 3.62 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP. His 3.0 K/BB was second to only Matt Harvey in 2013. Gee only got better after the All Star break, posting a 2.74 ERA in 13 starts.

As much as I like Wheeler, I don’t see him getting the ball on Opening Day just yet. I would like to think over the next few years that Wheeler and Harvey will make an unstoppable 1-2 punch, but we will have to wait until 2015 to see this roation’s full potential. And it makes me sad every day.

We really have to wait and see how spring training pans out for these four pitchers. The final decision will ultimately be Terry Collins’ to make, and he could go with any of these pitchers. I, personally, would like to see Gee or Niese, but that’s just me. They’ll have to earn it and spring training will be fun to watch.

 

Not that there’s anything wrong with that

We were so cute!As much as my mom tried, I grew up a tomboy.

I took ballet class, was in the Girl Scouts, and wore anything pink. I danced in The Nutcracker and played Barbies, but I was a tomboy at heart.

I’d rather play Legos with my brothers and pretend we were the Power Rangers (I was the pink one, duh!). I learned to read a boxscore by the time I was seven and kept the scorecard by the time I was eight.

I even played Little League for a year. The highlight of my short career was a base hit down the third base line. I played for the Diamondbacks; I vividly remember wanting to be on the Mets.

My dad would take my brothers and I to Shea and we would sit in the Upper Deck in the last row behind home plate. He did that so my brothers could run around without distracting anybody and I could watch the game.

Now that we are grown up, my room is the equivalent of Jimmy Fallon’s apartment in Fever Pitch. I wear Mets shirts on a regular basis. But hey, my prom dress was pink. And sparkly.

According to my mom, I need to read a fashion magazine because I didn’t think Jennifer Lawerence’s Golden Globes dress was that bad. And a lot of the clothes I pick out for myself look better on the rack than they do on me. But it’s not her fault I’d rather read Sports Illustrated.

There have been times in my life where I wished I was more of a girl. I wished that I could walk in heels without falling over. I wish I had the patience to endure a mani/pedi, or even that I was more inclined to wear a dress once in a while.

But I realized that I’m not a girly-girl. I watch sports and listen to Led Zeppelin on a regular basis. I play fantasy baseball, even though the only thing I have going for me is that Mike Trout is my keeper. And I’m glad I’ve lived for the Mets since the time I was four.

Lucas Duda actually answered my question when he did a Mets Twitter Q&A.

Screen shot 2012-04-01 at 5.30.01 PM

As did David Wright when he stopped by the Edward Jones Chatting Cage. And I reacted appropriately.

awwwww

I was on ESPN when the Red Sox played the Yankees.

Me on ESPN

And perhaps most importantly, whether he knows it or not, I was on TV with David Wright. It was my first time at Citi Field. I have pretty awesome luck.

On TV with David Wright

So yes, I’m out of touch as a girl. I’m as pale as Casper, but I love the Mets. I’m a tomboy at heart…not that there’s anything wrong with that.

 

 

No facility for Palm Beach Gardens

“No soup for you!”

That’s basically what happened when the Palm Beach Gardens city council voted to stop construction on the site that would have acted as another spring training complex. The motion to stop construction passed 4-1. The move happened to appease residents, who were concerned about the potential noise and traffic it would have brought to an otherwise quiet area.

The complex would have not only housed the Astros, but would have served as a new site for the Blue Jays as well. The Astros will still listen to proposals for other sites in Palm Beach County. The team may also consider moving to Arizona.

Currently, the Astros train in Kissimmee, which is in central Florida and the Blue Jays train in Dunedin, which is on Florida’s west coast. The Braves and the Expos were the last two teams to have their complexes in West Palm Beach; they both left in 1997.

So, what does this all mean for the Mets? A spring training schedule that’s filled to the gill with games against the Cardinals, Marlins, and Nationals. The Mets play way too many games against these opponents in spring training, which may give the Marlins and Nationals somewhat of an advantage in the regular season. It’s no coincidence that we can sweep the Yankees and then go and lose two out of three to the Marlins.

For the record, 11 of the Marlins’ 62 wins (17.74%) last year came against the Mets, including quite a few extra-inning marathons. That’s the most against any team for the Fish, and one of only five teams they had a winning record against.

