Jun 23

Today’s Question: Have You Given Up On Mets?

If you’re a true fan, you’ll keep watching the Mets. Like an accident on the highway, you can’t take your eyes off of them. Jerry Blevins walking in runs was a new one for me, or perhaps I missed it earlier.

After they were bludgeoned in the first three games of their series in Los Angeles, last night was a tease. For a moment I thought they might salvage a game against the Dodgers, who hit 15 homers in the series. Ten games below .500 make any kind of playoff push nearly impossible.

REYES: Time to say good bye. (AP)

REYES: Time to say good bye. (AP)

It’s almost incomprehensible to imagine that considering the expectations of March.

GM Sandy Alderson has two choices. One, keep plodding away like an old plow horse and operate under the illusion they are playing for something. Or, they could actually be playing for something, which is next year.  Alderson already has a good idea of who will or won’t be back next year. Those he knows won’t be back, like Curtis Granderson – he’s finally hot, so whatever value he has left is at a premium now – and Asdrubal Cabrera, and Lucas Duda, and maybe Blevins and Addison Reed. Get what you can for them and let’s see what Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith and Brandon Nimmo can bring to the table.

Frankly, unless Rosario plays shortstop, I’m not interested in seeing Cabrera at second base. If anything, I’m tired of watching Jose Reyes and would rather see Wilmer Flores full time at second.

All experience is good, so give them the rest of the season. It won’t take away the disappointment of 2017, but perhaps it will take away the sour taste of this lost season.

 

 

Apr 23

Mets Have Few Options To Revive Offense

Pennants aren’t usually won in April, but can be lost, which is the prospect facing the Mets. After being swept by the Nationals – losing 6-3 to Max Scherzer – they are 5.5 games behind with a week remaining in the month.

There’s a lot of time remaining, but in addition to their myriad of injuries, the Mets aren’t hitting. They are in a deep and lengthy slump with few breakout signs and don’t have many options as to how they can turn it around.

CESPEDES: DL decision coming? (AP)

CESPEDES: DL decision coming? (AP)

There’s a 10-day disabled list now, so why aren’t the Mets using it with Yoenis Cespedes? They are using it with Lucas Duda (elbow) and Wilmer Flores (knee), but heading down the same road with Cespedes’ hamstring as they did last year with his quad, when a few games turned into weeks.

When they finally made the move, GM Sandy Alderson conceded they waited too long. However, the rules were 15 days then but a more manageable ten now.

Cespedes didn’t start tonight, which the Mets anticipated. However, if he’s not ready to go Tuesday against the Braves, then it could be time to make a retroactive move. However, they should guard against being foolish enough to use him in a pinch-hit role and risk starting the clock over. The game ended with him on the on-deck circle, which was reckless.

Admittedly, the Mets aren’t deep in the minors but have prospects Dominic Smith and Amed Rosario. They don’t want to bring up either now because they don’t want the arbitration clock to start ticking. Of the two, there should be serious thought to replacing Jose Reyes with Rosario.

Money also factored into why Michael Conforto started the season on the bench behind Curtis Granderson and Jay Bruce, and, while we’re at it, in light of Daniel Murphy’s first-inning grand slam off Zack Wheeler, why he’s with the Nationals. Wheeler, by the way, put it together after the first.

The Mets’ mentality that favors bucks over baseball underscores an underlying cheapness that has been always disturbing. It isn’t the approach of a championship caliber organization.

Quite simply, Conforto needs to play, and with the offense on a hiatus, I don’t see why that’s even a question. He had three more hits tonight.

Another aspect of the Mets’ approach that is lacking regards injuries. When Alderson was hired, Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon vowed an overhaul of their handling of injuries, which hasn’t happened.

It is well documented four of their starters are coming off various arm surgeries. Fate or coincidence?

Collins made a point of referring to Cespedes being tightly muscled in regards to being cautious. Considering his problems last season, I wonder how serious they thought about that before re-signing him.

It’s an oversimplification to think all injuries are a product of fate or are even avoidable. Both Cespedes and Asdrubal Cabrera have hamstring issues. Are they doing enough stretching? It’s a legitimate question, especially in the cold.

