9/30/17

Richard Herr - Don’t Wait Until Next Year! It Starts Now - 4

7 comments

I’m throwing aside that old cry of “Wait until next year.” Next year starts right now. 2017 is creaking its way toward the end of the season, but preparations for next year have to begin. There are a couple areas of concern that have to be handled right away so they are in place at the end of the season. The club has to be ready to move forward with the off-season programs in place. Needless to say, this series of articles is going to stretch into the off-season as I consider the whole list of topics, rendering the title of this series obsolete as time goes along.

This article might hit after the season ends, but we are now moving to the decisions that should be made after the season's over. And as I reach these final articles, news has already come out about the status of the positions I’m considering.

So what's the next and final area for consideration?


MANAGER


Word is already out about Terry Collins. People are very brightly saying that they think Terry’s going to retire. Terry hasn’t said that, but people are “repeating” the news they’re hearing. These are people rather high up in the organization.

The implied message from them? “Don’t let the door hit you in the ass.”

Terry is retiring, voluntarily. (Or maybe with an “in-“ before that.)

We have listed Terry’s managerial flaws often enough in the blogosphere that I don’t think they need repeating. Let’s just bid him a fond adieu and move on.

It’s time to consider his replacement. I’ve seen names like Bob Geren and Chip Hale floated about. They strike me as being Terry Lite. (And I thought you could never get anything lighter than Terry.) I worry that those guys would be nothing but ciphers filling out that position, which would suit Sandy a lot. However, I’m starting to want Sandy to pull back on his autocratic stance. I’d like to see a little more give and take between the GM and the manager.

I can’t say that I have a sweeping knowledge about the managerial candidates out there. I do think that one thing that is necessary, and that is that the skipper should be bi-lingual. He has to be able to communicate directly with the players in the clubhouse.

How about the idea of one of the Cora brothers. I think they would insist on having their ideas listened to.


COACHES


I feel that Dan Warthen should go. Like practically everyone else, I was a staunch Warthen fan going into this season, but it appears to be time for a change; Warthen has plain been around for too long. I recognize that injuries forced the Mets to start some guys who were down in their ranks of pitchers. However, the team’s ERA was one of the worst in the majors. One thing struck me: how many times the pitchers allowed a lot of runs in their first inning. It seemed like they went out there not prepared to pitch. They arrived at the ballpark in their second inning. Time for a breath of fresh air....And why isn’t Frank Viola being considered for the job?

I have to admit I have a prejudice against Kevin Long. Nothing to do with him, I just happen to be old school. (Don’t even begin to ask how old that school is.) I don’t believe in the philosophy of having each at-bat being either a walk, a strike-out, or a home run. Where baseball shows itself off as its most watchable is when the ball is hit somewhere in the ballpark. That’s when you get to see players making great fielding plays, or running around the bases (running, not trotting). However the new philosophy has turned an old baseball slogan around. Now everyone is saying, “Go ahead and swing for the fences.” It seems that things like defense and foot speed are ceding to hitting home runs. (Which goes a long way toward explaining the quandary about Juan Lagares.)


(????????)


Will the mystery guest please sign in? (Google it.) There’s somebody allegedly filling the post of defensive coach, but I don’t know who that is. And it shows. We are never going to go into raptures over the fielding of some of the Mets, but there was an awful lot of backsliding on defense this year. And there seemed to be no one trying to fix that. They’ve got find someone to help along such players as Rosario, Smith, Flores, TJ, etc. The new philosophy may downplay defense, but you can’t ignore it.

I think we can look forward to some on-field management this coming year. I only hope it’s for the better. The changes on this club lately have been for the worse.
Read more...

Tom Brennan - MY METS PROSPECTS: #11 DESMOND LINDSAY

9 comments


Tom Brennan - MY METS PROSPECTS: #11 DESMOND LINDSAY

Sometimes, guys just make it hard for you to rank properly.  For instance, a big arm you like that ends up with Tommy John surgery - will he return quickly or slowly, effectively or diminished?

Same sort of thing when it is a hitter who gets hurt a lot.  Such a hitter is Desmond Lindsay.


He already has 3 years in the minors.  Year one, got injured - 35 out of a possible 70 games.  Year two, got injured - 37 out of a possible 76 games.  Year 3, got injured - 65 out of a possible 130+ games.  So you, as an evaluator, have to decide if you want to rank him as Year 4, uninjured.  Or playing half the games, as he has in each of his 3 seasons.

