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Random thoughts on some early hot stove season news and rumors

baseballsKansas City Royals fans are on the verge of celebrating their team’s first trip to the World Series since 1985. San Francisco Giants fans and St. Louis Cardinals fans are hoping that their teams will be the one to represent the National League.

Mets fans get to talk about outfield dimensions, who could be the team’s next hitting coach, whether certain players won’t be offered contracts to save money, and if a former GM will land a job with the New York Yankees. Fun stuff.

Continue reading “Random thoughts on some early hot stove season news and rumors”

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Is Ike Davis ever going to get his act together?

Ike Davis flails at a pitch on Saturday (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
Ike Davis flails at a pitch during a game last season. (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Is Ike Davis starting to remind anyone else of Jordany Valdespin? Sure, Ike hasn’t started posting photos of himself wearing another team’s cap on Instagram or cursing out his manager after being demoted to the minors.

But Davis keeps making it harder to be patient with him while the Mets try to figure out if he’s ever going to live up to the potential they saw in him.

Sunday night, the New York Post published an article revealing that Davis was bothered by an oblique injury for most of last season and did not tell the Mets’ trainers or coaching staff.

Continue reading “Is Ike Davis ever going to get his act together?”

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Mets careers of five players, including Justin Turner & Jeremy Hefner, likely over

Justin Turner poses for a photo with me during a Mets Social Media Day event in 2012.
Justin Turner poses for a photo with me during a Mets Social Media Day event in 2012.

Today is Major League Baseball’s deadline day to tender contracts to players under team control for the 2014 season.

So far, the New York Mets have cut ties with five players.

Letting Jordany Valdespin and all of his drama go is one of Sandy Alderson‘s best moves of the off-season.

Scott Atchison, Jeremy Hefner, Omar Quintanilla and Justin Turner are all players who contributed to the Mets to the best of their limited abilities, and I’m sad to see them go.

MLB Trade Rumors’ Matt Swartz projected that Atchison would have made $1.3 million through arbitration, while Quintanilla would have earned $900,000 and Turner would have made $800,000. Neither Hefner nor Valdespin had reached arbitration eligibility, so the Mets could have paid each of them around $500,000.

Total gain thus far today: five 40-man roster spots and approximately $4 million.

Despite rumored meetings, I don’t think that’s going to help put Curtis Granderson in blue and orange next year. (And if an aging, one-dimensional player is going to require a three- or four-year deal, that’s not really a bad thing.)

But the 2014 Mets are no better tonight than they were this morning, and they’ve cut loose two players in Turner and Hefner that I did enjoy having on the team.

Meanwhile, the Washington Nationals were busy turning some of their spare parts into Doug Fister, a very serviceable starting pitcher.

Hopefully Alderson has a plan that goes beyond slashing payroll and drafting players who won’t reach the majors before Amazon’s delivery drones seem practical.

The next two weeks are probably the swan song for this blog. The domain renewal is coming up, and I don’t really feel the same enthusiasm for baseball that I did when I began.  

I could still change my mind, but I’m having a hard time imagining what I might find to say about the 2014 Mets that anyone would want to read and other commitments will keep me from going to more than a handful of minor league games next season.

I do want to thank everyone who stops by to read Random Baseball Stuff, and I appreciate the friends I’ve made because of this blog. 

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Saturday in the park: another wacky Mets loss

It was a nice day for a baseball game on Saturday, and my friend had tickets for the Cubs vs. Mets game. It seemed like a fun way to spend an afternoon. And it was fun to hang out with my friend.

The baseball game, on the other hand, could best be described as slow torture.

The Mets took three hours and 32 minutes to lose a game in which a total of seven runs were scored.

Scott Feldman (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
Scott Feldman (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Cubs pitcher Scott Feldman demonstrated the recipe for success to the Mets’ starters: drive in more runs than you give up.

The Mets managed just two hits off of Feldman in the first seven innings, and even the four they got off of the bullpen only brought the total to six for the day. They did well to score two runs.

The defense further sabotaged the team’s chances of success, “highlighted” by a bizarre first inning error that happened when Jordany Valdespin threw the ball over Jonathon Niese‘s head when returning it to him after Cody Ransom singled. It proved harmless, but set the tone for the day.

Niese turned in another poor showing, though he did battle to keep things from getting worse. Still, Opening Day pitchers are not supposed to walk four batters and give up six hits in under six innings. And why is it that none of the Mets pitchers can really get in sync with Anthony Recker?

Then in the ninth inning, umpire Lance Barrett gave us another example of why baseball needs instant replay in the ninth inning. He botched the call on Darwin Barney‘s line drive that was apparently caught by Juan Lagares, ruling instead that Lagares trapped it. The Mets compounded the weirdness and blew a chance at a triple play when Justin Turner touched second to force Nate Schierholtz before the team could try to record outs at home and third.

The end result was another Mets’ loss, their 39th of the season. After the game, the Mets made a change in their bullpen… but Greg Burke really hasn’t been a problem lately. If the team is going to improve, they need more major league caliber hitters in the lineup. Hopefully some of the guys already here are able to step up their games… because there doesn’t seem to be any outside help on the way in the immediate future.

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Even more photos on Flickr

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Rick Ankiel is the newest Met…

Rick Ankiel's 2000 Upper Deck SP Authentic Chirography autographed rookie card from my collection
Rick Ankiel’s 2000 Upper Deck SP Authentic Chirography autographed rookie card from my collection

Outfielder Rick Ankiel is Sandy Alderson‘s latest reclamation project. The 33-year-old former pitcher will become the 954th player in Mets history tonight, and the eighth to wear number 16 since Dwight Gooden left.

