May 17

Reflecting On The Mets Last Week

At the beginning of the week, after winning two of three in Philadelphia, I wrote the Mets could snap out of their funk with consecutive series against the Cubs and Brewers. I thought they had the opportunity to stabilize their batting order and get their offense on a roll. Well, it could have happened.

SYNDERGAARD: Solid again. (AP)

SYNDERGAARD: Solid again. (AP)

Here’s what I took from the past week:

* Noah Syndergaard took scoreless efforts into the sixth inning today and Monday. I was impressed with how he responded from beaning Carlos Gomez. He gave up a RBI single to Ryan Braun, but limited the damage to one run. Many pitchers, veterans included, could get rattled after hitting a batter like that, but not Syndergaard.

After the game, Syndergaard said: “I’d love to stay, so I’m going to do everything possible to stay up here. I watched [Jacob] deGrom last night pretty heavily and saw how he attacked hitters, and tried to transfer it over to the next day.”

If he keeps attacking batters like that, there’s little doubt he will stay.

* They easily could have won three of four in Chicago. The one that stings the most, of course, was Matt Harvey’s game.

As I watched Carlos Torres give it up that night, I couldn’t help but think of those who ripped my columns about preserving Harvey’s innings. A quick question: What would you have preferred, Harvey staying in against the Cubs and possibly winning, or remaining in to pitch a complete game against the Yankees, which he didn’t?

The answer is a no-brainer.

* The bullpen started the season as a positive, but has soured. Injuries have been a big part, but there has to be a reliable bridge to Jeurys Familia and there’s not. They can’t say things will get better when Bobby Parnell and Vic Black return, because nobody can say when that will be or if they will be productive when they do.

* The offense appeared to get going the last two games, ignited by homers from Curtis Granderson. I am wondering, as Granderson’s power emerges, whether Terry Collins will leave him at the top of the order or move him down to the run-producing slots.

It is, however, premature to think all is well with their bats, because they start a four-game series Monday with the Cardinals, who by the way, have pitching far superior to Milwaukee’s.

* They really miss David Wright, who is supposed to begin baseball activities this week, perhaps as soon as Monday. Then again, they’ve said that before. Wright was having a good year when he was injured, and although he hasn’t hit with great power the past few years, his presence does offer stability and would reduce the juggling.

That being said, the Mets have won when Eric Campbell is in the lineup. They should leave him hitting second and see where it goes.

Also, your guess is as good as mine, or Collins’, as where Daniel Murphy will hit next. He’s been all over the place.

* It will be like this all season for Wilmer Flores. He’ll make errors and follow it up with a big game at the plate. For all the criticism he gets, it was sweet to see him respond with the grand slam.

* I don’t like the pitcher in the eighth slot, but they’ve won the past two games with it so they might as well stick with it for a while. Don’t mess with a streak, regardless of how short it is.

* Bartolo Colon was eventually going to hit a rough stretch, and might be on it now.

* The Mets opened the season with Kirk Nieuwenhuis on the bench because he was out of options. With a .081 batting average, his time remaining with the Mets could be short.

After beating the Brewers today, the Mets hold a slim one-game lead over Washington with the sixth-best record in the major leagues. It is a tenuous lead at best, especially with the Cardinals and Pirates coming up.

 

 

 

May 15

Mets Game Wrap: Colon Rocked By Milwaukee

Greetings. When I first started blogging the Mets I was the first reporter to have live game threads where we could talk about the game we are watching. I’ve gotten away from that for a variety of reasons, like spending almost all of last season in the hospital.

I would like to start that again. It will take time to get where it used to be, but let’s see what happens. I will try to be there as much as possible, but would like to encourage you to talk among among yourselves.

Who knows? We could have some lively conversations. The top segment will be the most current.

COLON ROCKED BIG TIME

Sooner or later, Bartolo Colon was going to get rocked and look like a 41-year-old. Tonight was that night as he was pummeled by the Milwaukee Brewers, 7-0, a game which featured two home runs from Ryan Braun.

It also featured three hits from the Mets’ offense, which means it really didn’t matter what Colon did tonight, which, by the way, wasn’t good. Colon gave up six runs on seven hits with two strikeouts and no walks issued. His ERA jumped from 2.70 to 3.86.

