Mar 05

Spring training opener: Mets vs. Nationals.

Dillon Gee will start tonight against Washington, followed by Matt Harvey, Miguel Batista, Daniel Herrera, Tim Byrdak and Frank Francisco.

Gee and Harvey should get two innings apiece. I think it was a good call to ease Harvey into things rather than give him a start right away. He’ll have enough adrenalin as it is, so there’s no need to push the envelope with him, especially since he doesn’t fit into this year’s rotation plans.

There will be opportunities later this spring where Harvey will get to start and be in the spotlight.

GEE: Gets the ball tonight.

Gee took advantage of his opportunity last summer caused by injuries to force his way into the rotation and at one time was the Mets’ most effective pitcher. If Johan Santana doesn’t pan out physically, and we’ll know more about him tomorrow, Gee could be in line for the Opening Day start.

Manager Terry Collins pitch projected closer Francisco earlier in the game where he’ll face tougher hitters to sharpen him for the season. Early on, the last few innings are played out by minor leaguers and prospects who won’t be on the major league rosters.

Normally, starters will throw roughly 30 innings during the spring while relievers will get from 10 to 15 innings. It is easier for relievers to get their innings through simulation and split squad games.

Here’s tonight’s Mets’ lineup:

Andres Torres, cf

Daniel Murphy, 2b

Justin Turner, 3b

Ike Davis, 1b

Jason Bay, lf

Lucas Duda, rf

Valentino Pascucci, DH

Josh Thole, c

Ruben Tejada, ss

LINEUP COMMENTS: Was curious to see who would bat second. Murphy has good bat control and patience at the plate that makes him the prime candidate. You can’t help but read in the following days about the leadoff spot. Let’s face it, regardless of who the Mets put out there he can’t live up to Jose Reyes.

ON DECK: Mets playing it cautious with David Wright.


Jan 27

Mets have option at outfield help.

There was some talk the Mets were monitoring the outfield market, but Juan Pierre is now off the market and they will find the asking prices for Johnny Damon, Kosuke Fukudome and Raul Ibanez to rich for their blood.

ANKIEL: Help at a reasonable price.

Vlad Guerrero is strictly a DH type, J.D. Drew is heading toward retirement and Magglio Ordonez is an injury question. All three would want more than the Mets are willing to pay, regardless.

Rick Ankiel is still available.

Ankiel, who made $1.5 million last year for Washington is within the Mets’ budget. Ankiel hit 25 homers for the 2008 Cardinals, but hasn’t come close to those numbers since, although he hit nine last season.

Ankiel isn’t a player to build around, but he does offer something of value to the Mets in three capacities: 1) as a left-handed bat, 2) an exceptional defensive replacement, and 3) as a back-up center fielder to Andres Torres.

Yeah, I can hear the groans already about Ankiel, but the truth is he can contribute in several areas at a reasonable price, and for the Mets that’s about the best they can hope for these days.

 

Dec 08

Departures of Pujols, Reyes shouldn’t scuttle Cardinals or Mets.

Pockets of fans in St. Louis and New York are understandably upset after Albert Pujols and Jose Reyes sold their legacies and moved them out of town as mercenaries.

Pujols thought $220 million over ten years, his developmental years in St. Louis along with his businesses and foundation weren’t enough, so he took $30 million more and shuffled off to Los Angeles.

Reyes could have had close to $100 million from the Mets – which included incentives – but in the end took roughly $6 million more to move to Miami.

In the end, reports from Pujols supporters and Reyes himself, were that they weren’t “loved” enough by their former teams so they went with the money.

I never expected Reyes to stay. I always believed he’d go to who flashed the most bling. However, I thought Pujols might have been one of the rare few to spend his entire career with one team.

Stan Musial did it and so did Mickey Mantle. So did Cal Ripken and Don Mattingly. They were thinking of a statute for Pujols in St. Louis. Not any more.

Who is to blame?

Actually, nobody.

As much as it would have been nice to think about Pujols staying home, in the end I was naive. It was something I wanted to believe in.

Pujols and Reyes; the Cardinals and Mets; the Angels and Marlins all made business decisions this week.

For Pujols and Reyes it was for the money. Pujols might also have the additional incentive of setting the career home run record with the aid of the designated hitter. Reyes sought the comfort of a guaranteed contract because of his house-of-card hamstrings.