Keeping in mind the dangers of looking at a small sample size, Ankiel does offer an advantage over the Mets’ other center field options, especially considering his defense:

Age

OBP

SLG

AVG

AB

HR

Rick Ankiel

33

.231

.484

.194

62

5

Juan Lagares

24

.200

.182

.152

33

0

J. Valdespin

25

.292

.433

.239

67

3

Collin Cowgill

26

.173

.294

.157

51

2

Kirk Nieuwenhuis

25

.176

.178

.125

16

0

But considering the little fact that the 2013 Mets are a fourth-place team going nowhere, they’d probably be better served by running Jordany Valdespin out there against right-handed pitching instead of Ankiel. (And I say this as someone who is not very fond of JV1’s showboating.) Maybe he would show that he can hit well enough to be a fourth outfielder or a utility player on a good team.

Instead, we’ll get to see Ankiel try to hang on a little longer. Maybe we’ll at least get to enjoy some highlight-worthy defensive plays.

At least Juan Lagares will still get to play against lefties… until Terry Collins changes his mind.

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Mets lose again as bats stay silent

The 2012 Mets are running out of plots.

R.A. Dickey (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

R.A. Dickey tried again to win his 16th game of the season Monday night. The deck was stacked in his favor: the Colorado Rockies aren’t very good to begin with and injuries forced them to field a lineup you might expect to find at a split-squad spring training game.

Dickey pitched well, allowing just one run on three hits and two walks over seven innings. And he got a no-decision as the Mets lost 3-1.

The Mets hitters did virtually nothing after scoring a first-inning run off of feared Colorado Rockies starter Alex White.

Reliever Josh Edgin allowed the Rockies to take a 2-1 lead, in large part due to his own poor fielding. Jonathan Herrera bunted for a leadoff hit, and Edgin made an ill-advised glove-hand shovel pass attempt that Ike Davis couldn’t handle that let Herrera go to second. Chris Nelson sacrificed him to third, but it looked like Edgin would have had a play on the lead runner if he had reacted more quickly. And the go-ahead run scored when Kelly Shoppach committed a passed ball. (I’m beginning to see why my friend Bart, a diehard Red Sox fan, was so happy to see Shoppach move out of town.)

Jon Rauch gave up an insurance run, and the Mets hitters wasted their own chances against the Colorado bullpen.

With the bases loaded and two out in the eighth, Jordany Valdespin had a chance to tie the game on an infield hit. Matt Belisle just beat him to the the first base bag… because Valdespin opted to slide. If he had run through the bag, maybe he would have been safe. (And if Terry Collins weren’t so obsessed with lefty-righty matchups, maybe he would have stuck with Scott Hairston, the better hitter.)

The Mets again got the tying run on base in the ninth inning with two out, but Mike Baxter couldn’t deliver.

Johan Santana (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

And none of that even qualifies as the most frustrating part of the evening.

No, that distinction goes to Sandy Alderson, Collins and Johan Santana. Before the game, they announced that Santana would make his next scheduled start on Thursday and would likely remain in the rotation until at least September 1st to give him a chance to “finish the season on a high note.”

After the game, Collins told the media that Santana would have an MRI because his back stiffened up after his bullpen session.

Didn’t we go through enough of this kind of stuff in 2009? Is it that big of a deal to admit it if Santana is injured?

There are 40 more games left in the season, but the 2012 Mets have just about worn out their welcome.

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Valdespin still hot, Duda a dud & the Mets lose again

On a day when the Mets banished a disappointing “outfielder” to Buffalo, the team again struggled to score. They managed a grand total of three hits off of Washington Nationals pitching, so I suppose it’s remarkable that they scored two runs.

The Mets should start playing Jordany Valdespin every day so they can get a better idea if he fits in their plans for 2013. (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Rookie Jordany Valdespin set hit his fifth pinch hit home run of the season, knocking Mark Carreon and Danny Heep out of the Mets’ record book. I think it’s time to see what Valdespin can do as an everyday player – we know what we’ve got with Andres Torres: he’s not very good and he probably doesn’t figure into the plans for 2013.

Now I have my doubts about Valdespin – his defense is a liability, and I worry that he’s going to swing for the fences every at-bat. But maybe I’m wrong, maybe he can be part of the solution for 2013 and beyond.

Beyond that, there was very little to get excited about Tuesday night. The Mets did have a lead for a little while, but it didn’t last. R.A. Dickey has gone back to being the solid but unspectacular pitcher most of us expected him to be this year, and he wasn’t great. But if the offense had done their job, maybe they could have bailed him out. (Probably best they didn’t. Sure, Manny Acosta, Josh Edgin and Ramon Ramirez combined for three scoreless innings – but do you really think they would have managed it if the game was tied or the Mets had a lead?)

The Mets are now three games under .500, 10.5 behind Washington and 6.0 behind in the wild card race. Tonight, the game provided some background noise while I sorted baseball cards. Tomorrow, I’ll miss the Mets while I’m at work… they’re not worth the DVR space the way they’re playing now. Thursday, I’ll tune in for Matt Harvey. After that? Who knows. My weekend will probably be spent at minor league parks, so the Mets will be followed via my phone if at all.