Dec 17

Can Cory Mazzoni Earn A Spot In Mets’ Bullpen?

One area the New York Mets are still working on is their bullpen, but manager Terry Collins said at the Winter Meetings one option could come from within in Cory Mazzoni.

Collins said Mazzoni, who was limited to 64 innings in 12 starts because of hamstring and elbow injuries at Class AA Binghamton, could be converted to the bullpen in spring training.

Several things could determine if a switch is made will be dependent on: 1) whether the Mets are able to sign a reliever, 2) whether they obtain a reliever in a trade involving Ike Davis, 3) Bobby Parnell’s status, and 4) how seriously they believe they could contend this season.

If one of the first two variables is reached, converting Mazzoni won’t be necessary, at least not immediately. If they don’t obtain anybody and Parnell isn’t ready, then they’ll need to add somebody.

Finally, if the Mets believe they can make a run in 2014, they might not want to entrust a bullpen slot in a rookie.

Whatever they decide, they should develop Mazzoni as a reliever in spring training because they’ll eventually need another arm out of the pen this summer.

Whether this is a permanent conversion depends on how he responds if his role is changed. Working in Mazzoni’s favor is he’s a power pitcher, with 74 strikeouts in those 64 innings. He also has good command with only 19 walks.

Assuming Parnell’s readiness following neck surgery, the Mets have six pieces in their bullpen, including Vic Black (the closer if Parnell can’t go), Scott Rice, Gonzalez Germen, Josh Edgin and Jeurys Familia.

Another possibility could be Jenrry Mejia should the Mets another starter.

I would avoid that option if possible as Mejia has pitched better as a starter and is more comfortable in that role. Plus, Mejia’s development has been hindered by injuries and by bouncing around from starting and relieving roles. I’d like to see him in the area he’s best at – which is starting – and see if he can develop there.

Yes, the Mets have young pitchers in their system, but Mejia is one of them. And, the more they can develop, the better trade options they’ll have in the future.

ON DECK: You can meet Zack Wheeler and Daniel Murphy tomorrow.

Your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to respond. Follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

Dec 15

Collins Is Hopeful That Wheeler Will Toss 200 Innings

WHEELER: High hopes for him.

WHEELER: High hopes for him.

As of now, the New York Mets don’t anticipate an innings limitations on Zack Wheeler, who was shut down for his last two starts in 2013. Wheeler threw 100 innings last year and said an innings limit hasn’t been determined, and if one is later on, it won’t be until after the season starts.

“We haven’t talked about [an innings limit],’’ manager Terry Collins said. “He should get over 200 if he goes out there 30?something times.  If he does that, he would have a heck of a year. When you’re getting those kinds of innings, you’re keeping your team in games.’’

Hopefully, that thinking won’t change and the Mets will not put the shackles on Wheeler, who won’t learn how to pitch on this level unless he does so. Hoping the odds at sportsbettingonline.ag say it happens. Pitchers today wear down when they don’t accumulate innings. If a pitcher doesn’t build up his arm, he won’t have anything in the tank when he needs it. There are times when a pitcher has to learn to pitch in the eighth and ninth innings, when he’s running on fumes, when he just has to reach down.

Wheeler had his rough moments last summer, such as when he went away from his fastball and told to work in more on his secondary pitches. When that approach was adjusted to where he could work more off his fastball, Wheeler pitched well.

Collins said he believes Wheeler’s demeanor and emotional make-up could allow him to make a jump similar to what Matt Harvey made last season before he injured. Collins said Harvey learned how to make adjustments within a game and thinks Wheeler can do likewise.

“I’m hoping he takes the Matt Harvey step,’’  Collins said. “[Wheeler] now realizes he can fix it.  He realized all he had to do was make things.  He didn’t have to overthrow.

“He’s still got that great arm if he needs it.  His command of his secondary pitches got better.  I think his confidence rose as the season went along.  Again, I think the sky is the limit for what potential this guy has.’’