At this point, the Mets have a minimum one-hour bus ride to Jupiter or Viera. The Mets would have to travel 2-3 hours to play the Tigers, or the Yankees. Moving the Astros and Blue Jays would have added two more teams within that one-hour bus ride that aren’t in the NL East.

Ever since the Red Sox opened up their new spring facility in 2012, I have been hearing consistent rumors that the Nationals were considering moving to the now-vacant City of Palms park, right in the heart of downtown Ft. Myers. The Nationals asked for an estimated $45 million in upgrades to make the park their home. The city of Ft. Myers has been working with a contruction company to reshape the area surrounding the park.

If the Nationals were to move to Ft. Myers, then the Mets, Cardinals and Marlins all have clauses in their contracts to move from their current facilities if the number of area teams drops to three.

As much as I would love for the Mets to stay in Port St. Lucie, a town they basically built, a move to either Florida’s west coast or Arizona would make sense. It would mean more time spent on the baseball field and less time traveling. Trust me, I’ve driven to Port St. Lucie and back; it’s a long drive. And while getting there is half the fun, I don’t think the same holds true for the Mets. More than anything, I think a move from Port St. Lucie would mean less losses to the Marlins in the regular season.

Alex Rodriguez suspended for 162 games

Alex Rodriguez was suspended for the entire 2014 season today, after a ruling by MLB arbitrator Fredric Horowitz. The suspension includes both the regular and any potential postseason appearance for the Yankees. This suspension could be the end of the 38-year-old slugger’s career.

The MLB had orginally issued Rodriguez a 211-game suspension for his alleged role in the Biogenesis scandal based on overwhelming evidence that Rodriguez had not only obtained illegal performance enhancing substances, but also sought to hinder their investigation into those allegations. Rodriguez appealled the decision and played 44 games for the Yankees, posting a .244 average to go along with 7 home runs and 19 RBI.

In a statement, Rodriguez said he would appeal Horowitz’s decision in federal court.

Rodriguez’s suspension will cost him $25 million and it gives the Yankees a chance to get their 2014 payroll under $189 million. Rodriguez would have also recieved millions in performance-based incentives. From 2015-2017, the Yankees owed Rodriguez $61 million and it’s possibile the team could negotiate a buyout, try to void what’s left or simply release Rodriguez.

The MLB Player’s Association, who participated in his defense, released their own statement, saying that while they “strongly disagree” with the ruling, they recognize that “a final and binding decision has been reached.”

Of the thirteen players suspended in the Biogensis scandal, including former Met Jordany Valdespin and Mets prospect Cesar Puello, Rodriguez was the only player to appeal his suspension. The other twelve players, most notably Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun, reached an agreement with the League for the length of their suspension and waived their right to appeal to an arbitrator as part of the agreement.

I’m not a fan of Alex Rodriguez, never have been never will be. There was talk of acquiring Rodriguez in 2002 but I never wanted any part of Rodriguez. To me, this appeal isn’t based on baseball. It’s based on money. A lot of money. While the Steinbrenner family may be dancing in the streets today for saving the money, Alex Rodriguez has lost $25 million. And he’s mad, obviously. I think Rodriguez has put himself on a baseball pedestal, where he thinks that if he appeals the decision, he’s still going to get his money. I think he thinks he’s going to get away with it because he’s Alex Rodriguez.

Rodriguez had admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs prior to the 2003 survey testing year, but he hasn’t failed a drug test since then. But then again, how do we not know that Rodriguez has found a way to beat the drug test? With evidence overwhelming pointing to Rodriguez’s guilt, he’s making himself look stupid by appealing the decision. He should move on, because the Yankees already have.

Moving on from Game 162

metsfanWe all remember it. 2007. The year the Mets had a seven game lead with 17 left to play. Without bringing up any harsh memories, let’s just say that by the time I got to a TV for Game 162, the Mets were doomed. It was one of the greatest collapses in baseball history, if not the greatest. And then we watched it happen again in 2008. But I digress.

Tom Glavine, who started Game 162, allowed seven runs and failed to get out of the first inning. Earlier this week, after his Hall of Fame election, Glavine has come out and said that he wished his haters would move on from that one start.

