Aug 06

Harvey Recalls Good, Bad And Ugly

In the end, Matt Harvey finally relented and spoke to the New York media – the group that built him up to folk hero status, but in his eyes lived to torment him – in his return to Citi Field Monday afternoon.

HARVEY: In the beginning.  (MLB)

HARVEY: In the beginning. (MLB)

After threatening not to speak with the press, Harvey, perhaps convinced by his agent Scott Boras, to do the right thing or have everything bad about his stay with the Mets dredged up all this week, gave in and talked about what was and what could have been.

As he recalled both the good and bad times of being both a fictional superhero and a prima donna, there were no regrets, no “do-overs,’’ and certainly no apologies.

But, there was an admission of mistakes.

In describing what went wrong with the Mets, Harvey always brought it back to his injuries. Unquestionably, they derailed his career. What was supposed to be a career of Cy Young Awards, no-hitters and World Series wins has turned out to be a 39-42 lifetime record and season-ending trips to the disabled list in four (including missing all of 2014) of his six partially controversial drenched seasons with the Mets.

“I kind of put myself in a bad position,” Harvey said. “Health was the biggest thing. Being as competitive as I am, and as all these guys are, when the injuries took a toll on me, and I wasn’t able to do my job the way I wanted to, I made a lot of mistakes. That was something I’ve definitely looked back on, and I wouldn’t say regret. People make mistakes, and I definitely made a lot of them.”

Harvey has gone through deep introspection since the trade that brought him to Cincinnati for Devin Mesoraco, and suggested the mistakes that made him back-page fodder for the tabloids stemmed from basic psychology of the need to be recognized.

“You realize that you don’t want to fail,” Harvey said. “I definitely didn’t. I never wanted to fail, especially when I spent my time here. The success that I had, I didn’t want to let anybody down — family, friends. I put a lot of pressure on myself. I put a lot of pressure on getting back to perfection. Kind of the way the 2013 season, the ’15 season, all those great games that I threw, I put a lot of pressure on making sure that that happened every time. And obviously, it couldn’t. It was tough. Mentally, it was very tough.”

Harvey will be a free-agent after this season, and while it’s possible he could still end up with the Yankees, which has been heavily speculated since he let it be known that was his childhood team. The Reds did not trade Harvey at the July 31 non-waiver deadline, but he said he would welcome a deal before the end of the month to a contender.

“I do want everybody to know I do regret a lot of mistakes I made,’’ Harvey said. “But I did put my heart into this organization, as I will with future teams, and this team that I’m on now. I really enjoyed every minute here.”

Jul 25

Cespedes Done Until Next June At Earliest

The Mets, who have spent the better part of this lost season hoping Yoenis Cespedes would return from the disabled list, don’t have that problem any longer.

Cespedes returned from the disabled list Friday to homer against the Yankees, then dropped an even bigger bombshell after the game when he said he would need surgery on both heels and could miss up to ten months.

That would put his return at early June, but after assistant general manager John Ricco said today the Mets agreed he’ll have two surgeries three months apart that could put his return next year to sometime in August.

The official diagnosis was calcifications around both Achilles tendons and bone spurs on each heel.

But, you’re the Mets you might not even expect to see Cespedes at all next year.

After the 2016 season, Cespedes signed a four-year, $110 million contract, but by the time this year is over he will have played in just 119 of a potential 324 games. What’s even more aggravating is Ricco knew of Cespedes’ heel problems when they signed him in November of 2016, a test run season for him in which he was injured and played in only 132 games.

Cespedes, at his press conference today at Citi Field, said through an interpreter: ‘’Nobody would like to go through surgery at any time. I try to do my best to stay on the field and play a lot, but we exhausted all of the conservative treatment options. … I was not able to be on the field and play the same way I used to.”

The 32-year-old Cespedes missed 81 games last season, and went on the disabled list, May 14, with a hip flexor strain and missed nine weeks. The Mets believe the calcification in Cespedes’ heels forced him to change is running style resulting in the hip flexor strain.

“The general consensus is the pain he is feeling in his heels has definitely contributed to a change in his running style, because he is trying to avoid what is causing the pain,” Ricco said. “And that can certainly lead to other lower-extremity issues, whether they be the quad, hamstring or the hip. You get to the point where that doesn’t make any sense, because you’re just going to stay in that cycle.

“We had him checked out by the doctors, and they’ve agreed that we’ve exhausted the conservative options. Now, surgery is really the only way to resolve this issue.”

Ricco did say the Mets had an insurance on Cespedes similar to the one they took out on David Wright. That policy enables the Mets to recoup up to 75 percent of the $20 million Wright makes annually. Ricco wouldn’t say how the Mets would spend the money recovered through insurance.

“We haven’t gone down the road to what this means toward our plan moving forward,” Ricco said. “Generally, we don’t get into details of the insurance policy.”

 

Jul 22

Lack Of Communication Defines Mets’ Relationship With Cespedes

No, I can’t tell you with any certainty what is going on with the Mets or Yoenis Cespedes, these days. Nobody can. Not even Cespedes, although he does have a lot of explaining to do.