Wheeler told ESPN Radio he plans on reporting to spring training around Feb. 5, which is ten days before the official reporting date for pitchers and catchers.

Your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to respond. Follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

Dec 15

Mets Want To Deal Ike Davis Before Christmas

I can’t recall another time when a team was so open about trading a player as the New York Mets currently are with sending Ike Davis out of town. Anywhere. To anybody.

The Mets hope the market for Davis warmed with Tampa Bay retaining first baseman James Loney. The Rays, Milwaukee, Baltimore, Houston and Pittsburgh were in need of a first baseman when the Hot Stove season began, but Loney and Corey Hart are now off the market.

The Orioles, Pirates and Astros have not been active talking with the Mets, but GM Sandy Alderson has been in frequent contact with Brewers GM Doug Melvin.

The Mets targeted Brewers fifth starter Tyler Thornburg for Davis, who’ll likely make $3.5 million this year through arbitration.  After hitting 32 homers in 2012, hit .205 with nine homers and 30 RBI this year.

Thornburg would complete the Mets’ rotation, which added Bartolo Colon Wednesday at the Winter Meetings. With Davis gone, first base would go to Lucas Duda, or possibly Daniel Murphy if he’s not traded.

The Mets aren’t hot to deal Murphy, but are listening to offers, notably Baltimore.

At the close of the Winter Meetings, Alderson said there was a possibility of trading for an impact shortstop. What he didn’t say, was outside of Davis and Murphy, who he had to trade, at least on the major league level.

Alderson remains adamant against trading Rafael Montero or Noah Syndergaard.

The Mets aren’t done and this is the week they could fill their remaining holes, as the following week is Christmas followed by New Year’s, when most MLB offices are closed.

Your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to respond. Follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

Dec 14

Cano: Good Player, But He Is Still What’s Wrong With Sports

Robinson Cano’s orchestrated dinner with the New York Mets was clearly transparent, made even more so after his introductory press conference in Seattle. It was only an indicator of things to come from this childish man.

Bottom line: Cano wanted to stay in New York, but at his price, and in the end his price is all that mattered to him. It is impossible to do business when you give nothing back in the negotiations. If you don’t give back they cease being negotiations.

CANO: Good riddance.

CANO: Good riddance.

Cano is a marvelously talented baseball player, but a flawed individual. He might be a five-tool player, but on the human level, none of his tools include discretion, loyalty, common sense or rational thinking. We do know Cano has streaks of arrogance, delusional thinking and greed in his persona. He also has an annoying sense of entitlement.

“I didn’t feel respect. I didn’t get respect from them and I didn’t see any effort,’’ Cano said with a straight face when asked about the Yankees.

Being offered $175 million over seven years was plenty of respect countered Yankees president Randy Levine. Look, Levine and the Yankees don’t need anybody to fight their battles, but Cano was shown respect and his hissy fit needs to be addressed, because if nothing else it is a display of all that is wrong with today’s professional athlete.

From the outset, $300 million over ten years, was over the top, but it never hurts to ask because somebody might bite. However, when it became apparent Cano didn’t want to budge, you knew he wouldn’t stay in New York and the Yankees would be better off without him.

With Derek Jeter at the end of this career, and Alex Rodriguez in PED limbo, Jacoby Ellsbury will not be the difference. They need pitching and to shed some of its unproductive payroll – Mark Teixeira for one – and start rebuilding. The money earmarked Cano will be better invested elsewhere.

It was a business decision for Cano to state his negotiating objectives of money and years. It is also a business decision for the Yankees to say they no longer want to give ten-year contracts to players over 30 years old. Cano wants us to respect his business decision, yet he can’t respect the Yankees’ right to do the same. Just delusional and out of touch with reality is Cano.

I don’t begrudge Cano the right to have money as his motivation, but distasteful is his attitude. The only party showing a lack of respect in this issue is Cano, towards the Yankees, to the fans, and to his profession.

You made a choice, now live with it and don’t bash the Yankees on the way out. They didn’t criticize your choice; don’t criticize theirs.

