Results tagged ‘ Daniel Murphy ’

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.

 

May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor

Well, the Mets have gone through a full rotation. After getting off to a 4-0 start, instilling hope in the eyes of many, the Mets have gone back to being the baseball team that we all know and love.

Jason Bay can’t hit the ball to save his life. David Wright fractured his pinky, jeopardizing Terry Collins’ plan to keep Daniel Murphy at second base. Dillon Gee hasn’t shaved his Brian Wilson-esque beard. Perhaps most worrying for the Mets is that in two starts, they’ve scored zero runs for Johan Santana.

Sure, they won on Opening Day…but the run came after Santana came out of the game. Yesterday, the Mets didn’t even score a run after they went to bullpen. On Opening Day, the Mets shut out the Braves. Yesterday, Johan only allowed one earned run. Am I missing something here? Did Santana not come back after 16 months and we have a new guy pitching who says his name is Johan Santana?

But this is nothing new for the Mets. Type in “Johan Santana run support” into any search engine, and one is bombarded with news items about Johan Santana from 2009 and 2010 about how he doesn’t get any run support. One story from yesteryear called him the “Unluckiest Pitcher in Baseball.” It’s not a stretch.

Take into consideration our divisional rivals, the Philadelphia Phillies. You can pretty much count on Roy Halladay going out there every time and notch another quality start into his belt. In reality, the Phillies only have to score one more run than the other team and maybe tack on an insurance run or two to prevent the other team from coimng back. It has been the Mets’ experience that not only does Halladay shut them down, but the offense tacks on one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, TEN runs for Halladay.

I can’t comment on the atmosphere of the Mets clubhouse, but part of me wonders if when Santana’s pitching, the hitters feel like they can be lax in their jobs. I’m not saying that having the stability of Johan Santana is a bad thing; the hitters take for granted that Santana is going to go out there and shut down the opponent and strike out 10 or 11 batters. I am worried about R.A. Dickey in this same fashion. Dating back to last year, Dickey has 13 straight quality starts. What’s to prevent Ike Davis from saying, “R.A. won’t let off more than three runs. I can chill” or “We have Johan freaking Santana. I can chill.”

Baseball is a two way street. Just as the pitchers have to pitch well, the hitters have to hit the ball. If Johan pitches well, isn’t entitled to more than three runs of support per start over the course of 25-30 starts?

 

A Baseball Chick’s Scouting Report: Infield

Well, with the start of spring training a mere 7 weeks away, that time of year has come to over analyze every player we have on the team. And every scouting report is the same: David Wright had his worst season ever last year, Mike Pelfrey isn’t pyschologically ready to pitch, why did we even sign Jason Bay? Those who follow me on Twitter already know I base my scouting report on two main (shallow) points: who has the best hair and who signed my ball at spring training. And with that, I would like to welcome you to a Baseball Chick’s Scouting Report.

Using the projected Opening Day lineup, this week, I’m focusing my scouting efforts on the projected Opening Day infield of Ike Davis, Daniel Murphy, Ruben Tejada, Josh Thole and David Wright. And with that, let’s get the ball rolling!

Ike Davis: Ike Davis was supposed to have a big year in 2011. Then, he collided with David Wright and what was orginially a day-to-day injury ended up becoming a season ender for Ike. But, in his 36 games played last season, Ike was hitting a .302 with a .383 on-base percentage and an OPS of .925. And, most impressively, Ike’s seven home runs remained among the team leaders for a good portion of the 2011 season. Least impressively, Ike Davis said he would sign my ball and he never did. That wasn’t cool, Ike. But I don’t wish you any harm since it seems like karma already got back to you.

Daniel Murphy: Murph’s had a rough go at it these past two years. First, he gets hurt learning how to play second base so we can dump Luis Castillo. Then, he actually gets a regular spot on the team thanks to key injuries, becomes an offensive asset and gets hurt yet again. At the time of his injury, as we all know, Murph was hitting a .320 and had a .362 OBP and an OPS of .809. He also had six home runs and 49 RBI, but the really important thing here is that Daniel Murphy is like seriously one of the nicest players on the team. Not only did he sign my ball, but he broke his bat during batting practice and gave it to a little boy. I’m all for giving kids the joy of baseball and that kid will never forget Daniel Murphy. Now, if only we can buy Daniel Murphy t-shirts in the Mets Clubhouse Store.

Ruben Tejada: As much as everybody wanted Jose Reyes back (he blew me off so I said au revior to Jose with zero incident), it looks like Ruben Tejada is going to be your 2012 shortstop. Tejada saw regular playing time in 2011 thanks to a combination of Jose Reyes getting hurt and the lack of a second baseman, and he saw equal action at both positions. Offensively, Tejada started coming into his stride at the end of the season. I don’t know whether it was because the games didn’t matter anymore or if he finally adjusted to the major league pitching. Anyway, the player with an eery resemblance to Taylor Swift will have to prove himself to a crap load of people in 2012.