The one thing I do know for sure is this:

"Desmond has a barrow in the market place, Molly is the singer in a band. Desmond says to Molly, "Girl, I like your face,". And Molly says this as she takes him by the hand: Obladi, Oblada, life goes on, bra, Lala how their life goes on."

Kidding aside, Lindsay has had hammy injuries, and of course his most recent, ulnar nerve relocation surgery.  There's little reason to think the hammys will be a major problem going forward, and as a non-pitcher, the nerve correction should be a non-issue going forward, so I will assume health for 2018, a hard thing to do for anyone in the Mets organization, I know, but the pendulum does swing, as they say.

Lindsay, although in his 3rd season in 2017, was only 20 years old, so there is plenty of time - but who wants to waste time in the minors?  Stay healthy and get to the bigs quickly, Mr. Lindsay.  Former NYC Mayor John Lindsay, if he were alive today, would have liberally agreed.

I have the 5'11" 200 Desmond Lindsay ranked (perhaps too optimistically) at # 11 due to his multi-tool physical potential, the potential that got him drafted in the 2nd round in 2015 when (were it not for injury issues in high school) he likely would have cracked the first round.  So Desmond, meditate on Cal Ripken for a while - "durability, durability" - playing a lot is the key to rapid movement upwards.

Desmond put up great rookie ball #s in 2016(.303/.433/.451) but in full A Columbia in 2017, he got off to a dreadful start: he hit an awful .150 through May with a ton of strikeouts. 

But in June and July, despite more time missed due to injuries (what a shock) and his season ending injury in mid-July, he rebounded nicely: in 87 at bats, .322 with good power (5 doubles, a triple, and 5 homers) - but still too many strikeouts, with 29 in his last 95 plate appearances.  My sense is the strikeout #s will moderate as (if) he plays daily in 2018, but to some degree that is guesswork.

He is highly athletic, and one can only hope he breaks out in 2018, climbs quickly, and shows up in Queens by late 2019, and is ready to be an everyday player in 2020, or especially 2021 when the contract of one Mr. Cespedes will have expired. Health - and better contact - are the two keys here. 

Another healthy high schooler drafted a year later in 2016 by another team, Bo Bichette, has already gotten the about the same number of at bats and shot past Lindsay - 2018 is the time for Lindsay to play a little catch-up. He also still needs to catch up to Tim Tebow :)

Read more...

Reese Kaplan -- Inertia: My Recurring Nightmare

7 comments

Spring training 2018 rolls around and once again the Mets have not added a single major league player to the roster.  They have picked up the option of Asdrubal Cabrera and signed free agent Jose Reyes.  Sitting in the dugout holding the lineup pencil is soon-to-be 69 year old Terry Collins.  He’s on the phone to Sandy Alderson saying yes to whatever his boss demands.  Dan Warthen is staring off into space while there’s obviously something going wrong during the bullpen session prior to the start of the game.  Kevin Long is encouraging uppercut swings from everyone, including the pitchers.  Sandy Koufax saunters around camp with Fred Wilpon, muttering under his breath about what a circus this has become.  Kevin James is fielding grounders and looks positively svelte next to Dom Smith.


Fortunately I wake up from this nocturnal horror show and realize it can’t possibly be that bad.  After all, no sane GM would possibly think that his club is so perfect that it’s not in need of improvement, right?

Furthermore, no savvy GM would possibly want to build for the future around 35 year old infielder who’s lost several steps and range in the field.  No keen strategist would reward a malcontent who demanded a trade with another year in uniform.

Surely a manager who is hopelessly out of touch with modern  metrics, an inability to develop younger ballplayers and who holds the dubious distinction of the club record as the losingest manager in its 45 year history wouldn’t be asked back. 

Then there’s the pitching coach who never seems to notice when someone is overcompensating or changing their natural motion, setting himself up for injury…they can’t want him back again, right?

Then there’s that swing for the fences mentality that has the Mets setting club records for home runs while fighting to stay out of the cellar…surely they would want to change that!

Then there’s the whole health and nutrition thing.  Given the many years of injuries and conditioning problems they wouldn’t keep bringing back what hasn’t worked, right?

