1/18/20

OPEN THREAD - Your favorite Third Baseman

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This is a tough one...

Who is your all time favorite third baseman?

Some to consider...

David Wright... Howard Johnson... David Wright...

Hubie Brooks... Robin Ventura... have I mentioned David Wright?
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Reese Kaplan -- Things are Better Than They Seem

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At this time of the year a great many people are skeptical about the moves made by the front office to prepare for the upcoming 2020 baseball season.  The Mets have operated in the pre-BVW era with a garage-sale mentality when it comes to improving the roster.  Last year Brodie blew the doors off that staid sedan type of mentality, and while not everything worked as hoped, the second half of the year showed a team capable of playing winning baseball.  Then when they decided they needed to do still more, hope soared.

Yes, there were missteps.  The Carlos Beltran managerial signing was an incorrect move both based upon the lack of experience he brought to the role and the apparent insufficient background check of this prospective candidate which, this week, confirmed everyone’s worst suspicions.  However, rather than thinking of it as a bad thing, I perceive it as a rare “do-over” in which the Mets can now select a more seasoned managerial candidate to begin their new season.  The bad part is having to rush through the process with Spring Training starting on February 10th for pitchers and catchers.  That’s just 23 days away, just over three weeks to background check, hire and radically integrate a new manager. 

A lot of people are moaning about the inclusion of pitchers like Rick Porcello who has not approached his Cy Young level in quite some time, and Michael Wacha who pitches better when his arm is not falling off his body.  They fuss and complain that the Mets did not lock up Zack Wheeler when they had the chance.  Little do they realize that the 5-year $118 million deal would average out to over $23 million per year.  Had the Mets gone down that road for the often sore-armed pitcher, they would have had no money to pay the likes of Porcello, Wacha and Dellin Betances.  Wheeler is good but I don’t know that his ability is on par with his paycheck.  They did the right thing here. 


Another blip in the off-season roster construction was the departure of free agents like Todd Frazier and Juan Lagares.  Frazier became somewhat irrelevant assuming Jed “Waldo” Lowrie is back among the baseball living, backed up ably by Jeff McNeil, J.D. Davis, Luis Guillorme and others.  The overpriced Lagares was replaced defensively by the much less expensive Jake Marisnick.  He’s probably a little disappointed he won’t be getting opposing sign information by former manager Carlos Beltran, but he’s been brought here for late inning glove and arm reinforcement for some of the more offensively capable but defensively challenged outfielders. 

Is the off-season a stellar one?  Well, considering there are still question marks about the backup catcher, the capability of the starting centerfielder, the health and ability of the bullpen arms and the sagacity of the selection of Wheeler replacement innings for the starting rotation, the answer is probably no.  Throw in the eleventh hour search for a new manager and people might even be more negative. 

However, look at the second half production last year and ask yourself how well would the team do if they were able to replicate that output over the full six months of the season?  Now throw in the prospective additions of Yoenis Cespedes, Jed Lowrie and full season production from others who did not have that level of health and opportunity.  It probably is a solid foundation plus extra pieces.  Did they go far enough?  Maybe not.  However, there is still time.

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John From Albany – Mets Breakfast Links 1/18/2020

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Jonathan Niese and Carlos Gomez were in action last night in the Dominican Republic and lots of links as always this morning.

Ken Davidoff thinks the Mets latest Managerial opening is a “golden opportunity” for Brodie Van Wagenen.  “Van Wagenen whiffed on his first managerial hire, Carlos Beltran, when the legendary former player got wiped out in the Astros’ sign-stealing tsunami, so now it’s take two for the beleaguered general manager as he prepares for his second season...he can pick from a crop that includes a gaggle of accomplished managers (The Post’s Mike Puma reports Dusty Baker’s candidacy has gained steam, though there hadn’t been any contact as of Friday afternoon)… Most who miss out on the Astros’ and Red Sox’s managing gigs would gladly accept the Mets’ spot…Why? Because their roster clearly has talent.”


Metstradamus weighed in on the possibility of a veteran manager being hired:  “That said, it isn’t happening. I can’t see Brodie Von Ego put his ego aside for some good ol’ collaboration with a strong personality. I also don’t see Fred and Jeff Vanderbilt paying Baker what I think he would want to come out of semi-retirement at the age of 70 to take over. But again, these are weird and desperate times, so we’ll see.”





