Results tagged ‘ Jason Bay ’

Ike Davis and the Void Left Behind

Mike Piazza. Carlos Beltran. Aaron Heilman. Oliver Perez. Carlos Beltran. Jason Bay. Ike Davis.

Yes, Carlos Beltran is on this list twice. Yes, these players have absolutely nothing in common with each other on the surface.

But when Ike Davis got traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Zack Thornton and a player to be named later, he left a void within the DeMattia family and it took a couple of days for the devastation to kick in. In our house, we get together and calmly discuss who the team sad sack is.

The sad sack orginated back in 2005 with Mike Piazza. Don’t get me wrong; I love Mike Piazza as much as the next person, but in the last year of his Mets career, it seemed like he went up for each plate appearance with this angry/depressed look on his face. 2005 was a rough year, with new management and a new front office, so the sad sack was a fun way for us to get all of our frustrations out. The New Mets turned out to be a lot like the Old Mets. A. Lot.

I guess it was 2006 when Carlos Beltran made his comments about being 80-85% from coming back from God knows what injury. Beltran had the same angry/depressed look that Piazza had had the year before and not only did he become the next sad sack, but he also earned a new nickname, Mr. 85%. It was 2006. It was the best team we had fielded in a long time. I’m just going to leave it at that.

Somewhere in between the Unspeakable Event of 2006 and the Unspeakable Event of 2008, the sad sack evolved from the guy who looked the most depressed at the plate to the guy who was just, plain and simple, the worst player on the team. 2007 was supposed to be our year and so was 2008 (and so was 2009 for that matter). The sad sack turned into the scapegoat. It was easy to blame Aaron Heilman, Carlos Beltran, and Oliver Perez, especially after Perez got a 3-year/$36 million extension from Omar Minaya.

After Heilman was traded to Seattle in 2008 and Perez was released in 2011, the sad sack baton went back to Beltran. He was easy to blame. To this day, Mets Twitter has a “blame Beltran” hashtag and I am guilty of using it. But on July 28, 2011, Beltran was traded to the Giants for Zack Wheeler. And the search for a new sad sack commenced.

Enter Jason Bay. Bay signed a 4-year/$66 million contract on December 29, 2009. Bay played in only 95 games for the Mets in 2010 due to a concussion, sustained in a game against the Dodgers when he ran into a fenced wall and his head jerked back. Bay stayed off the radar, but the DeMattia family still had Beltran. Bay’s 2011 campaign started with another stint on the DL, but he still managed to play in 123 games. During his injury-plagued Mets tenure, Jason Bay never had a batting average over .260, including a dismal .165 in 2012. He did, however, hit his 200th career home run with the team and was only the third Canadian player to do so, behind Larry Walker and Matt Stairs.

On November 7, 2012, the Mets and Jason Bay agreed to terminate their contract a year early. Instead of pulling a Bobby Bonilla, the Mets paid Jason Bay $16 million to play for the Seattle Mariners. Enter Ike Davis. In 2010, we all liked Ike. He hit home runs. He flipped into the dugout to make catches. In 2011, he was limited to 36 games because of an ankle injury that was originally supposed to sideline him for one game. We watched Davis’ power numbers go down over the course of the next two years, and his angry face started to appear more often. People, myself included, actually started to boo Ike Davis. My brother, however, did purchase his jersey. But then again, my brother also has a Justin Turner shirt. I try not to judge him.

We all know how this spring went down. Davis and Lucas Duda were supposed to battle for the first base job. Then they both got hurt, in typical Mets fashion. However, Ike Davis was still my sad sack, even if he had to be it from the bench. Then Pittsburgh needed a left-handed bat and Davis got traded. I listened to Adele. A lot. Like on repeat. The last time I listened to Adele that much was when Matt Harvey announced he was getting Tommy John surgery.

At first, we couldn’t really pinpoint one player. There were multiple group texts and three way conversations that ended in three different answers. For a while, we considered Curtis Granderson, but even when he struggles, he’s always so nice and personable with the fans. My dad considered Wheeler. I nominated Ruben Tejada. When the Mets send someone to AAA specifically to learn your position, you automatically become the front runner for team sad sack.

I hope this trade works out the way Sandy Alderson hoped. I hope the reports about the PTBNL are correct and it’s a top player from the 2013 draft. But more importantly, is Thornton ready to pitch in the bullpen yet?

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 Baseball Chick’s Scouting Report: Outfield

Welcome back to this baseball chick’s scouting report. Using the projected 2012 Opening Day lineup, I’m scouting the Mets in a way that only I can. This week, I’m taking a look at our projected outfield: Jason Bay, Lucas Duda, and Andres Torres. So, let’s get the ball rolling!

Jason Bay: Let us all face it. Jason Bay hasn’t been everything he’s cracked up to be. In fact, entering this season, Jason Bay is my de facto sad sack but only because he ended last season as the sad sack. What got him there? His .245 batting average and .329 on-base percentage. Which if you break it down, he’s hitting first base in one-third of his plate appearances, so it can’t be that bad. But how many times is Jason Bay getting to second base? Scoring?Bringing in the walls should not only benefit Jason Bay offensively, but also defensively. I feel his defense took a hit after the 2010 concussion, but he’s still our best defensive piece in the outfield. I think a lot of people want 2009 Jason Bay back, but this baseball chick doesn’t think that way. As long as 2012 is better than 2011, that’s about as much as we’re going to get out of Bay. Plus, we’ve still got him for 2013. I’m sure he’ll be the hot topic of trade discussions then.

Lucas Duda: Say it three times fast: Lucas Duda, Lucas Duda, Lucas Duda. It’s a fun name it say. It’s even more fun to listen to various sports announcers say DOO-DAH instead of DOO-DUH (I’m looking at you, Marlins broadcasters). Duda spent most of his time last season subbing for Ike Davis at first base, but this season, Duda is projected to be our starting right fielder. Lucas Duda had an impressive rookie season, batting a .292 in 301 at-bats with a .370 on-base percentage. I’m looking forward to seeing him get better in 2012 and hopefully become one of the next Mets superstars whose shirts we can’t buy in the Mets clubhouse store. I think a lot of people are expecting Lucas Duda to have a big year and I’m one of them. As long as the guy hits well and gets on base, he’s good in my book. Also, it should be of note that Lucas Duda wins the Best Hair award. Sorry, Justin Turner.

Andres Torres: We acquired Andres Torres as part of the trade for Angel Pagan, and with that, we probably got the player closest to being Angel Pagan without being Angel Pagan himself. A former 4th round draft pick by the Detroit Tigers, Torres played 112 games for the Giants in 2011, batting a .221 in 348 at-bats and an OPS of .643. Torres had career highs in 2010, but has been susceptible to the injury bug. If he gets everything together and stays healthy, then 2012 should be a good year for Torres and the entire Mets outfield. Even though Pagan’s numbers might be a little better, Torres has a better reputation. He was known in San Fransisco for being fan-friendly, which is always a plus in Jessica’s Book. But I’m giving Torres the benefit of the doubt because he’s the new guy and I actually had to do a Google search to find news stories about him.

So, in conclusion, the talent in our outfield is there. I think our weakest link will be Jason Bay, but even Jason Bay should be able to get his act together. Lucas Duda gets cool points for having the best name on the team as well as the best hair. Join me next week when I take a look at our projected starting rotation (oh, the horror!): R.A. Dickey, Dillon Gee, Jonathan Niese, Mike Pelfrey, and Johan Santana.

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