Nov 13

Murphy Rejects Mets; Both Sides Win

As expected, Daniel Murphy rejected the Mets’ $15.8-million qualifying offer this afternoon, a decision that makes a winner out of both sides.

Here’s how the Mets are winners:

MURPHY: Now an ex-Met. (AP)

MURPHY: Now an ex-Met. (AP)

1) They will receive a compensatory draft pick, which is what they really wanted in the first place.

2) With Murphy gone, the Mets are able to pursue free-agent Ben Zobrist, who is a better player, and if unable to sign him, are free to move Wilmer Flores from shortstop to second base, where he’s stronger defensively. The Mets can also explore playing Dilson Herrera at second base if they prefer.

3) With no financial obligations to Murphy, the Mets have $15.8 million free to spend elsewhere.

4) Whatever retooling plans the Mets have, they can move on to them quickly.

Here’s how Murphy is a winner:

1) The Mets can still sign Murphy if they choose, but aren’t expected to make the effort. Doesn’t that really mean they didn’t want him in the first place?

2) Coming off a stellar postseason, Murphy is in the prime earning years of his career. Had he accepted the qualifying offer, he would have delayed free agency by one year, and taken a huge gamble that likely wouldn’t have been rewarded with a multi-year contract. He’ll likely be offered a contract the Mets wouldn’t come close to making.

3) Much has been made of Murphy’s defensive limitations, but now he’s free to sign with an American League team and be a designated hitter.

4) The Mets yanked Murphy around for years at a variety of positions and numerous times attempted to trade him. Now, he’ll be able to sign with a team that really wants him.

Where will Murphy go? The Dodgers and Yankees are two teams prominently mentioned, but Houston and the Angels are other possible suitors.

Oct 01

Lefty Reliever Remains Concern For Mets

It is imperative the Mets get Jon Niese in a couple of games in this weekend, preferably in back-to-back outings, as the lefty bullpen specialist remains an issue. However, a poor weather forecast might prevent that from happening.

Although volunteering to go into the bullpen was admirable, Niese was not effective in two outings in Philadelphia against left-handed hitters (he gave up four hits against five hitters).

GILMARTIN: Effective today. (Getty)

GILMARTIN: Effective today. (Getty)

Overall this season lefty batters are hitting .297 against him with a .335 on-base percentage. Those aren’t numbers conducive to being a lefty specialist.

If you’re wondering about swapping Niese for Bartolo Colon in the rotation (assuming Steven Matz is left off for the NLDS), his numbers against lefties are a .290 average with a .309 on-base percentage, so that’s not practical.

A mitigating factor towards making this decision is the ability of each to get loose quickly. Niese knew when he would enter the game and given ample time to get ready.

However, neither he nor Colon could have that advantage in the playoffs. As of now, Colon seems slated for the rotation with Matz sidelined with a stiff lower back. The Mets want to get Matz work this weekend, but the weather might prevent that from happening. As a last resort, the Mets could send him to Port St. Lucie.

With Niese not working out, it might be tempting for manager Terry Collins to consider Tyler Clippard in that role as lefty batters are hitting just .138 against him. However, if Collins uses him in that role, what would it mean to the overall set-up of the bullpen regarding the set-up role?

They could explore Clippard against lefties and use Addison Reed in the set-up role, but changing roles on the fly is always tricky. Even so, the Mets must have separate concerns with Clippard, who has given up eight runs in his last ten appearances (ten innings).

Speaking of changing roles, there’s Sean Gilmartin. He’ll likely make the playoff roster if Matz can’t go. He was effective today, giving up two runs in five innings. This year, lefties are hitting .272 against him, but he hasn’t been showcased as a specialist.

A intriguing possibility is Hansel Robles, who has given up 13 hits in 78 plate appearances to lefty hitters (.167 average with a .214 on-base percentage). Dario Alvarez is getting a look-see, but his window (six appearances, including today) is too small.

This concern is primarily based on a potential late-inning match-up against Adrian Gonzalez (28 homers and 88 RBI). Of course, they could go the route the Angels took against the Giants’ Barry Bonds in the 2002 World Series and just intentionally walk him.

