6/25/19

METS TO HONOR TOM SEAVER WITH ADDRESS CHANGE THURSDAY AT CITI FIELD

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MediaAdvisory

METS TO HONOR TOM SEAVER WITH ADDRESS CHANGE
THURSDAY AT CITI FIELD


DETAILS:       The New York Mets and the City of New York will honor Hall of Famer Tom Seaver by changing the address of Citi Field to 41 Seaver Way as well as renaming the street between Northern Blvd. and Roosevelt Ave. to Seaver Way


WHEN:            Thursday, June 27 at 11 a.m. (media call time is 10:00 a.m.)


WHO:              Mets COO Jeff Wilpon
Members of the 1969 team – Jerry Koosman, Cleon Jones, Ron Swoboda,
Seaver children and grandchildren


WHERE:         At the Executive Entrance at Citi Field. Members of the media are asked to park in Lot G via Roosevelt Ave. Please note, 126th street will be completely closed from Northern Blvd to Roosevelt Ave beginning at 10 a.m.


RSVP:             Credentials are not required, but media members are asked to RSVP to Zach Weber at zweber@nymets.com.
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Tony Plate - NY Mets Fine Both Callaway and Vargas for Incident

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SAFE AT THE PLATE, WITH TONY PLATE



The New York Mets fined both Mickey Callaway and Jason Vargas for their conduct and roles in a clubhouse altercation with reporter Tim Healey from Newsday at Wrigley Field this past Sunday. A source said the fines totaled $10,000 each for Callaway and Vargas. 

The Mets did not issue further discipline and will not suspend either individual. Brodie Van Wagenen met with Callaway and then met with Vargas. He does not expect Callaway and Vargas to receive any additional discipline from Major League Baseball.

The Mets lost a very tough game to the Chicago Cubs on Sunday. Callaway was very frustrated over the loss. He had asked staff to have the reporter removed from the clubhouse, using profanity. Vargas then physically threatened the reporter and had to be restrained by his teammates from going after the reporter. 

Van Wagenen said that “The Mets organization does not condone that type of behavior. The altercation was disappointing. It was regrettable on many levels.  We are trying to create a healthy work environment for everyone that participates in the game. It includes the players, coaches, media and everyone else.”

The Mets issued a public apology to Healey on Sunday and ownership personally contacted him after the incident. Callaway described the incident as a misunderstanding. He said “I understand that I can’t control the actions or words of others, but I can always control my reaction to those things.” 

Callaway spoke to Healey since the incident and things are now fine between the both of them. 

A couple of hours after his initial press conference, he reappeared in front of the media and issued a clearer apology. He said “I apologized for my reaction. I regret the distraction it has caused the whole team. I’m not proud of what I did to Tim. I’m definitely sorry.”


Vargas gave a brief statement and didn’t take any questions and did not address the incident directly. Van Wagenen said he still has confidence in Callaway’s ability to do the job. It is unfortunate that this incident occurred.

In sports, sometimes things like this happen where tempers flare among a team after a tough loss and they lose their composure when questioned by a reporter. The media has to do their job and at the same time the team has to maintain their composure.


HOOPS - In other sports news, the NBA held their player draft and the New York Knicks drafted Duke’s RJ Barrett in the first round and Ignas Brazdeikis out of the University of Michigan in the second round. The Brooklyn Nets drafted Georgia’s Nick Claxton and UCLA’s Jaylen Hands in the second round.


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Tom Brennan - ODD AND INTERESTING OBSERVATIONS IN THE METS MINORS

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Over a long season, one sees the odd and the interesting everywhere.  

We certainly see lots of odd stuff in Queens, and some mighty interesting ones, like Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil, tearing up major league baseball even more than they were tearing up AA together in the first few months last season.

Let's look at just a few of the many odd and interesting tidbits of 2019.

ODD:

Before 2019, if you were asked quickly about the hitting of two excellent AA defenders for the upcoming season, Andres Gimenez and Ali Sanchez, most would have said: 

Gimenez is our # 1 prospect, he'll hit; Sanchez is a reputed light hitter, who knows?

Through Sunday, though, Sanchez was hitting .289/.349/.348 in 45 games.

Gimenez?  52 games, just .226/.293/.337.  Go figure, right?

How does the # 1 prospect (Gimenez) compare to other shortstops in the system right now?

AAA Luis Guillorme is hitting more like a # 1 prospect: .297/.408/.392 in 549 games.

And former Met Ruben Tejada in AAA is hitting .351/.432/.553, kinda Mike Trout numbers.

2nd year SS in St Lucie, Manny Rodriguez, is hitting .263/.347/.321.

