Jan 01

Understated Mets’ Positives Of 2013

Good afternoon folks. I was thinking about the best and worst with the New York Mets during the summer of 2013. As far as the best and worst, Matt Harvey is both. His development captivated the organization until the black cloud of Tommy John surgery.

Outside of Harvey’s injury, the other major negative was the continuing negative saga of Ike Davis. Ruben Tejada entered the season a question and was a disappointment, but not nearly as paralyzing as Davis’ self-destructive year at the plate.

What then, after Harvey’s early emergence, could we look at as positives?

I’m looking at two events, both in the offseason, which could be regarded as positives, although they might be considered symbolic.

The first was the extension of manager Terry Collins’ contract. A new manager would have meant the beginning of another rebuilding program. A new manager means new coaches and a new system, and with Harvey gone and other looming issues, we’re looking at an indefinite delay in the Mets’ rebuilding program.

Keeping Collins represented an endorsement by management its blueprint. It displayed a sense of confidence the team was heading in a positive direction.

Secondly, were the signings of Curtis Granderson and Bartolo Colon. Are these guys high-profile, high-impact additions? Probably not in the traditional sense, but during the Sandy Alderson era the Mets pointed to this winter as to when the organization would begin spending.

After letting Jose Reyes walk, trading R.A. Dickey and Carlos Beltran, and shedding the contracts of Johan Santana, Jason Bay and Oliver Perez, the Mets believed they were finally in position to financially compete.

Trouble is, too many Mets fans didn’t share the beliefs of Alderson and ownership. Too many times they had been disappointed, and again the Mets were asking their fans to believe.

Who knows how Granderson and Colon will work out? But, the Mets promised additions and lived up to their word. As with bringing back Collins, the additions the Mets made are indicative in a confidence they are moving forward.

And, considering how things had been since Beltran took that called third strike to end the 2006 NLCS, Mets fans need to take their positives when they can.

ON DECK: Tomorrow I’ll look at what I am looking forward to during the 2014 season.

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

Dec 15

Collins Is Hopeful That Wheeler Will Toss 200 Innings

WHEELER: High hopes for him.

WHEELER: High hopes for him.

As of now, the New York Mets don’t anticipate an innings limitations on Zack Wheeler, who was shut down for his last two starts in 2013. Wheeler threw 100 innings last year and said an innings limit hasn’t been determined, and if one is later on, it won’t be until after the season starts.

“We haven’t talked about [an innings limit],’’ manager Terry Collins said. “He should get over 200 if he goes out there 30?something times.  If he does that, he would have a heck of a year. When you’re getting those kinds of innings, you’re keeping your team in games.’’

Hopefully, that thinking won’t change and the Mets will not put the shackles on Wheeler, who won’t learn how to pitch on this level unless he does so.

Pitchers today wear down when they don’t accumulate innings. If a pitcher doesn’t build up his arm, he won’t have anything in the tank when he needs it. There are times when a pitcher has to learn to pitch in the eighth and ninth innings, when he’s running on fumes, when he just has to reach down.

Wheeler had his rough moments last summer, such as when he went away from his fastball and told to work in more on his secondary pitches. When that approach was adjusted to where he could work more off his fastball, Wheeler pitched well.

Collins said he believes Wheeler’s demeanor and emotional make-up could allow him to make a jump similar to what Matt Harvey made last season before he injured. Collins said Harvey learned how to make adjustments within a game and thinks Wheeler can do likewise.

“I’m hoping he takes the Matt Harvey step,’’  Collins said. “[Wheeler] now realizes he can fix it.  He realized all he had to do was make things.  He didn’t have to overthrow.

“He’s still got that great arm if he needs it.  His command of his secondary pitches got better.  I think his confidence rose as the season went along.  Again, I think the sky is the limit for what potential this guy has.’’

Wheeler told ESPN Radio he plans on reporting to spring training around Feb. 5, which is ten days before the official reporting date for pitchers and catchers.

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

Dec 10

David Wright Likes Curtis Granderson Signing On Many Levels

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Where Curtis Granderson will fit in with the New York Mets outfield is still to be determined, David Wright has no doubt he does fit with his team.

Granderson is penciled in to hit fourth behind Wright, giving him the protection he hasn’t had since Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado were here. Manager Terry Collins doesn’t know which of the three outfield positions Granderson will play, but Wright said wherever he plays, he provides an immediate upgrade.

WRIGHT: Likes Granderson signing on many levels.

WRIGHT: Likes Granderson signing on many levels.

“Curtis instantly makes us a better team both offensively and defensively,’’ Wright said in an email.

Offensively, Granderson hit 40 homers with the Yankees, but even with Citi Field’s spacious dimensions, he should be good for at least 25.

