10/31/11

Cutnpaste: - Mike Pelfrey, Tim Byrdak, Nelson Doubleday, Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran

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Mike Pelfrey: Has a manageable contract and is young. He regressed this season, but there’s still potential for the right pitching coach. But, if they trade him, he would thin out an already spotty rotation. The Mets will keep him and hope he improves. If not, then it might be time to cut him loose. There could be takers at the trade deadline.  http://www.newyorkmetsreport.com/2011/10/25/mets-have-precious-few-pieces-to-trade

Am I nitpicking by pointing out Tim Byrdak’s propensity to walk hitters and his inadequacy vs. RH hitters? Maybe. But the reason I’m not as high on him as others has more to do with inconsistency through the season. Byrdak had a really, really good run in June and July — ironically, the two months when his strikeout rate was at its lowest. He began the season poorly and finished uneven. Don’t get me wrong — I don’t think Byrdak was awful, I just don’t believe he was anything special. But, part of that has to do with my old-school mentality of being opposed to one-out specialists. I believe a team is better served using a precious roster spot with a pitcher who is effective against batters of both sides — particularly on a team that is in rebuilding mode… In September, Byrdak’s contract was extended through 2012, so there’s at least one of the 25 spots on the roster locked up. I don’t know why a team destined for another non-contending, rebuilding season and in financial straits needs to spend money on a LOOGY, but again, the masses found this to be a “smart” move so I’ll step back and let them enjoy the moment. http://www.metstoday.com/7129/2011-mets-evaluations/2011-analysis-tim-byrdak

There are still a lot of National League fans in this town.  If you can show them a clean stadium where they can get a beer and a hot dog and have a good time, you’ve got a good thing going.” – Nelson Doubleday. The year is 1979.  The cheers from the magical summer of a decade ago have long grown silent.  The New York Mets have the worst record in the National League. A stadium, that just 15 years ago hosted the All-Star Game and was a major attraction at the World’s Fair, is filthy, neglected and on most days, empty.  With the exception of homegrown matinee idol and All-Star center fielder Lee Mazzilli; the once-Amazin’ Mets are an embarrassment. http://networkedblogs.com/p5NS6

If you thought the Mets’ process to re-sign Jose Reyes would move as quickly as one of the All-Star’s trademark triples, think again. According to the New York Daily News, New York won’t ink Reyes during their exclusive five-day negotiating window after the World Series ends. Instead, they’ll likely make “a modest offer,” step aside and see what other teams are willing to spend. - http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2011/10/28/report-mets-likely-to-take-wait-and-see-approach-on-jose-reyes

Carlos Beltran has spent the last seven seasons in the Big Apple with the New York Mets before heading out West at the trading deadline to spend the last few months with the San Francisco Giants. But the word from ESPN New York is that he may be moving back to the City That Never Sleeps. This time, though, it would be with the New York Yankees. The site reports that Beltran's name is on the list as a possible replacement to a fellow switch hitter, right fielder Nick Swisher, who has a $10.25 million option that the team has till Nov. 1 to pick up. http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/rumors/post/Yankees-interested-in-Beltran?urn=mlb-411439
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FLASH: - Yanks Sign C.C. To Extension

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"Yankee fans, I’ll be here fighting for number 28 next year" - Tweet from C.C.

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Mets Prospect Alert – SS Juan Carlos Gamboa

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photo by Allan Greene

Who?

Once in awhile, someone sneaks up on me. At last look, I had Gamboa ranked 116th in ‘The Keepers’ series. He was a kid that was signed out of the Mexican League (2010) after hitting only .265. Big deal.

He played the 2010 season for the DSL Mets and impressed: 221-AB, .294/.388/.380/.768. The 5-7 speedster also had 16-SB.

He went back to the Mexican League again (loan?) in 2011, but returned to put in some licks for the GCL-Mets (.340), Kingsport (.256) and an exciting 11 at bats for Savannah (.455/.538/.727/1.266). Okay, it’s a small sample but I don’t get a chance to quote a line like that too often.

Really? Well, here’s his current line in the Mexican Fall League:  .442/.529/.721/1.250 in 43-AB.

Who is this guy? I Google’d his name and the guy that has written the most about him was… me.

Looking at the position of SS in 2012, we assume Jordany Valdespin will play Buffalo. Wilmer Flores and Robbie Shields are projected for Binghamton, and Brandon Brown should open up with Lucy. That leaves either Gamboa or Phillip Evans for Savannah. I would think, for age reasons alone (will play 2012 at 21), Gamboa will play here and Evans will start for Brooklyn.

Sandy Alderson is quoted as saying that he feels the team is light in middle infield prospects. We’ll keep an eye on this kid to see if we found another one.
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Mack’s 25-man: - LHSP Jon Niese

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Okay, get ready here. I’m going to quote some sabermetrics.

Jon Niese has one of the best FIPs in baseball.

Did I say that right? I’m not going to spend any time here explaining what FIP is. We’ll leave that to Michael on the weekend. What I will tell you is critics and scouts all say that Niese had a very unlucky year and is a quality starter. I guess it’s because of his FIP.

Did you check out that Fangraphs post I had up earlier this week showing Niese one of the FIP leaders.

Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is a fatal incurable disease that affects cats. It is believed by some to be caused by Feline Infectious Peritonitis Virus (FIPV), which is a mutation of Feline Enteric Coronavirus (FECV) - (Feline Coronavirus FeCoV). Although there appears to be a connection between FIP and feline coronavirus, no clear cause and effect has yet been proven. Experts do not always agree on the specifics of FIP. However, the most common theory is that the normally benign FECV mutates into FIPV. The mutated virus has the ability to invade and grow in certain white blood cells, namely macrophages. The immune system's response causes an intense inflammatory reaction in the containing tissues. This disease is generally fatal [1]. However, its incidence rate is roughly 1 in 5000 for households with one or two cats. A nasally administered vaccine for FIP is available, but controversial and isn't proven to be highly effective. [2]. Great strides are being made with an experimental polyprenyl immunostimulant being manufactered by Sass and Sass and tested by Dr. Al Legendre. In one case study, a female cat diagnosed with dry FIP has survived 26 months from the date of definitive diagnosis (Fall 2009).