There’s no way the Mets can go into 2018 with Smith at 1B, Reyes at 2B, Rosario at SS, Cabrera at 3B, a timeshare of d’Arnaud and Plawecki behind the plate, Cespedes in LF, Nimmo/Lagares platooning in CF and Aoki in RF, can they?

Futhermore, the starting rotation built more on hope than reality, would right now include Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Steve Matz.  Behind them would be solid backups like Rafael Montero, Chris Flexen, Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo and Tommy Milone.  That worked so well in 2017, right?

Then the bullpen will contain Jeurys Familia, A.J. Ramos, Jerry Bleviins, Paul Sewald, Hansel Robles, Erik Goeddel, Josh Smoker and Chasen Bradford with nothing to show from any of the salary dump trades from this summer…that can’t be happening, could it?

Sometimes it’s tough being a Mets fan.  It’s like a reality TV show where the audience is yelling at the screen about what they should do and then they go off charging in the opposite direction.  Parting ways with Collins and Warthen would be baby steps in the right direction.  Kicking the veteran infielders to the curb would represent more progress because as long as they are there, the temptation will exist to bench the developing players in favor of the ones past their prime.  I’d truly believe they want a change in direction if they suggest Sandy Alderson also find a hammock on a beach somewhere, but that’s got as much chance of happening winning the lottery (which is about as likely as the Mets winning a pennant without a complete overhaul top to bottom).  
Read more...

9/29/17

Mets Honor Humphreys with 2017 Sterling Award

0 comments

MEDIA RELEASE
         Contact: Kevin Fitzgerald

Friday, September 29, 2017                                        

Mets Honor Humphreys with 2017 Sterling Award

Right-hander Wins Annual Award, Named Columbia’s Top Player of 2017


COLUMBIA, SC – After dominating the South Atlantic League this past season, the New York Mets honored right-hander Jordan Humphreyswith Columbia’s 2017 Sterling Award. The Mets present the Sterling Awards annually to the most valuable player at each minor league level.

Humphreys won 10 of his 11 starts with Columbia, finished with a scorching 1.42 ERA and was named a South Atlantic League All-Star. The 21-year-old pitching prospect earned a call-up to the Class A advanced St. Lucie Mets in June.

“It’s awesome,” Humphreys said to the media in New York this week. “I took spring training seriously [this year], worked on all my pitches and had a great turnout.”

The 21-year-old’s 10 wins and 1.42 ERA led the South Atlantic League at the all-star break. Humphreys also struck out 80 hitters and walked just nine over 69.2 innings. His elite 8.9:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio was third-best in the SAL among pitchers who logged 60 or more innings. The Crystal River, Florida, native struck out a Fireflies franchise-record 12 batters on April 24 against Asheville, doing so in just 6.2 innings.

“He has great command of all of his pitches,” Fireflies manager Jose Leger said earlier this season. “He’s able to locate the fastball up, down, in and off the plate. He sets up the hitters and if you’re able to do that with the fastball, it just makes your off-speed better. He has good, smooth mechanics that help his velocity. He looks like he just jumps at you when he throws.“

Humphreys never allowed more than two runs in any of his 11 starts with Columbia and held hitters to a miniscule .168 batting average.MLB.com ranks Humphreys as the 13th-best Mets minor league prospect.

Humphreys and the nine other Sterling Award winners were honored at Citi Field in New York before the Mets hosted the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday night. The Mets prospect was treated to an on-field ceremony and a tour of the park before taking in that evening’s game.

The Mets drafted Humphreys in the 18th round of the 2015 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of Crystal River High School. Ironically enough, Crystal River is the same high school former MLB All-Star and New York Mets starter Mike Hampton attended.
Read more...

Mack – Draft Stuff – Shane McClanahan, Shortstops, Casey Mize, Top 10 HS Players

0 comments


Good morning.


Shane McClanahan:

College stats from Baseball Cube:

2017: 4-2, 3.20 ERA, 15 G, 15 GS, 76 IP, 48 H, 30 R, 27 ER, 4 R, 104 K, 1.11 WHIP, 4.26 bb/9, 12.32 K/9, 2.89 K/BB



MLB Pipeline's Top 10 college prospects for the 2018 Draft

2. Shane McClanahan, LHP, South Florida

McClanahan redshirted in his first year with the Bulls while recovering from Tommy John surgery, then came back this spring and maintained a 93-96 mph fastball. He needs to further refine his secondary pitches and command, but he's a lefty with a big arm.