“I wish that people could get past that a little bit and look at some of the other good things that I did, but I understand that there’s still some anger from some people out there,” Glavine said.

Glavine went 61-56 with a 3.97 ERA in his five seasons with the Mets. He won his 300th game with the Mets, on the road at Wrigley Field. Yet, some of the haters on Twitter and Instagram accused him of not being a true Met and being a mole for the Braves.

The thing about Glavine is that he’s a scapegoat. He’s a face we can point to and say, “And THAT’S why we didn’t make the playoffs.”

It doesn’t matter if David Wright wasn’t hitting well in the final 17 games of 2007 or if the bullpen blew one too many games. We all point to Glavine as the main reason the Mets collapsed.

The same thing happened to Carlos Beltran. It doesn’t matter that Guillermo Mota gave up a three-run triple to Scott Spezio in Game 2 that cost the Mets the game. It doesn’t matter that Aaron Heilman invalidated the greatest catch ever by giving up the game-winning home run to Yadier Molina. What people point to is Beltran striking out with the bases loaded to end the game. Sure, the #blamebeltran hashtag has become a fun thing for Twitter, but people still hate Beltran for striking out, and Beltran remains bitter about his time with the organization.

Glavine and Beltran are just two of the names in the Mets Scapegoat Hall of Fame, but unfortunately for Glavine, moving on from Game 162 is easier said than done. Since 2007, fans have endured another collapse, a year where the whole roster was injured, two years of purely bad baseball and at least two years of fielding a AAA team (and David Wright). The Mets haven’t had a record above .500 since 2008 and have been through three managers in the last seven years. Basically, they’ve made us question why we are still Mets fans more times than we can count.

The scar is still there from the missed opportunity that the Mets had in 2007. It was supposed to be the year we vindicated ourselves. Instead, it was the beginning of a donward spiral.

The good news for Glavine is that the Red Sox fans eventually forgave Bill Buckner for the passed ball; it only took them 18 years and their first World Series title in 86 years.

 

Mets Recap: January 9

mets_logo-Mets prospects Dustin Lawley, Jack Leathersich, Danny Muno, and Corey Vaughn have all been invited to big league camp as non-roster invitees. Of these names, I’m most excited about Leathersich, who could get a look for a bullpen role.

-Bobby Parnell has been cleared to resume baseball activities. Parnell had surgery to repair a herniated disk in his neck on September 10. Parnell has regained the 30 pounds that he lost while recovering from the surgery. In case Parnell isn’t ready to start the season, Mets GM Sandy Alderson is reportedly look for a veteran set-up man to compete with Vic Black. If Parnell isn’t ready, and another player isn’t acquired via a trade or free agency, I expect Vic Black to get the first shot. For the team not to retain LaTroy Hawkins, the organization must have strong faith in his development.

-Wally Backman will return as the manager for the Mets’ AAA affliate in Las Vegas. It’s Backman’s second year managing the 51′s, and he expects the team to have a solid start to 2014. Former Met and 20-game winner Frank Viola will join Backman as the pitching coach. Viola is the ideal candidate to be working with our top prospects, including Leathersich, Rafael Montero, Jacob deGrom and quite possibly Noah Syndergaard. I look forward to following the 51′s more closely.

-Sandy Alderson has come out and said that the organization isn’t in active discussions to trade Ike Davis. Brewers GM Doug Melvin has said he’s still in discussions with Alderson, but the two aren’t seeing eye-to-eye. The Mets have tried to acquire pitching prospects Tyler Thornburg and Eduardo Rodriguez but were shot down. Alderson and Davis spoke at David Wright’s wedding and Davis is reportedly in “good spirits.” Honestly, I’m okay with Ike starting camp with the Mets. The presumed competition between Davis and Lucas Duda for the starting job is one of the things I’m looking forward to this spring. Also, how am I just finding out about David Wright’s wedding?

-Ruben Tejada could be the starting shortstop in 2014. I think that instead of trying to get young pitching (which we have in spades), the Mets should go out and acquire a shortstop via trade or free agency. Sure, we got Dilson Herrera from the Pirates for Marlon Byrd, but it may still be a few years before he’s ready. We really just need a filler for one or two years until a “shortstop of the future” emerges.

