Feb 16

Duda Hoping To Get It Right

Andrew Keh of the NY Times says the Mets have replicated the new dimensions at Citi Field at the team’s spring training complex in Florida. Field 6, which was initially constructed with fences that mimicked the original shape of Citi Field, was altered this winter to match the stadium’s new design.

So far, it has been left unused by the players who came here this week for voluntary workouts, and no one is expected to practice there before the team officially opens spring training next week. But when they do, the first fly balls there will carry with them a significant dose of intrigue.

Good call by the Mets in my opinion and it will be interesting to hear what kind of feedback we get from the players once they start playing some games there.

In addition to getting a feel for what it will be like to hit at Citi Field, it will also be useful Lucas Duda who really needs to elevate his play in right field.

Mark Simon of ESPN shared some insight on Duda’s defensive problems last season:

Duda had trouble coming in on balls and he had trouble going back on balls too. Duda had four Defensive Misplays for failing to anticipate the fence, which rated his biggest defensive issue. Pro-rated over a full season, Duda’s misplay rate would come equate to nearly 60 Defensive Misplays & Errors for an everyday player over a full season. That would be about as bad as could be. Last year’s major league leaders, Justin Upton of the Diamondbacks and Mike Stanton of the Marlins, had 49.

Yes, Duda emerged as a viable hitter with power for the Mets after he replaced Carlos Beltran in right field last season. But he looked like a train wreck defensively. Now with the new dimensions, he can gain some valuable reps out there that could make his job easier. Duda told Keh that he is eager to start the process.

“I can’t wait to get out there,” Duda said of Field 6. “My routes have to get a lot more precise, so it’ll be a good thing to go out there and start to get used to the dimensions.”

By the way, Mets outfielder instructor Tom Goodwin is already in camp and working with Duda on getting a better jump on balls.

Duda is going to be an important piece of the puzzle in 2012, and this focus on fielding his position well, should pay some nice dividends for Terry Collins and the Mets this season.

Collins, incidentally, sees the situation with Duda like this:  “This guy is going to be a monster.”

Written by Craig Lerner of Mets Merized Online.

Jan 19

How Do Baseball Evaluators View Wright?

Buster Olney of ESPN.com, talked to three evaluators about Wright’s game.

From an AL evaluator: “He will have value at the trade deadline if healthy and performing as usual. He will bring compensation as a free agent, so his value to Mets is fairly high, and a team acquiring him will have to give up more than the value of a couple of high draft picks. He’s a very good player, but not consistent enough to be a star on offense and defense. His defense has gone backwards and get into funks offensively. He’ll produce numbers, and most every team would want him, but not as a No. 3 or a No. 4 hitter on a good team.”

From an NL evaluator: “Wright’s value is limited by the lack of control and expensive salary. He’s not a great defender and hasn’t cleared 20 HR in two of the past three seasons. He’s been trending downward by most statistical metrics and our scouts are concerned his swing has gotten long and slow, leading to a high strikeout ratio. Think about it this way: Aramis Ramirez just signed a 3-year, $36 million deal with the Brewers. Ramirez is a better hitter and similar defender to Wright — who is due $31 million for the next two seasons if his option is exercised — so what are you paying for? Make-up? Fame?”

From an AL scout: “David Wright is a potential coup. He’s eerily similar in value to the Seattle version of Adrian Beltre, although he (and everyone else in baseball) is not the defender that Beltre is. He and Beltre both were suffocated by their home parks, Citi Field and Safeco Field, respectively. Teams should have pounced and offered Beltre a premium multi-year deal when he left Seattle originally. If available, I’d trade and sign Wright now. Another caveat with Wright is that he’s performed and handled himself admirably in New York, which bodes well for any type of market going forward.”

Kind of like the good, the bad and the ugly…

Not one of them referred to his fractured back injury, an injury that has wreaked havoc on many a great player’s career in the past. I happen to think that we haven’t heard the last of that.

I still feel there”s a chance Wright will be traded BEFORE the 2012 season.

Some value is still better than ZERO value if that back starts barking in April.

Plus I’m pretty sure that saving $7-8 million on his salary will have the approximate net value of 15-20 sold out games at Citi Field.

