Alderson: Mets should win 90 games in 2014

published by Keith Gendron

It was reported by multiple sources in the media today that Mets’ GM, Sandy Alderson proclaimed the Metsies to win 90 games this season. Unless, he has some last minute signings or tricks up his sleeve, I will assume this proclamation is for the presently constituted 2014 team. Although, Alderson is usually measured in most things he says, he didn’t make these comments to the media, but rather team brass. Where in fact it was also stated that Jeff Wilpon said, “They better win 90”. Is this because Mets’ ownership thinks they broke open the bank this year and set spending records for a franchise in major league baseball ? Truth is they did do some spending this year as they tried to address some of their flaws in outfield defense, power and a veteran starting pitcher to cover the Harvey void. Was it enough to have this team jump to a 16 game improvement over last season? Probably not. They would have to remain healthy and get a few player’s to turn around their careers. I do think this team may finish at .500 for the first time since 2008, though. Which would be an improvement of 6 games from last year.

But do you remember the 2006 San diego Padres? No, me either. That team won their division in 2005 at 82-80. In the winter of 2006, Sports Illustrated along with other experts(?)picked the Padres to finish 3rd behind the Dodgers and Giants. They brought in some older position players Mike Piazza,37 yrs old, Mike Cameron, 33 and Vinny Castilla, 38. I wouldn’t expect much from that group either, especially a 37 year old catcher to join the likes of 35 year old Ryan Klesko, Brian Giles 35 and outfielder, Dave Roberts, 34(who still relied on his speed). They had an ace in Jake Peavy, followed by a rather not-so-glamorous 2 through 5 in the rotation. They did still have Trevor Hoffman, if they would even need to rely on him that much. I mean they had a geriatric lineup, filled with players past their prime and for the most part a no-name rotation.

Now, the 2014 edition of the Mets is far from old and in recent years far from talented. But, their are similarities between the two teams, that could make for an argument that the Mets could be playing meaningful games in September and possibly further. You see, that 2006 Padres team won their division again by finishing 88-74. Their offense was far from explosive….or youthful, but that mediocre pitching staff finished first in the league with a 3.87 era. Their defense ranked 13th in all of baseball in errors, so that was mediocre as well. Both teams play in ballparks favoring pitching. The Mets have an experienced staff in Colon, Niese, Gee and if necessary Lannan and Matsuzaka. Zach Wheeler will hopefully continue growth. He seems to have the makeup and talent to be an ace or a number 2. This along with Mejia showing last seasons display isn’t a fluke and the debuts of Syndergaard and Montero has Mets fans excited! This staff can be great for years to come. The Mets outfield defense is greatly improved with the additions of Chris Young and Curtis Granderson to join Eric Young, Jr. and Juan Lagares. The Padres had 2 players lead the team in rbi in Cameron and Giles with 83 and Adrian Gonzalez had 82. They hit 161 homers, led by Gonzalez’ 24, Cameron and Piazza with 22 a piece. Certainly not overwhelming and the fact that much of the offensive production did come from the guys they brought in and past their prime, shows that stranger things do happen every once in a while. The Padres were 26th in runs produced at 4.51/game and they didn’t get on base, with a team OBP of .332, 21st in the league. You go through their lineup and you can see some of the Mets players putting up similar numbers. Cameron was 33 and played his first year with the Padres in 2006 as Granderson is coming to the Mets and the production may be similar. I don’t expect too much from the Mets offensively, but with a few players rebounding can greatly assist in them winning more than another projected sub-80 victorys.

I don’t think the Mets staff will finish number 1 in the league, but, if healthy and their veteran signings  assist in the development in their power arm’s future, they can finish in the top 1/3. That Padres pitching staff was led by Woody Williams with 12 wins, Peavy 11-14, 4.09, Clay Hensley 11-12, 3.71 and Chris Young 11-5, 3.46. Trevor Hoffman saved 46 games.

I am expecting a bounce back from Ike Davis, Curtis Granderson should have a good season and will provide protection for David Wright. Wright has to be healthy for the Mets to succeed as he is great defensively as well and is the face of the organization. Wright’s success will trickle down to Daniel Murphy as well and Met’s fans are eager to see what Travis D’arnaud can bring to the plate and behind it. If you can be lucky enough to get a productive season from Chris Young too, then the Mets can certainly be lucky enough to reach the high 80’s in wins. But, it may be really dreaming too big, to even consider so many things to go well, but it would all make Alderson’s proclamation not seem so far fetched afterall.

MLB: making the game safer? or confusing the play at the plate

Well, major league baseball is going to try to put in words, rules governing plays at the plate in the next few days. Today Sandy Alderson tried to explain and show Mets catchers the technique he requests of them, regardless of the rule in order to keep their catching prospect, Travis d’Arnaud healthy and able to play a full season of baseball.

 Anthony DiComo of MLB.com wrote, Alderson expects a rule to be ratified soon requiring baserunners to slide into
home plate on close plays and, by extension, requiring catchers to leave runners a lane to do so. But a gray area will exist in which catchers need to lunge across the plate to receive a throw, a situation that will be reviewable on instant replay.

