7/1/16

SUE FOR NON-SUPPORT?

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SUE FOR NON-SUPPORT? by Tom Brennan


I did an article the other day about the miserable support the Mets have given "What's Wrong With" Matt Harvey (answer: nothing) over his 81 starts, that have left him with a mediocre 29-28 career mark and 24 NDs despite a 2.88 ERA and tons of Ks. 


He is not alone in Queens.


Wonderful pitcher Jake deGrom, despite a 3.12 ERA over his last 10 starts spanning 63 innings, and a K per inning, is a painful 0-4 with 6 NDs in those 10 starts.  Not...a...single...win. 


Some guys, though, have all the luck.  Yankee great Whitey Ford was 25-4, but with a higher 3.21 ERA, in 1961 - an ERA that of course would have been even higher had he had to face his own thundering teammates.  Jake, however, lacks the good fortune of being able to pitch against his inept teammates.


Time for Jake and Matt to sue in family court for non-support...because the Mets aren't giving them any.
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TWO NOTABLE PROSPECT BATS

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TWO NOTABLE PROSPECT BATS by Tom Brennan
 
 
Just a note for full disclosure. 
 
About 3 weeks back, I wrote that I was stopping my articles for Macks Mets.  Too many other life priorities, not enough time to do lengthy, comprehensive minors updates. 
 
Then I decided to try, try again, with a new M.O.:

 
If can write an article in 20 minutes or less, why not?
 
So that is what I decided to do.
 
This one is about 2 guys in the Mets minors who are worth focusing on:
 
Wuilmer Becerra and David Thompson.
 
Both have had injuries this year, Becerra's limiting him to 13 games in the field, with a trip to the DL, and Thompson also having an extended trip to the DL.
 
Becerra got off to an astonishing 36 for 85 (.424) start with St Lucie, but then I am guessing the injury began to impact him as he went just 20 for 102 after that - but then in the last 3 games, he erupted, going 10 for 15 with 7 ribbies, hitting with such success that WB MUST be feeling better. 
 
Thru Wednesday, he is sitting at .335 despite the injury, good enough to lead the league by 26 points. He does eschew the base on balls with just 9 in 52 games, but he can clearly hit.  His power has amped a bit lately, though he has just a single homer so far.
 
David Thompson actually has missed 20 of the Fireflies' 77 games or he'd truly have eye-popping RBI stats. 
 
The 3rd baseman and 4th rounder in 2015 has a superb 56 RBIs in 57 games.  That leads the league by 6 RBIs, despite all the missed games. Incredible.
 
While the rest of his stat line is not other-worldly, it is quite good: .296/.346/.484, and he has hit a splendid .384 with runners in scoring position. 
 
Maybe he is David Wright's heir apparent.
 
My 20 minutes are up.  See ya. 
 
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6/30/16

Reese Kaplan – Inmates Still Running The Asylum

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The Mets made a roster move today which was to be expected.  With Logan Verrett having started and Sean Gilmartin having turned in two clinkers in a row, one of them had to go.  That much is understood and smart baseball.

What’s not necessarily smart is the choice they made in promoting right hander Seth Lugo from AAA Las Vegas.  What did he do to earn this trip to the majors?  Well, his record was a mediocre 3-4.  That can’t be it.  His ERA is a Pelfreyesque 6.55.  That can’t be it either.  Maybe he’s adept at keeping people off base.  Nah, a 1.625 WHIP suggests just the opposite.  What then warrants his promotion?

Ah, he’s on the 40-man roster!  Swapping Gilmartin with Lugo required no creative machinations.  However, was he the best choice among possibilities?

Remember Josh Edgin?  Yes, he’s also got a somewhat ugly WHIP but he’s also sporting a 1-0 record with a 2.25 ERA.  That suggests he’s been adept at getting out of jams when he creates them (unlike Lugo).  You lose a lefty in Gilmartin.  Why not replace him with a lefty in Edgin?

If you want to get this year’s version of the all-or-nothing reliever, Josh Smoker is fanning 13.2 batters per 9 IP.  His ERA is almost a full run lower than Lugo’s at an unsightly 5.77.  Yet he was bypassed in favor of the 27 year old Lugo.

Then there are the starters who are having a variety of successes and failures such as the 9-3 Gabriel Ynoa, old starter/reliever Rafael Montero or the recently promoted Robert Gsellman who pitched to a 2.71 ERA in AA before his trip to Vegas.  Any of these options would seem to be preferable to the Lugo selection, though options (in Montero’s case) and service time considerations (in Ynoa’s and Gsellman’s cases) must be considered.