Baseball America's TOP 10 COLLEGE PROSPECTS FOR 2018

3          Shane McClanahan          LHP     South Florida          6-1      173   
 
A quick-armed lefty, McClanahan used a dominant fastball to strike out 104 batters in 74 innings.



Rebuilt and recharged -

McClanahan back to old form after Tommy John surgery

-It took nearly two years for McClanahan to finally take the mound at the USF Baseball Stadium after signing with USF in 2015, but now that he’s available, the hard-throwing lefty is making his presence felt.

-In his second season as a Bull, the 19-year old Cape Coral native has made a full recovery from Tommy John surgery, and has emerged as the USF’s Saturday night starter in 2017, contributing to the Bulls’ best start in school history.

-Throwing his first full post-surgery bullpen in the summer of 2016, McClanahan had officially made a full recovery and was ready to do what made him one of the most highly sought-out pitching recruits in the nation – overpower hitters, and win games.

Starting 2017 with 53 strikeouts in 40 innings pitched, McClanahan has done just that.

-“He’s very talented, you just don’t see many left-handed pitchers with his build, and his arm speed at this young of an age,” USF coach Mark Kingston said.



Videos:




An Abundance Of Shortstops





Casey Mize


While most have Brady Singer as the top college arm in next year’s draft class, Auburn University righty Casey Mize is a talent that could give him a run for his money.

Mize was a tall, lanky prep righty with a high eighties to low nineties fastball out of Springville, Alabama. He wasn’t ranked by anyone during his senior year, but an Auburn commitment made him an unlikely sign anyway. He had a solid freshman campaign as a swing arm. He threw 69 innings (cue the Beavis and Butthead laughter) over sixteen games and seven starts, with a 3.52 ERA, 7.7 K/9, and 3.3 K/BB. He followed that up with twelve solid innings in the Cape Cod League, with a 3.00 ERA and eleven strikeouts to five walks.


He burst on the radar his sophomore season, with a 2.04 ERA over 83.2 innings. His strikeout rate jumped to 11.7 K/9, and his walk rate decreased to under one per nine innings. He joined the USA Collegiate National Team, but left the team after eight shutout innings due to forearm tightness, something that had also flared up in the spring.



Top 10 HS Players in Draft

http://m.mlb.com/news/article/249942466/top-10-high-school-prospects-for-2018-draft/
1. Brice Turang, SS, Santiago HS (Corona, Calif.)
Turang entered the summer as perhaps the best player in the class, high school or otherwise, and he didn't do anything to diminish that evaluation. He's shown he can definitely stay at shortstop, while also proving adept at moving over to second if needed. Turang has an advanced approach at the plate, with power to come, and his speed plays on both sides of the ball.




TOS Gold Game: Mayo on Turang

2. Ethan Hankins, RHP, Forsyth Central HS (Cumming, Ga.)
Hankins is considered by many the top high school arm heading into 2018 after multiple impressive summer showcase performances. He's shown a mid-to-upper-90s fastball and a much-improved power breaking ball, with the ability to command both effectively. One scouting director said Hankins reminded him of a young Gerrit Cole.




Hankins' strong inning

3. Kumar Rocker, RHP, North Oconee HS (Bogart, Ga.)
If Hankins is No. 1 among arms, Rocker is 1A. He is pure power, and it's easy gas. All summer, Rocker has been in the 94-98 mph range, with a really good slider thrown in the upper-80s.




TOS Bronze Game: Kumar Rocker

4. Matt Liberatore, LHP, Mountain Ridge HS (Glendale, Ariz.)
While he doesn't have the "wow" stuff of the power righties above him, Liberatore does have an above-average fastball, a solid changeup and a good breaking ball. And he commands all three, with perhaps the best pitchability in the class.




Liberatore's strong 1st inning

5. Jarred Kelenic, OF, Waukesha (Wis.) West HS
Kelenic might be the best pure hitter among high schoolers in the 2018 class, with an advanced approach at the plate and power that he tapped into on occasion over the summer. He's a good defender with a strong arm in the outfield as well.




