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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:







Rick Ankiel







Juan Lagares







J. Valdespin







Collin Cowgill







Kirk Nieuwenhuis







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.