Cooperstown Cred says forget twitter, Curt Schilling is a Hall of Famer: These articles from Chris Bodig are full of great points.  One quick highlight - “Schilling’s 216 career wins are low for a Hall of Fame starting pitcher and his 3.46 ERA is high. There is only one pitcher enshrined in the Hall of Fame who has both fewer than 220 wins and an ERA higher than 3.45. That one pitcher is Jesse Haines, a long-time hurler for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1920-1937 who finished with a 210-158 (.571) career record and a 3.64 ERA.” As the headline suggests, he has lots of arguments for the positive in the article as well.


Mets.com talked about how former Met Pat Mahomes is relishing in his son’s NFL success.

MLB.com had the top catching prospects for 2020.  #5, Francisco Alvarez with an estimated arrival time of 2023.

MLB.com also had the top defensive prospects for every team.  For the Mets, SS, Andres Gimenez. ”Gimenez was the shortstop on MLB Pipeline’s 2019 All-Defense Team and was in the mix again this year after a strong defensive campaign as Double-A Binghamton’s everyday shortstop. A plus runner who earns similar grades for both his fielding and arm strength, Gimenez committed 11 errors in 112 games last season and has totaled just 25 miscues over the past two years. What’s more, the 21-year-old appears ticketed for a breakout offensive season after winning the 2019 Arizona Fall League batting title (.371).”





Just one game last night in the Dominican Republic, but it was very interesting.  The Aguilas Cibaenas and the Tigres del Licey played 12 and a half innings only to have the game suspended in a 5-5 tie due to rain (box).

Carlos Gomez went 2 for 5, 1 RBI, a double, run scored, a walk and a strikeout.  He also threw out a runner trying to go second to third on a sacrifice fly.

Jonathan Niese came in the bottom of the 5th inning with a man on and gave up a single to Emilio Bonifacio, another single to Erick Aybar (scoring the inherited runner), then he hit Socrates Brito with the pitch to load the bases before being replaced.  The next pitcher was able to end the inning with just one run scoring (aided by that Carlos Gomez throw to third).  Jonathan’s line last night: 0 innings, 2 hits, 1 run.
Dario Alvarez pitched 1.1 innings and gave up 2 runs, 2 hits with 2 strikeouts.

Just one game in Puerto Rico as the Cangrejeros de Santurce beat the Indios de Mayaguez 3-0 (box). No current or former Mets in action in that game.


UltimateMets has the date in Mets History:

Transactions:
New York Mets traded 
Tim Leary to the Kansas City Royals for Frank Wills on January 18, 1985.

New York Mets traded Aaron Ledesma to the California Angels for Kevin Flora on January 18, 1996.

New York Mets signed free agent Roberto Hernandez on January 18, 2005.

Toronto Blue Jays signed Jeremy Reed of the New York Mets as a free agent on January 18, 2010.

New York Mets signed free agent John Lannan of the Philadelphia Phillies on January 18, 2014.

New York Mets signed free agent Adrian Gonzalez on January 18, 2018.


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1/17/20

OPEN THREAD - Your Favorite All Time Mets Starter

8 comments


Boy, this is going to be a tough one...

Who is your all time Mets starters?

Some to consider...

Tom Seaver... Dwight Gooden... Jacob deGrom...

Jerry Koosman... Al Leiter... Sid Fernandez...
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Tom Brennan - METS' BACK UP CATCHING SOLUTION

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Devin Mesoraco Wikipedia


Simple Question - and there's no "catch":


Given that catchers take a beating behind the plate, are you satisfied with going into 2020 as a playoff-hopeful Mets team with a guy who, in his career, has a split in 249 career plate appearances of .187/.222/.291?

And who has throw out just 8 of 63 would-be base stealers?

That's Tomas Nido, and I say that maybe a back up catcher of such caliber would be OK for a losing team like Baltimore or Detroit, where it really doesn't matter.  

But it wouldn't be OK for the playoff-focused Mets.  Not at all.

Keep in mind that in a season where the Mets missed the playoffs by a mere 3 games, Nido hurt the cause by hitting just .191/.231/.316 in 144 plate appearances, and throwing out just 3 of 37 (EIGHT PERCENT)!!

I wonder if the Mets instead had a back up catcher guy in 2019 with the same number of plate appearances as Nido, who hit .230/.290/.370 and threw out (let's say) 12 of 37 runners, if it would have allowed the Mets to squeak into the playoffs instead of just missing them?

Decisions like these truly matter.

Wilson Ramos was quite sturdy in 2019, with 524 plate appearances in 141 games and a .288/.351/.416 split,  3rd in games played and plate appearances by a catcher in all of baseball in 2020.  Kind of hard to repeat, I'd say.

Ramos' numbers were superior to Nido's results by a country mile: .097/.120/.100.  

