Sep 27

Niese Volunteers For Bullpen; Could Be Future With Team

Figuring he wouldn’t be in the Mets’ postseason rotation, left-hander Jon Niese volunteered to pitch out of the bullpen, which is manager Terry Collins‘ primary concern for the NLDS against the Dodgers. Collins said Niese approached him ten days ago with the suggestion.

Collins said NIese’s willingness to pitch in relief typifies the attitude of his team.

NIESE: Goes to bullpen. (Getty)

NIESE: Goes to bullpen. (Getty)

“The entire clubhouse was caught up in winning,” Collins said. “They weren’??t caught up in their own stuff. They worried about doing what they thought they needed to do to help the club.”

The bullpen is the Mets’ Achilles Heel heading into the playoffs, in particular, the lack of situational left-hander. Citing an injury history and inability to get loose after his starts, Collins said he didn’t like the idea of using Steven Matz in that role. Today marked the first time the Mets addressed the idea of Matz in relief.

“It’??s one of those things where I wanted to do anything to help the team,” Niese said. “As the season progressed there at the end, there was a need down there.”

It could end up being Niese’s future with the team if he’s not traded.

A Met since 2008, Niese’s time in New York has been one of unfulfilled potential and injuries. At 28, he’s 61-61 lifetime and has two more years left on his contract. However, projecting ahead to next year, the Mets’ rotation figures to be Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matz and Zack Wheeler expected to come off the disabled list in July.

The Mets tried to trade Niese last winter, and might try again this offseason if they can can obtain a bat. In the back of GM Sandy Alderson’s mind is if Niese pans out in the bullpen, perhaps he can secure a spot there.

The plan is to use Niese in relief this week, with Logan Verrett getting his start Thursday in Philadelphia. What is undecided is where Bartolo Colon will work in the playoffs. Speculation is Colon will go to the bullpen, especially considering what Collins said Matz working in relief.

As a starter, Niese is adept at working to righties and lefty hitters. He has thrown only one relief inning during his career.


Sep 17

Cespedes’ Comments About Staying A Smokescreen

What can we make of Yoenis Cespedes‘ statement about wanting to stay with the Mets? Not much, because what a player says in September rarely has any bearing about what happens in December.

CESPEDES: Comments about staying posturing. (Getty)

CESPEDES: Comments about staying posturing. (Getty)

If his comments carried any weight, he would tell his agent, “call Sandy Alderson because I want to sign right away.” Of course, that would never happen, especially with Cespedes having dumped agent Adam Katz in favor of rapper-turned-agent Jay Z of Roc Nation Sports.

Roc Nation Sports represents Robinson Cano, and the method is familiar. Roc Nation persuaded Cano to dump agent Scott Boras, and he did the same with Cespedes and his agent, Katz.

Well, what if Cespedes really wants to stay with the Mets?

Just like Cano wanted to sign with the Mets? Right. Jay Z met with the Wilpons about Cano, who signed a 10-year, $240-million deal with Seattle. There’s no way he was worth that and Cespedes isn’t worth the projected $175-million to stay in Flushing.

Based on the Cano case, Jay Z used the Mets to drive up the price with Seattle, which could also be the scenario with Cespedes.

I’ll believe Cespedes wants to stay with the Mets when he signs on the bottom line. Until then, everything is up in the air.


Jun 26

Mets’ Six-Man Rotation: Take Two

For the second time this season, the Mets will go with a six-man rotation. The first time was earlier this month when Dillon Gee came off the disabled list, but quickly fizzled when he was hammered. This time, it is to squeeze Steven Matz into the rotation. He’ll start Sunday against Cincinnati.

Prior to Noah Syndergaard‘s 2-1, eight-inning gem Friday over the Reds, GM Sandy Alderson told reporters the Mets were committed to this move. Then again, that’s what Alderson and manager Terry Collins said the first time.

“We’re going to go to a six-man rotation,” Alderson said. “I expect that will continue for a period of time and we’ll see where it goes.”

Alderson wouldn’t define “period of time.”

Matz is 24, left-handed and throws gas. There’s a lot to like about him opposed to Jon Niese, whose career has been on a steady decline the past few years.

The Mets have six starters, but still aren’t scoring any runs. They only scored two tonight and would have lost if not for Syndergaard. Matz increases the depth of the rotation, but the Mets are still a team that can’t score.

There were considerable rumblings when the six-man rotation was initially bagged it was because those in the rotation – notably Matt Harvey – didn’t want to pitch with too much rest.

“This arrangement has been discussed with the other five pitchers,” Alderson said. “I think they understand it’s in their interest.”

We’ll see.

The Mets came across as unprepared and in a panic mode the first time they did this, and it’s no different now. As mentioned several times here, this juggling could have been alleviated had the Mets adopted a concrete plan to limit innings going into the season, but Harvey balked.

Once again, the Mets are flying by the seat of their pants.

May 07

Reading The Murphy Tea Leaves

The thing that stands out about the recent Daniel Murphy trade rumors is the lack of denials from the New York Mets. None. Sure, scouts look at players all the time and we shouldn’t be surprised San Francisco was in over the weekend to look at Murphy. It stands to reason considering the Giants have a Pablo Sandoval size hole at third base.

It is no coincidence Murphy was moved to third to be showcased when Dilson Herrera was promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas.

MURPHY: Sliding on out of here? (AP)

MURPHY: Sliding on out of here? (AP)

It also comes as no surprise the Mets have made no overtures to extend Murphy’s contract. And, they have had plenty of time.

It all makes sense, except for one thing: The Mets are playing winning baseball and Murphy, although not hitting well, does have a pile of RBI since he was moved into a run-producing slot in the batting order.

So, what happens in the next couple of weeks when David Wright comes off the disabled list? Especially if Herrera is hitting?

Who can’t see the Mets trying to unload Murphy?

But, if theMets accept token players, minor league scraps, if you will, while having their best season in six years, if should tell you a lot about GM Sandy Alderson and what management really considers as a priority.

My guess is winning isn’t ranked first.