Jun 16

Mets Must Avoid Making Projections On Lagares

The Mets don’t know the ceiling for Juan Lagares, but are banking it will be high considering they signed him to a multi-year deal.

LAGARES: What's his potential?. (AP)

LAGARES: What’s his potential?. (AP)

When first thinking of Lagares you envision defense, but every once in a while he’ll do something at the plate that makes you wonder just whom the Mets have in their fold. Both good and bad.

Such was the case Sunday with his three-hit game, including a go-ahead homer, that enabled the Mets to beat Atlanta. Lagares is a good athlete, very strong, which of course, leads to conjecture as to his potential power numbers. Mets brass suggested this spring he had 25-homer power potential.

Sunday’s homer was just his third of the season.

It’s too soon to attach pressure-laden projections on him. Before Lagares can be a consistent power hitter he must first learn to be a consistent hitter. So far he’s not. Not even close.

Lagares has been on a hot streak, which raised his numbers to a .278 average, paltry .306 on-base percentage and .674 OPS. He has drawn only nine walks compared to 49 strikeouts, numbers that must drastically change before he’s to be regarded as a professional hitter.

I can’t help but wonder if Lagares’ progression as a hitter wasn’t stunted by the Mets’ decision heading into the season to drop him from the leadoff slot, this after a strong spring training. During the spring Lagares showed marked improvement at being selective, working the count and going to the opposite field – all essential attributes needed for a leadoff hitter.

Hitting first places a premium on reaching base, and those are the most essential skills needed for any hitter. However, whatever patience Lagares was cultivating became quickly scuttled and he’s floundered. Sunday was an encouraging sign, one saying it is within him to be dangerous hitter.

But, he’s far from that now.

Jun 15

Mets Made Right Call On Reyes

The Toronto Blue Jays are in town and with them came old friend Jose Reyes. Naturally, this interleague series will lead to talk the Mets should have extended Reyes after the 2011 season. Yes, the Mets have had problems at shortstop since Reyes left, but that isn’t to say they made a mistake.

REYES: Faces Mets. (AP)

REYES: Faces Mets. (AP)

To the contrary, they made the right call on the now 32-year-old Reyes, who won the batting title in his final year with the Mets. Yes, they have struggled with the position – although Wilmer Flores is getting better – and Reyes is arguably the most exciting player in their history. But, that’s not the point.

At the time the Mets were faced with the dilemma of signing either David Wright or Reyes, and the former was considered the face of the franchise. He still is despite a back injury which has him out of the lineup indefinitely. It must be remembered Reyes whose living is based on his legs, went on the disabled list twice in his last year here and rarely attempted to steal in the second half of the season.

The Mets’ thinking in addition to favoring Wright was the strong possibility Reyes would break down, which he has, going on the disabled list – including this year – in 2013 and 2014. The injuries the last two years were with his legs.

Also, there was no way the Mets would give him close to the $106 million he got from Miami. GM Sandy Alderson didn’t handle this the right way, basically ignoring Reyes to the point where he had no choice but to leave.

Unquestionably, Reyes was one of the most popular and talented players in franchise history, but they always knew he would not leave money on the table. As it turned out, factoring in Reyes’ injuries and low on-base percentage and stolen base numbers, the Mets made the right call.

It was sloppy how they handled it, but Alderson got this one right.

Jun 14

Collins Invited Six-Man Rotation Drama

No matter how the Mets phrase it, they are back to a six-man rotation, which kicks into play Sunday when Dillon Gee comes off bereavement leave to start against the Braves. Gee isn’t happy about this; actually none of the pitchers are.

HARVEY: Force behind six-man rotation. (Getty)

HARVEY: Force behind six-man rotation. (Getty)

Manager Terry Collins is getting testy talking about this, but this predicament is his own doing. His and GM Sandy Alderson. Collins said it’s not really a six-man rotation, but occasionally he’ll slot in a pitcher, as it is with Gee.

“It’s drama,” Collins told reporters. “We’re living in New York City, that’s where drama’s made. Here’s something that could create some drama, that could be blown out of proportion when it was very minor.”

Playing in New York City has nothing to do with the drama. All this drama could have been alleviated had Collins mapped out Matt Harvey‘s starts in spring training. He had the schedule in front of him. He knew when the off days were. The only thing he didn’t know were injuries and rainouts. But, neither Collins nor Alderson wanted to deal with Harvey and his mood swings.

When Collins broached the six-man rotation several weeks ago, it was met cooly by the staff, notably Harvey, who made his displeasure known.

“I didn’t like the looks of [the six-man rotation], I didn’t like the feeling in the clubhouse that was going on,” Collins said. “I didn’t like the feeling in here – I just didn’t like it. … So it’s not a six-man rotation, it’s a five-man rotation where we’re gonna slip somebody in because we think maybe a day here as an extra day will help out.”

So, it is a five-man rotation until it becomes a six-man rotation.

Collins said the objective was to scale down his pitcher’s innings so they wouldn’t have to shut them down in September.

Of course, this could have been done had the Mets opted to structure their rotation instead of playing it by ear and flying by the seat of their pants.

Collins doesn’t like the drama, but he and Alderson invited it because they walk on egg shells around Harvey.

 

Jun 13

Mets Can’t Count On Wright’s Return

When Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he would consider trading for strictly a third baseman, he might as well have said he’s not expecting David Wright to return any time soon, or at all this year. That is how they should handle it.

The Mets said Wright would stay in California for the next several weeks. If his rehab progresses, then it won’t be until after the All-Star break before he’ll even see minor league games. If you figure at least three weeks of games, then we’re talking into August before he’s activated.

FREESE: Available. (AP)

FREESE: Available. (AP)

By that time the trade deadline will have passed. And, of course, we have no idea of how he’ll play when he comes back, or if there will be a setback.

Alderson told Newsday he has to be open to trading for a third baseman.

“Would we consider a third baseman who can’t do anything else?’’ Alderson said. “Under the circumstances, yeah, we probably would. But we’re not just looking for any third baseman. It has to be something we think is an improvement that doesn’t cost us significantly.’’

Translation: They don’t want to pay.

The current flavor of the month is Milwaukee’s Aramis Ramirez, which is a bad idea on several levels. The 36-year-old Ramirez, who indicated he will retire after the season, is hitting only .211 with seven homers and 19 RBI. For that, Ramirez is being paid $14 million.

The Mets don’t want to trade a significant prospect and assume that much salary. So, unless the Brewers get bowled over by an offer, they are likely to wait this out until the end of July, figuring somebody might bite.

Milwaukee probably won’t eat a significant portion of Ramirez’s salary unless they get a decent prospect. The better the prospect, the more of Ramirez’s contract they’ll assume.

The third baseman I’m most intrigued with is the Angels’ David Freese, who will be a free agent this winter. The 32-year-old Freese is making $6.4 million, so in the grand scheme of things, it’s not a lot of money.

What the Angels want in return is uncertain, but he’s the guy I would want, and if it turns out Wright won’t come back, or is moved to the outfield next year, Freese could hang around for a few years. The problem, as it always is with the Mets, is how much they are willing to pay in terms of players and salary.

It seems they want to pay prospective free agents as if they are college students on an internship, meaning they don’t want to pay.

 

Jun 12

June 12, Mets Lineup Against Atlanta

Here’s the Mets’ lineup against the Atlanta Braves tonight:

Curtis Granderson – RF

Juan Lagares – CF

Michael Cuddyer – 1B

Wilmer Flores – SS

John Mayberry Jr. – LF

Dilson Herrera – 2B

Eric Campbell – 3B

Anthony Recker – C

Bartolo Colon – RHP