12/31/12

Mets Outfield, Dillon Gee, Standard and Poor’s, Roy Merritt

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Jamie Shoemaker wrote an article for TTF, named “Where will Michael Bourn play?” In it he says:

B.J. Upton to the Braves. Denard Span to the Nationals. Ben Revere to the Phillies. Chris Young to the Athletics. Angel Pagan to the Giants. Melky Cabrera to the Jays. Shane Victorino to the Red Sox…. Michael Bourn to … whom? …  Mets – I guess they would have the money but why would he sign there? Also have serviceable prospects for much cheaper.”
               
Maybe, we as Mets fans, are sometimes a little too close to the picture. Does the rest of the baseball world think that the reason the Mets haven’t signed a top outfield name is because of the “serviceable prospects” they have in their system? I assume they are referring to Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Matt den Dekker, right?

I want to believe that the Mets can solve this from within, but I just don’t see it, especially for 2013 and 2014. There is a crying need for a solid 25/85 bat to fit himself inside the David Wright, Ike Davis and Travis d’Arnaud 3-4-5 we all dram about come May. I happen to think Lucas Duda will do just fine in the seven hole and produce a 25-75 season.

One more bat, Arnaud, and Zack Wheeler could make for a nice 2013.


Anthony Mccarron

Dillon Gee is about one month into his off-season throwing program already and he’s noticed something different. In years past, even when he was coming off healthy seasons, the first few weeks of throwing felt “real awkward” as his arm and legs and body rekindled his pitching motion and there was always soreness afterward. These days, however, Gee is fresher after he throws, looser. It’s a wonderful feeling coming off the scariest stretch of his pro career, one in which a blood clot discovered in his right shoulder led to anxious thoughts about life and his baseball future and, ultimately, a successful surgery.

Boy, we needed this kind of good news about now in the off-season. It is vitally important that both Gee and Johan Santana come to camp healthy and ready to compete. None of us are expecting that much from the 2013 season… heck, the team just traded a pitcher that was singularly responsible for at least 10 victories… and we’re all exciting in the direction the team’s pitching is going, but it’s still around 18 months away having all their best pieces in place. My 2013 rotation is Santana, Matt Harvey, Jon Niese, Gee, and Jenrry Mejia and it will remain that until the Mets decide elsewhere regarding the SP5 slot, or if one of these guys come to camp with a damaged wing. So far, so good.



On Dec. 21, Standard & Poor’s lowered its rating on the almost $700 million in bonds issued to finance Citi Field, and it said the outlook for them remains negative. The bonds are now rated BB, from BB+. That’s two notches below investment grade, junk bonds in the parlance of the debt market. Jodi Hecht, an analyst at Standard & Poor’s, cited “cash flow volatility,” noting that “a large portion” of the money pledged to pay off the bonds is “game-day revenue,” which includes sales of club-seat tickets, concessions and parking. How the Mets play will affect the prospects for this revenue, she said. Standard & Poor’s “may lower the rating if cash flows continue to decline due to a combination of poor team performance, slow economic recovery, overcapacity in the New York region,” she added. Attendance has fallen three straight seasons, and the Mets have finished in fourth place four consecutive years.
              
  I may write about this team… heck, I might even still root for it… but I definitely do not invest the few dollars I have left in them, especially if their bonds are tied to ticket sales and RA Dickey shirts. Regardless of whatever you have read online about the Wilpons, trust me… they don’t owe a penny regarding this team. They can walk away from this rich for five generations and stick both you, the consumer, and the City of New York, with the debt tied up in this stadium. My strong suggestion to you is to just root for the team and leave the financial portion of this story to periodicals like the Wall Street Journal. Lots of bloggers have tried to “expose” this story and have got it partially wrong. I choose to stay in the minors.


 I couldn’t help but notice that ex-Mets pitching prospect, Roy Merritt, pitched on Sunday night. Merritt is a perfect example of so many pitchers that show so much promise early on, only to hit that  wall at the AAA-level.

The lefty flame-thrower was a 29th round pick in 2007 out of a favorite school of the Mets, Southern University, and he began his Mets career going 2.88 in 17G at Kingsport in the same year. It only got better in 2008 (Brooklyn: 25-G, 1.49, 55-K in 42.1-IP) and we all began to write about the ‘live one’ the Mets found in the late round.

AA-ball, which has cost so many pitchers their careers in past, didn’t seem to get in the way of Merritt. First, he went 3.45 in 56-G in 2009, followed by 3.86 in 60-G in 2010, but it was AAA that turned out to stop Merritt in his tracks. A short stint in 2010 resulted in a blistering 14.54 ERA, while 2011 produced 5.26 in 31-G.

The dream was over and Merritt was released by the Mets. Right now, he’s pitching for Tigres de Aragua ( 3-G, 8-ER, 9.0-IP, 8.00-ERA) after going 4.42 in 5-G in the VWL.

We write about so many of these young prospects that seem to have this game all figured out in the lower levels, but the journey is just beginning for so many of them. Sadly, the game spits out many more of these stories than we care to remember, no less write about.

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