Whatever the answer, it won’t have an immediate impact on the Mets. What will have an impact is when they’ll start hitting.

Jan 17

Mets’ Issues To Be Resolved This Spring

One month from today, Mets position players will report to spring training. They’ll take ground balls and batting practice for a couple of weeks. There will be daily reports on what pitchers are throwing and with the Mets there will be the daily, “how’s the arm feeling?’’ questions.

The Mets have numerous questions they must have answered in spring training:

BRUCE: Desperately want to trade him. (AP)

BRUCE: Desperately want to trade him. (AP)

ROTATION: With four pitchers coming off surgery, they’ll undoubtedly ease them into form. Probably one of the first five questions asked will be on innings limits.

Hopefully, manager Terry Collins will have a definable plan as to not duplicate what happened with Matt Harvey in 2015. More to the point, hopefully, he won’t deviate as he did with Harvey.

Coming off surgery, it’s not a bad idea to have limits on Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler. At one time the Mets didn’t discount the idea of using Wheeler out of the pen. If that’s the conclusion, then stick with it. They can always announce an innings format and if there aren’t any setbacks, discard it have May or June. But don’t announce something then deviate on a whim.

Collins will also need to define roles for Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman.

BULLPEN: They have to be expecting at least a 30-day suspension for Jeurys Familia, so they’ll need to define the bullpen roles with the assumption Addison Reed will be the closer to start.

This is an area where I can see the Mets signing relievers off the scrap heap at the end.

FIRST BASE: Lucas Duda had back issues last year so they’ll need to find a replacement. Wilmer Flores seems the logical choice, so Collins needs to give him innings.

Will Dominic Smith get enough at-bats this spring to leave the impression he could get the call-up chance should something happen to Duda?

As for Michael Conforto, if they are going to do it, then do it right. If so, it is important for Conforto to get substantial innings at first base, meaning that’s more important than playing in the World Baseball Classic.

SECOND BASE: They’ll need to keep a close eye on Neil Walker, who is coming off back surgery. Walker can’t be pushed, so Collins has to give out playing time to Flores and Ty Kelly.

It will be interesting to see how much time Jose Reyes will get at second. If he’s going to be the super sub, then he should get time at second.

SHORTSTOP: Amed Rosario is the future, but is he ready now? The Mets have Asdrubal Cabrera for this year (they have an option for 2018), but their thinking is Rosario should be ready for 2018.

Rosario needs to play, so if the Mets don’t have a way to get him in the lineup regularly, he’ll open the season at Triple-A.

THIRD BASE: The hope is David Wright will be ready for Opening Day, but nobody really knows. Reyes is Plan B.

Wright hasn’t played 100 games in the last two years combined, so there should be no bold projections for 2017.

Things change over the course of a season, but Collins needs to format a strict play-rest plan for Wright.

OUTFIELD: This is GM Sandy Alderson’s biggest mess. He basically announced to the world the Mets’ plan was to pick up Jay Bruce’s option as a hedge to not getting Yoenis Cespedes back. Of course, that automatically reduced Bruce’s trade value.

Sure, the Mets will keep making calls to dump Bruce, but at the same time they need to get him ready for the season. They also need to get Curtis Granderson ready to play center and right field.

There’s also the matter of getting Juan Lagares and Conforto ready. That leads to an interesting question: If the Mets are unable to trade Bruce and he’s on the Opening Day roster, then would they possibly start the season with Conforto in the minor leagues?

Mar 16

Mets and Twins Play to a 3-3 Tie

The Mets hosted the Minnesota Twins at Tradition Field and played to a 3-3 nine inning tie on Saturday at Port St. Lucie.

Dillon Gee started the game for the Mets and tossed three scoreless innings. Gee surrendered five hits while walking none and striking out three, and lowers his ERA to 1.69 for the Spring.

Despite the solid outing, Gee said he wasn’t as efficient as he would have liked.

