Results tagged ‘ David Wright ’

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.

 

Milestones Keep It Interesting

In a season that has disappointed Mets fans aplenty, the last couple of weeks of the season saw some September milestones that kept fans sitting on the edge of their seats, whether they were at home or at Citi Field.

R.A. Dickey became the first pitcher in 22 years to win 20 games for the Mets. As we all know, Frank Viola was the last to accomplish the feat in 1990. Dickey joins a list that includes Viola, Dwight Gooden, David Cone, Jerry Koosman, and some guy named Tom Seaver who accomplished the feat four times (not including 1977-he won 21 games combined for the Mets & Reds).

Dickey remains on the shortlist of Cy Young Award contenders, as he now leads the NL in strikeouts and innings pitched. He is second in the wins category as Gio Gonzalez got his 21st win against the Phillies. He is also second in ERA to Clayton Kershaw by 1/100th of a point.

Dickey’s 20 wins makes him responsible for almost 28% of all the Mets victories this season. If you include no-decisions, Dickey has been the starting pitcher in nearly a third of all the Mets’ victories this season. I think it’s amazing that Dickey has been able to earn as many victories as he has on a team that remains subpar. Seeing the pitching performances from Dickey, Matt Harvey, and even Jon Niese make me optimistic that starting pitching will continue to be a strength in 2013.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the fact that David Wright got is 1,419th career hit on Wednesday night. The little infield single that could puts him past Ed “The Original Met” Kranepool as the franchise leader in the hits category.

It seems like the only record left for David Wright to break is Darryl Strawberry’s home run record. Strawberry has 252 home runs, but perhaps the closer goal for Wright is passing Mike Piazza’s 220, which could happen by the middle of next year.

Wright would have to have a monster year in 2013, where he would break the franchise record for home runs in a season (41, by Todd Hundley and Carlos Beltran) to get himself in the Strawberry Stratosphere. Or the Strawberry Fields if you’re a fan of The Beatles.

I have to give these guys credit where credit is due. After going on the slide that they went on after the All Star break, they kept us watching. As a Mets fan, I looked forward to the days where Dickey pitched and enjoyed counting down until David Wright broke the Kranepool record. Even though they weren’t playing for anything, Wright and Dickey continue to soldier forward and be leaders in the clubhouse. Let’s bring these guys back long term, pretty please?

 

Extend the Man

There is no question that David Wright is the star of this Mets organization. We are at the quarter stretch and Wright leads the majors in batting average (.405). Along with a .500 on-base percentage and .628 slugging percentage, David Wright is the living, breathing version of Moneyball that sabermetricians can point to and say, “He is helping the team win games by getting on base and creating runs.”

It’s no secret that Wright is in the sixth year of his six year, $55 million contract. Wright stands to make $15 million this year and has a $16 million team option for the 2013 season, which Wright can choose to void if he gets traded (I shudder at the thought).

During last night’s 11-5 loss to the Padres, Mets GM Sandy Alderson visited Gary Cohen and Ron Darling in the broadcast booth and said that there was “no great impediment” to signing Wright to an extension.

I agree and disagree. Sure, David has gotten off to the best start of his career. But we don’t know how the season’s going to end. We don’t know how 2013 is going to go. He could get hurt, he could have a bad season, he could get traded for all we know. Time is certainly on Sandy Alderson’s side if he wants to wait things out and see how well David performs.

I disagree with Alderson’s take on Wright’s contract situation only because I think a lot of fans are still reeling over the loss of Jose Reyes. Jose won the organization’s first batting title and then, depending on who you believe, was either made an offer that the Marlins beat or wasn’t offered anything at all except for the salary arbitration that guaranteed the Mets their draft pick. Or he just wasn’t offered anything. Again, that depends on who you believe. Alderson took the same, layed back approach with Jose’s contract situation that he seems to be taking with Wright’s and Jose ended up signing with another team, a divisional rival no less.

David Wright, love him or hate him, is the face of the organization. David Wright, love him or hate him, is the only player on the current Mets roster that I can see being a “career Met.” Tom Seaver didn’t do it. Dwight Gooden didn’t do it. Darryl Strawberry didn’t do it. All the players that are considered franchise greats either moved on from the Mets or were acquired from another team. David Wright is the one player that can not only be a career Met, but can also be considered a Mets great. And I would like to hope that Mr. Alderson would think that there was a little more impediment about Wright’s contract situation than he says there is.

Everybody Clap Your Hands!

