Apr 06

When Can We Expect To See Rafael Montero Make Mets Debut?

MiLB: JUL 12 - St. Lucie Mets at Tampa Yankees DBL Header (Game 2)

Tommy K. asks…

When do you think we’ll see Rafael Montero in Citi Field?

Joe D. replies…

Good question. The organization is very high on Montero and not too many 22-year old pitching prospects from A-Ball get invited to spring training and stick around as long as he did.

Montero needs a little work mechanically and was already working on a few things at the minor league side of camp before he was assigned to Binghamton and debuted with a dominating performance. His fastball sat at the 92-93 mph range last season, but he picked up some velocity and is now predominantly at 93-94 and can hit 95. Most likely because he’s bulked up a bit over the winter.

I would expect Montero to get bumped to Vegas once the Mets decide to promote Zack Wheeler to the majors. However, Wheeler had a rough first start on Thursday. He continues to struggle with command and his pitch count (86 pitches, 51 strikes, 3 1/3 innings) was alarming to say the least. He clearly isn’t ready just yet and needs to improve in a few areas before the Mets even consider the thought of bringing him up.

That said, Montero can still make his way to Triple-A with more performances like this past one (5.2 innings, 2 H, 0 BB, 8 K) regardless of Wheeler’s fate. I don’t think it’s out of the question to see Montero promoted to Vegas by mid-May, and he’ll certainly get a call-up in September this season if not sooner.

The domino effect to Montero getting bumped would mean a promotion to Double-A for Jake deGrom or possibly even Noah Syndergaard if he’s outperforming deGrom. One of them will be in Bingo by Memorial Day at the latest.

Check us out at MetsMerizedOnline.com.

Jun 01

Josh Thole and Elvin Ramirez To Join Mets Today

The Mets announced that catcher Josh Thole and reliever Elvin Ramirez will join the Mets in time for Friday’s series opener against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Who is getting cut or demoted to make room for them has yet to be announced.

Thole, who was hitting .284 with one home run before the concussion, has been on the disabled list since May 8, but started behind the plate for Triple-A Buffalo today and went 1-for-4 at the plate with a single.

The Mets will have to decide between cutting Mike Nickeas or Rob Johnson to make room for Thole. Nickeas is batting .148 compared to .313 for Johnson, but is the better defensive option.

Elvin Ramirez has been lights out this season for Binghamton and most recently Buffalo, and he was just highlighted today by Joe D who wrote:

Okay, I really don’t want to jinx Bisons reliever Elvin Ramirez who is now 3-0 since his promotion to the Herd. But in 14.2 innings pitched so far, Ramirez has yet to allow a run and has limited batters to just five hits, one walk and an amazing 19 strikeouts. Stick your tongues back in your mouths…

I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do for this bullpen. I’m gonna assume that Chris Schwinden will go back down.

The Mets also announced that reliever Manny Acosta, who was designated for assignment last week, cleared waivers and has been outrighted to Buffalo.

Rob Johnson – Mets Merized Online

May 25

Jenrry Mejia Promoted To Triple-A Buffalo

During last night’s Mets telecast on SNY, general manager Sandy Alderson announced that RHP Jenrry Mejia will be promoted from Binghamton to Triple-A Buffalo today.

Mejia made his fourth start of the season pitching for the B-Mets yesterday and went five innings against the New Britain Rock Cats, giving up four runs (all earned) on five hits, with five strikeouts and three walks. He threw 75 pitches, 44 for strikes.

Terry Collins had previously said that Mejia could join the big-league club and pitch out of the bullpen in relief at some point this season. Alderson echoed those sentiments and said it’s possible Mejia could join the Mets bullpen later this season.

Mejia is 1-0 with a 3.79 ERA in four rehab starts between Single-A and Double-A this month.

Man, it’s really getting crowded in Buffalo… But it looks like the top three starters for the Bisons will now be Matt Harvey, Jeurys Familia and now Jenrry Mejia. Meanwhile back in Binghamton, look for Darin Gorski to replace Mejia and get back into the rotation. At least that’s what Pete tells me…

Apr 24

Mike Pelfrey On DL; Could Be Done For Year

The Mets just announced they placed Mike Pelfrey on the DL after a MRI showed swelling in his elbow (retroactive to April 22). Taking his place on the roster is left-handed pitcher Robert Carson from Double-A Binghamton.

ESPN reported Pelfrey has a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and could undergo season-ending surgery.

Pelfrey is expected to get a second opinion. Pelfrey was rocked in his first start, but pitched well in his last two.

Carson, 23, is 0-0 with a 3.18 ERA in five games at Binghamton.

Nov 02

Looking at the make-up of the new Mets’ manager.

Sandy Alderson is back from teaching in California and at Citi Field working on hiring the next manager of the Mets. There should be some interviews scheduled by the end of the day, with some to happen this week.

While Alderson said he’s not adverse to hiring a “fiery,” manager – relief to Wally Backman supporters – his preference is of an analytical and knowledgeable type. Middle management, if you will. Speculation has Bob Melvin and Clint Hurdle emerging as early favorites.

