Jun 03

Could Outfield Be Long-Term Spot For Wright?

Reader EddieMetz threw out this idea of a possible long-term solution for the Mets about injured third baseman David Wright. The more I thought of it, the more I believe it could be a plausible idea. EddieMetz believes a permanent solution could be moving Wright to the left field.

It could work, because in the long-term third base probably won’t make it for Wright, who, including this year, will make $107 million through the 2020 season. If Wright can’t play the Mets will recover some of that money through insurance, but it would entail a giant step back in their rebuilding program.

WRIGHT: Could outfield be eventual spot for Wright? (Getty)

WRIGHT: Could outfield be eventual spot for Wright? (Getty)

A lot of players moved from the infield to the outfield, among them Mickey Mantle, Pete Rose, Ryan Braun, Kevin Mitchell and Robin Yount. Wright is a good athlete and in left field the ball would be coming at him at the same angle. Wright also can run and has a strong enough arm. If he takes to left field, it would have a lot less stress on his back.

Meanwhile, third base requires considerable crouching, maybe up to 150 times a game, and there’s a lot of diving at the position. As for who will play third base, there’s Wilmer Flores or Daniel Murphy.

The Mets must seriously consider this because Wright will likely come back late in the season which might not allow them much time to judge his health. The Mets must be proactive because it impacts their offseason thinking, notably what free-agent third base options are available. Alberto Callaspo, David Freese, Casey McGeheee, Aramis Ramirez and Juan Uribe will be on the market. Ramirez is getting older (he’s 36), will be pricey (he’s making $14 million this year) and is on a downhill slide; Freese isn’t the player he was with the Cardinals; and the others aren’t appealing.

It might be more prudent – and cheaper, which always appeals to the Mets – to bring back Murphy (he’s making $8 million this year), than to throw money at an unknown. It is currently believed Murphy will not be brought back.

And, considering their investment in Wright, it will be better to move him to a less stressful position physically than to keep putting him at third base, where the odds increase yearly of him being injured.

I’m not worried about this stunting the development of prospects Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo, because even if they didn’t move Wright to the outfield, I don’t see either being in position next spring to supplant Michael Cuddyer and Curtis Granderson. If Wright does move to left, Cuddyer and Granderson can platoon in right.

Both Conforto and Nimmo could be ready by the time the contracts expire for Cuddyer (after next year) and Granderson (in two years).

This is a lot to consider, and the Mets better be thinking about it now.

 

Mar 09

Mets Matters: Wilpon Meets With Collins

Mets owner Fred Wilpon met for 20 minutes with manager Terry Collins after his team was routed Monday by Miami.

mets-matters logoNo worries.

“He just wanted to talk about the club, which he loves to do,’’ Collins told reporters in Port St. Lucie. “He loves to talk baseball. But he’s not mad at all.’’

Wilpon also told Collins he would be more visible this spring.

INJURY UPDATES: Lucas Duda was cranking them out Monday in batting practice. Duda, who was sidelined for nearly three weeks with a strained left intercostal muscle, will hit again Tuesday.

* Catcher Travis d’Arnaud, who cut his left ring finger Sunday did not play, but will make the trip Tuesday to Disney against Atlanta.

* Daniel Murphy reported no problems after his return to the lineup Monday. Murphy is off Tuesday but is scheduled to play Wednesday.

* Outfield prospect Brandon Nimmo remains sidelined with a jammed left thumb.

UP NEXT: Bartolo Colon will make his second start of the spring Tuesday against the Braves at Disney. Colon threw two perfect innings in his spring debut last Thursday against Washington. … Hansel Robles, Buddy Carlyle and Akeel Morris are also scheduled to pitch.

Nov 08

Mets Hope Shortening Outfield Walls at Citi Will Prove Succesful

Citi-Field-New-Fences-2014

For the second time since moving into their new home in 2009, the New York Mets will be moving the outfield walls at Citi Field, reportedly bringing the right field wall closer to home plate, in an effort to help boost their overall homerun production, particularly power hitters such as David Wright and Curtis Granderson.

Following the 2011 MLB season, the Mets made significant changes to the ballpark dimensions at Citi Field, bringing in the left field wall by as much as 13 feet and right center field by 17 feet, and lowering the wall height to eight feet throughout the outfield.

In 2012, the first season played in their modified home, the Mets’ homerun production jumped from 108, 26th overall in the majors, to 139, with the biggest beneficiary being lefty first baseman Ike Davis, who hit a career-high 32 dingers to lead the team.

Although the Mets, who are pegged as 40/1 longshots to win the 2015 World Series in MLB Betting at sportsbooks available through www.bettingsports.com, have yet to comment on any planned modifications to the ball park, recently published aerial pics indicate that significant work on the outfield wall is already underway with the primary focus on the right center field area.