Oh… sorry…

From BP:  Fielding Independent Pitching converts a pitcher's three true outcomes into an ERA-like number. The formula is (13*HR+3*BB-2*K)/IP, plus a constant (usually around 3.2) to put it on the same scale as ERA. It was conceived of by both Tom Tango and Clay Dreslough, the latter of who called it Defense-Independent Component ERA. At BP, we are including hit batters in the walks term. The constant we use is both league and season specific - in other words, a pitcher in the American League will have a different FIP constants than a pitcher in the National League. This differs from the presentation of FIP on sites such as Fangraphs, which use one constant for both leagues in each season.

Hey!  It was conceived by Tom Friggin Tango!!!

Everyone knows I like Niese and, yes, he does have that 4.15 ERA-range down (2009: 4.21, 2010: 4.20, 2011: 4.40), but he’s only 25 and has started for the Mets for parts of four seasons already.  I want this guy on the team when the kiddies come up and I project him as a future killer SP4 or SP5.


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Hot Stove: - Chien-Ming Wang, Davey Johnson, Paul Maholm, Fausto Carmona, Derek Lee

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Rizzo confirmed that the team had been discussing a deal to bring Chien-Ming Wang back to D.C., though he said clearly, "I wouldn't describe it as imminent or close, but we're still communicating and we still have a mutual interest for Chien-Ming to sign with the Nationals." As for the other free agents, the Nats' GM explained that decisions would be made on their futures, "When we get a manager, when our coaching staff is on board, we'll discuss it with them and see which direction we want to go, not only with those two, but with the rest of the ballclub and how to construct the roster."

GM Mike Rizzo: - After a series of discussions, it became obvious that the Nationals would be best served if Davey Johnson would continue as manager.  Davey’s remarkable connection to the clubhouse and D.C. community during the season’s final three months was well received. His baseball acumen coupled with a proper off-season of planning, including a full regiment of Spring Training, should put our players in a position to succeed in 2012.

Pirates declined LHP Paul Maholm's $9.75 million option for 2012. Maholm posted a solid 3.66 ERA and 1.29 WHIP in 26 starts this season, but he eventually had to be shut down with a shoulder strain and there's some concern about his ability to repeat such a high quality stat line in 2012. The 29-year-old left-hander should draw multiple bids on the open market this winter. http://www.rotoworld.com/headlines/mlb/344699/baseball-headlines?r=1

Indians exercised RHP Fausto Carmona's $7 million option for 2012. Carmona posted a rough 5.25 ERA and 1.40 WHIP in 32 starts this season, but the Indians will take the $7 million risk and hope that he bounces back in 2012. The right-hander has the talent to turn it around. - http://www.rotoworld.com/headlines/mlb/344705/baseball-headlines?r=1

We have our first trade of the 2011-12 offseason!  The Indians acquired Derek Lowe from the Braves, tweets John Kreger.  The Braves will pay all but $5MM of Lowe's $15MM salary, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney.  Olney says the Braves will receive 23-year-old High-A lefty reliever Chris Jones in return for Lowe - http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2011/10/indians-acquire-derek-lowe.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter
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FLASH: - Citi Field dimensions (l to r): 335-358-385-408-398-375-330

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FLASH: - Derek Lowe traded to Cleveland

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Cutnpaste: - R.A. Dickey, Damien Magnifico, Lucas Duda, Dae-Sung Koo, David’s Pad

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R.A. Dickey: Teams don’t trade for journeyman knuckleball pitchers in the off-season. They wait for the trade deadline. He’s been arguably the Mets most consistent starter, but he’s a No. 4 according to most scouts, maybe a No. 5. He’s somebody a contender might covet in July, but he’s not going to bring back a lot of talent.  http://www.newyorkmetsreport.com/2011/10/25/mets-have-precious-few-pieces-to-trade

10-28-11: - http://www.soonersports.com/sports/m-basebl/spec-rel/102611aaa.html  - Damien Magnifico, a 2009 fifth rounder of the New York Mets, and Gray, a 2011 10th rounder by the New York Yankees, were both clocked in the mid-to-high 90s in the intrasquad. Magnifico tripped triple digits on the MPH display on the scoreboard, topping out at 102.  "It's pretty amazing," added Golloway on the two pitchers' performance. "We've had that display for a number of years and I have never seen it hit 100. And you have Magnifico hitting 100, 101, 102 today, then you have someone like Jon Gray pitching against him, and he's sitting there rocking the gun at 97-98. It's pretty amazing but those guys also understand its about throwing strikes."

Purely as a hitter, Duda put up numbers over 324 plate appearances last year that stack up on a percentage basis with what Mike Stanton did in 2011 and what Ryan Howard did in 2005. And that’s why I think Duda is a star with the bat in his hands. There are certainly reasons to be skeptical. Duda has neither the pedigree nor track record that Stanton and Howard possess. He’s not come close to matching the over the fence power of either of those two players. And his outfield defense is atrocious. But when he steps into the batter’s box, Duda has put up some eye-opening numbers. Now we have to see if Duda can overcome the adjustments that pitchers make against him this year. We have to see if he can produce over a full season. And we have to see if he can cut it in the outfield. But there are definitely reasons to be excited, too. And the proposed new outfield dimensions at Citi Field could help improve his power numbers. Duda could be the best hitter on the 2012 Mets. That is if they don’t trade him for help in other areas.  http://mets360.com/?p=8305

