Jan 16

Mets Matters: Bobby Parnell In Camp; Ike Davis Settles

What? You expected Bobby Parnell to say otherwise? The New York Mets’ closer, who is already in Port St. Lucie, told reporters he will be ready for the start of the season.

mets-matters logoParnell underwent surgery to repair a herniated disk in his neck, Sept. 10, was cleared to resume baseball activities several weeks ago

“I’ve been throwing for several weeks now, taking it nice and easy,’’ Parnell said. “I’m getting into the baseball activities slowly, and with some professional eyes on me.’’

Parnell said part of taking it easy was in reporting early.

DAVIS, TEJADA AVOID ARBITRATION: First baseman Ike Davis and shortstop Ruben Tejada, both of whom are coming off miserable seasons, avoided arbitration by settling with the Mets.

Davis, the subject of trade rumors all winter, hit .205 with nine homers and 33 RBI in 2013, good for a $375 thousand raise up to $3.5 million.

Nice work if you can get it.

Davis had been reportedly linked in trade talks with Milwaukee, but the Brewers today signed Mark Reynolds, who strikes out even more than Davis.

After the season, the Mets said shortstop was a priority, but after Jhonny Peralta signed with St. Louis and Stephen Drew’s asking price too high for GM Sandy Alderson’s liking, said they are inclined to give Tejada another chance.

The Mets weren’t pleased with Tejada’s effort last year, but his performance in attending a voluntary fitness camp changed their mind.

Tejada agreed to a one-year, $1 million deal.

The Mets have five players remaining for arbitration: Parnell, Dillon Gee, Daniel Murphy and Eric Young.

Your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to respond. Follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

Dec 11

Mets Not Sure Bobby Parnell Will Be Ready For Spring Training

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – The New York Mets don’t know whether closer Bobby Parnell will be ready for spring training as he continues his rehab following neck surgery on a bulging disc.

Parnell is to be re-examined next week.

PARNELL: Will he be ready?

PARNELL: Will he be ready?

“Hopefully he will be able to start resuming some baseball activities,’’ manager Terry Collins said.  “But I don’t know where he is at the moment.  He’s feeling better.’’

Parnell lost 30 pounds since surgery, which sapped his strength. He has to regain the weight and stamina. Collins said he hasn’t spoken with Parnell, which, honestly, comes as a surprise. You’d think he’d check in.

“We’ve got to wait to see how he shows up, where he’s at in a month,’’ Collins said.  “He hasn’t done much yet, so he’s got to get himself in shape.  I think get his legs underneath him and start throwing.  We’ll just have to wait to see.  Bobby has always been a guy that’s down there in January anyways.’’

Maybe so, but Parnell hasn’t reported before following neck surgery.

After several so-so seasons bouncing around the bullpen, Parnell seized the closer role last year when Frank Francisco went down with an elbow injury.

Parnell saved 22 games in 49 appearances, and produced a 2.16 ERA over 50 innings. Always a power pitcher with a high strikeout ratio, Parnell learned to pitch last season, and drastically improved his control evidenced by a 44-12 strikeouts-to-walks ratio.

Parnell gave up only one homer and had a 1.00 WHIP.

If Parnell isn’t ready for spring training, and at this time no assumptions should be made that he will be, Vic Black, whom the Mets acquired from Pittsburgh in the Marlon Byrd-John Buck trade, is presumably first in line to replace Parnell.

Black throws a wicked fastball, and like Parnell is a strikeout pitcher.

The Mets are looking for bullpen help and might consider released Indians closer Chris Perez, who will come with baggage.

Last year, Perez and his wife were busted for marijuana possession after he was mailed the dope to his house … addressed to the dog. Reminds me of the episode of “Married With Children” when Al Bundy applies for and gets a credit card in his dog Buck’s name.

Your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to respond. Follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

Dec 08

Granderson Signing Doesn’t Answer All Mets Concerns

We can no longer say the Mets won’t doing anything in the Hot Stove League. While I have been cool on Chris Young, landing Curtis Granderson gives the Mets’ offseason a warmer sense of legitimacy and that more could be coming.

General manager Sandy Alderson projects a payroll in the low-$90 million level, and even with the Granderson and Young signings, the Mets will have more to spend to reach that plateau.

There could be more flexibility if they are able to trade Ike Davis and Daniel Murphy, which would be roughly a combined $8 million they could take on.

Last month Alderson said there were a half-dozen teams interested in Davis, and even Lucas Duda fielded some inquiries, but nothing has come of that since.

The Mets’ priority remains starting pitching. Ricky Nolasco and/or Phil Hughes would have looked good in the back end of the Mets’ rotation, but both signed long-term deals totaling $73 million by the small-market Minnesota Twins. Jason Vargas got $32 million over four years from the small-market Kansas City Royals. All this could have the Mets looking harder at Bronson Arroyo, who earlier had been talking to the Twins.

With Matt Harvey gone for the season and two holes in the rotation there are a couple of certainties: 1) Jon Niese will not be traded as some had speculated, and 2) prospect Rafael Montero will not be traded, unless a major league ready starter comes in return.

The Mets also need to increase depth in their bullpen, especially considering Bobby Parnell is coming off surgery. If he’s fine, he’ll resume the closer role. If not, Vic Black will get the first shot in spring training.

The Mets also like Jeurys Familia, Gonzalez Germen and lefty Scott Rice. That’s five, meaning they’ll need to pick up one or two more arms.

