Tag Archives: new york mets

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!

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

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.

Duda to break- out and become offensive threat in 2014

published by Keith Gendron
 
Most Mets fans, including myself have seen and heard enough of Lucas Duda. Especially when the topic is defense, any fly ball his way, has fans gasping. But, since Ike Davis appears to be sticking around as well, if not at first base, Duda will again see time in the Outfield as well as DH opportunities in interleague series. However, injuries and the possibility of even platooning at leftfield with Chris Young if he doesn’t start the season at centerfield, Duda may just be growing into his own……offensively.
You see, Duda turns 28 years young tomorrow and he is entering his prime years, athletically. Although his confidence has always been a deterrent from him reaching his potential, he has been showing improvement each year……offensively. From 2011, in his first “full season”, he averaged 1 homer/30 atbats and 1 bb/per 10.5 plate appearances. Improving on his numbers in 2012 and in 2013 progressing to 1 homer/per 21.2 ab and 1 bb/7 ab. That is an improvement in power of almost 30% and patience at the plate of 35%. These numbers are playing against both left-handed and right-handed pitching. Against right-handed pitching only in 2013 his homerun ratio was 1 every 18.8 ab. Giving Duda 400 ab against righties this year only he could potentially hit 20 homers, strictly platooning. He also hit at a.462 slg clip against righties last year in comparison to .301 vs. lefties. His obp was higher than slugging pct. against lefties with a .309 obp. Just putrid numbers, confirming his obvious platoon player future.
With gold-glove caliber centerfielders in Lagares or Chris Young to his left, some of the pressure should be removed from Duda defensively. Also, the addition of Curtis Granderson should help Duda’s approach and hopefully assist in the progression of Duda….offensively.

Mejia the Number five for 2014….But for how long?

Published by Keith Gendron
     His 2013 ended prematurely in San Diego last August, while pitching in his most succesful stretch of big league starts. Jenrry Mejia was in the midst of his fifth start after being promoted in July from the minors, mowing down batters as he had the previous 4 starts. But, this one ended much sooner than expected as he could no longer pitch through the pain from bone spurs in his right elbow. He has had multiple shoulder and elbow issues since he made his original major league debut in 2010. He has had rotator cuff strains and Tommy John surgery previously and earlier in 2013 battled elbow tendintis.
     But this time around through the starts and stops he seemed to learn something along the way. With patience and perserverance, Mejia was “pitching” and not just throwing. His fast ball and 2 seamer were electric and was throwing his curve where it was supposed to go, in either setting batters up or putting them away. He also showed a change up in which I  recall hearing that Terry Collins knew nothing about him having prior to Mejia’s promotion. Jenrry was throwing strikes and had an heir of confidence on the mound, which was a pleasure to see after previous call ups.
     In Mejia’s five starts he threw 27.1 innings giving up 28 hits, but he only walked FOUR batters while striking out 27 pitching to a 2.30 era. This preceded by his minor league starts before promotion of 24.2 innings, 24 hits, 10 walks and 26 strikeouts and 2.55 era. Not too shabby for the projected number 5 starter in this years Mets rotation. The experience appears to have caught up with the talent and if Jenrry can stay healthy and thats a big IF then the Mets rotation is absolutely solid 1 through 5.
     But what happens when the likes of Montero and Syndergaard are promoted sometime in July? What will happen to Mejia’s shot then? I’m assuming Mejia may be on an innings restriction even if his arm is healthy this season. The same goes for Montero and Syndergaard. So, maybe one or 2 of them move to the bullpen at some point. Syndergaard pitched 117.2 innings last year and Montero 155.1, making him most likely to come up first if he continues progress. So, maybe Mejia moves to the bullpen in August since he has yet to throw more than the 108.2 innings he pitched in 2012.
     What will Mejia do with this opportunity? The Mets are looking to sign a veteran pitcher(John Lannan on Jan. 18th)to a minor league contract to compete with Mejia for the number 5 spot, but if Mejia is healthy and hasn’t forgotten what he’s learned, it should be no contest. Obviously, we will have to see how it all plays out and this conundrum of having too many quality arms is something I can learn to deal with and certainly the rest of the die-hard Mets fans too.

Mets News-HOF Results: Ex-Met elected into the Hall

By Keith Gendron
  The Baseball Writers of America had their final say today voting in three to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas made it to Cooperstown on their first try. Craig Biggio missed by 2 votes and garnered 74.8% of the votes out of the 75% needed to get elected.
Maddux won 355 games during his 23 year career, including 4 National league Cy Young awards. Tom Glavine won 60% of his decisions in his career totalling 305 victories(61 wins as a Met)including 2 Cy Youngs as a Brave. He and Maddux were on the 1995 World Championship teamthat defeated the Indians 4 out of 6 games. Frank Thomas hit 521 homers and drove in 1704 runs during his 19 season career batting .301. All three very deserving of their enshrinement.
But Mets fans are agitated that when their hopes of a former Met was to get elected, they didn’t have Mr. Glavine in mind. They were hoping for their star catcher from 1998-2005 would get the nod.
  But it wasn’t to be as Mike Piazza received 62.2% of the votes in his second year of eiligibilty. The numbers speak for themselves 427 homers, 396 as a catcher(Major League record)1335 rbis .308 avg and .377 obp. The suspicion of PED use has been at issue in his quest into the Hall. There has been no proof and no admittance of using performance enhancing drugs, but their have been rumors such as, he had acne on his back which can be a side effect of using PED’s. But this does seem to be a stretch. Surely, their must be more evidence that he used. Its not like you take it one day and you reep the physical benefits. How come he was so mild mannered? How come his name wasn’t mentioned on the Mitchell Reports? or that nobody else has come out and mentioned him directly? None of this is to say he didn’t use, its just that, where do the accusations arise from? Piazza’s time with the Mets fans was a memorable one and the fans love him to this day. He gave them hope, turned the franchise around and gave the Mets instant respectability when he was signed in May of 1998. They made it to the postseason twice, including one trip to the World Series in 2000 losing to their crosstown rivals, the New York Yankees 4 games to one.
Regardless, I don’t know if anyone will know for sure if he did partake in cheating and using PED’s. On a positive note, his percentage of votes went up about 4% from last year, so maybe in time he will be elected. The baseball writers seem to be waiting for some evidence  to reward their speculation….But, what happens if their is no evidence to shine a light on?
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Ike Davis to get opportunity to be Mets first baseman?