“I want to go more innings than that, that’s not good to go three innings with 65 pitches,” Gee said. “It’s my work for the day right now and hopefully during the season I’ll get more work out of that. ”

“Didn’t give up any runs, that’s a key. Didn’t feel that great today, whatever it was five days ago that made me feel so good wasn’t really there today,” Gee said. “Keep working on it and made big pitches when I had to today in key situations with guys on base. That was good.”

Highlights:

  • Vic Black continued his career long pattern of inconsistency, looking great one day and awful the next. He inherited a 3-0 lead and made it evaporate. In one inning pitched he allowed three earned runs on three hits, two walks and zero strikeouts.
  • Matt den Dekker picked up another two hits today and scored a run. He is now batting .420 and continues to inch his way onto the Mets Opening Day roster.
  • Jeurys Familia continues to pile on scoreless appearances and now has four innings pitched without a run or walk. He also threw a 100 mph fastball today. He has the best and most nastiest stuff in the Mets bullpen. Future stud right here…
  • Chris Young went 2-for-3 and hit his first home run as a Met. He’s now lifted his average to .290 this spring.
  • Daniel Murphy drove in one with a sac fly, and Josh Satin added a run with an RBI single.
  • With half their team in Las Vegas, the Mets borrowed a slew of minor league players to complete the game including top prospects Dominic SmithDilson Herrera and Dustin Lawley. It was nice to see.

Up Next:

We’ll do this again on Sunday as the Mets play two more games, the first at 1:05 PM against the Cardinals in Jupiter, and the second at 4:05 PM against the Cubs in Las Vegas.

Nov 19

Mets Matters: Sandy Alderson Dishes On Jay Z, Payroll And Other Issues

New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson dished on a variety of issues Tuesday in a conference call with reporters, beginning with dinner meeting with Jay Z, the agent for the Yankees’ Robinson Cano.

No, the Mets aren’t players for Cano, and as I wrote earlier, it was at the agent’s invitation, and Alderson and Jeff Wilpon had their reasons for accepting.

mets-matters logo“They requested a meeting,’’ Alderson said. “We had a nice dinner. They made a presentation. We talked generally. And that was it. As I said, we were approached.’’

After the season Alderson said he had the resources to offer a $100-million package, but later backed off that stance, and reiterated it again at the general manager’s meetings.

“I had said last week that I didn’t foresee contracts in the $100 million range for the Mets this offseason,’’ Alderson said. “I think that statement still pertains. On the other hand, we are committed to improving the team. And we will explore whatever possibilities arise, however remote the eventual outcome.’’

The Mets accepted the invitation as a courtesy, knowing they would never consider Cano based on economics.

Someday, Jay Z might represent a player of interest to the Mets, and it would do the organization no good to diss an agent sanctioned by the Players Association.

NO CONTACT WITH PERALTA: Detroit’s Jhonny Peralta has been reportedly been linked to the Mets as the answer to their shortstop void.

Alderson said he has not had any contact with Peralta’s agent.

ALDERSON SUGGESTS PAYROLL WILL RISE: Alderson acknowledged a rising market, evidenced by Colorado giving LaTroy Hawkins a one-year, $2.5-million contract and Philadelphia giving Marlon Byrd $16 million over two years.

“We have to be realistic about the market and not sort of deny the inevitable,’’ said Alderson, who added the 2013 payroll was $87 million.

“If the market is as robust as it seems to be, I think we have to acknowledge that. And consistent with that acknowledgement, if we’re going to participate, we have to recognize that.’’

Not unexpectedly, Alderson made no promises. Although, the Mets did sign left fielder/first baseman Brandon Allen, 27, to a minor league contract.

Allen has a .203 career average with 12 homers in parts of four seasons with Arizona, Oakland and Tampa Bay.

This is not the big signing we had been waiting for.

GETTING IN SHAPE: At the end of the season each player is given a physical and put on a conditioning program.

Four Mets – Lucas Duda, Wilmer Flores, Ruben Tejada and draft pick Dominic Smith – are taking it further and are attending a four-week fitness camp in near Ann Arbor, Mich.

Tejada, in particular, caught the organization’s ire for not reporting to spring training on time or in shape.

It’s a positive act by Tejada, whose shortstop job is in jeopardy. Tejada is also recovering from a fractured leg sustained in late September.