Kelenic takes part in PDP

6. Will Banfield, C, Brookwood HS (Snellville, Ga.)
While Banfield didn't consistently swing the bat well over the summer, he has shown power, especially to the pull side. Banfield's defense has been plus at every stop, though, with the best catch-and-throw skills in the class.
7. Nolan Gorman, 3B, Sandra Day O'Connor HS (Phoenix, Ariz.)
While there are some holes in his swing that will be watched carefully in the spring, Gorman's power is legitimate, showing up in home run derbies and in games. He also has a very strong arm from the left side of the infield.




Gorman wins High School HR Derby

8. Ryan Weathers, LHP, Loretto (Tenn.) HS
The son of former big leaguer David Weathers, Ryan could very well be the top southpaw in the class when all is said and done, joining prep lefties like Brady Aiken, Kolby Allard and MacKenzie Gore as top of the Draft contenders. Weathers has a very good three-pitch mix, with more in the tank to come.
9. Mason Denaburg, RHP/C, Merritt Island (Fla.) HS
Denaburg is a two-way player, behind the plate and on the mound, but he stood out with his pitching all summer. He's up to 95 mph with his fastball and works in a solid curve and a changeup as well. If Denaburg were to focus on the mound, he could really take off.




Perfect Game: Denaburg's inning

10. Nander De Sedas, SS, Montverde (Fla.) Academy
The infielder really impressed with the bat all summer, showing easy power from both sides of the plate along with a good approach. De Sedas might not be a shortstop long-term, but he should be able to stay on the dirt in the future.



Read more...

Tom Brennan - GSELLMAN UPSWING

3 comments



Tom Brennan - GSELLMAN UPSWING

Robert Gsellman is another beneficiary (along with Rafael Montero) of the Mets' collapsed season.

Gsellman shocked me with how well he pitched down the stretch in his first season in 2016, given that he had pitched poorly in Vegas.  

He was a revelation - without him, no 2016 Wild Card.

The 2nd year, tho', can sometimes be the baseball version of TERRIBLE TWOS.  And so it was for the Gazelle Man:

APRIL: 0-2, 6.23 ERA

MAY: 3-1, 5.40 ERA

JUNE: 2-2, 7.03 ERA

JULY: DISABLED LIST

In a normal season, you'd be banished to AAA by now - "see ya next spring."

But this was the Mash Unit Mets - all hands on deck.   

So he got past his injury and back on the mound - and became a true beneficiary of a blown season, getting chances he'd have otherwise not gotten and pitching much better:

AUGUST: 0-1, 2.87 ERA in three starts.

SEPTEMBER: 3-1, 3.86 ERA in five starts.

A team's misery can be a man's opportunity.  And Rob has grabbed it lately.  A big moment Wednesday night was his fanning Freddie (Frickin') Freeman with the bags full in a very tough battle.  Huge.

It seems again like Gsellman should be a good # 5 next year or a quality pen arm.  He is, after all, on an UPSWING.
Read more...

Tom Brennan - MY METS PROSPECTS: # 10 LUIS GUILLORME

15 comments

Tom Brennan - MY METS PROSPECTS:  # 10 LUIS GUILLORME

Luis Guillorme, by all reports, is a fabulous and dazzling fielder, whether he is stationed at shortstop or 2nd base....or in the dugout when bats come flying his way, as one did this past spring training.

While other Mets would have somehow missed half a season with a hand injury, Luis nabbed it flawlessly and nonchalantly. And got some nationwide attention for it.

Luis is listed at 5'9", 199, which remarkably was exactly my height and weight at the doctor's this week.  Like Luis, I too have advanced defensive skills, as my wife can attest whenever we have an...ahem...:discussion".

Kidding aside, pitchers LUV defense and HATE to see their best outings blown by clumsy fielders.  And Binghamton allowed the fewest unearned runs in the Eastern League (and who knows how many runs prevented) by superior defense led by Luis.

An infield that has already upgraded defensively in Queens, with Amed Rosario at SS and baby boomer with the bat Dominic Smith at first, would be on total lockdown with a glove like Luis wields added to it.

His season mark of .283/.376/.331 in AA was another solid offensive effort by Luis. He provides quality every season at the plate, except, however, for a dearth of power and speed on the bases. Just 4 steals while getting on base, and only 2 career triples in 2,000 plate appearances, attest to the latter.

