Posted in Uncategorized

Farewell, Fred Lewis

Outfielder Fred Lewis is the latest player to be removed from the New York Mets’ 40-man roster, and he intends to elect free agency once all the paperwork is done, according to ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin.

Fred Lewis bats against the Atlanta Braves in September (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Lewis played sparingly in September, going 3-for-20 with four walks during a callup that was his reward for a good season in Buffalo this year.  The 31-year-old is a veteran of seven major league seasons – he’s also played for the San Francisco Giants, Toronto Blue Jays and Cincinnati Reds.

He’s the first player likely departing the Mets this off-season that I’ll actually miss. I enjoyed following Lewis’ Instagram account, fdotlewlive. But I realize the Mets need the 40-man roster spot to protect prospects that could be lost in the Rule 5 draft this winter and there are plenty of reserve outfielders who can be signed to provide minor league depth.

In other news, R.A. Dickey underwent successful surgery to repair a torn abdominal muscle today. He pitched with an injury since April and finished at the top or near the top of nearly every pitching category – and he did it while playing on a not very good team. If that’s not a Cy Young-worthy performance, I don’t know what is.

And congratulations to the Detroit Tigers, your 2012 American League champions.

Posted in Baseball, New York Mets, Uncategorized

Checking in on some former favorite Mets

I think just about everyone who follows baseball has at least one favorite player. For most Mets fans, these days it’s probably David Wright or Johan Santana… maybe R.A. Dickey or Ike Davis.

Oliver Perez (photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

But for most of my life as a baseball fan, I haven’t been content to follow the crowd. I tend to pick more obscure players to root for – in the early 1990s, my favorite player was rubber-armed relief pitcher Jeff Innis. In more recent years, I’ve picked players like Omir Santos and Ryota Igarashi… and while it started out as a running joke with friends and family members, I’ll admit that I’d sincerely like to see Oliver Perez do well.

Perez went to major league spring training with the Seattle Mariners as a non-roster invitee, but he was reassigned to minor league camp on Friday. Although he was a starting pitcher for the New York Mets and throughout much of his time in the major leagues, Perez is hoping to revive his career as a relief pitcher.

In an article published on MLB.com on March 8th, Perez told Greg Johns:

“But right now, my velocity is getting back and I feel really confident and I think I can challenge hitters.”

Unfortunately, he didn’t have a good spring. In four appearances, Perez gave up five earned runs on seven hits, including a home run in 4.1 innings pitched. He walked two and struck out two. Hopefully Ollie will have more success in the minor leagues.

Continue reading “Checking in on some former favorite Mets”

Posted in Autographs, Uncategorized

Mets Autograph of the Week: Lino Urdaneta

Lino Urdaneta's 2004 Upper Deck SP Authentic Future Watch autograph card

Lino Urdaneta can probably recall every major league game that he’s pitched in.

All three of them.

From September 9th, 2004, until May 6th, 2007, Urdaneta was Mr. Infinity. During his major league debut with the Detroit Tigers, Urdaneta faced six batters and gave up five hits and a walk before leaving the game. They all came around to score.

As of spring training 2007, Urdaneta was one of approximately 19 major league players with ERAs of infinity.

In May of 2007, Urdaneta returned to the major leagues with the New York Mets. During his brief time in the New York bullpen, he appeared in two games. Fortunately for his career ERA, this time Urdaneta recorded a few outs.

Then on May 16th, just days after he was demoted to the minor leagues, Urdaneta was suspended for 50 games for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance.

He never appeared in another major league game.

Beckett Media lists 35 different baseball cards featuring Lino Urdaneta, but they all picture him as a Detroit Tiger or on one of the minor league or Venezuelan league teams he’s played for.  He has certified autographs in the 2004 Upper Deck SP Authentic set, which is helpful for any Tigers or Mets fans who are seeking autographs of everyone who’s played for their favorite teams.

Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

Prince is a Tiger?

Raise your hand if you picked the Detroit Tigers for Prince Fielder‘s eventual landing spot for 2012 and beyond.

Prince Fielder
Prince Fielder (Photo credit: Barbara Moore)

Detroit reportedly agreed to a nine-year, $214 million contract with the 27-year-old slugger.  The average annual value of the deal is $23.8 million, though I wouldn’t be shocked if it was backloaded. Fielder certainly makes up for the loss of Victor Martinez and should help the Detroit offense for the next few years, but I have to wonder if they committed too many dollars and too many years.

Meanwhile, in Mets land, Sandy Alderson got us a new player to talk about – 16-year-old Venezuelan lefthander Adrián Almeid. (I think it will be a few years before Mr. Almeid will be very interesting, if he ever is as a baseball player.)

SNY producer/blogger Ted Berg projects the 2012 Mets could win 94 games if everything breaks perfectly. So I guess it’s a bit too early to give up all hope on the season, even though the odds are heavily weighted against the Mets.

We’re 26 days away from the official beginning of spring training for the New York Mets… and the cry of “Play Ball!” will be coming soon after that.

Posted in Autographs, Uncategorized

Mets autograph of the week: Omir Santos

signed Omir Santos 2008 Norfolk Tides team set card from my collection

Veteran backstop Omir Santos has played for at least 15 different teams during an 11-year pro career. However, he’s only appeared in 119 major league games and most of that playing time came with the 2009 New York Mets.

Called up in mid-April to fill in for Brian Schneider, Santos made the most of his opportunity. On April 27th, 2009, Santos hit his first major league home run off of Anibal Sanchez. It’s counted as the first grand slam in Citi Field’s history, but Jed Lowrie hit the “real” first grand slam off of Oliver Perez in an exhibition game between the Boston Red Sox and Mets before the season began. (Exhibition game home runs only end up in the record books when Mickey Mantle hits them.)

About a month later, on May 23rd, Santos hit a key two-run homer off of Boston Red Sox closer Jonathon Papelbon to lead the Mets to a come-from-behind victory at Fenway Park and cement his status as my favorite player on the team that year.

The next week, on May 29th, Santos hit a game-tying solo homer off of Florida Marlins starter Sean West and drove in the game-winning run with an 11th inning single off of reliever Brian Sanches. After the game, the Mets completed a trade that sent Ramon Castro to the Chicago White Sox and cleared the way for Santos to remain on the major league roster.

Unfortunately, Santos’ hot streak didn’t last and as the year wore on, there were rumblings that some in the organization were unhappy with his game-calling. Santos finished the season with a very respectable .260 batting average, seven home runs and 40 RBI in 96 games. Topps named him to their annual All-Star Rookie team after the season. Continue reading “Mets autograph of the week: Omir Santos”