This seems extremely tough to call. I understand the need for safety in sports, especially with limiting concussions, but it sounds over the top, micro-managing. I mean, essentially it’s like a play at second base or even third base for that matter, so the same rules should apply. Are they going to call the neighborhood play at the plate? Where the catcher doesn’t REALLY have to touch the base on a force or maybe not even tag the baserunner trying to score at all as long as the ball beats the runner? What if the catcher tags the baserunner too hard when he is sliding home and gets a charlie horse?

Catcher’s typically arent on the DL due to homeplate collisions. It’s due to the nicks and foul balls off of them and being hit by bats. Granted, their are injuries due to collisions at the plate as well but not all of them are at the level of leg breaks such as the one Buster Posey suffered.

Maybe I am the dumbo here and I should just button my lip and wait for the powers that be, make their decision on how this will be written and then enforced. Can you imagine the mayhem this will cause, especially early on in the season? runs being taken away because a slide was questionable in its intention or angle coming in? How about d’Arnaud tags the runner out and the Mets WIN….OH wait, The home plate umpire calls the runner safe, because Travis sort of trespassed onto the sliding path to home and thus interference is called and the METS LOSE!!!!!!! not to mention the baserunner got clay in his eyes! LET THEM PLAY THE GAME!

Mets to commemorate Kiner and other notes

published Keith Gendron

Kiner Remembered:

The Mets will commemorate Ralph Kiner’s fifty years as their broadcaster, with a patch displayed on the right shoulder of their jersey this year. On opening day at citifield there will also be a tribute unveiled upon the left field wall bearing the logo as well. The Mets have also said there will be an exhibit entitled, “Kiner’s Korner” to be located within Jackie Robinson rotunda.

Harvey arrives in camp:

Matt Harvey arrived at Port St. Lucie, Fla. complex today. Soon after, coming to terms that this spring training will be different. As much as Harvey wants to progress his throwing and rehab program, the Mets brass are hearing none of it. Thinking of the long term health for Harvey and that they and the doctors will be calling the shots on when and how fast he advances. Alderson has said on more than one occasion that this year is NOT about Matt Harvey, but about 2014 and how this team can succeed with the players available on the roster. He is not going to answer questions on a daily basis on Matt Harvey’s progress on rehab and when he will be available to return.

On the Tommy John surgery rehab front, Jeremy Hefner who had the surgery to his pitching arm roughly 2 months earlier than Harvey, has been cleared to begin tossing a baseball. Hefner was 4-8 4.34 era last season with 99 strikeouts in 130.2 innings walking 37.

Valverde always wanted to play in NY:

As per Mike Puma of the NY Post, Jose Valverde says, “New York is awesome. I can go shopping every morning.” If not for his agent Scott Boras, would have signed with the Mets last year but was steered to Detroit.

Ike Davis:

Ike has been hitting since November, to eliminate his sluggish starts to the season. He spent many hours going through video and uncovered an issue with his swing that was not addressed last year. To me, this sounds all positive. I was looking all last fall for information on whether or not Ike was doing anything to get back to where he was a few years ago and to eliminate the bad habits he picked up. He also has said that he wants to be the Mets first baseman. All these things I was hoping to hear. We won’t know what it translates to, but he has the right attitude and seemed self motivated to recapture what he had lost. I look for Davis to return close to form and was glad he wasn’t traded, because he is young(26), talented, he had shown he could perform at this level previously and that he was inexpensive. Not to mention how many times teams give up on young talent too soon and they rediscover the promise and talent elsewhere.

New York Mets Player Profiles Pre-Spring Training

A position by position look at the 2014 Mets

True To The Orange And Blue

Players have started arriving in Port St. Lucie. The moment we have been waiting for since September is finally here. SNY announced today that the first Mets Spring Training Game will air on February 28th at 1:10pm. Only 17 days from now! So I thought we should take a look at the starting players we have as of now, before any games have been played, so that we can compare it to their performance during the month of March.

Infield

C             Travis d’Arnaud

Travis was one of our most prized prospects from last season, however, injuries kept him from stepping into the big leagues until late in the 2013 season. He averaged .202/.286/.263 with a .548 OPS hitting just one homerun and 5 RBIs in 99 at-bats. Some say he was not ready for the majors or was not completely healed from his injuries or just simply did not…

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Niese needs to stay on the field to lead rotation

published by Keith Gendron

 

Could 2014 be the season Jonathon Niese can put a full season together? Health has been an issue since he has been a major leaguer, making 30 starts twice, in his four-plus seasons. He is yet to reach the 200 inning mark because of his inability to be efficient enough and remain healthy from April to October. But, If the Mets have aspirations of surprising anyone this year, Niese HAS to be there from beginning to end. This along with putting faith that some position players can find their way back to being productive players they were not too long ago.

Niese has pitched to a slightly better than .500 record during his young Met career at 43-40 and a 3.99 era. This is considered an accomplishment actually, since the Mets haven’t been a .500 or better team since 2008. And, although the Mets have many young power arms in waiting, they are still unproven. Niese is the only southpaw starter they have and at 27 years old and minus Matt Harvey, the time is now for him to lead the staff. He pitched his first opening day last year, pitching into the 7th inning and recording the win in a 11-2 defeat of the Padres. He is considered, along with Bartolo Colon to be handed the ball for March 31 against the Nats this year at Citifield.