I for one believe that the power part of Luis' game will remain well below average...few guys have a career slug %  (.328) below their career on base % (.361) by so much.   Few guys with a .328 slug % in the majors (much less in the minors) have long and successful careers in the MLB.

Yet, MLB teams have a need for superior defense coupled with on base ability in a substitute's role, and I believe there is a role for Luis in that regard in the future.  He, as I see it, could also fill in as a starting shortstop if Rosario were to go down with injury.  His challenge is that compared to 40 years ago, teams carry 2 less position players, so you have to stand out to be in the bigs.

I just wish there was more double and triple power to his game, so I could rank him higher.  Right now, his bat seems like it will advance to Ruben Tejada levels, but with even less power, but with a glove superior to Ruben's.  If he cannot boost his HR power (he has only 2 in his career), significantly ramping up his double/triple rate would make him more attractive.

I know Mack loves him for his D.  However, when I described him to my rabid (and often disgusted) Met fan and brother Steve, he was adamant he does not want to see a guy on the team with no power or speed, regardless of defensive prowess  Therein lies the conundrum.



Read more...

Sources: Mets owner Fred Wilpon protected Terry Collins from getting fired

10 comments

This story in Newsday (in https://www.newsday.com/sports/baseball/mets/sources-mets-owner-fred-wilpon-protected-terry-collins-from-getting-fired-1.14297441) today should clear up who makes what decisions in the Mets front office -  

Mets owner Fred Wilpon repeatedly protected Terry Collins, even as his son, chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon, and general manager Sandy Alderson sought the manager’s dismissal at various points during his tenure, an example of rifts that resurfaced as a season of promise slipped away, according to more than a dozen team insiders interviewed by Newsday.
People with knowledge of the situation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, described organizational dysfunction, discord between Collins and his players, and a broken relationship between the manager and the front office.
“I don’t interfere,” Fred Wilpon said while declining an interview request earlier this season.Despite what the front office perceived as Collins’ constant tactical blunders and concerns about his relationships with the players, sources said efforts to explore a change seriously were thwarted by the elder Wilpon.
The 80-year-old owner keeps a low public profile and has not spoken at length about his team since 2013. But privately, his influence in baseball matters still looms large, as shown by his ability to single-handedly shield Collins, whom he visited frequently in the manager’s office before games.
“He got too chummy with him,” one team official said.
The Wilpons, Alderson and Collins declined to comment.
ADVERTISEMENT | ADVERTISE ON NEWSDAY
With Collins’ contract up at season’s end, the franchise’s longest-tenured manager has stated publicly that he has no intention of retiring. Yet the Mets have not expressed any intention of retaining him in the role he’s had since 2011.
“Terry has no allies in the front office,” one official said.
On Wednesday, Collins’ final game at Citi Field this season passed without any public recognition for his place in franchise history. There will likely be no classy send-off for a manager who shepherded the Mets through a difficult rebuilding before the prosperity of consecutive playoff appearances in 2015 and 2016.
Instead, Collins has been forced to field questions about his uncertain future.
Wilpon’s interventions seem to have only delayed the inevitable during what has been a tough slog to the finish line, leaving Collins in the awkward position of working with a front office that had afforded him little trust or confidence. Amid that constant tension, the team spiraled further out of contention while the clubhouse ultimately soured on Collins.
In 2016, with whispers growing that the ax might fall on Collins, the Mets made an inspired run that led to the wild-card game. Again, sources said Collins and the front office had their skirmishes, but success provided a cushion.As recently as 2015, when the Mets stormed to the National League pennant, Collins earned praise for his handling of the clubhouse. He leaned on his veterans for leadership. Winning made the front-office squabbles more tolerable. Alderson originally hired Collins partly because he valued a voice that differed from his.
The 2017 season brought all of the expectations of the year before. But it brought none of the winning. As the losses mounted, the give-and-take took on a different tone.
Collins increasingly resisted input, several Mets officials said, a stark departure from his earlier years with the team. Bullpen management became a constant battleground, with Collins facing criticism for overusing his most trusted arms as the Mets staggered at the start of the season.
ADVERTISEMENT | ADVERTISE ON NEWSDAY
With teams becoming more mindful about the wear and tear of using relief pitchers on consecutive days, the Mets lead baseball in that category, asking their bullpen arms to work back-to-back games 126 times.
By mid-May, Jerry Blevins led baseball with nine appearances with no days’ rest, with Addison Reed tied for second with eight back-to-backs. Fernando Salas (seven), Hansel Robles (six) and Jeurys Familia (five) were among five Mets pitchers with five or more consecutive appearances.
Only 21 other pitchers in all of baseball had been exposed to that kind of workload. There would be a heavy price to pay. Mets relievers have a 4.74 ERA, the highest in the NL.
“Once he falls in love with you, he abuses you,” one official said. “He has run players into the ground. He has no idea about resting players. Even when you tell him, he doesn’t listen.”
The disconnect became even more apparent later in the season, as the Mets’ handling of injuries drew criticism. Collins often was not briefed fully on the injuries, forcing him into the uncomfortable situation of fielding daily questions about health woes with nothing more at his disposal than official news releases.
ADVERTISEMENT | ADVERTISE ON NEWSDAY

