Oct 10

Numbers That Defined The Mets’ Season

There were a lot of statistics that added up to give the Mets their second straight 74-88 record in 2013. Here are some of the more notable, some good, some bad and some down right ugly. I am sure there are more and would love to hear your suggestions:

2: Home games sold out.

2-4: Matt Harvey’s record after 7-1 start.

4: Grand slams by Mets hitters, none who were with the team at the end of the season (John Buck, Marlon Byrd, Collin Cowgill and Jordany Valdespin).

4: National League teams Mets had winning records against (Arizona, Philadelphia, San Diego and San Francisco).

7-15-5: Record in home series.

7: Number of hitting streaks of 10 or more by hitters Mets’ hitters, led by Daniel Murphy, who had three.

8: Walk-off hits by David Wright to lead team.

8: Mets hitters who struck out at least 70 times, including three – Byrd, Lucas Duda and Ike Davis – with over 100.

8: Games pitched in by Frank Francisco, who made $6.5 million.

8-8: Jon Niese record, a drop of five victories from a career high 13 in 2012.

9: Homers by Davis, 23 fewer than in 2012.

9-12: Record in extra-inning games. Successful teams win these types of games. Overall, the Mets played 57 extra innings, the equivalent of just over six extra games.

10: Different hitters used in the leadoff spot, a void filled by Eric Young.

11-61: Record when trailing after six innings.

11-9: Interleague record, including 4-0 vs. Yankees.

12: No decisions in games started by Harvey.

13: Different pitchers used to start a game.

14-25: Record vs. NL playoff teams.

15-12: Record in July, their only month with a winning record.

15: Outfield assists by Juan Lagares, most by a rookie and tied for third in the majors.

15: Different hitters used in the sixth spot in the order.

18: Different hitters used in the seventh spot in the order.

18: Home runs by Wright to lead the team (Byrd had 21 before he was traded to Pittsburgh).

20: Quality starts by Harvey.

22-73: Record when bullpen gives up a run.

25: Percentage of potential base stealers thrown out by Mets catchers.

26: Victories by the bullpen.

26-59: Record when opponents scored first.

29-28: Record in one-run games.

31: Come-from-behind victories. This is after trailing at any point in the game.

33-48: Record at home.

34: Two-out RBI by Murphy, most on the team.

34-42: Record vs. National League East. (9-10 vs. Atlanta; 8-11 vs. Miami; 10-9 vs. Philadelphia; 7-12 vs. Washington).

46: Stolen bases by Young to lead National League.

55-38: Record when getting a quality start.

112: Games played by Wright.

130: Mets homers; opponents hit 152.

131: Different lineups used.

.147: Duda average with runners in scoring position.

188: Hits by Murphy, second in the National League.

.242: Mets’ average with runners in scoring position. The Mets had close to 3,000 runners in scoring position and only 441 of them scored. Mets’ hitters struck out 315 times in this situation and grounded into 26 double plays.

.265: Opponent’s average with runners in scoring position. Opponent’s scored 529 runs in this situation, aided greatly by 35 home runs.

.306: Team on-base percentage, 25th in the majors.

504: Innings pitched by the bullpen, just over three a game.

619: Runs scored, 684 runs allowed for a -65 run differential.

1,384: Strikeouts by Mets hitters, most in the National League, which is the equivalent of 51 games played without hitting a ball other than a foul.

2,135,657: Total attendance, their lowest since drawing 1.77 in 1997 at Shea Stadium.

Oct 09

Backman Is “Sweet Lou” With Baggage

wally backman

John Erardi of the Cincinnati Enquirer had some glowing remarks about former Met and current Las Vegas 51s manager Wally Backman as he wonders if he could be the right man to manage the Reds going forward. Much as I like the idea of Reds pitching coach Bryan Price being elevated to manage the Reds, he writes, I’d also think about going in search of a young version of Lou Piniella.

I have no idea of who, almost a quarter of a century later, is the modern-day ‘‘Sweet Lou,’’ that is, somebody with attitude and confidence (even swagger), most notably with something to prove. he opines before answering his own question by saying he’d consider interviewing a Wally Backman-type, or better yet, Wally Backman himself. What are the odds of that happening? Click here to view MLB odds.

If the Reds are looking for a fiery manager, I think Backman fits that mold. Of course, this is all speculation by Erardi and there’s no rumors out there that the Reds have any interest in interviewing Wally for the job, but maybe the Cincinnati front office should take heed here.

Lord knows, Backman’s got something to prove, he says. “It’s obvious his former team — he was the second baseman for the 1986 World Champion New York Mets, for whom he’s managed and rehabilitated his way through the minors, and is slated to return to Triple-A affiliate Las Vegas next year — isn’t going to elevate him anytime soon.”

I love how he refers to Backman as ‘‘Sweet Lou with baggage’’ in his article. It’s perfect.

“There are worse things one could be called. If I were the Reds, I’d give him a call. Even if Backman isn’t envisioned to be a young Sweet Lou by the Reds’ brass, I’m willing to bet he would have some very interesting things to say about what he would do to light a fire underneath the players.”

I feel bad for Wally, and as I’ve said many times before, the Mets front office would never put their team in his hands. They hardly even view him as a coach on the major league level, let alone manager. Sadly, managing the Mets Triple-A affiliate will be the apex of Backman’s managerial exploits for the Mets organization.

Oct 02

Mets’ Alderson Has The Resources, But How Will He Use Them?

New York Mets COO Jeff Wilpon said the 2014 budget has already been discussed, and Sandy Alderson said he could have enough resources at his disposal to offer a $100-million contract, which seemed unthinkable last year at this time.