TO THE untrained eye, Dae-Sung Koo looks like any other weekend warrior at Petersham Oval. But this 42-year-old baseballer is not your garden variety pitcher. After all, we're pretty sure most of his teammates haven't won an Olympic medal, starred for the New York Mets, don't possess a 150km/h fast ball or have an estimated $50 million in career earnings.  But while he can't walk down the streets of his homeland, South Korea, without getting mobbed, Koo has been preparing for the Australian Baseball League in the relative anonymity of a Sydney winter league. http://www.smh.com.au/sport/korea-opportunities--mets-unlikely-hero-finds-a-home-in-harbour-city-20111029-1mpek.html#ixzz1cBfUbUGf

New York Mets star David Wright has been trying to sell his swank penthouse in NYC’s Flatiron District for quite some time… He paid $6.1M for it back in 2006, tried originally selling it for $7,850,000, and has continued to lower the price to unload…Here’s what my real estate expert says about the property, ” I hear rumblings that it’s gonna come down another $200k to $6,750,000. No buyers are stepping up to the plate…In the meantime, Wright is living in a $12,000 pad on the Upper East Side.” http://www.terezowens.com/david-wright-trying-to-sell-swank-penthouse-in-nycs-flatiron-district
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FLASH: - Tony La Russa announces his retirement.

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Top Three Scariest Moments for the 2011 Mets

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The New York Mets have had a season filled with their share of tricks and treats. From the Saturday afternoon comeback against the Yankees and Mariano Rivera to the several Bobby Parnell blown saves, this team has had a wild ride.

On this Halloween day, and in the theme of the the season, I thought it would be interesting to look at the moments that scared us the most from the 2011 season.


Number Three: A 5-13 start

The Mets began the season with decent expectations. They were starting without ace Johan Santana, but were hopeful he would be back by the All-Star break. With a new manager in the fold, they were looking to make a statement. The statement they ended up making was that they were not going to compete. Fans saw the 5-13 start as the end of the season. Only real fans continued to follow them into May and June.

The team started the first series in a promising way by taking two of three from Florida. It went downhill there, though. They lost two of three in Philly and in Washington. If that wasn't bad enough, they were swept in a four game series by the Colorado Rockies at home. That series included a double header sweep.

Two days later, they were swept again in a double header by Atlanta. They even lost two of three to the Houston Astros. That start kept this team out of contention. Even a .500 record in this initial stretch would have been sufficient. They went the rest of the season trying to get even.


Number Two: Two for one special

On August 7th, the Mets were finishing a series with the Atlanta Braves. Jose Reyes suffered a re-strain of his left hamstring. The first injury kept him out from June through the All-Star break. Then, as if that wasn't bad enough, they lost Daniel Murphy. Murphy tore the MCL in his left knee.

Prior to this, he was carrying the team in the absence of Ike Davis and David Wright. This killed the Mets already slim hopes of putting together any kind of postseason run. Reyes came back to win the batting title (though not without controversy) for the first time in Mets history. Murphy is still uncertain for next season.



Number One: Goodbye Carlos

On July 28th, the Mets came to a big decision at the time. They traded their leading power hitter, Carlos Beltran to the San Francisco Giants. The Giants gave up minor league pitching sensation Zack Wheeler. With this trade, the Mets were not only announcing their best hitter this season was no longer a Met, they were saying they were changing direction and had given up on the season to an extent.

It was a scary time for fans because it meant change. As much as Beltran had been scrutinized in Queens, he was also one of the Mets all-time top 15 stat leaders in several categories. They were losing a solid hitter in their history in exchange for an unproven pitcher. For the team, it was scary because the clubhouse dynamic had changed. They had to change with it. The players had to agree that they were not going to throw in the towel.

In hindsight, it may be for the best. Beltran struggled with the Giants and eventually finished the season injured, while Wheeler may turn out to be a top tier pitcher in the rotation. Time will tell just how much the Mets won this trade by, but for now, Sandy Alderson still looks like a genius. At the time, though, Mets fans were being scared out of their seats.

Happy Halloween!
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The Keepers: - #16 - RHSP - Juan Urbina

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16.           SP  Juan Urbina

Urbina was signed this past year as a 16-year old international free agent. Reports are that he is already “hitting 90”, but that’s what everybody says about everybody, including their grandmother.

The same experts have said that he was the top pitcher to come out of the international kiddie signing day. In the past, the Mets used to start these newbies off in Latin America, but not anymore. Watch for him to debit in Florida with the GCL Mets.

6-23-10: - Last year’s big 16-year old international signee, SP Juan Urbina, debuted yesterday for the GCL Mets and done well. His stats were impressive: 5.0-IP, 2-H, 0-ER, 0-R, 3-K, 1-BB. He turned 17 last month. Everybody says this kid is going to be the real deal, but we’ll just have to wait four more years… when he turns 21! Urbina is already hitting the low 90’s and we’ll keep a special look out on him throughout the season.

6-30-10: - Super-prospect Juan Urbina continues to impress at the GCL-level. On Monday, Urbina tossed: 4.2-IP, 1-ER, 6-K and finished the day with a seasonal 0.93 ERA for his first two starts.

8-5-10: - Stock Up – Urbina had another great outing yesterday, going 5.2-IP, 0-ER, 3-K, 0-BB, 4-H. Remember, he’s only 17. His ERA is high (4.84), but that’s due to three horrendous outings where he gave up 16-ER in 10.0-IP.  His other eight outings produced 3-ER in 25.1-IP.

In 2010, Urbina pitched for the GCL Mets and faired well for an 18-year old: 5-3, 11-starts, 5.03, 38-K, 14-BB, 48.1-IP.

2011 Forecast: -  I can't even imagine what it's like for a kid to come to a brand new country and pitch for the New York Mets. Urbina did exactly what the Mets had hoped for when they signed him and he's one of the top young prospects in the system. The good news is he's blocked pretty solid by the plethora (great Howard Cosell word) of young starters ahead of him, and I'm sure you'll see him as part of the rotation in Brooklyn come the spring.