By Keith Gendron

According to New York Mets insiders, Ike Davis is now expected to be in spring training with the team. Mets gm Sandy Alderson had been holding Ike out there on a line all off season to see what bites he could get, but none were satisfactory enough to pull the trigger at this point. Apparently, no teams are desperate enough to part with their young pitching for the 26 year old left handed bat.
Maybe, this becomes the best trade the Mets never made and Ike Davis and his swing returns to the promise it had shown not so long ago. In 2012, after getting off to a horrendous start, Davis finished the season extremely strong and finished with a team leading 32 homers and 90 rbi. Last season was an identical clueless start and Ike did not show improvement until he returned from a 2 week stint at triple-A Vegas with a more discernable eye at the plate, but no sign of power finishing the season with 9 homeruns.

Still, maybe an offer comes Alderson’s way this spring when injuries occur and teams faced with no other options pull the trigger out of desperation. The Mets still have the Lucas Duda project as a fall back and he still has minor league options. Duda is another left handed bat with potential, but has not shown consistency at the major league level. Many of his offensive numbers mirror Davis’. He had been a liability in the outfield and first base is his natural position, but he wont be confused with Keith Hernandez anytime soon. The Mets brass appear to like his “upside”. He is a year older than Davis, so they apparently feel Davis doesnt have as much upside. Duda’s numbers have trended upward and maybe they think he is ready for 550-plus plate appearances finally.

 Ike has had 2 strong seasons, so, I am hoping for his sake and the Mets he can rebound from whatever he is battling and turn it all around. He is good defensively and if he can find his power stroke again, then the Mets may make it to the postseason this year. But if it doesnt happen for him and Duda becomes the slugging first baseman the Mets are hoping then that works as well.
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Will D’arnaud get it done at bat?

By Keith Gendron

From the moment New York Mets General Manager, Sandy Alderson received Travis D’arnaud as part of the multiple player deal, that included Noah Syndergaard from the Toronto BlueJays in the R.A. Dickey trade in December 2012, D’arnaud has been touted as an offensive force.  A catcher that hits with power gets on base and is solid defensively. Even comparisons to Mike Piazza were made, which weren’t fair but regardless, they were made.

So when he was called up finally last year after getting over another injury(fractured foot), we were excited  to get a glimpse of this force, as Mets fans haven’t seen much raking in years. But in his very short sample up at the major league level was mostly mediocre and looked overmatched by fastballs even.

But, this is to be expected. It seemed like he was pressing to impress everyone. He was solid defensively and showed off a gun of an arm.
This February he will begin his first major league spring training knowing he is the everyday catcher. He’ll become more familiar with teammates and his surroundings and hopefully remain healthy. Not many people consider that he will be another right handed bat to complement the many lefties in the lineup.
So, I think there is no reason to worry, or go shopping for a third string catcher. This is his time to flourish. And in time will become more comfortable and confident which will slow the game down and will alleviate the overthinking that went on last year at bat. I see no reason if Travis remains healthy, that he can catch 120-130 games and put up numbers like .260, .325, .400….12-15 hrs and 50-60 rbis. Expect slumps, but overall growth this season from the Mets catcher.
 
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Metblogfever-Nelson Cruz still unsigned, Asking price Too High?

MBy Keith Gendron
If Nelson Cruz expects to get signed anytime soon, then his expectations of a 4yr/75 million contract may have to be reconsidered. A power hitting rightfielder, turned down the Texas Rangers team option for 2014 of 14.1 million dollars. I understand he is looking for security but after an injury riddled career and a suspension from Major League Baseball last season he maybe should have played a season(clean), to get a better contract in 2015. Over the last five seasons Cruz has averaged 126 games played. 18.5 million is usually reserved for FULL TIME players, unless your name is Jacoby Elsbury who won the jackpot being signed by the Yankees this offseason. But, the Yankees are not going to sign Cruz and the 33 year old who will be 34 early next season should expect something closer to 14 million/year for 3-4 years.
Curtis Granderson signed with the New York Mets this offseason for 4/60 million, Five times in his ten year career he has played in 156 games or more. Last season he was hit by the injury bug, but has played in almost 400 more games than Cruz who has played 9 seasons. Granderson is also a superior defender, a year younger and a positive clubhouse presence who never has been suspended for PED’s.
Dont get me wrong. I would appreciate Nelson Cruz over Chris Young on the Mets for the next 3 seasons, but he has to be on the field. I hoped the Mets would have signed Cruz in November, when they were showing interest, but went in another direction hoping for Chris Young to turn his career around and rebound from playing hurt during his one year in Oakland. When Cruz is healthy he is dangerous. Based on a 162 game season his career averages translate to 32 Hrs and 99 rbi, Granderson’s are 30 and 83 but is more likely to come close to these numbers because he is on the field. The other numbers all can be argued as they do have similar production.
I’m sure Seattle could use another bat to help Robinson Cano and maybe if Cruz remains on the market long enough with his asking price, they’ll have enough money left to get him.