I’m pretty sure that CRG will be pointing out these facts as part of their initial report that should be ready around Feb. 10. I remind you of the three steps a turnaround consultant told me that CRG will recommend.

  1. Stop the bleeding. (Saved $70M by cutting payroll, workforce. Sub-leasing assets.)
  2. Trim the fat. (Eliminated a minor league affiliate, may cut more payroll?)
  3. Make better financial decisions moving forward. (Hired Alderson and CRG, kept Howard and Ricco, stopped meddling)

Catch more of my opinions at Mets Merized Online.

Sep 08

Wouldn’t mind seeing Izzy back.

Jason Isringhausen told ESPN he’d like to pitch next year, and I’m all for giving him a one-year deal. Nothing longer. Isringhausen pitched well enough to warrant attention from teams looking for a veteran presence in the bullpen, but I don’t see anybody, the Mets included, signing him strictly as a closer.

IZZY: A case for bringing him back.

However, he showed the capability of getting the job done when he had to. Isringhausen saved seven games after Francisco Rodriguez was traded, and overall showed his fastball still has some life with 44 strikeouts in 46 innings.

The Mets are hoping Bobby Parnell will win the job, but he’s far from a certainty. There’s nobody else that jumps out, either. I don’t believe Isringhausen has enough left in the tank to be a fulltime closer, but he’s a great influence to have in what figures to be a young, and likely, inexperienced bullpen, next season. Parnell could do a lot worse than having Isringhausen around as his mentor. So could most everybody else in what has arguably been one of the Mets’ signature weaknesses this season.

The Mets exceeded expectations this year and should take another step in 2012. Isringhausen could get some attention from contenders, but his biggest influence still could come in Flushing. I am all for giving young guys a shot, but I’m against cutting loose veterans who still have something to offer. It’s not as if the Mets’ bullpen is loaded with fireballing, young arms with pinpoint control.

The bullpen can be a chatty place, and relief pitching is one position on a team most ripe for a younger player soaking up information regarding pitch selection, location, how to work to various hitters, and to retain one’s composure.

The man must know something with 300 career saves. Conversely, Parnell doesn’t even have 180 career innings pitched.

 

 

 

 

Jul 20

Today in Mets’ History: Straw torches Braves; Reyes supposedly off the market.

Darryl Strawberry had a lot of monster games with the Mets, including on this date in 1985 when he homered twice – including a slam – to drive in a career-high seven runs in a 16-4 rout of the Atlanta Braves.

Strawberry compiled some impressive numbers during his career against the Braves, batting .264, but with 28 homers and 79 RBI.

STRAWBERRY CAREER

The Mets never would have considered dealing Strawberry in his prime, but are faced with the prospect of trading another franchise player in Jose Reyes. Several media outlets, including ESPN today, said Reyes won’t be traded, but the team is hot to trade Carlos Beltran.

However, regardless of what ESPN says, don’t buy it hook-line-and-sinker until the deadlines passes and Reyes is signed to an extension. ESPN is notorious for throwing stuff against the wall to see if it sticks,

Boston’s ESPN outlet said the Mets are enamored with outfielders Josh Reddick and Ryan Kalish, SS Jose Iglesias, pitchers Anthony Ranaudo and Felix Doubront, and third baseman Will Middlebrooks.

If the Mets could get two of those players for Beltran, they’ll be lucky. It would take more than that for Reyes.

 


 

Jul 14

Today in Mets’ History: Bobby V. wins 1,000th game as manager.

I never covered him full time, but always recognized Bobby Valentine held a special place with Mets’ fans.

VALENTINE: A fixture in Mets lore.

Maybe it had nothing to do with the fake moustache, but perhaps that act is what endeared him to the Shea partisans. It was spontaneous, funny and above all, human. We all know ejected managers hide in the runway or somehow send messages to the dugout. Valentine was just brash in his approach.

Valentine guided the Mets to the playoffs and World Series in 2000, but his teams ran out of steam and his feud with then general manager Steve Phillips became draining.

On this date in 1971, Valentine registered his 1,000th career victory when Glendon Rusch and Armando Benitez combined to throw a one-hit shutout of the Red Sox, 2-0.

VALENTINE’s CAREER

Valentine managed Texas and the Mets, as well as two stints in Japan. He currently works for ESPN, but is constantly being mentioned when managerial openings occur.