Posted in Baseball, New York Mets

We’re waiting…

A Mr. Met toy waves his hand
The eternally cheerful Mr. Met is far more optimistic than most Mets fans. 

The New York Mets and Seattle Mariners are reported to be close to a deal that would send Jay Bruce, Anthony Swarzak and three prospects west for Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz. They’ve been close to completing the trade for a day or two now, and it could drag out until Monday if MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred doesn’t want to spend his weekend reviewing it and giving it his blessing.

Predictably, most Mets fans hate the idea of the deal. We’ve been conditioned to distrust the Wilpon family’s motivations and the people that they hire to run the team. And to be fair, Sandy Alderson, Omar Minaya, Jim Duquette and Steve Phillips had a mixed track record in making trades and signing free agents.

But we also hated the idea that’s been floated for weeks that they want to trade Noah Syndergaard. And well, you can’t have it both ways. The Mets have been a fourth-place team with an under .500 record for the past two years and they’ve been a losing team for eight of the past ten seasons.

This can’t be another winter where the team tinkers a little bit and hopes for the best. You either do a complete tear-down and rebuild, or you trade players that won’t help you in 2019 for ones who will.

The 2019 Mets will win more games because of Cano and Diaz than they will because of Bruce, Swarzak, Justin Dunn, Jared Kalenic and Gerson Bautista.

Cano is still a good player — even at age 36 — and should be able to help the Mets score runs while not hurting them too badly in the field… at least for the next year or two. Diaz was the best reliever in the American League this year and gives the Mets the lockdown closer they’ve wanted for years.

Meanwhile, Bruce has had exactly one good season in the past five. Swarzak was a complete bust in his first year in New York. Dunn is the best pitching prospect in the Mets’ farm system, but he hasn’t thrown an inning above Double-A. Kalenic will be 19 next season and has all of 52 games of professional experience. Bautista is a project.

You could argue that the Mets should be able to get more for their prospects than Diaz and Cano, but I’d point out that Dunn is the only one who could charitably be considered close to being a contributor at the major league level.

If Brodie Van Wagenen’s first trade as Mets’ general manager turns out to be the centerpiece of the offseason, I’ll join the crowd of disappointed Mets fans. If they complete this deal and still go on to trade Syndergaard, I’ll be wondering if Van Wagenen even has a plan.

But I’d like to think this is just step one of a roster reshaping that will give the Mets a true chance to compete with the Atlanta Braves, Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies.

Wait and hope.

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My last baseball cards of 2013

Gary-Sheffield Robinson-Cano

Anthony, a longtime blog reader, sent me this pair of 1972-style mini cards from this year’s Topps Series II set. (Just 19 more, and I’ll have the insert set finished. Thank you.)

Barring another unexpected envelope in the mail tomorrow, they will be the last baseball cards I add to my collection in 2013.

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Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

Christmas comes early: the Mets get their man

Curtis Granderson signed 2008 Allen & Ginter baseball card from my collection
Curtis Granderson signed 2008 Allen & Ginter baseball card from my collection

The New York Mets reportedly reached an agreement with free agent outfielder Curtis Granderson on a 4-year, $60 million contract on Friday.

I have to admit that I didn’t think it was really going to happen – after all, we’ve had some front office fake outs and  it’s been nearly four years since the Mets have added a star free agent. (I really hope Granderson works out better than Jason Bay.)

Granderson brings some excitement to our hot stove season, and gives Sandy Alderson a bit more flexibility to make trades at the winter meetings next week. (At least one of Eric Young Jr., Juan Lagares, or Daniel Murphy won’t be in the Opening Day lineup, in all likelihood. Hopefully Alderson can package one of his limited, but useful players with Ike Davis or Lucas Duda to obtain a starting pitcher or shortstop.)

But before we get too excited, let’s remember that Granderson is basically replacing Marlon Byrd. We can expect a little more power from him than we got from Byrd this year, but we’ll also get more strikeouts and a notably lower batting average.

And I would guess that the Mets are done looking at the free agent market except for some January bargain shopping. Chris Young and Granderson probably account for most of the money that Alderson had to allocate to new player acquisitions.

The success of the 2014 Mets lineup is going to hinge on Travis d’Arnaud, and whoever plays first base and shortstop as much as Alderson’s outfield upgrades.

Granderson wasn’t the most notable player who reportedly agreed to contract terms in Friday’s free agent frenzy. That would be Robinson Cano, who will be playing for the Seattle Mariners through his 40th birthday, earning $240 million.

Not to be outdone, the New York Yankees have reportedly agreed to terms with Carlos Beltran on a three-year deal worth $45 million that will keep him in pinstripes through his 39th birthday.

Even the Boston Red Sox made a small splash, reportedly reaching a two-year, $32 million contract agreement to retain Mike Napoli.

First-RuleIf you think Major League Baseball free agent contracts are getting a bit out of hand, MLB Trade Rumors has some numbers that back up that idea. With just 55 players signed to date, MLB teams have already handed out contract commitments totaling $1.238 billion. To put that in perspective, last off-season, teams committed $1.393 billion to 112 free agents.

It’s a brave new world… let’s hope the Mets can afford to play in it and that the made the right choice with Granderson.