Niese struggled mightily the first half of last year going 3-6 with a 4.32 era. He had a WHIP of 1.610 and a SO/BB ratio of a lame 1.48, but after rest and shoulder strengthening was able to bounce back and pitch solidly in the second half, covering 10 starts going 5-2 with a 3.00 era, including a shutout. His WHIP dropped to a 1.242 and his SO/BB ratio jumped to more than double his first half at 3.73.

Yes, ALOT has to go WRIGHT…excuse me, right, for the Mets to even sniff a possibility for the wildcard this year. But as the organization has committed to pitching as the way to get back to respectability and to put themselves back into the post-season mix for years to come, at least this year on the mound it begins with Niese.

Jeter Farewell tour 2014

published by Keith Gendron
David Wright on Jeter’s retirement after 2014 season:  “I was fortunate as a young player in this town to be able to watch how Derek Jeter conducted himself on and off the field. I had the privilege to call Derek a teammate during the World Baseball Classic and got to see firsthand how to lead by example. I’ve always been a big Derek Jeter fan for what he has done on the baseball field. I became an even bigger fan after getting to know Derek and learning there is more to this game than what goes on between the lines. Excluding the Subway Series, I wish him all the best in his final season.”
2014 will mark the end of an era for the New York Yankees and Major League Baseball. Derek Jeter announced that this baseball season will be his last in baseball. Its a rarity in this day and age to see ballplayers play their entire career with one organization, let alone a 21 year career. He will turn 40 just before the All-Star break and I hope he can remain healthy and go out on a high note, helping leading the Yankees back to the post-season as he has done for years. He has helped lead the Yankees to 7 world series appearances, winning 5, and three-in-a-row from 1998-2000. He has always been clutch and did whatever it takes to win or put the team in position to win. He is the ultimate competitor, relentless and was always focused on the task at hand. Playing in New York under a microscope, he got the job done. He is the ultimate definition of captain, always putting the team before himself. You didn’t read about him getting in trouble in his private life, and he played the game “clean”. No you won’t find his name listed on the Mitchell report.
I salute all he has done for baseball and although as a Met fan, I despised him for many years, Derek Jeter was a great ballplayer. The numbers are very good, but it was the intangibles and leadership, and his ability to be clutch that makes him great. Yes, fans will truly miss him and the game will be trying to groom someone to carry the torch, but they will fall short, but baseball will certainly go on.
Yes, I hope he can stay healthy. So, he can connect the winning attitude he brought back to the organization in his first full season in 1996, to the team he will be playing his farewell tour with in 2014.
Derek Jeters career stats from baseballreference.com below

Mets announce signing Jose Valverde

The Mets have signed free agent reliever and former major league closer, Jose Valverde to a minor league deal. The Mets were looking to add another veteran arm to go with Kyle Farnsworth to hopefully stabilize the otherwise young crop of relievers in the 2014 bullpen. Valverde will turn 36 a week before the season kicks off and has 286 career saves and a 3.19 era.

http://m.bbref.com/m?p=XXplayersXXvXXvalvejo01-pitch.shtml&t=all_standard_pitching

Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner passes at 91

published by Keith Gendron
The long time broadcaster of the New York Mets and Hall of Fame slugger, Ralph Kiner passed away today of natural causes.
Part of the original trio in 1962, along with Lindsey Nelson and Bob Murphy, Kiner was the voice coming from the perspective of a former ballplayer. His signature homerun call was, ” It’s going , it’s going, it is gone good-bye!” . He was a power hitting, pull hitter(hence, Kiner’s Korner) that led the league in homeruns 7 consecutive seasons, playing for perrenial loser the Pittsburgh Pirates(1946-53), Chicago Cubs(’53-’54) and Cleveland Indians(1955). He also served as a U.S. Navy pilot in World War II.
Along with broadcasting the Mets, he had a postgame show known as”Kiner’s Korner”, where he interviewed ballplayers from the winning team, which at that time was mostly the visiting team. From Roberto Clemente to Pete Rose, he was a pioneer in bringing live interviews with professional baseball stars into your living room, at a time before the internet, wifi and smartphones. He was a great story teller, who also had a history of dating hollywood women such as Elizabeth Taylor and  Janet Leigh to name a few. He was an early example, that chicks dig the long ball.
In a 10 year career, he totaled 369 homeruns, 1015 rbi and .279 batting average. As a player he never played in a world series, but, in 50 years of broadcasting  he did get to experience Mets championships in 1969 and 1986.
I have been a Mets fan since I was five years old. And knowing he wont be apart of my summer this year for the first time in 40 years, puts a hole in my heart that bleeds orange and blue.
His wit and wealth of experiences and knowledge of baseball, will be sorley missed as he was one of the last connections back to baseball from 70 years ago…..another era, seemingly light years ago. Mets fans everywhere, will tell stories of him to their children. For his dedication to the organization, it would be well served, if the Mets dedicated their season to him.