Communication breakdowns

Communication issues also arose with players, team insiders said, leading to a loss of support within the clubhouse.
Veterans often heard of decisions about playing time through media reports rather than from the manager. Younger players described discovering that Collins had harbored concerns about certain parts of their game, though he didn’t bother to share them directly.
Adding to the frustration, team insiders said, was that Collins created an image through the media as a strong communicator who backs up his players. Players and officials saw that portrayal as inaccurate.
“He has always been difficult to communicate with,” one Met said. “It would be a surprise if he said ‘hey’ to you when you passed each other in the hallway if your name wasn’t [Matt] Harvey or [Yoenis] Cespedes. It’s always been those couple things along with some of the in-game decisions he makes.”
The nadir came shortly after the Mets traded most of their veterans, many of whom had taken an active role in maintaining a functional clubhouse culture. Collins made little secret about his preference for giving the vets more playing time at the expense of younger players, who groused about it.
The trades left the clubhouse filled with the same types of young players who sources said had grown to resent the manager. Collins found himself unable to stem the growing discontent, conjuring unflattering comparisons to the player rancor that ended his previous managerial stops with the Astros and Angels.
Said one Met: “We were all miserable.”

Adding insult to injuries

Some of Collins’ critics acknowledged that no manager likely would have overcome the rash of injuries that left a talented roster a shell of itself, with Noah Syndergaard, Cespedes and Jeurys Familia all missing significant time. Steven Matz and Matt Harvey never returned to their pre-injury form.
Some of the issues, one player suggested, were out of the manager’s control.
“He did what he could with what he had, but I believe that it turned out that the inmates ran the asylum a bit,” the player said. “He had three or four personalities in there that he essentially had no control over for a multitude of reasons, ranging from the front office allowing it, to guys just not respecting authority at all.”
Even by Mets standards, the season brought a wave of distractions, ranging from a sex toy appearing in a social media post to Harvey’s no-show at Citi Field after partying on Cinco de Mayo. Syndergaard’s lat injury came after he infamously declined an MRI exam.
Not even Mr. Met was spared from controversy after a fan captured an image of the family-friendly mascot flashing an obscene gesture.
Now, as the Mets retool for next season, they face myriad challenges.
On the field, the Mets must find bats for the outfield and infield, in addition to adding another proven arm for the bullpen and perhaps another for the rotation.
Off the field, the Mets may also be in the market for a new pitching coach, with another Fred Wilpon favorite, Dan Warthen, on shaky ground after a season in which injuries wrecked the pitching staff. And it’s possible that the Mets need a new hitting coach, as it’s unclear if Kevin Long would remain if he’s not considered for the manager’s job should Collins not be retained.
Like Collins, Alderson is in the final year of his contract, but the general manager has given no indication that he wants to leave. It’s clear that the Mets would like better cohesion between team executives and the manager’s office.
Team officials said the Mets would prefer a manager more receptive to analytics with a sense for using the modern bullpen. It’s a skill that will be even more important next season, when an eight-man bullpen could be the norm.
But choosing who occupies the manager’s office may be just the first move in an offseason of huge change for a franchise that appears in need of it.
“It was Murphy’s Law in Queens this year, that’s the bottom line,” one player said. “And with that type of stuff happening, there’s almost no choice but for turmoil to follow.”
Read more...
Mack's Mets © 2012