Aug 17

Matt Harvey Gives Us Something

I’ll admit, there are two things I want to see from the 2012 Mets. The first is to finish over.500, which, while demonstrating a strong positive step, is becoming more remote. The second is for R.A. Dickey to win 20 games.

While watching Dickey get hammered earlier this week I started to wonder if 20 wins was a long shot and whether there was anything interesting and compelling to concern myself with this team.

Matt Harvey answered that question last night in a scintillating performance against the Reds, perhaps the NL’s best team.

Harvey ended a personal three-game losing streak with 7.2 strong innings iced by hitting a two-run double as the Mets salvaged the series. In this recent stretch of their second half freefall, the Mets have lost eight of their last 12 games.

Yes, it is one start, but for the most part he has been solid in each of this first four starts. Last night was easily his best. Since 2006, when the Mets last saw a meaningful October, the Mets received similar strong glimpses from guys such as Mike Pelfrey, John Maine, Oliver Perez, Jon Niese and Dillon Gee, but there’s something different about Harvey, a first-round pick from North Carolina.

He just seems polished beyond his experience.

Unlike some of the previous flashes mentioned, Harvey leaves the impression of working with a plan. Maybe there was a chemistry click with Kelly Shoppach, and Terry Collins needs to pair those two again. It is fun watching Harvey work quickly and pound the corners for strikes. He’s not afraid to go inside on a hitter, works efficiently and with poise.

Maybe Harvey won’t be electric like Doc Gooden, but he doesn’t figure to be an enigma such as Pelfrey, either.


Jul 06

Reasons Why R.A. Dickey Should Start All-Star Game

There are numerous reasons why R.A. Dickey should start Tuesday’s All-Star Game in Kansas City, so it’s hard to understand Tony La Russa not naming him for the honor. He knows the rotation schedule of the other candidates, so what’s he waiting for? If he wants to screw with New York area fans, he’d start A.J. Burnett (9-2), right?

DICKEY: Should star All-Star Game (AP)

Here’s some of the reasons why he should start:

1. At 12-1 with a 2.40 ERA, he has the best record of any NL starter. Washington’s Gio Gonzalez (11-3), St. Louis’ Lance Lynn (11-4) – the obvious choice if La Russa was playing favorites – Philadelphia’s Cole Hamels (10-4) and San Francisco’s Matt Cain (9-3 and a no-hitter) are having the best seasons for a starter. But, Dickey’s recent run is of historic proportions. His recent ten-game winning streak is reminiscent of pitchers like Sandy Koufax, Tom Seaver and Bob Gibson.

2. La Russa’s worry about not having a catcher familiar with catching a knuckleball has some merit, but I’m not completely buying it. If he’s worried about a wild pitch or passed ball costing a run, wouldn’t it be better for that to happen in the first or second innings and not late in the game?

3. Dickey is clearly the pitching curiosity of the first half, in either league. Give the fans what they want. Isn’t that what the game is supposed to be about?

There’s not guarantee of how well Dickey will pitch Tuesday. Recent starts against the Yankees and Phillies have not been good, but he’s always long on guts and his story is both inspiring personable.

He’ll only be in for an inning or two, but it should be the first two.

Jul 05

Mets Players Prefer Bat; That’s Why They Are Players

An interesting article in The Daily News polled the players and they said they needed a right-handed bat instead of bullpen help. That’s why they are players and don’t make personnel decisions.

The Mets’ bullpen ERA of over five is the major’s worst; they are in the top five in runs scored in the NL. Where do you think the need is?


Jul 02

Josh Thole To Talk With Buster Posey?

Very interesting note from ESPN this morning. Mets catcher Josh Thole said if Giants and NL All-Star catcher Buster Posey doesn’t contact him, he’ll reach out to him to give tips on how to catch knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.

Too bad Dickey can’t bring his own catcher.

It’s a great gesture by Thole, and one that shouldn’t be underestimated. We know it’s silly, but the winning league gets home field for the World Series. Yes, that’s easily one of baseball’s most inane rules. But, it is a rule, and it could come back to bite the NL.

Suppose for a moment the NL loses by a run, with that run being scored on a passed ball by Posey with Dickey pitching. Would kind of stink wouldn’t it?

So, the call could be worthwhile.

Of course, the best line I ever hear about catching a knuckleball came from Ball Four, when Jim Bouton wrote, “let the ball stop rolling then pick it up.”


Jan 19

How Do Baseball Evaluators View Wright?

Buster Olney of, 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.