Josh Thole: Josh Thole went from being the back-up catcher to the starting catcher in 2011, and while his offensive numbers may not exactly to be worth writing home about, defensively, Thole is solid. In 102 games behind the plate, Thole threw out 21% of the runners who were trying to steal a base, and had a fielding percentage of .997. Two years ago, it seemed like he was only behind the plate every fifth day, but Josh Thole has been relegated to starting catcher thanks to the depature of Ronny Paulino. But hey, it could be worse; we could have…Ronny Paulino. And Thole is another one of those genuinely nice baseball players who makes sure everyone gets an autograph at spring training. He doesn’t leave anyone hanging.

David Wright: Now, we get into sensitive territory. Yes, my future husband had a crappy season in 2011. Yes, he ended another player’s 2011 season in May. And yes, karma came back around to David Wright. 2011 gave David Wright his worst career numbers around the board, to the point where I gave myself a dime every time he struck out, and for the record, I made $9.70 off David Wright last season. The Wilpon family has finally seen the light and said that David Wright is not the offensive asset he used to be and they’re moving in the walls at Citi Field. But somehow, I don’t blame Citi Field as much as I blame the hitter. Maybe he changed his batting stance, but whatever he did, it’s not working. But, it’s impossible for me to have any ill will against David Wright because he signed my baseball (twice) and he’s just so pretty. Like, OMG, we can’t trade him! What will we be left with?

In conclusion, three of the five players in my projected infield has signed Jessica’s baseball and Josh Thole and David Wright get double points for being prettier than the rest. Next time, I focus my attention on the projected Opening Day outfield: Jason Bay, Lucas Duda, and Andres Torres. Peace out!

 

Looking into the Mets Crystal Ball

Those who go by the Mayan calendar may believe that the world will end on December 21, but I go by a different calendar: the Mets calendar. The Mets calendar says that pitchers and catchers report on February 20, approximately 50 days from now.

So while football season may be over for the Jets fans out there (myself included), we can turn to our beloved Mets, and figure out ways that they will break our hearts this season. Or will they surprise us? Keep reading to see what Miss Cleo (or I guess it would be Miss Jessica) thinks.

The Mets will finish in last place next season. Lets face it. The other teams in our division have made measures to improve the team. What have the Mets done? We let Jose Reyes go to a divisional rival and traded Angel Pagan for the guy that punched Shane Victorino to start the Phillies/Giants brawl. We’re gonna need that guy because we’ll all want to punch Shane Victorino by the end of season. The loss of Jose Reyes marks the biggest loss of a homegrown product since Darryl Strawberry said deuces to the Mets in 1990. The Mets went on to have a losing record for the next six seasons. That doesn’t look good for the guys in orange and blue.

David Wright will not be a Met on July 31. And the tears of thousands of Met fans ring quietly in my ears. As much as I hate to admit, I think this move would be more about the Mets saving $16 million than about David Wright himself. Assuming moving in the walls at Citi Field does the trick for Mr. Wright’s offensive slump, I expect him to be back to 2007 form. 2008 David Wright would be too much to ask of the Baseball Gods. But another injury would prevent David from going on the trade block. Paging Matt Cain!

The Wilpons will not sell the team. It seems like they’re already having a hard time getting minority stake holders. I guess a business card that says “owner” doesn’t appeal to potential stakeholder. I can accept the Mets being a moneyball team as much as the next fan, but Sandy Alderson has nothing to build a better team with. One of the basic rules of business is that you can’t sell the product if nobody’s biting. That goes for both the minority stake and the product on the field.

R.A. Dickey will make it to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro without incident. The Mets threatened to void Dickey’s contract if he gets hurt on the climb. We need R.A. Dickey, so I’m hoping he gets to the top of that mountain.

Johan Santana will pitch for the Mets at some point in the season. He’s gonna throw the ball. I’ll be damed if we pay him like $17 million to be hurt for the entire season. We could use that money to pay Bobby Bonilla!

Mike Pelfrey’s tongue will distract me. If being the de facto ace of the Mets doesn’t pan out (like it hasn’t so far), Mike Pelfrey has a second career as the frontman of a KISS tribute band.

Lucas Duda will have a big season. The season Ike Davis was supposed to have last year will be Lucas Duda’s season this year. Except for the part where Ike collides with David Wright. We can skip that part. Because I still don’t understand how it happened.

Daniel Murphy will become the new milk carton boy. Poor Murph doesn’t have a place on the team. I mean, he only plays like every position IN ADDITION to batting third. I suppose Murph either becomes the starting second baseman or he becomes the milk carton boy. I hope he doesn’t become the milk carton boy.

Banner Day will be awesome. Because it will be. ‘Nuff said.

Should He Stay or Should He Go: Daniel Murphy

Should he stay or should he go? That’s the name of the game!

Welcome to the newest installment to my blog where I get to be Sandy Alderson. Of course, if it were up to only me, that would be no fun. So, I want you to weigh in as well. Lets get started!

My first player on the chopping block is Daniel Murphy. For the past couple of seasons, Murph’s status going into spring training has always been a giant question mark? What position will he play, will he be a starter, will he be a bench player, will he be in the minors trying to learn yet another position?