Piazza Misses Hall of Fame Election

Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux and Frank Thomas were elected into this year’s Hall of Fame class. Craig Biggio missed the Hall by 0.2% of the vote. Thanks, Ken Gurnick.

Mike Piazza missed the ballot in his second year of eligibility, garnering only 62.2% of the 75% needed to be elected to Cooperstown. Piazza’s total, however, was up roughly 5% from last year. In 2013, Piazza had 57.8% of the vote in his first year of eligibility.

Piazza’s 396 home runs as a catcher (he has 427 total career home runs) are the most by a catcher in baseball history. He had a .308 career average with a .377 OBP and a .922 OPS in 16 seasons from 1992 to 2007.

In eight seasons with the Mets, he played 872 games to the tune of a .296 average, good enough for the Mets Hall of Fame. His 220 home runs as a Met are third all time in franchise history.

I’m upset about Piazza not getting elected, but I knew it was going to be a tough road with Glavine, Maddux and Thomas on the ballot.

Of the players that got elected, it’s the first time that the BBWAA elected three first-year eligible players together since Robin Yount, Nolan Ryan and George Brett were elected. Maddux and Glavine also go into the Hall along with their fomer manager Bobby Cox, who was selected by the Expansion Era Committee last month, along with Joe Torre and Tony LaRussa.

Maddux and Glavine represent the only first-ballot pitchers to be elected together since Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson were elected together in the Hall’s inaugural class.

Maddux appeared on 97.2% of the ballots, falling short of Tom Seaver’s all-time mark of 98.84% in 1992. Former Met Glavine appeared on 91.9% of the ballots, while Thomas finished at 83.7%.

Of the players that played in the steroid era, Piazza was the only one to gain momentum. Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds actually lost support on the ballot at 35.4% and 34.7%, respectively. Sammy Sosa saw his percentage fall to 7.2, which is barely enough to remain on the ballot. A player needs 5% of the vote to stay on the ballot for a maximum of 15 years.

The induction ceremony for the 2014 Hall of Fame class will be held on July 27 in Cooperstown.

UPDATE at 2:51 PM: The organization has released a statement to their Facebook page: “On behalf of the organization and our fans, Mike is a true Hall of Famer,” said Mets COO Jeff Wilpon. “We proudly display his plaque in the Mets Hall of Fame, and we’re hopeful that he’ll soon have one hanging in Cooperstown.”

The Road to Port St. Lucie

In 39 short days, Mets pitchers and catchers will report to Port St. Lucie for spring training. And in 11 shorter days, my brother and I will be trying to decide when we both can go to Port St. Lucie to catch a game.

I live approximately two and a half hours away from the re-named Tradition Field. The Red Sox and Twins train nearby with the Rays just 40 minutes up the road. I saw a number of Red Sox and Twins players at work, including former Met Mike Pelfrey (he was really nice, by the way).

Despite the fact that my family and I moved to Florida in 1999, we didn’t actually go to spring training until 2006. My dad packed my brothers and I up and we drove the two and half hours to pre-Digital Domain Tradition Field. It was a fun time; we followed Omar Minaya to his car and asked about Pedro Martinez’s injured toe. My brother and I waited two hours by the third base line and I finally got David Wright’s autograph as they were sending people back to their seats. It was basically the highlight of my Mets fandom.

In 2007, I tried to duplicate my luck with the Mets as the away team, only to be trampled and clutching Howard Johnson’s autograph as a consolation prize. Fred Wilpon signed my hat and asked me how I had gotten Gary Carter to sign the same exact hat. I remember Fred mingling with the fans; he was actually out there longer than any of the players, including Ramon Castro, who couldn’t get to the team bus quicker.

More recently, I’ve stuck to the games in my area. Granted, a lot of the starters didn’t make the long bus ride. But that was okay because I got to see most of our prospects. I knew my Buffalo Bisons better than anyone there. There was the time I got nine autographs in two days and I remember Justin Turner asking me if I already had an autograph. Daniel Murphy gave his bat to a kid and I think the kid’s father was more excited than him.

I have nothing but good memories about spring training. Even the bad memories, I can laugh about in jest. At least once, I think every Mets fan should come down to Florida for a game. If they have half as many stories as I do, they’ll remember this trip for a long time.

 

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