Nov 10

Mets’ deGrom Should Win NL Rookie Award

The New York Mets should be in the national baseball news today as the postseason awards start this afternoon. It’s just another step in the Mets’ climb toward relevancy.

In an informal poll of voters, pitcher Jacob deGrom is favored to become the Mets’ fifth rookie of the year winner, joining Tom Seaver (1967), Jon Matlack (1972), Darryl Strawberry (1983) and Dwight Gooden (1984). For those believing in omens, the Mets played in the World Series within two years of each previous winner.

DeGROM: Gets my NL Rookie vote. (Getty)

DeGROM: Gets my NL Rookie vote. (Getty)

To say deGrom could be the next Seaver or Gooden is a stretch, but there is a lot to like about him and it isn’t farfetched  to say he’s ahead of Zack Wheeler, and he’s definitely part of the core of young arms.

What was most impressive about deGrom was his composure and ability to command his secondary pitchers. These are things Wheeler must improve. Wheeler also has a tendency to run up his pitch count, frequently forcing an early exit. The Mets could count on deGrom getting into the sixth inning.

A ninth-round pick in the 2010 amateur draft, deGrom made the first of his 22 starts, May 15, and made an immediate impression by giving up just one run in seven innings in a 1-0 loss to the Yankees. He gave us a glimpse of his 96-mph. fastball and darting slider with six strikeouts and only walked one and gave up four hits.

DeGrom turned out to be the kind of workhorse the Mets need by working into the sixth or longer in 19 starts. Ten times he took a game into the seventh or longer.

DeGrom worked 140.1 innings this year, but in this era of pitcher preservation – not recognized by the Giants and Madison Bumgarner – he was pulled from his last start against Houston.

“Obviously, I wanted to make my last one, but they talked to me about it,’’ deGrom said at the time. “The decision was made for me not to, and to end the year healthy. I respect that decision and I look forward to next year.’’

The decision was made in large part by a season-low 92 mph., in his proceeding start against Atlanta, and manager Terry Collins said with a 9-6 record and 2.63 ERA, there was nothing left for him to prove. The lower speed is indicative of a tiring arm.

“We explained the big picture,’’ Collins said. “One more start isn’t going to vary any votes. One more start isn’t going to show everybody that he belongs here.

“One more start could lead to some trouble. The big picture was to make sure when this season was over that those five [rotation] guys were going to be healthy. We think we’ve reached that point.’’

By votes, Collins meant from the Baseball Writers Association, which concludes its voting after the season. Postseason performance is not included, for one reason it gives some players a larger body of work. For example, if the postseason were included, Bumgarner would easily win the NL Cy Young over the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw.

The other National League candidates are Cincinnati’s Billy Hamilton and St. Louis’ Kolten Wong. Hamilton fizzled at the end and Wong wasn’t a clear-cut standout, although he was impressive in the postseason.

The American League candidates are frontrunner Jose Abreu of the Chicago White Sox, the Yankees’ Dellin Betances and the Angels’ Matt Shoemaker.

 

Nov 08

Maddon To Mets Had No Chance

MADDON: Wouldn't have become a Met.

MADDON: Wouldn’t have become a Met.

There are a lot of crazy things floating around this time of year. I heard this today and it made me laugh because there’s no chance it could have happened.

One report said the Mets could have gotten Joe Maddon as their manager after his decision to bolt the Tampa Bay Rays.

Maddon is a tremendous managerial talent, one of the best, and he would look great in the Mets dugout, but several variables combined to make that impossible.

First, they already have a manager in Terry Collins. Now, managers and coaches have been fired before while under contract, but the Mets hate the idea of paying a manager’s salary to two people at the same time.

More importantly, even had Maddon been available to them, as they wouldn’t have acted as quickly, or decisively, as the Cubs. Reportedly, Maddon was given a five-year, $25 million package, which would have been well out of their price range.

Maddon left the Rays because of their austerity program, evidenced by the departures of James Shields – who’ll likely leave Kansas City – and David Price. The Cubs’ payroll last year was $92 million, which isn’t in the stratosphere, but far more than the Rays’ $76 million.

The Cubs have shown a willingness to pursue free agents, something neither the Rays nor Mets are inclined to do.

The Mets have made steady progress over the past few years, and Collins deserves some credit. The expectations are high with the return of Matt Harvey, bounce-back seasons from David Wright and Curtis Granderson, and the continued development of Zack Wheeler and Jacob deGrom.

Given that, do they really want to start over with a new regime?

