Kansas 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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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 Belislejust 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.
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.
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.
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.