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Marlon Byrd deal likely bad news for Mets’ outfield upgrade plans

Marlon Byrd takes batting practice at Citi Field before a game earlier this year (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
Marlon Byrd takes batting practice at Citi Field before a game in 2013 (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

If you were hoping Marlon Byrd would return to the Mets in 2014, you got some bad news on Tuesday.

Likewise, if you are a Phillies fan who wants to see the team get younger, Tuesday wasn’t a banner day for you, either.

In another sign that baseball salaries are ascending to new levels of ridiculousness, the Phillies agreed to a 2-year, $16 million contract with a vesting option for 2016 with the 36-year-old outfielder.

Yes, Byrd had a nice year with the Mets and Pirates, but the odds of him duplicating it at age 37 are not great. But I guess the Phillies figured he’s going to be better than Delmon Young, and Byrd is younger than Raul Ibanez.

Hunter Pence‘s five-year, $90 million contract extension with the San Francisco Giants is starting to look a bit less like an aberration… who knows, maybe Scott Boras can get a Jayson Werth-type deal for Shin-Soo Choo after all. There are not a lot of power-hitting corner outfielders on the market, and they seem to be in demand.

That’s not good news for a team like the Mets that really could use an upgrade in both corner outfield spots, and has fairly limited resources to work with.

Hopefully Sandy Alderson will not be left looking at options like Manny Ramirez in his quest to add power to the Mets’ lineup.

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Some 2013 Topps Update Series Mets baseball cards

I have not been in a store that sells baseball cards in a few weeks, so I had more or less overlooked the release of this year’s Topps Update series.

Fortunately, one of my friends gave me most of the Mets cards that are included in the basic series.

David Wright's Home Run Derby card
David Wright’s Home Run Derby card

I think this is the first year I’ve ever cared about any of the All-Star Game Home Run Derby cards Topps throws into the update series. (Then again, this summer was the first time in years I actually watched any portion of the Home Run Derby.)

Matt-Harvey-AS David-Wright-ASG

The mandatory All-Star Game cards are a bit cooler this year because of the game’s location, too. (Not cool enough for me to worry about chasing down the short-print variations, though.)

Juan-Lagares Zack-Wheeler-debut

Juan Lagares and Zack Wheeler both get official “Rookie Cards,” though I was hoping Lagares would get a cooler photo on his.

Marlon-Byrd

Although he’s now a Pittsburgh Pirate (for a few more days, anyway), Marlon Byrd finally gets his first (not counting an online-distribution only relic card featuring a piece of a Chicago Cubs jersey)

Eric-Young-Jr

The Target-exclusive parallel version of Eric Young Jr.‘s first Mets baseball card. Young did get a cool photo, probably from his walk-off home run against the Kansas City Royals.

There are two more Mets cards in the update series base set: a second one for Zack Wheeler and one for Shaun Marcum.  I suppose I need to track them down at some point for completeness, along with the regular version of Young’s card.

Note: if you’re seeing the baseball card images with rounded corners, that’s because of the display theme of the blog – they have standard corners and have not been trimmed.

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A last-minute reprieve

When I tuned in today’s Mets game and saw that they’d managed just one hit off of Matt Garza in the first four innings and the Cubs had a 1-0 lead, I expected to be writing about another loss today.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis, seen here taking a lead off third base in Saturday's game, got to be the hero on Father's Day with a walk-off home run (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
Kirk Nieuwenhuis, seen here taking a lead off third base in Saturday’s game, got to be the hero on Father’s Day with a walk-off home run (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

This Keystone Cops routine in the fifth by the Mets’ infield did little to change that impression.

Zero runs on three hits after eight innings? Well, at least the Mets are a reassuring  constant that you can depend on.

But that script went out the window in the bottom of the ninth inning, thanks to Dale Sveum’s decision to bring Carlos Marmol into the game.

Marlon Byrd homered, and I texted my friend that it would have been nice if he did that back in the sixth inning when he came up with two men on base.

Lucas Duda walked for the 9000th time this year.

John Buck singled, his second hit of the game.

I thought the Mets might have a shot, until I remembered that Omar Quintanilla, Kirk Niewenhuis and the pitcher’s spot were due up next.

When Terry Collins wasted an out by having Quintanilla bunt for Nieuwenhuis and Collin Cowgill, I figured this was probably going to be a “too little, too late” rally.

I underestimated Marmol.

Maybe they can build on this victory and put together a mini winning streak with Dillon Gee on the mound tomorrow in Atlanta – he did win both of the Mets’ previous June victories. Maybe not.

But today’s game was a reminder that anything can happen and sometimes a team that looked horrible for eight innings can pull things together in the ninth.