Shortstop was a significant question after the season, but considering how the market developed it appears as if Ruben Tejada will have the first opportunity to reclaim his job. The Mets were hot for Jhonny Peralta, and also kicked the tires on Rafael Furcal, but they signed elsewhere. Stephen Drew is still available, but he’s priced himself out of consideration.

There is also a need for a veteran reserve catcher. Immediately coming to mind is to bring back John Buck, who was not brought back by the Pirates.

The Mets won 74 games last year, just seven games below .500. If they had Harvey, I would say they could be a .500 team with the addition of Granderson. But, he’s not here and what remains in a hole in the rotation.

No Shaun Marcum this time. Alderson needs to land quality starters if this will be a quality summer.

LATER TODAY: Would a Daniel Murphy-Brett Gardner trade make sense?

Your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to respond. Follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

 

Dec 06

No Worries, Mets Land Curtis Granderson

Curtis Granderson got what he wanted, but the New York Mets got what they needed when the outfielder agreed to a four-year, $60-million contract.

Granderson, at 32, wanted an extra year, while the Mets, desperate to not only add a power bat to their outfield, but avoid the perception of inactivity, acquiesced on the extra year.

It is the largest deal the Mets have given an outfielder since they gave a four-year, $66-million contract to Jason Bay, who flamed out to such a degree general manager Sandy Alderson bought him out of the final year.

After repeated promises they would spend this winter to reach a competitive level, the Mets could not go back on their word, even with the loss of Matt Harvey for the 2014 season.

Even with Harvey this year the Mets wouldn’t be able to add all the pieces they needed to compete for a wild card. And, they certainly wouldn’t have been able to add them all next winter.

If nothing else, the Mets needed to show their frustrated fan base they were making an effort. The perception was the Wilpons were sitting on their wallets, but this dashes that notion to a large degree.

Yes, Granderson is a high strikeouts, low on-base percentage and low average player, but his game is driving the ball for extra bases and scoring and driving in runs. This is what the Mets have been lacking.

On the plus side, Granderson can run, and while he has hit leadoff during his career, he’ll likely bat behind David Wright to offer the protection he’s missed since Carlos Beltran was with the Mets.

Granderson also is a left-handed presence the team has needed because of the inability of Ike Davis and Lucas Duda to even come close to expectations.

The Mets have resolved their outfield holes, but with the Winter Meetings set for two days in Orlando, they have a considerable amount of work to do, beginning with their starting pitching.

With Harvey out, the Mets need two starters at the back end of the rotation. The Mets also don’t know if Bobby Parnell will be ready to move back into the closer role, and after him, still need to add to their bullpen.

The Mets are still in flux as to their first baseman, and want to trade either Davis or Duda. They also want to add a back-up catcher to Travis d’Arnaud.

The Granderson signing figures to push Eric Young out of the outfield and possibly to second base, which could make Daniel Murphy available in a trade. My first thought is they might offer him to the Yankees as a replacement to losing Robinson Cano.

Nov 22

Mets Add Outfielder Chris Young. Happy Now?

One can’t get any louder denial of the irresponsible and bogus report of the New York Mets discussing Ryan Braun than the announcement of today’s announced deal for Chris Young. That’s the restaurant equivalent of thinking about Morton’s for dinner, but settling for McDonald’s.

Young isn’t even worth a Chili’s comparison.

YOUNG: All better now?

YOUNG: All better now?

Actually, the best thing that could happen to the Mets is Young failing his physical to void the one-year, $7.25 million deal. You read that correctly. That’s a lot of money for a career .235 hitter with a .315 on-base percentage.

The 30-year-old Young played with Arizona for seven years before being traded to Oakland last winter.

Ready for this?

Young hit .200 with 12 homers and 40 RBI in 335 at-bats. And, that on-base percentage Sandy Alderson likes so much? Try .280, with 93 walks and only 36 walks. Young averages 148 strikeouts every 162 games.

Alderson said he could live with a lot of strikeouts if the hitter makes up for it with run production and a high on-base percentage. His 12 homers is hardly worth the trouble.

The Mets would like Juan Lagares to play center, but that’s Young’s natural position. However, it shakes out that as of now the Mets’ outfield is Young, Lagares and Eric Young. Now, don’t tell me you don’t have the warm fuzzies.

Frankly, if Chris Young is the best the Mets can do, I’d rather they go with Matt den Dekker, or teach Wilmer Flores to play left field, or sign the pitcher Chris Young to play the outfield.

Please tell me this isn’t it for the Mets in the free agent market. I know they aren’t players for Shin-Soo Choo, Jacoby Ellsbury or Nelson Cruz. I knew all along none of those would happen. But, paying Chris Young $7.25 million is shopping at a thrift shop and still overpaying.

Alderson projects an $87-million payroll for 2014, which is ridiculously low for a team in New York. Conversely, the Yankees are desperate to get under $189 million.

As of now, the Mets have $32.5 million earmarked for three players: David Wright ($20 million), Chris Young ($7.25 million) and Jon Niese ($5 million).

According to an ESPN report, they also have a projected $23 million for arbitration eligible players: Daniel Murphy ($5.1 million), Ike Davis ($3.82 million), Bobby Parnell ($3.725 million), Dillon Gee ($3.55 million), Eric Young ($1.9 million), Lucas Duda ($1.8 million), Scott Atchison ($1.3 million), Ruben Tejada ($1 million) and Justin Turner ($800,000).

Assuming those numbers, that leaves them to add 13 players for the remaining balance for roughly $32 million.

And to think, some people actually thought Braun was a possibility.

Merry Christmas.