1/31/20

METS SIGN MATT ADAMS TO A MINOR LEAGUE DEAL

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METS SIGN MATT ADAMS TO A MINOR LEAGUE DEAL



FLUSHING, N.Y., January 31, 2020 – The New York Mets today announced that the club has signed first baseman Matt Adams to a minor league contract and invited him to major league Spring Training.

Adams, 31, leads all active major leaguers with 11 pinch-hit homers and 49 pinch-hit RBI. His .469 career slugging percentage ranks 12th among all left-handed batters since his debut in 2012.

Adams hit 20 homers and drove in 56 runs in 111 games for Washington last year. He is one of 18 National League players to hit 20 or more homers in each of the last three years. 

The 6-3, 245-pounder has hit 15 or more homers in six of his eight years in the majors.

He has slashed .261/.309/.469 with 127 doubles, 116 homers with 388 RBI over his eight-year major league career with the Cardinals, Braves and Nationals.
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OPEN THREAD - Biggest 2020 Surprise

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Here's a simple one...

Who is the player in 2020 that you expect the biggest positive surprise from?
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Tom Brennan: MONUMENTAL METS' MISTAKES: VOL. 1

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MONUMENTAL
METS

MISTAKES
My brother Steve suggested, and he and I collaborated on, writing articles about five specific transactions the Mets should’ve done or...should’ve not done, that were Monumental to the (lack of) success of this franchise over its nearly 60 years of existence.

Everyone can make mistakes – but you want to avoid Monumental Mistakes like these five if you want to have a successful franchise.
 
Today is Monumental Mistake # 1:

A. Not drafting Reggie Jackson – and drafting Steve Chilcott instead. 

This one was a big mistake, even if Chilcott had remained completely healthy:

An L.A. Times article from August 20, 1994 noted that Chilcott, to that date, was the only #1 overall draft pick to never make the majors. 

Meanwhile, Reggie Jackson, an obscure player most of you probably do not know about, is in the Hall of Fame, deemed Mr. October, and hit 563 career home runs. 

You can google him if you’ve never heard of him, for more details.

Anyway, here are a few excerpts from that article from 26 years ago:
Chilcott played parts of 7 minor league seasons….for practical purposes, Chilcott’s career ended at 2nd base one night in th…Florida State League, about a year into his career. Chilcott’s playing days were dotted with injuries, but none…more…(impactful) than his shoulder problems. “I just couldn’t throw a ball hard enough to break a pane of glass,” said Chilcott.
“Chilcott was (described by his H.S. teammates as)…everything that you’d want an athlete to be…the epitome of a ballplayer…he could throw the ball a long way and…really a strong, physical kid.” With a muscular 5-foot-11, 185-pound frame, a strong arm and a powerful left-handed bat, he was a scout magnet.  (Casey Stengel himself scouted him).
Chilcott split his first season (1967) between the…Appalachian League and…NY-Penn League…hitting .290 with six home runs and 45 runs batted in through 79 games. 
(In) game No. 79,…when the pitcher whirled and threw to second, Chilcott dove into the bag with his right arm. His injury (was what turned out to be) a chronic recurrent posterior semi-dislocation.  He underwent surgery in 1969, but (other) problems (included) an infection after he fouled a ball off his shin sent him to the hospital for a month, and…a broken hand on a foul tip. (H)is shoulder continued to bother him (requiring) cortisone shot…At 24, his baseball career was over.”

Let me continue by noting that after being hurt in 1967, Chilcott only had 89 at bats in 1968 and 1969.  In 1969, meanwhile, with the Oakland As, the little-known Jackson had 47 HRs, 118 RBIs, and  was 5th in AL MVP voting. 
Chilcott was lousy in a partial season in 1970, but offered a glimmer of hope by having a good year in A ball in 1971, with 17 HRs and 68 RBIs in 91 games, but at that point, he was essentially done, with just 54 minor league at bats in 1972 before hanging it up.  Meanwhile, the obscure Mr. Jackson (google him) had 157 HRs through 1972
But despite the Chilcott injuries that could not be foreseen at the time of the draft, who did everyone think would have been the better pick, and future player, on draft day?  Chilcott…or Jackson?

A writer from Baseball Hot Corner, Rocco Costantino, wrote in 2016 that Reggie Jackson was the consensus top pick.  He noted that “The general consensus pick was Reggie Jackson, who had just wrapped up an incredible career at Arizona State…(and) completely dominated the sport on his way to earning All-America honors.”  