In 2010, Murph was in the minor leagues learning how to play second base when he hurt his knee and missed the entire season. We were stuck with Luis Castillo.

This past season, Murph was in the running along with Justin Turner and some guy named Brad Emaus to be the starting second baseman. Emaus won the job, Murph was relegated to the bench, and Turner was sent to the minors. Turner was the starting second baseman within a month. In 109 games this year, Murph batted a .320 with 6 HR, 49 RBI, and an .809 OPS. That was before the Braves’ Jose Constanza ended Murph’s season by sliding into his knee.

Murph played 24 games (with 19 starts) at second and made 2 errors in 168.1 innings at 2B for a .978 fielding percentage at that position.

Daniel Murphy, by trade, is also a third baseman. The Mets drafted him as a third baseman in 2006 and could fill in for David Wright if Wright gets injured or traded.

Not only that, Daniel Murphy provided us with this great quote: “I’m Daniel Murphy and I bat third.”

Having Murphy in the three hole with Ike Davis in the cleanup spot could be the offensive spark this team needs after the (inevitable) departure of Jose Reyes. It’s sad that Murphy’s only an option if/when Jose Reyes leaves. He should be an option anyway. I think Daniel Murphy is one of those players that the Mets need to find a spot for on the starting lineup and second base might be his spot.

My vote: Stay

 

Looking Ahead: 2012 Offense

It’s really hard to look ahead on something that could go either way.

If the Mets, by some miracle, re-sign Jose Reyes, then all you really need is another outfielder with some pop. And to bring in the fences at Citi Field.

However, we have to look at the possibility that the Mets don’t get Reyes back. Reyes led the NL in batting average and multi-hit games last season. If you lose Reyes, you’re losing a lot of hits.

I really sincerely believe that the Mets need to find a place for Daniel Murphy on this team. Before Murphy got hurt in August, he was also among the league leaders in hitting. Plus, if you’re like me, you said the same thing when he got hurt: “Well, the season’s over now.”

If you’re like me, the next thing you would have said is, “Well, they still David Wright.”

Wright is coming off the worst season of his career, and he still managed to lead the team in home runs and RBIs. And he missed two months of the season. Before 2009, Wright was never an injury risk, playing in 160 games each year. Then Matt Cain hit a fastball to his head and ended up on my hit list. I blame the 2006 Home Run Derby and the 2009 concussion for D-Dubs not being D-Dubs.

We also have another weapon in our arsenal that we may be overlooking: Ike Davis. Before he collided with David Wright in the strangest collision ever, Davis was among the team leaders in every offensive category. He was seeing the ball wall, he was producing runs, he was doing everything Terry Collins could ever ask for. I really felt 2011 was going to be the year Ike became a superstar. Now, I just blame David.

I also like Lucas Duda, who was Davis’s replacement for a good part of the season. Not only does he have the best hair on the team, Duda has the potential to be a strong number five hitter. Last season, Duda posted a .292 batting average with 10 home runs, 50 RBI, along with a .370 on-base percentage and a .420 SLG. And that was only in 100 games; imagine if Duda was your every day right fielder and he was playing in 60 more games. Plus it’s a fun name to say.

Again, I really think that the Mets can do okay with what we have. We did okay with what we had last season; we’re not the Phillies, but nobody expects us to be the Phillies. Every newspaper picked us to finish dead last and we came in fourth. Yay us! I don’t think 2012 will be a playoff year, but I think it will be a “get the team above .500 year.”

I’d be happy with .500 and no longer being the laughing stock of baseball. Thanks, 2011 Boston Red Sox, for helping me with one goal!

 

Looking Ahead: 2012 without Jose Reyes

There is a very strong possibility that Jose Reyes might not be a Met come 2012. There might be too much of a gap between what the team can give him and what he wants. He might want Carl Crawford money when Carl Crawford isn’t even worth Carl Crawford money.

So Terry Collins has to think under the assumption that Jose Reyes is not a Met.

He has Ruben Tejada, who filled in for Reyes while he was on the disabled list and when Terry decided to give him a day off. Tejada played in 96 games this season (totally did not realize that), 41 of them at shortstop. Tejada only had eight errors compared to Reyes’s 18.

But being 21 years old, Tejada might still benefit from the minors, seeing as pretty much the Mets were pretty much made up of the Buffalo Bisons and Jason Bay.

Another option the Mets have is Justin Turner, who is normally a second baseman by trade, but has been known to moonlight at short. By moving Turner to short, that allows for Daniel Murphy to play second base, a position he was learning to play when he was plagued by injury. Murphy’s bat played a big part of the Mets being in the thick of things as long as they were. Once we lost Murphy’s bat, the season was over. I want Daniel Murphy somewhere on this field. And second base might be his spot.

As for what the Mets should focus on instead, I think they should focus on an outfielder with some pop. Jason Bay, while excellent defensively, has no pop. I’m still waiting for him to pop. And of course, there’s always a need for pitching, unless you’re the stupid Phillies. We need pitching all around in my opinion. Starters, relievers…where’s Billy Beane when you need him?

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