Up: - SP Juan Urbina – I’m hearing that Adam Wogan is spending a lot of time observing Urbina warm up on the back mounds that are usually off-limits to the press. How do I know this? Well, last year I went back there to say hello to Rick Waits and Wogan politely kicked my arse out of der… anyway, looks like Adam has taken a shine to Urbina, who, in my book, is still a long shot for a full season team in 2011.

7-4-11: - http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/07/mets-farm-report-july-3rd-2011-cory-mazzoni-debuts.html  - Another terrible outing from Juan Urbina. For the third straight start he failed to make it to the 5th inning. He didn’t give up many hits today, but displayed poor command once more.



7-5-11: - I know it’s a little early in the short-season team’s schedules, but I am going to have to readjust where I have Mets prospect SP Juan Urbina ranked in “The Keepers”. I’ve had him at #12, which is far too high, even for someone pitching well. He’s simply too young and too far down the chain to figure out yet.

7-13-11: - http://bleacherreport.com/articles/765098-new-york-mets-dillon-gee-and-the-mets-top-10-young-pitching-prospects#/articles/765098-new-york-mets-dillon-gee-and-the-mets-top-10-young-pitching-prospects/page/2  - At 6’2” and 170 pounds, Baseball Prospectus lists Urbina as a top-10 Latin talent. The lefty is known for maturity both on and off of the field, and has major league blood in his system, being the son of former All-Star Ugeuth Urbina. Baseball-Intellect calls him the sixth-best prospect in the entire Mets organization, and one scout called him the best Venezuelan pitcher he’d ever seen. Baseball America ranks him ahead of some already proven players, but also are incredibly big fans of what he can bring to the table. Urbina is lean and athletic, can hit 91 mph with his fastball, and has very good command. His changeup is a good setup pitch, and lots of scouts admire his clean mechanics because they feel as if it will minimize his risk of injury. The Mets may or may not rush him up in the system, but I think that he is the sort of pearl that could handle it either way.

8-5-11: - Stock Up – SP Juan Urbina -  It’s been a while since we said something positive about prospect Urbina, but today is the day.  Hopefully, he began a turnaround last night, going 6.0-IP, 1-ER, 5-H, 6-K, 1-BB for Kingsport. Let’s remember that he just turned 18-years old. ETA is 2015.

8-14-11: - http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/08/kingsport-mets-team-report-stretch-run-edition.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+MetsMerizedOnline-GetMetsmerized-NewYorkMets+%28Mets+Merized+Online%29&utm_content=Twitter - Juan Urbina - The son of the former big leaguer Ugueth Urbina, has been having a very rough year as the rest of the league has been beating him like a drum, at will. His stats aren’t pretty: In 9 GS and 40 IP, he has an ugly 2-5 record, and an ERA of 6.69. His K/BB ratio is very good, 36/16, but he is getting knocked all over the park. 53 hits in his 40 IP, 7 of which are HR’s, and the league is hitting .314 against him. The scouts love him though. After all he just turned 18 earlier this season. He’s 6’2 and throws LH. And they say he can command several plus pitches, So I guess you can chalk this year up to his young age and despite the numbers, this is a very important developmental year for the south-paw.

8-18-11: - Stock Up – SP Juan Urbina – Look, the kid has had a rough season this year, but he put it all together last night, going: 6.0-IP, 0-R, 5-H, 3-K, 2-BB. Had nine fly balls in the 18 outs. Urbina needed this one and, hopefully, he’ll string out a couple of good ones before the season ends. You will see this kid pitch winter ball.

8-22-11: -  #17 – SP Juan Urbina – Urbina is another of those talented raw toolzy guys that is already showing signs of development. He had a good last outing for Kingsports, but pitching at this level is all about teaching, not results. The Mets coaches will work with him to develop 3-4 plus pitchers which will be needed to make it in Queens. If not, he’s a closer in waiting. I have him finishing the year out with K-Port and going to Brooklyn on their opening day. I also look for a winter assignment here. ETA: Earliest 2015

9-25-11: - Juan Urbina – The once 16-year old super-sign had a rough season in 2011 (Kingsport: 4-6, 5.95, 12-starts, 49-K, 56.0-IP), but the 6-2 lefty showed signs of brilliance throughout the season. He’ll play 2012 as a 19-year old, so there is plenty of time here. My concern is his projected velo is still just that, projected.

10-24-11: - http://scoutingthesally.com/game-report-mets-prospect-juan-urbina  - Fastball:  Urbina featured an above average fastball.  He worked primarily in the 87 to 91 MPH range, touching 93 more than once.  When working in the high 80′s, he showed some plus downward movement on his 2 seam fastball.  As the night went on, he had difficulty commanding this pitch.  His 4 seam fastball left something to be desired.  At times was flat, especially when he reached back for extra velocity.  A 93 MPH flat 4 seam fastball got driven for a home run, another was lined sharply for an out. He did not lose velocity despite getting tired, and he last fastball he threw was 93.  When right, he worked in and out with his fastball on right handed hitters, setting them up for his vaulted change up.  Change up:  Going into this game, any scouting report I found about Urbina talked about how good of a pitch his change up is, Those reports didn’t disappoint.  Clearly it’s his best pitch and the pitch that has the ceiling of a plus-plus offering.  His arm action on this pitch is tremendous, especially when you consider he is only 18.  He only slowed down his motion as he got tired and I don’t believe, even then, a good swing was made on the pitch.  It sat between 80-83, with good downward movement.  On more than one occasion, it just dropped off, resulting in an ugly swing and miss.  Breaking Ball:  Honestly, I didn’t see enough to really say anything about his breaking pitches.  I have heard he throws a Curveball and a Slider, but they weren’t on display that evening.



