Jun 21

Jonathan Niese Must Go On DL

Whatever the outcome of Jonathon Niese’s shoulder exam this morning in New York, the New York Mets must place him on the disabled list. Not should, but must.

That reliever Greg Burke is on his way to Philadelphia this morning indicates they are thinking in those terms. Replacing him in the rotation isn’t an issue with the arrival of Zack Wheeler, so there’s no need to make a decision on Shaun Marcum for at least another two weeks.

NIESE: Ailing again. (AP)

NIESE: Ailing again. (AP)

Nice and neat, isn’t it?

While the Mets’ roster maneuvering will take care of itself, they would prefer the juggling if it meant having a healthy Niese. If this were an isolated incident it might raise a red flag. That this is Niese’s third problem this season is alarming.

Niese left Thursday night’s game during the fourth inning in Atlanta with pain in his left shoulder. Unlike Matt Harvey, who tried to pitch through back discomfort several weeks ago – he gets a pass because he’s in his first full season – Niese realized something was wrong after a few pitches and called to the dugout.

There was no hesitation with Terry Collins in pulling him. There wasn’t even that “let’s throw a few warm-up tosses and see what’s going on’’ nonsense that has burned the Mets before.

Niese was gone.

“It’s never good when you have to leave a game. But on a good note, the doctor did some tests and everything was negative,’’ Niese said of a training room exam Thursday night. “It just felt really weak. I think the tendinitis kind of flared up again. I felt some pain that [Tyler] Pastornicky at-bat.

“I threw a fastball and noticed my velocity was down. There was a lot of discomfort. I tried to pitch through it, but every pitch after that I felt some pain, so I just had to stop.’’

Of course, Niese should not have tried to throw those few extra pitches, but a player will always attempt to work through it because differentiating between normal game pain and injury is difficult. However, Niese had already missed a start because of his shoulder.

Niese said he felt good after missing that one start and gave the obligatory “we’ll see what the doctor says.’’

Not this time. This has gone on long enough.

Niese is young, he’s left-handed, he throws hard – at least he did before this – and under a manageable contract through the 2016 season. Not only that, Niese is good. He’s a foundation piece; part of the Mets’ core.

He must be protected.

ON DECK: Updating Ike Davis.

As always, your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to answer them. Please follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

Jun 15

Is Jordany Valdespin Experiment Part Of Mets’ Greater Plan To Trade Ike Davis?

We are almost over with the great Jordany Valdespin experiment by the New York Mets of playing him at second and hitting leadoff.

Now what?

VALDESPIN: Is there a plan here?

VALDESPIN: Is there a plan here?

Six days doesn’t seem like a long time because it isn’t. However, Terry Collins is staying with this a lot longer than some of his other experiments such as Collin Cowgill in center; Daniel Murphy at leadoff; a half-dozen other guys hitting first. The assumption is Collins will stay with this as long as Ike Davis is in Triple-A Las Vegas, but after that, by his own admission the manager doesn’t have a plan.

The path of least resistance would have been to play first baseman Josh Satin at first and leave Murphy alone at second, a position where he’s made strides.

What will the Mets infield look like as of August 1, the day after the trade deadline? Are they showcasing Valdespin for a trade? How about Murphy? Perhaps, they are hoping Davis pulls himself out of this funk so they can trade him.

The Mets could non-tender Davis as they did Mike Pelfrey last winter and let him walk, or, they could hope he finds some life in his bat and find a taker. If Davis isn’t part of their future, there are worse options. If Davis isn’t part of their future, they should move him as soon as possible.

So, the Mets, losers of five of their last six games and eight of ten, will attempt to salvage this homestand today and Sunday before starting a killer trip that includes five games in Atlanta; three in Philadelphia; two in Chicago against the White Sox; and a make-up game in Denver, before returning home to start a three-game series with Washington.

The Mets’ next off day will be July 11, the day after a three-game series in San Francisco. The All-Star break can’t come soon enough for a team now 14 games below .500.

This afternoon, Jon Niese will attempt to start putting his season back together. Niese, 3-5, hasn’t won a start since May 16 in St. Louis, which seems ages ago. He is coming off a quality start last Sunday in a no-decision in a game lost to Miami.

Here’s Niese’s line-up, which only once in the past week scored as many as five runs:

Jordany Valdespin, 2B: Is making the most of this opportunity and to his credit is making clubhouse strides.

Daniel Murphy, 1B: Hitting just .219 in last 17 games.

David Wright, 3B: Hitting .462 during homestand and .333 this year with RISP.

Marlon Byrd, RF: Has 10 homers with 31 RBI. That has to interest some team.

Lucas Duda, LF: Ten of his 11 homers have been with nobody on base.

Justin Turner, SS: Giving Omar Quintanilla a rest.

Anthony Recker, C: John Buck can’t catch them all.

Juan Lagares, CF: Got a hit last night, so Collins riding the hot hand.

Jonathon Niese, LHP: Is 2-3 with a 5.61 lifetime ERA in six starts against Cubs.