Defensively, he’s a natural centerfielder. Collins hasn’t decided his outfield rotation, but speculation is it will be – from left to right – Granderson, Juan Lagares and Chris Young.

Collins said Granderson should also take pressure off Wright in the batting order.

“I think, number one, they’ve got Curtis hitting behind him now, they’ve got to make a decision,’’ Collins said of opposing pitcher’s plans against the Mets.

“David’s patient enough to take the base on balls, especially if he knows the guy can bat behind him,” Collins said. “He’ll get better pitches to hit each at-bat.  And if David gets pitches to hit, he does damage.’’

Granderson is GM Sandy Alderson’s highest-profile free agent signing, but if things work out as hoped, Wright said it would not be his last. If the Mets get better, other players will notice.

“I think it paves the way for other elite players to want to play for us,’’ wrote Wright, whom Granderson said was influential in him signing with the Mets.

From his perspective, Granderson said one of the reasons he wanted four years was to be around when the Mets’ building plan reached fruition, and that includes signing future free agents.

While Granderson provides Wright protection in the order, he’ll also give him a respite in the clubhouse. Even prior to his appointment to team captain last season, Wright was the clubhouse voice, commenting on an array of issues, ranging from Willie Randolph’s firing in 2008 to the Wilpon’s financial situation to Ike Davis’ plate troubles to Jordany Valdespin’s emotional meltdowns.

Quite simply, he has been the go-to guy for all issues on the Mets.

By all accounts, Granderson will be a positive presence, and Wright echoed what Alderson said earlier today.

“He’s a true professional and great guy to have in the clubhouse,’’ wrote Wright. “He has a confidence about him that I think will rub off on other players.’’

ON DECK: Wrapping up day two of the Winter Meetings.

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

Dec 10

GM Sandy Alderson Says Nothing Imminent In Trading Ike Davis

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – The New York Mets introduced Curtis Granderson this afternoon. Don’t expect anything more from them today.

General manager Sandy Alderson said nothing was imminent, and that includes trading first baseman Ike Davis.

DAVIS: Nothing moving.

DAVIS: Nothing moving.

“He’s still here,’’ Alderson deadpanned. “We’re here until Thursday. We’ll see.’’

The market is currently not hot – not even warm – for Davis.

One potential trading partner, Milwaukee, is more interested in re-signing Corey Hart than trading for Davis, figuring the devil you know is always better.

Hart and James Loney are on the market, and teams needing a first baseman tend to first look at free agents because all it would cost is money. In trading for Davis, there would also be the surrendering of talent.

“Why would they give up prospects for mediocre talent?” once baseball insider asked about Davis.

Once Hart and Loney are off the market, things might heat up for Davis, but then there is also the matter of competing with Miami, who is taking offers for Logan Morrison, and Texas, which is shopping Mitch Moreland.

So, while the Mets are anxious to move Davis – that anxiousness might parlay itself into lesser offers – don’t count on anything happening soon.

ON DECK: Terry Collins talks to media.

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

Dec 10

Curtis Granderson Makes Good First Impression

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – On his unveiling as a member of the New York Mets, outfielder Curtis Granderson said all the right things, including: “A lot of people I’ve met in New York have always said true New Yorkers are Mets fans.’’

Now, how can you not like that enthusiasm?

GRANDERSON: Good first impression.

GRANDERSON: Good first impression.

Both GM Sandy Alderson and Jeff Wilpon praised Granderson’s professionalism and clubhouse presence, and said it was a major consideration in bringing him to the Mets.

Granderson is expected to ease the burden for David Wright, both as a run producer and in the clubhouse.

“He brings, No. 1, professionalism,’’ Alderson said. “He brings a personality. He brings credibility. He brings talent … all things that are important.’’

Granderson said the Yankees were upfront with him in their rebuilding plans, and while he talked to other teams – including Boston after Jacoby Ellsbury left – the Mets were by far the most aggressive in recruiting him.

“A lot of homework went into it,’’ Granderson said. “[The Mets] were the best fit possible.’’

Even without Matt Harvey available this season, the Mets sold Granderson on better days – years – in the future. With the Yankees, Granderson knew they would be competitive. The Mets had to convince him.

“They have a plan that’s getting in place,’’ Granderson said. “It’s going to take 25 guys. They have an opportunity to go out there and do some things.’’

Regarding Granderson’s contract, both the player and Alderson said a fourth year was important. Alderson said there were no bells and whistles in the contract, such as a no-trade clause.

“It was your typical, boilerplate, $60-million contract,’’ said Alderson.

ON DECK: Nothing imminent in dealing Ike Davis.

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