Of course, were the Mets to use the 40-man roster properly by releasing Alejandro De Aza, Ty Kelly or transferring David Wright and Lucas Duda to the 60-day DL would open up spots with superior talent.  For example, 24 year old lefty David Roseboom in AA has a 2.86 ERA with batters hitting a paltry .210 against him.  How much worse could he be than Lugo?  What about Luis Mateo, already 26 years old and pitching to a 2.50 ERA (2.53 for his minor league career)?

It seems that the Mets constantly make these roster moves of greatest convenience, least resistance or economic consideration.  Putting the best team on the field continues to be a distance priority.  Don’t get me wrong.  I wish Lugo well.  I hope he breathes a huge sigh of relief in escaping the Pacific Coast League and pitches like Pedro Feliciano did in his heyday.  I’m just not banking on it. 


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I WANT A DO OVER!! BY Tom Brennan

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I WANT A DO OVER!! BY Tom Brennan

Remember when you were a kid and were playing outside and you used to have “do overs”?

Well, I want a do over: I want Daniel Murphy back.

Last year, I wrote repeatedly in the fall to re-sign Murph, trade Duda, put Murph at first base. 
Why? Better and much more consistent hitter and one who had finally tapped into his power game.  One who, when (not if) David Wright went down for a months-long injury, could step right in at third base.

Ownership was stupid, plain and simple – enamored with saving a few mill in 2016, and getting a draft pick, when Duda (57 homers in 2014 and 2015) could have gotten us nice prospects from some team.

Everyone chose to ignore the evidence: Murphy’s new hitting prowess.

In August and September and the playoffs (against severely excellent pitchers), Murphy had 257 at bats, hit .303, with 21 doubles, 2 triples, 15 homers, and 48 RBIs.  I tried to convince people he was a new Murph, new and improved. 
My friends all agreed.  The Wilpons and Sandy did not, sadly.

Duda in 2016, pre-injury, was the same old inconsistent guy who’d not hit well in the clutch, frustrate you watching him take pitches, and hit occasional long homers. Whoopee.

Murphy in 2016?
Hitting .352, 38 XBHs in 293 at bats in 76 games, MVP candidate. 
But notice: his stats are remarkably similar to those from August through the last game of the WS in 2015. 

So, for the heck of it, let's combine those 2015 and 2016 #’s: 550 at bats (less than a full season), 41 doubles, 6 triples, 29 homers, 101 RBIs, .330. 
And the fans deliriously chant DE AZA, DE AZA.  Just have to double de Aza's .165 average and you get (yes) Daniel Murphy's .330.  Easy breezy.

Oh, I know - $30 million a year over 6 years was a lot to pay a guy like Murphy.  Wait….What?  He only cost $37.5 million for 3 years??

AND THE METS SAID NO???????

And, of course, to compound the fracture, he goes not to the AL, not to the Western Division, but to our division rivals. 
We keep him, we’re back in the World Series.  We don’t?  The Nats may get there. 
All we can hope for, Mr. Wilpon might say , is meaningful post-July 4 BB.

I want a do over.  Don’t you?
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6/29/16

WHAT'S WRONG WITH HARVEY!!!! by Tom Brennan

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WHAT'S WRONG WITH HARVEY!!!! by Tom Brennan

What the heck is wrong with that Matt Harvey? 

Met fans' myopia, is all.  Because....

NOTHING is wrong with Matt Harvey.

We as run-starved Mets fans expect Matt to perform miracles, but a full analysis causes one to consider all factors. 

The overriding Matt Harvey problem since he turned pro?  He did not force his reluctant teammates to hit for him.  It's all Matt's fault for not forcing them to score more for him.

I looked back at his career: any guy who has a career 2.88 ERA over 81 starts should have a fine career record, not 29-28.  Wins in just 29 of his 81 career starts, only 36%! 

Darn, what is WRONG with this guy?

Let me repeat: NOTHING.

In those 28 career losses, 36% of his starts, they have scored a dismal 48 runs.  JUST 48 RUNS!!!!  JUST 1.7 RUNS PER GAME.

In those 24 career no-decisions, 30% of his starts, they have scored a nearly-as-dismal 69 runs.  JUST 2.9 RUNS PER GAME.  And in 3 of those games, they scored 21 runs, so in the other 21 NDs, just 2.3 runs per game.

In the unbelievable 64% of games that he either lost or had an ND, a gosh-awful 117 runs in 52 games, or 2.25 runs per game.

So, let me repeat again...what is wrong with Matt Harvey?  The stinking team he has played for, that's what.

Yeah, Tom, but what about 2016?  What about this team ever picking HIM up, rather than the other way around?  Matt struggled early in 2016 for sure, but in his last 6 starts, he has surrendered just 9 runs, which is superlative, and yet is 1-3 in that stretch!!!

Tom Seaver went through the same crap before he went to Cincy.  Despite some ERA slippage in Cincy (he clearly was starting to slide, as one has to factor in that he now had the HUGE benefit of pitching against awfully puny Mets hitters), he had a year where he went 14-2 and one where he went 14-3 with the Reds.