He added that “Jackson was generally considered the best amateur baseball player in the country.  Surely the Mets would make the simple choice to add this budding superstar to their franchise, right?  Instead, the Mets pulled a fast one and went with Steven Chilcott, a 17-year-old high school catcher….
"To be fair, Chilctott was a good prospect, but he was seen as an obvious project…The Mets stated they took Chilcott because he played a prime position of need and because he had the endorsement of the legendary Casey Stengel, but there were always rumors of the Mets passing on Jackson for racial reasons as well. Either way, the Mets passed on someone who had every tool in the shed for a 5’11” kid who was years away from playing.”
So, not picking Reggie, even on draft day, was a Monumental Mistake.  Go against the consensus at your own risk.  It was a Mistake that impacted the Mets franchise incredibly going forward.  After all, without Reggie Jackson, the Mets won the 1969 World Series.

Imagine him having hit 47 HRs and 118 RBIs in 1969 instead with the Miracle Mets, and teaming up for many seasons to follow on the Mets with Tom Seaver. 

That could have been, if not for the Monumental Mets Mistake, a baseball marriage extending into the 1980s, with likely with a few more New York Mets World Championships in the 1970’s. 

But Jackson, due (let’s be frank) to Mets’ stupidity, was never a Met.  Then, the matter was compounded with the next of the Monumental Mets Mistakes, to be covered in the next segment of this series:

Trading the Great Tom Seaver.


Until then, my friends.
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Reese Kaplan -- Rojas Rearranging the Deck Chairs?

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Luis Rojas knows a great many of his players from having coached them in the minors and others from having observed them while serving as the Quality Control Coach in the majors (or from their well decorated stat sheets).  That familiarity already has a great many folks speculating on the lineup construction Rojas will use come Opening Day assuming no great transactions or injuries occur between now and then that will dramatically alter the plans.

Here’s my first take on it…whether or not it makes sense is surely open to debate:

          CF          Brandon Nimmo
          SS          Amed Rosario
          RF          Michael Conforto
          1B          Pete Alonso
          3B          Jeff McNeil
          LF          JD Davis
           C          Wilson Ramos
          SS          Robinson Cano

Now obviously there are a great many issues with who is batting where, but let’s first start with the obvious names who are not here.  I don’t feel either Yoenis Cespedes or Jed Lowrie will be ready to start the season in Queens.  As such, to me they are non-factors in the lineup. 


The second issue that will surely raise eyebrows is the elevation of Amed Rosario to the number two hole in the batting order.  Nimmo may indeed be on on-base machine, but Rosario has more pure baserunning speed and should be at the top of the lineup to help set up the run producers that follow.  No one should argue with that logic but the ramifications on the aging duo of Wilson Ramos and Robinson Cano is pretty obvious. 


There’s no good way to paint the picture but with facts.  The Mets got decided lucky with Wilson Ramos’ health last season and he played in a great many more games than folks feared he would be capable of delivering.  He hit for average, power and aside from clogging the bases, he was a good run producer when he was the one standing at the plate with lumber in his hands. 

It's not as easy to be charitable to Robinson Cano.  The trade that thus far has become the blackest mark on BVW’s front office record did show signs of life late in the year in September after he was healthy and perhaps feeling less pressure.  He drove his moribund average up to .265 at one point in September though finishing at .256.  That’s a real stunner for a guy with a career .304 average coming over the Mets by way of Seattle and the Bronx.  Frankly, I don’t care what he’s paid.  Until he demonstrates that he’s still got juice left in his game, he has to prove it and a veteran should be well suited to hitting in front of the pitcher. 

While the projected lineup is not a perfect L/R alternation, it’s as close as they can hope to get assuming they are granting single-sided hitters like JD Davis a regular starting opportunity rather than a platoon with Dominic Smith.  You’ll note I inserted Jeff McNeil into the 5-hole between the two right handed sluggers, Alonso and Davis.  If you look at how he finished the year, it’s not unreasonable to think of McNeil as a latter-day Cano, capable of hitting for both batting average and power. 


Have at it.  How would you arrange the deck chairs on this hopefully no-longer Titanic?

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John From Albany – Mets Breakfast Links 1/31/2020

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Happy Birthday Nolan Ryan and Bob Apodaca and Jeurys Familia has been working hard this off-season.

Per SNY TV: Mets' Jeurys Familia weight change makes him hopeful for bounce-back season. "It was a tough season for me," Familia told The NY Post. "I've never had a year like that. Gaining weight affected my delivery to the plate and messed up my rhythm, which is why I started...training to take the weight off this offseason." Familia says he's down 30 pounds, from 270 to 240 since he began working out with personal trainer Dave Paladino at Impact Zone in New Jersey.