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The Robinson Cano baseball card most of you won’t ever have

Robinson Cano's 2013 Trenton Thunder All-Time Team baseball card
Robinson Cano’s 2013 Trenton Thunder All-Time Team baseball card

Back on August 2nd (when the A-Rod circus stopped in Trenton). the Thunder gave away a set of baseball cards honoring their fan-selected All-Time Team to the first 1,500 people through the gates. No sets were made available for sale through the team store or website.

New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano and former Boston Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra are the biggest stars included in the set, which features Thunder alumni from the original team in 1994 to the present, representing all three affiliations (the Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.)

I suspect that most of the cards ended up in the hands of people who don’t normally collect baseball cards or in the collections of people who are fans of the Thunder or New Jersey baseball. When I checked eBay, I only saw one seller who had listed any of the sets.  Continue reading “The Robinson Cano baseball card most of you won’t ever have”

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20th season items highlight Trenton Thunder promo schedule

The Trenton Thunder are celebrating their 20th season in 2013, with a special event planned for the anniversary of their first game in Trenton on May 9th.

Joba Chamberlain returned to Trenton for a rehab assignment in 2012; this year, the team is giving away a Joba Chamberlain bobblehead on August 23rd (Photo credit: Bart Miller)
Joba Chamberlain returned to Trenton for a rehab assignment in 2012; this year, the team is giving away a Joba Chamberlain bobblehead on August 23rd (Photo credit: Bart Miller)

There will be many 20th season-themed giveaways throughout the year, including  t-shirts (April 26th), mini-bats (April 28th – kids only), pennants (May 17th), and banners (July 23rd).

Bobbleheads are always popular, and the Thunder are reaching back into their past for some of this year’s giveaways:  Kevin Youkilis (May 10th),  Chase (July 5th), Robinson Cano (July 19th), Nomar Garciaparra (mini bobblehead on August 9th) and Joba Chamberlian (August 23rd).

My favorites are baseball cards, and the Thunder are giving away two sets this year:  the regular team card sets on June 21st and all-time Thunder team card sets on August 3rd.

MLB Network is bringing former Cincinnati Reds star Sean Casey to Arm & Hammer Park on May 28th to sign autographs and meet fans; New York Giants punter Steve Weatherford will meet fans and sign autographs on June 12th courtesy of Steiner Sports.

There will be various other giveaways throughout the season, plus frequent fireworks nights.

I’m hoping to go for the baseball card giveaways and to see Steve Weatherford… let’s see how things work out. Which promotions are you most interested in?

Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

Blood clots, blowouts and Bryce Harper’s gold shoes…

Tuesday morning, Tony LaRussa‘s All-Star Game snub of R.A. Dickey still seemed like the biggest story around the Mets’ pitching staff…. at least until word broke that Dillon Gee was hospitalized after having surgery for a blood clot in his right shoulder.

Dillon Gee’s 2011 Allen & Ginter baseball card

Mets manager Terry Collins told the NY Post that he was “very, very worried about” Gee, and thanks to Toby Hyde’s research on other pitchers with blood clots, it’s easy to see why. Adam Rubin spoke to a medical expert who attempted to explain the medical issues involved, and I’m also worried for Gee. I’m glad the doctors were able to catch it before it became a more severe problem, and I hope that Gee is able to make a full recovery.

Gee’s trip to the disabled list offers Collins a chance to give Miguel Batista more innings, and that’s exactly what he plans to do. Better to run the 41-year-old poet out there for a spot start or two than to force Matt Harvey to the majors before he’s ready, I suppose.

There was an actual game Tuesday night amid all the hoopla in Kansas City. (To hear some columnists, not to mention Bud Selig and player’s union head Michael Weiner, you’d think it was a “let’s gang up on Robinson Cano” festival. While I don’t support the people who made nasty comments to Cano’s family, I hardly think anyone needs a reason to boo a Yankee – and leaving the home team player out of the home run derby can’t have seemed like a good idea to anyone other than Cano.)

Continue reading “Blood clots, blowouts and Bryce Harper’s gold shoes…”

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Garden gnomes invade Trenton Thunder promo schedule

image taken from Trenton Thunder website

The Trenton Thunder announced a few additions to their 2012 promotional schedule this week, including appearances by former National League All-Star shortstop Larry Bowa and New York Giants punter Steve Weatherford as well as things like “Ugly Sweater Night.”

But perhaps the most unusual addition is scheduled for Sunday, July 8th when the first 1,800 fans ages six and up will receive a “Robinson Ca-Gnome” collectible.

From the press release:

Gnomes were first used in Germany in the 1800’s as a way to protect gardens from evil sorcery and bring good luck. On Sunday, July 8, the first 1,800 Thunder fans ages six and older will take home a Collectible Garden Gnome that’s worthy of protecting even the lush turf at Yankee Stadium. The Thunder’s “Robinson Ca-Gnome” giveaway presented by Black Bear Franks will feature the likeness of former Thunder star and current Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano in traditional gnome attire, complete with a pointy cap.

I can’t wait to see if it will really look as weird as it sounds.

(I still have one ticket that I can’t use for the the 7 p.m. Trenton Thunder game on Thursday, April 5th. If you can use it, email me at PaulsRandomStuff@verizon.net.)

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