And 18 year old SS Ronnie Mauricio is hitting .286/.326/.382.

So the Mets # 1 prospect is the # 5 shortstop in their minors statistically right now.

Heck, now that Gavin Cecchini (remember him?) started his rehab with Brooklyn finally, Andres might be both # 1 prospect and # 6 SS.

Pretty odd.  If you ask me. 

Now:


INTERESTING:

Mets top rising minor league starting pitchers were expected to be Anthony Kay, David Peterson, Simeon W R, and Tony Dibrell.  

Record, including Ks and WHIP, for each in 2019:

Kay: 76 Ks, 71 IP, 1.02 WHIP

Peterson: 73 Ks, 65 IP, 1.45 WHIP

Simeon: 65 Ks, 50 IP, 1.29 WHIP

Dibrell: 58 Ks in 67 IP, 1,28 WHIP

All pretty solid.  

Then there is unheralded starting pitcher guy:

Dedniel Nunez: 82 Ks, 66 IP, 1.05 WHIP

I guess we all ought to be paying attention to Nunez, huh?  He's been pretty interesting this year.


ODD:

While the NY Mets pitching staff is hitting over .200, Tim Tebow in AAA is hitting .147 in 177 at bats, with  4 fewer homers than the Mets pitchers.

Maybe Tebow should take up pitching.


INTERESTING:

One start does not a career turnaround make, but former 2nd rounder Andrew Church, still only 24, caught my attention.  

In a career marked with a lack of memorable performance levels (441 IP, just 295 Ks, 4.79 ERA), Church came into this past weekend's start with only two 2019 outings: 4.2 IP, 15 H, 2 Ks.  Seems like washed up pitcher's numbers to anyone. 

But numbers are. sometimes just numbers.

I watched him for a bit as he threw 7 innings in his last start in AA on good old MILB TV, and after allowing a 2 run jack in the first inning, he allowed just 1 earned run over his final 6 innings, fanning 7, hitting 94 pretty consistently and flashing a nice curve.  

Hmmm...could Church be ready for a career renaissance? 

Finally...


ODD:

Well, really, not so odd.

The young Columbia Fireflies couldn't hit their way out of a paper bag early in 2019, hitting just .194 through the first 35 games.  Was it youth?  

Not sure, but I will say this, happily:

In the next 35 games, they've hit nearly .260.  A sixty six points differential is odd, but when its a PLUS 66, that's GOOD!



That's all for today, folks.  I need time to go scream at a reporter right now - maybe I'll punch him, too.  What the heck.   In Metsville, doing that is NOT odd - it's ordinary.

The Mets hitters (except No-Show Robbie Cano) showed again on Monday night that they are more than ready to be part of the solution in 2019.  

The pitchers, however, have not gotten the memo.  

The ice under Mickey's feet just got a little thinner.


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6/24/19

Mack - 2019 Mets Transactions, Kudos, Comments, and Draft Update

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Friday, June 21st


                 Kudos –

                       DSL-2 RF/CF, Dyron Campos: 3-5, R, .315

This is the first professional season for the 18-year old

DSL-2 LF, Kenedy Corona: 2-5, .353

      This is also the first professional season for this 19-year old.

DSL-1 3B, Wilmis Castro: 3-4, 2-R, 2-RBI, .355

      Another first year 18-year old.

DSL-1 RP, Jhonfran Escalona: 2-IP, 0-R, 1-K, 0.00

      This is now 8.1 scoreless innings over 5-G

DSL-1 RP, Ronny Rincones: 3-IP, 0-R, 3-K, 0.00

      Ronny is now up to 11.2 scoreless innings

A+ St. Lucie RF, Edgardo Fermin: 2-4, R, .333

Rookie-Kingsport 2B, Gregory Guerrero: 2-4, 2-R,, 2nd HR, 2-RBI, .313

      Great start of the season for this ex-prospect.

Rookie-Kingsport SP, Ramon Guzman: 3-IP, 0-ER, 0.00

      Born in in 1996… needs to move

Low-A Brooklyn RP, Dan Goggin: 2-IP, 0-R, 2-K, 0.00

AAA-Syracuse LF, Arismendy Alcantara: 3-5, 2-R, 5th HR, 5-RBI, .367

      Alcantara is steadily playing in the outfield lately which is something we may want to keep an eye on. One thing… he can hit AAA.


Saturday, June 22nd

       The New York Mets signed the 34th ranked IFA prospect for the 2018/19 season, 16-year old catcher Fernando Villalobos.

The money for this was reported to have come from the Broxton deal.

