Dec 08

Cubs Beat Out Mets For Zobrist

The Mets are back to Plan B, which is another way of saying Square One, as the MLB Network reported tonight with second baseman Ben Zobrist, this winter’s object of their affections agreed to a four-year, $56-million contract with the Chicago Cubs.

Mets manager Terry Collins texted Zobrist today, a clipped “We want you,” but like a teenage girl being asked to the prom, such flirting doesn’t always work.

ZOBRIST: Going to Cubs. (AP)

ZOBRIST: Going to Cubs. (AP)

Zobrist met with the Washington Nationals today and Mets on Monday, but the Cubs emerged as a late player. In the Cubs, the 34-year-old Zobrist finds a comfort level in Chicago, which is close to his offseason Nashville home. The Cubs, who won 97 games last season, offer a better line-up to protect Zobrist, a better hitter’s park, and reunites him with his former manager Joe Maddon.

Zobrist is a switch-hitter whose 162-game average is .265 with a .355 on-base percentage, 17 homers and 77 RBI. Frankly, $56 million is too much for that production. But, for a team like the Cubs that has deeper pockets.

The Cubs are also going after outfielder Jason Heyward and Miami ace Jose Fernandez, whom the Marlins say they won’t trade. The Giants and Dodgers are also reportedly interested in Fernandez. If the Cubs make those two moves they should be favored to get to the World Series. Even if they don’t, the Cubs are better situated to getting to the Series than the Mets.

To make room for Zobrist, the Cubs are discussing a trade of second baseman Starlin Castro to the Yankees. Ironically, the Mets’ loss at second base is the Yankees’ gain.

Despite being swept out of the NLCS by the Mets, the Cubs are in better position of getting into the playoffs next year, despite the Mets’ cache of young arms. In addition to second base, the Mets have holes in centerfield (they have to replace Yoenis Cespedes) and bolster the middle of their bullpen.

The Mets are also banking on a bounce-back year from David Wright and the continued development of outfielder Michael Conforto and their young pitching.

As they are presently constructed, and with the Nationals expected to be aggressive, the Mets aren’t a slam dunk to get back to the playoffs.

Clearly, they have work to do.

Jan 18

Santana Wants To Pitch In WBC

I understand Johan Santana’s desire to represent his native Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic, but that doesn’t make it a good idea. And, not because I’m not crazy about the whole WBC concept.

The Mets have been burned by players being injured in the WBC before – Oliver Perez – and who is to say the fragile Santana won’t come up lame?

Santana is currently on the WBC’s injury-disqualified list because he ended last year on the disabled list, not having pitched after Aug. 17 because of lower back problems. Even so, he wants to push this through.

Santana made his full complement of starts, 34, in 2008, his first season with the Mets, but hasn’t done so since. He didn’t pitch in 2011 following shoulder surgery and made only 21 starts (117 innings) last year.

For this, he has been paid over $100 million and will make $31 million this season (including a $5.5 million buyout for 2014).  For this, he won just 46 games for the Mets and only once game them at least 200 innings.

For Santana to be declared eligible the WBC must clear him physically and then be insured so the Mets aren’t stuck with the entire bill if he does get injured. Privately, Santana getting hurt in the WBC and the Mets not being stuck with his entire salary would be a plus.

SANTANA: Should stay away from WBC this spring.

I realize in today’s world this is an outdated thought, but considering all he has made and stands to make from the Mets, and considering a healthy Santana could make going to Citi Field a good thing this summer – if not for the remote trade possibility – I would have hoped Santana would show the Mets some loyalty.

They made Santana rich beyond his wildest dreams, but never pitched one playoff game for them.

Santana is a smart guy and knows the Mets won’t pick up his option for 2014, but one would hope he’d be smart enough not to risk anything in the WBC. Since he won’t be thinking he owes the Mets to be at his physical peak, if nothing else he should be thinking about staying healthy for somebody else in 2014.

After all, this is all about him.

Jan 16

Is Wilmer Flores Being Phased Out At Shortstop?