That is simply a huge production gap between Ramos and Nido.

What if Ramos gets hurt in 2020 and only plays 100 games?  Only 14 catchers played more than 110 games in 2019.

What then?

Nido for 300 + plate appearances?  Scary, scary thought, if his production were not to somehow drastically increase.

A lot of us were quite unhappy with Kevin Plawecki while he was a Met back up catcher, because he hit just .218/.308/.330 as a Met.  A change of scenery to Cleveland did little for him, as he hit .222/.287/.342 in 2019.  

He didn't improve offensively...why should we assume Nido would?

And Nido's 2020 would have to increase over his career #'s by 31 points (Average), 82 points (OBP) and 41 points (Slug %) just to equal Plawecki's unacceptable results.

And we were far from thrilled at Plawecki's career 23% base-stealers-caught %, but Nido is 10 points lower at 13%.

And Plawecki in the minors hit .296/.364/.451 career.

Nido in the minors?  A far lower .263/.303/.378.

Unless they are expecting a magical increase from Nido offensively in 2020 that Plawecki was unable to achieve in 2019, why should we expect Nido to even hit .200?  Or start throwing out 2 or 3 times as many runners?  

I don't.

The Mets need a bona fide # 2 catcher.  Period.

As a possible 3rd catcher, Ali Sanchez has never hit for power and may hit no better than Tomas Nido, but in the minors, Ali has thrown out 174 of 375 would-be stealers - a stellar 46.4%.  He probably could, at age 23, use a full year of hitting in AAA to get his bat to improve more.  

But he has steadily improved bat-wise, and could be viable as a catcher for the Mets in 2021 who could, if not be the # 1 catcher, play a lot and be reasonably effective.

Macks Mets Tony Plate suggested a trade for Wilson Contreras - that would be a radically bold move.

One guy who ought to at least be considered is Devin Mesoraco.  

He did not play in 2019, giving his body a much-need year off, and hit .222/.306/.409 while hurting for the Mets in 2018, and threw out a weak 21% (partially, I am sure, due to poor pitcher work holding on runners).  

Maybe, at age 32, he'd be willing to give it a whirl for one more year.  Make a few million.

Or someone else hopefully is still realistically available to be had.

The Mets NEED a viable, effective back up catcher - period.
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Reese Kaplan -- The Other Shoe Surprisingly Dropped

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If you ever want to get into an interesting debate between generations, gather a number of age groups together and speculate on whether the world has indeed grown crazier or if merely has better access to information and SEEMS to have grown crazier but is probably actually less crazy with the multiple methods available to cloak one’s identity.  In baseball terms, world class players like Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Mickey Mantle and others had, shall we say, colorful off-the-field characteristics, yet it didn’t stop them from succeeding at what they did best. 


When the whole Houston Astros scandal became a front-and-center topic for blogs, Facebook, Twitter and plain old paper media, a great deal of the furor was the result of easy access to communicate which was not possible back in Ruthian days.  Everyone from the loudmouth at the corner bar to the Pulitzer prize worthy sports journalist weighed in heavily on what happened, why it was wrong, and what should be done about it. 

In a parallel path during the off-season, people were excited at the prospect of the Mets seeking a more advanced path to the championship by finding a Mickey Callaway replacement who had experience, player relatability and, hopefully, a “connection” to the Mets that fans would relish.  Many Mets players have retired who are held in high esteem, including David Wright, Curtis Granderson, Mike Piazza, Dave Magadan and others.  

It was somewhat surprising, therefore, to see a team so vocal about inexperience interviewing a great many associated with the game who had little or no major league managerial experience, deludedly thinking it was a step up from Callaway.  You could easily make a case for a guy like Tim Bogar who had a 600 game minor league managerial career with a .576 winning percentage and an interim major league interim record over .600. 


It was curious, therefore, to see a player who, between his rough first year as a Met and his semi-arthritic last year would become legendarily disliked for the end to the 2006 playoff chase as he stood like a stone gargoyle, helplessly leaving his bat on his shoulder to get called out on strikes to end game seven of the playoffs to determine who would advance to the World Series.  Yet it was that man -- Carlos Beltran – that the Mets felt would be the “name” recognition they desired.  Furthermore, given his personal wealth, perhaps they felt he honestly wanted to grow in this new aspect of a baseball career since he wasn’t doing it just for the paycheck. 

People seemed somewhat split over the decision.  Some could never forgive his Cardinals’ at-bat disgrace.  Others were upset with his having transitioned into a better player post-Mets than the sore­armed pitching prospect they got in exchange for him in trade.  Then they let that youngster walk away to the Phillies this year.  Overall, however, the return of a big name seemed to elicit positive vibes from many and few were as overtly skeptical of the decision as perhaps they should have been.