10-27-11: - http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/10/mmo-top-20-mets-prospects-17-juan-urbina-lhp-exclusive-interview.html -   In his last 7 GS of 2011, he went 4-3 with an ERA of 4.00, giving up 36 hits in 36 IP, while striking out 34 and walking 8. Although the overall numbers weren’t so great for the year, it was clearly not a lost season for Urbina. He fought through adversity to turn the season from a negative, into a positive, and learned from the experience. Urbina, now 18, has a clean, effortless delivery and at 6’2, shows excellent mechanics and good command. His fastball and change-up are his best pitches, though the curveball still needs refinement. If he can sharpen his breaking-ball and miss some bats with it, he can move quickly through the system
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Hot Stove: - Yadier Molina, Joe Nathan, SPs, K-Rod, C.C.

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Mets fans know Yadier Molina all too well from his home run that won the 2006 National League Championship Series for the Cardinals. But Molina really was a subpar hitter back in those days. In 2011, Molina put together a .349 on-base percentage and .465 slugging percentage. It appears that, at age 29, Molina is starting to become an offensive force in addition to an elite defensive catcher. The Cardinals have a bargain $7-million option on Molina for 2012 that they'll exercise, and after that, it's in Molina's hands. If he explores free agency after 2012 . . . it wouldn't be as a big a deal as Albert Pujols' impending free agency, of course. But you could argue that Molina would be more difficult to replace on the field, given the shortage of quality catchers. That's why the Cardinals will try to lock up Molina long- term this winter – www.newsday.com

The Minnesota Twins declined the option on former closer Joe Nathan, and on Saturday he acknowledged that the New York Mets will be on his "radar" once free agency begins on Thursday. One of the priorities this offseason for the Mets is to shore up their bullpen, which had an underwhelming 4.33 ERA and 1.45 WHIP this past season. Even more specific, the Mets don't have a clear-cut closer, after Bobby Parnell struggled and blew as many saves (six) as he had. Thus, when the Twins decided against picking up his option, Nathan instantly became a name the Mets have  to consider in rebuilding their bullpen. - http://newyork.sbnation.com/new-york-mets/2011/10/29/2524097/joe-nathan-new-york-mets-free-agency-minnesota-twins

The pool of starters, while not too deep, is certainly worth dunking a toe in, especially for rotation-starved teams. The list has some intriguing names, especially if CC Sabathia opts out of his Yankee contract and hits the open market. Most in the game feel he’ll remain in New York, however. Teams needing help can turn to lefty C.J. Wilson (l.) or, possibly, Japanese star Yu Darvish. Beyond those hurlers, guys like Mark Buehrle, Roy Oswalt, Edwin Jackson, Javier Vazquez and Chien-Ming Wang could be interesting choices, though Vazquez has talked retirement. The team executive said a guy like Wilson would get a good contract, but that it might not be a league-wide bidding war. “It’ll be 2-3 teams going at it,” the executive said. Both the agent and Bowa pegged Wilson as more of a No. 2 starter than a true ace, and both opined that Wilson might be better off going someplace like Anaheim, where he could slot in behind No. 1 Jered Weaver. Bowa thought the Rangers, Yankees and Red Sox would also be in on Wilson. “If he wants No. 1 money, he may have to look for a franchise without one,” Bowa says. But, Bowa notes, Wilson has also had “command issues, a lot of deep counts, a lot of walks. The playoffs haven’t gone as he’d like.” Predictions: Sabathia stays with the Yankees, Wilson signs with the Angels and Darvish (once he’s posted by Japan’s Nippon Ham Fighters)joins the Rangers. Vazquez retires, Jackson signs with the Orioles, Wang rejoins the Nationals and Oswalt helps open the Marlins’ new stadium  www.nydailynews.com

Francisco Rodriguez’s $17.5 million mutual option has been declined, and the Milwaukee Brewers reliever was among 148 players who become free agents Sunday. K-Rod’s deal was reworked when he was traded from the New York Mets during the All-Star break, changing it from an option that would have become guaranteed had he finished 55 games. Rodriguez, used as a setup man by the Brewers, gets a $4 million buyout, up from the original $3.5 million. In addition, the Brewers declined a $6 million club option on shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt), who gets a $2 million buyout. Others whose options were declined included Atlanta outfielder Nate McLouth; Colorado right-hander Aaron Cook; and the San Diego trio of right-handers Aaron Harang and Chad Qualls, and outfielder Brad Hawpe.  http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=ap-freeagents

According to a New York Yankees executive, the terms of a renegotiated deal for pitcher CC Sabathia were transmitted to his representatives over the weekend, but the team has yet to receive a response. "We believe it is a very fair offer,'' the executive said. "But we haven't heard anything back yet.'' Sabathia has a clause in his contract that allowed him to opt out of the remaining three years of his seven-year, $161 million deal after the conclusion of the World Series, which ended Friday. Sabathia has yet to file for free agency, but Yankee insiders expect that despite the new offer, he will opt out to test the free agent market. That would not preclude him from re-signing with the Yankees, for whom he has won 59 games over the past three seasons. Calls to Sabathia's agent, Brian Peters, were not immediately returned. Meanwhile, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has his new contract, but hasn't signed it yet, according to a baseball source with knowledge of the situation. Cashman, whose three-year, $6 million contract expires on Monday, has been incommunicado all weekend. But the baseball source, who was involved in the negotiations for Cashman's new deal, told ESPNNewYork.com that a final version of the contract approved by the Yankees has been in Cashman's possession since Saturday. "All the terms and conditions are done,'' said the source, who declined to provide details of the contract. "My understanding is (Cashman) was going over it with his lawyer (Saturday night).'' – www.espn.com  (update: - SI_JonHeyman - Cc sabathia is planning to opt out of his yankees contract by the monday night deadline, making him a free agent)
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10/30/11

Draft 2012: - Dane Phillips, Josh Sborz, Tommy Coyle, Wyatt Mathisen, Matt Carasiti