Per the NY Post: “Jeurys has been a man on a mission this offseason,” general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said. “He has worked with our health and performance department to improve in every aspect of his preparation. In addition to losing weight, he has spent time with [pitching coach] Jeremy Hefner to better understand his mechanics and his approach. He has been throwing off the mound at Citi Field since before the holidays.”

Lots of Mets Prospect news:

MLB.com listed each team's best non-Top 100 prospect.  For the Mets it was Matthew Allan, RHP: “The Mets saved enough money with their first two picks in the 2019 Draft that they were able to sign Allan, arguably the top prep arm in the class, for $2.5 million (roughly four times his slot value) after taking him in the third round. The 6-foot-3, 225-pounder is the definition of a high-ceiling prospect, as he already features a plus fastball-curveball combo as well as a changeup that should be at least above average.”

Andres Chavez of Empire Sports Media says: Meet the future of the New York Mets: his name is Ronny Mauricio. He goes on to say about Mauricio: “Mauricio is significantly ahead of the developmental curve. He is 18 years old and already held his own in Class-A. Most of the players of his age are either on the Dominican Summer League or in Rookie ball….He is a switch hitter, although he is better batting lefty. Scouts love his swing and bat speed, and say that he will bat for average and power. Defensively, he has good reactions, soft hands and a plus arm.”

Elite Sports NY Ranked the New York Mets top five 2020 prospects: 5. Andres Gimenez, SS; 4. Brett Baty, 3B; 3. Matthew Allan, RHP; 2. Francisco Alvarez, C; 1. Ronny Mauricio, SS.

Amazing Avenue completed their Top 25 Mets Prospects for 2020 and they too have Ronny Mauricio #1. “The Mets and Dominican shortstop Ronny Mauricio agreed to a $2.1 million signing bonus for inking a deal with the organization, breaking the club record previously held by fellow Dominican shortstop Amed Rosario. The 18-year-old is 6’3”, 165 lbs. with a leggy, athletic frame, suggesting that he will grow and add muscle in the years to come.”


Other Mets News:

Empire Sports Media has three current Mets that will make the Mets Hall of Fame: Jacob deGrom, Jeurys Familia, and Pete Alonso.


Danny Abriano of SNY.TV asks: “With Yoenis Cespedes and Jed Lowrie still on Mets, is roster crunch coming?” He goes on to say: “If Cespedes and Lowrie are fully healthy or at least close to it, the Mets will be in a great spot. With Cespedes, they would have a serious offensive threat who could play left field often. With Lowrie, they would have a jack-of-all-trades bench piece with a plus bat who would be able to regularly fill in at third base and second base while perhaps playing shortstop and first base in a pinch.”

Other MLB News:

CBS Sports wonders: Kris Bryant's trade value is clear with grievance settled; which teams are best positioned to swing a deal?  They say Dodgers, Yankees, Braves, Nationals, Phillies. 

12up.com discussed 5 Players Screwed Over by MLB's Service Time Rules: 5) Kris Bryant; 4) Ronald Acuña Jr.; 3) Bryce Harper; 2) Pete Alonso; 1) Vladimir Guerrero Jr.


Tomahawktake,com said the NL needs the DH. “With advanced metrics and zone ratings, defensive performance is being scrutinized more than ever. Players with a big bat need the DH option as they age.” 

Philly Sports Network had how Zack Wheeler can evolve into an Ace. Lots of great video and analysis included comparing Zack Wheeler to Gerrit Cole: “After arriving in Houston, Cole altered the use of his pitches, virtually dropping his ineffective sinker altogether. His biggest change, and the tactic I’m hoping Wheeler implements, was climbing the ladder with his fastball in two-strike situations.”

Per SI.Com: “The Red Sox and Dodgers are "deep into talks" about a deal involving 2018 AL MVP Mookie Betts, according to ESPN's Buster Olney… The Dodgers feature an attractive range of young players, including outfielder Alex Verdugo, infielder Gavin Lux and pitcher Dustin May.”

We linked yesterday to the website where one fan “decided to listen to every pitch from the Astros’ 2017 home games and log any banging noise”. The NY Post had more information about this: “Tony Adams, a 54-year-old graphic designer and web developer, downloaded videos of 8,274 opposing pitches over 58 games from 2017 and found evidence of a banging sound on nearly 14% of them (1,143).”



USA Today had David Ortiz on the MLB Sign Stealing Scandal: "Players are always trying to figure out things from the opposition, whatever they can get to help to win, they will go for it," Ortiz said. "Sometimes people cross the line, like what just happened."

Per MLB Trade Rumors:

                     


Brewers Designate former Met Deolis Guerra For Assignment.  He was part of the Johan Santana trade.