Then, of course, the two paths of Houston Astro disgrace and Carlos Beltran’s born-again Mets’ prominence converged in a rather unsavory way.  Right away the vast majority of voices were calling for the Mets to sever their ties to the apparently implicit sign stealer, but many columns evolved advocating the Mets stick up for their man. 

It came as a surprise today that the Mets and Beltran agreed it was better to end the distraction before it interfered with what should be a promising and pennant-chasing ballclub.  Depending on whose reporting you choose to believe, Beltran and the Mets mutually agreed he would not be the guy with the lineup pencil in his hand. 

While I was one of the most vocal advocating they sever ties with this follow-up inexperienced manager, I was also likely one of the most shocked when they actually did.  Yes, it puts them into a difficult position just weeks before Spring Training to have to find another guy to sharpen the pencil, but it was the right thing to do.  Say you were Amed Rosario or Pete Alonso or Seth Lugo and now were asked to take your professional advice on how cheating is a necessary way to win from the guy who controls whether or not you get to play?  That’s not the kind of message that should be imparted to any players, but particularly not to younger ones. 

Who they will select to take over is a big question mark right now.  You’ve heard all the speculative names like in-house candidates Hensley Meulens, Luis Rojas, Tony DeFrancesco and even retreads like Terry Collins.  Then there are the highly regarded external choices like Tim Bogar, Eduardo Perez and others.  At this point with time pressure causing a somewhat desperate decision to be made, I don’t have very high expectations for whomever it is.  They may take some steps backwards before moving forward, but the change at the helm needed to be done. 

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John From Albany – Mets Breakfast Links 1/17/2020

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Per Mack’s Mets yesterday Carlos Beltran stepped down as Mets Manager.

The NY Post had some of the reactions from Big-Name Mets figures like Keith Hernandez: “Everybody, calm down,” Hernandez wrote (on Twiter). “This current crisis is unfortunate to the nth degree, but not insurmountable. We have a solid team, good core of young everyday players, mixed with veterans, and a solid rotation. They have great camaraderie, spirit, a will to win, and they’re hungry.”

Per MLB Trade Rumors: “Beltran will not receive any of the approximately $3MM owed to him over the course of his three-year deal with the Mets, the New York Post’s Ken Davidoff reports.  The team has instead made a $200K donation to Beltran’s charitable foundation.”



Metstradamus weighed in with “Once it became about image, perception, and distraction, Beltran was done. Because his bosses care about perception to a fault. And if they feel that the perception and the optics are bad, they’re going to do something about it because they just don’t want to deal with it. Beltran probably didn’t want to deal with it either. He would have had enough agita managing the Mets and working for Jeffy and Brodie without this hanging over his head.”

Per Sports Illustrated: Mets coach Luis Rojas is an internal candidate to replace Beltrán for New York's vacancy. (Ken Rosenthal, The Athletic); ESPN analyst and former catcher Eduardo Pérez is among the top candidates for the managerial position. (Anthony DiComo, MLB.com).

Per Larry Brown Sports: Mets ‘doubtful’ to consider Terry Collins for manager.

Deehsa Thosar in the NY Daily News also noted that Hensley “Meulens, 52, would also make sense in the manager role…hired this offseason to become Beltran’s bench coach…he’d lend more experience managing than someone like Rojas would”.

Want more news about the latest Carlos Beltran/Mets mess? Check out https://sportspyder.com/mlb/new-york-mets/news.
 
On to other Mets news:

Mets 360 had a 2020 projection for Jacob deGrom. Brian Joura as always has lots of great insight including this about Jacob’s first nine starts last year: “n those first nine games, deGrom threw to three different catchers. Wilson Ramos caught him five times, Tomas Nido three times and Travis d’Arnaud once. In the three starts with Nido, deGrom allowed just 1 ER in 21 IP. When he threw to either Ramos or d’Arnaud, he allowed 22 ER in 31 IP.”





However, Carlos Gomez was in action last night in the Dominican Republic, as the the Aguilas Cibaenas beat the Leones del Escogido 9-5 (box).

Carlos Gomez went 2 for 4, 2 RBIs, a double, and a run scored.

Cesar Puello went 2 for 4 with an RBI and a walk.

Dario Alvarez pitched 2/3 of an inning with a strickout.

