Feb 01

Projecting Mets’ Rotation

New York Mets manager Terry Collins has already come out and said Jon Niese would be his Opening Day starter. No surprise there, as he was in that role last year.

Given that, here’s how I’d piece together the rest of the rotation and my reasoning.

NIESE: Opening Day starter.

NIESE: Opening Day starter.

Collins said Dillon Gee would be the alternative Opening Day starter, so logically he would go second in the rotation. However, I’d go with Bartolo Colon because of his experience and propensity for eating innings and save Gee’s innings for the back end.

Third, I’m thinking they’ll go with Zack Wheeler, but if he cracks the rotation, I’m wondering if they’ll instead slot in John Lannan to go with a left-right-left format.

Fourth would be innings eater Gee. This way I’m thinking there will be an even distribution of innings with the rotation.

Finally, the fifth starter will probably be Lannan because I don’t know how much stock Collins puts in my lefty-righty-lefty theory. If he does buy into it, then that could push Wheeler back to the fourth or fifth starter.

Probably not, but there are advantages to starting Wheeler fifth: 1) if there is an innings limit on him, fifth is where starts most get pushed back because of early-season off-days, which cuts the innings, and 2) theoretically there’s less pressure as the fifth starter.

So, if the Mets want to treat Wheeler with kid gloves, then fifth is where they have the best opportunity to do so.

Jan 17

Four Mets Settle To Avoid Arbitration

Four more Mets avoided the arbitration process and settled their contracts for the 2014 season. Daniel Murphy, Dillon Gee, Bobby Parnell and Eric Young all agreed to terms. Still unsigned is Lucas Duda.

Murphy, who hit .286 with 13 homers and 78 RBI, settled on a contract for $5.7 million, a substantial raise from the $2.95 million. Murphy will be arbitration eligible after this year and will become a free agent following the 2015 season.

Gee, who made just over $527-thousand last year, settled on $3.625 million after winning 13 games and working 199 innings.

Gee submitted a proposal for $4.05 million to which the Mets countered at $3.2 million.

Parnell, who is recovering from neck surgery, will earn $3.7 million this year, up from $1.7 million.

Finally, outfielder Eric Young, agreed to a $1.85 million contract.

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

Jan 09

Mets Need Breakout Year From Jon Niese

If there’s one player the New York Mets urgently, if not desperately need a breakout year from it is left-hander Jon Niese.

Some might say Ike Davis, which might be true if we even knew he’d be on the team. Another could be outfielder Chris Young, but odds are he won’t be back in 2015, so does it matter what kind of year he has? If he’s having a good season he might get dealt at the deadline. If he plays the season out and does well, the Mets would think he’d be too pricey to retain.

NIESE: Mets need big things from him.

NIESE: Mets need big things from him.

Niese, however, is cut from a different cloth.  He’s in a five-year contract, but coming off a disappointing season in 2013 in which he was injured and won only nine games.

“He was hurt and took a step back,’’ said one National League scout. “Two years ago he was on the verge of a breakout season if the Mets had hit for him.’’

The tightness in his neck and shoulder surfaced after consecutive freezing-weather starts in Minneapolis and Denver.

Niese was 13-9 in 2012, and with a little run and bullpen support could have won 17 games. He was the Opening Day starter last season when Johan Santana was injured, but if the appointment were based on solely on merit, he would have been named regardless.

Despite never having pitched a complete season – defined as 34-35 starts – Niese had steadily improved, winning nine, 11 and 13 games, respectively, from 2010-12, until a shoulder limited him to 24 starts, 143 innings and an 8-8 record.

Everybody is looking at Zack Wheeler to take a Matt Harvey-like step in his second year. I could happen, but what must happen is for Niese to start living up to the high expectations.

Wheeler is far from a given and Harvey is out, which leaves Niese, Dillon Gee and Bartolo Colon in the rotation. Of the three, Niese has the highest upside.

It’s time he lives up to it.

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

Dec 10

Jenrry Mejia Not Close To Being Ready

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Staying healthy has always been an obstacle in Jenrry Mejia’s pursuit of a starting job in the New York Mets’ rotation and it is that way again.

Mejia, who underwent surgery to remove bone spurs from his right elbow, isn’t a given in being ready for spring training.

If he was ready, he’s be the fourth starter slotted in after Zack Wheeler, Dillon Gee and Jon Niese.

MEJIA: When will we see him?

MEJIA: When will we see him?

As of now, general manager Sandy Alderson doesn’t expect him any sooner than May.

“He demonstrated he could pitch effectively as a major-league starter,’’ Alderson said. “It’s a question of can he stay healthy. … He won’t even be able to demonstrate that over the course of spring training or even the first month of the season.’’

The 24-year-old Mejia made five starts with an ERA of 2.30 before needing surgery.

The puzzling thing in how this was handled was the Mets said Mejia needed surgery in the offseason, yet kept pitching him.

It wasn’t the first time the Mets mishandled Mejia.

In 2010, then-manager Jerry Manuel, who going into the season knew his job was in jeopardy, battled the front office to bring up Mejia at the start of the season to work in the bullpen.

The troubling aspect of this decision was Manuel rarely used Mejia, especially when the game was in the balance. Eventually, he was returned to the minors, but as a starter. The strain of changing roles damaged his arm and he underwent Tommy John surgery.

At the time, Mejia was the Mets’ hottest prospect, but by not settling on a defined role for him it hurt his trade value. After all, how could the Mets pitch to other teams his potential value as a starter when he wasn’t even in that role for them?

Alderson doesn’t know when Mejia will be ready, and how he’ll perform when he’s available. As of now, it is back to Square One for Mejia.

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

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.