Maddon as a Met is a fun idea, but there are a lot of fun ideas this time of year. But, this one had no chance.

Nov 07

Mets Matters: Duda To Play Outfield In Japan

It’s not surprising Lucas Duda was invited to play in the MLB All-Star tour in Japan, but what is head-scratching is he’ll play in the outfield, where he failed miserably with the Mets.

Make no mistake, this isn’t to be interpreted as a move toward returning him to left field. Won’t happen, said GM Sandy Alderson.

Duda started 223 games in the outfield, and last played left in left last April after Juan Lagares and Curtis Granderson were injured.

It was a good idea at the time to play Duda in the outfield because the Mets were hoping Ike Davis would be able to play first base, but we know how that turned out.

WRIGHT UPDATE: The Mets announced David Wright’s continued improvement in the rehab of his left shoulder. Wright was examined at the Hospital for Special Surgery and is scheduled to resume baseball activities in early December.

As of now, Wright is expected to be ready for spring training barring any setbacks.

Wright’s season ended early because of stretched-out ligaments in his shoulder. Wright has built up the strength in his shoulder, but the ultimate test will be after he swings a bat.

It will only be then if surgery is to be ruled out.

METS INTERESTED IN RAMIREZ: Reports out of Chicago say the Mets are one of several teams interested in trading for All-Star Chicago White Sox shortstop Alexi Ramirez.

Ramirez made the All-Star team last season, and hit .273 with 15 homers, 74 RBI and 21 steals.

Ramirez is signed for $10 million in 2015 with a $10-million team option for the following year.

 

Nov 06

Hodges Belongs In The Hall

It’s time Gil Hodges went to Cooperstown.

It’s that time of year when the Hall of Fame ballots come out, and recently the Hall of Fame released ten candidates from the Golden Era (1947-72). Joining Hodges, who is in the running for consideration for the ninth year are: Dick Allen, Ken Boyer, executive Bob Howsam, Jim Kaat, Minnie Minoso, Tony Oliva, Billy Pierce, Luis Tiant and Maury Wills.

HODGES: Hall worthy.

HODGES: Hall worthy.

Unfortunately, I only vote in the annual balloting and not on this committee. Otherwise, I would vote for Hodges and Kaat.

I’m not a big believer of comparing eras because the conditions differ from era to era. I look at it as how that player fared in his time, and The Boys Of Summer aren’t the same without Hodges. Very few players transcend eras, such as Babe Ruth.

He hit 370 homers with 1,274 RBI despite missing two years serving in World War II. Using today’s stats, he also had a .359 on-base percentage and .846 OPS. Hodges averaged 29 homers and 100 during his 18-year career – which included the Mets in 1962 and 1963 – but never once struck out 100 times. He also won three Gold Gloves.

Of all the great Hodges stories, the one that stands out most was when fans in Brooklyn went to church to pray for him during the 1952 World Series.

Hodges was known for his quiet dignity, best exemplified when he walked out to left field to remove Cleon Jones from a July game in 1969 for not hustling.

There was no argument from Jones and neither hashed it out in the papers, either. Can you imagine that today, in any sport? Many Mets followers said the incident sparked their pennant run.

To this day, Tom Seaver chokes up when he talks about Hodges, calling him the key behind the 1969 Miracle Mets’ championship run.

Here’s hoping Seaver chokes up again when Hodges’ name is finally called.

Nov 05

Mets’ 2015 Promotional Schedule

The New York Mets today announced the popular weekend promotions Free Shirt Fridays, Saturday Concerts and Fireworks and Family Sundays will return in 2015. The Mets also announced that single game tickets go on sale Friday, November 21 at 10:00 a.m. at Mets.com/Tickets and (718) 507-TIXX. Tickets start at $11.

Highlights include Opening Day vs. the Philadelphia Phillies Monday, April 13 at 1:10 p.m.; Weekend series vs. the Boston Red Sox August 28-30 and the Subway Series vs. the New York Yankees on the weekend of September 18-20. An exclusive presale for Citi card members starts Monday, November 17 at 10:00 a.m. at Mets.com/CitiPreSale. Fans are also encouraged to utilize their Citi ThankYou Preferred Card on all Mets offers throughout the season as they will receive 2 points for every dollar spent on all dining out and entertainment purchases.

Free Shirt Fridays – Designs below

On the following Friday dates, all fans will receive a uniquely designed Mets themed T-Shirt:

·         April 17 vs. Miami Marlins (7:10 p.m.)

·         May 1 vs. Washington Nationals (7:10 p.m.)