The Mets have lost five straight games and were shut out for the third time this season. On the bright side, it only took 2:18 to watch. And, should Washington win later tonight in San Diego, their lead in the NL East will be a half-game.

HERRERA GOES ON DISABLED LIST

The Mets just announced infielder Dilson Herrera was placed on the disabled list with a fractured finger. Here’s an opportunity to temporarily move Wilmer Flores to second base and promote Matt Reynolds.

The Mets are obviously unhappy with Flores at shortstop, and with a trade not imminent, this enables them to experiment and possibly learn something. However, the Mets said they will bring up Eric Campbell and leave Reynolds in the minor leagues.

But, we know what Campbell can do, and it wasn’t much when he was here recently. What we don’t know about Reynolds.

THE ROUT IS ON

Milwaukee just crushed another homer off Colon, who clearly doesn’t have it tonight. Then again, the Mets have one hit and we’re in the fifth. They aren’t going to win a lot of games that way.

BREWERS GRAB EARLY LEAD

It’s the second and the Brewers just took a 1-0 lead against Colon on a pair of doubles. Then they made it 5-0 in the third. That inning was set up by another Flores throwing error and a misplayed ball by Curtis Granderson in right.

Follow that with a monstrous homer from Braun, who hit two to give him eight on the season.

WHAT ABOUT RYAN BRAUN?

The Brewers are in town to face the Mets, and with them is Braun. The Brewers are obviously not going anywhere, so it is logical to figure Braun could be made available. But, should the Mets be interested?

Wow, that’s an interesting one.

The Braun who won the MVP Award several years would be great. But, that player was a product of chemistry?

Braun would come with a high salary and the Brewers would want a lot, but don’t the Mets need more than a couple of months to see if what he’s doing is for real? It would take a lot of stones to make a deal like that, and frankly, I don’t see where GM Sandy Alderson swim in the deep end of the trading pool.

 

May 15

Mets Should Have No Untouchables

With the Mets’ eight-game lead over Washington down to one, we are at the part of the season when panic sets in. They must do something, and fast.

Yes, Wilmer Flores – who leads the team in home runs, by the way – has been dreadful at shortstop. Naturally, he’s the one who must go and the Mets have to trade for a shortstop. In the car, if not the Rolling Stones or Eagles, I will sometimes listen to sports talk radio. Yes, yes, I know it’s a dumb thing to do, but like chocolate it is sometimes hard to resist.

HARVEY: No untouchables. (Getty)

HARVEY: No untouchables. (Getty)

Something I heard today made me laugh out loud. The topic was the Mets’ urgent need for a power bat, to which I can’t disagree. Of course Troy Tulowitzki‘s name came up. It always does. But what was said next is proof most of these guys don’t know what they are talking about.

“The Mets need a shortstop, because they are set everyplace else.”

This is dumb on so many levels, beginning with this – the Mets haven’t had a winning season in six years and despite their hot start there’s no guarantee they will have one this year. That they are 7-12 since their 11-game winning streak is proof this team can’t say it is set. That hot start is a memory.

“Just who are you going to replace?” the voice droned on.

Just who can’t they replace? That’s the better question. After 35 games, the Mets are ninth in the National League with 26 home runs. They are 12th in the league in runs scored with 130. The only player with a batting average higher than .250 in the lineup yesterday was Lucas Duda. Take your pick as to who should be replaced. If the goal is a winning season and the playoffs, everybody should be made available if it improves the team.

After losing four straight to the Cubs, the Mets must beat the Brewers this weekend before the Cardinals come to town. If they lose the Milwaukee series, who can’t see them below .500 by the end of next week, even if Matt Harvey wins his game?

There’s not a player on the team – Harvey included – I wouldn’t trade for the right package. They must get a star already signed to a multi-year deal to make it worthwhile. The often-injured, pricey Tulowitzki is not the answer. There are players, such as Harvey, Noah Syndergaard and Jeurys Familia, I prefer to keep, but entice me. Make me think before I say no.