Mar 05

Mets Today: Colon Goes Against Nats

The Mets play at Washington, Thursday (5:05 p.m.), with Bartolo Colon getting the start.

COLON: Goes tonight.

COLON: Goes tonight.

Colon, whom the Mets hoped to trade in the offseason, is under consideration to be the Opening Day starter.

The 41-year-old Colon won 15 games last season with the Mets and logged 202.1 innings. Colon averages 216 innings pitched during his 17-year career.

Colon has pitched for nine teams in his career, which began in 1997 with Cleveland. He also pitched for Montreal, the White Sox (two stints), the Angels, Boston, the Yankees, Oakland and the Mets.

Gabriel YnoaCory Mazzoni and Josh Edgin will also work tonight for the Mets.

ON DECK: Lay off Daniel Murphy.

Feb 28

Today In Mets History: Dave Kingman Signed

On this day in Mets’ history in 1975, the contract of outfielder and first baseman Dave Kingman was purchased from the San Francisco Giants. The 6-foot-6 Kingman, nicknamed Kong for his prodigious strength and power, was to give the Mets the fearsome hitter they had never had this early in their existence.

“He was going to make us a winner,’’ said Joe, a life-long Mets’ fan. “He had such awesome power. We had never had a guy like that before.’’

KINGMAN: Hit 154 homers at a Met.

KINGMAN: Hit 154 homers at a Met.

During his 17-year career, Kingman played six seasons with the Mets, more than any other team. He gave the Mets the power they wanted with 154 home runs. However, the all-or-nothing Kingman also hit .219 with a .287 on-base percentage, and with only 389 RBI and just 211 walks in comparison to 672 strikeouts. He had more strikeouts than hits (509) with the Mets.

In addition to the San Francisco and the Mets, Kingman played for Oakland, the Cubs, San Diego, the Angels and Yankees. Kingman had two stints with the Mets (1975-77 and 1981-83).

Kingman also struck out a lot in his interactions with fans and the media. Of all the things Kingman is known for, perhaps most disturbing was sending a live rat to Susan Fornoff, a female reporter covering the Athletics.

Kingman hit 30 or more homers seven times, including 48 in 1979 with the Cubs and 37 in 1982 with the Mets, when he lead the National League in homers.

Kingman also struck out 1,816 times – an average of 152 times a season – and in 14 years struck out at least 100 times, and eight times fanned at least 125 times. Only once, in 1985, did he draw as many as 60 walks.

History is filled with numerous all-or-nothing sluggers like Kingman, such as Adam Dunn, Greg Vaughn, Frank Howard, Rob Deer, Mark Reynolds and a case can also be made to lump former Met George Foster into that group.

Kingman’s 154 homers ranks fifth on the club’s all-time list, behind Darryl Strawberry, David Wright, Mike Piazza and Howard Johnson.

Kingman finished with 442 career homers and speaking at the closing of Shea Stadium, said if he played longer: “I’m sure I could have hit 500 (home runs). That’s all right. I’m very happy with (my career). I enjoyed my time in the big leagues.’’

Prior to the steroid era, 500 homers used to be an automatic ticket into the Hall of Fame, along with 300 pitching victories and 3,000 hits. Had Kingman played two more years and reached that milestone he would have been an interesting test case.

As a Hall of Fame voter, I wouldn’t give him my vote because his numbers other than homers were terribly weak and non-deserving.

ON DECK:  Mets Matters: Today’s news and notes.

Dec 10

Hot Stove Update: Angels Deal Trumbo, Twins Closing In On Arroyo

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Boston Red Sox

Brett Anderson to the Rockies

Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Rockies are acquiring Anderson from the A’s in return for left-hander Drew Pomeranz and right-hander Chris Jensen. The A’s had a glut of starting pitchers and it was clear Anderson would be the one to go.

I always though the A’s would get more for Anderson. Not too sure they accomplished anything more than moving some salary. ($8 million)


Twins Definitely Still In On Arroyo, Mets and Reds Interested

Talks between the Minnesota Twins and the agent for Bronson Arroyo are reportedly intensifying according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. The Twins were bent on revamping their rotation this offseason and have already signed free agents Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes. They are definitely still in, writes LaVelle E. Neal.