Some Mets Videos:




Per the DailyStache.com: Ron Darling on WFAN said the Mets had a chance to keep Carlos Beltran if they came out and supported him 24 hours after the MLB’s report on the Houston sign stealing was released.

Winter Ball:

As stated yesterday, the Caribbean series is scheduled to start this Saturday in Puerto Rico.  Per the Baseball Sociologist: “Despite the recent earthquake in Puerto Rico, the Series will go on as scheduled. The Commissioner of the Caribbean Professional Baseball Confederation, Juan Francisco Puello, assured the teams and the public that stadium sustained no damage during the earthquake.”

Some Ex-Mets currently scheduled to play: Joshua Torres for Puerto Rico (per twitter).  Raul Valdes, Jordany Valdespin, Tim Peterson, and Ramon E. Ramirez for the Dominican Republic (also per twitter). 

Historical Links:


UltimateMets has the date in Mets History:

Born on this date:
Died on this date:
Transactions:
San Diego Padres signed Mike Piazza of the New York Mets as a free agent on January 31, 2006.


Baltimore Orioles signed Ronny Paulino of the New York Mets as a free agent on January 31, 2012.

New York Mets signed free agent LaTroy Hawkins of the Los Angeles Angels on January 31, 2013.

New York Mets traded Josh Smoker to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Daniel Zamora on January 31, 2018.


Want something else tracked here each day?  Please leave a comment below.
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1/30/20

OPEN THREAD - Your Favorite All Time Mets Catcher

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Last but not least... and probably as easy as third baseman.

Who is your all time favorite Mets catcher?

Some to consider...

Mike Piazza... Jerry Grote... Todd Hundley....

John Stearns... Gary Carter... Ron Hodges...
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Reese Kaplan -- Responding to MLB's Lies About the Minors

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Most of you are well aware of the Major League Baseball (MLB) plan to shutter 46 Minor League Baseball (MiLB) teams which represents over 25% of the affiliated franchises in the game.  The minor league cities and stadiums affected are none-too-pleased with this concept which was the brainchild not of Commissioner Rob Manfred, but the mantra of since-deposed Houston Astros executive Jeff Luhnow. 


On Thursday MiLB sent its letter to MLB suggesting ways to negotiate wholesale changes and how to implement them short of simply locking the gates and removing MLB team affiliations.  As a reminder, the New York Mets under the proposed plans would stand to lose the Binghamton Rumble Ponies and the Kingsport Mets. 

MiLB suggested that rather than padlocking doors, it would make more sense to visit the proposed team castoffs to see what stadium improvements and what travel arrangements needed to be made to represent the sport more professionally and to give the players aspiring to work their way up the ladder a more reasonable schedule to allow for adequate rest between games.  Should a team not have the money to make necessary improvements, then the franchise affiliation would transfer to MiLB who could make those suggested changes at their expense.  The MiLB Players Development Board (PBC) would even undertake moving stadiums to new cities that are less strenuous for travel and would ensure that the playing conditions meet agreed-upon standards.  This suggestion seems eminently reasonable and would allow affiliated teams to maintain their player development.


MLB is strongly behind eliminating short season baseball as they feel it creates too much of a payroll burden for the parent ballclubs to have to absorb so many additional players, most of whom will never make the majors anyway.  The savings calculated amounted to 1/10 of 1% of MLB payroll, saving clubs worth more than a billion dollars about $350,000 in payroll.  (FYI, one major league ballplayer is paid almost $600,000).  MiLB wants to work on creative solutions to help preserve this echelon while being respectful of its expense.  MLB thus far has shown no flexibility.

Apparently MLB’s new idea is to create a self-funded Dream League, essentially a venue for wannabe ballplayers that would require not a single penny of MLB team money to operate.  This concept already exists and is known as an Independent League team such as the Long Island Ducks. 


Finally, there’s a section in the letter about the burden the MLB team faces when it comes to funding the minor league teams.  As it stands today, MLB teams only pay the people who are directly on their payroll, but do not contribute at all to stadium operations, parking, security or the many other expenses necessary to keep the ballclub in question running.  It is a false narrative about the insidious burden of having affiliated minor leagues.  As it is, the payroll for minor leaguers falls below federal minimum wage guidelines, so it’s not as if the players are taking these jobs over the ones at Walmart for the financial benefits. 

It's highly unlikely MLB will respond at all to this letter but the points needed to be made if there’s any hope of getting a groundswell of local and nationwide support for the callous plan put forth by the known cheater and his business’ figurehead. 

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John from Albany - The Alternative 50 Mets Prospects, Numbers 25-21.