I’ll give the Mets this… what the ‘Boys from Boston’ have brought to this team, through both the domestic and international draft, is top dollar. And we still haven’t seen the crop of talent that will be signed this year internationally.

Absolute great foundation work.


A-Columbia RP, Chris Viall, retires.

Viall was a 6th round pick in 2016 out of Stanford University. He also had a 9.55-ERA this year in 19 outings. 

Smart guy.

       The Mets sign pitcher Danny Hrbek and assign him to A-Columbia.

Hrbek was undrafted in 2017 out of Radford. He went 4-2, 4.50, in 24-apps for the A-Lexington team/Sally League, in 2018

            Kudos –

Rookie DSL-1 Mets 3B, Federico Polanco: 3-5, R, .339
                        Moved over from shortstop.

Rookie DSL-1 RP. 19-year old Cristian Olivero: 3-IP, 0-ER, 3-K, 0.73

Rookie DSL-2 RF, 18-year old Dyron Campos: 2-5, R 2-RBI, .321

Rookie DSL-2 relievers… Antonio Villaba (1-IP, 0-R, 0.00), Marcos Villegas (2-IP, 0-R, 0.00) and Eiker Huizi (1-IP, 0-R, 0.90).

This looks good, but means nothing. Still, it would be nice if one of these guys made it to Queens someday.

A+ St. Lucie 3B, Edgardo Fermin: 2-3, R, RBI, .381

A+ St. Lucie rehab assignment, RP Luis Avilan: 1-IP, 0-R, 1-K, 0.00

A-Columbia, RP Danny Hrbek: 2-IP, 0-R, 3-K, 0.00

      Nice first game back.

Rookie-Kingsport CF, Kennie Taylor: 3-5, .316

Rookie-Kingsport C-DH, Andres Renault: 2-5, R, RBI, .526

Rookie-Kingsport C, Matt O’Neill: 2-2, R, RBI, .429

Rookie-Kingsport 2B, Greg Guerrero: 2-3. R, 2-RBI, .368

Rookie-Kingsport RP, Jender De Jesus: 2-IP, 0-R, K, 0.00

AA-Binghamton RP, Stephen Villines: 1-IP, 0-R, K, 0.00

      It looks like it’s a great move to send Villines back to AA to get his red game back on. The shame is they haven’t done the same to Gilliam, who gave another run up Saturday  night in 0.1-IP.

Low-A Brooklyn RP, Andrew Edwards: 2-IP, 0-ER, K, 0.00

Low-A Brooklyn RP, Matt Mullenbach: 2-IP, 0-R, 3-K, 0.00

Sunday, June 23rd

      There were no transactions

           Kudos –

                 AAA-Syracuse 1B, Travis Taijeron: 15th HR

AA-Binghamton SP, David Peterson: 6-IP, 2-ER, 8-K

Excellent. You do this consistently and you make my team.

A-Columbia LF, Wagner Lagrange: 3-5, R, 2-RBI

      The good news… BA has creeped up to .269. The bad news… born in 1995

A-Columbia SP, Thomas Szapucki: 45-pitches, 3-IP, 1-ER, 4-K, 2.55

      These are great numbers for a guy literally re-learning how to pitch. Root hard here. He’s still my top SP in the chain.

Low-A Brooklyn RP, Nelson Leon: 2.2-IP, 0-R, 0.00

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OPEN THREAD - Should Mickey Calloway Be Fired This Week

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The events that happened last night in the Mets clubhouse after the game warrant some kind of immediate action this week.

I had hoped that Mickey wouldn't be around this long, but now, there doesn't seem to be anymore options for him.

I've been in that clubhouse and watched the gaggle of reporters go after a player or manager for actions and plays that happened in the game that just was completed.

I've also watched members of the press suck the kneecaps of ballplayers for a decent line or two for an article they were writing, only to find the player the next morning shaking his head while he read the snarky opinions that same reporter said about him the day after that interview. Back in those days, the Mets used to lay out the NY press sports sections for all the players to see.

Not anymore.

I haven't said the nicest thinks in the past regarding the press pool. They treated me like crap (minus Kevin Kernan and Adam Rubin), but I will tell you this...

They are unionized and have an iron clad contract.

They can't even be removed from covering this team unless the editor of their newspaper agrees to replace them for unprofessional actions.

Lastly, Tim Healey of Newsday was NOT the unprofessional here.

(I was in the Mets clubhouse when Jay Horvitz had his dust up with Adam Rubin and accused him of trying to take away his job. Rubin was not the unprofessional here and remained on his job)

I don't know where this is going but I will tell you this... Mickey is dead to the NYC press now. They will never come back from this. POTUS will get better press than him in the future.