David Wright is off to a hot start, there’s no denying that. His .571 average and 1.473 OPS over the first six games have him on track for another solid year in the three-hole of the Mets lineup. However, in the midst of their 4-0 start, the Mets got some startling news: “David Wright fractured his pinky.”

Wright had x-rays done and was cleared for baseball activity as tolerated. Wright said that while the pain had subsided, he couldn’t properly grip the bat. He was scratched from the next two games and there was even talk of a stint on the disabled list if the swelling on his pinky didn’t go down.

Then the talk started:

Wright’s just being a wuss.

If this was high school or collegiate baseball, the coach would have told him to tape his fingers together and suck it up.

Wright’s a pussy. (That one was my personal favorite)

The Daily News even contributed a piece on Wright’s extension being dependent on his health, even though before the 2009 concussion, Wright was averaging 158-159 games per season. Wright’s missing bat was obviously felt on the team, because they lost the next two games.

Luckily for those Mets fans holding their breaths, Wright returned to the Mets lineup just in time to face the Phillies. The first pitch Wright saw against Cliff Lee cleared the center field fence.

Then the talk started:

Wright’s a beast.

What pinky problems?

I love you David! (Okay, this might have been me)

A similar situation happened not two days after David Wright made his return to the lineup. Word came across the Mets wire that Jason Bay had jammed his ring finger sliding back into first base in Saturday’s game against the Phillies. Bay was scratched from Sunday’s lineup. Even though the Mets lost, that loss can be solely blamed on the bullpen.

I’m not the only Mets fan that believes Jason Bay has gotten off to a slow start. Actually, you should have yourself checked for concussion if you don’t think Jason Bay has gotten off to a slow start. 5-for-27 may not be the best way to win over Mets fans looking to have a decent season. But Bay had figured out his problems at the plate, and had hit his first home run of the season.

But there was no talk of Jason Bay being a wuss when he was scratched because of his ring finger. In fact, Mets fans seemed to be delighted that their weakest link was out of the lineup, even if that meant Lucas Duda coming in against the lefty Cole Hamels. Duda went 2-for-4 but Hamels ended up getting the win.

It doesn’t matter if the player is David Wright or Jason Bay, any loss in the Mets lineup is one that they can’t afford. The Mets lack the depth in their farm system to cover any long term injuries to the team. Who would we call up to replace Wright? Zach Lutz? Do we have Daniel Murphy play third and promote Jordany Valdespin from AA? Any player that would be in AAA in any other organization is already playing for the Mets.

Before you make a joke about someone jamming their middle while sliding back to first base, think about the lack of depth in the organization and realize that if it’s Josh Thole that gets hurt, then Mike Nickeas is the starting catcher.

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 Tale of Two Pretty Boys

They were the best of times, they were the worst of times. But nevertheless, they’ve provided us with memories. So, who am I talking about? The two New York pretty boys who were blessed to be on the teams that end with ETS: David Wright and Mark Sanchez.

Both Wright and Sanchez were first round selections by their respective teams. Wright was a compensation pick after the Rockies signed Type-A free agent Mark Hampton. The Jets traded their first and second round selections along with Kenyon Coleman, Abram Elam, and Brett Ratliff to the Cleveland Browns so they could acquire Sanchez.

Both Wright and Sanchez are in the middle of lucrative contracts. Wright is in the 6th year of his 6-year/$55 million contract, being owed $15 million this season and $16 million if the Mets decide they can afford it. If Wright gets dealt, then the option is voided. Sanchez just completed the 3rd year of his 5-year/$50 million contract, with $28 million being guaranteed. Sanchez’s contract is the largest contract the Jets signed a player to in franchise history.

So why bring up Mark Sanchez in the same sentence as David Wright? Like Wright, Sanchez is the face of the organzation; he the guy you go to when the team wins, but he’s also the first guy you look to when the team loses. These two pretty boys may be the same player on the outside, but there is one glaring difference that makes one of these players more accountable than the other.

Prior to the outset of the 2011 season, Rex Ryan went to Mark Sanchez and said, “You’re the captain of this team.”

None of the three managers that David Wright has played for has ever told him he’s the captain of the team. Sure, with the departure of Jose Reyes, Wright is now the longest-tenured Met but that doesn’t necessarily translate into putting a “C” across his jersey. In fact, the Mets haven’t had a team captain since John Franco was the captain during Wright’s rookie season.

When things go wrong for the Jets, Mark Sanchez is an easy person to point to and be like, “If you hadn’t gotten sacked six times, we might have had a chance!”