Perhaps the greatest complaints people have about athletes is their disconnect from reality, their disregard about others, and when they don’t hustle. Cano violates our sensibilities by doing all three.

I believe a player is worth what his employer is willing to pay him. In that vein, Cano is worth $240 million to the Mariners. He’s just not worth $240 million to the Yankees, which is their right to determine.

Nobody has the right to say $240 million is too much, because who among you would turn it down?

But, we have the right to be irritated at Cano’s lack of touch with reality, which is insulting to those struggling to make ends meet or have been out of work.

“I was looking for a contract where I would just be able play and focus on the game and wouldn’t wonder when I’m 37, 38 would I have a job one day,’’ was what he tried to pass off as logic for his decision.

Seriously?

If at the end of the $175 million he would have gotten from the Yankees, if healthy and had he not worn out his welcome, he would have had another deal. Please don’t tell us after $175 million you’d be that insecure as to worry about your future. It is insulting to all those who buy tickets to watch you play or purchase your jersey.

Also insulting is your agent, Jay Z, who operating on your behalf, after accepting $240 million from Seattle went back to the Yankees with the request of $235 million over ten years.

It says you really don’t want to be in Seattle. How should they feel about that?

The Yankees are better off without him, which is something Seattle will find out eventually. At 3,000 miles away, it isn’t far away far enough.

In New York, there are too many apologists for your style and attitude. They say you’re entitled to take plays off, to jog down to first base because you’re usually in the line-up and you’re a good player. But, you don’t have that right. Cano has been given a gift of talent, but when you half-ass it to first base, you insult the fan and your profession. Not hustling is never justified.

They let you get away with it, and in the end it had to figure in the Yankees’ thinking. Deep down, they don’t want a dog to be the face of their franchise. You got a pass on that in New York, but they know how to boo in Seattle, and you’ll hear them soon enough.

Your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to respond. Follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

Dec 13

Mets Have Hole At Top Of Order; Juan Lagares No Sure Thing To Stick

The way things currently stand, the New York Mets don’t have a leadoff hitter. The tried nine last season before settling on Eric Young.

The signing of Curtis Granderson sends Young to the bench, that is, unless the Mets trade Daniel Murphy and move Young to second base. However, the Mets are asking a lot for Murphy, so there’s nothing imminent there.

 

LAGARES: Needs to hit to stay.

LAGARES: Needs to hit to stay.

Chris Young has the speed, but strikes out too much to be a consistent leadoff hitter. Juan Lagares also has speed, but also strikes out too much with a 96-20 strikeouts-to-walks ratio in 392 plate appearances. The Mets would want somebody with better than a .281 on-base percentage at the top of the order.

We talked last year about Murph maybe leading off, but I haven’t gone there,’’ manager Terry Collins said.  “I know Chris Young led off some in Arizona.  But until, again, I see what the pieces are in the clubhouse, I don’t have to write a lineup until the end of February.’’

An intriguing possibility is Ruben Tejada, that is, if he plays the way he did two seasons ago.

“If Rueben Tejada does what we know he can do, he could be that guy because he gets on base,’’ Collins said.  “He gives you great at?bats and gets on base.’’

If not Tejada, Eric Young could resurface if Lagares doesn’t pan out, which is a distinct possibility. Lagares was impressive in center field, but his offense is lacking. There has been some thought of him in a platoon role, which would be a mistake.

If Lagares is on the 25-man roster leaving spring training, he needs to play. Playing off the bench is counterproductive to his development. But, if he plays, he needs to hit. What he gave the Mets last season at the plate won’t cut it.

“I don’t know what it will be.  I don’t know that you can put a number to it,’’ Collins said of Lagares’ offensive potential.  “He’s a guy defensively.  But in order for us to have the success we want, everybody’s got to hit.’’

Quite simply, the Mets aren’t good enough offensively to carry Lagares. He hits, he plays. If not, he should open the season in the minor leagues.

Your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to respond. Follow me on Twitter @jdelcos