Alderson also said it is conceivable the Mets’ payroll could be even smaller next year. Their payroll this season – excluding what they owed Jason Bay – was $88 million. The Mets will have roughly $40 million coming off the books, which leaves them financial flexibility should they choose to use it.

What Players Will Alderson Give Collins?

What Players Will Alderson Give Collins?

“Would it be the right player?’’ Alderson said. “And, would it be prudent to do it, even for the right player? Factor in what’s left to do the kind of things we want to do. But is it out of the question? It’s not out of the question.

“Will we do it? That’s more of a strategic question than a resource question. At this point, it’s not a matter of resources.’’

No, it is not. It is a matter of using those resources wisely, which they did not do with Oliver Perez, Frank Francisco and Luis Castillo to name a few.

The outfield must be upgraded from an offensive standpoint, and the elite options are Shin-Soo Choo, Jacoby Ellsbury and Nelson Cruz.

However, are any of them worth $100-million? Are any of them truly elite? Will any of them be a difference maker? Probably not.

In addition to the outfield, the Mets are looking to upgrade their bullpen, shortstop, first base and with Matt Harvey probably out, there’s a need to add one or two starters.

“We could go after the perfect player, at the perfect price and for the perfect number of years,’’ Alderson said. “And, we won’t sign anybody.’’

Alderson said the Mets could spend, but won’t spend just to make a splash. The Mets have not been active in the free-agent market in Alderson’s first three years – they only spent $5 million this season – and this year’s spending depends on the market.

“The bottom line is yes, it’s conceivable we won’t sign a player,’’ Alderson said. “But look, we have to be realistic about the marketplace, so I’m hopeful we’ll get some things done.

“It’s great to say, well, we have financial flexibility, and then blow it on players’ deals that don’t work out and put yourself right back in the same situation you were in before. At the same time, at some point, you’ve got to go for it. Having flexibility is great, but at some point, you’ve got to put yourself on the line.’’

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Sep 30

Did Collins Deserve A New Contract?

mlb_a_collins_gb2_600

Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson will address the media at 12 p.m. on Monday, September 30 in the Citi Field Press Conference Room.

He is expected to announce a two-year contract extension for Terry Collins to remain the manager of the Mets. The deal is reportedly valued at $1 million per season and includes an option for  2016.

A fourth straight losing season; another fourth-place finish in the NL East and another .400 something-or-other win percentage – the Mets have not improved this year.

In fact, the majority of MLB betting fans would argue we’ve devolved since 2008, the club becoming preoccupied in the huge vanity project that is Citi Field and the problems we’ve had filling it.

Overseeing three of these four disappointing seasons is Terry Collins, who has not exactly been the revelation we expected when GM Sandy Anderson promoted him in November 2010:

“We were not looking for someone who was an extension of us,” Alderson said back in 2010. “We were looking for someone who was going to be complementary to us. I think that’s what we’re getting.”

Sadly, we haven’t got that. Instead of a complimentary manager that develops the team, Collins has seen players leave, newcomers fail and win percentages drop. The general trend of underperforming year on year has set into the Mets locker room and something must change soon to correct this.

While the Mets played out a meaningless series with Milwaukee this weekend, the top brass thrashed out a new deal for Collins – despite his 224-260 record (by Saturday). The new two-year contract is effectively a 12-month one, for if we don’t improve in 2014 Collins is out the door.

But do we trust him to progress this raw team and save his job – and do we even want him to? Another year is a long time to realize you’ve made a mistake hiring the same guy and, as respected as he is in the majors, Collins has proven he cannot get this team fighting on all fronts.

Sep 29

Mets Wrap: Putting A Bow On 2013

The New York Mets had as nice a day as they could have hoped for on the afternoon in which they said good-bye to another season steeped in frustration.

Injuries to their two best players – David Wright and Matt Harvey – lengthy slumps and a patchwork outfield and bullpen all contributed to a fifth straight losing season.

WRIGHT and PIAZZA

WRIGHT and PIAZZA

Even so, the day had an element of joy as Mike Piazza was inducted into the franchise’s Hall of Fame.

“I look back now, in retrospect, and realize it was just fate. I was just meant to be here,’’ said Piazza about playing with the Mets.

“You know, you can talk about agents and numbers and arguments and who’s right and who’s wrong. But if you look at the big picture of life, you realize that sometimes there’s just a destiny in things.

“And I truly feel it was my plan to be here, in one way, shape or form. It may not have been the most beautiful journey at the time, but it was meant to be.’’

The Mets said good-bye to their season before a capacity Citi Field crowd, the largest since the All-Star Game. First, they cheered Piazza on a sun-drenched afternoon, and then as the Mets scored twice in the eighth inning to beat Milwaukee.

The victory, coupled with Philadelphia’s loss to Atlanta, gave the Mets third place in the NL East, something Wright embraced with a yawn.

“We’re still going home (Monday),’’ Wright said. “I guess finishing in third in the Central would have been good this year, because they’re going to the playoffs.

“Like I said, that’s just those little things that if you want to use that to make you feel better about yourself, then that’s fine. I don’t necessarily think it’s all that important.
“We finished with a win. That’s always nice. But the bottom line is we’re going home, just like the majority of the teams in the National League tomorrow. There’s not too much to smile about with that.’’

Perhaps not, but it does represent some progress, enough which should give Terry Collins a contract extension. General manager Sandy Alderson will address that issue in a noon press conference Monday.

Alderson could also get questions on Harvey’s rehab from an elbow tear, and his plans to answer the questions at first base – Ike Davis or Lucas Duda? – shortstop with Ruben Tejada’s regression, the bullpen and rotation.

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