2/15/13

2-15-13 – SNY, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Mike Piazza, Travis d’Arnaud, Fred Wilpon

4 comments



SNY  will significantly expand its Mets programming with two news shows this season:

Mets First Pitch presented by Cadillac will air prior to Pepsi Max Mets Pre Game Live and feature in-depth instructional segments with Ron Darling, Keith Hernandez and Bob Ojeda; Terry Collins pre-game presser; Exclusive one-on-one’s with SNY’s on-air talent interviewing players and opposing players, managers and GM’s; Interactive social media elements; Viewer/fan phone calls with SNY’s on-air talent; and Player profile features.

Mets Insider presented by W.B. Mason will debut Sunday, March 31, at 6:00 p.m. and be produced in a magazine style format. It will feature shows on a variety of topics, including dedicated episodes about the draft and prospects, player profiles, “Where are they Now” episodes, All-Star game features and more.


This is great news. You simply can’t have enough Mets coverage for people like me that live outside the New York Metro area. As I have mentioned before, for some reason SNY blacks out all the Mets games, both past and present, on my South Carolina cable company. I do receive the spring training games but that’s it. I assume this isn’t personal J
The “Mets Insider” feature sounds like something that will also be blacked out here, but the pre-game won’t be and the TC presser will only help me write about the team.
Great stuff.





Q - Do you think the Mets had a right to file a grievance regarding their draft pick? A rule is a rule, right?

Keith Law - A rule is a rule, and this one was collectively bargained. If you don't like it, bring it up in the next negotiation. Or, even better, sever the tie between free agents and the draft entirely.



The last Mets pitcher to win a playoff game was John Maine.



Bob Klapisch‏ - @BobKlap

Curious how Fred Wilpon waits until all the free agents are signed to say Mets actually have money.



Dane Hudgens   on Kirk Nieuwenhuis:

 When he first came up, he didn’t have a problem with those breaking balls. The key is laying off those pitches you should be lay off, and that comes down to pitch recognition. When you start struggling a little bit, guys start chasing hits, and chasing results.  Whenever you start doing that, you start a little bit earlier. … I try to teach the guys, if you see spin down — knee high or thigh high — if it’s spinning, you have to discipline yourself.  But when you’re hunting hits, it’s very difficult to do. That’s how it snow balled with Nieuwenhuis a little bit. He couldn’t calm himself down and he wanted to hit so bad, he was committing himself early and not recognizing those pitches. My suggestion to [the hitters] is early in the count, we’re tracking pitches. Right now, we’re going down and watching our pitchers on the side and watching that spin. Then when the games begin, hunt fastballs. [He] can hit breaking balls, but it has to be a breaking ball that’s up.


It is close to impossible to think that Nieuwenhuis will start this season as bad as he finished last year. He struggled against the righties, but was downright pathetic against left hand pitching. Hudgens is 100% correct when he says that the Captain was chasing. I remember him actually starting his swing before the ball had even left the pitchers hand.

I was a late blooming switch hitter, but started out as a righty. And, I dealt with a righty’s curve only one way… you had to get it in before I swung at the next one.  

I also found, and continue to find, that umpires don’t like curves and tend to call them outside the zone unless they end up dead zero in the middle. Does this make the actual pitch a strike? I mean, if the ball ends up as a bulls-eye, didn’t it spend most of the time crossing the batter as a ball?

Very few umpires are going to call a low breaking ball a strike and the quickest way of turning around a reputation that you are a sucker for a curve is to stop swinging at them. Sure, you may strike out looking a few times, but the word will get around that you’re not fishing anymore and pitchers will have to command the zone more when they pitch to you.

Let me tell you a little secret.

Pitchers don’t throw curves to throw strikes.

They throw curves to make you swing.

I like Nieuwenhuis and I’d like to see him succeed past being the opening act for Matt den Dekker. The only question is whether or not the Mets will let him start against a lefty again.