Anthony DiComo of, posted a cool article on the future of shortstop for the Mets and dishes out some interesting info on Ruben Tejada as well as prospect Wilmer Flores whose shift from shortstop has already begun.

Two or three years ago, there was a notion around baseball that, perhaps, Wilmer Flores, a middle infielder by nature, would be ready to crack the big leagues by 2012. That hope dissolved when Flores, still just 20 years old, began developing slower than expected.

Recently (and hardly unexpectedly), the concept that Flores might ever be the long-term solution at shortstop has disappeared, as well.

To that end, the Mets allowed Flores to play almost exclusively at third base during Winter Ball in Venezuela, where he batted .301 with a .382 on-base percentage. It was the first tangible positive in some time for Flores, who posted on-base marks of .309 and .324 during extended runs at Class A St. Lucie in 2010 and 2011.

Now, Flores finds himself at something of a career crossroads. Either the Mets send him back to St. Lucie, where he will no longer be notably young for the level, or they promote him to Double-A Binghamton on the basis of nothing more than projection.

For years now, scouts have insisted that Flores possesses all the proper tools to become an offensive star. The statistics, they have said, will come in time. Whether or not that actually happens remains to be seen. But Flores has already proven one thing: that shortstop is not likely his long-term position.

Flores will have to have a very strong showing in 2012 to keep his status as a top prospect.

The Mets can ill-afford another slide like F-Mart went through, going from the organization’s top hitting prospect to being placed on irrevocable waivers last week.

Flores has already slipped from #1 prospect to somewhere between #5-10 depending on who you ask.

Hojo’s Mojo –

This is Joe D. from Mets Merized Online, and I just wanted to let the fine readers of this site know that from time to time I will be posting some of our content here on NY Mets Report as me and John continue to work together on some projects. Lets Go Mets!

Apr 01

April 1.10: Wrapping up the Day.

A rough day for John Maine this afternoon, with him pitching 4 2/3 innings while being sick. Maine gave up four runs on six hits and four walks and several bouts of nausea caused by a stomach virus.

Maine was not good this spring, and while spring training numbers don’t tell the full story, they are somewhat of a measure. A 7.88 ERA is not good.

Maine is now the No. 2 starter in the Mets’ juggled rotation.

REYES WILL GO ON DL: Shortstop Jose Reyes, who missed most of spring training with a thyroid issue, will open the season on the disabled list. Reyes will be able to come off the disabled list for the April 10 game against Washington.

Reyes says he’s ready.

“My legs are ready,’’ he told reporters. “I’m not that bad swinging the bat. No doubt, I’m more comfortable.’’

RODRIGUEZ LEAVES TEAM: Closer Frankie Rodriguez left the team to attend to a family emergency in Venezuela.

General manager Omar Minaya expects to have him back for the opener. If not, the Mets, who don’t even have an eighth-inning set-up man, would have to scramble for a closer.

POSITION BATTLES: Mike Jacobs, who will make the team as the back-up first baseman, hit is fourth homer of the spring. … Once thought a sure thing to make the bullpen, Ryota Igarashi was hit for two runs in 2/3 innings. The beneficiary of Igarashi’s late spring slide was Raul Valdes, who gave up one run in two-thirds innings.

NOTE: Manager Jerry Manuel said fifth-starter Oliver Perez will work out of the bullpen the first week of season. The Mets broke camp after today’s loss. They’ll play Tampa Bay at St. Petersburg tomorrow and Baltimore in Sarasota Saturday. Mike Pelfrey will get the start tomorrow. The team will work out Sunday at Citi Field.

Feb 13

Santana to miss WBC

Mets ace Johan Santana will not be pitch for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic, with the decision made for him by the Venezuelan Baseball Federation.

The Federation announced today it was not willing to the insurance premium required for the Mets to clear Santana, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, Oct. 1.

Santana tested his knee this week for the first time since surgery, throwing 18 pitches and participating in conditioning drills. Santana said at the time he wanted to play, but the decision would be made by the Mets.

Thankfully, that decision was made for him today.