Yes, the manager could be important to sell tickets – in that regard Backman might have it over Melvin – but winning is the most important criteria and if Alderson believes a low-key, almost vanilla personality is better equipped to implement his vision he’ll get the job. If the Mets play a fundamentally sound, aggressive brand of baseball and prove to always be in the game, that will sell the tickets and steady the ship until they start spending after the 2011 season.

In addition to Melvin, Hurdle and Backman, also on Alderson’s list is third-base coach Chip Hale, Triple-A Buffalo manager Ken Oberkfell, Minor League field coordinator Terry Collins, Double-A Binghamton manager Tim Teufel, and former Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu.

Not an established genius on the list, then again, neither was Bruce Bochy, whom Alderson had in San Diego.

The new Mets manager must have these traits:

SMARTS/ANALYSIS: It’s a complicated game and a manager must always be thinking two, three innings ahead. Bochy was flawless this October in how he juggled his lineup and bullpen. It’s an oversimplification to blame injuries for an unstable batting order and bullpen, but Jerry Manuel showed he didn’t think things through with his insistence in batting Jose Reyes third and for overworking his bullpen. Those were the most glaring as it showed he didn’t have an understanding of the talent of his players.

Sometimes a manager must act on instincts and guts, but hoping and flying by the seat of 0ne’s pants isn’t the best strategy. Alderson is big on probabilities and that comes in being prepared which puts the odds in your favor.

HAVE A PLAN: The bullpen and batting order were all over the place with Manuel. Perhaps the most difficult thing for a manager to do is assess bullpen roles and keep them in place. The bullpen was solvent and stable in 2006 under Willie Randolph but hasn’t been since even though the Mets spent lavishly on closers Billy Wagner and Francisco Rodriguez.

ABILITY TO CONVINCE THE PLAYERS OF THE BIG PICTURE: The Giants proved it is possible to win without marquee players in the starting lineup. (As long as you have four quality starters, a strong bullpen and dominant closer, then the batting order doesn’t have to mash). Neither Manuel nor Omar Minaya could convince Oliver Perez to do what was right, and they didn’t have the backbone to broach moving Carlos Beltran to right field.

Convincing Beltran to move to another position in his walk year will require a delicate, yet firm touch, as it is likely we won’t see him after 2011. The new manager will have to convince Beltran to do what is best for a team  he won’t  be a part of after this season. Tough task.

The Giants won with serviceable, productive role players who performed in a relatively stable lineup. Their lineup might not be as talented as the Mets’ order, but they all knew their roles and had a disciplined approach at the plate. One thing watching the Giants during the year and in the playoffs is they gave away far less at-bats than the Mets.

The new manager and his hitting coach must overhaul the Mets’ far too often careless and sloppy approach at the plate, and this begins with convincing the stars Reyes to improve his on-base percentage and David Wright and Jason Bay to cut down on their strikeouts.

It was almost a novelty when the Mets worked counts, manufactured runs and hit with runners in scoring position. It should be common place.

One of the most memorable at-bats during the World Series was Aubrey Huff sacrificing late in the game last night to set up Edgar Renteria. Arguably their best power hitter was bunting. Clearly, the Giants bought into what Bochy was selling. We rarely saw that here.

THE ABILITY TO MOTIVATE: It’s hard to believe major league players with the money they make need motivation, but it’s true. This is personified by Reyes, whom Manuel lost by juggling in the order and pushing his return from injuries. Reyes is still the Mets’ offensive key and requires delicate handling at times because he does lose focus.

HAVE PATIENCE WITH THE YOUNG PLAYERS: This team has a young core with Ike Davis, Josh Thole and Ruben Tejada. Angel Pagan, Reyes and Wright are also in the prime of their careers. Part of this is surrounding himself with the proper staff. Hale and Dan Warthen, reportedly, could stay in some capacity and this should ease the transition.

It was Manuel who insisted on Jenrry Mejia opening the season in the bullpen when it was clear he was not suited for that role. A manager must put his players in position where they have a chance to succeed. Not only was Manuel wrong here, so was Minaya for letting him.

KNOW HOW TO DEAL WITH THE MEDIA: There were many instances Manuel criticized and threw a player under the bus in the press, which showed he didn’t trust them. Conversely, those players returned that lack of trust. Two of the more enduring images of the season was Mike Pelfrey turning his back on Manuel when he took him out and the John Maine incident. Both illustrated the players’ lack of respect and trust in their manager and it filtered down.

Manuel also failed several times when it came to informing players of change. When it came to informing Wright of an off day or Jeff Francoeur of his role with the return of Beltran, Manuel handled it sloppily. If you’re a manager and you’re selling a new system, you must have diplomacy, tact and consideration, knowing you’re going to rely on those players in the future. The new guy needs this trait.

Manuel did a lot of double-speaking when it came to the press and wasn’t believable, and with that neither the Mets were as a contender.