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Again, trying to highlight players that did well last year that not many others have focused on.  

For these next five, I am going to focus on relief pitchers.


#25: Andrew Mitchell, Relief Pitcher, Bats Left, Throws Left, DOB 10/23/1994, 14th round, 2018 Draft. Andrew Mitchell a 6’1” Lefty that strikes hitters out.  What is not to like?  After striking out 32 batters in 23 innings, 18 games in Kingsport and Brooklyn in 2018 with a 1.17 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and just 6 walks, Andrew began 2019 in Columbia before ending the year in St. Lucie.  

His 2019 stats: 34 games, 63 Ks, 49.1 innings, 3-0, 2.19 ERA, 16 walks, 1.12 WHIP.  He spent some time on the injured list in St. Lucie so it is possible that he could start there in 2020 but he should make it to Binghamton sometime this year.
        




#24: Stephen Villines, Relief Pitcher, Bats Right, Throws Right, DOB 7/15/1995, 10th round, 2017 Draft.  Stephen is a side-armed thrower that gives managers a very different look out of the bullpen.  

I saw Stephen Villines come into a game for the Binghamton Rumble Ponies in late 2018 and strikeout 4 batters in 2 innings. Like a number of Mets AA pitchers this past year, Stephen did great in Binghamton but struggled when he was called to Syracuse.  In Binghamton, he pitched to a 2-1 record with a 1.20 ERA, 42 Ks, 45 innings in 28 games.  In Syracuse, he had a 6.75 ERA in 13 games, 16 innings.  

Can he make the adjustment to move to AAA and eventually the Majors?  We may find out next year.






#23: Matt Blackham, Relief Pitcher, Bats Right, Throws Right, DOB 1/7/1993, 29th round, 2014 Draft.  Matt Blackham is one of those guys that always seems to pitch well but not get much attention.  

He was past over in the Rule 5 Draft this past December.  However, he was invited to Spring Training this year as a Non-roster invitee, so maybe he is starting to get noticed.  

Last year he put up great numbers in both Binghamton and Syracuse.  Overall in 2019 he was 8-2 with a 2.60 ERA, 40 games, 55.1 innings, 70 strikeouts, 1.07 WHIP.  Tom Brennan profiled him here in Green Eggs and Blackham and Reese Kaplan profiled him here.  Maybe this is the year that Matt makes it to Flushing.




  
#22: Ryley Gilliam, Relief Pitcher, Bats Right, Throws Right, DOB 8/11/1996, 5th round, 2018 Draft.  From being drafted in 2018 and striking out 31 batters in 17.1 innings in Brooklyn with a 2.08 ERA to moving quickly from St. Lucie to Binghamton to Syracuse in 2019, Ryley Gilliam has been one of the top bullpen prospects in the Mets system the past two years. 

He may have been moved up too quickly as he struggled in Syracuse with a 13.50 ERA in 10 games, 9.1 innings being shut down in July with an injury.  He was sent to the Arizona Fall League where he rebounded to a 0.96 ERA in 7 games, 9.1 innings, 11 Ks, 2 Walks, 1.071 WHIP.  His combined 2019 numbers for St. Lucie/Binghamton/ Syracuse was 5-0. 6.05 ERA, 29 games, 39.2 innings, 56 Ks, 18 walks, 1.552 WHIP.  Ryley is a Non-Roster Invitee this spring.  

A solid full year in Syracuse could put him in the Mets 2021 bullpen.





#21: Stephen Nogosek, Relief Pitcher, Bats Right, Throws Right, DOB 1/11/1995, 6th round, 2016 Draft. Stephen is the last player left from the 2017 Addison Reed trade with the Red Sox that also gave the Mets Gerson Bautista and Jamie Callahan.  

In 2019 Stephen was lights out for Binghamton (0.95 ERA, 11 games, 19 innings, 20 Ks, 12 walks).  In Syracuse he was almost perfect.  His first 23 games for Syracuse he was 3-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 30.1 innings.  In the last game of the season, the tie braking game to win the division and go to the playoffs, Stephen ended up being charged with 4 runs and Syracuse ended up losing 14-13.  You can read more about that game here.  

His 2019 combined line for Binghamton/Syracuse: 3-0, 1.07 ERA, 35 games, 50.1 innings, 50Ks, 25 Walks.  His NY Mets 2019 Line: 0-1 10.80 ERA, 7 games, 6.2 innings.  

Stephen was placed on waivers in order to make room for free agent Rick Porcello.  

Since no other team claimed him, he was returned to the Syracuse roster.  He did, however, receive a Non-Roster invite to Spring Training this year. 



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