For this reason, and this reason alone, he must (at least) be replaced with his bench coach and a new search be made for a 2020 manager.






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The Kids are Alright: The Youth Movement in the Citi.

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The Kids are Alright: The Youth Movement in the Citi

Ah, the Mets. Could they win their first road series since April? Could they move within a game and a half of second place and tie the Phillies? Could the bullpen respond and preserve a 3-2 lead going into the 9th at Wrigley Field? The questions abound. But the lingering, most important query of them all stands. 

Is there hope for the 2019 New York Mets?


Is the house that Brody built falling apart? The Mets would squander their lead. That hanging slider from a pitcher who probably should not have started the inning. Of course, hindsight is ALWAYS 20/20, as the adage goes. And, of course, Mickey would have made a “gutsy” call if Lugo were able to complete a scoreless bottom of the 8th and 9th

Amidst reports of Mickey yelling and cursing and Vargas putting on his best Mike Tyson, is seems that the season is plummeting into irrelevance. The Mets do not seem like a team with enough starting pitching depth, nor an adequate bullpen. The offense, while at times showing glimmers of firepower, often sputters like a push mover running out of gas, twirling ineffectively and inefficiently on a humid summer day. 

There is hope, however. 

Pete Alonso. Just Pete. NOT Peter. He reported to spring training in a haze of question marks and uncertainties that were supposed to be more “defined” that his spot in the roster. Would he be able to handle major league pitching? Could he become an adequate defensive first baseman? Would management decide to hold him in the minors in order to gain more long-term “control” over his contract? 

Pete, not Peter, Alonso, has obliterated the uncertainties for the 1st half of his inaugural 2019 major league season. Yesterday, Pete broke Darryl Strawberry’s single season rookie home run record. 

He has hit consistently, and with power, batting .276 with 27 home runs and 61 RBIs at just about the halfway mark. He has proven to be more than an adequate defensive 1st baseman, not the liability that many in the organization thought he might have been. 

Jeff McNeil came up last year from Triple AAA and played 63 games for the Mets in 2018. He hit .329 and played an exceptional 2nd base (in my humble opinion). He was a highlight, along with Jacob deGrom’s Cy Young pitching performance,  in yet another disappointing Mets non post-season experience. 

Jeff McNeil, although not in the Sunday’s lineup, continues to “rake”, as we say in the baseball vernacular, hitting 5th in the NL batting title race, with an average in the .340s. With an affinity for clutch hits, “hard” play, and the ability to play multiple positions, he conjures images of Ron Hunt and Bud Harrelson. 

Are these guys “saviors” by any means. No, dare I say. Are these performances supposed to “undo” my feelings of doom, gloom, despair, and “here we go again?” Probably not. 

But just like 1983, when Keith came, and Darryl was brought up, they seem like precursors to something yet coming. Like the reinforcements riding in over the desert horizon, bringing water, food, ammunition, relief for parched lips, sustenance for starving bellies, and…hope…”

As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1969 World Series Championship, is this the “new” 1984? Are these guys what we can “build” around? Or are they seen as trade fodder for the new era of free agents that we pay big bucks to for big disappointments and unrealized dreams of playoffs and championships? 

It would be easy for me to forget the Jason Bay/Carlos Baerga/Mo Vaughn signings if I didn’t feel like Robinson Cano is stomping on my dreams with every “ground into a double play saunter to first base.” It would be easy for me to forget these free agent signings if most of our free agent signings led to more playoff appearances and World Series championships. 

I’m tired of the “what could have been”, “what should have been”, “why can’t we’s”. 

It is time for the Wild Card, the playoffs, the World Series, EVERY year. 

These kids are alright…and so are MY expectations. 


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Reese Kaplan -- BVW Not the Architect of Worst Mets Deals

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With Brodie Van Wagenen’s rookie season not going quite so well as that of ballplayer Pete Alonso, one might conclude that his free agent purchases were indeed the worst in club history.  Granted, no one is going to nominate the man for Executive of the Year after the way things have unfolded.  After all, none of Jeurys Familia, Jed Lowrie, Justin Wilson nor Luis Avilan have worked out as expected.  That’s a sad state, for sure, but how does it rank among the club’s checkered history of participating in the free agent marketplace?  Once again BVW is proving to be a rank amateur compared to other decision makers of the past.


