Posted in Baseball, New York Mets

Spring training is underway (and nobody got hurt.)

Forget about the snow that’s falling as I write this. Spring training officially got underway this week. Mickey Callaway is excited about his new team, which is good because you know you’re in trouble if your first-year manager isn’t excited about his team in February.

Michael Conforto is taking part in baseball activities. David Wright is in Florida and progressing in his comeback attempt, though he’s not ready for baseball activity yet. Maybe (probably) Wright never plays another major league game… but I’ve gotta admire him for giving it every shot. It would be so easy to walk away, but that’s not how Wright wants to go out. That dedication is a big part of what made it possible for him to be one of the greatest players in Mets history.

Jason Vargas will be part of the 2018 Mets rotation, giving them a second pitcher on their roster who threw at least 150 innings last year. Hey, I was hoping for Yu Darvish (who finally signed with the Cubs last week). But at least we got an actual major leaguer who has been able to stay on the field for most of his career. I’ll call it a win.

Zack Wheeler may not be happy, but Vargas makes the Mets a better team. Now Wheeler gets to compete with Matt Harvey, Stephen Matz, Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, Chris Flexen and Rafael Montero for two starting spots and three or four bullpen spots. And when the inevitable injuries occur, the Mets should have better options to turn to than they did last year.

Since it looks like the Mets might only carry four outfielders to start the season, they’re talking about giving Jose Reyes and Wilmer Flores some reps in the outfield this spring. Now let me go on record to say that Wilmer Flores, outfielder, is a terrible idea. Jose Reyes is probably not going to be a good outfielder at this stage of his career either. But if the Mets are determined to stick them there at some point this season, I hope they get the ‘experiment’ started this spring.

Let’s find out whether Reyes or Flores can play out there in meaningless exhibition games, and give them enough experience to let them be at least somewhat comfortable before that day game after a night game comes along when Juan Lagares is banged up and Yoenis Cespedes doesn’t feel up to playing. (Hey. at least the Mets brought back Matt den Dekker on a minor league deal so there’s somebody that can play centerfield in Triple-A.)

And guys? I’m not gonna say a word about who you choose to hang out with during your off hours. But is shark fishing really a good idea if the goal is to keep as many Mets healthy as possible this season?

Minor League Promo of the Week:

Get your Quidditch star Fungo bobblehead when the New Hampshire Fisher Cats celebrate 15 years of magic on July 20.

Posted in Baseball, New York Mets, Trenton Thunder

Talking about two ex-Mets who fell short in the Hall of Fame vote

The Baseball Hall of Fame will welcome Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Vladimir Guerrero and Trevor Hoffman this summer.

Jones is the best third baseman I’ve ever watched play (I hope he thanks the New York Mets for helping him get elected 😜) Thome was one of the most productive hitters of his era. Guerrero could do unbelievable things with pitches that were nowhere near the strikezone. Hoffman pitched effectively as a closer for a really long time. All four men are deserving of the honor, though some are more worthy than others.

Former Mets closer Billy Wagner will not be headed to Cooperstown anytime soon, though — he received just 47 votes, 290 fewer than Hoffman.

And that is interesting.

  • Player A finished a 16-year career with a 2.31 ERA, 2.73 FIP, 11.9 K/9 innings, 6.0 H/9 innings and 3.99 SO/W.
  • Player B finished an 18-year career with a 2.87 ERA, 3.08 FIP, 9.4 K/9 innings, 7.0 H/9 innings and 3.69 SO/W.

Player A was a six-time All-Star, received MVP votes twice and Cy Young Award votes twice.  Player B was a seven-time All-Star, received MVP votes four times and Cy Young Award votes four times (once finishing as high as second.)

Based on those career numbers, you’d figure both players would garner a similar amount of support for Cooperstown, with Player B maybe having a slight edge based on previous awards voting.

Player A is Wagner, Player B is Hoffman and it seems like a lot of voters must have been swayed by one mostly useless stat that I left out: saves. Hoffman has 601, while Wagner only has 422.

Bright side, Wagner got enough votes to stay on the ballot and maybe voters will take another look at him next year.

Johan Santana was not as fortunate, receiving just 10 votes. He fell short of the five percent minimum to remain on the ballot, so his fate will be left to the Veterans’ Committee.

Does Santana belong in the Hall? That’s a question that’s worthy of discussion. But for a five-year period, he was the best pitcher in baseball. Between 2004 and 2008, Santana won two Cy Young Awards, finished third twice and finished fifth once. During the two Cy Young campaigns, Santana also finished in the top 10 in MVP voting. That sure seems like too good a career to be off the ballot after one year….

Odds and ends…

  • The Mets have reached an agreement with Jose Reyes on a one year contract to bring him back as a utility infielder. Leaving aside off-field issues of character, this is not a bad move… provided Reyes doesn’t get handed the starting second base job through front office inertia.
  • The Trenton Thunder will play as the Trenton Pork Roll on Fridays this year, which seems like a fun marketing idea until you go look at the uniforms they will be wearing. No. Just no. So very much no.

I remember 1992 and 1993 too well to believe that a big payroll guarantees a winning season, but Fred, Jeff and Saul need to understand that money is going to be a sore spot for fans until the Mets are winning.

Posted in Baseball, New York Mets

All good things…

IMG_20170927_164310863_BURST000_COVER_TOPAs I write this, we’re less than 48 hours away from the final out of the 2017 New York Mets season… and already, manager Terry Collins has been kicked upstairs, pitching coach Dan Warthen and trainer Ray Ramirez have been relieved of their duties, and coaches Dick Scott, Ricky Bones and Tom Goodwin have been encouraged to seek other employment.

A 70-92 record and the worst team ERA since 1962 will bring changes, and they’re already starting to happen.

I said my goodbye to this year’s Mets team last week at Citi Field. My friend Vinny pointed out tickets would probably be really cheap for a midweek season finale between two teams that had been out of the running since Memorial Day, and he was right – I got a pair of seats 13 rows behind the third base dugout for about what it would have cost to go to a Brooklyn Cyclones game.

Continue reading “All good things…”

Posted in Baseball

Jose Reyes accused of domestic violence

Jose Reyes (File photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
Jose Reyes (File photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

In another bit of sad news, Colorado Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes was arrested for allegedly assaulting his wife in Hawaii on Halloween.

According to reports, Reyes is accused of grabbing his wife by the throat and shoving her into a glass door during an argument. She was taken to the Maui Memorial Medical Center.

The Rockies and Major League Baseball say that the incident will be investigated and addressed in accordance with MLB’s Joint Domestic Violence Policy.

Let’s hope MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred does a better job than the NFL.

And let’s pray for the Reyes family.