Walt Jocketty of the Reds told reporters that he met with Arroyo’s agent, Terry Bross, today. Arroyo is reportedly looking for a three-year deal and while the Mets have said they are interested, they also said yesterday that they are not looking to sign any pitcher to multiple year deals. They have yet to meet with Arroyo.

Arroyo, 37, is one of the most consistent pitchers in the game and wasn’t given a one-year qualifying offer by the Cincinnati Reds, which adds to his appeal. He has tossed 200 or more innings for eight straight seasons and last year he posted a 3.79 ERA in hitter friendly Great American.

MLB: Texas Rangers at Los Angeles Angels

D’Backs Get Trumbo, Angels Get Steal

The Diamondbacks have acquired slugger Mark Trumbo from the Angels in a three-team deal with the White Sox, first reported by Jon Heyman.

The Angels would send Trumbo and two players to be named later to Arizona, while centerfielder Adam Eaton goes to Chicago, and pitchers Tyler Skaggs and Hector Santiago land in Anaheim.

I’ve got to say that I love this from the Angels’ perspective.

Trumbo, 27, is coming off a .234/.294/.453 season and while he did hit 34 home runs in 2013, his other metrics point to a decline and defensively he’s below average no matter where he plays.

Skaggs is very highly regarded prospect. The 22-year-old lefty has produced a 3.34 ERA in 87 minor league starts and was a 40th-overall pick of the 2009 draft. Coming into this season, he was ranked as the 9th best prospect by Jonathan Mayo.

Santiago, 25, is a nice catch too. In parts of three big-league seasons, he a 3.41 ERA in 27 starts and a 51 relief appearances.

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Detroit Tigers

Mets Won’t Go More Than Two Years On Drew

According to multiple major league sources, the Red Sox are planning to wait the market out to see what develops for Stephen Drew before considering a definitive offer for the shortstop, reports WEEI. There is some thought throughout baseball that Drew’s market might be limited due to the fact that any team — other than the Red Sox — would be required to surrender a draft pick.

The Mets have long been tied to the 31-year-old shortstop, but for now will stay on the sidelines unless they are able to clear more payroll flexibility by unloading Ike Davis or Daniel Murphy or both. Sandy ratcheted down expectations that the team would make another big splash like Granderson. But MMO’s John Delcos reports that if the price is right Sandy will pounce.Apparently that right price would be no more than a two year deal according to Mets beat writers.

corey hart

Brewers Say They Gotta have Hart

Tom Haudricourt of the Journal Sentinel spoke with Corey Hart’s agent, Jeff Berry, who told him that the Brewers have made Hart “a priority” in terms of trying to re-sign the slugging first baseman. At the same time, Berry made it clear there is interest from many teams.

“There’s a tremendous relationship between Corey and the Milwaukee Brewers,” said Berry, who is attending baseball’s winter meetings. “He was their longest-tenured player. It’s a tremendous organization with tremendous people that Corey and his family have grown up with.”

“That said, there has to be a fit for both sides. We’re certainly open to doing that. The Brewers, as always have been very communicative. They have made Corey a priority. We’ll see how it all plays out. We will meet with all the (interested) teams. There’s interest in Corey from many teams.”

It’s well documented that Hart’s preference is to stay with the Brewers and he offered to take less money for a deal with them.

Though Hart missed the entire 2013 season after undergoing surgeries on both knees, Berry said he is healthy now and ready to play. How much concern there is from the Brewers or other teams about his knees going forward will determine what kinds of deals are offered.

Last week, a source told MMO that the New York Mets had not contacted Hart or made any offer to the former Brewers first baseman after several rumors surfaced hat the Mets were very interested.

“There’s been a few teams, but the Mets are not one of them.”

The 31-year old slugger also admitted that he has lost 20 pounds while rehabbing his knees and believes that bodes well for a return to the outfield.

Over his previous three seasons entering his lost 2013 campaign, Hart has hit .280 with an .857 OPS and has averaged 30 homers. Hart’s versatility will certainly be a big part of his appeal in addition to his righthanded power.