  

Mike Piazza -  on PEDS:

          “My histories of denial are documented all the way back to 1997, so I didn’t think that was news coming into it. … Most of the stuff that I documented was pretty much through the training room, through the trainers. One of the things was Vioxx, which is a very strong anti-inflammatory, that was banned because it was one of those things that could cause heart attacks and things like that. I just really wanted to paint a picture that drugs, unfortunately, [are] part of sports. Obviously, it’s part of the training room. Sometimes you have to do those things, [like] Cortisone, to get out on the field. I just merely wanted to kind of draw a comparison to [how], sometimes, guys blurred the line. As far as andro for me, it was just a supplement that came in a pack that I bought. Once I started realizing that it was being discouraged, then I stopped it.”



I really liked Mike Piazza as a Met and I can’t think of a more exciting game than the one when he hit that home run to center in that first game back from 9-11, but all this book does for me is make me remember all the hush-hush involving his possible drug use ( plus his sexual tastes).

          In addition, he has some unpleasant things to say about Los Angeles Dodgers announcer Vin Scully, who, according to Piazza, had it in for him. Do you really want to take on Scully? Isn’t this like dissing the Easter Bunny?

          It is obvious Piazza had something to say and he specifically didn’t release the book until after the Hall of Fame vote. I was quite impressed with his first year number of votes and my guess is he stands a good chance of getting in next season, but putting out a defensive book isn’t going to help him get there.

          This may put some money in his pocket but, in ‘my book’, we’re back to square one about the issues surrounding Big Mike.
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Keith Law  on Travis d'Arnaud -

d’Arnaud’s trouble staying healthy might be more of an obstacle than John Buck, the Mets’ expected starter behind the plate, although I also could see the Mets letting d’Arnaud get 200 to 250 plate appearances in Triple-A to work on his approach and make up for the time he missed last year.

    Anthony DiComo on d'Arnaud:

d'Arnaud hit 16 home runs last year at Triple-A Las Vegas with a .380 on-base percentage in 67 games, numbers that should have vaulted him to the big leagues by the All-Star break. As it was, d'Arnaud tore a ligament in his left knee in June, prematurely ending his season. He worked and rehabbed and was fine by the holidays, hiking around Lake Tahoe with his girlfriend, Britney, in November. Less than a month later, the Jays made him the centerpiece of a deal to bring R.A. Dickey to Toronto, ending one era in New York while establishing another. The Mets also acquired a top-flight pitching prospect in the seven-player deal, a veteran catcher and one other prospect. But it was d'Arnaud whom they coveted, d'Arnaud who represented the key to everything.



Right now, the Mets have around 7-8 guys to write about until, at least, the spring training games start, so these two articles may not be the last of the d’Arnaud stories going around.

I didn’t know he went hiking after his rehab. I feel much more confident after reading that.

I agree with Keith Law.

First of all, I don’t think John Buck is going to give up his starting job as easy as everybody thinks. Buck is a professional hitter coming off his worse career season and could easily post the highest slugging percentage on this team during the first half of this upcoming season.

No, Buck will not be a Met next year, and, yes, d’Arnaud is the future catcher for this team, but there doesn’t seem to be any logical reason to rush him.

First, forget the hiking… let’s see how the ligament holds up under game time conditions. Second, keeping him on the farm a little longer will give the Mets an additional year that d’Arnaud is controlled by the team. And lastly, it’s only 2013 and everything this team is doing is targeted for 2014.

No, I like the plan I have mentioned before. Put him on the same plane that SP Zack Wheeler will be on at the all-star break. Let Wheeler replace the departing Johan Santana (trade) and name d’Arnaud your starting catcher.

This also could be a good time to add another person to that plane ride, SP Jenrry Mejia. What better time to replace Dillon Gee with Mejia and 40% of your rotation has already been caught by d’Arnaud the first half of the season.
                              ………………………………………

Andrew Keh  on Fred Wilpon -

Wilpon asserted that the diminished payroll now overseen by General Manager Sandy Alderson — it stands at a little over $90 million — was open to being increased, perhaps back to the $140 million-plus level once maintained by the team’s previous general manager, Omar Minaya. Wilpon was not specific as to just when Alderson might open the spigots, although he did say there was a “50-50” chance that Alderson would do something significant in the middle of the 2013 season to improve the team if its performance on the field justified such a move.