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10-17-11: - http://mlbdraftguide.com/1 - Dane Phillips, C, Arkansas - Dane Phillips’ bat should not be in question.  He has hit in both years at Oklahoma State (.337/.413/.477 in 2009 and .339/.391/.518 in 2010) and earned All-Star recognition at the Cape this summer while batting .349/.446/.527 with 4 home runs in 129 at bats. Two questions face Phillips as he looks to improve his draft stock.  First, teams believing in his ability to remain behind the plate will have a large part to play in where Phillips is drafted.  He started only four games at catcher for Oklahoma State last season while starting at DH 47 times.  Phillips got more time at catcher while on the Cape and reports on his defense were promising. The second question for Phillips is whether or not the NCAA will grant his waiver and allow him to play for Arkansas this season.  The opportunity for more time behind the plate was rumored to be one of the reasons for his transfer, but he has to be able to take the field for the move to pay off.

10-23-11: - http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/draft/2011/10/smoral-stands-out-among-big-arms  - • Canes Baseball has gotten good outings from a few arms this week. Nathan Kirby, a lefthander from James River High in Midlothian, Va., showed some improvements in his outing on Friday, sitting 90-91 down in the zone and a good, hard curveball in the high 70s. Righthander Josh Sborz—brother to former Tigers righthander Jay—also stepped up his game, sitting 90-92 and mixing in a mid-70s curveball with depth as well as an 81 mph changeup. He attends McLean (Va.) High. RIghthander Mitchell Brown of Century High in Rochester, Minn. came on in relief and was 89-91 with a mid-70s slurve.

10-24-11: - http://ht.ly/1fi1JH  - We continue the countdown today at number 82 with North Carolina’s Tommy Coyle. The Chalfont, Pennsylvania native attended Germantown Academy where he earned all conference in each of his four seasons. He was named 2009 preseason Louisville Slugger All-American while graduating as Germantown’s all-time hits leader. He help lead team to 2008 Pennsylvania Independent Schools State Title. As a freshman, he appeared in 58 games with 52 starts making 42 at second base and 10 as the designated hitter. He had a .282 average with 48 runs scored and 25 RBI. He spent the summer of 2010 in the Northwoods League with the St. Cloud River Bats. He finished the summer with a .310 average scoring 40 runs.

10-24-11: - http://mlbdraftguide.com/1/2011/10/22/wyatt-mathisen-2012-draft-profile  - Player:  Wyatt Mathisen  Position:  C/SS/RHP  School:  Calallen HS (TX)  Date of Birth:  12/30/1993  Height/Weight:  6’2/215  Bats/Throws:  R/R  Class Of:  2012  Committed To:  Texas Scouting Report: Wyatt Mathisen is one of the top prep prospects from the state of Texas.  Although he has played primarily at shortstop and pitcher in high school, Mathisen spent time behind the plate during the summer and that is where he profiles best moving forward. At the plate, Mathisen has a nice swing with good power potential.  He shows good patience and makes consistent contact. Despite spending most of his time at other positions, Mathisen shows good skills behind the plate.  Mathisen has a strong and accurate arm, with a recorded pop tome of 1.94.  He shows rust in some areas, but that is to be expected until he moves behind the plate fulltime.

10-1-11: - http://xmlbscout.angelfire.com  - Matt Carasiti, St John's, 6'2 200, closer with low 90's fb, shows flashes of two off-speed pitches, slider and change that get by at this level but need work still. 10-24-11: - Aaron Fitt -  Twitter by BaseballAmerica - St. John's RHP Matt Carasiti has been 93-96 with tighter SL this fall, and coach Ed Blankmeyer says he's really turned corner with command.
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Deep League: - Top 100 2011 Draft Prospects

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Bradley O'Neill posted an interesting list of, in his opinion, the top 100 draft prpsoects that came out of the 2011 draft.  The Mets had three:

1. Gerrit Cole—P, Pirates
2. Anthony Rendon—3B, Nationals
3. Trevor Bauer—P, Diamondbacks
4. Dylan Bundy—P, Orioles
5. Danny Hultzen—P, Mariners
6. Bubby Starling—OF, Royals
7. Archie Bradley—P, Diamondbacks
8. George Springer—OF, Astros
9. Francisco Lindor—SS, Indians
10. Taylor Jungmann—P, Brewers

20. Brandon Nimmo—OF, Mets
59. Michael Fulmer—P, Mets
93. Phil Evans—SS, Mets


http://www.deepleagues.com/?p=3711 

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Dirty Laundry - I May Be Wrong, But...

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Dirty Laundry:

1. Phlavio has left Mack’s Mets as a writer and is taking, as he puts it, a “blogging hiatus”. We thank him for his excellent writing and wish him well where he chooses to write in the future.

2. We finally figured out a better way to list the 2012 draft instead of posting a long ass post that dominates the site. You will now find them in “blogger pages” which can be found on the right side of this page. Just click on the link for whatever position you are interested in and it will take you to that page.