Actually, so do the Mets trio of general managers, not to mention COO Jeff Wilpon. The caveat is it will be preferable to get truthful explanations, not those that defy comprehension.

CESPEDES: No communication with Mets. (AP)

CESPEDES: No communication with Mets. (AP)

Or even logic.

Cespedes, after missing over 50 games with a strained hip flexor, returned from the DL Friday night and homered against the Yankees, then after the game said he needed surgery to treat dual heel calcifications and could miss up to ten months, which, if he went under the knife tomorrow could return next June.

Manager Mickey Callaway said “I’m not quite sure what he said,’’ about Cespedes’ bombshell announcement, but does it really matter? This was way above Callaway’s paygrade and should have been addressed way before Yankee Stadium Friday.

For example, who was the doctor who told Cespedes he needed surgery, and when did he tell him? It stands to reason this was a doctor not affiliated with the Mets, because if it was wouldn’t he/she have warned the front office Cespedes wasn’t ready to be promoted or cleared to return?

You would think so.

Also, when was Cespedes given this prognosis? Was it before Cespedes volunteered to play first base? Kind of convenient if it was, because wouldn’t it be just like Cespedes to make us feel good about him one moment just before he pulls the rug out from under us the next?

Of course, for the over two months Cespedes was on the DL, he said nothing to the media, which is consistent with his prima donna attitude. Sometime during those two months, somebody got into Cespedes’ head about his feet.

If I’m the Mets I’m doing two things: 1) wondering if the Mets have any legal grounds in which to void Cespedes’ contract and if they do not, whether they would attempt to buy him out.

After all, it is clear he doesn’t want to play for the Mets, and if he undergoes surgery on his heels, he will miss at least another five months if he has the good sense to have the procedure immediately.

But, that would entail Cespedes and the Mets acting in concert, but there’s a total disconnect between the factions.

It will never happen.

“I don’t think it’s a disconnect,’’ said assistant GM John Ricco. “It’s not like he has been saying this for months and we just haven’t been listening. For the first to our knowledge, the first he even was considering this surgery was when he said it on Friday.”

If that’s the case, then it is clear the Mets haven’t been talking with Cespedes recently. Isn’t that what is the very disconnect between the Mets and Cespedes?

 

Jul 04

Familia Could Be First Met To Go

It’s not hard to figure out which Mets will net the most in the trade market. That would be Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard, but I don’t think either will be dealt. But, who will be first to go?

HARVEY: He could torment the Mets as a Yankee.. (AP)

HARVEY: He could torment the Mets as a Yankee.. (AP)

My guess is it will be Jeurys Familia, followed perhaps by Asdrubal Cabrera and Zack Wheeler. I think Familia would be the first because relievers are always a hot commodity this time of year, and he’ll be a free agent after this season.

And, with a $7.925 million salary that will be half paid by the deadline, he should come across as a bargain, providing, of course, he starts to pitch better.

As far Cabrera goes, he would provide a veteran presence, something all contenders need. He’s also hitting well and can play three infield positions. Boston, especially, could use an infielder.

As far as Wheeler goes, just because he hasn’t won since late April shouldn’t deter a contender needing a starter. However, it won’t be the Yankees, because the Mets are afraid of the predictable headlines in dealing with the Bronx.

The Yankees need pitching and Wheeler would help, but I’m thinking they might instead deal with Cincinnati – for Matt Harvey.

Since 2015 I’ve been writing Harvey would eventually pitch for the Yankees. This is a roundabout way of it happening, and it realistically could happen.

Jun 28

Mets Place Fire Sale Sign Out In Flushing

The Mets are on record saying they will be sellers at the deadline for the second straight summer. For a team 14 games below .500, two games from the NL East basement and this comes as no surprise.

And, it shouldn’t come as a surprise if the same thing happens next season.

“Obviously, the trade deadline is coming up [July 31]. And, that’s a big pressure point in which to better your club,’’ said John Ricco, who, along with Omar Minaya and J.P. Ricciardi, are teaming to take over for Sandy Alderson. “Certainly, we’re going to take advantage of that and look to be active.’’

Ricco said he’ll listen to calls about everybody, including Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard. Personally, I’m open for the Mets trading anybody right now except deGrom, Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto. Anybody else, they can do want they want.

I would keep those three because the Mets do have to field a team next year.

First on the block should be Jeurys Familia, who as a closer should bring something in return. Plenty of teams can use a closer. Next would be Asdrubal Cabrera. The Boston Red Sox, with Dustin Pedroia ailing and in a tight race with the Yankees, need a second baseman. Brandon Phillips might not be enough.

Third would be veterans such as Jose Bautista, who is playing well; Jose Reyes, Jay Bruce and Todd Frazier. They probably wouldn’t get much for any of the four, but lower-ranked prospects aren’t out of the question, especially if put in a package.

I wouldn’t be against dealing Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz. Those three would likely bring back the most in terms of prospects or young major-league ready talent.

The Mets don’t have much talent in the minor leagues but do have major league prospects Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith, both I wouldn’t mind see dealt.