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Marlon Byrd takes batting practice at Citi Field before a game earlier this year (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
Marlon Byrd takes batting practice at Citi Field earlier this year (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

“If I’m on here looking at my swing,” Byrd said pointing to his iPad, “and I’m looking at everybody else’s swing, we can fix something quicker than someone else going off of feel. Because we can pinpoint right away, go back in there and fix it. It’s all about preparation every single day.”

Obsession with hitting is paying off for Mets’ Marlon Byrd” by Jorge Castillo / The Star-Ledger

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Photos from Mets Banner Day 2013

Well, the less said about this weekend’s Mets games, the better. But I do want to share photos of some of my favorite Banner Day entries:

Winning Banner

This was the winning entry in the Banner Day contest. It’s a simple, well-crafted and well-executed idea – the home run apple even raises and lowers – but I thought that the other finalists (and some that didn’t make it to that stage) showed more cleverness.

Continue reading “Photos from Mets Banner Day 2013”

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Byrd was the word Sunday as Marlon helped the Mets to a series victory over Miami

Byrd is the Word
Byrd was the word Sunday afternoon at Citi Field (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

I made it to two of the three games that the Mets played against the Marlins this weekend, and I meant to write about them. Certainly Sunday’s improbable victory deserves to be remembered, in the all-too-likely case that it turns out to be Marlon Byrd’s one shining moment as a Met.

Unfortunately, you’re going to have to settle for some pictures that I took.

Saturday, I visited the Mets Hall of Fame & Museum to see this year’s All-Star exhibit. So that’s included in the set from the April 6th game. Sunday, I took advantage of the Mets’ free ticket Twitter promo and my seat was in the Promenade. I watched the first couple of innings from standing room on the Field Level, so that’s where most of the photos were take.

The Mets start the season at 4-2 with a pair of series victories… let’s hope their good fortune continues in Philadelphia tonight and enjoy the magic for however long it lasts.

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Terry Collins is too excited about Marlon Byrd, and other thoughts about the first week of spring training

The 2013 New York Mets outfield won't remind me of Rom... I hope. (Screencap from the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Take Me Out To The Holosuite" courtesy of TrekCore)
The 2013 New York Mets outfield won’t remind me of Rom… I hope. (Screencap from the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “Take Me Out To The Holosuite” courtesy of Trek Core)

Terry Collins sure knows how to spread excitement about the 2013 New York Mets, doesn’t he?

“If you’re talking about a guy who’s in this camp who has a chance to make a huge difference besides Lucas Duda, it might be Marlon Byrd,” Collins said. “This guy was one of the best players in the National League not very long ago. If he’s the same player he was in Chicago a couple of years ago, we might have found ourselves the right fielder. I know he’s that kind of talent.” (as reported by MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo)

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to buy a Marlon Byrd jersey to go along with the Lucas Duda one I (don’t) already have.

In other Mets spring training news this week:

  • Jenrry Mejia hasn’t arrived in camp yet because authorities are reviewing his identity. Supposedly he was just picked for a random check… let’s hope he’s not “the pitcher formerly known as Jenrry Mejia” by the time he gets here. I’d guess that barring an injury or trade to open a door for him, the delay will cost Mejia whatever chance he had to open the season with the Mets.
  • Byrd called himself an “idiot” for testing positive for a banned substance last year. So at least we have something we agree on.
  • We’re still talking about whether David Wright needs a “C” on his jersey for some silly reason. This is baseball, not hockey – there’s no formal role for a captain. Leaders lead, and the rest is just window dressing.
  • Fred Wilpon said stuff, but I wasn’t paying attention. I’ll be interested in what he has to say when he’s accepting a World Series trophy or announcing plans to sell the team… until then, it’s just so much hot air.

And a couple of other stories that caught my eye:

  • Jose Reyes is talking about Jeffrey Loria again, though it seems like that’s mostly the media’s fault. We get it – Loria is the worst boss ever. (Well, unless you have to work in the real world where you don’t get paid $10 million a year – then Loria is just a rich jerk.) It’s time to see if Reyes can help the Blue Jays win – it seems like that would be the best way to stick it to Loria and the Mets front office that he believes didn’t appreciate him.
  • The Washington Nationals might not carry a lefty specialist. “We’re going to go with the best guys,” general manager Mike Rizzo told Nationals Insider writer Mark Zuckerman. “The amount of left-handed relievers has never been a priority to me. Mostly because we’ve got right-handers that can get left-handers out. And it coincides with Davey [Johnson]‘s managerial style.”

Think about that for a second – the defending National League East champion isn’t going to worry about having a Tim Byrdak or a Pedro Feliciano just to play lefty-righty matchups. It’s almost enough to make me a Nationals fan. (Of course, Rizzo is also the “genius” that decided to shut down his team’s best pitcher in the middle of a pennant race.)

On bright side, we’re a week away from the Mets’ first spring training game, and about six weeks from the start of the season. Baseball will probably be more fun with actual games. I hope.

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