·         May 15 vs. Milwaukee Brewers (7:10 p.m.)

·         May 29 vs. Miami Marlins (7:10 p.m.)

·         June 12 vs. Atlanta Braves (7:10 p.m.)

·         June 26 vs. Cincinnati Reds (7:10 p.m.)

·         July 10 vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (7:10 p.m.)

·         July 24 vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (7:10 p.m.)

·         July 31 vs. Washington Nationals (7:10 p.m.)

·         August 14 vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (7:10 p.m.)

·         August 28 vs. Boston Red Sox (7:10 p.m.)

·         September 18 vs. New York Yankees (7:10 p.m.)

·         October 2 vs. Washington Nationals (7:10 p.m. – Fan vote for shirt design)

 Saturday Post-Game Concerts – June 27, July 25 and August 15

Three Saturday home games will feature post-game concerts: June 27 vs. the Cincinnati Reds (time TBA), July 25 vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers (7:10 p.m.), and August 15 vs. the Pittsburgh Pirates (7:10 p.m.). The 2015 Mets Concert Series headliners will be announced in the coming weeks.

The performances will begin approximately 20 minutes after the conclusion of the game from a stage in the outfield behind second base.  Admission to the concert is included in the price of the game ticket.

Fireworks – April 18, August 1 and September 19

There will be three fireworks nights in 2015 following Saturday night games on April 18 vs. the Miami Marlins (7:10 p.m.), August 1 vs. the Washington Nationals (7:10 p.m.) and September 19 vs. the New York Yankees (7:10 p.m.)

Fireworks will be launched from Citi Field’s roof and the centerfield grass, providing a 360-degree experience for fans throughout the ballpark.

Saturday Premium Giveaways

At the following Saturday games, the first 15,000 fans will receive the following premium giveaway items:

·         May 2 vs. Washington Nationals (7:10 p.m.) – Jacob deGrom Garden Gnome presented by Gold’s Horseradish

·         May 16 vs. Milwaukee Brewers (7:10 p.m.) – Mets Fedora

·         May 30 vs. Miami Marlins (Time TBA) – Beach Towel

·         June 13 vs. Atlanta Braves (7:10 p.m.) – David Wright Replica Jersey

·         July 11 vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (Time TBA) – Juan Lagares Bobblehead presented by Geico

·         August 29 vs. Boston Red Sox (7:10 p.m.) – 1986 World Series Championship Bobblehead presented by Caesars

·         Oct. 3 vs. Washington Nationals (7:10 p.m.) – Mets Fleece Blanket

Family Sundays

Every Sunday home game is “Family Sunday” at Citi Field. Beginning at 11:00 a.m. on the Mets Plaza, adjacent to the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, there are Mets featured family-friendly activities including kids inflatables, face painters, balloon artists, entertainment and a postgame Mr. Met Dash when kids 12 and under can come down onto the field and run the bases, weather permitting.

The following is the complete list of promotions on Sundays.  Promotional items will be given out to the first 15,000 fans.  All Sunday games are scheduled to start at 1:10 p.m.

·         April 19 vs. Miami Marlins (1:10 p.m.) – David Wright Schedule Poster presented by Citi

·         May 3 vs. Washington Nationals (1:10 p.m.) – MLB Network Tote Bag

·         May 17 vs. Milwaukee Brewers (1:10 p.m.) – Zack Wheeler Magnet Card

·         May 31 vs. Miami Marlins (1:10 p.m.) – Kids Sunglasses

·         June 14 vs. Atlanta Braves (1:10 p.m.) – Cap giveaway presented by Nathan’s Famous

·         June 28 vs. Cincinnati Reds (1:10 p.m.) – Lucas Duda Growth Chart Poster

·         July 12 vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (1:10 p.m.) – Jersey Drawstring Bag

·         July 26 vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (1:10 p.m.) – Curtis Granderson Wall Decal presented by Citi

·         August 2 vs. Washington Nationals (1:10 p.m.) – Player poster

·         August 16 vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (1:10 p.m.) – Travis d’Arnaud Magnet Card

·         August 30 vs. Boston Red Sox (1:10 p.m.) – W.B. Mason Toy Truck

·         September 20 vs. New York Yankees (1:10 p.m.) – Player Wall Decal

·         October 4 vs. Washington Nationals (1:10 p.m.) – 2016 Schedule Magnet (all fans)

Times for Saturday and Sunday games may change, subject to Major League Baseball’s national broadcast agreements with FOX and ESPN.