Aug 08

Mets Need To See Valdespin

The Jason Bay Platoon as begun and tonight we’ll see the left-handed side in Jordany Valdespin against the Marlins.

Good.

Actually, we should see Valdespin full time because when you come right down to it, they have no real outfielders to speak of. Arguably, their best outfielder is one who should be a role player and that’s Scott Hairston. Andres Torres hasn’t given the Mets anything to get excited about. Neither has Lucas Duda. Kirk Nieuwenhuis provided a jolt of energy for awhile, then plummeted to Earth, and later to the minor leagues where he’s nursing a foot injury.

And, of course, we all know about Bay. An ESPN poll had 76 percent eating Bay’s contract, but it’s not their money and GM Sandy Alderson will wait things out in hopes of finding somebody stupid enough to trade for him.

Until then, he’s on the bench, and we should see Valdespin in all situations the rest of the way to see what kind of player he is. This should be a six-week audition for 2013.

Here’s tonight’s line-up, which features Valdespin in left and batting sixth.

Ruben Tejada, SS
Mike Baxter, RF
David Wright, 3B
Ike Davis, 1B
Daniel Murphy, 2B
Jordany Valdespin, LF
Andres Torres, CF
Josh Thole, C
Chris Young RHP

Mar 20

Alderson: Immediate impact on payroll negligible.

GM Sandy Alderson said yesterday’s positive financial developments will release some of the pressure on the team, but as expected, basically said “don’t expect too much,’’ in the near future.

“So having moved beyond that now, I think we as a franchise have a chance to go through sort of an evolutionary process to get us back to where we want to be,’’ Alderson said. “The immediate impact on our payroll is going to be negligible.’’

Currently, the biggest drain on the Mets’ payroll is Johan Santana, who earned $22.5 million last year while on the disabled list, and is scheduled to make $24 million this year and $25.5 million in 2013 and has a $25 million option for 2014.

That salary makes it impossible to deal Santana, so the Mets’ best hope is for continued progress in his rehab from shoulder surgery.

So far, so good.

Santana is ready to start tomorrow against St. Louis in Jupiter, Fla. The target is 80 pitches.

Santana is coming off a 65-pitch outing against the Tigers in which he gave up four earned runs. The start was encouraging because Santana’s velocity increased to a consistent 89 mph. and topped out at 91 mph.

Barring complications, Santana is on track to make the Opening Day roster.

Here’s tonight’s roster against the Washington Nationals:

Andres Torres, CF

Daniel Murphy, 2B

Jason Bay, LF

Ike Davis, 1B

Lucas Duda, RF

Justin Turner, 3B

Josh Thole, C

Ruben Tejada, SS

Dillon Gee, RP

Note: Jon Rauch and Frank Francisco are also expected to pitch.

 

Nov 22

2011 Player Review: Lucas Duda

We began our review of the 2011 Mets by examining their free agents and players the team will consider tending contracts to. We started evaluating the rest of the roster, beginning with infielder Ruben Tejada and continue today with Lucas Duda. Tomorrow: Justin Turner.

LUCAS DUDA, RF

THE SKINNY: Duda is power personified. When he gets one, it goes. He’s the last Met who needs the fences brought in. Duda was brought up to play first base after Ike Davis was injured, and finished the season as the candidate to play right field this year.

PRE-SEASON EXPECTATIONS: After a brief display of his power in 2010, Duda started the season in the minor leagues as expected with the anticipation he would be brought up eventually in case of emergency, but definitely when the rosters were expanded.

HOW THE SEASON PLAYED OUT: Duda’s opportunity came when Davis injured his ankle in a collision with David Wright. After a slow start, Duda finished with 10 homers and 50 RBI in 347 at-bats. First base was totally his after Daniel Murphy was disabled, but with right field forecast as a hole because of the Carlos Beltran trade, Duda eventually got 46 games in the outfield (42 in right). He closed the season with the expectations of being first in line for right field in spring training.

JOHN’S TAKE: Personally, when it became apparent the Mets wouldn’t make the playoffs – and that came pretty early – Duda should have gotten more games in right field. He’s not a great defender and a case could be made for moving him to left and shifting Jason Bay to right field, which is a difficult position at Citi Field. The brought-in fences should help Duda at the plate, but also in the field as there will now be less room to roam. I like Duda for a lot of reasons, not the least of which was his decision to bunt when he was on a roll because that was the team thing to do. The man plays hard and deserves a chance. With his power he should at least double his home run production over a full season.