My advice to Matt?  If it is up to you, unless this historically awful offensive team puts in REAL fixes, and commits to fielding a team that scores in the top third of all teams in baseball instead of the bottom 5, leave when you can.  As fast as you can.

Become the winning pitcher we all know you ought to be.


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Reese Kaplan -- An Almost Mid Season Report Card

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With 75 games under their belts already the Mets head into the 2nd game against the division leading Washington Nationals on Tuesday night in third place, trailing the somewhat surprising Florida Marlins by a half game.  Despite the lackluster results, there have been a number of good things that have happened from the Mets thus far this year:

  • Noah Syndergaard has turned it up a notch
  • Jeurys Familia has set a new club record for consecutive saves
  • Bartolo Colon has shown he’s still got the ability to get hitters out with ease
  • When healthy, the rest of the starting pitchers have turned in some brilliant performances
  • James Loney providing near .300 hitting after getting rescued from my hometown of El Paso
  • The new keystone combo have been as everything Sandy Alderson could have hoped
  • Yoenis Cespedes is on his way to an MVP type of season


Unfortunately the list of the bad is quite a bit longer:

  • David Wright’s career perhaps over
  • Lucas Duda out for months with a stress fracture in his back
  • Travis “DL” d’Arnaud having missed most of the season thus far
  • Zach Wheeler, Steven Matz and Noah Syndergaard having elbow issues
  • Juan Lagares is also out with a thumb ligament injury
  • Matt Harvey pitching more like The Joker than the Dark Knight of Gotham
  • Antonio Bastardo looking like Oliver Perez
  • Alejandro De Aza making fans long for the offensive prowess of John Mayberry, Jr.
  • Michael Conforto demonstrating that skipping AAA might not have been prudent
  • Logan Verrett demonstrating why he was DFA’d by the Mets once already
  • Kevin Plawecki seemingly haven forgotten how to play this game
  • Curtis Granderson looking like the 2014 version rather than the 2015 version
  • Terry Collins now adding an inability to deal with the media to his dubious resume
  • Thus far the front office only able to get bench pieces and not a big bat
  • All or nothing offense – 5th in HRs but 13th in RBIs and 14th in AVG.  

It's beginning to look like the club is not going to hit the post-season without some major changes. Yulieski Gourriel could potentially be a help in both batting average and run production while filling in at David Wright's former home at 3B.  Since he's available for money and no scant resources which would have be sacrificed in a trade, it may very well be a risk the Mets need to take since he alone is not enough to propel them back into contention.  It may take some package of Gavin Cecchini, Dominic Smith or Wuilmer Becerra to land another quality hitter to play either 1B or one of the corner outfield positions.  Of course, making that kind of trade would require benching unproductive players (in the case of Curtis Granderson) or a productive but not run producing players like James Loney.  The Mets are not the courageous types that seem ready to do either with salary dictating Granderson's playing time and media backlash that would result from sitting a guy hitting .298.  The fact remains that the club is in dire need of another Yoenis Cespedes type of bat and pretty much anyone of the field should be prepared to sit if one can be acquired.  

My grade thus far overall for the club is C+ -- slightly above average, mostly due to pitching. 


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6/28/16

Yunel Freakin' Escobar?

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So the Mets have suddenly done a 180 on character...first it was Marlon Byrd, then came Bartolo Colon, next was the reunion with Jose Reyes and now they're considering the acquisition of Yunel Escobar to help their beleaguered offense.

For those of you who do not remember, Escobar has not been exactly beloved in any of his five MLB clubhouses and was suspended in Toronto for putting the word, "Maricon" in his eye black prior to taking the field.  For those of you who do not speak Spanish, the rough English equivalent is "faggot".

Now Escobar maintains that he was using it in the same way someone might use the word "retarded" to describe something less-than-brilliant, rather than its exact meaning as mental deficiency.  In other words, he meant no harm.

While ballplayers have all said/done things they regret, it's not the first time this issue has arisen.  In fact, Noah Syndergaard got called onto the carpet when in the minors for using the word "fag" in a Twitter conversation with a friend as a put-down of sorts.

So assuming we can forget the character issues (as the Mets apparently have), let's look at Escobar from a purely baseball standpoint.  He's a good hitter.  This year his power is down a bit with just 3 HRs and 20 RBIs but he's hitting .310 which is above his career mark of .282.  His defense has been in steady decline for years and he's considered something of a liability wherever you play him.  He's earning $7 million with an option for 2017 at the same salary with a $1 million buyout.  The deal has the Washington Nationals paying $1.5 million of his 2016 salary which would carry over should the Mets go ahead and acquire him from the Halos of Anaheim (or whatever they're calling themselves this week).  A pro-rated $5.5 million would make for a better bench option than Alejandro De Aza, for sure, but he's a sunk cost.