As always, your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to answer them. Please follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

Apr 09

Mets Game #8 Wrap; Phillies Rock Dillon Gee

This one was over early when the Phillies scored four runs in the second and three more in the third off Dillon Gee. Ryan Howard, Michael Young and John Mayberry all homered within five pitches. The game wasn’t worth watching after that explosion in the Phillies’ 8-3 rout.

ON THE MOUND: In losing his second straight start, Gee authored the worst outing by a Met starter this season. Gee threw 56 pitches, many of them hit hard, in giving up seven run on ten hits.

AT THE PLATE:  John Buck hit a two-run homer in the fourth, but that was pretty much it off Cliff Lee. Both Buck and Daniel Murphy had two hits. … Lee pitched 8.2 innings.

METS MUSINGS: Mets assistant GM John Ricco told ESPN that Buck was always considered a significant piece of the R.A. Dickey because of the Blue Jays intent to shed his $6 million salary. … With Kirk Nieuwenhuis not getting much playing time the Mets might consider recalling reserve infielder Omar Quintanilla. … Although Ike Davis did not play last night, manager Terry Collins never considered starting Lucas Duda at first base. … The Mets’ starters in Minnesota this weekend will be Jonathon Niese (against Vance Worley), Matt Harvey (no starter named yet by the Twins) and Gee (against Kevin Correla). Former Met Mike Pelfrey, started Tuesday and was rocked in Kansas City, won’t face his former team.

ON DECK: The Mets conclude this series in Philadelphia tomorrow with Jeremy Hefner against Kyle Kendrick.

Please follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

Mar 15

Ike Davis Merits An Extension, But Getting One Done Remains To Be Seen

ike-davisMets GM Sandy Alderson was a guest of Mark Hale and Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post on their podcast today, and he had some interesting things to say about a variety of Mets topics.

At one point, Hale brought up the possibility of signing Ike Davis to an extension and buying out his arbitration years, similar to the extension the Mets completed last spring with left-hander Jonathon Niese.

“We’re always looking at our young players to see if it makes sense, both from their standpoint and ours, to do complete something on a longterm basis,” Alderson said.

Ike Davis is coming off a big second half last year, showed up to camp in great shape and in great spirits, and we see him taking on a bigger leadership role in the clubhouse right behind Captain America – David Wright.”

“Any kind of an extension has to fit for us and it has to fit for the player. So it’s something we’ll keep an eye on. Sometimes the player is not interested, and sometimes the agent is not interested. It’s one of those things that has to work for both sides.”

We’ve discussed this topic a few times already this offseason, and back on January 22, I wrote the following regarding Ike Davis and the possibility of extending him:

Now that the Mets have avoided arbitration with Davis and both sides have agreed on a one-year deal worth $3.2 million dollars, the plot thickens somewhat.

Davis gets a hefty raise from the $500K he earned last season. It’s the first step to a four year process that will take his salary to the $15 million dollar a year range by 2016.

Even the $7-8 million dollars he most likely will earn in 2014 sounds like a tough nut to crack for a team who hasn’t doled out that much cash annually in a new contract to a player in many years, not counting their franchise player David Wright who just cashed in for $142 million through 2020. In fact, Jason Bay was the last of the Mohicans.

So will the Mets open their wallets and pay Ike Davis at a level commensurate with what other first basemen of his caliber get paid?

That’s tough to say and I remain skeptical. I don’t think it will happen. Niese signed a deal that averaged about $5 million a season for the next five years. It will take a lot more than that to get Davis to sign any extension.

As I’ve said before, I have yet to see any evidence that this front office will ever pay any player not named Wright at current market value levels. It’s simply not in their DNA.

I could be off base here, but I challenge the front office to go ahead and prove me wrong. In fact, I’d welcome it in Ike’s case.

I like ike button

Jul 27

Mets Chat Room; Cardinals in town.

Game #100 vs. Cardinals

Things can always get worse. The question is: Will they ever get better? I mean, this year.

The weak-hitting Mets – who were shut out four time on their disastrous West Coast trip – open a three-game series tonight at Citi Field against St. Louis and Adam Wainwright, who is 4-0 with a 0.25 ERA over his last five starts and hasn’t allowed a run in 25 straight innings.

That’s whom the Mets will try to get better against.

The Mets went 2-9 on the trip, hit .196 and scored just 23 runs. One of the games they won was a gift from a bad umpire’s call.

“There’s no question that everybody’s frustrated,’’ said David Wright. “I think it adds to the frustration that our starters have been throwing the ball extremely well and our bullpen’s been solid. We just can’t get any runs for them. But now is not the time to hang your head or mope around.’’

Needing to pitch a shutout tonight – or at least it seems that way – will be Jonathon Niese, the beneficiary of all of four runs over his last three starts. He is 0-2 with a 3.20 ERA in that span.

The Mets return home with their coaching staff intact. There was speculation Howard Johnson would take the fall for the offense, but they decided that since their offense clicked in June that it would again.