3. We also opened up the messages. Anonymous posters can now leave their comments and I no longer am pre-screening any of the posts. All the other writers are good with this and… this is important… we will continue to answer all messages written with respect to the writer of that post.  Most sites don’t answer squat. We answer all.
I May Be Wrong, But…
1. In light of the response to Michael Scannell’s fine 3-part post on losing Jose Reyes and trading David Wright, it’s obvious that fans now realize that the team is rebuilding. The problem is they still don’t realize that it takes around 3-5 years to pull that off. Luckily for Mets fans, Omar Minaya left them with Jenrry Mejia, Ruben Tejada, Lucas Duda, Ike Davis, Manny Acosta, Nick Evans, Jeurys Familia, and Matt Harvey. Add to that Zack Wheeler, Pedro Beato, Tim Byrdak, and the 2011 draft, and the Mets are well on their way (notice there is still far more Omar than Sandy involved in this rebuilding).
Look for the following additions coming to a team near you:
Opening Day 2012:  IF Josh Satin, SP Chris Schwinden
ASG Break 2012:  SP Jeurys Famila, OF Juan Lagares
September 2012:  SP Matt Harvey, 2B Reese Havens, OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis
Opening Day 2013:  SP Zack Wheeler, SP Jenrry Mejia, RP Elvin Ramirez, RP Josh Edgin 
2. I’m removing RP Jose De La Torre from ‘The Keepers’ list. Yes, I have been touting him for a couple of years now (the Mack Curse) and he delivered another great year (0.89) for Buffalo, but he will pitch 2012 as a 26-year old and he simply doesn’t qualify anymore as a possible prospect. Yes, he is injury prone but I can’t understand why he has never been given a chance to succeed. 
3. I talked to someone today that told me “thank God for all you Mets bloggers that are educating the fans about the 2012 season”. He went on to say that there will be a lot less pressure in 2012 to succeed which will allow the Mets to concentrate on the rebuilding of the team rather than signing players they would only sign to keep the fans happy. Gee, I wonder who he was talking about? You know, I can’t find anyone anymore that says this team is going to sign Reyes. 
4. OF Juan Lagares continues to play CF in the AFL, but, more importantly, Jefry Marte is playing first base. We’ve been waiting to see who gets moved first, Marte, Wilmer Flores, or Aderlin Rodriguez and it seems to be Marte. If this is a sign of the future, it seems that Marte will repeat St. Lucie since he is blocked in Binghamton and Buffalo by Stefan Welsh and Alan Dykstra. This would mean that A-Rd will join him in Lucy at third, and Flores will move on to Binghamton.
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Mack’s 25-man: - RHSP R.A. Dickey

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There hasn’t been a better pitcher of the staff in the last two seasons, and yet I still can’t figure out why two Mets managers kept pulling this guy 50 pitches before his arm would become tired.

This is not one of those post series that are going to be filled with a bunch of stats. Simply put, there was no pitcher last season that made me feel more comfortable than Dickey. And, I include his bad outings. The 2011 Mets proved they could score runs and Dickey proved most of the time that he could settle down.

It also seemed to me that the Mets played better when he was in there (somebody go look it up…).

Johan Santana will be given the SP1 slot, even if it is only out of respect. Right now, Dickey would be a lot of people’s SP2, but frankly, you’d like to pitch this guy behind the pitcher with the most heat.  I’d let Jon Niese sit at 95 first, then follow him the next day with R.A.’s 13-mph knuckler.

Long term is definitely up in the air here. First, if Dickey has another year like the last two, he would have to signed for a lot more than the Mets are paying him now (forget age…  knucklers can pitch until they die of natural causes).

There will be lots of young meat in this rotation in 2013 and Niese may be the only survivor here, but I’m sticking with Dickey until he shows he can’t carry his own weight.
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Moving On Without Reyes and Wright - PART 3

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In this final segment, I’ll go over the moves the Mets could make next offseason to put together a serious contender. Since it’s impossible to know exactly what the landscape will be like in a year (who will be available via trade, what FA’s will be available, who will be coming off a down or career year, etc.) I’ll talk about the moves in general terms but give my suggestions based on what candidates would be good fits as of right now looking forward.

After playing through the 2012 season, the Mets could be looking at lineup with young talent around the infield, a young leadoff OFer, a potential franchise catcher, and 4 very good pitchers, all young, cheap, and under team control for years to come. This young core is almost complete, but unfortunately lacking a few key pieces that have to be added from outside the organization and at a high (either dollars or traded talent) cost. To be true contenders, the Mets would have to add two middle-of-the-order-hitting OFers (1 LH and 1 RH) and an SP1.


The moves to look for in the 2012-13 offseason:

- Sign CF Matt Kemp as a FA.

This is the big one. Of course, the Mets cannot build their entire strategy around one player being available and having the ability to sign that player. However, if Kemp makes it to free agency, the Mets have a hole in the middle of their lineup, they are lacking a true star, they have a need in the OF, and they will have money to spend. Kemp answers all of those problems and really would be a perfect fit for the team. How do the Mets sign him with so many questions around baseball about the future of the franchise? Sell him on NYC and what it means to win here. Sell him on how being a star in NYC is bigger than being one anywhere else. Sell him on being the centerpiece and leader of a young group of talented ballplayers poised to go on a run for multiple years. Also, pay him more money than anyone else. With costs low for the team across the board, the Mets can afford to splurge on one shiny new acquisition next year. And, they can afford a big contract going forward because most players on the roster won’t see significant raises for at least 3 seasons. For the few players that do, there will be more than enough room in the budget in the coming years.

- Trade a package of prospects built around Jeurys Familia to Kansas City for LF Alex Gordon.

As mentioned, the Mets will need to add another middle-of-the-order bat. As I’m assuming that they make signing RH-hitting Matt Kemp a priority, I’m also going to assume that they’ll target a LH hitter in trade. Although Gordon should be considered a placeholder at this point, I do believe he will be available and I like him as a fit for these Mets. KC has already talked about signing him to an extension but I don’t believe he’ll play the entire contract out with the Royals. I think they’ll buy out his arbitration years and maybe a year or two of FA. With Hosmer, Myers, and Moustakas figuring to comprise the middle of their order, I don’t see the Royals committing what will amount to 20% of their payroll ($10-$12M per year) to Gordon for the long-term. I think they’ll trade him for pitching, something the Mets can provide. Familia figures to be expendable among the Mets young pitchers as his ceiling has not been projected as high as Pomeranz, Harvey, and Wheeler and the reports of him (whether correct or not) having to move to the bullpen are still lingering. If the Mets can sell him as a future SP1 or SP2 in the right deal, they should.