Could he help?  Sure...in a James Loney kind of way, he's a high average/low-power type of hitter. The problem is that the club is without potentially 60 HRs between Lucas Duda and David Wright, so I'm not sure this solution is the right one.  

Furthermore, acquisition of Escobar would either make him a rather expensive bench piece in the supersub role (able to man 2B, SS and 3B all poorly), or would push Wilmer Flores into that position. All Flores has done since becoming a regular in June is hit .319.  And he earns close to minimum wage.

If it's my money, instead of sacrificing scant resources in minor league trade chips to acquire someone who would be a nice-to-have but not a -- to use Sandy Alderson's terminology -- difference maker, I'd sooner see them simply spend money and push hard for the Cuban free agent Yuliesky Gourriel who is available to the highest bidder come Saturday.  Then you could have the minimum wage Wilmer Flores as a supersub or platoon partner for Loney at 1B.

-- RK
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PASS THE CHIPS

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PASS THE CHIPS by Tom Brennan

Elbow joints, always the elbow joints.

Jake deGrom and Matt Harvey used to have messed up elbows, now they only have messed up minds due to lack of run support.

Steve Matz has an elbow chip - will it be surgery or grin and bear it until year end?

Thor has a barking elbow joint.  A lighter Uru Hammer might help.

Zach Wheeler went from a messed up elbow joint to a nerve-pained elbow joint, and is now back soft tossing.  Hopefully, the joint will respond to Advil and he will finally be back here within 4 weeks.

Josh Edgin's elbow joint seems to be rehabilitated, but his ticket to Queens has not been issued by the ticket joint.

If the team was in Colorado, I guess one option might be to light up medicinal joints to keep Bill Clinton from telling our guys "I feel your pain."

The Mets appear to be about to face a stud whose elbow joint they were too skittish to gamble on at draft time, Lucas Giolito.  He will be a real pain in the .... to Mets' fans in the years to come.

Michael Fulmer's elbow joint must be fine - 3 earned runs in 44 innings over his last 7 starts.  If he stayed in NY, he'd probably have an inflamed elbow by now.  instead, he'll be an All Star in the AL.

Lastly, Yankee fans I know also have sore elbows - from elbowing me while they laugh about the Mets' sputtering chances at a return to post-season.   My elbow's fine, but my ribs are sore.  Ease up, fellas.

A typical Mets rollercoaster season - keep your elbows tucked in on those turns, folks.
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6/27/16

Mets News -- Some Dire, Some Good

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Let's have the bad news first.  Steven Matz has been diagnosed with a bone spur in his pitching elbow which the club has acknowledged already may require surgery.  If so, what is the course of action?

I'd go with Sean Gilmartin (lefty replacing lefty) to tide them over until Zack Wheeler is deemed ready.

Even if it's a matter of a relatively short DL stint, you still need a plan.  Just don't make it Logan Verrett.



On the more positive note, Yulieski Gourriel posed in some Instagram photos today in Mets gear.  I don't know if he did the same when he worked out for the Dodgers, but I'll take whatever encouraging signs I can get.

-- RK
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WHY JOSE? by Tom Brennan

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WHY JOSE?  by Tom Brennan

I am excited Jose Reyes is coming back.  If everyone's dirty laundry in life came into full, unfettered view, boy oh boy would the hypocrites be scurrying for cover.  It goes back to Adam and Eve, when they did the wrong thing and were scrambling for fig leaves to cover up their nature suits.

Jose Reyes deserves a second chance.  To use another biblical reference, we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  He is repentant, his wife could have left with millions but stayed.  I'm OK with Jose.

But - Why Jose Reyes?

Simply, the Mets are 28th in scoring and 29th in batting average - AFTER HITTING .255 IN THEIR FIRST 22 GAMES SPANNING APRIL, IN WHICH THEY AVERAGED 4.9 RPG.

Since then, 52 games, 3.1 RPG and a rip-roaring .222 average.   Which has to be the worst in terms of average and scoring over that span by far.   As a fan, I am befuddled how often this team over the years goes into a prolonged hitting abyss that is something experienced to that degree by no more than 2 or 3 other teams.

And, recall that the Met hitters' plight would be far worse if they had to face METS' PITCHING!!

I believe Jose will be the spark to get this excruciatingly boring, moribund hitting squad going.  Thank heavens he is back. 

So:

Get Conforto back in gear, and back here ASAP. 

Exile de Aza. 

If still sputtering, definitely sign Gourriel. 

BUT STOP TORTURING THE PITCHERS - HIT!!!

If Harvey pitched for the Bosox, he'd probably be a 10 game winner and no one would be worried about him.  HIT for these guys. Come on!
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