Posted in Baseball, New York Mets

Snowed out

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Only one playin today is this dude!

A post shared by Kevin Plawecki (@kplawecki26) on

The New York Mets were indeed snowed out on Monday, so the New York debut of Gabe Kapler’s Bullpen Follies has to wait until tonight.

Instead, I watched the Houston Astros beat the Baltimore Orioles 6-1 in their home opener. Before the game, the Astros unveiled their 2017 World Series Championship banner (with the help of a leafblower.)

I found it interesting that while the Astros have won seven division championships and three wild card berths, it looked like they only have two banners on display – their 2005 National League pennant and the 2017 World Series one. I think I like the “keeping to essentials” approach.

The Astros are a fun team to watch. Charlie Morton may be the best number five starter in baseball, but as good as their pitching is their hitters are better. At this stage, everyone knows about Jose Altuve… but George Springer is every bit as exciting. Alex Bregman impressed me with his hitting and defense and Marwin Gonzalez impressed with his versatility.

I could easily see the Astros successfully defending their World Series title.

Other odds & ends:

Posted in Autographs, Baseball, Binghamton Mets, Uncategorized

Mets autograph of the moment: Omar Quintanilla

Yesterday’s mail brought a signed baseball card of former New York Mets shortstop Omar Quintanilla.

Quintanilla will never be remembered for the stats on the back of his baseball card – he has a .220 lifetime average with 8 home runs and 74 RBI in 402 major league games over nine seasons.

Now he did have his moments, with the odd game-winning hit here or there… but on-field accomplishments are only one reason to appreciate a baseball player.

When I remember Quintanilla, I will think of the times he signed autographs for fans at Citi Field on days when the “better” players wouldn’t even stop long enough to wave. And I’m not the only one who remembers Quintanilla for his fan-friendly attitude.

When I posted a photo of my signed card on Twitter yesterday, I got this response:

Best of luck to Omar Quintanilla on the Albuquerque Isotopes this year.

Omar-Quintanilla

I got to watch my first full Mets game of the season last night, aided by a timely rain delay that allowed me to get home from a meeting before the first out was recorded. And the Mets cooperated by getting that first loss of 2015 out of the way.

There’s been a lot of griping about the batting order Terry Collins has used over the first two games of the season, and I admit it’s not the one I’d write down if I were filling out the lineup cards. I’ll chalk up the lack of offense in the first two games to facing great pitching, but if the struggles continue in Atlanta I’m going to be concerned.

I also wasn’t thrilled with the botched rundown play in the bottom of the seventh inning. Sure, it didn’t cost the Mets a run… but it was bad fundamental baseball – what exactly were the Mets working on in Port St. Lucie for the last six weeks?

Allan Dykstra plays for the Binghamton Mets in 2011 (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
Allan Dykstra plays for the Binghamton Mets in 2011 (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Congratulations to former Mets farmhand Allan Dykstra, who was called up by the Tampa Bay Rays yesterday when 1B James Loney went on the disabled list.

Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

Are the Mets making the right call to pass on Maddon?

Joe Maddon
Joe Maddon (Photo credit: Keith Allison)

Joe Maddon surprised a lot of people yesterday by exercising his option to get out of the last year of his contract to manage the Tampa Bay Rays. By doing so, he instantly became baseball’s most talked-about free agent.

Mets Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon immediately shot down the idea that his team would be pursuing Maddon.

New York Post sports columnist Mike Vaccaro to echo the thoughts of many Mets fans when he wrote:

As of right now, immediately, it really doesn’t matter what promises Sandy Alderson made to Terry Collins. Because as of right now, immediately, Alderson has it within his grasp to make a move that would be the first legitimate game-changer on his watch as general manager of the Mets.

Continue reading “Are the Mets making the right call to pass on Maddon?”

Posted in Autographs, Baseball, Uncategorized

Autograph of the Week: Thomas Coyle

Thomas Coyle 2014 Bowman autograph insert card
Thomas Coyle 2014 Bowman autograph insert card

Thomas Coyle is a second baseman in the Tampa Bay Devil Rays farm system. A 16th-round draft pick in 2012, the 23-year-old Pennsylvania native is hitting .249 with five home run, 27 RBI and 22 stolen bases through 92 games for the Charlotte Stone Crabs in the Single-A Florida State League.

Coyle could be an interesting sleeper prospect if his offensive numbers improve once he leaves the pitcher-friendly ballparks of the Florida State League behind, or he could find himself trying out for independent league teams in another year or two if they don’t.

Among younger baseball players, Coyle’s autograph stands out because it is fairly readable.

I received this card as part of the prize in @seansa91‘s Twitter contest earlier this summer.

Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

Evan Longoria, David Wright, Brandon Hicks and Tim Byrdak

The Tampa Bay Rays, a team that at least one prominent baseball writer believes has no long-term future in Florida, nevertheless found the money and will to sign their best player to a contract extension that will pay him an average annual salary of $16.7 million until he’s 36.

Will David Wright be the next star third baseman to sign a contract extension? (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

The New York Mets, who play in the largest media market in the United States, have yet to announce a similar contract extension for their best player. Without being privy to the negotiating process, who can really say whether the fault lies with David Wright and his representation, the finances of the Wilpon family or Sandy Alderson‘s willingness to spend money on baseball players?

(I think $63 limited view nosebleed seats for Opening Day just might be an indicator, though.)

Alderson is continuing to fill the Las Vegas 51s’ roster (or the Mets’ bench), though. On Monday, the Mets announced that they had purchased the contract of former Atlanta Braves prospect Brandon Hicks from the Oakland Athletics.

As MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo reports:

Hicks, 27, hit .172 with three home runs in 22 games for the A’s last season, appearing primarily as a shortstop…. Spending most of last season at Triple-A Sacramento, he batted .244 with 18 home runs in 328 at-bats there.

Ronny Cedeno, your services may no longer be required…

The Mets also re-signed one of their own free agents, although the move makes little sense to me. Thirty-nine year-old lefty specialist Tim Byrdak has agreed to a minor league deal with New York. He had surgery to repair a torn interior capsule in his left shoulder in September, and is likely to miss at least the first half of the 2013 season.

This is the same injury that Johan Santana and Chris Young were trying to come back from this season, with mixed results. I’m not aware of any relief pitchers who have returned from similar injuries, and I question whether Byrdak’s shoulder will be able to hold up to the strain of throwing nearly every day.