Bobby Bonilla

It is with great embarrassment each July 1st we celebrate the anniversary celebration that’s come to be known as Bobby Bonilla Day as a result of the very poor deal negotiated to get out from under $5.9 million final year obligation in 2000.  With an 8% interest rate attached to it, the $5.9 turned into nearly $30 million when factoring in the longevity and exorbitant interest.  At the time the cash flow issue was predominant but Bernie Madoff was returning 12-15% per year, so 8% probably seemed palatable.  Still, the extra $24 million or so the Mets wound up owing Bonilla is chump change compared to…


Jason Bay

At the time the Mets were trying to become relevant once again they had the choice to go after Matt Holliday and Jason Bay to fill the need for a big bat in the outfield.   Although they had similar run production numbers, Holliday was the far greater hitter with a career .318 average up until that point during his days spent primarily in Colorado.  Perhaps they feared the Coors Field effect or more likely they feared his price tag (eventually signing with the Cardinals for 7 years and $120 million dollars).  Omar Minaya and the Mets cheaped out once again, inking Jason Bay to 4 year/$66 million deal.  Now, to be fair there were concussions that curtailed Bay’s career, but he wasn’t doing anything prior to his mishandled injuries either.  Holliday had eight more productive seasons in the big leagues, though his power did dip a bit when he missed some time due to injuries.  Although that contract was long held up as the standard against which all others are judged, the loss of $60 million is not the greatest magnitude.  Back then insurance on long term deals isn’t as common as it is now, but for gross dollars, it doesn’t hold a candle to others.


Yoenis Cespedes

The latest contract was a situation of bidding against himself when Sandy Alderson doled out $110 million over 4 years to the prodigious and oft-injured slugger.  For a three-year period encompassing 2017, 2018 and 2019 Cespedes has provided 26 HRs, 71 RBIs and a .282 AVG.  Those numbers over 478 RBIs wouldn’t be bad on the way towards a 30 HR+ season but that’s over the course of THREE YEARS.  At an average annual value of $27.5 million, that’s a mighty price to pay.


Pedro Martinez

While he added instant credibility to a mediocre team after fleeing Boston, the fact is that what the Mets got from Martinez was not what they’d expected.  He made fewer than 20 starts per season on average and he delivered a 3.88 ERA, not exactly the future Hall of Famer type of performance.  He was paid $53 million over the course of those 4 years.


Other Dishonorable Mentions

Omar Minaya’s dynamic duo of Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez were certainly ill-conceived contracts for which the Mets got almost no value.  Both turned out to be poor, relatively short term deals that the club ended prematurely by dumping them rather than continuing down the road of allowing sunk costs to occupy unproductive roster spots.  Too bad they do not any longer believe in moving on from talent misjudgments. 

Two oft-cited contracts were really in the forms of extensions rather than straight free agency – Johan Santana and David Wright.  Both turned into disasters due to unfortunate health situations.  Santana had been the Mets’ record holder with a $137.5 million contract extension until eclipsed by Wright’s $138 million.

Of course, there’s another conspicuous one front and center.  The Mets need to pay Robinson Cano about $64 million.  For that they also gave up Jay Bruce, Anthony Swarzak, Jared Kelenic, Justin Dunn and Gerson Bautista.  They did pick up Edwin Diaz and received salary relief from the first two contracts, but the lackluster production Cano has provided (when healthy) suggests they will regret this deal for a long, long time.

Have I missed any other contenders for this dubious title?

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6/23/19

Tom Brennan - IT'S THE PITCHING, STUPID

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Pictured: Anthony Kay, who is not yet with the Mets pitching staff

Bill Clinton once got elected by saying, it's the economy, stupid.

In baseball, quite often, it's the PITCHING, stupid.

Only 3 teams in the bottom half of baseball in team ERA have winning records, and those 3 combined are only 14 games over .500.  Pitching is essential to getting into post-season play.

I saw an astonishing thing today - Edwin Diaz, Jason Vargas, Steve Matz, Noah Syndergaard, and Zack Wheeler all have worse ERAs that the Cincinnati Reds pitching staff, in most cases substantially so.

Somehow, Cincy pitchers have compiled a team 3.55 ERA.

The Mets, known more often than not for their pitching prowess, have a 4.63 ERA.

Also, the Reds have gotten by with just 16 pitchers, while the Mets have used 25.

The difference in ERA and pitchers used seems almost impossible to believe.

Both teams, somehow, are 3 games under .500.  

If the Mets to date can match the Reds in that win-loss category, perhaps smelling salts for the pitchers can awaken them.

It sure seems like the old Mets pitching coach, Dave Eiland, so highly regarded by many, may have been overrated.

Can the Vulture, Phil Regan, save the day?  Or can these Mets pitchers show enough gumption to realize they should be where the Reds are ERA-wise, and actually start pitching like it?

Time, which is running out quickly, will tell.  

A good time to start is: TODAY.
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