The Angels are competing with the reeling Dodgers for the lion’s marketing share of Los Angeles and now have star power for their television network. As an American League team, the Angels can offer Pujols the DH during the back end of his contract. Pujols is worth all that money to them.

As for the Marlins, they significantly upgraded not only with Reyes, but Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell, and should have a good product in their new stadium. They might not be good enough to catch the Phillies, but with the extra wild card, they have a chance at October.

For the Cardinals and Mets, they have $220 million and $100 million, respectively, to build with. The Cardinals always have been a smart organization and based in the average NL Central, they should be able to rebound and retool quickly.

For the financially strapped Mets, they couldn’t afford to risk that kind of money on Reyes’ brittle hamstrings. The Mets have holes and ownership is drowning in red ink. The last thing the Mets needed was to be on the hook for another brutal contract.

So, nobody is to blame. And, the winners? It seems as if all the players got something they wanted. That is, of course, except fans of Pujols and Reyes, but who is surprised by that?

Dec 07

On trading David Wright.

I wrote it also, losing Jose Reyes could make it easier for the Mets to eventually trade David Wright if they go in full rebuilding mode. However, it is not imminent and regardless of what you read, it won’t be to the Yankees.

WRIGHT: He's not going anywhere.

Despite his power dropoff in two of the past three seasons, Wright is the only marketable player the Mets have remaining. Ike Davis and Lucas Duda are a promise. Nobody else generates more than a yawn.

Wright will not be dealt while the Mets are trying to sell season tickets and advertising for SNY and Citi Field.  And based on his production in two of the past three years, his value is at its lowest. If the Mets are bent on trading Wright, they’ll need to see him healthy and hitting for power. That’s what will get Sandy Alderson’s phone ringing. Dealing Wright now would be trading him when the market is low.

Just not a smart thing to do.

Continue reading

Nov 20

2011 Player Review: Daniel Murphy, IF

We began our review of the 2011 Mets by examining their free agents and players the team will consider tending contracts to. We started evaluating the rest of the roster, beginning with infielder Ruben Tejada and continue today with utility player Daniel Murphy. Saturday: Lucas Duda. Sunday: Justin Turner.

DANIEL MURPHY, IF

THE SKINNY: Murphy is a gritty, aggressive player with a high on-base percentage, but without a position and a propensity for being injured. Murphy, a natural third baseman, can’t play there because of David Wright. He didn’t take to left field, but seeming found a home at first base, but when he was injured it opened the position for Ike Davis. The Mets tried him at second base, but he sustained a knee injury at the position. Through it all, Murphy managed to hit, with a lifetime .292 average.

PRE-SEASON EXPECTATIONS: Coming off an injury, the expectations were limited, but the hope was if healthy he’d play second base and come off the bench as a pinch-hitter.

HOW THE SEASON PLAYED OUT: Murphy was having an outstanding year offensively with a .320 average, six homers and 49 RBI in 109 games before he sustained a torn MCL in August while covering second base on a steal attempt and missed the remainder of the season.

JOHN’S TAKE: GM Sandy Alderson said at the GM meetings in Milwaukee that Murphy was available in a trade, but who would deal for him without knowing of healthy he is. Murphy has a propensity for getting injured and has limited defensive abilities. If every Met played as hard as him the team would be a lot better off. I can’t see the Mets dealing him now because of his baggage, but if he stays healthy and continues to hit, he might be attractive in July. Then again, if he’s healthy and hits, he would be valuable to the Mets. Probably as a second baseman if he finally takes to the position and Jose Reyes leaves.

JOE’S TAKE: I’m a big Daniel Murphy fan. He has a great approach at the plate and is one of the Mets’ most disciplined hitters. Just 26, Murphy has become a doubles hitting machine – collecting 75 of them over 1,030 career at-bats. It’s such a shame that a hitter this good doesn’t have a true defensive position he could call home. He’s a natural third baseman, but with Wright entrenched there, the Mets have tried to squeeze Murphy into a variety of other positions just to get his bat in the lineup. Rumors abound that he could end up being the Mets everyday second baseman in 2012, but I have a huge problem with that. It may very well be that Murphy’s greatest value to the team will ultimately be as component in a trade to a team where he could play third base or DH. Until that happens, enjoy Murphy’s at-bats and hold your breath when he takes the field. I’ll have more on Murphy tomorrow on MetsMerizedOnline.com.