Juan Lagares? Why not? Duda? Why not? Please don’t tell me they are set in the outfield with Curtis Granderson and Michael Cuddyer. Maybe the Mets have players like Lagares they see locked into their future, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t better players who could help.

When you’re the Mets and haven’t sniffed the playoffs since 2006, can they be that set to where they say they have untouchables?

Nobody expected an 11-game winning streak, but what it did was not serve notice the Mets are contenders, but allowed them a margin for error which is down to one game. If you can’t see below .500, surely you can see them out of first place.

The Mets entered the season hoping for bounce-back years from David Wright, Granderson and Harvey, and for Flores to develop. The Mets entered the season hoping for a lot of things, but how many times do I have to say “hoping is not a strategy?”

Hope is what GM Sandy Alderson built this season around, and it if all goes to hell, it will be Terry Collins who takes the fall. Such is the plan of baseball’s greatest general manager.

There should be no players who are untouchables given the right circumstances. None. Flores and Collins aren’t the only ones who should be concerned about their jobs.

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)

REDS

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.

mmo

Jul 30

Could Ryan Braun Be A Fit For Mets?

Kudos to Milwaukee owner Mark Attanasio for his immediate gesture to Brewers fans in the wake of the 65-game suspension of Ryan Braun. But, will it end there? Could the Brewers want to clean up their mess by trading Braun? And if so, could the Mets be a fit?

BRAUN: What is his future? (Getty)

BRAUN: What is his future? (Getty)

Yes, Braun got off on a technicality the first time and Major League Baseball has had it in for him since. It was only a matter of time before they nailed him. Could it also be a matter of time before the Brewers decide to cut ties with Braun?

The Brewers’ best player lied to his teammates, management, fans and anybody he spoke to about performance-enhancing drugs. The quotes from players and supporters – including Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers – have been venomous.

With Braun gone for the season and the Brewers stagnant on the field, the team will give each fan who shows up at Milwaukee’s 12 home games in August a $10 voucher good for food, merchandise and future tickets.

“This is an investment in our fans and an investment in our brand, to do what we can do to mitigate a trying summer,’’ Brewers chief operating officer Rick Schlesinger told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “We were finalizing something like this to give back to our loyal fans just as news of Ryan’s suspension hit. Mark decided he wanted to make a dramatic impact that would cost more money.’’

Based on their current attendance figures, it is estimated the Brewers will give their fans roughly $3.6 million in vouchers, or effectively a good chunk of the remaining $8.5 million they were to pay Braun this year. Instead of pocketing the money, the Brewers are giving it to their fans.

This is no cheap gesture.

What happens when Braun returns is anybody’s guess. He might be booed or Brewers’ fans could forgive and forget. It remains to be seen how strained his relationship with ownership and management might be. His presence could also create a clubhouse divide. There are not a lot of people happy with Braun now, including those players mentioned in the Biogenesis case. By taking a punishment without appeal, it gives credibility to Tony Bosch, which could hurt the defenses of other players.

Schlesinger spoke of the Brewers’ brand. Currently, that brand is mostly Braun, and the wonder is if they want to continue with that considering the potential of stress and negativity.

Could that strain lead to an eventual trade, and would the Mets be interested? Braun is a talented player, but with a positive test – albeit tainted – there’s the question of his true talents. It must be that way with any player linked to steroids.

Braun to the Mets is intriguing on many levels. He would be a huge upgrade, but what is his value? The asking price can’t be as high if Braun were clean. What would it require to get him in terms of talent, and would the Mets risk it based on his PED history? Would the Mets, or any team that wanted Braun, know what they are getting? The Brewers must be asking the same question if they opt to keep him.

Braun signed a five-year, $105-million contract extension from 2016-2020, and an option for 2021. That’s reasonable money for what Braun has produced, but it must be asked whether that production is he or the juice.

It would be a significant gamble by the Mets because of the length of Braun’s deal and the chance of paying for damaged goods. The Mets don’t have to look any further than across town to see what the Yankees are going through with Alex Rodriguez.

Going after Braun could generate a negative buzz around the Mets, but that’s better than no buzz.

As always, your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to answer them. Follow me on Twitter @jdelcos