The upcoming changes are expected to be formally unveiled by the ball club in late November, and should provide a boost to the Mets’ power production, once again among the lowest in MLB in 2014, 20th overall with just 125 total. But shortening the porch also means changes are likely in store for the Mets’ pitching staff.

Veteran hurler Bartolo Colon and right hander Dillon Gee, who gave up 18 home runs in 22 appearances for the Mets this season will likely be moving on due to their susceptibility to give up long fly balls, many of which would carry as homers in the newly modified park. But with young hurlers Zack Wheeler and Matt Harvey, both ground ball pitchers, looking ready to take on bigger roles in Queens, the timing could not be better for the Mets.

New York is not the only ball club that has modified its ballpark’s dimensions in recent years in an effort to increase power production.

The Seattle Mariners significantly shortened the left field wall at Safeco Field prior to the 2013 MLB season, from 390 feet to 378 feet, while the right field fence was shortened by 11 feet as part of a major renovation at the San Diego Padres’ Petco Park.

The moves produced immediate dividends for both west coast clubs with the Padres jumping from a MLB third-worst 121 dingers in 2012 to 146 in 2013, while the M’s jumped from a middling 149 long balls in 2012 to 188, second best in the majors in 2013.

Nov 07

Mets Matters: Duda To Play Outfield In Japan

It’s not surprising Lucas Duda was invited to play in the MLB All-Star tour in Japan, but what is head-scratching is he’ll play in the outfield, where he failed miserably with the Mets.

Make no mistake, this isn’t to be interpreted as a move toward returning him to left field. Won’t happen, said GM Sandy Alderson.

Duda started 223 games in the outfield, and last played left in left last April after Juan Lagares and Curtis Granderson were injured.

It was a good idea at the time to play Duda in the outfield because the Mets were hoping Ike Davis would be able to play first base, but we know how that turned out.

WRIGHT UPDATE: The Mets announced David Wright’s continued improvement in the rehab of his left shoulder. Wright was examined at the Hospital for Special Surgery and is scheduled to resume baseball activities in early December.

As of now, Wright is expected to be ready for spring training barring any setbacks.

Wright’s season ended early because of stretched-out ligaments in his shoulder. Wright has built up the strength in his shoulder, but the ultimate test will be after he swings a bat.

It will only be then if surgery is to be ruled out.

METS INTERESTED IN RAMIREZ: Reports out of Chicago say the Mets are one of several teams interested in trading for All-Star Chicago White Sox shortstop Alexi Ramirez.

Ramirez made the All-Star team last season, and hit .273 with 15 homers, 74 RBI and 21 steals.

Ramirez is signed for $10 million in 2015 with a $10-million team option for the following year.

 

Oct 24

New Hitting Coach Long Can Help This Suggested Outfield

Let’s operate under the assumption, which isn’t hard to do, the New York Mets won’t acquire the long-ball hitting left fielder they covet. Given that, the Mets’ outfield – from left to right – should be Curtis Granderson, Juan Lagares and Matt den Dekker.

Lagares is a finalist for the NL Gold Glove in center field, along with Billy Hamilton and Denard Span. The award is determined by 75 percent input from managers and coaches and 25 percent by statistics.

LAGARES: Needs to hit.

LAGARES: Needs to hit.

Lagares proved this season he can field the position and steal a base, but he’s far from polished offensively, evidenced by a low on-base percentage and propensity for striking out. If he’s going to compete for the leadoff spot those two areas must be improved.

I would move Granderson from right to left – there’s your homer hitting left fielder – because it’s easier to play than right. You want a polished defender in right, which is den Dekker.

This should the full time opportunity he didn’t get last season because the Mets wasted their time with Chris Young. Yeah, I know it’s piling on.

All three could benefit from new hitting coach Kevin Long’s tutelage.

Granderson thrived under Long with the Yankees, hitting over 40 homers and driving in over 100 runs in 2011 and 2012. Unfortunately, he also struck out 169 and 195 times in 2011 and 2012, respectively.

Maybe Granderson will benefit with the closer fences in Citi Field, but if Long can get him to cut his strikeouts and use the whole field, he could live up to that contract. Granderson’s on-base percentages and strikeout rates were much better playing in spacious Comerica Park, giving the impression he was seduced by the Yankee Stadium bandbox.

As for Lagares, his 87-to-20 strikeouts-to-walks ratio is something he must improve because in this era teams can’t afford to carry an offensive liability no matter how good he is in the field.

Den Dekker showed he’s worthy of the opportunity based on his production over a limited 152 at-bats with a .250 average and .345 on-base percentage.

This is potentially a good outfield defensively, but if they prove they can hit, the Mets will be greatly improved.