- Trade a package built around Lucas Duda to Tampa Bay for James Shields.
The Mets need an SP1 to lead their stable of young pitchers. There promises to be a number of FA pitchers available next offseason as well as a few potential trade targets. For now, I’ll settle in on a trade target as the Mets should have some pieces to move and I’d rather trade for a pitcher who will be around for 2-3 years than sign one to a 5-year, $100M albatross of a contract that has the potential to go very bad very quickly. This brings my attention to James Shields. There have already been rumblings about the Rays trading James Shields this offseason, however I don’t think he’ll be moved until next winter, right before he gets a little too pricey for the small market team. I think the Rays would like to keep Shields around for 1 more season until Price-Hellickson-Moore and truly ready to take over the top of the rotation and Wade Davis has established himself a bit better at the back end. As I have written (multiple times at this point) I believe Duda will not be able to handle the OF over a full season and will wind up at 1B long-term, making him prime trade bait next offseason. As I mentioned in Part 2, I believe Duda will continue hitting next year as well as he did in 2011. That makes him a LH 1B with 30HR, 100RBI, .900 OPS potential. This is exactly the type of player the Rays are in need of. The teams match up very well for this trade, even if more pieces will have to be added to Duda to make the deal happen.

After adding the new pieces and building on the foundation established by the end of 2011, I would expect the 25-man to shake out as:

1. Ryan Kalish RF (0.5)
2. Ruben Tejada SS (0.5)
3. Alex Gordon LF (11)
4. Matt Kemp CF (26)
5. Ike Davis 1B (1)
6. Yasmani Grandal Ca (0.5)
7. Reese Havens 2B (0.5)
8. (R)Nolan Arenado 3B (0.5)

SP1 James Shields (9)
SP2 Drew Pomeranz (0.5)
SP3 Matt Harvey (0.5)
SP4 Jonthan Niese (1)
SP5 (R)Zach Wheeler (0.5)

BENCH
Josh Thole (0.5)
Josh Satin (0.5)
Kirk Nieuwenhuis (0.5)
Justin Turner (0.5)
VET
VET

BULLPEN
CLOSER
Rex Brothers (0.5)
Jenrry Mejia (0.5)
Dillon Gee (0.5)
Brad Holt (0.5)
(R)Darin Gorski (0.5)

This lineup carries a price tag of $56.5M. Add in the $12M incurred by trading Bay and Santana at the deadline in 2011 and that brings the total to $68.5M, leaving plenty of room for Sandy&Co. to add 2 veterans for the bench as well as have the freedom spend whatever they might want on a proven closer. The Mets can bring in an established closer for 2-3 years while Mejia, Brothers, and Holt mature until they’re ready to lock down the late innings for the team.

Kalish slides over to RF and settles in as the full-time leadoff hitter after winning the job in the middle of 2012. I’d expect Tejada to play very good defensively and give the Mets Placido Polanco-like production from the #2 spot (decent average, high OBP, solid contact, light power). I would expect Gordon to continue hitting like an all-star and Kemp to continue challenging for the Triple Crown and MVP Award. Davis should continue his progress as a legitimate major league slugger and will have a shot at a monster RBI year with Kalish, Tejada, Gordon, and Kemp all getting on base at a high clip in front of him. Grandal should do well behind the plate and handle the pitching staff as well as provide some decent pop from the 6th spot. If Havens progresses at the same rate as Ike did when first called up, he could become one of the better offensive 2B in MLB in his first full season. Arenado will likely struggle as a rookie, however he figures to hit with some power and continue to not striekout much at all. Hitting at the end of the lineup should take pressure off him.

Shields comes in and leads the rotation for two years while Pomeranz, Harvey, and Wheeler (making his rookie debut in 2013) mature. Niese hopefully continues improving and provides solid production as one of the best #4 pitchers in MLB. The bullpen stays almost the same from the end of 2011, only adding in another needed lefty in rookie Darin Gorski. Depending on who is the closer in 2011 and who is available to close in 2012, the team might decide to make a change (I’ve left the spot intentionally empty for now).

The team as structured could contend for a playoff spot as early as their first year together. I wouldn’t expect miracles and believe it will take a year’s experience before they are truly championship contenders in 2014. The young pitchers will likely have to go through some growing pains before they are truly ready to lead a push towards a title. However I expect that they could steal a wild card berth in 2013.

Going forward, the payroll should be relatively stable for a few years, with only a few extended contracts signed and most players making less than $1M per year. The organization would have the flexibility to keep this group together for a long time with team-friendly extensions OR add replacements if needed, something they could do with excess money to spend and very tradable players (from a financial standpoint). Once the better players are getting to the point that they deserve expensive contracts, the more expensive players on the team will be nearing the ends of their own deals – turning the page will be just natural attrition. Just when Gordon's and Kemp's contracts are coming to and end, Davis and Arenado(?) should be mature enough to move up in the lineup. I don't think it's outrageous to project a future lineup featuring a 3-4-5 of Havens-Arenado-Davis. I think Grandal can also become a middle-of-the-order run producer, however I would never expect the team to rely on a catcher to hit higher than 6th given how many games most catchers wind up missing due to the wear and tear of the position (Piazza was the once-in-a-lifetime exception). If the FO is doing its job in player development, in 3-5 years when replacement talent is beginning to be needed, the team will have a pipeline from its farm system ready to move up. A young and talented major league roster with few holes buys the FO time to revamp the farm to where it needs to be.

Whether the specific players mentioned are acquired or not, the Mets would be best-served to proactively fill as many of the team's holes with young talent sooner rather than later. After a foundation is established, the team will have excess resources and flexibility to go out and add whatever final pieces they need.

As we've seen in the past, building a young core and then supplementing it with veteran talent can pay serious dividends. All in all, everyone has the chance to win: The owners get a low payroll, the FO gets a young, talented, and flexible roster to work with, and the fans get a great team to root for – homegrown talent, great pitching, a coupe of stars mixed in, and hopefully a winner.
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