JOE’S TAKE: For some odd reason, I’ve found myself having to defend Lucas Duda on a number of occasions this offseason. Many Mets fans don’t seem to believe in him as I do as an offensive presence in the lineup. Here are the facts…

Lucas Duda was leading the league with a .597 SLG and 1.100 OPS prior to his promotion to the Mets. In his last 153 minor league games, Duda slugged 33 home runs and drove in 111 runs. He also had 48 doubles in that span. In other words 550 AB, 48, 2B, 33 HR, 111 RBI, 96 RS, 83 BB, 111 K. In five years in the minors Duda has a .286 batting average, .383 OBP, and a .473 SLG. Fluke?

After Duda was promoted this season he batted .292 in 300 AB with 21 2B, 10 HR, 50 RBI, .370 OBP and .487 SLG. As he got acclimated to the majors he kept getting better posting OPS of .711, .910, .911 and .929 from June to September to finish third in the National League that final month of the season.

Now I’m not saying Duda is the next Jim Rice or Manny Ramirez, but he could be the next Carlos Lee. It’s no coincidence I’m using left fielders as a comparison, but ultimately left field is where I see Lucas Duda settling in. And while his routes to balls and his overall defense leaves a lot to be desired, I believe he’ll get better as he becomes more acclimated.

The kid’s a keeper.

Aug 26

Santana to play winter ball? Irene washes away weekend.

GM Sandy Alderson said the Mets are considering the instructional league and winter ball for Johan Santana, whose rehab had a setback a couple of weeks ago.

Alderson said it is possible Santana could get another rehab start at St. Lucie, but offered no promises.

The Mets must be prudent with Santana. He’s already had one setback, and another could derail his comeback permanently.

Not that they had much choice with mass transit shutting down Saturday afternoon because of Hurricane Irene, but the Mets rescheduled their games for Saturday and Sunday as part of a single admission doubleheader, Sept. 8.

However, tonight’s game is still on, with Chris Capuano starting against Tim Hudson.

Jason Bay was scratched with a jammed right shoulder.

Here’s tonight’s lineup:

Angel Pagan, CF

Ruben Tejada, SS

David Wright, 3B

Lucas Duda, RF

Nick Evans, 1B

Josh Thole, C

Justin Turner, 2B

Jason Pridie, LF

Chris Capuano, LP

 

Aug 21

Mets hope to salvage Milwaukee series behind Dickey

The Mets have had more than their fair share of gut-wrenching defeats this season.

There was the balk-off loss at Atlanta. The back-to-back games where they tied it in the ninth only to lose. But, yesterday’s meltdown to Milwaukee stung like vinegar on a cut.

DICKEY: Trying to stop the slide.

Down six to tie, then lose. It doesn’t get any more frustrating.  When the first two runners reached against Jason Isringhausen you had to know bad things were coming.

You can’t blame this on youth, because the late-inning damage was done against a veteran. Even so, as in most losses there were things that stood out, such as all the walks from Chris Capuano and the inability to hit in the clutch.

There’s only so many times you can talk about heart and grit, and the Mets have those qualities. Unfortunately, over the course of a long season, talent carries more weight.

After a surge that carried them over the .500 mark and even brought wild-card fantasies, the Mets find themselves five games under this afternoon with the R.A. Dickey called upon to stop the bleeding. Last season’s surprise, Dickey has a respectable ERA, but a lack of support has him at 5-11 and a loser in three of his last four decisions.

Today’s lineup will feature:

Angel Pagan, CF

Justin Turner, 2B

David Wright, 3B

Lucas Duda, 1B

Jason Bay, LF

Josh Thole, C

Jason Pridie, RF

Ruben Tejada, SS

R.A. Dickey, RP

After today, the Mets have back-to-back series against Philadelphia and Atlanta.

Meanwhile, Jose Reyes continues to rehab his tender left hamstring. Reyes ran to first this morning without difficulty and said he’ll run the bases with more intensity this week and play in a rehab game, perhaps at Buffalo.