In football, you’re either not getting enough offense or defense. If Mark Sanchez isn’t throwing touchdown passes, then it doesn’t matter what Derelle Revis and the defense do. The defense can still have a shoddy day if Mark Sanchez throws touchdown passes. So, even though the team’s defense had a bad outing, it still comes back to Mark Sanchez.

Earl Weaver once said that the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same–pitching. Because of that, I believe that David Wright can have an off day and scoot by, especially if the starter on the mound has a bad outing (I’m looking at you, Mike Pelfrey). Even though he doesn’t have the weight of the team on his shoulders, sometimes, David Wright does play as if he has the weight of the team on his shoulders. And with a team that was basically the Buffalo Bisons, maybe he was guilty of swinging when he shouldn’t have or throwing too quickly to first or whatever. But every time something goes wrong for the Mets, it won’t necessarily come back to David Wright.

Both David Wright and Mark Sanchez have gotten their due from the New York sports media. However, I feel that David Wright may be one of the few cases where the New York sports media has been fair. They’re not afraid to say when it is David Wright’s fault, but they’ll also highlight whenever he has a charity dinner and what not. Mark Sanchez, because he has been labeled the team leader, may not often recieve the benefit of the doubt. In recent days, players have labeled Sanchez as “lazy” and have accused Sanchez of lacking the leadership skills needed of a good quarterback. But it doesn’t matter that during the labor dispute, Sanchez organized private workouts for more than 40 of his teammates.

David Wright and Mark Sanchez are not Derek Jeter and Eli Manning. But they are the faces of their franchises nonetheless, and I’m sure we’ll continue to scrutinize and praise them more than the other guys on the team.

 


Even Siri can’t solve the Mets’ problems

I recently got the iPhone 4S and the first thing I did was…well, I got all my music back onto the iPod…but the second thing I did was test out Siri. Siri isn’t supposed to have feelings, but I got three answers for what’s the meaning of life.

After asking Siri to do things like text mom and create a reminder, I started asking Siri about the Mets’ problems both on and off the field, and whether or not the Mets would dare trade their star player, David Wright (which may have been my favorite answer ever).

Siri, do you like baseball?
I’d rather not say.

Do you like the New York Mets?
I’d rather not say.

Do you like the Philadelphia Phillies?
I really have no opinion. 

Okay, so Siri doesn’t have a favorite team.

How does the 2012 season look for the New York Mets?
Hmm…let me think…checking my sources…(opens up web search pointing me to various Mets blogs). 

How do you think the season will go?
It’s nice of you to ask, but it doesn’t really matter what I think.

Why do the New York Mets suck?
I’m not sure what you said (offers to do a web search).

Can you just tell me why they suck?
I don’t understand (opens up web search).

Will the Mets trade David Wright?
I can’t predict the future of the stock market. I can only show today’s numbers. 

What is the meaning of life?
42.

So there you have it, folks. I went on to ask if the Wilpons should sell the team but the question wasn’t coming through clearly for Siri. But if the meaning of life is really 42, then at least the Mets have a good understanding of it.

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.

David Wright to the Phillies? Please God, no!

According to MetsBlog, the Phillies like David Wright. Well, so do the Rockies.

At least if he were on the Rockies, we wouldn’t have to face him 18 times a year.

According to Jayson Stark, the Phillies might be looking for an upgrade at third, but Wright (in the worst season of his career) might not be much of an upgrade over Placido Polanco. Polanco hit .277 with 19 extra base hits and 50 RBI this season in 122 games.

In 102 games, Wright had a .254 average, 38 extra base hits and 61 RBI.

The rumor that’s being discussed in Philadelphia is Wright for Dom Brown and Vance Worley. According to Stark, there’s no way that the talks could be so far down the line.

Wright is owed $15 million in 2012 while Polanco is owed $6.25 million. Wright’s 2013 $16 million option becomes void if he is traded to another team.

The thing is, I see Wright on the 2012 Opening Day roster. If the Mets are still contending at the trade deadline, I don’t see the team swapping him at that time either. If the Mets are playing for dignity, I could see a swap to save money.

But I was going to trade David Wright, I wouldn’t be stupid enough to trade him to a division rival. I’d be okay if he went to any other team in any other division. Ideally for me, he would be in the American League…or on the Rockies.

David Wright is still the face of this team. I think if the Mets are seriously considering slashing their payroll by swapping Wright, then they need to weigh their options and the consequences of each potential swap. I would make a demand and not settle for any less. Because if the Mets are going to swap Wright, they’re gonna have to get a helluva lot to smooth things over with the fans.

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