Not the best night in Puerto Rico for Ryan O’Rourke, the 2019 NY and Syracuse Met and Syracuse Met went 4.1 innings and gave up 5 runs, 6 hits, 3 walks, 1 HR with 3 strikeouts as the Cangrejeros de Santurce lost to the Indios de Mayaguez 9-2 (box).

One minor league free agent that the Mets recently signed, Johneshwy Fargas, saw action this winter in the Mexican Pacific League.  In 32 games and 116 at-bats, the 24 year old hit .207, 2 HR, 13 RBIs, 5 walks, 32 Ks, 8 stolen bases, 6 caught stealing.


UltimateMets has the date in Mets History:
Born on this date:
Transactions:
New York Mets selected Roy Staiger in first round (24th pick overall) of free agent draft on January 17, 1970.

New York Mets selected Kevin Elster in second round of free agent draft on January 17, 1984.

New York Mets signed free agent Rafael Santana on January 17, 1984.

New York Mets traded Kelly Stinnett to the Milwaukee Brewers for Cory Lidle on January 17, 1996.

Pittsburgh Pirates signed Jeff D'Amico of the New York Mets as a free agent on January 17, 2003.

New York Mets signed free agent Chris Young of the San Diego Padres on January 17, 2011.


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1/16/20

METS HONOR MIKE PIAZZA WITH SPRING TRAINING ADDRESS CHANGE

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METS HONOR MIKE PIAZZA WITH SPRING TRAINING
ADDRESS CHANGE

FLUSHING, N.Y., January 16, 2020 – Moments ago, the New York Mets, the City of Port St. Lucie and St. Lucie County honored Hall of Famer Mike Piazza by renaming the street formerly known as NW Stadium Dr. to Piazza Drive and changing the official address of the Mets Spring Training facility to 31 Piazza Drive. Mets COO Jeff Wilpon along with Piazza announced the change in a ceremony in front of Clover Park.  

“We are thrilled to celebrate Mike and his contributions to the organization with this honor,” said Mets COO Jeff Wilpon. “Mike is an integral part of our franchise’s history and he will forever be enshrined in our home away from home in Port St. Lucie. We would like to thank the City of Port St. Lucie and St. Lucie County for their help in making this happen.”

“I am extremely excited that the Mets Spring Training home address and street name will be renamed in my honor,” Piazza said. “Port St Lucie will always hold a special place in my career as the place where I prepared for some of my most memorable seasons, with teammates, staff and of course fans. Florida has been my home for the past thirty years so it’s great tribute for my family and for future generations. I am truly touched and blessed. My sincere thanks to the Mets, Fred and Jeff Wilpon, St. Lucie County and Mets fans everywhere!”

The Mets previously honored Piazza by retiring his uniform number, 31, in 2016 and inducting him into the team’s Hall of Fame in 2013. He was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2016. His 396 home runs as a catcher remains a major league record.

Piazza spent eight years with the Mets from 1998-2005 and ranks first in team history in slugging percentage (.542), third in homers (220) and OPS (.915) and third in RBI (655). His iconic home run in the first game back from the 9/11 attacks helped lift the spirts of New York City. Piazza represented the Mets at the All-Star Game seven times. Overall, the Hall of Famer hit .308 with 427 home runs and 1,335 RBI during his 16-year player career. He was selected to the All-Star team 12 times in his career, was twice the runner up in the National League MVP voting and earned NL Rookie of the Year honors in 1993.
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Breaking News - Carlos Beltran steps down as Mets Manager

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It was pretty much a predetermined move that Carlos Beltran was not going to flourish in a post-playing career given his association with the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal.  There were 25 players on that team yet MLB only included one name in its report.  Since the Player's Union sheltered the league from doing anything to him, it was the league's way of ensuring whomever linked up with Beltran would suffer the consequences.  The Mets, in their short-sighted maneuver in signing the inexperienced Beltran to replace the inexperienced Mickey Callaway, pretty much dug their own public relations grave.  The interest now turns to who will be the on-field and in-uniform manager taking queues from the front office.  Popular names have included Eduardo Perez, Tim Bogar, Luis Rojas and Terry Collins.  Many feel the latter is a good interim candidate to last until Steve Cohen and his wallet come to town. 

Brodie Van Wagenen's statement, “We met with Carlos last night and again this morning and agreed to mutually part ways. This was not an easy decision. Considering the circumstances, it became clear to all parties that it was not in anyone’s best interest for Carlos to move forward as Manager of the New York Mets. We believe that Carlos was honest and forthcoming with us. We are confident that this will not be the final chapter in his baseball career. We remain excited about the talent on this team and are committed to reaching our goals of winning now and in the future.”

Beltran's reply:


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