This is like the Mike Piazza decision to come out with his book after the Hall of Fame vote. Now, we have the owner saying the team can spend money when there is no one left out there to spend it on.

I happen to believe what is being said here, but please believe me that no one is going to trade you an established star halfway through the season if they are still trying to make the playoffs.

The first thing the Mets need to do is continue to clear payroll, which will begin with the Santana contract. My guess is the Mets will trade him (if he is healthy and producing) before the 2013 season is over and, the Mets will have to eat a large portion of the existing dollars left on that contract. Big deal.

My next guess is the best you’re going to receive back here is a decent minor league prospect. Trust me, if Santana is pitching like he has most of his career, this has the potential of producing another Zack Wheeler-type acquisition, but, the down side here will still probably be a potential MLB starter at a badly needed position life outfield.

By the way… the more you will eat of the Santana contract, the better the prospect will be.

Would I eat, let’s say, $20mil for a deal that gets me someone like George Springer, Jackie Bradley Jr., or Michael Choice?

You bet your ass I would.

Now, if you can pull this off, you can concentrate your off-season on the purchase of one key superstar in a free agent market dominated by players over the age of 30.

Would it kill the Mets to make a run at 2B Robinson Cano ? Sure, you’d have to pay him more than you paid David Wright, but the Wright contract is old news. A ‘big market’ team needs to make at least one big market deal each off-season and I can’t think of a better one this off-season than Cano

If Fred Wilpon is telling the beat reporters the truth about his family’s lack of debt and the team’s ability to return to a proper payroll, than show me the money?

What about the outfield? Well, there will be plenty of opportunities to package two or three of the young starters in this organization and go trade for someone that will join what’s starting to become quite the lineup.

And then, come 2015, I’m going after Justin Verlander.


One thing… I need to bring this up every once in a while. My past brain trauma creates a situation sometimes that I don’t always type what I’m thinking. Things come out differently and I have a hard time recognizing it myself, even when I spell check. Regulars have learned to live with it and I apologize for what seems like stupid mistakes.

4 comments:

TP said...

Mack,
Great column, the flow was just fine.

Justin M. said...

Santana for Courtney Hawkins. Just so Mack can sleep at night :)

Also, there's been some chatter about Johan's vesting option at 215 innings this year. I know he hasn't passed 200 in awhile, but he is certainly capable of being on pace by July. Could get messy. I'd think they'd cut his brake lines before letting him vest for $25M.

Herb G said...

WOW! What an information packed column. Must have taken you all night to get it ready for a 7:00 AM post.

I've been talking up a deadline trade of Johan for a while now. That vesting option, however, could be a real obstacle. I can just see Santana in his walk year refusing to take an extra day of rest, even pitching through pain, focused on that option. Remember the "3 day rest" 3 hit shutout he pitched at the end of the 2008 season? But if they can overcome the option thing and Santana is still going strong in July, forget trading for position and get the best prospect we can. Then, package those 3 young arms Mack spoke of with Flores and one of the better outfield prospects to snag Giancarlo Stanton. (Don't pinch me, I don't want to wake up.)

Herb G said...

WOW! What an information packed column. Must have taken you all night to get it ready for a 7:00 AM post.

I've been talking up a deadline trade of Johan for a while now. That vesting option, however, could be a real obstacle. I can just see Santana in his walk year refusing to take an extra day of rest, even pitching through pain, focused on that option. Remember the "3 day rest" 3 hit shutout he pitched at the end of the 2008 season? But if they can overcome the option thing and Santana is still going strong in July, forget trading for position and get the best prospect we can. Then, package those 3 young arms Mack spoke of with Flores and one of the better outfield prospects to snag Giancarlo Stanton. (Don't pinch me, I don't want to wake up.)

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